Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Pictures and Pure Love

I had the good fortune of being able to do some baby/family portraiture for my good friends Ralf and Lindsay over the weekend. Baby Neesa is five weeks old and apple of her parents' and grandparents' eyes. As new parents, Ralf and Lindsay are still getting used to the lack of sleep, scheduled bottle feedings, interpreting the meanings of Neesa's different cries, and all the things that the books tell you about but you never really know firsthand until you accidentally get some of that mustard-colored poo on your hand while changing a diaper. Moments like these can be trying and fleeting, BUT mostly amazing! You're holding in your arms this little person whose very being and every breath depends on you. (Ralf joked that Neesa is now running the household – I'm not sure that he knows he's in for at least 18 more years of her being in charge! On second thought, I think he does...) Part of you is resigned to the fact that she's not going to stay like that forever – they grow so fast, sometimes too fast! Without being overly maudlin or sentimental, I hope they're able to look back at these images years from now and remember those unguarded moments where the only thing that mattered was Neesa and nothing else...

The reactions have been good. There's more pictures to process, but so far I'm really happy with these images. They're a portrayal of emotion as real as it gets – not anything you can fake with contrived poses or manufacture with any amount of Photoshop trickery. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I've Got Some Things to Learn – The New(er) Professional Photographer as Student

In September, I attended a wedding photography seminar entitled "Craft Your Success" hosted by Davide Greene and Mike Anderson. The marquee speaker was supposed to be David Jay, one of the contemporary luminaries of the wedding photography world. Unfortunately at the previous stop in Toronto, there was a bit of a dispute between Davide, Mike, and David which let to the ensuing fiasco that resulted in David Jay's departure from the tour. This in turn resulted in some miscommunication and a lot of confusion between the speakers who were continuing the tour and the participants in subsequent cities, Winnipeg included. I was still looking forward to the event in spite of what I had read on the internet the day prior to the seminar. In all honesty, as a relative newbie to the scene I hadn't heard of David Jay anyways...

It turned out to be a true learning experience. Davide and Mike touched on technical aspects of wedding photography, new technology (and the extraneousness of some of it), the business of photography, relations with clients, and growth as a person, photographer, business person and artist...? An artist? Indeed, in some (many) circles, the wedding photographer is not held in high esteem, merely another vendor in the mélange of wedding vendors. But I tend to agree with the artist label – there is most definitely an artistry involved. The underlying grunt work of shooting (fun), post processing (sometimes not fun), and passion lead to art, to great images, the end result. This in turn defines you to your clientele and then dictates the perceived value of your work. I came away from the seminar with a renewed sense of what I was doing, what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do to achieve that end.

Fast forward to last night's photographer soirée. Thanks to Nghia for inviting me and to Trevor for hosting it at his home studio! There were a couple of photographers that I already knew on a personal basis, some I'd heard of by name, some I'd seen at the seminar but never got to know, and some others like me who were beginning on their wedding photography business paths. It was an impressive collection of talented people.

For most of the night, I was awed by Trevor's place. Suffice it to say, I'm sure anybody who enters will be awed not only by the house and sense of design, but by the amazing images lining the walls. Looking through his albums, I was even more impressed. At this point in my business, every time I shoot is a learning experience, so I am aspiring to the quality that he is able to produce.

I lifted my jaw off the carpet long enough to listen to what more experienced photographers had to say. It was interesting to hear their opinions and anecdotes about pricing, contracts, products, dealing with clients, dealing with outside service suppliers, work flow, presentation, and on and on... Speaking with the two I already knew, they told me it was refreshing to meet in a more informal situation like this, and getting to know people they'd met or seen at various venues while shooting.

I heard this may become a monthly affair. I'm definitely happy to have attended and hope to attend more events like this – I learned a lot. But I want to learn more, and I know I have more to learn. Open eyes and an open mind are crucial to my development as a photographer and business person.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Shooting Paper Moon

A couple of Sundays back I had the pleasure of shooting the press photos of local Winnipeg band Paper Moon. We got quite a bit accomplished within the tight confines of the Allison and Chris' living room. In our planning session, they came up with 3 concepts - Pajama Party, Board Game, and Back to School. They wanted to emulate some old school (c. 1970s) Sears/Eatons catalogues. The resulting images after post processing were actually a little more Norman Rockwell(ish), but pleasing nonetheless... I think if I fade the images more, I might further be able to emulate a worn 70s catalogue look. So far the reviews have been good - I'm happy, and the band's happy...Thanks to the band for being so cooperative, to Tannis Legary (a great makeup artist with whom I've had ongoing collaborations), and to Leela. AND before I forget, Paper Moon will be playing a fund raiser show at the Park Theatre (698 Osborne Street) on Thursday, December 4, 2008. Message me here or go to www.papermoon.ca to get tickets.