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.

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.

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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