Archive for the ‘Portraits’ Category

Senior Photos

Look Out World

Michaela is a dancer, so I knew many of her photos would feature dance in some way. I’ve found dancers to be terrific models – they take direction and can do almost anything you can envision with their bodies.

Urban Ballet

We met up downtown to do some photos in an urban setting. There is something cool about a ballet pose on the streets or sidewalks.

Model Shot

The setting also provided some nice backdrops for a more traditional image. But she gave me looks which bring some emotion and help draw you in. All I have to do is light it and snap the shutter!


We also did a few photos in a park/garden setting. I was having her do some jumps for me, saw her hair flying, and said, “let’s take some shots with her just swinging her hair around.” She liked the idea, and I really like how this worked out.

The Ballerina

Michaela’s mom had a photo of a ballerina she wanted to more-or-less replicate. We shot this downtown in the daylight using what I guess you’d call a concrete planter as the seat. The sun was below the surrounding buildings, so I was able to easily light her to get the effect we wanted. It’s definitely a photo that wants to be black and white.

Jayke James Dean Look

Jayke is also a performer – singer, actor, and now, dancer. He wanted something different, something a bit edgy and definitely urban. I was actually surprised to find an alley with some graffiti in Rochester. Nothing like I saw in Ybor City in the Tampa area, but still usable with some good doorways and nice brick walls.


This sort of setting is really fun for shooting portraits. It’s easy to see possibilities. With a willing subject, the ideas just roll.


Jayke brought plenty of ideas to the session, too. That was especially true for the various dance positions he wanted. I wanted to shoot him doing some jumps, so he obliged me and did a variety of leaps for me.


I knew from the outset I’d want many of these to be black and white. I was happy that Jayke is fond of B&W and knew I could approach this shoot almost like a personal project.

Window Shot

We did have an occasional pedestrian or car to deal with. They might have wondered about what we were doing. Taking photographs, I guess, was pretty obvious, though!

Anniversary Gig

Becca and Jared

I had the pleasure of photographing a wonderful couple a few weeks ago on the occasion of their fifth anniversary. They had this fun idea of dressing up in their wedding clothes, creating a bouquet and boutonnieres, and having a couple of their close friends tag along, then having me photograph them at home and at various places around town.

Like a wedding, we had some time constraints – one of their party had to leave town. So, we shot at literally high noon. Not the ideal time of day for photography, but I told them we’d make it work. While trying to make them look their best, I also tried to keep some hints of where we were. The shot above is in front of their home, so I intentionally left the somewhat distracting window in the shot with the brown siding to add “our house” to the story.


We made a few photos at Rochester Civic Theatre, three of the four of them have performed on its stage. There’s a fun shot of them on stage, but after we got that shot, I suggested having them sit in the house seats. One of them played off that and said, let’s all have different expressions reacting to what’s on stage. It worked great! I love collaborating with performers.


A few shots in a park by a fountain were also on the agenda.

Come Along, Jared

We set up several shots to highlight their relationships with their friends.


But fit in a few showing their relationship with each other.

A Terrific Couple

They are a great couple. Their love and respect for one another is so very apparent.

Continuing the Journey

I thoroughly enjoyed being their photographer for the occasion. I wonder what they’ll cook up for their tenth…




Senior Photos


It’s funny. When you tell someone who isn’t a photographer that you like to take senior portraits, you often get this look. You can see the wheels turning. The person is thinking, “are you going to nursing homes?” No, no, no – high school senior portraits! Oh! I suppose our senior citizens deserve good photographs, too, but that’s another genre entirely!

Anthony at Mayo HS

I had the privilege to shoot photos for a couple of high school seniors recently. They both did a great job, and both took my direction well. And they were willing to try various ideas.

Anthony - Soccer

That was in spite of the weather. It was dry – mostly – but colder than I’d prefer, especially for them. On the other hand, we had mostly overcast skies for both sessions. That provides us nice even light. Even light can be great, but it’s also flat. Shadows – which help define shape – fade away. So, it’s not really ideal.

Anthony - Cityscape

However, it does provide a rather ideal foundation for us to add light. I don’t have to fight the existing light but instead build on it. For me, a key is to work in light so that it fits with the existing light, looks natural, but shapes the face the way I want. This shot of Anthony was one I particularly enjoyed. We had several with the Rochester cityscape in the background. I think it makes a cool setting for senior photos.


Something I’m trying to consider is how can we make photos that aren’t what everyone else has. Some shots become popular and are suddenly ubiquitous. Like the young man or woman standing on railroad tracks. You see it and think, “hey, that’s cool!” Then there it is again. And again. It becomes sort of cliché.

Baustin - Plummer House

So, I look for something that at least to me looks different. Or at least different for a senior portrait. Mixed in with those are shots I think are more classic, more timeless (well, except for hair and clothes). One of the photos will end up in the student’s yearbook, and I think those should focus entirely on the student and should be a close shot that won’t be lost when printed small in the yearbook.

Baustin by Plummer Tower

It’s also fun to explore some newer techniques for one or two shots. Baustin by the Plummer building tower was shot with just natural light but using several shots and tone mapping to pull out the detail. Shooting a human subject with this technique requires the subject to stay as still as possible. Baustin was terrific.

Baustin at Soccer Field

Both Anthony and Baustin are soccer players, so it was fun to take some shots of them on a soccer field. I have a couple action shots that I may show in a future blog post. Especially for Anthony’s shoot, there was a bit of mud to deal with. We had a good field for shooting, though, with a nice background to work with.

I hope they both like their photos. Hopefully, the images will carry memories of the good times in high school, what they did and who they were. Photos are all about grabbing a moment in time and carrying it forward.

Head Shots

Rebecca 1

I shot some head shot photos for Rebecca last week. My earlier post showed off one that I did some more extensive post-processing, but here are a few with the lighter hand for an actor’s use. These need to be natural, not over worked. Becca was a great subject. I’ve worked with her a few times before, and I know to expect some great shots.

In this shot, I love how her dark hair frames the right side of her face.

Rebecca 2

This time, I had difficulty culling them down to a reasonable set for her. She and the camera get along well. This shot is similar to the one I posted before – same lighting and pose.

Rebecca 3

We actually did two shoots – straight and curly hair. I’m not sure which I prefer, but there’s certainly a difference in her look.

Rebecca 4

The early feedback I’ve had from Rebecca has been good. And that’s what a photographer hopes for.


Fun with Lighting


Had a fun couple shoots with Becca this week to update her head shots. I thought it would be fun to shoot a couple photos using a glamour lighting setup. I then did a glamour treatment in post – this isn’t what you’d use for a normal head shot, but it is fun for me and it can be a cool photo for Becca to have.

I have tons of great shots to work through to give her a nice set from which to choose. Oh, and for half the photos, I had a VAL – a voice activated lighting stand. Becca’s husband, Jared, helped by holding a reflector. I offered to let him do that for me all the time, but he thought I should pay him or something. Go figure!

More Framily Photos

Beccas Framily 1

My previous two posts showed a couple specially processed photos from the session I shot with these folks. They refer to themselves as Framily.

Beccas Framily 2

I thought I’d show a few more normal shots of the group. They had a lot of fun ideas – as you can tell from the earlier shots. Most are theatre folks, so as the photographer, part of my job is just get out of the way and work with what they give me.

Beccas Framily 3

And usually, that’s plenty. You can see how camera shy and reserved they are.

Beccas Framily 4

It makes the shoot a lot of fun. For me, anyway! I think they were enjoying the shoot, too.

Beccas Framily 5

I did some post work to clean up the background and help them stand out.

Beccas Framily 6

But they came dressed for the occasion, with black that worked well against the white background, and some other bold colors.

Beccas Framily 7

Gesture, being an important part of a photo, was not much concern for me.

Beccas Framily 8

All in all, it went well, we all enjoyed the shoot, and I think we have some decent images out of it. Hopefully, Becca and her framily will think so, too!

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