Sunday, November 22, 2009
Amanda Nemec - Photography 'Teacher'
(taken by my 'student' Alyssa Olson, who I also share a cube with at work)
We had a GREAT time in the workshop yesterday! My students came ready to learn, and their spouses came ready to be photographed. I figured this way, we'd all learn, AND everyone would get some good photos of themselves. Here's a few I took along the way:
I'd love to do this again sometime. I like that it wasn't really anything formal. I came with a few talking points, but they came with lots of questions. Then I broke them off into groups and had them practice on each other. I saw a few lightbulbs going off yesterday, so I think everyone got something out of it.
Oh, and they bought me beer and a chimichanga as 'payment'. Sweet!
Today I did 2 photo sessions already, and they couldn't have been more different! The first was a family I've known forever, in fact I grew up living across the street from them. Their girls are all grown up with families of their own, and this large group was a challenge at 9am when the light was really giving me problems. Darn that Arizona sun! I'd give up my favorite lens for an occasional cloudy day! This session was a tad nerve-wracking because John, the dad, is a great photographer and I was so honored they asked me to take their family photo. But also, Janet, the mom, was a dear friend of my mother's. I'm so lucky that so many of my mom's friends keep in touch, and Janet is just such a special part of my life...
Right after that I met with this little family. Funny, small world story here. This mom's mother babysat me when I was in preschool and elementary school. This was the house I got sent to in the hopes I'd rub on Lori and her sister Lisa when they had the chickenpox so I'd get it. Didn't work! But, Lori's a MOM now, which makes me feel super old. And her hubby Josh was friends with my brother in high school.
Thanks everyone from my workshop for making it so fun, and thanks to both of my great families today for braving the frequent location changes in the search of scarce AZ shade.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Photography 101: Outdoor Flash
But, today I'm taking a break from photo jobs, and I'm holding a mini workshop for some of my friends on people photography. I like to think of it as me 'hosting' the workshop, because really, I'm hoping it's going to be more of a discussion and practice session. I can always learn too, and I hope we all learn something today.
One of the things I've been asked to lead a discussion on today is outdoor flash for portrait photography. I almost always do sessions completely using available light, and where needed reflectors. I spend a lot of time during sessions looking for natural reflectors as well (light colored walls, the gorgeous desert ground in Papago...). But, I do know that a lot of photographers depend on flash, even for outdoor photos, and in Arizona where our sun is so harsh, this is a necessary skill.
So to prepare for my discussion, I just went out on my back porch where Mika was sunning herself and snapped a few photos for reference. Let's start with the 'before':
This photo has a few good things going on for it. First, you can see I've kept her face in shadow and used the sun as rim lighting. I've also set my camera to manual so I can have more control over the exposure for her, and I still kept the background from getting blown out (although it is partial shade on that wall behind her, so not the best example). BUT, she's got horrible shadows on her face. This is the 'raccoon eye' effect you get when you take a picture of someone outside in the middle of the day. Not attractive at all.
Well now, aren't you looking pretty! You can see a complete change between this picture and the last. In this one I've put my camera in 'manual' mode and exposed so that the background was a tad darker then if it were the subject. This helps make my puppy 'pop'. Then I used a flash (SB600 for my Nikon with a Gary Fong 'cloud' diffuser) to expose Mika. Doesn't she look much prettier in this picture? And you can see, I've actually got TWO light sources that I'm taking advantage of: the flash to expose her face correctly, and sun which is providing some very nice backlighting.
Voila! You can practice this yourself at home if you have an external flash by making your own dog sit with her back to the sun, or you can always set up a stuffed animal on a chair. One more thing to remember: I sat myself in the shade so I wouldn't have to contend with sun flare, but you can definitely use a lens hood as well. I was just too lazy to go find mine. (although you can see a tiny bit of flare snuck into the second picture, and that's not necessarily a bad thing!)
If you have any people (or dog!) photography questions, I'd love to hear from you!
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Weekend Off - with pics
(this was taken by a stranger who may have left drool
marks on my new D700. good thing I brought business cards!
they were looking for a wedding photographer for their son.)
Yesterday we took the doggies up to Sedona to hike the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. It's one of my favorite hikes in Arizona and we haven't done it in years. Bonus: the leaves are changing! Yes, we do get changing colors in the Fall in Arizona. You just have to search them out. Luckily we found some.
We did about a 2.5 hour hike and were pooped out by the end. We were thrilled to find a bar and grill with a lovely patio to have a late lunch and an Oak Creek Amber to replenish our fluids.
(hand-held, btw, at 1/20s)
We took Schnebly Hill Road to get home (it's a dirt road that the Jeep touristy companies take) and check out our view from the top:
Overall, an awesome day with my family. Much needed. And another bonus: no photo gigs this morning so we got to sleep in! And watch cartoons...
I've got a few weekends in December open if anyone is still considering family photos. My turnaround is about 3 days, so you still have plenty of time to get photos taken for holiday cards. Contact me if you're interested! www.nemecphotos.com
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Ellis Family - Phoenix, Gilbert Family Photographer
My blog used to be only my personal life, and I've noticed that even my Flickr account, which used to be all photos of things I wanted to take pictures of, is filled with work now. Don't get me wrong, how could I not love doing photography as a job when I get to photograph families like this:
But this, actually, is a case where work meets my real life. I'm so lucky that most of my clients are people I know in one shape or another. I think that's what makes this job so much fun! This particular family is one I've known for a long time...
OK, truthfully I haven't known this little guy for a long time, but I knew his parents before they started dating! When I was younger I went to church camp every summer, and most winter breaks too. Julie (Jack's mom) was one of my best girlfriends back then. And by 'back then' I mean junior high!
Of the friends I had when I was young, Julie was the first to find her life's love. I remember Jeremy as being thoughtful and a little quiet, but totally brilliant. He was the perfect match for Julie who is so sweet and kind. The result is Jack.... who has such an amazingly zen personality. This little guy is full of chatter, but he's completely well behaved and an angel. Not to mention the fact that he's pretty easy to take gorgeous pictures of.
Thanks Ellis family! It was so much fun getting to know Jack and to spend time with you two again. Can't wait to do it again when Jack's a little older!
Phoenix Weekly Event Planner - TOO HOT!
*every week I send out a Weekly Planner to my friends and coworkers. now I'm putting it out to the blog world too!*
Sad that it's November and it's too hot to enjoy the Valley. Come on 'winter'!
• Brewfest - Tempe Marketplace, Nov 7 & 8 (but they have lame-o beer and it's $35)
• Swan Lake - AZ Ballet Company, all weekend
• San Tan Apple Festival - Saturday
• Phantom of the Opera - Gammage
• Scottsdale Fashion Week - Many different things going on all weekend