The year is rapidly drawing to a close for the 2013 seniors! One of my favorite places to photograph senior portraits is St. Louis’ Laclede’s Landing.
Lots of cool stone and grungy textures along with the cobblestone streets and of course the river.
Kayla was one of my favorite seniors this year, we spent a beautiful Saturday morning together along with her mom and sister.
When Kayla stepped out of her car wearing this beautiful and cool orange prom dress I knew we were gonna make some pretty cool shots for sure!
Between setups I glanced over at a patch of wild flowers and thought it would be the perfect accessory for Kayla
Thanks to Kayla’s quick smile and easy going nature the morning just passed by way too quickly!
Give a call if you’re interested in having your own senior portraits done at St. Louis’ Laclede’s Landing.
25 years ago my beautiful bride met me at the alter to start our lives together. We’ve had many adventures together since.. hiking trails.. trips to the carribean.. cruises.. and trips to the mall. Best of all by far has to be our adventure as a ‘real’ family once Rachel and Jake joined us.
What’s this got to do with photography? Lots. I think back over the years and some of my best memories aren’t necessarily the memory itself. Its actually the photo of the memory. Seems like a no-brainer in this day and age to capture your life events with your phone’s camera or whatever you have at hand. But it’s not only the big life events that need captured. Some of my favorite images over time have been a random moment when life is happening… not chroeographed for an audience… just life.
Those are my favorite moments… but hands down.. my favorite images have been taken by professional photographers who know how to light and direct and pose and retouch and create a concrete memory that often times far exceeds the memory that I had. THAT is when photographs truely measure up to their thousand word potential. Thanks to the Hudson Photography for being there at our wedding and to Cedarleaf’s Gordon Underwood for our favorite portrait together and to all my professional photography friends who have used us as test subjects and created masterful images that we will always cherish.
I can’t imagine my life without my wife Jackie to love me and guide me and share our family together. Here’s to another 25 years.. I can only hope and pray that she feels as blessed as I do.
Here’s a cool little article by the PhotoShelter folks about one of my favorite volunteer organizations: Hearts Apart
Hearts Apart is a nonprofit organization that uses photography to help keep military families connected while they’re serving abroad. Volunteer photographers provide soon-to-be-deployed family members with portraits of their spouses and children that they can take overseas.
We connected with some Hearts Apart photographers to learn more about why they got involved, what a typical shoot is like, and why even though it’s not always easy, at the end of the day it’s a service they’re proud to donate their time to.
Hailey’s a model with The Edge Agency in St. Louis and a senior at an area high school. She agreed to do a short photo shoot in downtown St. Louis recently and brought 3 friends to share the fun with… what you can’t see in these images is just how cold it was…
Thanks to Hailey & Abby & Maddie & Kelsey for smiling through the shivers
Tonight I had the pleasure of photographing one of my favorite models – Kenzie Pettig.
About 6 years ago I went to my first professional photographic class at the Illinois Workshops. Kenzie was one of the first models that I met there and have enjoyed working with her every year or so since that first meeting. She has always brought an easy smile and good nature to any photo shoot we have done.
Tonight we met in St. Louis about 5:00 and while it looked like a pretty nice day… by the time we started shooting it was cold and windy. I kept my jacket zipped and gloves on most the shoot because… I could… Kenzie had the pleasure of modeling a few new little dresses and t-shirts. No gloves or hats for her… she did get to show off a new jacket and scarf for a few shots… but mostly she was simply a trooper working like a good model would.
Smiling.. except when I asked her not to
This morning I ended up on an egg hunt with Lynn Beall KSDK’s General Manager! We went down to the Arch grounds to grab a quick photo for her social media profile… and what I thought at first was simply a dog’s play toy turned out to be a duck egg? I guess? Not much of a nest there.. no expectant mother keeping guard, attempting to run me off.. Maybe this guy was just abandoned without hope.
Not really a deep thought…. just a cool find while out and about this morning.
Inspiration. Where does it come from and how do we harness it? This could be short ’cause I ain’t got the answer
Over the years in the video edit suite in which I’ve become very comfortable I’ve often wished my producer or the client would bring in a story board.. an idea of what they want their commercial to look like. Heck. I’d be happy with a single idea on a dirty napkin some days… but when I’m with a model or portrait client in my own studio I understand better the challenge of coming up with specific ideas.
Take the process of photographing a session. I still get frustrated sometimes that I can’t seem to choreograph the perfect session. Dance steps in front of the camera. Pose A followed by pose B… Backgrounds A through F… rinse and repeat for the next subject.
Only recently have I begun to appreciate the organic nature that my sessions seem to develop. We always start with show n tell. Outfits. Looks. What do you like.. what I like… But specifically what ARE we gonna shoot?
That’s when we just have to start. Like writing. The first word. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just gotta get started. One of my mentors said when he works with a model he expects the first couple dozen images will be disposed of. Like two dancers taking the first tentative steps together… Chemistry often times needs a catalyst.
That’s when music comes to mind. Music can move us beyond ourselves… get our mind off our own awkward thoughts.. Music.
As I walk to and from the train station on my way to work I generally have Pandora playing in my earbuds – music being piped directly into my brain. During this short walk with Incubus or Crash Kings or even Hannah Montana left over from one of my kids playlists – I see things. I imagine things. I imagine business people walking or skipping to their office to the sounds only I can hear. I notice the reflection of the sun and clouds as I walk past those big glass buildings actually matching the music in my ears… I start to get… INSPIRATION… It should be no surprise really. Music is kind of like bottled inspiration.
Next time your brain gets stuck with no direction and you need a jump start. Plug in. Turn it up. Go for a walk. Jump in. Do something… anything.
Recently I had the pleasure of photographing another high school senior. Not much of a big deal normally. Sure.. there were new clothes for the event, hair and make up done just so… but this was different from the first call.. When the mom first called for an appointment she seemed a bit off.. while we continued to talk she explained her confused state by simply telling me – the tumors in her head get in the way sometimes.
Yup. This is gonna be different.
They show up on time. Daughter with her handful of outfits, friend at her side for encouragement – mom with her head wrapped to help disguise the effects of her chemo treatments…
I’ve had moms get teary eyed during the first viewing session – watching their “baby” grow up instantly in front of them.. but never before has a mom teared up before I take my first photo. I click off a few images and play show and tell on the back of the camera… just to make sure we’re going in the right direction. Today I could have sold every one of those clicks. I could have sent the camera files straight to the printer – mom and her tumors would have devoured each and every one.
By the end of our couple hours mom is really ready to get home and rest. I head in and start the transfers and selection process. First I unusually eliminate every extra image that is not absolutely necessary. Today though, every one of those extra clicks, every one of those ever-so-slightly-different looks and smiles are impossible to eliminate. These are one of mom’s last chances to share a bit of normalcy, to share another milestone – her little girl’s senior pictures.
The sales session was even more different. Many of my folks come to me and want a few prints to give to their family.. hang one over the mantle. A bunch of wallets to exchange with friends. This session was different. This mom simply said, “I want them all.” All of them. She wanted every version of every image I had of her little girl… Her daughter of course was slightly embarrassed for mom and her emotional state — but for me it was one of the most gratifying, humbling experiences.
It’s no surprise why we want to capture moments in time with our loved ones… better to remember the first or last of many events… but it still surprises me how humbling it is… how honored I feel to be chosen to help folks I’ve often just met to preserve a little love to hold onto.
As for mom and her situation? She’s still making plans… I’m gonna get to photograph her younger daughter soon and with any luck we’ll be making three and four generation photos over the next few years. How cool would that be?
Since KSDK-TV in St. Louis went on the air February 8th, 1947 film cans have been stacking up.
The station’s archivist, Bob Garger has been maintaining the archive of film for the last few years…
this is a short peek into a part of Bob’s day.
I published this on Vimeo a few months back but this is simply an example of what I’d love to do more of…
travel light with a simple DSLR and a wireless microphone to capture the life around us.. not necessarily big stories..
but the parts of our lives that fit together and create the big story.
Hazel was my wife’s mother’s mom. A wonderfully generous lady who loved to cook and care for her kids and grandkids… Even at 98 she was probably sharper than many 20 something’s I know… I always enjoyed a visit with her. She seemed to always be genuinely happy to know what was happening in your life. Always seemed to love seeing her great grand kids grow.
While I hoped this image would have been up to PPA standards for competition (it wasnt) I know that’s not the standard that matters. Merit worthy or not – I think this captures Hazel at her best, near the end. Her eyes reflect her sharp wit that was still present and that slight smile masks a lot of love that she had for everyone she knew.