Posted on July 2, 2013
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. Talking 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.
When 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.
In 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.
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!
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.
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Posted on May 7, 2013
I decided to post these epic portraits of Aaron, by 12 year old son, because I’ve been doing a ton of photography for clients, but the projects aren’t green lighted to blog about here yet. I can’t wait to post about what I’ve been doing lately though because I’m really excited to show some of my latest work. In the mean time, here’s a short photo shoot with Aaron all dressed up for his school’s spring concert a few weeks back.
Aaron is a dynamic person, and that long blonde hair of his is really fun to photograph. His blue eyes along with that blue shirt and tie made such a great combination that it was easy to make these photos look good. I was using my 55-200 Nikkor lens to shoot these because I wanted to test it on a running subject before the Akron Color Vibe 5k that I was scheduled to shoot the upcoming weekend. The camera and lens worked out perfectly and made the photos you see here pretty epic looking if you ask me. My biggest concern was the speed of the lens focusing on a subject running directly at me with the sun behind him, as sometimes in strong backlight some lenses have a difficult time focusing.
After I saw that the lens would have no issues focusing on him running, I told him to just stand there and let me shoot some portraits. I used mostly available light for them, as the sun had been covered by clouds at that point. In a few shots I also used the popup flash set just to fill in. I didn’t want a lot of light thrown on Aaron, just a little to lift him away from the background. Because there was so much available light, the fill light doesn’t look harsh even though it’s shot directly at him with a bare bulb.
When we got back from the concert I showed the photos to Aaron and we went through and selected the ones he liked best to be edited. In this photo he really wanted to use Photoshop himself to make the photo just like he wanted to. I normally don’t let the kids touch my work computer, but I trust Aaron. After about 15 minutes playing around with sliders in Photoshop, here’s the image he came up with. I must say that I think its quite awesome looking. I wouldn’t have processed it like that, but he had a different vision of how his portrait should look and I like it.
Hopefully by next week I can blog about my recent work for clients. I’m really excited about what I shot recently and have coming up this spring!
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