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Posts tagged ‘portraits’

Going to Prom!

Oh the senior prom… I must confess mine was pretty fun although nothing too fancy. My dress cost about $25 (I was damn proud of that bargain) and I got my hair done at Supercuts. A very pretty up-do with a few curls cascading down… for about 10 minutes until the coastal humidity and heat got to them. Flattened hair aside, it was a fun night with great friends and one I will always remember.

It’s been just over 10 years since my prom (my gawd, really 10 years?!), and I got the chance to relive a little bit of that special day last weekend. Andrew’s folks asked me some weeks ago to photograph his little sister and her friends’ prom pictures. I was so honored and excited to be the one to capture that special day for them, and also totally freaked out – as I tend to get about anything new. lol

Their prom day was definitely a bit fancier than mine. It was an all-day affair, complete with appointments for hair and makeup, a party bus to drive them all around town, photoshoot at the gorgeous Tea Gardens in San Antonio, a fancy dinner and of course a horse-drawn carriage to arrive at the prom in! Now that’s style.

I’m just going to say it – this was just about the most fun thing I could ever imagine being paid to do. All the kids were so excited and having a blast together while we were shooting, which of course made the photos come out so genuine. The locations we shot at were gorgeous too. I was definitely nervous, having never done prom photos and really having very little experience shooting people. A few nights before the shoot, I had my typical “lets blow this up into a thing of monumental proportions and spaz about it for a few hours”, but once I got that out of the way (and was talked back down to reality by Andrew – thanks babe!) I was good to go.

Doing the Uncomfortable Thing
I tend to avoid photographing people honestly – because it can be so awkward. Directing people is so tough, and I have a really hard time trying to create what I want to see. I’d much rather wait for the moment to come on its own and then capture it. So as you can imagine, 14 teenagers and less than an hour to get approximately 10-12 specific shots was definitely out of my comfort zone! Although I really cool thing happened when I was let loose with these kiddos… I realized it was all on me and we didn’t have time to screw around! So there it was. I just took charge and off we went. It was chaotic, it was rushed, and nothing was as perfect as I wanted it to be… but there was something really great about not having the time to be a perfectionist. It also means you don’t have time to second guess yourself. A whole day of doing with my gut instincts… I think we came away with some really great shots.


This is one of my favorites, all the girls scrunched in the horse carriage, shot from up in the driver’s seat.


Another of my favorites, even though the lighting conditions weren’t very good – I think it sort of adds a bit of a celebrity quality to it. As soon as that horse wrapped his head around next to the girls I new we had an awesome shot! Thanks Tiny!

April: Portrait Photography

On behalf of the April project themed on challenges – I reveal my first portrait series! Having never done portraits – I learned a great deal in just a few shoots! I am already seeing things I could have done better and have learned a ton along the way.. but am very proud of the results of this heroic little journey!

Below are the featured portraits large, including a statement by each person about a specific challenge in their own life. Following are a few others, including one self portrait I played around with the other night!

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Personal Challenge: “Divorce changed me forever and though challenging, I’m still growing from it. Pain in a relationship can lead to redemtive actions and has for me. I couldn’t recogncile my divorce with loving someone, and wondered how could I divorce someone I loved? After anger and hurt subsided (6+yrs later), I know I loved, and now, I can love better.

A message found in 1 John 4:7-21 has significant relevance to me post divorce. Loving well means not fearing being loved. Resting daily by relying on the love God has for me frees me to love others well. In my heart, I want this but often forget.”

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Personal Challenge: “I grew up in a predominately white neighborhood. My parents weren’t exactly the best at speaking English, and making friends was hard during my early years. I made a few, but I was still very shy and relatively quiet because of it. It wasn’t until later on in life (college and beyond) when I started socializing more.”

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Personal Challenge: “The hardest thing I do is look myself in the mirror. I used to be a bully, really. Not take your lunch money at school type bully, but just a generally toxic person who relished confrontation with anyone I could find. I didn’t realize that I was such an ass until a few years ago, and have made major changes to how I conduct myself on a daily basis. I still have a hard time accepting that people like me as a person nowdays. Sometimes I suspect their motives, and honestly sometimes I suspect my own. I guess you could say I have a hard time forgiving myself for the person I used to be.”

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Personal Challenge: “After having surgery 6 years ago and loosing over 300 lbs, I still to this day struggle with my feelings about my appearance. I still see that 600lb man in the mirror every morning and hate him and what he did to my life. I know that this will be a struggle that I will have the rest of my life, but it is a burden I am happy to take on.”

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The Challenge of Portraits & What I Learned:

– The biggest challenge for me with this was connecting with the person and directing them. I had no clue how to direct them.. or even really what exactly I wanted! Plus, every person is different and has different needs and you must be able to adapt to that.

– Oh the weather! What a bitch to be doing outdoor portraits in the rainiest month of the year! Mother nature smiled upon me and parted the week-long stormy weathers JUST long enough on a few Saturday afternoons for us to make this happen! How lovely.

– When asking for help, make sure you ask the right questions! I was all set to fashion this home-made studio backdrop using ladders and sheets and all sorts of things… when a photographer friend of mine messaged me saying “you know, I have a backdrop kit… would you like to borrow it?” Ha! The thought did not even cross my mind to ask if anyone already HAD a backdrop kit! I will know next time to ask a better range of questions before jumping into the most complicated version! =P

– Apparently, I’m a wee bit oversensitive to constructive criticism when trying new things. Upon finishing the final shoot, my boyfriend (who posed for a portrait) gave me some loving advice from his perspective as the one in front of the camera. I suddenly realized that I had royally sucked at giving any kind of direction during the shoot… oh my God. I’m a total failure at this! And then began the tears. Geez.. How old am I? Thankfully, moments of reverting back to being 5 years old don’t last long – and I was able to remember… “Hey now! For my first try – I did pretty darn awesome!” Like the good perfectionist I am, it also wasn’t long until I was thinking of ways I could improve upon my directing skills.. even practicing a bit this week doing some self portraits helped me to understand what I might tell someone I am shooting in the future. Practice, practice, practice!

All in all, April’s project was a very fun one! And while I don’t think I’m going to be quitting my job to go be a portrait photographer… it was a great experience and not nearly as horrific as I had anticipated. I leave you with a few other shots from the month’s journey. And of course, a GREAT BIG thank you to all of my wonderful supportive friends who were brave enough to pose for this – and even braver to include some personal stories about their own challenges. Your words added such depth to this project and are much appreciated!

Portraits by Lasse Damgaard

Howdy there!

Been trying to get a nap in this evening, but instead found my head swimming around with a million little details that I need to get nailed down before my first shoot this Saturday.. so I gave up on the nap and decided to do a bit of research for the April project. Pretty excited to have found Danish photographer Lasse Damgaard – who’s traveled throughout the US and Europe to capture these stunning portraits of everyday people.


Click HERE to check out his full collection (including the US and the European Portrait Collections). Also, I highly recommend dropping by his DeviantArt profile and reading the stories that go along with each portrait: US Series  |  European Series

Hope you enjoy his work as much as I have!

Goodnight ya’ll!
*st

Photo credit: Lasse Damgaard

Facing Challenges & Faces

Good morning!

So I’ve decided on a direction for this months project. Since I’m already pretty familiar with a lot of areas of photography – I decided I would focus this month on the one area that has been the biggest challenge for me so far: portraits of people!

By biggest challenge I mean that I pretty much avoid taking photos of people at all costs (unless I’m particularly stealthy about it and can catch them unawares). For this project – I will be photographing people who are fully aware I am doing a portrait of them. This way I will have to face the challenge head on… you see, there’s a lot more to a portrait than just snapping a few dozen shots and picking the best one. From the workshops I’ve attended and articles I’ve read – I’ve learned that a successful portrait is about the subject trusting the photographer. And that requires a lot of just talking and getting to know each other, getting to that comfortable place where you can get the subject to relax in your presence. It’s a definitely skill – one which I unfortunately do not yet possess.

So on top of the technical challenge of learning how to shoot portraits and light things properly, I will be tackling the emotional and relational challenges of connecting with another human being. Great… little miss socially awkward is about to flop and fumble around trying to talk to people and gain their trust her while she’s photographing them. This is going to be interesting for sure!  But I am not backing down! I am confident that even if I’m a total and utter disaster – if I am just honest about my own awkwardness and nervousness, that it will work out.

…Did I just say I am confident about telling people I am not confident??! Oh boy.. here we go!

*st

Photo Credit: “Story of Her Life” by Risquillo

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