Archive for the ‘(a) Pics with Tips’ Category


I’ve been doing this for a few years now and sometimes i’ve been more consistent than others…. but I’ve now done over 600 posts. Pretty Cool.


I had this couple come up with a spot.

They choose the house that he grew up in and that they’d be moving into after they got married. The property is pretty deverse and it’s up on the mountain side in Provo Utah.

I love taking on challenges of places that have meaning to clients but aren’t the proto-typical… but in the end this place was pretty awesome. A little more rustic and the color pallett was pretty distinct and fun.

Because it’s on the west side of the mountain we were able to shoot in shady light for a long time until the shade finally hit.


We work together as a team. I try to foster their personality and creativity and they allow me to do the same.

This way it becomes more like a day of hanging out and having fun and being creative… and Never painful pictures.

We go until the shots are gotten and we are happy.



We use what is at our disposal and they trust that with whatever we choose I will be there to make sure they get the best pictures possible.


I try new things that I don’t normally do… like the shot below. Because the lighting was just right and the idea seemed appropriate for them.



I put my bright style of colors and contrast into my work

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These are both pictures for THEM and for the many people that they will be sending announcement to. So we need to see who they are and the interaction between them.

I get Close ups

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Or Scenic Pictures

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And I get humorous pictures that are very them

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I encourage creativity. I don’t stifle it by acting as if only the photographer knows anying.

You Like sunflowers… well your image might not work, but let’s roll with it and do something a bit different with the same theme.

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Love has many sides to it… among them are tenderness and joy


And as you can see they can be done in the same places


I also get solo shots

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And As you’ve seen… Even a good mixture of B&W choices


To see more of the pictures we presently have up online go to the gallery

We started the photoshoot after the sun was down… so speedlights play an essential role in all of these pictures.

In many of these pictures I lit up the lavender at the same time lighting up the bride.

Frequently I would use 3 lights. I had three things to do:
Light up the bride
Light up the lavender
Backlight the Bride

Here’s another post I did of one of the models that also came along that evening.

Hair and Makeup done by Versa Artistry

The skies worked so well with the fields of lavender… the soft twilight worked well for the fields.

Hair and makeup company set up their on location studio in the lavender fields… worked on the brides’ makeup there and so this is where we started the shoot.

I did some for the bride and some for the company Versa Artistry based in Utah. Flavia and Kali are fun wonderful gals.

Sunset colors weren’t hit you over the head vibrant but there was some in the skies (this was all of it) and so we got it in some of the pictures.

We brought umbrellas because it was pretty rainy that day… but it wasn’t at the fields… but we thought might as well give it a whirl.

And we were pretty much done with the evening… but I thought about how Versa might want some pics of their makeup work… so we did some closeups of everyone there… Here are the brides pics.

Check out the rest of the photos up online on the SmugMug Gallery!

Story and Tips

One of my favorite pictures from my trip to Hawaii in November of 2009 (I went there for a wedding but spent 9 other days traveling around the big island and Oahu)

We had just got done taking pictures at Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu. The sun had set and most of the people had departed the shores. I had gotten a lot of great shots of surfers with the sunset. (I’ll have to share some of them later… you can see them here for now

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If I was on my own schedule
I felt pretty done for the day… I wasn’t looking for any more pictures. I was ready to drive back to the hotel. I like doing night shots but you really have to be in the mood for it. Most of the time I travel alone and I don’t find joy in being outside taking night shots alone in strange places. Therefore I just don’t do many, so when the sun set and twilight was over… I was ready to go.

Two Things that happened
One of our friends +Dustin Bess was on his phone (to a girl), he seemed pretty intent on carrying out his conversation so we rolled with it. Meaning we waited on the grass near our Jeep… we were kinda sitting under the palm trees. This also meant we had more time to be there and take pictures.

My other buddy +Clint Louish kept on taking pictures which kept me moving. (I wasn’t about to be the first person to stop taking pictures… I was the full time photographer, can’t let these others show me up… haha)
Since my mood was different… I decided to just try something unique and lazy… because I really didn’t want to move from where I was.

30 Seconds
I didn’t just start taking the picture at 30seconds. That’s a big commitment for one single picture. I started shooting at a higher ISO to test my shot.
I situated the camera under the trees shooting directly up and let it go for a few seconds. Then when I saw it was gonna be pretty cool I put the ISO down and upped the shutter speed. I got all the way to 30seconds. I would have gone longer using Bulb… but did not have the remote trigger that made that easy.

There was a light wind that ruffled the leaves but you can mostly see that effect on the outside and not the inside portions near the base of the tree.

The street lights weren’t your normal colors they were really funky… so I kept on getting really funky colors. So I decided to use the kelvin scale on the WB selector… I set it all the way down to the very lowest it went to. (Which is like 2500? )
It brought the trees back to the correct colors… but it did make the sky a bit cooler than perhaps it might have been. (I added a Color version)

Personally I like the B&W version. You?
I want to print it big for an upcoming gallery setup… what should I print it on?

There are no overt tips in here… they are hidden in the story.
Things like sticking with it even after you are “done” taking pictures. Take advantage of all situations.
Experiment with WB and Long shutter speeds.
Even if it’s very dark a really long shutter speed will counteract.

Hope you like these stories with tips. I’ll keep doing them… at any point you can get me links to the pics and I’ll see what I can do.

Photo: Story and Tips

Shooting just for fun
I’ve written about this in the past about how often I go on just for fun photoshoots and get pictures of the people I’m with (like +Liz Draper who’s a local photographer) I had them model and as you can see in the pictures so did I even.
I’ll have to find that article about how and when I’m totally cool with doing pics for the heck of it.

Flowy Water
We often see the flowing water theme in landscapes but perhaps not enough with portraits.
I’m sure all skill levels will read this but just as a recap: the lower your shutter speed (longer time) the more flowing it looks.
I shot this whole series without a tripod and on the smugmug gallery you can go in and see photo details to see the times if you so desire.

If I remember correctly from 2 seconds all the way to 1/20th of a second.

No Tripod… no problem
I love being creative with how to get low shutter speeds without a tripod. When I travel and I’m in big cities it’s a pain to carry around a tripod all day long just so you can have one at night. So I frequently use all sorts of poles or walls or any of the many, many things you find along the sidewalks… or use the ground. I get some unique pictures because I’m putting the camera in places I might have never considered.

So for a couple of these I was using nearby trees and some of them a ledge that was a bit higher. I think for one or two I was handholding… I’m pretty sure you can tell on one or two of them. (If you see a black “void” around the subject)

Sieze the moment with flash
Even with putting the camera in steady places it’s not perfect because the subject will be moving, but it’s not a reason to not take the pictures.
Flash can help.
There’s some technical reasons going on (which I refrain from getting into at the moment) but just suffice it to say you’ll capture and seize the moment with flash which helps a lot with low shutter speeds.

Testing new stuff
I usually won’t go and play at pictures without trying something new I can use safely here on a for fun shoot before I take it to a paid shoot.

I was testing out two things this time: a battery pack for my speedlight (sb-900) and a flash bender which i was using as a snoot to direct the light straight onto the subject without much bleed onto the surrounding area. It worked well because we had to be sometimes 20ft from the subject standing on the bridge over the river with the flash pointed like a sniper at the subject while I stood from the angle you see here (first picture).

Verdict on the things I tested…
Well it wasn’t a long shoot so I’m not sure how long the battery pack will last but I’ve done 2-3 short shoots with it and it’s still going. And I might consider having a different device for my snoot as the one I was using was a little small for how huge the sb-900 is compared to all the other typical speedlights.

I love the spotlight look and I also love the colors. Because it was just after sunset the light was a lot cooler and we were able to warm her up a bit with the light so it’s a pretty stark contrast between warm and cold light.

Random models
I had some friends from church doing a picnic of sorts nearby. Of of my friends is into photography and he came and watched a bit so we threw him and his fiancee into a couple pictures.
On the last picture you can see the nice dramatic pose… in clothing that certainly did not match. eh? haha (Like them nice green running shorts for the dramatic dip with dramatic lighting?)

Not too slow
I went to a pretty low shutter speed but liked the look of the river at a somewhat faster speed so you could see just how rough the river was running.

Anyway those are some tips and the story behind the pictures.

Had the opportunity to take pictures at the stadium of fire.

Thanks to Gordon for getting me in, he’s been doing it for many many years, always fun to hang out with him.

I recently posted the fireworks from after the event here.

Brad Paisley and David Archuletta performed as well as a few other bands


I packed light. Meaning I didn’t bring in a bag. Well not a big bag, I did have 2 lens holder bags; one around my neck and the other hooked to my belt. I also carried two cameras for fast changing and also to help me carry the 4th lens that I wanted to carry.

Carrying two cameras has another advantage (beyond helping to carry a lens and for backup) it makes you look more official. There are plenty of people that have DSLRs but rarely will you find a person carrying two cameras to not assigned to cover the event for realsies.

I used the 70-200 a lot because we couldn’t get super close to the stage. I shot with the 85 1.4 because I wanted my pics to stang out a bit more.

And if I didn’t mention it Monday but most of the fireworks pics were taken with the 24-70


If any photographers are reading this… OR … people peeved with photographers at concerts.

  1. Please don’t just stand in front of audience members for long periods of time.
  2. Can you get the same shot kneeling down so people can see over you.
  3. Are you not taking a picture at that moment? Are you waiting for a moment?
  4. Can you be out people’s way while you wait?
  5. Move around! I think audience will be alright if you’re only there for a moment, but they paid a lot to be there and don’t want to stare at your head or butt for a full song.
  6. Yes I’m talking to you “photographer” in the green, wish I had written your name down, because you were rude! Not in the intentional way, I just don’t think you realized what you were doing. (And yes I kind of mentioned it to him, but the music was so loud that I don’t think he really understood what I was saying)

Here were a few of the introductory things. Yes that was the guy that crashed into another photographer about 15ft from where I was standing. (Below-left)

The crowd was enjoying themselves of course.

Check out more photos here.