Posts Tagged ‘SLC’

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This was the first paid photoshoot with the new Nikon D800 and it was a fun one.
I like doing individual portraits though I don’t advertize them half enough… probably because I’m more used to weddings paying the bills and sending me to fun locations.


For those interested in my thoughts about my first paid photoshoot with the D800 go to the end of the blog post

ABOUT Jennie

Jennie Litster is an Opera Singer

I met her at a wedding about 1.5yrs ago and we’ve been great friends ever since. The last time she had headshots was about 4yrs ago so she decided it was time to get new ones.

She uses the headshots heavily and says she’ll probably send out several hundred and I’m not sure what amount of time. But every year she travels around auditioning for different parts usually New York and California and sometimes Europe. This year she had a full time job working with the Utah Opera so she was here for a while.

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The light in the house was so nice that we just did most of the headshots there… specially helpful because there was no wind… except for when we stood next to the door.

There are a bunch of looks for her to choose from as I know she’ll be very selective about which one she uses. I have about 90 pictures in the full gallery

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Doing the pictures of the gowns though more fun was a secondary need for her. But we were able to get three different gowns

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NIKON D800 Early Review

I new I’d be getting a very high MegaPixel count and that now my pictures could be blown up to cover the side of a large building.

Sharpness. What I didn’t realize was that because of this (and probably other factors) is that my pictures would be much much sharper.
In fact I’m still blown away at how much sharper my images are and I hope that this was not just the circumstances of this one photoshoot and a few other pictures I’ve taken.

Blown out highlights (bright spots) … well simply put: There are fewer. The camera really does have a much higher range. I guess it makes sense that it was rated the highest camera in this department by DxOMark.

Auto Focus – I still need more interaction specially in adverse situations like backlight or low light. But so far so good. The best compliment I can give is that I have yet to stress or work hard to focus on anything.

Battery Life – So far so good. I think I shot about 1400 pictures on the last battery. But I’ll keep double checking to make sure i was correct. The real test will come when I plug in my GPS and see how fast that depletes the battery. I don’t think I’ll be getting the grip very soon because it’s crazy expensive for a battery grip. But it’ll be wierd to re-adjust to not having one and not being able to use AA batteries to power the camera

File Size – Yep they’re big. 40-50MBs … and this has changed my workflow a bit. Meaning I am now starting to delete pictures from my computer that are blurry and out of focus. In fact I’m starting to chimp straight from the camera as well. The center button zoom is a life saver and I couldn’t live without it. But more than that when you are zoomed in you can scroll around in the picture much faster than any previous camera i’ve had and that does make a difference for me. I used to say storage is so cheap I don’t need to delete… but when your pictures are 3 times the size and you’re bringing home 15GB for a small shoot and 60+GB sometimes for a wedding then you start calculating numbers and realizing you could have about 4-5TBs of pictures a year when you’re used to 1-1.5 … Yeah so I’m changing my mind on the deleting thing. Good thing for me that I’ve already selected tens of thousands of blurry pictures over the years that I could easily, with one click of the button, delete.

ISO – I know people are more interested in High ISO performance but I think I’m most excited about having a lower ISO setting of ISO50 that will be awesome for night shots or even shooting at f/1.4 in the middle of the day. There is indeed noise at higher ISOs and since there are a lot more megapixels you can really zoom in and see it. But when you zoom out and just see the picture online and stuff I don’t think it’s a big issue. What I’m trying to say is that I just assume it’s better than the D700 but will try shooting some more HighISO stuff and get back to you on that.

COLOR – I’m still getting used to turning the pictures I take into the bright colorful images i’m used to. Using the Vivid profile in LR4 is good but not quite as punchy as I’m used to. Also I’ve found myself tweaking the WB in post a bit more than I was ever used to and I’m hoping it was just for this shoot. I think my picture color will be different than in the past… but I’m sure I’ll find a good method and be happy about it. With a short amount of experience one thing I could say is that the colors look more real.

BUTTONS – My muscle memory says that the AF-L button, the Mode button and the Front scroll wheel are all just slightly in the wrong place. It’s been awkward for me to adjust to.

Happy surprise – Changing Image size on the fly. Yep I’ve programmed the Fn button to change between full frame, 1.2x, 1.5x and 5:4 image sizes… it’s been pretty fun actually and only time will tell if I’ll continue to do that when the newness wears off… but something tells me I will if only because it saves so much space on the hard drive. Well to be fair it does help me previsualize the correct cropping when I can’t get any closer to my subject.

ONE TEST – You can’t really take anything I write to seriously because I’ve only shot 1400 pictures with the camera. But in this next week I’ll have done 2 weddings and this time next week I’ll be in Japan to do an engagement shoot and taking lots of travel pictures. So that’s when I’ll get a really good idea.

I thought I’d be happier with a D4 than a D800 but I really am warming up to the idea of a D800 the image quality is spectacular and that’s a pretty big deal. I think I’ll just stay away from a D4 so that I don’t know any better and my wallet is happier that way.

To get a better feel for the images why don’t you go to the gallery on SmugMug where you can view the images pretty large


I posted a write up about their pictures at the SLC Airport

But now for just a post of their pictures at Memory Grove

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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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Often you’re just trying to tap all the photographic wealth of places on the grounds of a beautiful place like Temple Square in Salt Lake City that you don’t often get to travel very far away.

Not that this location is even that far… but it mostly happened because prior to entering into the temple we had a “First Look Session” which was the first time he saw her in her dress.
We did lots of the locations that one would typically do at that point in time so after their ceremony in the temple we were certainly less rushed.

This particular shot happened mainly because we were all parked in the Conference Center parking lot and she wasn’t changing in the temple but going as is.
So I asked if they wanted a few more pictures.

Now there are certainly lots of amazing pictures from the day but this location was probably amongst my favorites because I’d never done it before. I also think it’s very modelesque of them.

And I love the colors… I know most people love warmer colors but this was December – winter time – and it just fits for me.



I’m calling this one a sneak peak because then I’m allowed to do a more in depth post on the pictures later… maybe break them down a bit.

Whereas I want to show off how I shoot, why I take the pictures I do (for both clients and aspiring photographers) this’ll just be a “Look-At-These-Pictures” gallery




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Well I said this was gonna be a sneak peak… so maybe I should stop it here… there are lots more



When many people think of light diffusion for photography it’s mainly about the foreground.

For people photography that means the people are in nice diffused lighting. Diffused light we equate to soft light. Next to a window, a flash through a big softbox, a cloudy day and in shade. (BTW I think people there is a time for harsh light)

I shot middle of the day on Saturday and needed to diffuse the light on the subject because there was no shade around so I had someone standing practically right above these two with a diffuser even when for a minute or two the brunt of the sun went behind a small cloud.

What I noticed after is how different the background looked when the clouds were diffusing the light onto the water from when it was straight sun onto the water feature in the back.

Days where the lighting is Chaotic is my favorite because then you get so many different looks without having to try to hard or wait to long. (As long as you’re prepared for it all)


The way the light is reflecting off of the water in this one has a certain appeal and I can’t really decide which one I like more and I bet the results amongst a large audience would be pretty split.

It obviously means the background is much brighter than in the previous picture.

Because the sun was so much brighter at this moment the faces do seem to be lit up better, but in the previous one it would have been easy to add a little bit of additional light to the scene (via flash or reflector)


2 days ago we talked about coming out of the SLC LDS Temple and some group shots… and more or less about the beginning of this wedding.

Read It

We shall now continue

We’ll focus on the kids themselves and then next edition we’ll end off with the reception


I think this is a picture one of my interns took as I was setting up a shot… he got in close and photographed this neat moment. Go Will!

In any case you’ll notice a distinct usage of plant life in their pictures… a couple of reasons, she loves plant life, she studies it up at Utah St and she is even did her reception at Cactus and Tropicals and so I’m thinking I’ve done more than a few weddings at SLC Temple so I wouldn’t mind at all focusing on some places I haven’t been to a lot since often I’m focused on the building.

OK let’s meet them

This is Bret

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He’s older than you think… not like ancient or anything but he’s older than his brothers who we kinda met last time.

And this is Michelle

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OK we hope to hear from Michelle and Bret later with their stories and advice from the day and hopefully learn about what pictures are special to them with some fun stories why.

But for now I took a quick peak at the pictures she posted on facebook to see what she was liking.

She put up that first one

A couple of my favorites I put up last time

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And there’s nothing like a good ol fashion straight smiling at the camera kinda picture.


Last wedding story was quite the read wasn’t it? Hope you enjoyed it.

I’m thinking about cutting this one down in more manageable chunks… plus it means that I get to string it along for more days. I mean I wasn’t supposed to tell you my tricks. I suppose it’s more like a mini-series with jack bauer just about to do something crazy right at the end and you have to tune back in to see what happens in the next installment.

So here we go.

I was here


This was the first picture of the day… I took it to test out the camera. I just got my 14-24 2.8 back from the shop not too long ago and I missed it for getting cool architecture stuff.

So we so often show off when LDS bride and grooms come out of the temples… like their mini-revealing and unveiling. Their version of walking down the aisle.

But what happens prior to that moment… the non-lds (mormon) in the audience might find this interesting.

I’ve often seen many photographers just sitting in a waiting room waiting for their bride and groom… they’re missing out… this is time to get to know the family and get some of those candids and solo portraits.

Such as…

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Then the moment comes… they come out.

Many times for the actual ceremony she’s wearing a different more subdued dress and so she goes and changes into her wedding dress, so often this really is the first time most have seen her.

Except of course her mom who probably went with her dress shopping (with the card) and her sisters who she played dress up for, of course. haha

But I present Mr. & Mrs. Spencer

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Back-lit scenes are awesome and even more fun with some good lighting work.

But how about those lens flares


I know the majority of people love warm colors… but I stayed with a very cool look to this one on purpose, just to see if I can convert people to different color schemes on pictures. While trying to maintain keeping a natural skin tone.

More from this shoot (From last year)

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A different look: Meaning a bunch of different looks in the same spot.

A different look: As in a different kind of spot to begin with.

Try both of these things.
You don’t need an amazing background for good pictures… sometimes they’ll even detract from the main part of the picture which in this case was the bride.

We got the flowers, the full dress, the face and emotion and eyes and all that stuff.

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These pictures were taken late last year but I fear I might have glanced over them and never really shown them on the blog… so here they are.

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So Dustin Izatt organized a little get together where photographers were going to take pictures of other photographers.
“Headshot Exchange”

Side note: I never knew there were two different sections of Pierpont Ave in SLC

I went and took some pictures of the others.
And here I’m showing them.
See all the ones I edited here –
If you’re one of the photographers and want more of these let me know and I’ll gladly upload more. (Assuming I have some)
Oh and you should go and check out their photography.

Dustin Izatt [Website Blog]

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Samantha Loosle [Website Blog]

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Leah Miller [Website Blog]

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Impromptu Decision to do a Workshop

On saturday I created an impromptu workshop on How to find locations and use them.

The reason was because an Intern just booked 2 weddings and had to do engagements and needed place ideas.
I said I had a free Saturday so why not make an event of it.

Not publicized

No one really knew about the workshop because it was immediatly full and therefore I didn’t announce it.
I opened it to the students of JarvieU and they all came.
We invited a few models to join us as well.
We didn’t want a huge caravan of cars… just 2 maybe 3.


No Rest: As we waited for a spot to sit at Red Iguana for lunch… we kept at it. (at least a few of us did)


Did it work?

I hadn’t done an event like this before so it was nice getting an idea of how it worked.

In short…. It was amazing!
Everyone seemed to really enjoy all the information that was shared on locations.
Of course other things were discussed and learned as well.
We even took note of all the spots we stopped at.

It was a fun experience because we had no pre-objective. We were out driving around SLC, just finding new spots.
We even stopped at spots which some attendees probably wondered what in the world we were doing there. And yet we ended up with some of the best shots of the day.

Hopefully beyond finding some new spots they learned to utilize well any location they happen to be at… and are able to see and find spots more easily.

We also had an awesome lunch and time to chat. (Red Iguana is Amazing)



I have another free saturday coming up and I know the students are really interested.
I also am looking at getting a new Projector for the house and JarvieU events.

So why not?

Another Workshop this Saturday?

I can’t take many people and I don’t feel I need to  charge a regular workshop rate, specially since it’s only one aspect.
So at a fraction of the cost for a full day event. $200

I’ll take about 4 people. JarvieU students are still invited of course but they all know they’ll be kicking it in a separate car following us along.

So if you’re interested let me know.
If there are at least 3 people I’ll do it.

I might continue to do it in the future… but who knows if it’ll be the same cost. Specially when spring/summer comes and my weekends get much more busy with real paying jobs.

We start early and we go until people need to go.
Last time it was 9am until 3:30pm


With a lot of people there the ideas were pouring in.


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You might remember the couple from their wedding day pictures in San Diego… the super sunet.
Check them out here

Their reception was at “The Point” at the huntsman cancer center.

I liked the location and the food was awesome.
If you go to the full gallery you’ll see all the pictures including the many pictures my two interns took.


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Taking pictures for the organizers of the event and the salt lake street event

We had full access to in front of the stage for all the bands but only two songs for collective soul.
But they had such a crazy awesome light show and so much action going on up on stage that I was on rapid fire non stop.

You can see all of them including a ton of fan shots here

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A note to those doing concert photography. You can take great photos and not be rude and in everyone’s way during a concert.
You don’t need to use flash even if they let you.
Remember there’s a lot of people who paid money to come, you should be try when you can to be out of their way.
Don’t stay in one place for too long. Be courteous.

Don’t give us other photographers a bad rap.




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I must say that Collective Soul puts on the best show I’ve ever been to.
And really I haven’t been to a lot of concerts.
I’ve just started because I’ve found I love photographing them.



Ah the 14mm, fun lights and the use of my flash set up in the back to make it really light up. Firing with a pocket wizard.
Made for some fun fan shots throughout the night. Didn’t affect the stage of course.

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Allred sang and it was a bit more low key. Just needed to wait for the moments and the expressions.


Ladies and gentlemen…

Props to the bride for not only being willing but more than happy to go out to the stinky gnat infested waters of the Great Salt Lake.

And to her Mom and two sisters and niece that came to help.

And to my wonderful Intern Heidi who braved the swarms of mosquitoes that came out about 5 minutes prior to this shot

Annika (the bride) had no problem going out into this little area in her beautiful wedding dress and in between being sucked dry by mosquitoes she even posed and smiled.

Now for the exciting part…

Usually I spend a good 10-20 seconds editing pictures… but I was happy to see with the great lighting and flash assistance from Two directions

There was NO Editing on this picture.

(It makes me happy to be able to say that)

I didn’t have time to really even review pictures because we had overstayed our welcome with the blood suckers. So I was just hoping things would be in focus.

And to top it all off it was pretty much the very last picture of the night. Huzzah

I kinda wonder what we could do to it if i do decide to edit it…
what a beautiful sunset and what a beautiful bride.

I will post the rest when i get to them i suppose… but for now back to the weddings from a few weeks ago.