Tag Archives: photojournalism

Improving your photography/advice from a pro

In this blog I will share with you some simple tips for you to improve your own picture taking.Photography is made up of light and composition,you need both elements to make a great photograph’ The photograph below has both,great composition, notice how I framed the cats eyes.framing is a law of composition and will definitely make your photos much more interesting

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In the photograph below I purposely used the noon sun (a time you do not want to take portraits) I wanted the effect of shadow and depth.In this composition I filled the frame with the subject.

UP RISEING

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The best natural light for photographs is overcast,skin tones are even and colors pop.You cant always get what you want so if you are going out shooting in natural light,go in the”magic hour” first light of day and an hour before sunset when the sun is low in the sky.Below a great example of overcast and also “framing”

Featured Image -- 1021

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The photo below,”LEADING LINES” Another rule of composition,I rarely put my subject directly in the middle,when you have leading lines its O.K to do so.

 

The photo below/what makes this photograph great are a few things.the angle,shooting from above looking down,see how this also isolates the background.There is nothing more distracting to me in a photograph than clutter. The photo also tells a story,it says something not just a photo of the couple smiling and looking at the camera,it captures the love the joy between this just married couple.fws1-003

Photos below two thirds rule,see how in these photographs the subject is NOT directly in the middle

 

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n order to capture a clear silhouette, you’ll need the background to be brighter than your subject. The best way to do this is to shoot at the beginning or the end of the day. The optimum time to shoot a silhouette is when the sun is low in the sky – either when it is rising or setting. Sunsets are a favorite among photographers who regularly create spectacular silhouettes, but you can also shoot a decent silhouette against a blue sky.

Happy shooting! Practice makes perfect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

DONT smile and look at the camera! Children at weddings by http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

Say YES to having children at your wedding! Being a wedding and child photographer I am really bummed out if there are no children at a wedding.And parents please dont tell them to “smile and look at the camera”!

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Children are amazing subjects because they are just themselves,so allow them to be themselves! That is when you can capture the most endearing moments of childhood.

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A wedding album would be very bland without any photos of children

If only adults could be more like kids,for one thing,we would have a much better time!

We would be uninhibited and would make friends every where we go!a1rsfws

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So let loose and live a little!

The Wedding Reception/Ideas and advice from a wedding photographer

This blog is part of a four part series on weddings. “Getting Ready” The Ceremony” The Intimate session” and lastly “The Reception”

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After twenty four years of photographing weddings nationwide, I have been to allot more receptions that most people on the planet.in this blog I am going to share with you advice to make your reception memorable.

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The venue you choose is important,its all about the atmosphere. I know that venues are extremely expensive.Here is my suggestion,why not rent a beautiful house on the beach and have everything come to you,caterers,hair and makeup,band or D.J. Some of my favorite weddings were at private homes.Also I do believe you would save allot of money this way.

I do suggest you have live music,D.J’s are alright but so redundant .Personally I feel a live band is so much more memorable.Makes your wedding more unique.

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I would stay away from the big resorts,unless you want to feel like a number and see other couples getting married the same day.Some of these places to me feel like an Assembly line of weddings

Make it your own,be creative,be unique.

Why not hire a cartoon artist, a magician, a fortune teller,a cigar roller.Give your guests something to talk about.To be honest,a great deal of the receptions I have been to were a bit boring.You want yours to stand out,you want your guests to have a great time.

A photo booth is allot of fun for children and to get adults to feel like a child again.

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Instead of a cake, I have seen all kinds of things,a coffee and desert bar,even Key Lime Pie on a stick, again,make it your own,have fun with the planning!

As for the food,why not ask your favorite restaurant if they will cater your event, or if you have relatives who cook you could save allot of $$.r

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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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GETTING READY! wedding advice

This blog will be in four parts,”Getting ready” Ceremony”., “The intimate session” and the reception.

Today I will be covering “getting ready”

I always get to the location early. The first thing that I photograph is the atmosphere of the venue,this is important to my couples,they have chosen this venue for a reason. After twenty five years of photographing weddings I have had the privilege of traveling to castles in Germany,the super dome in New Orleans,the Biltmore in North carolina,Hemingway house in Key West just to name a few.

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international fine arts wedding photojournalism

 

 

For my couples,try to have the ladies and the guys get ready at the same location,there are two sides to the story.I like to go back and forth.

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international fine arts wedding photojournalism

During this time I like to photograph the details,  have a go to person for your photographer. I always ask to have the details ready for me when I come in.The rings,the flowers,an invitation or newspaper,something with the date on it,shoes dress,vows etc…

Advice to the ladies,choose a room with the most natural light,remember that light is very important for the sake of the photos,you do not want to get ready in a room with florescent lite with no windows.Try to keep the room free of clutter.

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international fine arts wedding photojournalism

Leave plenty of time for some bride and groom portraits when you are all ready.For the brides do not be last to have your hair and makeup done.

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international fine arts wedding photojournalism

Try to get plenty of rest the night before and if you get nervous remember it is about the marriage. Dont sweat the small stuff,just go with the flow.

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

ALL BRIDES ARE BEAUTIFUL!! by http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

(  A lesson for future brides and for wedding photographers )

  I believe that being a woman has an advantage when it comes to wedding photography.Most brides do feel much more comfortable around women, especially during the “getting ready”  time. I also believe everyone is their most beautiful when they are happy!!

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  Dont skip the “getting ready” session with your photographer. A great wedding photographer is a great storyteller. To me the beginning of the story is so important,. all of the chaos the emotions and the alone time that I spend with the bride getting the bridal portraits.
   Also try to have the guys near by,you do not want to forget the other part of the story. Having several locations is not a good Idea your photographer will have less time with you,with the guys, and you will have less photos and might even miss out on allot of great moments. The best case scenario   is when you can have everything at one location for instance,rent a beautiful house   and have all vendors come to you ,it really does cut down on the stress level. .
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  I feel one of the most important part of being a great wedding photographer is getting to know your couples, if you can meet with them or have an engagement session do it! If not, often times my couples are from out of state or country, get to know each other through e mails and phone conversations. By the time the wedding day comes, my brides are so happy to see me,they are 100% comfortable and it shows through the lens! Being comfortable   with your wedding photographer also cuts down on the stress.
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  For brides and grooms, dont try to pose,let your emotions flow ,try to forget about the camera and just enjoy every moment.The photo below,”the grooms reaction” is usually the most important moment for both the bride and the groom.
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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.

hurricain george pxl

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just because wilma h

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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

bella senior 5

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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

nola 2

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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

1ws

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groom cera130

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

wsrsrec

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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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arrssffwwsss

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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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Capturing emotion in Photography by http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

we often find that the most beautiful photographs are often the ones capturing the strongest emotion. After all, human emotion is something we all experience every day of our lives.

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Unless you’re a wedding photographer, where emotions are running high, and therefore are all over people’s faces, it’s not so easy to capture emotion. When they see a camera, people tend to freeze like deer in the headlights or they over react with big, cheesy grins or scrunched faces. This makes capturing raw emotion a bit tricky for any photographer. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, you just have to have some tricks up your lens hood. -Capturing emotion in photos is no easy task! It can be especially tricky when people know they are being photographed we all want something more from a photo… genuine emotion. As the photographer, it’s your job to help people feel relaxed and comfortable!a1-003http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

When you’re shooting street shots or candids, capturing genuine emotion isn’t too difficult because you’re recording moments as they happen and your subjects are often unaware of or unconcerned with the camera’s presence.It takes a little effort — mostly in the form of simply being a thoughtful photographer — but getting your subjects to display some unfiltered emotion is certainly an attainable goal and one with a huge payoff. The following tips apply whether your portraits are formal or spur of the moment, for pay or for fun.,

acopy4-001

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Talk,Talk,Talk…is particularly important if the person you’re shooting is a stranger. Talking helps you, the photographer, get a feel for your subject’s personality and helps your subject forget about the camera. You can put them at ease by asking questions about themselves; don’t be intrusive or overly personal with your questions, but do express a real interest in their responses.

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It’s actually quite likely that some of the best photo ops are when they think you’ve put the camera down. The in-between moments are when your subject becomes authentic again. If you can sneak in a few photos during this time, you’ll be golden. When you pull this off will be spontaneous. If there is more than one person that you’re photographing, that spontaneity will be more likely to occur as they engage in conversation or an activity while you’re changing out your lenses. Stay on your toes and be ready for the unexpected!-

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Pulling emotion from people takes tack that comes more naturally to some than others. It helps to visualize a shoot before going into it. Imagine how and where you’re going to position them, the gear and equipment you’ll use, and how the actual images might look when done. Going into the shoot with a vision of how it would unfold will help you relax, which helps your client relax.fi1http://www.creativefreedomphoto.com/

saying ‘photography is done with the mind and heart’ continues to perfectly define the dividing line between an aficionado of the craft, and an artist.
The fascination with equipment and lenses is understandable; the same goes for passion for watches or cars, but all the best equipment or the best range of lenses in the world won’t do much to transform you into a great photographer.

When people argue over the grain of the photograph, or the lens that you really must use for this or that, they are losing sight of what is actually important: the content of the image, and the way in which the photographer sees his or her own reality. The first and essential thing needed to be able to argue above a photograph is to know what is actually being made. And in order to get something worth discussing, all we need is a camera and a lens, not the best camera and twelve lenses.