Posted on March 19, 2014
It’s always fun doing senior portrait photos, but especially fun when the senior is as cool as Kaleb. He’s a senior at Chippewa High School and has a great personality and is a real pleasure to work with. We decided to do the shoot in and around downtown Akron, OH and the weather was perfect. Blue skies and calm winds prevailed, and downtown was deserted. I’ve done quite a bit of photo work in downtown Akron before, so I know where to go to get some fun and interesting photos.
I used my speed lights for many of the photos to fill in shadows and to allow me to shoot into a bright sky without blowing it out. I also used off-camera lighting and reflectors to further allow me creative flexibility. Using a variety of lenses, I was able to get different looks in many photos. I also edited using some creative split toning, so the photos didn’t end up with the same final look.
Posted on June 25, 2013
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.
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.
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.
Posted on May 28, 2013
I really love taking photos of my lilac flowers and my plants in general. The older I get, the more I appreciate flowers and growing plants. I just went to Dayton Nursery the other day and spent nearly $100 on flowers and plants for my vegetable garden and was just as thrilled to be shopping for them as I would be for a new piece of photography gear. Walking through the isles of the nursery, I get all dreamy about what all those amazing plants could look like in my yard and flower pots. It doesn’t help that they’re priced so low ($2-$5 per plant) that its nearly an impulse buy to pick up some new flower that you’ve never seen in the nursery before or a plant that you’ve seen growing in other people’s yards and always wanted to try in your own landscaping.
The lilac bushes in my yard were purchased at a landscape auction about 8 years ago. They were anything but healthy looking when I got them home because they had been sitting in a pot all season, waiting for a landscaping contractor to purchase them for use in a client’s yard. The plants were rather bare of leaves and spindly-looking. I dug holes in my awful, rock-filled soil and planted them on either side of my front steps, making the holes large enough to fill a bunch of potting soil around the lilac bushes because the soil in my yard is so dead. After the first summer, I thought the bushes were never going to make it and was certain they would be dead come next spring.
To my surprise, when spring sprung the next year (probably around 2004), the little lilac bushes had leaf buds and even sprung a couple of flowers to assure me that they were alive and kicking. Fast-forward 8 years and dozens of massive prunings to keep the bushes from growing too large, and I have some of the most full, and beautiful lilac bushes in my neighborhood. Every spring I prune the flowers as they begin to fade because that causes more blooms the next year. I have to cut them bushes back about three times per year because they start to choke my front walk and grow into my front porch. This keeps them tidy and dense.
Lilac flowers are some of the most wonderful smelling blooms in nature, in my opinion. They’re so special because they only last for a few weeks, so you fully appreciate them while they’re in bloom. Also, because they have such an abundance of blooms, you don’t feel like you’re taking away from the plant when you take some cuts into your house as decorations. Lilacs are super easy to grow and add a hardy, good-looking green shrub once the flowers fade.