I had another really nice couple for engagement portraits at the Myrtle Beach State Park this past week. I’ve got their wedding coming up later this year. This couple brought along their baby for the moment, their little dog. I can’t remember what it was exactly, I know it was a poodle mix of some kind. I have two poodles myself, they are very sweet dogs as long as they are used to being around people. My dogs both love when clients are coming by to discuss a wedding, I tell them people are coming and they will wait by the window.
You have to be a little careful when a couple is mixed race like this one and have extremely different skin tones. His skin was very dark, and she was completely the opposite with very fair light skin. If you were to have a camera on spot metering and only metered for his face, hers would be overexposed. Or the opposite if you metered the camera on her face. Of course this isn’t really much of an issue anymore, modern cameras have so much dynamic range you really can’t mess up. A little shadows or highlights slider adjustments in Lightroom will balance out the dark and light skin a bit. Really a camera like the D800 is pretty much idiot proof even on full auto. The camera amazes me with it’s auto exposure and flash TTL.
Even as good as modern cameras are, I usually shoot on manual and just check every few shots on the screen, you really can’t go wrong doing it this way. Especially bright backlit sunlight is always going to trick up a camera on auto exposure, and you get a lot more consistency on manual which helps for a quicker workflow later when doing adjustments. This was a very cloudy overcast day which made things easier. There is no harsh sunlight or shadows to deal with, of course you also don’t get the nice look of the sunset, but it can be good in it’s own way. I hope you enjoy the pictures below, please comment if you do.
I realized I needed to blog about some family pictures, I really don’t do it often enough. I’ve had a number of really cute families recently, and before things start getting really busy I wanted to highlight a recent one. This was a family with three sons and a little girl that I took pictures of on a cold afternoon at the Myrtle Beach State Park. Whenever I hear it’s going to be a bunch of boys I worry a bit, sometimes guys can be hard to work with. But if everyone stays in a good mood, and tries to have fun and make the best of it, the pictures always turn out nice. I thought this was a really cute and happy family, I hope you enjoy the pictures below.
I was able to work with a really pretty bride the other evening doing bridal portraits at Atalaya Castle in the Huntington State Park. The evening was great except for being a bit cold. Because of the 5:00pm closing time of the Atalaya Castle, we had to stay outside the castle to be able to catch the sunset. The poor bride almost froze to death by the end of the session, but I think it will be worth it to her when she sees the pictures. She did a pretty good job of not looking cold, at least as long as you don’t zoom in on the 36mp Nikon D800 images and see all the goose bumps.
I’ve been trying to get better at posing hands, with bridal portraits you have a lot more time than at the wedding for trying different hand positions. You will notice below I have the bride doing a lot of different things with her hands, not everything worked that we tried, but that is how you get better at it. Another thing I’m working more with is off camera speedlights. I put a Gary Fong Power Snoot on my second flash behind and to the left of the bride on a lightstand. The power snoot creates a more concentrated light that pretty much just hits where you aim it. You will notice it in a number of shots where you see a separation light on the brides hair and her side a bit. It just gives the pictures an extra pop when you can do that. Something a lot of beginning photographers don’t realize, taking a picture isn’t just having a good eye and being able to aim a camera and push a button. You have to get more technical and pull out some real equipment if you want to take something that really stands out. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below, please like and comment on the post if you do!
Quick edit – I was playing around with some new Nik Software plugins. Google is now giving the complete collection free to anyone that purchased individual plugins before! I’ve never used some of the plugins like HDR Efex. I usually stay away from any strong effects, but after playing around I thought the first image below looked cool! So I added it here. I’m still mostly keeping away from strong effects though, they tend to look dated quickly.
January and February are always my really slow time of the year. In some ways it is good because I can do some things I don’t have as much time for the rest of the year. I really make an effort to follow up with previous clients that have’t placed picture orders yet. I also try to get up with wedding clients that haven’t given me their album selections yet so I can get the layouts and orders done.
I also have more time to work on my website. I’m constantly optimizing the code, one big change I made this year was to make the site completely responsive using HTML5. What this means is the site and photo galleries will not only work on any size device such as an iPad or smartphone, but it will scale to fit the screen perfectly. A well designed website today, when you view it on a tablet or phone, you shouldn’t need to zoom in and out of the page. The page should scale itself to fit the screen properly, which my site now does. I was just checking around some other photographer’s websites recently, such as the really big multi-location photographer that has been in this area for a long time. When you visit their website on an iPad it says you need to download Flash Player and it hardly works. That is just ridiculous in my opinion, today your website is your storefront.
Back to the pictures, it was nice to have some engagement pictures to do, it’s been a few weeks since I had a client. I was a little worried at first, like most guys it was really hard to get him to be romantic and smile. I’m sure I would be the same way myself if I was trying to do pictures with my wife. But once we got warmed up I thought things went really well. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures below, I’m going to make an effort to post more regularly when things pick back up.