Don’t Doubt Yourself, You May Just Have the Best Idea Ever (Or Close Enough, Anyway)

As a photographer I meet a lot of people who don’t always believe in themselves, their looks, their talents, their ideas, etc.

There’s a quote by Cynthia Heimel that I strive to live by “When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.”

I struggle to follow that at times too, but I’ve made my best photos (and, I won’t lie, some not so great ones too), and other crafts.

Photographs like this have been the result:

tooele photographer, tooele portrait photographer

And I just made a new hair clip following that same mantra:

steampunk brooch, steampunk hair clip

Pardon the cell phone pic 🙂

A steampunk/victorian inspired rhinestone hair clip. One of my favorites so far. I really adore anything steampunk or victorian. Seriously. Who doesn’t!? It consist of a brooch pendant I found out while shopping, a couple of necklace I took apart for other projects as well, and a vintage clip on earring that didn’t have a match. A bunch of rejects to make something that turns heads. I wore this out one day for fun and got so many compliments. Seriously, if I can do it you can too!

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Wheeler Farm Portrait Sessions with Derika and Mikael!

In the drive to always become better, I try to focus on various aspects of my photography. This time around it was posing.

First getting into the business of shooting people (I love being able to say that phrase), I was like “No way will I do any of that lame studio posing from 90s. No way, no how. I’m fresh and modern dang it! I want candids and that’s what people really want anyway.”

Right?

Welllll… Not exactly.

As I have grown and become more experienced, I’ve come to the conclusion that posing is not a bad thing. I’ll say it again, because it a realization that came very gradually, and it was such a turning point for me.  Posing is not a bad thing.

Here’s why:

  1. Think of the pictures your friends take of you while you’re being candid. Half-closed eyes, crooked smiles, sometimes (or often times) very unflattering angles. Some of these may even by why you hate having your picture taken (that’s me, anyway. Oh the irony.) It’s just what happens. Certain angles make anyone look terrible, that’s just how it is.
  2. Having a camera in your face for two hours straight is awkward. Especially when someone says “Just act natural.” Uhhh. Okay. Act naturally in front of a graffiti wall with no clue of what acting naturally is in such a situation. Right.
  3. Our body language speaks volumes. And if you’re not sure what to do with yourself in the photo, it shows. Posing, along with trust of your photographer, gives both your mind and body something to focus on to push the awkwardness away.
  4. Posing doesn’t have to be the hands on your chin, wrapped in a boa, glamour shot of the 90s. Posing can help show off your best assets and minimize or hide what you’re self-conscious about. While still making you look like it’s the most natural thing in the world (or close enough to it). For me, my chin has always been prone to doubleness, even though I didn’t have one, some pictures made me look like it. Now that I know how to pose to make that go away, or at least make it not as obvious, I’m ecstatic.

Tada! There you have it. Posing, done correctly, can be amazing!

Anywho, on to this shoot with Mikael and Derika, who were kind enough to let me practice various posing ideas with them Smile. I usually know how to give directions, but this time around I really wanted to focus on conveying that expression so common in fashion. I wanted Derika and Mikael to know a secret, a secret they were just happening to let you in on.

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Salt Lake Garden Park Ward ~ Shari’s Bridals

This was a beautiful day for bridals! And aside from the 5 minutes we spent picking burrs out of the delicate tulle of Shari’s dress (no rips/tears, yeah!), everything went swimmingly.

Shari was beaming, and rightfully so.

We made our way around the park, laughing and making jokes in between poses. Shari was kind enough to laugh at my ultra corny jokes.

I’m pretty sure Shari is the best of Taylor Swift and Scarlett Johansson, along with a certain modesty and terrific sense of humor. I have had an absolute blast getting to know her during her engagements, her bridals, and at last throughout her wedding day (pics of that coming soon as well).

If you’d like to see more, please visit Shari’s Bridal set of photos on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.293532047397047.71262.102147369868850&type=3

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Baptism Photos and a Quick Lesson on Locations

Utah in winter is beautiful. Utah in winter is ugly. It was during one of these uglier parts (sky is gray, no snow falling, the air is still and gross), that I shot Lydia’s baptism portraits.

It’s so easy to take pretty photos with clear blue skies and pretty pink blossoms. But what about when conditions aren’t perfect? What if it looks like gunk outside?

I call that a challenge. Me and Lydia met that challenge and punched it in the face. Lydia, the spunky, hilarious girl full of laughter and ideas.

You don’t necessarily need the prettiest park out there. Something good to look out for, however, are elements that are “pretty” in an area. I put pretty in quotation marks because I count trees, rocks, fences, etc as pretty. This is why I try to arrive a bit early to shoots, to pick out the best areas so we can go straight to them and not dally, especially on a cold day such as this (or a hot day).

Walking around the park I made mental notes of the highlights of Murray City Park on this particular day: the stone stairs, the awesome knotty tree, the bridge, the treeline, the snow, and a gazebo. All within 30 seconds walking distance of each other.

Lydia was a champ in the cold, making for some truly gorgeous pictures. Just try and tell me she’s not channeling Snow White there!

Modeling with Jessiikuh

I had been looking forward to this shoot for a while. I was totally stoked to work with Jessiikuh, and I had made an awesome black netted birdcage veil just for the occasion. My new camera (the amaze-balls Nikon D700) had just come in a week and a half before, and I was stoked to test its abilities. Yet all was not as I meant it to be….

This day was another one of those Murphy’s Law days. Things kept going wrong. I had my eye on the weather and was expecting it to be about 50 degrees outside. A bit chilly, but definitely doable.

Wrong.

30-something degrees. Bah! So Jessiikuh and I shot outside for 10-15 minutes and called it quits. due to the overcast day, everything in our chosen location just looked “Meh”, so we headed back to Jessiikuh’s house to a do a few more shots in the warmth. Though the sky was dark, I wasn’t worried. I had my trusty SB-600 Speedlight with me. I only needed one light for what I wanted anyway.

Wrong.

The flash tube in my flash had cracked. Split in two. Well… crap. I can get it fixed, but that doesn’t help me at the moment… A super dim room with none of my extra lighting equipment? This was the part where I got to seriously test and push both my camera and my own skills in using the available light.

Ta Da!

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Welcome to the World, Baby Harrison!

My family is truly blessed these past few months. My sister, Marni, had a beautiful little girl named Maryn last month. Now my other sister HayLee just had a handsome baby boy this past week. His name is Harrison, and he already has the acting genes of his mom and dad. The day after he was born I dropped by the hospital to take a few photos of him. He was such a good poser I hardly had to do anything. It also helped that HayLee’s room had the most amazing view of the Wasatch Mountains. But really, can you believe how alert he is in the second photo? What a trooper!

 

 

 Utah portrait photographer, newborn photos, adorable baby

 

 Utah portrait photographer, newborn photos, adorable baby

I Looove Spring

The days are getting slightly longer. The weather is getting a bit warmer (some days, anyway).

Birds are chirping. Kids are running around outside.

My favorite part, however, are the blossoms on the cherry and apricot trees.

I always wish I could pull together a shoot centered around them, but I never seem to have the time. Somehow those blossoms sneak up on me and past me.

This may not be a whole shoot, but it’s surely one shot I’m so glad I got to take.

salt lake portrait photograher, spring blossoms, bokeh, sepia, memerice

P.S. My niece rocks for indulging my photographic whims =)

Jillian Vintage Shoot ~ Salt Lake City Utah

I am a lover of all things vintage. I collect vintage jewelry like nobody’s business, and I also collect vintage clothing if I find a fantastic deal.

I found a 70s wedding dress over a year ago on ebay. I loved it, the price was right, I bought it. I thought I might wear it for Halloween, but the seller didn’t post the right measurements. She listed it as a large, and when I measured it, it was an extra small. Tiny! So I packed it away, vowing to do a vintage bridal shoot with it someday.

Fastforward to December. Model Jillian and I had been going back and forth on a shoot idea. Light bulb! The vintage wedding dress was just chilling in a box in my closet. I sent her the measurements and she said it would definitely fit. Huzzah! We decided on Garden Park Ward during the last week of December. Luckily the weather cooperated beautifully! Jillian is a fantastic model who takes direction wonderfully, she was such a pleasure to work with. You can probably deduce all of that from looking at these photos though…

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Garden Park Ward, bridals, vintage wedding dress, vintage, beautiful, gorgeous, utah wedding photographer, salt lake wedding photographer, unique, fancy, vintage processing, masquerade, brick wall, masked bride

Garden Park Ward, bridals, vintage wedding dress, vintage, beautiful, gorgeous, utah wedding photographer, salt lake wedding photographer, unique, fancy, vintage processing

Garden Park Ward, bridals, vintage wedding dress, vintage, beautiful, gorgeous, utah wedding photographer, salt lake wedding photographer, unique, fancy, vintage processing

Personal Faves from Jess & Dan’s Formals at Temple Square

Like I said before, for each shoot I want to pick of a few of my personal favorites and go over the process in how I got the shot, any problems I ran into, and how I processed them. I may not say much about processing, as one thing I try to do is get as much possible done during the shot. Besides, although I do fun edits, I may not post them as much because, let’s face it, things like selective color and crazy editing trends can become dated quickly, whereas keeping editing to a minimum keeps the focus where it should be: on the couple!

First shot I loved:

Salt Lake Temple, Wedding Dress, Bride, Temple Wedding, Utah Wedding Photography, Salt Lake Wedding Photographer, bridals, Temple Square

First, I did something for this shot that I don’t do a ton of: tilt. Tilt can either cut off things or help you include something in the entire frame. In this case, I wanted to get the temple spires in the shot. What’s more, I love their expressions. I believe I had told them to get ready to kiss, and sure, kissing pictures are cute, but in my opinion, I like the shots just before the kiss more. The way they look at each other, that anticipation, it’s beautiful.

Processing: For this picture, I did a little more editing. You see, it was towards the end of November, so it was freezing. So, poor Jess didn’t wear her coat for the pictures, so I turned down the red saturation and luminance in Lightroom, not so that it looks unnatural, but just enough to take off the edge. Then, as usual, I used the tone curves tool to lighten the lights and darken the darks. I also added some graduated filters in lightroom to burn in the sky a bit to show a little of that blue. Then just a bit of a vignette to darken the corners a little and really bring the focus on the couple without making the vignette really harsh and obvious. I also warmed up the white balance just a bit.

Next up:

Salt Lake Temple, Wedding Dress, Bride, Temple Wedding, Utah Wedding Photography, Salt Lake Wedding Photographer, bridals, Temple Square, Joseph Smith Memorial Building

This one is another personal favorite. This was taken on the mezzanine floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I knew I wanted their huge gorgeous chandelier as a background. While I setting up my camera and flash they were whispering and talking and Dan leaned his head against Jess’s. I looked up and thought it was so cute.. and then they noticed me looking and stopped, because they were waiting for directions now that I was set up. Now,  if you see someone doing something that you know would make an awesome picture, don’t be afraid to ask them to do it again, which is exactly what I did. I said “Hey! What you were doing just then was really cute, could you do it again? Thanks!” I snapped a few shots and was done.

The Situation: For this my little sb-600 was on 1/6.4 power and I kept my shutter speed down at 1/50 of  a second so that I could keep some of that warm ambient light from the chandelier in the background, with my ISO at 400. When you use a flash in an instance like this, the shutter speed controls the ambient light (in this case, the light from the chandelier and background), and your aperture controls the light amount from the flash. If the flash was giving me just a little too much or too little light, I’d change my aperture to control that. If I had wanted the background to be completely dark, I would have used a much higher shutter speed, but I wanted that warm ambient light in the background, so I shot at 1/50 second. So the total specs for this shot were: ISO 400, shutter at 1/50 s and f/ 4.5. My sb-600 was about 5 feet camera left of the couple on a 45 degree angle at 1/6.4 output, everything on rear curtain sync. The rear curtain sync setting allowed me to use my flash at 1/50 second without there being any motion blur.

Processing: Just the normal tone curving in Lightroom and bumping the exposure up just a hair, about 1/10 of a stop. Then I use a Photoshop action (Dustin Francis sharpening actions) to sharpen the photos (I do this on all photos). My lenses are fairly sharp, but giving the photo that last little punch really helps, especially in printing. Something I’ve noticed is if you can get to know your flash and know what look you’re going for, you can get so much of your work done before you even start to worry about Photoshop. It can cut down how much work you have to do significantly.

Next:

Bridals, Temple Square, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Salt Lake Wedding Phoographer, Salt Lake Temple

I really love this photo as well. Jessica is beautiful, and after getting to know her, I think this setting really suits her personality, as she is a bright and happy person (I’m sure Dan would agree!).To me, this has a sort of airy, light feel to it.

The Situation: The lighting here was gorgeous too. Pretty much just before the beginning of the golden hour before sunset. The light was also a little strong for what I was going for, so I set up my flash camera right about 4 feet from the bride. The sunlight was hitting the bride’s back, so I wanted my flash to hit her front so she wouldn’t turn into a silhouette. I can’t quite remember what I had set the flash to, but I usually start at 1/8 power and tweak from there, for this one I think it may have been at 1/4 power. Because the sunlight was fairly strong compared to the mezzanine floor I bumped down my ISO to 200 and upped my shutter speed to 1/125 second, keeping my aperture at f/4.5. You can tell that the flash lit up her facial features and dress, just enough to give enough fill without washing out or blowing out her beautiful white dress, and we still get the temple and sky in the background.

Processing: Because the sunlight was, as I said before, a little strong, I did have to burn in a bit of the back of Jessica’s dress. I did this in lightroom with the adjustment brush. I darkened the darks a little bit, but left the lights alone, as the exposure for them was already what I wanted. Added a little bit of a vignette. Voila!

I feel like I could go on and on about photos from this shoot, but I think this is a good place to stop for now. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to let me know!

Halloween in Salt Lake City ~ Sneak Peek

So on Halloween I got together with two of my good friends, Mikael and Ashley. Mikael and I had been tossing a vampire themed shoot around for some time, but with schedules and other such things, we had too keep pushing it back. Well, Halloween came around and it worked out not only for our schedules, but our other friend Ashley’s as well. So we got all glammed up (well at least Mikael and Ashley did…) and headed to downtown Salt Lake to the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

 The overall horror ambience was pretty much snuffed away at the sight of Bambi and friends. There were t.o.n.s of deer. Pretty hard to get into the spirt of Halloween with a doe a few yards away giving you some serious doe-eyed looks. Instead of “Eeeks” and “Booos!” we had “Awwws” and “Ohhhhhs”. We had some serious fun though, just ask Mikael and Ashley, I’m a hoot to be around 😉 And I’m extremely humble too. My humbleness is right up there next to my awesomeness.

Without further ado, here’s some of the awesome stuff we got. Eat your heart out, Stephenie Meyer, my vampires are better than yours.

Cemetery, Halloween, Vampire, Salt Lake City, Strobist, Utah Photographer

Cemetery, Halloween, Vampire, Salt Lake City, Strobist, Utah Photographer, Mohawk, Punk

Ashley

 

Cemetery, Halloween, Vampire, Salt Lake City, Strobist, Utah Photographer

Check out Mikael's eyes!

 

Cemetery, Halloween, Vampire, Salt Lake City, Strobist, Utah Photographer, intense eyes

Roberts Family Sneak Peek ~ Salt Lake Photographer

Last Sunday I spent some time with Kellee, Doug and their three beautiful kids at the Salt Lake City Library for some family pictures. Thought it looked like rain, we made it through a majority of the shoot without any, just a few sprinkles here and there. It took a bit of coaxing with the kids, but bribery tends to do the trick in bringing out those bright smiles. Here’s a sneak peek into my session with them. Enjoy!

Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake Photographer, Utah Photographer, Family Photography

Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake Photographer, Utah Photographer, Family Photography

Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake Photographer, Utah Photographer, Family Photography

Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake Photographer, Utah Photographer, Family Photography

Salt Lake City Library, Salt Lake Photographer, Utah Photographer, Family Photography

When the Day Met the Night a.k.a. The Moon and Sun

As stated in a previous post (Take That Murphy’s Law!) things did not go as planned with the “When the Day Met the Night” shoot. However, it was fabulous shooting with Sheena Steedman. She’s an absolutely terrific model, and Estevan was as well. They made a great Moon and Sun couple. Without them I could not have made this shoot work, and these beautiful photos would not exist. And even though things didn’t go according to plan (do they ever?!) I love the way these turned out. The International Peace Gardens in Salt Lake City are quite the awesome spot for photos. If anyone needs a good place for a shoot that’s free, I highly recommend it. Just be prepared for lots of other people thinking the same thing 😉

Now that this is done, I have many more ideas for shoots, most of which would work perfectly for engaged couples or married couples looking for something different if fun. So if you’re a fan of Anberlin, Newsies, or something awesome, let me know.

Now, let’s start off with what’s quite possibly my favorite photo of the set:

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

Moon and Sun, When the Day Met the Night, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City, Utah, Utah Photographer

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Day Met the Night, Utah Photographer, When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

When the Moon Fell in Love with the Sun, International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City utah, gorgeous, peace gardens, Panic at the Disco, when the day met the night

Meet Tammy, the Mother’s Day Contest Winner!

I was finally able to meet and shoot with Tammy, the Mother’s Day contest winner. We met at Wheeler Farm in Murray, and let me tell you one thing: it was HOT! Luckily we tried to stay in the shade. I couldn’t imagine having to be out in the sun for a couple hours of shooting. I don’t think we would have made it. But we did, mostly due to the shade though. .Despite the heat, it was wonderful. I may have said this before, but I love Wheeler Farm. There’s so much there to enjoy, and it’s a photographic gold mine.

Tammy was great, despite the hot sun she was ready and willing to go all over the farm and try some of my ideas. I just loved how outgoing she was, I mean just look at her on the tractor. There were plenty of goofy moments shared by all of us, and I don’t think there could’ve been a better winner for the Mother’s Day Contest Winner.

There was also a fair there while we were shooting, so after we were done we got some snow cones. Really, you can’t beat two hours of shooting in the heat followed by a 25 cent snowcone. It’s one of the most refreshing things. Ever.

This next part might sound a little weird, but often after shoots I feel like I’ve made a new friend. I feel that photography is a fairly personal thing. There needs to be trust between the photographer and subject/model to achieve the best photos possible. If someone doesn’t trust me or isn’t comfortable around me, it shows. So when I shoot I get to know people, and I feel like I really got to have a cool little insight on Tammy. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but she’s beautiful and bubbly inside as well. Thank you Tammy for shooting with me, I have loved getting to know you and it was so much fun working on the photos.