Posts Tagged ‘locations’


While sometimes I pick on themed shoots for a few reasons… the truth is I wan to do more.


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Mannequins for my idea… no

I’m not gonna ask my clients to dress up like alice in wonderland, a disney princess, the newest most popular movie character.
I also won’t insist they need to go with a desert, beach, stadium or race track just for the heck of it and make it very themed based on those locations.

It just doesn’t work for what I’m doing… if their friends look at the picture and ask why are you on a beach towell at utah lake having a pic-nic. You hate Utah Lake, you two have never been on a pic-nic and that’s not even your beach towell nor does it have anything to do with you or your wedding.

I don’t want a mannequin for some idea i have… “you go stand here and put your hands just like so”
I want to use the location and light and their personalities to create something that works just for them.

I create art around them… I don’t just put them into the art I create.

I know there are plenty of photographers that do this other way… and I think it’s cool and they come up with great stuff… it’s just not me.


So when I do more themed it’s because the client was also creative… and we collaborated.

What usually happens is they have an idea that they think shows off their personalities and their relationship… and I… adapt it to make it look photographically much more appealing.

That’s the way I pose… you do what you would normally do and I’ll tell you when it sucks and adapt it to make it much more photogenic.

I communicate a ton with my clients and give them what I consider lots of instructions… and yet they always tell me they feel like I didn’t pose them. That I’m not a poser.

So with themes they say:

  • Our first date was …
  • We love to…
  • Our favorite location is…
  • Our favorite music… our favorite store…
  • Our favorite activity together is…

I say: Let’s run with that… I have some good ideas that will work for that. Such as…

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My photography is about personality.

I want my clients and their friends and family to say “Oh my heavens that’s so ‘Bobby and Susie’ ”

  • Does it reflect them?
  • Does it reflect their wedding?
  • Does it reflect incidents in their dating history?
  • Does it reflect things they like? (at least)

I do want to do more themed shoots

  • They get lots more attention
  • They are more creative and artistic (in general)
  • I like the challenge.
  • Even the challenge of making the repeated theme fresh and new in my own way.
  • They are better for business. (the attention they get)
  • They are more desired by wedding magazines and blogs

Why I have sometimes been hard on themed shoots.

Well it’s not because I’m against themed shoots or think they’re bad for photography.

It’s because I worry that people don’t do a good job of distinguishing creative direction for photographic skills.

I think a picture can be a great picture while being a poorly taken picture.

The key is to appreciate each are for what they’re worth!

Areas of impact to consider

Locations, creative ideas and selecting photogenic subjects are all GOOD things (needful things)… but then there’s that other pesky little thing… taking good/skilled pictures (light, emotion, composition, processing, the moment)

People can be praised in the picture for many items

  • The Location
  • The Idea
  • The Subject
  • The Photographic Skill

I guess what I desire is that people can look at a picture and see where each of those skills came in.


Part of this came from thinking about typical Orange County or NYC weddings where they’re spending crazy amounts on the weddings. There is so many pretty elements on the wedding day that I worry potential clients are seeing all the pictures of the pretty things and confusing it for pretty/skilled photography. (Yes they can certainly be skilled photographers as well as pretty items/locations/subjects of course.)

I myself have been fortunate to have taken pictures of a lot of typically pretty people. I have also taken pictures of couples at nice places (a lot of LDS temples) and a few more exotic locations.
I don’t do the fancy very expensive receptions (not like OC or NYC) … in fact often I do cultural hall weddings.

I have tuned my skills dealing with mid day light and crazy colors of a church basketball court for many a reception. (I am thankful for that tough teaching)

Making up for deficiencies

You deserve it all

A client deserves all those things we can offer, good ideas, good locations and good photographic skills.

I think the Photographic Skills can make up for possible deficiencies in the other areas.

  • They can make a boring or “ugly” place look great.
  • They can bring out the most beauty in the subject
  • And they can portray the idea/theme in the best possible way.


Here’s the deal on these pictures.

They had a long distance relationship.

He would fly up from California almost every weekend. He had graduated BYU and had a job in California and she was still going to BYU living in Provo.

So they said Airport and we rolled with it.

We then threw in some other pictures… Like these Memory Grove pictures.



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At the end of the park near the Eiffel Tower there is a Memorial to peace. It is a great vantage point to the tower.

Being far enough away to photograph a subject this large with an unobstructed view is important to be able to use a lens like the 70-200 in order to stand back and zoom in to be able to compress the scene and give it a unique look and feel.

The framing of the couple and the tower were just great perks. Plus it was on an elevated level which allow to shoot above the park and the fences and people that are strolling about.

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To get this far away made it a much harder scene to light up because my lights had to shoot farther… I therefore had to take the softbox off and go straight zoomed in flash… it was still hard being the mid morning on a bright cloudy day.

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There is a lot more of the memorial that would make for awesome pictures however being limited on time we went for the pretty straight forward awesome spot.

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She was pretty cold by then so we got the jacket back on her and he opted to do a couple extra pictures as we waited for the car to pull around.


This is part of a longer series focusing on 7 different locations (some locations are broken down)

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OK so here it is: The first installment of the Wedding Pictures in Paris.

I write this moments before I jump in my car and head to California to do a wedding tomorrow… so the other posts will have to wait until next week.


So as you can expect one could spend all day at this location and take tons of pictures but for us this was one of 7 locations that we went to that day.
I chose a location a bit farther  away so I could use both the 50mm 1.4 and the 70-200 2.8 and still have full tower in view.

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When I was using the 70-200 I’d usually back aways and zoom in giving them their room and let them kinda come up with their own stuff… I had them walk to me for a couple as I laid there in on the cold wet ground… I know “what a trooper” haha


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I call this time of year “Dirty Fall” and I love it. It’s when most of the leaves have fallen they’ve since been rained on and lost a lot of color except for that dirty fall kinda look.

It’s that point where it’s almost a bit more winter than it is fall but some of the colors of fall still remain.

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The spot speaks to romance… so they did mostly tender, emotional and romantic poses.


Paris Formals

So yeah there were lots of pictures to show from the this last week I spent in France. It’ll take me a while to get to them all and edited and online. I also put them on Facebook frequently.

As for the wedding pictures I took… more technically they are Wedding Formals (Some call it the blah word Groomals) But we’ll just stick to the short “Wedding Pictures”. They got married in SLC at the LDS Temple Saturday had their shin dig and flew to Paris they chilled there Sunday and Monday (honeymooning) and then we met up on Tuesday for their typical couple pictures. They really wanted awesome memorable pictures (both are photographers) and well that’s what they got.

As for the 5 other days that I took Travel Style pictures those will be located on the Envision the World blog mainly


So I’ll break it down – I’ll add a hyper link each time I post one.
(NOTE I Hope to post one before I head to California in the morning… stay tuned)

This is part of a longer series focusing on 7 different locations (some locations are broken down)

      (If there are extra requests to highlight a spot or picture I’ll add those posts hereafter)

      The category and corresponding URL that links to them all will be France2010Wedding

      A NATURAL TIMER : Sometimes it means ALL day



      The purpose of this post is to inspire people to take pictures wherever they want. Old stereotypes be damned.

      Baker is what many might consider one of the Ugliest towns in the United States, boring and hot. Good for gasoline and some fast food. So I was excited to shoot some engagement pictures there. The couple traveling with me seemed to think I was just being goofy and playing a joke, (understandable) so we only took a few.

      (Above) This is just outside of Baker… the mountains are certainly nothing out of northern Utah… not the typical vision of beauty. But it makes it strong and unique. Yeah I wish I had shot for more than about 2-3 minutes. I also wish it wasn’t 100 degrees.

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      What’s the most distinctive thing about Baker? The tallest thermometer in the world.
      So I convinced them to get out for a minute or two and shoot here in the middle of an ugly, empty, hot and dirty parking lot.

      Looking back the iconic aspect of having the thermometer is cool but I’m such a fan of the colors and the sky. Made laying down on the burning hot ground worth it.

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      Underneath a billboard for some shade… hoping to get the trailer park a bit more in the scene. I should have stoop up high on something to get more of the scenery.

      The colors of this place are distinct in the pictures… you can’t really tell it’s late morning and almost 100 degrees. I actually like the way the color of this place is mid day.

      NOT BAKER (Below)

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      OK so we stopped several locations during our trip and this was mid morning outside of st. george off of some random street. The color and light was amazing when we passed by but we hit another location first and so we didn’t get back for about an hour. easily my favorite pictures of the event… even if I was excited about trying to make Baker look good.

      I’ll do more spots in baker next time.



      Get a small patch of cool stuff and don’t look at it and say “Darn, I wish there were more so I can get this cool shot I have in my mind”

      Realize for a moment it’s not going to happen you can’t make another acre grow real fast… deal with it.
      Make what you have work to your advantage. Don’t live in what could have been. Start dealing with what you have.

      In actuality this section of cool plants was plenty large enough to get the pictures I wanted.
      The angle I chose was to make the plants look more plentiful, but not just that but because I didn’t have a never ending supply in the back.

      This is the big reason why she’s down on the ground.
      If the field were bigger or I could get up on a ladder I would have shot from on high but with her standing as well.

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      Then of course I got down because we all know I love shooting in through stuff.
      I also felt a nice up close portrait was in order.

      Brooke asked her mother what she wanted for Mother’s Day and I’m told this is it.
      Sounds perfectly understandable… I think everyone should do it.
      I expect to be booked up for… forever! haha

      But really I can totally understand not only does the mother benefit from getting the actual pictures but she also gives her daughter a chance to feel beautiful in front of the camera and beautiful for years to come each time she looks at the pictures.
      What a good mother!

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      Again not a huge section of awesomeness to play with but when you’re shooting straight down you don’t need much.

      Which makes me remember to say get them in all sorts of positions (sitting, leaning, lean-sitting, you know… everything) why?
      Because they’ll feel more comfortable in some than others…
      (unless your style is a total posed style. Well then don’t listen to me if that’s not your style and your not intersted in bringing out their personality… move along nothing to see here)

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      Backlight… Create your own, or put them in positions where it already exists.

      See more pictures here


      The recap

      Let me write a recap… at the beginning…
      In the post I’ll tell you that stretching yourself to handle any situation, and to even embrace them will make you a better photographer.
      And not just stretching yourself in photography (more specifically locations) but stretch and expand your horizons in all you do.

      Finding the good, finding the beauty is an ability that goes way beyond photography and as an aspiring photographer can even be developed outside of your actual photography

      Get ready for a LONG post.