my summer photo project: portraits

my summer photo shoots

One of my goals for the year was to take photographs of a different friend every week all summer.  While that’s been a little bit hard with my travel schedule, I’ve still managed to do 4 shoots to date.  It really is amazing how much more you can learn on the job as opposed to reading websites.

Photo Session #1: Ryan

What I learned: This is probably the most pratical lesson that I’ll learn, do not wear a tight skirt while taking pictures.  You can’t move nearly as much as you need to.  Also, a week after I took these photos I had my boudoir shoot.  It was there that I learned that the photographer should come prepped with poses and learn how to tell the subject how to move.

Ryan1 Ryan2 Ryan3


Photo Session #2: Janalyn

What I learned: I learned more about posing.  I learned that it’s okay to try something that doesn’t work.  I learned that it’s easier to take photographs when you’re above or on the same level as somebody else – lower created interesting angles.  I learned that it’s fun if the subject has a prop because it gives you something external to work with.  I remembered the joy of black and white photography.  Also, I confirmed that there are certain pictures that I really like even though they are blurry.

Janalyn1 Janalyn2 Janalyn3

Photo Session #3: Zoha

What I learned: We wandered the city taking pictures, which was fun because the background was ever changing.  It was also during this shoot that I started to develop what I believe to be my shooting style – I talk constantly.  It makes me feel more comfortable, and I think it puts the other person at ease as well because it makes things seem less formal.  Also, I really like close up shots of people, it makes for some fun pictures.

Zoha1 Zoha2 Zoha3

Photo Session #4: Vania

What I learned: This girl knows posing.  It’s impressive.  She had so many ideas that I tried to take in so I could remember them next time.  I also had more fun with facial expressions.  I think I’m going to have a few go tos – the Home Alone face, tongue sticking out, looking really excited, and being pensive.  We’ll see what else I can add to the list.

Vania1 Vania2 Vania3

What’s Next?

Well, it was after Vania’s photoshoot that I finally read the manual for my camera.  I learned that some of the shots were wide angle because I was accidentally shooting in video mode.  I also learned how to manual focus – it’s not as intuitive as it was on my last camera, so I wasn’t using it.  I also bought the Photography Concentrate course called Really Easy Retouching, which I’m excited to take (when I find some time).  I also want to try shooting another boy sometime soon, I feel like masculine poses are harder to come up with – it will probably involve browsing some GQ magazines.  We’ll see what comes next.  My co-workers have been very good sports about posing for me – so we’ll see exactly who I can talk into it this week.

What have I learned from this experience overall?  I have pretty friends.

my trip to denver

This is one of the first trips that I’ve been on that I felt like my pictures were a good representation of what I did on the trip and not just a collection of pretty pictures.  It also probably helped that Kevin doesn’t like having his picture taken, so there actually wasn’t anybody for me to take pictures of.

This is one of my goals for this year, try to capture the experience, not just the nouns.  That’s what I’m going to call it, the nouns – the people, the places, the things.  It really is incredible how you can capture all of those things and still not have a clue about what happened along the journey.  (Kind of like what I believe happened with my India pictures, oops.)

My trip to Denver was actually an out of my comfort zone trip.  That is the longest amount of time that I have spent with an introvert in a long time, which resulted in me spending a lot of time in my own head.  It’s a scary place up there, but it allowed me more time to think about life, relationships, really good music, photo compositions, and what I want 2014 to look like.  I guess maybe it was a good thing overall, huh?

Here’s the coffee shop we went to the first morning.

001 Denver

Meet Bo.  He has more energy than any pup I’ve ever met.

002 Denver

Meet Santana.
These two wouldn’t leave me alone at all.  Good thing they’re cute.

003 Denver

004 Denver

We went to see Railroad Earth at Twist and Shout.

005 Denver 006 Denver 007 Denver

I had a biscuit sandwich for breakfast that was buttermilk fried chicken, Tender Belly bacon, and cheddar cheese smothered in vegetarian gravy at The Biscuit Company.  Probably should have taken a picture of that instead of my teacup.

008 Denver

Then we drove to Breckinridge while we were in food comas.

009 Denver 010 Denver 011 Denver 012 Denver Trees and Kevin

I spent $50 on greeting cards and art at the shop that this banner was in front of, oops.  The shop was called Magic Scraps.  I could have lived there.

013 Denver 014 Denver

We found Olive & Finch for breakfast on my last full day.  It was delicious.

015 Denver Olive and Finch

Then we wandered around downtown.

016 Denver 017 Denver Downtown2 018 Denver 019 Denver

And on my last day we made it to the Botanic Garden.

020 Denver Botanic Gardens

Not too shabby for a 4-day trip, huh?

Now I just need to figure out what city I’m going to hit next.  Any ideas?

nola for new years

After two-and-a-half years in Louisiana, I finally talked Tory into coming down with me for New Years.  Yes, I admit that it may have been a mileage run.

Let me un-consultant that for you.  When you’re SO close to getting the status you want at the end of the year, but you only have a few miles left to go, sometimes you hop on a plane at the last minute just to keep your status for the next year.  And because I’m not quite ready to give up gold status yet, I hopped a plane back to Louisiana to spend New Year’s Eve.

We spent New Year’s Eve in Baton Rouge since neither one of us is actually a big enough partier to justify battling New Orleans for the evening and that meant that we got to spend New Year’s Eve with the love of my life and his man.  We even got to attempt to sing karaoke again.  Fail.  We’re not supposed to ever sing A Whole New World (or maybe I’m not ever supposed to sing karaoke?).  This time it was the wrong version, which meant the wrong key, which meant the men’s part was far too high.  Anyway.

Tory and I decided to check out NOLA on January 1st and 2nd because she had never been before – and I have never really taken out my dSLR walking around the city, so that was fun too.

NOLA 008

NOLA 010

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NOLA 018

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NOLA 028

NOLA 036

NOLA 040 NOLA 046

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NOLA 057

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NOLA 060

Do you have any favorite sites in New Orleans that I should check out next time?  Always looking for new places to hit up.

a photo calendar for 2014

I’m really excited about this one.  Inspired by Elise Blaha’s calendar for 2014 (which I bought and love), I decided to make my own 2014 calendar with a few of my pictures over the past year.  I figured it would be a great way to make gifts for people with a bit of a personal and creative touch.  Also, I owed 5 people homemade gifts from a Facebook post at the beginning of 2013 still.  I ended up wishing I ordered a bunch more in the end.  I ordered all of the cards from Overnight Prints and I was really pleased with how they turned out.

I put a note on every calendar that said, “Enjoy EVERY DETAIL of 2014” – I’m not sure anybody will piece together that all of the pictures are of close up details and I’m telling them to enjoy every detail of 2014, but it made me smile.

01 January
02 February
03 March
04 April
05 May
06 June
07 July
08 August
09 September
10 October
11 November
12 December

On the back side of every post card I put a calendar that I made in Excel and made sure to write the city that the picture was taken in – everywhere from Paris to Bangalore to Middlefield, CT to Houston, TX and more.  What a year of traveling.

Back Side of Calendar

I’m kind of sad that I only printed 25 of them, but I think it was a good start.  And it was a nice way to share part of my life with the people who don’t get to see me very often.  My mom pointed out that it didn’t make sense that you couldn’t see the picture and the calendar at the same time, but I’m not sure that that bothers me because when the numbers are this tiny on calendars I never seem to read them anyway, I just look at the pictures.

When I got all of the pictures in I went to a coffee shop to put them together, and finally decided to tie some yarn around them to dress them up a bit.

2014 Calendar Making1

2014 Calendar Making2

I think I’m going to try to make another calendar for next year.  Now I have some motivation to just keep making my pictures better.