Fun with Hannah’s Professional Photos

So it’s been awhile!

Major life changes have been in effect for me…new job, new city—everything is a transition these days. The saying goes that for everything there is a season. So as we enter autumn and the leaves change, so I too must adjust to the new things going on in my life!

Having said that, I just want to make a special shout out to a friend of mine that is and has been so very patient with me. She’s also been very supportive of my endeavors and understanding of the transitions I’ve been making while eagerly (and very patiently) awaiting the subject of this blog post.

Hannah just completed her Master’s degree at Savannah College of Art and Design in Luxury and Fashion Management while simultaneously launching and regularly updating her website and news media hub, NewsMacarons.com.

I’ve been honored to witness her journey and see the progression of her projects, so when she asked me to take some professional photos of her earlier this summer, I jumped at the opportunity!

I knew from the beginning that the photos would be destined for her website, LinkedIn, and various social media pages, so we opted to use our friend Thomas’ library and home office as the backdrop where fashion and art books are on display to complement Hannah’s background in design, fancy for fashion, and love for books. Hannah’s naturally photogenic (even though she might argue that she’s not, don’t believe her!), so the photos were a breeze to take. My favorites are the few candid photos captured in those rest and in-between moments.

 

I experimented with black and white edits and some other color editing that I stumbled across almost by accident. I hurried to create a Lightroom preset for what I call “the glossy edits” which have a somewhat saturated look and a polished finish.

 

Towards the end of our photo session, I suggested that we take some photos outside since it was already overcast and perfect lighting for portraits. The soft light offered us some gorgeous photos with the signature Spanish moss and trees in the background (something Hannah wanted to feature in her photos since she was leaving Savannah to move back to Michigan).

 

Lastly, the tail-end (pun intended) of our session included a few photos with her and her dogs, Pip and Panda— a rambunctious pair that seemed too excited to sit still for a traditional, poised family photo. 😉 🐼🐶

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As much as I enjoyed the actual photoshoot with Hannah, I find that I’m beginning to enjoy the post-processing more and more! It helps that I upgraded to a faster machine and now keep my photos on an external hard drive, but experimenting with different techniques (both on purpose and by accident) is fun!

The good thing about editing is that there’s always more to learn, so we’ll see where the future takes me in the way of discovering new post-processing techniques.

In the meantime, I’m not going to lie— I’m relishing in these beautiful photos!

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& Then There Was Flash

In photography, natural light is king, in-camera flash is public enemy number one, and off-camera flash is your bffl (best friend fo’ life). These are facts.

The benefits of having an off-camera flash are evident the first time you master taking a photo with one; It’s like striking gold! Manifesting a clear picture with little noise and exposure in all the right places is literally perfection! 👌

After finding some good resources on Pinterest one night (and taking a few experimental photos of my living room), I decided to look for a workshop or a class where I could properly learn and develop the fill flash technique.

At a workshop in Marietta, GA, I used off-camera flash along with some other photo gear I’ve never used before (but will probably one day buy) to make some creative and interesting portraits!

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“These photos were taken with flash?” you ask. You bet! The light is amazing, right? 🙂

It’s just the right amount of flash power– not too much and not too little. It takes some practice to master this technique (I still don’t have it down completely), but I can already tell that it’s one of those things that, as you get more familiar with it, becomes second nature.

I got a little creative toward the end of the class and took some photos using more dramatic and directional light.

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Maybe you can tell already, but I like my photos to be a little underexposed (hence why I adore the look of the photos above). A little drama keeps the frame interesting! 😉

You can check out Atlanta School of Photography’s website here. They have awesome workshops and ongoing classes in all areas and genres of photography!

My First Gig

For my first paid gig, I had the privilege of shooting some editorial work for a group of artists in the Savannah area collectively known as the No Name Gang.

My roommate at the time knew someone who was looking for a photographer to shoot editorial photos. She also knew that I was itching to practice creative portraits. Before I knew it, I was put in contact and immediately started scoping out cool locations to shoot.

We used the mustard colored wall of a convenience store on Montgomery as a backdrop for Dot’s portraits. Their PR person suggested that the texture would create an interesting backdrop. I do agree that it photographed really well, and Dot was such a natural in front of the camera that many of her poses didn’t have to be coached. She seemed to do what came naturally.

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Then we ventured over to an old milk factory turned graffiti and art complex in the Starland District. Belon took her best photos here amongst the color, art, and words of several artists who have used this space as their canvas. She embraced the location, using the environment to her benefit somehow knowing (without ever asking to peek at my LCD screen) that the photos were turning out just great!

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The following week, I took photos of the guys in the group in the same location.

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If you know Savannah well then you recognize this colorful hexagonal wall. I’ve seen many photographers stop here to use the background in their photos or videos. Despite the pictures below (which I desaturated in post-production), the wall is actually very vibrant.

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This photoshoot taught me the importance of having a shot list (which I thought I didn’t need at the time 😐), how to manage a big group for a photo shoot (a little bit overwhelming 😅), how to shoot in little to no light situations (flash photography is your friend!), as well as some pretty valuable editing lessons in post-production (content-aware, thanks Adobe! 🙏).

It also helped me push past my boundaries as an introvert, which is essential as a portrait photographer. All the best photographs are outside of your comfort zone anyway!

You can check out No Name Gang’s facebook page here.

 

 

Iphoneography

All Hail The iPhone 7! Cue the music, please!

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Bagpiper at Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

Since the debut of the faux-bokeh, dual-camera having, and better than ever iPhone 7 camera, I’d like to enter into the time capsule of basic camera phone pictures some of the best photos from my obsolete iPhone 6. What? Apple is ushering in a new era, and while I’m not lamenting “the death of the SLR” ( I mean, really?), I’d still like to stake my case in the #iphoneography world before ante-iPhone 7 pictures disappear into the abyss. Continue reading “Iphoneography”

Ponce City Market

For Thanksgiving weekend I took a much need mini vacation to my home away from home, away from home–Atlanta! 😉

I made plans to meet with some friends at Ponce City Market and arrived early to walk around and explore before they arrived.

I couldn’t believe I’d never been before!  The market and atmosphere reminded me of other city markets I’ve visited like Reading Terminal in Philly (they have good ice cream!) and The Ferry Building in San Francisco (they have ah-mazing empanadas at El Porteno).

People were everywhere shopping, dining, and dancing, and the crowd could easily sweep you this way or that if you weren’t familiar with your surroundings. As I sat waiting for my friends to arrive I heard what I assumed to be a mother telling her adult daughter, “Now this is my kind of place. I’m so happy you brought me here!”

Indeed there’s something about city markets that make you feel the spirit of a city. They’re like a cross section of a metropolis that showcase so many amazing cultural elements. From the languages to the smells to the tastes and the people, it’s a fun energy to witness!

Once my friends arrived, we ate and had drinks at Brezza Cucina + Pizzeria, a chic Italian pizza place with very photographic cocktails. 😋

Almost too pretty to drink, eh?

Then we walked upstairs to access the Beltline, which is a wonderful greenway that circles the city of Atlanta. Skaters, bikers, walkers, joggers and strollers alike use this wonderful area, and it was nice to see so many people moving about on a crisp fall day after Thanksgiving.

I’ve been seeing the Beltline on the Instagrams for some time now 😉, so it’s only right that I bothered my friends to model for a few photographs. Luckily, they’re not difficult to convince!

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We actually didn’t get far on the Beltline before we stopped to peruse Paris on Ponce, a vintage store/venue with art, furniture, and oh yes, champagne with cotton candy. Atlanta never disappoints  🙂

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Until my visit to Ponce City Market,  I had no idea that people actually went to visit The Grinch much like they visit Santa Claus during the holidays. We didn’t get a chance to see him, but we did see a Who performing Silk Tissue Acrobatics.

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I think I will make it a habit to visit city and farmer’s markets wherever I travel. Needless to say, they make awesome photo walks and are great places to people watch and experience a city’s culture. 
What do you like about city markets?

An Atlanta Bridal Shower

Well, my to-do list is getting longer and longer! As I challenge myself to prioritize the most important things first, I find that the problem is that everything is important to me right now! Often I find myself wishing that I could do two things at once or be two places at one time (if I could have any super power this would be it!). Since that is impossible, I’ve tasked myself with  completing projects one at a time (kind of 😉 ).

I’ve been meaning to post the pictures from my friend’s bridal shower to the website. These photos are some of the first of their kind with me experimenting as an event photographer. Looking back over a year later, I find that I’m impressed by their quality. As my own worst critic, I feel some of the photos could have been better: Why didn’t I do more overhead shots of the food and drinks? What kept me from being more experimental with the portraits? Why on earth didn’t I take advantage of the natural light?Sigh. You live and you learn!

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Written Well Wishes to the Bride-to- Be

 

Sometimes no matter how critical I am of myself (read: my photography), it’s a significant step in my progress to view photos in retrospect as it helps me to focus on the techniques I need to explore and practice. Past photos are an inspiration because if those photos were mediocre at least, there’s still room for improvement, right?
All of that to say that I’m rather proud of these photos, and I think my friend/ client is happy with them too! I love the ambiance that they’re captured in and the intimacy of the scene in general.

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Small jars of salt and sugar scrubs–the perfect bridal shower favors!

 

Every event has its own unique feel and photographic personality, and ultimately I’m intrigued by the challenge each event poses. I’m hoping to practice the skills necessary to prepare for and capture the essence of every occasion as an event photographer.

What have you learned (or wish you knew more about) when it comes to your craft or hobby?

 

 

Rock and Roll Marathon: My Favorite Photo Edit

A year ago today, I took my Nikon camera and my Canon analog SLR to the Rock and Roll Marathon in Savannah. Telling my few Instagram followers that I “gave myself press clearance,” I updated my feed with action shots in real time during the race.

“Covering” the marathon was a significant photo project for me; I actually felt as though I was on assignment! 😉 My favorite part was following the action and literally chasing  the shot and connecting with my subjects.

While there were several photographers at the event who were probably paid by the marathon itself or were from local newspapers or television news crews,  I probably stood out as I didn’t have any official marathon credentials and wasn’t near the finish line for my main coverage of the event. I found that most of my best photos were from along the route instead of at the finish line as one might expect.

One of my favorite photos is of a runner who was so absolutely in the zone. He stood out because of his bright orange shorts, and because he was the only runner sporting Beats headphones. He was obviously in it for the long haul and was focused on achieving his goal of crossing the finish line. I loved catching these candid moments where you can see the endurance manifesting itself physically and mentally in each runner. As the race progressed, you could see the perseverance and pride of each participant as it cemented itself in their confidence with every pace they took.

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After I got home and uploaded all of my photos, I kept revisiting this one thinking that it would be awesome to isolate the runner so that he was the main subject. I started brainstorming  the best way to do this, and while I knew that the clone stamp would take care of much of the background, I knew the challenge would be in recreating his right shoe which was partially covered by the other runner’s leg.

I worked on this part of the edit off and on for several weeks, practicing different techniques until I was mostly satisfied with the result. What I’ve learned most about Photoshop is that it helps if you use information that you already have, and when that’s not possible, get creative!

From the part of the right shoe that was already visible, I recreated the shoe laces using the clone stamp tool. The tread was tricky, but I used a rotating clone stamp brush to create the form of the shoe and the runner’s foot. Taking the Nike swoosh from the left shoe, the rotating clone stamp also helped to add the logo to the right shoe.

I tried to think of the edit in elemental steps and taught myself each element until I was satisfied with the photo.

At first, I thought it would be impossible to recreate, but with a little imagination, a lot of patience, and some good ol’ trial and error, I came up with the best representation of his shoe that my imagination could conceive.

The best part about learning to edit photographs is that you’re never done discovering all that you can accomplish! Challenging myself with an editing project like this helps me to see all of the possibilities with photo editing as well as the potential in my own images!

What’s your favorite part of photo editing or favorite technique that you’ve learned so far in the skill?