Brodyn’s Friends Golfing for a Cure 2013 Photography

golf photography rosemont akronLast week was the annual Brodyn’s Friends Golfing for a Cure at Rosemont Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Brodyn, as you may remember from this previous blog post, is a wonderful boy that was born with Non Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH), a disease that thus far doesn’t have a cure, but is being researched by some of the top minds in the medical community.

To raise funds for further research into a cure for NKH, Brodyn’s parents founded Brodyn’s Friends, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of NKH and raising funds to help find a cure for it. The biggest fundraiser of the year is the annual Golfing for a Cure, which was held at Rosemont Country Club in Fairlawn, OH.

golf photography rosemont akronWith the weather being seasonably hot, golfers began to arrive in the morning and were greeted by smiling faces and fresh coffee and bagels.. Many of them decided to use the driving range and practice green to knock some rust off of their swings and putts, while others milled about and read the information provided or chatted with event organizers and fellow golfers.

golf photography rosemont akronAround noon, the opening speeches were made, welcoming the golfers to the fundraiser and thanking them for attending. Northwestern Mutual donated a check of $10,000 to Brodyn’s Friends, recognizing their ongoing and tireless efforts to help people whose lives are affected by NKH.

At 1:00 the event began with a shotgun start, which means that every hole has golfers starting on it, rather than waiting for everybody st start off at the 1st hole. This helps the event move along smoothly rather than bottle-necking at the beginning. As the temperatures rose into the low 90’s, golfers kept cool with complimentary beverages and enjoyed themselves with a boxed lunch and complimentary cigars. Rosemont has plenty of large, mature trees surrounding it’s course so there was plenty of shade to help everybody stay refreshed.

golf photography rosemont akronAt the close of the golf event was a wonderful buffet set out by Rosemont’s hospitality crew. Entertainment was provided by Joseph Whitehead and his guitar and a silent auction began. Items ranging from high-end liquors to baseball tickets to jewelry were up for bid with all proceeds going to Brodyn’s Friends.

To learn more about NKH and Brodyn’s Friends, visit www.BrodynsFriends.com.

Dennis and Esther’s Surprise Wedding Photos

cleveland surprise wedding photographerNot many people have arranged for surprise wedding photos, but Dennis is a smart man. He and his long time fiance Esther have been together nearly 30 years, and the recently decided to legally tie the knot.

cleveland surprise wedding photographerThey decided to have the ceremony at the Justice of the Peace with only a few guests present. As far as Esther knew, they would get dressed up, say their vows, and have a nice dinner out afterward. Dennis, however, had other plans. He had contacted me a week and a half in advance to talk about photographing them after the ceremony at a local park and surprise his new bride Esther. It had been a couple of decades since they had professional photos taken of them, and he knew she would be thrilled to have new ones taken, especially on their long-awaited wedding day. Dennis scouted local parks and found a beautiful one in Cleveland that has a lake, walking trail, gazebo, and lots of beautiful trees. We arranged a time for the photo session, giving them plenty of time to drive to the park for a “Walk around the lake” with his new bride.

Because I had never been to the park, I got there about 40 minutes before our meeting time to scout potential locations to shoot photos at. With the beautiful arched bridges and beautiful forest surrounding the area, that wasn’t hard to do. I selected one remotely-triggered speed light with an umbrella and a stand to use as off-camera lighting and my favorite on-camera flash and lenses and waited for the happy couple to show up.

cleveland surprise wedding photographerIt didn’t take Esther long to understand what Dennis had arranged. Not only had he surprised her with a wedding day photo session, but he also surprised her with a beautiful bouquet and flowers for his lapel. She was thrilled and stunned to learn that Dennis had went to such lengths to set the surprise up so perfectly. They only had an hour to stay because of a dinner reservation so we had to get working immediately. cleveland surprise wedding photographerWe worked our way from location to location with efficiency, so as to allow us to get the maximum number of photos possible taken while not rushing anything. Having my gear set up and ready to go helped speed things along, and Dennis and Esther were wonderful subjects to photograph.

The love between the newly-married couple is so easy to see in these photos. One of the poses we made sure to capture recreates the pose in Esther’s favorite photo of them taken nearly 30 years ago. It is always so sweet to see a couple so obviously in love with each other and Dennis and Esther were radiant with affection.  cleveland surprise wedding photographer

Beach Theme Wedding Reception at Quarry Golf Club in Canton

akron ohio beach wedding photographyThis past Saturday I photographed a gorgeous wedding reception in Canton, OH at the Quarry Golf and Country Club in Canton, OH. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe beautiful newlywed couple had chosen to get married in Panama City, FL. because they’ve always vacationed there and they brought the beach theme with them into the lovely reception I had the honor of photographing.

Looking at the wedding cake, you can see the hand-made starfish on the side and the blue “water” flowing down the cake. At the base is Sugar In The Raw which looks like sand and delicious chocolate seashells scattered around the base. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe cake topper was, of course, beach-themed with a casual look. All of the guests were treated to goodie bags filled with sugar “sand” and chocolate seashells. For the meal, we had the luxury of eating the best shrimp in my memory with a pina colada dipping sauce on the side.

akron ohio beach wedding photographyAt the entrance to the country club is a magnificent waterfall and pond that made for ideal bridal party portraits. Terry, the lead photographer, placed them around the setting and shot photos using the prime angles, while I shot mostly off-center, candid angles. The grass around the stones was too wet to allow the ladies to comfortably stand in it with their 4″ heels, so they were positioned to stand on the large, flat stones, while the guys were arranged on the grass and surrounding rocks. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe sky did a huge favor for us and passed a large cloud directly across the sun for the duration of our shoot at the waterfall, which allowed for even lighting and let the bridal party to avoid the need to squint. We then went back to the clubhouse we continued the bridal party photos, using the lake and surrounding landscaping as gorgeous backdropsakron ohio beach wedding photography.

During the reception, I used the building’s walls, pillars, and ceiling as surfaces to bounce our flashes off of, which make the photos have more even light on my subjects. Because I am able to avoid shooting the flash directly at my subjects the light isn’t harsh, like most flash photography, but instead is soft and even which makes for much more appealing photographs. In some photos I used a higher ISO and slower shutter speed combined with the flash to let the ambient light from the reception show, but still making my subject stand out. akron ohio beach wedding photographyThe evening finished up with a gorgeous sunset, and we had the bride and groom stand outside on a small knoll and used my flash as fill light to illuminate them while still capturing the sky.

All said and done, it was a really nice evening for everybody involved. They had the video of their wedding on the beach playing during their photos so their guests could see the ceremony. The DJ from Beach Boyz Entertainment was a real professional and moved the evening along with efficiency and fun (I wish they were all as good as him). There was dancing and laughter well into the early morning. May the happy couple find a lifetime of joy and love together!

Claire’s Senior Photos in Cleveland

cleveland senior photos portraits

Shot at Edgewater Park in Cleveland

Last week I did a senior photo session in downtown Cleveland and the surrounding areas. I’ve worked with Claire and her wonderful family in the past and was delighted when she chose me to shoot her senior photos. We met a few months ago to talk about the shoot and to discuss her personal taste when it comes to photos. cleveland senior photos portraitsTalking with her, I learned that she loves Instagram and the filters they offer and also that she loved the idea of doing a portion of the shoot in the heart of downtown Cleveland, OH. We looked at our calendars, nailed down a date for the shoot (and a backup date in case of rain) and began planning.

cleveland senior photos portraitsWhen I was shooting photos for the Cleveland Marathon a few weeks back, I was stationed at a position in Edgewater Park that allowed for incredible views of the city of Cleveland across Lake Erie. I made a mental note to use that location in a future shoot because I knew I’d be able to make some incredible images there using the right techniques. I’ve also done extensive scouting around downtown Cleveland itself and have a long list of locations where incredible photos can be shot. In the days leading up to the shoot I made a checklist of the locations and shots I wanted to nail for her senior photos and the techniques I wanted to use.

The day of the shoot was one of the hottest of the year. Temperatures were around 90 degrees with high humidity and little wind to speak of. We had originally talked about doing the downtown photos first, but I suggested that we go to Edgewater first because the breeze off the lake would keep us cool while we waited for the temperature to drop in the evening. This, combined with shooting most of the photos in the shade, worked out very well, with neither Claire or I getting too hot.

cleveland senior photos portraitsIn many of the photos I shot at Edgewater I used off-camera remotely-fired strobes. This gives me far more flexibility when shooting portraits. If I were going to use only natural light or a camera-mounted flash, I’d be very limited in what I was able to do and the variety of different looks in the photos seen here wouldn’t be possible. We used a reflector in some of the shots instead of the flash when it would work out better, but the clouds kept the sunlight very random and I would rather use a flash in those conditions because the results are consistent.

Claire senior photos_1 (7)When the temperature cooled off we moved to downtown for the second half of our session. Starting at the Soldiers and Sailors monument on Public Square, we used the beautiful architecture and landscape to our advantage. In some of these photos I used my on-camera flash with TTL but set to fill flash only. I didn’t want it to look like she was hit with a lot of direct flash light, just enough to separate her from the background. We used the off-camera flash much of the time and used natural light too. I like the variety of looks that can be achieved by using many different techniques.

The entire shoot lasted about 2.5 hours, including driving to the different locations. Claire’s mom worked as my photographer’s assistant the whole time, holding my flash stands from blowing over and also holding the reflector and helping me carry my gear. She was so good that she should put “Photographer’s Assistant” on her resume!

Claire senior photos_1 (9)When processing the images, I kept in mind that Claire likes the Instagram-style retro look, so I used split toning in many images to get the effect. Because I do all my editing manually, each of the photos was edited by hand for that specific look.

All in all, the shoot went great and I’m very happy with the final results If you’d like to talk about having senior photos taken this year, please get in touch with me by phone at 330-861-3684, email, or a comment on this post.

If you like this post, please share it! I always appreciate shares and “likes”.

Photos I shot while on vacation earlier this year

BMW in Charleston, SC cobblestones

This gorgeous scene materialized in an instant and was gone just as fast. I barely got the BMW into frame before it pulled into the parking garage to my right.

I’ve been doing a lot of photography work recently, but its been for clients that are still reviewing the work or haven’t used it for their websites/businesses yet and so I haven’t been able to show it. Because of this, I’ll fill in the second post this week with some photos of a vacation I was on earlier this year.

I went on a Bahamas cruise and stayed a couple of days in Charleston, SC (the city we were porting out of), and took advantage of the free time to snap some photos. I did a little street photography and some touristy photos – nothing that would win a Pulitzer, but fun to shoot none the less.

Bahamas Atlantic sunrise

I caught this sunrise while standing at the farthest forward point on the ship that the passengers were allowed.

I also got up early every morning while on the cruise and went topside to shoot photos of the sunrise and the port we were at. I’m a morning person and it would kill me to sit in the cabin and miss the opportunity. On the second morning at sea, there was this amazing sunrise and I was one of only a few people that saw it.

Charleston, SC sunset beach

The sunset that evening in Charleston, SC was unreal.

Part of doing so much photographic work is trying to balance shooting professionally with shooting for fun/inspiration. Because I have children/dogs/friends and I live in such a beautiful area, I always have available subjects to photograph, but finding the time is the challenge.

Senior Photos at Squire’s Castle

squire castle senior photos ohio

A senior portrait taken in a window at Squire’s Castle

I was recently hired to shoot senior photos for a family in the Cleveland area at Squire’s Castle in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. The shoot was somewhat short-notice and so we didn’t want to drive to multiple locations to find different scenery and backgrounds. I only knew of some forested areas with large rocks in the Willoughby area, but the family knew of Squire’s Castle and suggested it. I looked up photos of Squire’s Castle and was thrilled! I never knew such a place existed in northeast Ohio that is open to the public.

We wanted to start shooting at 9:00am on a Saturday morning because I wanted to take advantage of the better morning light, but mostly because I knew that this place was going to be packed with people if we waited until later in the day.

squire castle senior photos ohio

We shot this on the lawn using a reflector to provide the back light.

When I arrived at 8:30, there was a gym setting up it’s workout equipment around the castle so I talked with them about the shoot we were going to do and we agreed on their placement of equipment so it didn’t interfere with the photos. I spent about 20 minutes walking around the building and surrounding landscape looking for good shooting angles and ideas for lighting. Since I use off-camera remote lighting for many of the portraits I shoot, I was able to bring light into the somewhat dim interior of the building. Using my experience as a photographer, I’m able to make the light come in at pleasing angles and light the area in ways that you wouldn’t be able to see unless I pointed it out.

When the family arrived I had already set up my equipment and we walked around the area, showing them my ideas for different locations.

squire castle senior photos ohio

A portrait taken in the forest surrounding Squire’s Castle

They liked what I had to say and we started shooting immediately. My subject was a natural at posing beautifully, and she gave a wonderful, warm, genuine smile throughout the session. Her family was willing to help me hold different lighting equipment and was really wonderful to work with. It’s always so helpful when mom or dad is happy to help me move reflectors, speedlights, etc. It keeps everybody engaged, speeds up the process, and they come up with some interesting ideas throughout the shoot.
We used different window and door openings as locations, as well as the lawn, forest, and great hall. I’ve never seen a location with more variety in such a compact area. It was our goal to keep the entire shoot at around an hour and we met the goal. By 10:00 there were three other photo sessions going on in and around the castle as well as families exploring the grounds and another gym was performing their workout on the lawn. Had we waited until later in the day, we would never have been able to get these beautiful images.

If you would like to talk about senior photos for your teenager or family photos at this wonderful location or any other, get in touch with me. My senior portrait packages are quite affordable and I offer both prints and digital copies of the photos we shoot. Also, if you’d like to share this post I’m always thankful for it.

Photos of my Dad and his 1963 Split Window Corvette

1963 split window corvette photo

My dad inside of his classic Corvette

1963 split window corvette photo

The split rear window Corvette only produced for the 1963 model year.

My dad loves his ’63 Split Window Corvette. For his Father’s Day gift this year, I asked him to let me do a photo session with his Corvette to showcase it and him in a cool setting with a lot of thought put into the lighting.

I know of an old industrial area in Akron that would be perfect for photographing the ‘Vette, having old, worn brick faces, lots of cracked and decaying buildings, but new pavement so as not to damage the car or tires. On Father’s Day, the weather was mostly cloudy, which was ideal for shooting photos of the Corvette because harsh sunlight would produce hot spots on the car and would hide the beautiful curves that make this car so amazing.

1963 split window corvette photo

I shot this photo while practically laying on the pavement.

To see what other photographers have done with this car, I looked around Google and Bing image search for photos of 1963 Split Window Corvettes and was rather disappointed with what I saw. Very few photos showed up that had been professionally shot and edited. Most photos on image search were shot with no thought put into lighting or camera angle, and were also shot with point-and-shoot cameras with no post-processing even done.

I was surprised at that because this car ranks in the top 20 in the Most Collectable Car list.

1963 split window corvette photo

I used a flash inside of the car to properly expose him sitting behind the driver’s wheel.

The split rear window in the 1963 model was produced only that year. They eliminated it in the split in the 1964 model because it impairs visibility, and that makes the ’63 model even more collectable. This car is FAST. It has a 4-speed manual transmission and a small-block V8 engine with posi-traction. It lays rubber with ease and is impossibly fun to drive.

When shooting these photos, I got down very low to the ground to accentuate the lines of the fenders. Because it sits so low, if I shot from a standing position, all you’d see would be the top of the hood and roof.

I also wanted to show a different angle than would typically be seen when walking around the car, which produced photos that are more interesting to look at and engage the viewer. It worked because my dad commented many times how different the car looks in the photos and how pretty the lines are.

1963 split window corvette burnout

Laying rubber!

In the photos where my dad is behind the wheel, it was too dark inside of the car to properly show him behind the wheel, while properly exposing to show the car off. To fix that, I had a remotely-fired flash inside of the car reflecting off of the dashboard and onto his face, which gave us some really cool photos of him in the driver’s seat.

The last set of photos shows what this car can do when you lay into the throttle. He started at a dead stop and punched it while dumping the clutch. I set the camera on 6 frames-per-second burst mode and captured this awesome burnout. I made 14 frames of it into a GIF, which is epic.

Happy Father’s Day dad!

Photographing the 2013 Cleveland Marathon

cleveland marathon event photographer

Having a blast at the 2.5 mile point!

I was hired to photograph the 2013 Cleveland Marathon recently. With over 20,000 participants, it was challenging, to say the least.

I was stationed at the 2.5 mile point and also the 22 mile point. At the first setup, the 2.5-mile point, my co-photographer and I had to be set up and shooting photos by 7:00 AM because that when the first of the participants were starting to come through. Because of the early start time, we had to be very careful with our camera settings, trying to balance a high enough shutter speed to capture crisp images with the dim lighting, which would want to underexpose the photos we shot.

cleveland marathon event photographer

The road was packed with marathon participants.

We wanted a deep DOF, so we had to shoot at a smaller aperture (f/8), which made the settings even more of a challenge in the early morning light. The fact that we were stationed in a heavily-treed area also did us no favors when it came to light, but it made for a very pretty backdrop. After we nailed down the camera settings that were going to give us the best possible images, we waited for the first participants to make their way to us, which only took about 5 minutes.

cleveland marathon event photographer blind cyclist

One of the amazing hand cranked cyclists that participated in the marathon

The first people to get photographed by us were blind runners riding hand-cranked bicycles. They were really amazing to see. They were all flanked by sighted cyclists that gave them directions for upcoming bends and turns in the road, as well as obstacles and runners that they passed. Its hard to imagine hand-cranking these bicycles nearly 23 miles, but these iron-tough participants did it like pros.

After the hand-cranked cyclists came the runners. First they came in small packs, but them the onslaught started. Thousands and thousands of runners came pouring by me in wave after wave. Because they were so tightly packed it was very challenging to pick out individual runners, but I did my very best to do so. I shot my DSLR nearly continuously for over an hour. I was having my own private photo marathon, with my arms feeling like they were going to fall off from holding the camera up for such an extended time. In the short span of 45 minutes, I shot over 1,800 photos. So many that my shutter finger was getting numb!

Slowly though, the runners got more sparse until the final runner made her way by. We immediately swapped out our memory cards, filled out the paperwork, and jumped in the car to drive from the far east side of Cleveland to the far west side to capture the runners on the opposite end of the course.

cleveland marathon event photographer

I jumped out of a moving car to capture this image of the lead runner at the 22-mile point.

As we approached the parking area for our next location, the 22-mile point, we couldn’t believe our eyes. The lead runner was already coming up the road! In the time it took us to photograph the participants and drive across town, this guy had run over 22 miles! We stopped the car in the middle of the road, I grabbed my camera (glad that I set my camera up on the drive there), jumped out of the passenger side door (while still moving), and shot this photo of the first-place runner. Whew!

cleveland marathon event photographer

These poor souls had to run uphill to get their photos taken.

I then had the time to get into position while my co-photographer parked the car and continued to shoo photos of the first-place pack. The crowd of runners was much more spread out at this point, with nearly no large clusters of runners, so I wasn’t so hard pressed to shoot nearly continuous photos. We were stationed at the top of a long grade, so these poor runners had to really push themselves to run toward us, and that’s reflected in their expressions. Amazingly, some runners were smiling, talking, and waving at me for the photos after running for hours on end. We stayed there for nearly 4 hours waiting for the last of the participants to make their way by, then packed our gear, filled out the required paperwork, and headed back.

At the end of the assignment, my arms were tired but I felt great otherwise. I had a great time photographing the event and hope to do it again next year. If you participated in the 2013 Cleveland Marathon and would like to find photos of yourself, go to https://www.marathonfoto.com/ and enter your name or bib number.

A Beautiful Cleveland Family That I Recently Photographed

cleveland family photographer free stamp

The whole family in front of the FREE Stamp in Willard Park in Cleveland, OH

This lovely family wanted to have photos showing three generations of their family and all the siblings gathered together in Cleveland. We needed to find a place in downtown Cleveland to take photos that would allow us to achieve a number of different looking backgrounds in a small area because of the large number of photos we wanted to take, while at the same time trying to show bits of Cleveland in the background.

cleveland family photographer

What a super cute baby!

After talking about it, we decided to do the shoot in Willard Park, which is where the famous and iconic FREE Stamp is located. You can see the stamp in the background of some of the photos. Cleveland City Hall is also located next door and that allowed us to use it’s granite walls and steps as props for the shoot too.

Because it was such a bright and beautiful day, we did all of the photography in the shade of the gorgeous trees in Willard Park. This prevented people from needing to squint their eyes in the bright sunshine, and eliminated harsh shadows on their faces. It was also bright enough to where I didn’t need to use a flash or reflector in the shade, which allowed for beautiful, even light on their faces.

cleveland family photographerThe beautiful baby in the photo was such a joy to photograph and she was so good throughout the photography session. Toni Lindsey and Family 432She only got fussy after about an hour of posing and being held. Her big, beautiful eyes show up so well in the photos.

Because we were doing a multi-generational photo session, there were numerous grouping that we wanted to capture, and every member of the family was very gracious with the multiple posing and re-posing they had to do. In the end, I think that we achieved a very successful and gorgeous series of photos that captures that.

cleveland family photographer

Grandpa, Grandma, and Granddaughter.

Photography of a Future MLS Soccer Star (he’s also my nephew)

youth soccer photography akronMark has been playing soccer  in a youth soccer league and I wanted to take some photos of him before he goes pro, moves to Europe, and I have no access to his games. His fluorescent yellow shirt and flamboyant attitude on the field made for some fun photography, and he loved playing it up for his parents on the sidelines. In a youth soccer league (football league, for the Europeans), the coaches have their players change positions throughout the game to allow all the players a chance to experience all the different parts of the game.youth soccer photography akron

Because of the fast-paced action and the different camera angles I was shooting at, I decided to use aperture priority (@ f/5.6) so I didn’t have to set the camera up every time the action moved into shadow (I shoot on manual almost exclusively except when I’m shooting fast-paced action) . The bright summer sun combined with the aforementioned fluorescent yellow shirt made me have to use special photographer tricks with my camera’s settings to make the colors bright. youth soccer photography akronUsing a camera on automatic exposure would have made the photos very dark because the camera would think that it was overexposing the images if it took photos as bright as the setting actually was. I increased my exposure compensation 1 stop to make up for that tenancy and bumped my ISO up to 400 to keep the shutter at 1/500 and higher so I didn’t get motion blur when zoomed all the way in to 200mm.

If you’d like to, please feel free to share my work and my blog posts. Thanks!

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