A gorgeous baby shower I recently photographed

cleveland event photographyHere’s some photos from a beautiful baby shower I photographed at the lovely Pine Ridge Country Club in Mentor, OH. cleveland event wedding photographerWith it’s gorgeous wooden ceiling and large, sunny windows, the venue was one of the most elegant baby showers I’ve ever seen.

The mom to be, Michelle, lives out of state and was thrilled cleveland event wedding photographerwith the lovely baby shower that was thrown for her. With over 80 attendees, she received plenty of warm congratulations and compliments. The gift table was well stocked with plenty of super cute baby clothes and toys, and the food served was decadent.

Black Friday Shopping at South Park Mall

cleveland black friday 2013I had the opportunity recently to photograph the beginning of the Holiday shopping season, better known as Black Friday, at South Park Mall in Strongsville. Following recent trends toward opening on Thanksgiving evening, the mall opened it’s doors at 8:00 Thanksgiving evening and I was there to capture photos of the families and shoppers enjoying themselves.cleveland black friday 2013

At 8:00, the doors opened up and the lines of anxious shoppers filed themselves into the large, beautifully decorated mall. Many of the stores were open and ready for business, some with their own crowd control measures in front of their doors because of the large number of people expected to take advantage of the sales being offered. By 10:00, the mall was packed shoulder-to-shoulder with shoppers and families and was showing no signs of slowing down.

South Park Mall had special entertainment and activities to entertain holiday shoppers and their families. cleveland black friday 2013There were costumed characters in place to entertain the kids as well as adults. Radio stations set up equipment for location broadcasts, a live DJ had upbeat Holiday music playing, a balloon artist made fun balloons for the kids, and more.

cleveland black friday 2013At 11:00 I opened up a photo booth where people could donate $5 to the Red Cross and have their photo taken with “Hunky Santa” and a 5×7 print made. I set up my large soft box lights and took fun portraits of ladies and guys with this impressive man. Not only was he fun to take photos of, but he was also a really nice person and enjoyable to to talk with.

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”.

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.

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