Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Portrait Painting Photo Shoot With Marilyn Saunders

Patrick Saunders took a break from participating in the Augusta Plein Air Festival so that we could do a photo shoot with his mother, who would like her portrait painted, and she wanted to be on her bike, because she practically lives on the Katy Trail. Marilyn is in amazing shape and she may outlive Patrick and I! Patrick will start some sketches soon - can't wait to see how this portrait turns out!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Black & White Study of Purple Irises

Patrick Saunders did a lovely award winning painting of pink irises last year at Stems Plein Air, and I remember him commenting that irises are challenging to paint. I bought some beautiful purple irises this week, and they were so lovely in the vase on our dining table as they started to open that I decided to photograph them. Turns out irises are challenging to photograph as well. Their shape as they unfurl - there is so much going on with these little beauties as they open that I struggled to find a vantage point that I liked. I ended up photographing them from above, and then found that I liked them in black and white as much as in color, because the black and white treatment really highlights the contrast and textures going on in the flower, without the distraction of their intense, brilliant colors.

I really like irises. They are delicate and elegant, but yet strong. They make me think of my great grandmother Jesse Dooley. She loved irises and lilacs, calling them her country flowers.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Meer's Advertising Head Shot & Video Shoot

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph head shots and video for the great staff at Meers Advertising early this year as part of an update of their company website. I'm so behind on blogging that I am just now getting around to this post, but wanted to share it because Patrick Saunders and I had a lot of fun with this shoot, and it was a great learning experience too.

Everyone at Meers photographed beautifully - they’re a bunch of lookers anyway and were great sports about the whole thing. Taking time for head shots can be such a drag for very busy people, but the Meers team brought their game faces that day. We have to say though that the one who really stole our hearts at Meers on shooting day was Boulder the golden retriever. She clearly runs the place. Boulder goes wherever Boulder wants to go at Meers and does whatever Boulder wants to do. And doesn’t do ANYTHING she doesn’t want to do either. When we put a GoPro on her to try to get some footage of her wandering around the gorgeous Meers space in the KC Crossroads, she apparently didn’t think much of our idea, because she promptly laid down for a long nap, covering the camera entirely and sleeping so hard that she actually turned it off. So much for that. We didn’t hold it against her though. When Boulder woke up at lunch break and decided that she needed our fries - pretty much all of our fries actually - we couldn’t resist. Please don’t tell her human, Sam Meers, or anyone at the agency though, because we’re pretty sure that was a no no.

The shoot itself went really smoothly because the Meers staff was so easy to work with, and the style for the imagery that their creative leads chose was interesting to execute. Normally photographers are always trying to figure out how to get more light into a situation or set up, and we often go overboard with that - we rarely use just one light to create a portrait, but in this case, the creative team selected a dramatic one-light design with a dark background. The black background really made colors pop, and the lighting choice put the focus of the images squarely on the subjects themselves and their unique expressions. Sometimes the lighting design of a portrait can steal the stage, so to speak, from the subject of the picture, but when I look at these stills, I really feel that I am seeing the person, and something of their personality as well.

Patrick and I got the Meers team to make some silly faces here and there during the shoot just to get some candids and help loosen them up in front of the camera, and we took the best of these images and made photo booth strips of them for the entire staff as thank you gifts for such a great gig. Nice work and we were grateful to get it!