Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Who wants to see the world's cutest puppy?

Mostly, I just didn't want my last post standing to be about e-mail drama. That's no fun. But also, I found this picture of Flash that I took on Saturday right before heading out to do Sarah and Corey's engagement pictures (forthcoming). A lot of times before I head out to shoot, I do a "test" on my pets. Usually Flash is the more willing, and really, I always know if my batteries are charged up or not--I'm really just getting warmed up, feeling the camera in my hand, and then feeling all smiley and good when I look at the screen and see a cute little dog staring at me from a picture that I TOOK! I feel so good that I just want to go take more--I'm selfish that way. :) But seriously, don't you just love his little mohawk? He's the best mutt in the entire universe, no question about it. I think he needs to get into doggie modeling.

Also, this reminds me that Nicole is going to help me figure out how to host my pictures on Photobucket and load them into Blogger. I've noticed that my images NOTICEABLY lose quality when I load them straight into Blogger, so hopefully this will be a better solution. I'm positive that it won't be very hard once she shows me how to do it, so hopefully I'll have gotten the lesson and be rocking out with it by the time I'm ready to post Sarah & Corey's hot engagement shots. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 28, 2008

E-Mail Update

Okay!  As of 8:00 (and maybe sooner, I wasn't on the internet), e-mail is back up and it's business as usual!  I didn't have any new e-mails, so if you sent me an e-mail today, assume I didn't get it and try again.  Thanks friends!

E-mail is Down!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my e-mail has been down since noon or so. I've logged a ticket and they're working on it, but I don't know how long it'll be till it gets fixed. In the meantime, if you don't hear back from me by ... let's say tomorrow, although I hope it doesn't take that long, try resending it to my yahoo address at snbrown1980 at yahoo and I'll hit you back from there. Thanks for enduring the joys and pains of technology with me. :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Akilah: Senior Pictures!

Alright, so I know it was a long time ago, but I did promise the story of my own senior pictures, and I aim to please, so I'm telling it, but not till the end because I am so excited to get on with the pictures. Who's ready for some cuteness?!?!

This is Akilah, who I got in touch with via KimO, who does choreography for Akilah's dance team at Pike High School. Kim told me that Akilah would be a good model and she was so right, and not just because she's a pretty girl, but also (and mostly) because she's just so comfortable with herself, which is one of those great intangible qualities in a person.

This one was taken in front of a certain now-infamous door where we did Megan's bridal shots. Thankfully, we did not run into the same ... problem ... this time.

Most people take a little while to relax and to warm up to the camera, but these shots have all been from really early on in the session. She was comfortable the entire time, which was awesome and pretty rare.

How cute is this?!?! We were still in The Magic Alley as I call it, again where we did Megan's bridal shoot, and I seriously love that place. This pretty piece of plywood was a new find, and I kept saying while we were taking the picture that this was so going to be a black and white. I was just so convinced, but it ended up working better in color, and I like how the darker color in the wood goes with the lighter color in her hair. Plus, the pose, the sleeves ... love.

Okay, now here is something you all may not know, so let me pass on a little info for you. Ansel Adams had a "zone" system for skin tones. Lighter to mid-tone African American skin, such as Akilah's, is the perfect shade for metering. I hadn't thought about this since art school, but when I looked at all these pictures, they all metered out perfectly and I barely had to do any color correction at all--anything I did was pretty much optional. This was awesome for me! So thank you, Akilah, for having such beautiful, perfect skin and making my job so easy. :)

The east side is just so full of treasures to photograph in front of.

Like this door! And it went perfectly with her shirt, so of course we went for it. I should also mention here that it was raining off and on the entire time we were doing this. It more or less cooperated, but there was some dodging in and out of the car, wiping off the camera, and scurrying about, trying to avoid the next little storm. But it was also kind of fun, like being on a mission. :)

This one had a natural vignette in the upper right hand corner that I totally loved. Yay!

Ooooohhhh! This one! Alright, this is one that we had planned in advance. I asked Akilah what kinds of stuff she did for fun, and since she is on the dance team and that takes up a lot of time, she said that one of the things she likes to do is unwind with her iPod. So I suggested a dancing silhouette like the iPod ads, and she totally agreed to it! She has the iPod in her lower hand, but I'm not sure you can see it. Anyway, we found this alley which made a nice silhouette, and then she put on some tunes and danced, and can I just tell you that I am the world's WORST dancer, and I was so impressed with her skills? They were awesome! Anyway, this one was my favorite, with the hair flying around, and I added some purple in the shadows, since that's her favorite color. So it doesn't look EXACTLY like an iPod ad, but it's definitely inspired and I LOVE it. :)

Everybody needs a little black and white! Here, besides the gorgeous subject, my favorite thing is the lights that you can see through the glass in the door. It makes the whole thing seem more old-fashioned to me, although you know I just make this stuff all up in my head, so it may look totally different to you. :)

Ah, wind blowing the hair!

Ooooh! This one and the next one are both in my new favorite corner in Fountain Square. I LOVE the rusty door, and I also love her hair up.

We both agreed on the blue-on-blue love here. Also, I don't think in this one but also on the one above, I broke out my little stool that I bought at Midland Antiques Market for two bucks so my "models" won't have to sit on the ground. It's padded and everything. Great investment. Also, I do keep a couple of props in my trunk, which is sort of funny, but I'm glad I got the chance to use one.

One of Akilah's other hobbies is swimming, but obviously it was cold, pools weren't open, indoor ones would be a hassle, etc. ... so this is her swimming picture! Also, as a sidenote, I totally complain about that mural all the time (just to be funny, I don't really mind it) because it seems so out of place and has nothing to do with anything, but this is the second time I've photographed there and it was my idea both times, so there ya go!

Alright, so maybe these are a TINY bit ... expected, if you will, but I don't care, I love them! Dogwoods are like my favorite thing ever in the spring, at least while they're flowering, and they just went with her dress too much to pass it up. And I think it turned out really pretty. :)

Also, this is me telling her about how I have a slight obession right now with going to Hawaii, so she was kind of laughing at me talking about how the flowers near her hair were reminding me of Hawaii. And seriously, it is all the fault of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which, obviously, I totally enjoyed). But right now, I have Billy on a huge mission to save all of our spare change, and if we can buy one ticket to Hawaii with our change, then we can basically go for "half price". Well, at this rate, we will be saving change for a LONG time, and all the panhandlers downtown are going to be very disappointed with me, but that's life, right? Plus, I like having the goal, and when Billy drops change into the frog and says, "Thirty-five cents closer to Hawaii!"

We had planned to finish up at Starbucks, because sometimes you just need a Starbucks, am I right? But it was good timing, because the rain finally quit holding back right around that time.

After this one, Akilah (correctly) pointed out that we are basically just advertising for Starbucks and they should give us our drinks for free. Amen to that!

And here she is, sipping on her latte while I try to spy on someone having a meeting with a wedding photographer. Not in a bad way! I wasn't going to try to like, poach her clients or whatever, I just wanted to know if I knew her! But we were both getting a little slap happy by then (which I'm sure the caffeine only added to), so we got a couple of giggly pictures and then ended our very fun afternoon together!

I seriously had SO MUCH FUN doing these. And I loved that Akilah really seemed to appreciate the fact that her pictures weren't going to look like anyone else's. She commented that she could always tell from people's pictures which studio they had gone to, and she was happy to have something unique. And that's awesome for me, because that is so what I'm about. Plus, she was chatty and fun and up for anything, and it was just really good, creative day.

That last paragraph kind of segues into the story of MY senior pictures. Okay, so there I was, the summer after my junior year, and I found myself talked into, of all things, Junior Miss. Now yes, it's a scholarship pageant, and yes, I did get a little scholarship money, and yes, it was pretty fun (don't tell anyone), but it's just so not the kind of thing I would usually do since, as I said, WORLD'S WORST DANCER. So uncoordinated.

Anyway, where I grew up there were basically two photographers who did all the senior pictures, and one especially was The One to go to. The wife of The One Photographer did some choreography for Junior Miss, so as like a ... I don't know, I guess it was a gift, we all received a free sitting for our senior pictures.

So I make an appointment and pick out my outfit and go to the studio, and I do all the normal stuff--sit in front of a backdrop, lean on a fake barn (which will later become sepia tone), put on a dress and stare thoughtfully out a window while holding a flower ... you know, whatever you do in these things, I don't know.

But the thing is ... all I remember the photographer saying to me was to not squint so much when I smiled. Ummm ... hello! I'm a squinty smiler! That's what I look like! I embrace that. So when I got my pictures back, I looked totally unhappy, not like myself, and if I'm being really honest ... a little deranged. I did not order a single senior picture and as a result, really have no "senior pictures", which makes me a little sad. In fact, I am thinking of having someone do them for me now that I am older, wiser, and stubborn enough to squint if I want to (which I do).

But that's a tangent. The whole point is that I really feel like that one experience really shaped who I became as a photographer. I don't want people to look how I think they SHOULD look, I want them to look how they REALLY look. I mean, I could get into the whole "everyone's beautiful" thing, but you get it. The point is, relaxed, happy people have cute, happy pictures that they can actually enjoy. And for me, there was nothing more stressful (or depressing) than having someone tell me that I shouldn't look the way I look.
Anyway. There's a little insight into my mindset when I do pictures. I think it's the way to go.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tad: Headshots

Now you might be asking yourself, is this a headshot or the next cover of Teen Beat? The truth is ... I don't know. I don't know.
But seriously, it's Tad, the realtor with the boyishly good looks! Me and Amity, before she and Tad got married, spent a lot, and I mean a LOT, of time watching the Jesse's Girl music video at the end of 13 Going On 30 and discussing Tad's resemblance to Rick Springfield. So really, picturing Tad on Bop Magazine or Tiger Beat is really not all that much of a stretch.
What was I even talking about? Oh, right. Tad. Realtor. So I took these headshots for his business cards and I'm only putting up a couple, because, let's face it, headshots do not have a lot of variety.

Also, though, Tad is a really good friend and a really great and honest person, so if you're ever in the market for a realtor, in all seriousness, I would recommend him to my own mother, that is how much I trust him. He works for Century 21 Scheetz downtown, or I can always give you his info.
Plus, while we were taking these shots in Fountain Square, I discovered my new favorite corner--rusty door on one side, blueish bricks on the other. It's a little grungy and a lot perfect.

Michael & Kathryn: Engagement

Oh, you guys, this is bad ... this is so so bad. :) I have posted WAY too many pictures here because I couldn't pick out my favorites. I am going to have to get myself under control pretty soon, or I think Blogger might freak out. (The program, not the ... me.) Anyway, let's just get to it, shall we? We're already going to be here awhile. :) But trust me, these two were so totally cute that you will love every second.
Alright, so, it was a rainy and gray day, so we started out at the Indianapolis Arts Garden (you know, that big glass dome thing that goes over the road by the mall?), which seemed, you know ... like public property, since the Arts Garden is run by the city.

But we had just gotten started when a sound guy came over and told us that we had to have permission to take pictures there. And I don't know, that just seems totally bush given that the Arts Garden's mission is to promote the arts in Indianapolis. Yes, promote the arts while making me jump through hoops to--wait for it--create art! Great job, guys! (Sorry Amy, I know you worked there, but that made me mad.) Thankfully, though, we were still able to snag a couple of shots before heading out into the rest of the world.

Like this one! I love all the lines here. It just feels really dramatic to me.

We then made our way over to the canal, and the rain thankfully held off for awhile. Also, look at those shoes! Kathryn was a total trooper to walk as much as we did in those bad boys.

Michael is in school at Purdue and Kathryn is finishing up in Missouri, so while they see each other a lot given the distance, they don't spend a TON of time together and it just totally showed all day and in all the pictures how much they were just enjoying being around each other.

Plus, they are both gorgeous.

Also, their pre-wedding stuff has now spanned something like five cities, now including Indianapolis for engagement pictures! I love that. They were just like ... why not?

Kind of a moody shot, matches the weather.

Okay, now this? This totally reminds me of France. Why? I don't know. I don't speak French, never been to France, don't even have a huge interest in French culture (although I did love Amelie, along with the rest of the world). So where I got that idea ... no idea. But I'm standing by it. :)

See? Cute! They were so cute all afternoon! Also, can I point out how perfect this girl's face is? She had a makeup crisis before the shoot--she had gone to the mall to have her makeup done, and they said that since she was getting her picture taken they were going to do it more heavy than normal. Now, I never saw her with the mall makeup on because she went into Target and did damage control (that's where we met, the happiest place on earth), but she looked fantastic.

And, FYI, if you want to get your makeup done before your engagement pictures or whatever, don't let this scare you. Just make sure to tell them to make you look natural, because you're not going to be under harsh stage lights and it'll all be fine. I can take care of it with my samurai camera skills if necessary. :)

The rain couldn't hold off forever, so we then trotted over to the new (zillion dollar) library, which is SO COOL. The front part (which you see here) is still old, but the new part is totally modern and windows ... so neat. I definitely recommend it, and killer view of the skyline.

Alright, now this is a picture that I suspect maybe no one else will like. But I really did like it and I think that from an artistic standpoint, there is definitely a message here (that has nothing to do with the lovebirds, though they were excellent models). I really don't want to put you all through art school BS and interpretations, so I will just leave it at that--I like it as a piece of art. :)

See? I told you. Killer skyline view. Also love how the tops of the buildings were getting lost in fog--you don't really see that too much. And I know there's a reflection in the windows, but I did just pick up a polarizer, so next time it'll be all good! I don't know, though, I still think it gives it a little character.

This is a similar shot, but I basically pushed all the parameters as hard as they'd go in the Camera Raw dialog (for those of you who have any idea what that means). I love how blue the city looks, and just how dramatic the whole picture is. I really do love my high contrast shots when I can get them to work!

Oh, geez. Can I just tell you guys the weirdest, most embarassing story of this whole shoot? I can? Thanks. Here it comes.

So these pictures are a little out of order (because Blogger is stubborn like that), and this was taken at a coffee shop. Now, earlier, Michael had said something to Kathryn (I missed it), and she was like, "NO! My dad is going to want to see these!"

So later, I ask them how they feel about a big, sloppy coffee-breath kiss. Kathryn looks at me and says, "That's basically our signature move!" I'm like, "Awesome!" and they go for it. So I'm taking this picture and obviously, OBVIOUSLY, it is like the hottest kiss EVER (scroll back up and look at it if you must), and without really thinking, I just sort of said to myself, "We won't be showing that one to daddy!" And they kind of looked over at me and I put my camera down and shook my head and said, "Wow. That was so awkward. And that's basically MY signature move." It came out so much worse than I meant for it to, but, I don't know, I really laughed hard about it afterward, so hopefully they did too.

Back at the library in the old section ... I just love this part of the building so, so much. All the books, the history ... it's so perfect. And they just fit right into it, like someone put it there just for them to get their picture taken in. :)

Really? The last one already? Anyway, this one was also in the library and Kathryn was a fan of the light, so I made sure to get that in. We were giving Michael a hard time about "putting out the vibe" (any Dumb & Dumber fans out there?), which is why she's so entertained. But anyway, does the lamp look like a giant halo on her to anyone else? Because I totally think so.
Anyway, a few last thoughts about these two: I LOVE them. They're getting married in Missouri and have someone else doing their wedding, but I am SO excited to see the pictures. In the car on the way back to their car, I discovered that Kathryn and I are basically the same person. And THEN I discovered that we all share a love of sci-fi and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA! (I'm currently watching the third season via Netflix, by the way, and it's awesome.) So like, right there at the end we discovered that we have a ton of things in common. I was so excited about this that I came home and was telling Billy all about it really enthusiastically and he asked if we were going to be friends with them. That's when I had to tell him that they don't live close, or totally. But it was still REALLY fun.
Also, Nicole came with me on this shoot and that was so great for me to shoot with another photographer, because it let me see how someone else viewed the same scenes. She was fun and great to have along, so thanks Nicole! We spent the afternoon ooohing and aaahing over the cute couple. :)
Thanks for such a fun time, you guys!