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“How do you feel about sparkles?” I remember asking musician Dearest Pinky in the days leading up to our shoot. Luckily, she was on board with the idea, and that led to some of my favorite shots ever. With the help of my two expert sparkle tossers, Doug and Kaylee, we decorated a small area of forrest in confetti/glitter/sparkles.
“It looks like a unicorn died here” was said of the aftermath.
And now, presenting an exclusive behind the scenes look…
I’m pretty sure my favorite type of shoot is the “let’s bring one light on location” type of shoot. Recently, I did headshots for actor Brian Colin Foley around the streets of Beacon Hill in Boston. Brian was a blast to work with – really comfortable in front of the camera, easy-going, and willing to try different things. He even does a great James Bond impression.
What I’d like to share today is something I very rarely display – an unedited set of photos from the shoot. This would more or less resemble a contact sheet, or the online gallery a client would receive from their session. I wanted to display it here today to give an idea of what goes into a typical portrait or headshot-style shoot. From wardrobe changes, to scene changes, to poses and different camera angles, you can watch the shoot unfold below. Just keep in mind, every image below is straight out of camera, completely unedited…so…be gentle.
Be sure to check Brian out here.
I’m typically not one to blog about shoots featuring myself, but I must say that photographing my holiday card was possibly the most fun and ridiculous shoot of the year.
If you’re wondering about tips for the perfect holiday photo, I have one. Take lots of photos. Also, the more you give to the camera, the more you’ll get, so don’t be afraid to change your expression and pose. And looking ridiculous can never hurt (especially when you have a 70 lb dog in an argyle sweater).
Enjoy some outtakes from this year’s shoot, and Merry Christmas from the whole crew!
-Sam, Kaylee, Doug, and Joshua (the dog).
Sometimes simple just works. Getting a great shot isn’t always about having a big production. Sometimes all you need is the right model, in the right location, with great light.
When I met up with vocalist Tasia for our shoot, I didn’t necessarily have a plan of action. As with most shoots, I tend to play things by ear, and see what the model and the location can give me. I was fortunate enough on this particular shoot to have been provided with an expressive model, a simple wooded trail for a location, and a great day with beautiful light.
We started off with one of the most basic and common setups I can think of – a background consisting of sun shining through trees, and a model being lit by a single silver reflector.
I’ve always loved to incorporate sun flares into my photography. By lining up the camera, the subject, and the sun in just the right way, it’s easy to add that extra bit of magic.
As we journeyed into the woods we came across a small boathouse that provided tons of photographic possibilities – from using the wooden shingles as a background texture, to shooting on the small back porch overlooking a river. My favorite shot of the day came from the back porch of this boat house.
For you photography people, here were my camera settings for this shot.
1/100 sec at f /11, ISO 125, shot with my 24-70mm f/2.8L at 30mm
The camera body was a 5D classic, and the image was lit with a white beauty dish, up high and coming from the right side of the image.
The same image also provided one of my favorite before and after editing examples. From adding extra length to the flowing dress, to the dodging and burning, to the sky replacement and final toning of the image, I’m really happy with how it came out. It is definitely one of my favorite images of the year.
Be sure to fan Tasia on Facebook here.
That is, of course, if you can stand to be around said couple on a secluded island for a full week….
Luckily for me, Alayna & Paul are two of the most friendly, warm, giving, and all around amazing people I’ve ever met, and our week-long engagement photo session was one of my favorites of all time.
The first night at the lake house provided one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. It was there and gone in less than ten minutes, and no one was prepared for photos when it started. In fact, I believe Paul was wearing swim-shorts in the photo below, and I photoshopped his long pants on afterwards…
The next day, we headed to the mainland to the scenic town of Wolfeboro to capture that “All-American” sort of feel. It was July 4th, so that didn’t hurt.
By the time we headed back towards the boat, it was nearly full dark. That’s when Alayna spotted the gazebo that she used to dance in as a child, and asked if we could stop to do some photos. I agreed reluctantly, having no idea how I was going to light the massive gazebo with my one light, but sometimes things just have a way of working out. It also helps having an assistant that is willing to sing the theme from Beauty and the Beast a cappella (thank you Emily).
The next day we decided to take a hike to an outcropping of rock at the opposite end of the island we were staying on. It was probably an bad idea to wear dress shoes on the hike while carrying fifty or so pounds of camera gear entirely on one shoulder, but was it worth it? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
I get more questions about the above photo than any I’ve posted online, with people wanting to know the lighting setup…. And I hate to admit that it was a very simple one, but it was. Here’s the technical story behind this photo. We shot this at about noon, in harsh, harsh sunlight with absolutely no shade.
Here were my camera settings:
1/200 sec at f/8.0, ISO 50, shot with a Canon 24-70mm lens at 24mm.
There was one octa firing light from the extreme right side, and just in front of the couple. It helps having two amazing assistants willing to stand in the water and keep my camera gear from floating away. Thanks again to Kaylee & Emily
Now, that being said. An exceptional amount of Photoshop went into making that image. The background is still the same lake, but taken two nights before during the amazing sunset. It is a pano composed of about 9 shots, all taken vertically and stitched together. They were really standing on the rock, and really on the lake, and I think that helps add to the realism of the shot.
There are plenty more shots from that particular outing, and maybe you’ll see them in my portfolio sometime, but for now, they’re for the happy couple (and happy photographer to enjoy). Thanks to Alayna & Paul for an unforgettable shoot!