Category Archives: environmental portraits

ALONE AT LAST /the intimate session

part of a four part series on wedding photography. getting ready,the ceremony,the intimate session,and the reception  Advice for the client.

The only thing that I do insist on with my clients is an “intimate session” This will perhaps be the only alone time that you will have on your wedding day.I feel that these photographs are the most romantic and probably the ones that you will be hanging on your walls.

http://creativefreedomphoto.com/ Some people do not realize that photography is made up of light and composition.

When you are working on your timeline, leave at least a half hour or more in the best light of the day,the last hour before the sun is setting.Think about the background,are there some beautiful nature spots on the grounds of your venue? If not try to explore and find a beautiful nature spot nearby your venue

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Do not allow anyone to tag along,this is a distraction to you and to your photographer.Your guests will be fine, might be a good time to plan a cocktail hour. Always work with your D.J. and wedding coordinator and let them know in advance .

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When I am photographing a destination wedding,I sometimes plan with my couples for a “day after” session. using the destination as my background. My couples are always so much more relaxed the day after,I get to spend allot more time with them = more beautiful and interesting photos.

 

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Improve your travel photography/advice from a photojournalist

 

My very favorite thing to photograph is travel/street photography. Especially when I see a place for the very first time.Being a “people” photographer No place on earth inspires me more than New Orleans.To me its the people that make the place!

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  My best advice.:
1) use a lens that cane do both wide angel and zoom.Invest in a camera backpack,limit the amount of equipment. Its NOT the equipment that capture the moment,its you.
2) Do not walk around alone.
3) Be fearless,go off the beaten path.While visiting New Orleans I went to the ninth ward. There is a magical place  called “musicians Village” that is were I met David
4) DO NOT go on a guided tour
5) Talk to people,get up close and personal
6) Street musicians are a good place to start,they never mind if you are talking their photo.
7)Pay attention to detail
8) think outside of the box,try interesting views,different angels and perspectives
9 ) Go out with your camera in the magic hour right after the sun comes up,right before the sun sets.After the rain,photograph reflections in puddles,take advantage of overcast light,makes colors pop and skin tones, even. Twilight immediately after the sun sets for night scenes.
10)Try to stay in the center of town,I shot this one from my balcony at three in the morning.
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11)Most of all, let the story unfold before you,enjoy the adventure.Its like when I photograph a wedding I dont think about it and put pressure on myself,the story unfolds before me, I am there to tell the story

“SEEING THE LIGHT” NATURAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHYhttp://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

232ee5Photography is mainly made up of light and composition, you can have the greatest composition but without the right light…bla,or you have the most amazing light but with out a great composition,it will not be a great photograph

  I have been asked many times, how do you learn about light. My answer is go out there and shoot in every possible light.
  The two “magic hours, the first and last hour of light.
Back lighting is my favorite (makes things POP,look three dimensional)
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When your subject is in front of the sun silhouette)
NOON the WORST time of day for portraits deep shadows and texture,however
 if that is what you are going for like the photo below I wanted her to look as if she were rising out of the ground (I call it up rising) would NOT have worked at all in the “magic hr”
UP RISEING
 NOW my FAVORITE is overcast makes colors POP, skin tones perfect,so dont freak out if it rains on your wedding day chances are the light will be great for portraits.
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Rain, protect your gear but DO get out there or right after the rain, puddles and reflections make such interesting photos.
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TWILIGHT, the 10 minuete window after sunset when the sky is not black yet and all the neon and available night light comes out,good to use a tripod at this time and perhaps a slow shutter speed.
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Now get out there!!

Shttp://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/ay “YES” To the engagment session!!

Benafits of having an engagment session

1. Get yourself some sweet photos!

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Sounds pretty obvious, right? But as time inches closer to the big day you start to find yourself getting busier and busier. Early in the engagement is the perfect time for an e-shoot; while the excitement of the proposal and visions of the future are still fresh in your mind, that emotion will be clearly evident in your photos.

 2. A chance to let loose and get creative.

You have an opportunity to take some truly unique photos, different from any you’ve had before, so make good use of it! Start with the location and pick a place that means something to both of you. It can be where you got engaged, a first date or just a verymemorable date, where you met (maybe your highschool/university). It can be any place that puts you at ease, something familiar that naturally makes you feel good, such as the zoo, a beach, or even your regular coffee shop. Where ever you decide, make it mean something to you.

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Fred Howard Park,Tarpon Springs

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Your photos are actually pretty useful!

Speaking of creativity, your photos aren’t limited to the confines of a picture frame! Many savvy do-it-yourselfers are using their e-shoot photos in many crafty ways. Use them for save-the-date cards, receptions seating charts and table indicators, wedding programs, guest books, or even just a really awesome coffee table book for home.

 

Practice for the big day .http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

Chances are you haven’t had your photos taken by a professional before, so how do you know what to do? On your wedding day you’ll be surrounded by cameras, not just the one you hired. With everything that is going on during the day, it’s great to have one less thing to worry about.

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Whether you are camera shy or a photogenic vixen, the e-shoot s a great opportunity to instill confidence and build comfort in front of the camera. It can be daunting to have a camera follow you, it happens to all of us, and it’s best to get that anxiety out of the way in advance. In no time, you’ll stop focusing on the camera and more on each other. Your nerves will calm and your stress will float away. Your interactions with each other will become more natural and you’ll learn to avoid the innate reflex to stiff up and smile directly into the camera.

 

 

 

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If you want to really make it a true dry run, try coordinating your e-shoot with your hair and makeup trials; it will allow you the chance to see how they show up in photos.

Letting your photographer get to know YOU.

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Not only is it good practice for you, it’s also a great trial run for your photographer. It allows him/her to see how you interact; to learn if you are timid or big on the PDA. They will learn about your personalities, whether you are goofy or serious, and how much direction you’ll need or want. It’s a great time to learn about your love story, chat about your wedding plans, and push to see how affectionate you can get in front of the camera. The opposite is also true, you’ll be able to communicate what you like and don’t like, as well as your preference for angles, expressions, lighting, and editing styles. All this will allow them to tailor the photos to make your images more personal and memorable.

Getting to know your photographer.

It’s great to have your photographer get to know you, but it’s more important that you get to know THEM. Get a taste of their shooting style and learn how they direct you. It will be very similar to how they direct you on the wedding day so you’ll know exactly what to expect. Chat with them about your wedding plans and get tips about planning out the schedule. Your photographer has seen it all and probably has a ton of advice on how to organize the day and minimize rushing and delays.

Lastly, think about this, you will likely see your photographer more than anyone else on your wedding day … including your fiancé! The e-shoot is a perfect ice breaker to transform your photographer from a ‘stranger’ taking your photos to a ‘friend’ taking your photos. Establish a relationship with your photographer (and all your vendors for that matter). Get to know his personality & hobbies to the point where you feel comfortable enough with them that you’ll look forward to spending time with them on your wedding day.

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Environmental portraits lesson/www.creativefreedomphoto.com

As a Photojournalist for several newspapers, environmental portraits are a must.They tell a story. The photo below was the morning after hurricane George hit Key West.

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Above a sign turned up side down,one of the weirdest things I have ever seen!

What exactly is an environmental portrait, how does it differ from a typical portrait?
An environmental portrait, also called a location portrait, uses a person’s surroundings to tell more about that person. Sometimes this environment is directly connected to who they are—it’s that person’s home, place of work or community. Other times the environment has little or no connection but helps create a mood that contributes to an understanding of that person.

Below an old Cuban man making hats out of psalm fronds in Key West Fl

“Thats What Fronds Are For”

Thats what fronds are for!!

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Why do I prefer environmental portraits?

  • they give context to the subject you’re photographing
  • they give points of interest to shots (something you need to watch as you don’t want to distract from your subject too much)
  • they help your subject relax
  • they often give the viewer of your shots real insight into the personality and lifestyle of your subject

Backgrounds

There should be some background detail, to add character to a picture, but not so much that it overpowers the presence of the person in the shot. The idea behind this method of photography is that the background subtly adds to the feel of the portrait yet does not become the main feature. If you find the background to be too distracting, try using a wider aperture to blur the background so you can still make out what’s there but the eye is immediately drawn to the person instead. You could also try cropping the shot when you’re back at your computer or simply move your subject to a place where the background isn’t so distracting. Remember, you want your location to relate to your subject and add interest to the shot without actually pulling attention away from your main point of focus.

One of my favorite photographs of my son in his teenage yrs

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“The best asset that any photojournalist has is the ability to schmooze—the ability to relate to somebody else, the ability to talk to somebody else and to make them feel comfortable. If they’re comfortable with you, your pictures will clearly show it,” “You can’t be shy if you’re going to play photojournalist. You have to talk to people.”

An artist in his gallery in New Orleans

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FOR THE LOVE OF STREET PHOTOGRAPHY ; part 2/creativefreedomphoto

    I am known as a wedding photojournalist, but my true love is street  photography . I have allot to say about this subject I will most likely have several blogs on the topic of street photography.
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     . Whenever I am sent on a destination wedding to places like New Orleans (one of my favorite places)  I try to at least have a day for myself where I can explore and shoot for my soul.Of course being a “people photographer,New Orleans is magical to me, .I stopped using a zoom lens, on purpose  It has forced me to be up close and personal, to talk and get to know my subjects, most times this is more rewarding to me.. there are still moments where I see a shot and take it very candidly,getting up close would loose the feeling  .There are no rules here, it depends on the subject.Sometimes standing from a distance and just allowing     life to happen, Or,,finding a great spot with just the right light and composition and just waiting for a subject to walk into it. other times
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meeting an artist , musician or character
on the street  and talking while I am photographing him./her,getting to listen and enjoy their stories.Below I ventured into “musicians village in the upper 9th ward in New Orleans and met this wonderful musician named David who invited us into his home and just loved to tell us his stories . Musicians village is a magical place

The village, a development of Habitat for Humanity, was started after Hurricane Katrina on a vacant piece of land once occupied by a school, with the notion of creating a new, affordable neighborhood that would welcome home New Orleans musicians and others displaced by Katrina.

With support from homegrown musical celebrities like Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis, the village has blossomed into a neighborhood of 72 new homes and spurred the renovation of previously existing homes along its perimeters. I am dreaming of an “artist village right next door,I would move in a heartbeat”!

 

David from the ninth ward_JMP7382
“The best asset that any photojournalist has is the ability to schmooze—the ability to relate to somebody else, the ability to talk to somebody else and to make them feel comfortable. If they’re comfortable with you, your pictures will clearly show it,” “You can’t be shy if you’re going to play photojournalist. You have to talk to people.”

Explain yourself. Be polite, smile and say sorry if somebody is offended you took a photograph of them. Offer to e-mail the photograph. It takes practice being comfortable in this style of photography, but the results are very true to life and worth it.

Although I love photographing people,street photography doesn’t have to have people in it,sometimes its the details, I found this tile a child wrote and stuck it on a fence in Greenwich village after 9/11

 

And always remember this,
“A mime is a terrible thing to waste”
"A Mime Is A Terrible Thing To Waist"

Wedding Photojournalism/The Story Teller by creativefreedomphoto

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 In the limo

Dont just keep pressing the shutter and hope that something sticks,wait,watch,observe.Do not ask people to do anything,allow life to happen .There are moments at a wedding like the dances that you are just about guaranteedfws1-003

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that there will be plenty of emotion to capture.Shoot like you are using film.If you are just starting out,I suggest that you use film. One of the best angles for capturing candidws is above,do take advantage I always look for this vantage point

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…A great wedding photographer is a great story teller. . Get to know your clients,meet with them, do an engagement session, it is very important that they feel comfortable with you, the more you know them the more passion you will feel.

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As a wedding photojournalist, I allow the story to come to me.I very rarely tell people what to do (unless I am doing the group shots,my least favorite because I feel I am missing out on the “real moments”) I ask my clients to keep the group shot list to a minimum. They didint hire me for a bunch of posed group shots but for my ability to “capture emotions” To me weddings are by far the easiest because they tend to be a field day of emotions.

  •  At the beginning of the story,remember to photograph the place,the details,the venue.These are all important to the couple and are a part of their story.

Mecedes Benz Super Dome New Orleanswedding details

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I ask my clients to have the guys nearby so that I can go back and forth between the guys and the ladies, You want to get both sides of the story!

Try to be a fly on the wall, wear black not bright colors.You want people to forget that you are there so that things can happen naturally. I long zoom lens is a good Idea for candid s at weddings.

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Keep in mind that there are two sides of the story,during the ceremony for instance,its not just about the couple but pay attention to the audience,know who the parents are,most often the Mothers will shed some tears.

 

The most important shot during the ceremony most often it is the grooms reaction when he sees his bride for the first time

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My students often ask me what do you photograph during the reception when everyone is eating. Good question, it is not flattering to photograph people eating,but children can be adorable during this time.It is also a good time to shoot some of the details.Also the atmosphere,the musicians if they do have live music

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A great story has a beginning,middle and an ending, think of a parting shot,it could be a back shot of the couple walking away in the sunset or grandma asleep at the reception,most often I dont think, I just allow things to happen naturally.Sometimes my couple does request a specific parting shot .

Super dome wedding

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Most important,dont pose people,allow them to be themselves,stand back,remember you are there to tell the story and to capture all the emotions

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