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!

Can I Graduate?

 

Ahhh yes! Graduation! It is the best feeling to complete 4 (sometimes more, sometimes less!)  years of study and finally walk across the stage to receive your diploma! I don’t know which graduation felt more accomplished for me, high school or college? They were both special for different reasons…

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Imagine the well of emotions I felt when I attended the graduation of my first cousin at the beginning of the summer. This ceremony was special because I remember precisely when she was born– I was in the hospital room when it happened! (On the other side of the curtain of course, but I heard her first cry all the same!)  Eighteen years later after watching her grow into a young adult,  I was absolutely honored to be the family’s photographer “covering” her graduation.

Always a lover of the details, I snapped a few photos of the graduate’s sister who was holding the balloons and flowers as we entered the high school football stadium.

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My uncle (a golf coach at my cousin’s high school) was able to get me “press clearance” on the field before the commencement! This was  a welcome surprise since I was expecting to do all my best photos after the ceremony.

As the procession began, I decided to take a few practice shots of students walking by in preparation for my cousin as she walked by my uncle and me. These “practice” shots were some of my favorite of the ceremony! I was able to capture the raw excitement (and nervousness!) on the graduates’ faces as they walked excitedly to the beginning of the rest of their lives. What an awesome feeling!

The feeling of accomplishment was palpable and threw me back ten years to my own high school graduation. It reinvigorated me, reminding me of the feeling of having the rest of your life before you to craft as you wish. I realized that I don’t have to be 18 and graduating from high school or 22 and graduating from college to have this feeling. Ceremonial events like these are only the beginning of a lifetime of achievements, constructive failures, and varying successes.

To me, these photos have a dual significance: the commemoration of a special moment in the life of someone I love, and a reminder that sometimes pomp and circumstance can be simple and inspiring. Everyday the future is before us, and every day we can start anew.

So even without the cap and gown, the crowds and cheers, without the ceremony and celebration, can I, too, graduate?

Yes!

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The title of this blog post was borrowed from the lyrics of the Third Eye Blind song, “Graduate” from the self-titled album, Third Eye Blind (1997).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vision-

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, the word vision can be defined in many ways:

– something that you imagine : a picture that you see in your mind

-2a: the act or power of imagination

-4b :  a lovely or charming sight

Some girlfriends and I were celebrating one friend’s bachelorette weekend in Miami last year. We were blessed with awesome weather; the sun was beaming down without a threatening cloud, and we had miles and miles of North Miami beach all to ourselves.

We were elated because the beach was footsteps from our rented vacation house. Without much effort, we found a sandbar on which to sit to enjoy the water, the view, and each other’s company.

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The water was beautifully turquoise yet perfectly clear, very unlike any water I’ve seen on other Atlantic coast beaches. I was struck by the watercolors of the waves as they progressed toward and then receded away from us. My eyes lingered on the saturated blue of the sky, the intermittent tufts of pure white clouds, and the miles of pale yellow sand. I was particularly captivated by the golden seaweed that floated on the surface and tickled our toes. So much of it floated near the shore that as we waded out of the water and back onto the hot sand, I felt an overwhelming urge to capture its essence!  I knew exactly how I wanted the image to look: envisioning a handful of seaweed against the backdrop of watercolors, I asked a friend to hold two handfuls so I could snap a photo.

As I peered through the viewfinder to see the seaweed cascading from her hand, I knew this photograph would be something special.  It is one of the few times that I have been able to manifest a photograph  JUST as I had envisioned it.

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This photo signifies what I believe all artists and creatives recognize as sweet success: the evidence of imagination and affirmation of our belief in our creative ability.

To my surprise this photo became the most liked on my newly created Instagram account– it was trending for weeks after its post, and those who see my work now almost always recall it as a favorite photograph.

Creating this image heartened my belief in my creativity! And in retrospect, I know this is where I fell in love with my own vision and what I like to call my personal quest and desire to “manifest imagery.”

–Jae