Sokoloski Wedding

A few weeks ago now I had the fun experience of capturing Scott and Trina's big day! I met them last year as a result of them getting my name from the Bridal and Beyond bridal show here in Knoxville. We hit it off during the consultation and I was intrigued when they told me their venue - the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Having never shot a wedding there before, I guess you could say I was pretty excited about it. I mean, it takes a pretty awesome couple to decide they're going to say their vows in such a unique setting! They let me know that they wanted to take lots of funny photos and really enjoy everything the space has to offer. Those are the sorts of things this photographer loves to hear from clients!

So, in the months between our first consultation and the wedding day, we corresponded fairly regularly (I'll be posting more about my process at a later time). We got the schedule pinned down, discussed what images were a priority, and all the other wonderful details that go into planning a wedding. Needless to say, my second shooter and I were looking forward to this particular job.

Now, we have been having what I like to call "whiplash weather" lately, which meant we weren't sure if we would be able to take any pictures outside or if it would be too insanely cold to be outdoors. It turned into the most gorgeous day! We had blue skies, warm weather, and even ended up with more sunlight than we needed. It poured in through the enormous windows resulting in some lovely indoor light for the bridal portraits, first look, and ceremony. I was one happy photographer!

Here is a tiny slideshow from their wedding:

Their full wedding site is up and can be found here: Sokoloski Wedding

I have to say this may have been one of the smoothest wedding days I have ever covered. Everyone involved knew where to be and when, which is rare in the world of weddings. They were all goofballs and easy-going as it gets. There were even a few instances of things happening earlier than planned! It was great!

Well, I'd better get to planning the next wedding I'm covering! If you or anyone you know is looking for a wedding photographer, please don't hesitate to contact me. I would love to meet and discuss your big day.

 

R. S.

 

Photography Gear

This past weekend I shot a wedding at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame - a wonderful and unique event I'll be blogging more about later. One of the venue employees is in school for photography and struck up a conversation with me about my equipment. I realized that some of you may be curious about my camera and lenses as well. So, I sat down and wrote this blog post for you!

I suppose I'll give you a very brief history of my equipment. (I won't bore you with tales of my first digital camera...I'm skipping to what I used when I began shooting for pay.) When I was in high school, I won a video contest through Panasonic for a claymation I'd produced - a video which showed all the death scenes in Hamlet. The prize was a video camera, but I asked for a DSLR instead. Since that was cheaper than the original prize, they had no problem switching for me.

Within a few months (give or take), through a long string of events I won't go into now, I ended up with 5 lenses for this camera, none of which I had to pay for. God blessed me with equipment it would have taken me forever to save for (and probably wouldn't have bought if I'd had the money because I'm terribly frugal). For those un-familiar with the Lumix cameras, they use a mirrorless system. This makes them both silent and more compact. I learned so much with it and even used it for the first several weddings I shot, like the one this image comes from:

About a year and a half ago, it was time to purchase something new. My beloved Lumix had been through the wringer and needed to go into retirement. I'd gone as far as I could with the small sensor and other limitations of the system. After consulting with some fellow photographers and doing a great deal of research, I decided to purchase my current camera - a Nikon D750. (In case you're curious, her name is Lucy, after Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia because of the way she sees things that no one else can see.)

Along with this full-frame camera body, I also have three lenses - a 50mm, a 70-200mm, and a 24-85mm. They've served me well so far. I also purchased my first external flash and remote as well as a diffuser, which have been fun to play with. I'm still partial to natural light, but having a flash ensures I can always get the shots I need. I've learned new techniques, tackled bigger projects, and enjoyed having a camera that can keep with me (at least for the time being). I plan to continue doing so until I outgrow this camera too, though I imagine it will be while!

If you have any more specific questions about what I use, how I process images, etc., I'm all ears!

-R. S.

Sara's Art - An Interview

Back in December (yes, I know I'm a tad late with this), I had the pleasure of taking photos for an amazing fellow artist - Sara. She wanted to make sure she had pictures taken with her most recent piece before delivering it to her client. Can you blame her?

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I mean, it's difficult to believe it's a painting and not a photograph! Personally, I love hearing about the experiences of other artists and learning what they really enjoy about their work. And, since I already know her so well, I thought I would ask her to answer some questions for you guys! Here's our little interview:

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How long have you been painting?

I did my first painting, in acrylic, my junior year of high school in 2012. I painted one or two more in high school but really focused most on graphite drawings. Since my first painting I have done 5 in the last 5 years in acrylic as photo realistic pieces. More recently I have attempted oils for the first time in a more impressionistic style, which I really enjoy!

Are you self-taught or did you go to an instructor?

I really consider myself to be both self and instructor taught. When I was about four, I would wake up early by myself, prepare crayons and paper, turn on the TV and draw with Bob Ross and other featured artists. I have since always had a passion for creating and have learned a lot just through practice. I did, however, have an amazing art teacher in high school from whom I took four classes over four years. She was so encouraging of her students, which I think is what I needed most. She taught us how to see and then how to represent that on paper or canvas – with light, shapes, perspective, negative space… everything. I did not paint much in high school, but, regardless of medium, I really think it is all about learning how to see first and then second how to represent that through the movements of your hand as you create a piece. A lot of what I do though I do not think was taught or learned – I truly believe it is just in me. People ask me all the time how I did pieces or certain aspects of my paintings. My answer is always the same… “I don’t know, I just do it.” I have heard it described as an artist’s language – like how you talk and the certain words you use. Some of what you say is learned from what is around you but at the core it is just YOU. This is how I feel about my art. It’s a piece of me and I don’t think all of it was taught.

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If you could describe your style in a sentence, what would that sentence be?

If I had to describe my style in one word even, I would say it is “evolving.” I started in photo representation or photo-realism but have more recently fallen in love with impressionism. I can’t say I have one particular style yet – I am still trying to figure out which one I want to pursue and which one connects and speaks to and for me more than the others.

What is your favorite medium to work in and why?

I love paint… any kind of paint. I like acrylic because of the detail but I also love oil because of its lack of detail. I guess that means my favorite medium depends on what I want to create in that moment.

About how long do you spend on each painting?

The time I spend on each piece varies significantly. It depends on how much concentrated time I can give it each time I sit in front of the canvas, it depends on what subject matter I am painting, but it also depends on what style I am pursuing in the piece. It really ranges from 45 minutes to 80 hours. However, I like to think though that every piece takes as long as I have been alive to create because with each piece I am building on everything I have learned – creatively but also personally.

When painting or drawing, do you have a specific type of music you like to listen to?

The music I listen to completely depends on my mood and what I am painting. Sometimes I listen to pop music or movie soundtracks, but my favorite go-to playlist is Ben Howard Radio on Pandora. The music is so creative and for some reason really connects to me and brings the most creativity to the canvas.

Where do you find inspiration for your art?

I find inspiration in a lot of things. I think we all are inspired by things we connect to emotionally based on our past, current situation, dreams, fears, etc. Because of this, when I look at something and think, “I just HAVE to paint that,” I know I have connected to it somewhere within me and that the possibilities of what I could create from that connection could be really special. Specifically, though, I absolutely love light and how it moves on, through and around objects or nature. I think it catches my attention the most.

What are some new techniques and mediums you would like to try or learn more about?


I have A LOT of learning to do, and I am very excited about it! I really have not painted all that much so I just want to spend as much time with a paintbrush in my hand as possible. Right now I am really trying to learn about oils and Plein Air painting, so I can practice being freer with my brushstrokes and colors as I try to develop a more impressionist style.

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As you can see, she is incredibly talented at what she does! If you would like to contact her to purchase a professionally made print or commission an original, here is her contact info:

Sara Seaman

Acrylic and Oil Painter

saraseaman7@yahoo.com

(865) 851-5939

This interview is a first here on my blog, so if you really like it, please let me know so I can be sure to post more like it!

- R. S.

Mother's Music

For those of you who follow my instagram account (@ThousandWordPhotography), you may recall that I recently posted a photo of my mother playing piano. It quickly got more "likes" than any other photo I had ever posted. Clearly, it struck a chord with people (once again, pun completely intended) and I feel it is worth writing a blog post about.

My mother took many years of piano lessons when she was younger. I believe she even toyed with the idea of majoring in music during college, but opted for an engineering degree instead. Needless to say, music is a huge part of who she is. We have that in common, along with a great deal of other things. The piano we have now is one she purchased for herself before she even met my dad. It still plays beautifully in spite of all the things we've put it through. At one point, we had to have the key tops replaced (I'd picked at the edges of them as a little kid - not something I'm proud of), but that's about the only real work on it I know of.

Once my mother had me and my brothers, she didn't play very often. A mother of four insane children doesn't often have time to sit down. Besides, playing music might give us cover to get into some sort of mischief. If she was at the piano, normally one of us was with her, receiving a lesson we didn't want. I can't imagine how frustrating that must have been for her. So many times since then I've wished I had listened to her instructions more and not argued so vehemently that I could not, in fact, count and play at the same time. (Since that time, I have learned to play at a decent level and I'm still pretty sure I can't count and play at the same time...but you'll be glad to know we don't fight about it anymore.)

Now that we are all grown, I've noticed her playing a little more often. One afternoon, I heard some beautiful music coming from the basement - and I immediately knew who was playing. Grabbing my camera, I headed down the stairs to sneak some photos. She realized I was there pretty quickly, but didn't mind. After all, she's used to my camera antics. Watching her fingers fly across the keys has always fascinated me (and made me a bit jealous, if I'm being honest). It is such a precious thing to watch someone play who thoroughly enjoys it, especially when you know how hard they work and how little they get to do so. If you know anyone like my mother, I'd encourage you to sit down and really listen to their music sometime. I think it will be time well-spent.

 

 

 

 

 

Sally's Session

Have you been enjoying all this warm weather we've been getting? I know that thoughts are conflicting on the subject. Some are complaining that we really haven't had winter, and others are happy they can wear t-shirts in January/February. As a photographer, I'm pretty thrilled to have warm weather to take pictures in. My fingers aren't freezing as I use my camera and my clients' noses aren't turning red. It's great!

One of my most recent sessions was with a family friend of mine named Sally. She's a life coach, and was looking for some professional portraits for her website. I was thrilled when she asked me to take pictures for her. Catching up with friends is always fun! I made a day of it and drove to Bristol for her session. We took some photos in her home, where she does a lot of her correspondence with clients:

Her dog is adorable, so we had to make sure he was in a few pictures!

 

Then, because the weather was so nice, we drove out to the park and made some pictures there. As you can see, she was in short sleeves and it was no big deal when we moved outdoors for more photos! While I know some snow would be nice, this photographer is cheering on the sun, right along with Sally:

 

Her positive attitude is infectious, and I left the session feeling uplifted and encouraged in what I do. You can definitely tell she knows how to do her job! 

Well, until next time, enjoy the sunshine!

- R.S.

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I hope you're enjoying time with your loved ones today (and perhaps some chocolate goodies as well). To be quite honest, I wasn't sure what I wanted to write in celebration. All I knew is that I wanted to write something. It only seemed right for a wedding photographer to acknowledge the holiday.

So, what did I decide to treat you to? I figured I would list the top five things I LOVE about photography! Without further ado, I'll get started.

5.) One thing I really enjoy about photography is how versatile it is. Within one medium, you can get an enormous range in styles. I first got into photography while taking pictures of plants in my garden, from which I moved quickly on to portrait photography. Currently, I'm enjoying extremely abstract photos with lots of bokeh in them:

4.) My camera makes me feel a bit braver. And yes, I realize that may sound like a silly statement, but it is the honest truth. My family knows that I have a fear of heights, as well as a fear of looking goofy. Oddly enough, both of these fears go away when my camera is in my hands. I don't care if I'm on the edge of a cliff if I'm doing it to get a great picture. (Don't get me wrong - I'm still not being foolish on a cliff-edge, I'm just not scared.) The same principle applies when I may look silly in order to get a client to laugh or to get the perfect angle. With my camera around, I don't mind a bit. For this particular shot, I stood up on top of a moving vehicle:

3.) This one goes along a bit with the first thing I listed - I love how there is always more to learn about photography. I can never know all there is to know about photography. It is constantly morphing into something new. I have a habit of telling people that I hated school, but love learning. I've never been fond of standardized tests or busy work, but I have always been interested in discovering new things. With photography, I can never get bored. It's awesome!

2.) Another thing I love about photography is the way it captures details. I've always been a detail-oriented person. If I've talked to you in person about taking pictures, you know that, until I was almost ten, I had never seen the stars. Sure, I knew they were there, but I'd only ever seen them in pictures - not in the actual night sky. In light of that (pun definitely intended), I could only see details in things that I was close to. I needed glasses...badly. Photography gives me a way to hold onto details that I remember spending a lot of my life not seeing. Stay tuned in the future for an entire project that centers around this fact.

1.) Finally, and most importantly, I love photography because of the people it allows me to meet or catch up with. I love making new friends and celebrating milestones with them and their families. At almost every wedding I shoot I end up crying because I'm so happy for the couple. Then, I also get the clients I've known for years - friends I get to catch up with on a regular basis because I take their pictures. It's such a blessing to have a job that allows for that. My clients are such lovely people!

 

Now you've gotten a little taste of why I love my work so much! Do you think my camera will be my valentine?

 

- R.S.

 

 

Logan + Axie

I was texting my friend, Axie, one Friday about taking a trip to the Tri-Cities to see her and have lunch. We'd settled on Saturday (the next day) and were trying to decide where we wanted to eat. Since I moved away to Knoxville, we try to stay in touch and visit when the opportunity arises. Then, I received a text from her wherein she informs me that she wants to talk about me taking pictures of her elopement the next day. (Keep in mind that her wedding date was set for about a month later.) I'll admit I was a little surprised, but I replied that we could definitely talk about it over lunch.

Axie quickly clarified that she meant she needed to talk to me about taking pictures because they were eloping on Saturday. My reaction was first, "Wow, okay, that's totally not what I thought you meant!" and then, "I'd better get my photography gear ready to go!" Although they were technically eloping, we decided that we'd take photos as if it was their wedding since, for the most part, it was. They had a lovely service overlooking the lake, wore their wedding clothes, and everything.

With the typical wedding I shoot, I have things very planned out. I go back and forth with my clients about the schedule for the day to ensure that everything runs smoothly, that their priority images have been planned for thoroughly, and that everyone is on the same page. Obviously, this was a spur-of-the-moment job - an adventure to say the least! It was a blast to work that way for the day. I don't want it to become the norm because that could get nuts, but it was very freeing as an artist to take everything as it came.

Without further ado, here is a slideshow of the pictures. If you'd like to see their full preview, simply visit my facebook page!

Nick + Skyler Wedding

Yet again I've been blessed to work with an awesome group of people to capture a wedding! I feel like I could write almost the same thing every time I shoot another wedding because everyone is so kind and everything looks beautiful. There are always challenges, but there are also creative ways of dealing with them. 

Obviously, Nick and Skyler's wedding was no exception to this. The girls took longer to get ready (as is typical), and we switched up the schedule a bit (again, typical). Things didn't go according to the schedule, but everything turned out well. We had lots of laughs, some happy tears, and even a downpour right as the bride and groom were supposed to make their getaway! Without further ado, I'll put the link to their full wedding website here: Nick and Skyler. You can order photos there or contact me if you would like to order a disc of the image files to print yourself.

And here is a little slideshow of photos from their big day: 

 

  

Justin + Sarah Wedding

As you may have noticed, I have posted to the blog in a while. I'm remedying that now with a wedding post! I had the privilege to meet Justin and Sarah last autumn when I took their engagement photos. We hit it off, and I was thrilled when they asked me to take photos of their wedding. They are an easy-going couple and this was true of their family and friends as well. The ceremony was beautiful, the lighting was a unique challenge, and the reception was a ton of fun. I've included a brief slideshow of a few images in this post, but if you're looking for the full website album, follow this link: Justin & Sarah

As I already stated, the lighting was a challenge. This is both because we shot everything indoors (it was too hot to be outside for any length of time in formal gowns and suits) and because the couple chose to stand under a chuppah for the ceremony. We strung lights underneath the canopy portion of the chuppah to ensure the bride, groom, and pastor could all be seen. That worked fairly well. Then, to compensate for being inside, we took most of our photos beside some walls of windows. This gave a dramatic flair to the images that I really love. 

While I have a lot I could say about this wedding, I think I'll let my pictures speak for themselves while I get back to editing photos from some other weddings/sessions. Enjoy! 

Alex + Amy Wedding

Almost a month ago now, I had the privilege to shoot Alex and Amy's wedding on the edge of the French Broad River at The River Vista. I originally met the couple at the Bridal & Beyond show earlier this year and have had a wonderful time getting to know them. In the first meeting we had, they told me that they would be having an outdoor wedding, which is pretty common. The common problem with that is the risk the couple runs of having to move indoors if the weather doesn't cooperate. This wedding was the first where we had a torrential downpour at the rehearsal AND rain the morning of the wedding, and they still decided to go forward with the outdoor ceremony. 

Guess what...we ended up having wonderful wedding weather! That alone put a big smile on Amy's face:

I think you will agree that she is a beautiful bride! And while I had fun taking photos with the girls, my talented second shooter, Alyssa, took pictures with the guys. This image below is one of my favorites of them. It gives you a little glimpse of how much fun we had working this wedding. 

I have a whole separate file of funny photos especially for the couple. That alone tells you that these people know how to enjoy themselves!

After taking some group photos (without Amy and Alex seeing each other), it was finally time for the ceremony. What wedding would be complete without a photo of the groom's first look at his bride as she walks down the aisle? 

Obviously, I really liked this particular job. Alex and Amy are unabashedly goofy, which made them lots of fun to work with. Now, I typically recommend that couples hire someone who isn't a close friend to do their wedding photos. This allows for the friends to be able to enjoy the ceremony and celebrate without having to have a camera between them the whole time. However, I also hope that by the end of the experience, the couple considers me a friend. This was certainly the case with Alex and Amy! I look forward to keeping in touch with them. 

If you would like to see their full wedding website, follow this link: Doig Wedding

And if you are looking for a photographer, just get in touch with me (thousandwordphotographer@gmail.com) and we can set up a consultation! 

A Cap and Gown for Caleb

This post is a little late, but a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing my middle brother, Caleb, be recognized at his church (along with his fellow graduates) for completing high school. Not long before that, he had decided not to go through the normal graduation ceremony, and had chosen not to purchase a cap and gown. So whose do you think he wore in these pictures? 

In case you couldn't guess, he's wearing mine. This young man is about 6' tall and I am only barely 5'4", so in pictures we had to be careful not to show the short sleeves. Nathan, the oldest of the boys, didn't go through graduation, so he didn't have a cap and gown for Caleb to borrow. Luckily, it didn't matter much. 

If you know my family at all, it won't surprise you that we had to get some goofy photos as well. In these we didn't worry so much about showing off the short sleeves of the gown, as you can see: 

Altogether, I am incredibly proud of my brother. He's going places, that's for sure!

Melissa's MBA

If you keep up with me on Facebook or on Instagram (@thousandwordphotography), then you know that I had the opportunity to travel to the University of Alabama a couple of weeks ago to surprise my friend, Melissa, who was graduating with her MBA. Melissa and I met during middle school, and she has pointed out that, "Our friendship is officially an angsty teenager...which is awesome." We've been through all sorts of adventures together, including a month in China. When her mom contacted me with the idea that I could surprise her by going to her graduation ceremony (and getting some family photos done), I was very excited. 

I've always been impressed by how much Melissa could accomplish. She's good at just about everything she tries. As always, I'm looking forward to seeing what else she does with her many talents. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from after the ceremony:

Congratulations, Melissa! 

Allie - A Portrait Session

This particular session was a lot of fun! I took my cousin, Allie, down to the Southern Railway in Knoxville as well as to a pretty spot on Melton Hill Lake. Both locations were perfect for what she wanted, and though we had blue skies, we had the occasional cloud that gave wonderful, even lighting. I feel like I discuss my great love for natural lighting quite a bit, so I won't go into more detail on that. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from down on the dock and in the field:

Needless to say, Allie is gorgeous. It would probably be difficult to take a bad picture of her! Now, I know I see lots of portraits done near lakes and rivers, so I think it is important to mention the significance of the lake to my cousin. She has grown up living on this particular lake, spending lots of time out on the dock and riding in the boat. Our fathers (who are brothers) love all water sports and it only makes sense that their infatuation with the lake has been passed on to their children. Although Allie was excited to take photos down at the old train station, including Melton Hill Lake seemed like a no-brainer.

Without further ado, here are some of the shots we took at our second location - the train station!

Having never shot at Southern Railway before, I did my research before going. I wanted to know what I was getting into and whether or not the location would be versatile enough for our needs. We weren't disappointed! There were lots of railcars, unique textures, and a good mixture of colors that all made for great backgrounds. Due to our time constraint, we couldn't shoot even half of what was there. In light of that, I look forward to going back sometime soon for another session. If you have any interest in having your pictures done at a railway station, let me know!

And, as always, to find more photos and keep up with my day-to-day projects, find me on Facebook (Thousand Word Photography) or on Instagram (@thousandwordphotography). I look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

 

Boys Will Be Boys...

My most recent shoot was yet another double session, only this one wasn't for a senior and his family, but for a newborn and his family. I have taken pictures for the Smiths before, and have actually known them for quite some time. They have been my teachers, fellow theater performers, and good friends. They run their own business called Smith Studios where they teach voice, piano, and acting lessons. (I highly recommend them if you are in the Johnson City area.) If you hadn't guessed, yes, they're pretty talented. The Smiths also have four little boys - the newest arrived just at the end of March. 

Can you say adorable? And look at all that hair! I'm pretty sure I didn't have that much hair until I was two at the very least. 

After taking photos of the newborn, we tackled the family session. With four boys, three of which were running around and not really in the mood for sitting still with a baby, we had our work cut out for us. 

It is at this point that I should make one thing perfectly clear: Kids running around during a photo session is NORMAL. And guess what, I love it! I can understand that parents feel frustrated that their children won't all smile at the same time, but I also want you guys to know that there's no reason to be embarrassed or get upset. Boys will be boys. Kids will be kids. That is a BEAUTIFUL thing. It is true that, occasionally, you can get a photo where everyone looks at the camera, has big smiles on their faces (but not too big), and that matches what parents have in their heads. However, I encourage those who are getting ready for a family session to expect even the sweetest of children to get a case of the goofs. Don't worry that it bothers me, because it doesn't. I genuinely love it. 

Besides, as the years go by, you know the crazy photos are the ones that will bring you the most joy. I mean, don't you think this one will still get a laugh when this little boy has a little boy of his own? 

Yeah, I think so too. It'll turn into a classic for sure. Both sessions were loads of fun, especially because I could see the growth of the other three boys since the last time I took their pictures. That's always a fun part of being a family photographer. Altogether, I was pretty pleased with how the images have turned out. 

So, the next time you worry about bugging a photographer with rowdy kids, don't! For me at least, it is a joy to play around and get cute candids of children being exactly that - children.  

A Double Session

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of doing what I suppose I'll call a double session for some friends. I first took senior photos, and then family photos. I say this was a double session since the two were connected (the senior belonged to the family I took pictures for). The trees are blooming now, but there was not a whole lot of green just a week and a half ago, so it took a while to determine where we would have the shoot. We ended up near downtown Knoxville along the river. The weather was perfect for photos - warm and overcast. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful it is when the sky cooperates to give such soft light. It makes my job much easier. 

Of course, the family I took pictures of made the job easy too! They are a lot of fun and I was happy I had the opportunity to take their son's senior photos as well as their spring family shots. We had a relaxed evening of walking along the river and everyone was very cooperative, which made for a happy little photographer! 

Over the years, I've noticed that guys often feel awkward during senior sessions (or, really, during any photo shoot). My theory is that guys simply don't have their photos made as much as girls do. They aren't used to it, so they don't know what is expected or what they're supposed to do. Having grown up with three brothers, who were often the unwilling subjects in my early photo shoots, I understand how difficult it can be to get nice pictures where the guy doesn't look like he's being held at gunpoint and told to smile.

That being said, all that is required (the majority of the time) is an explanation of the goals for the session as well as which poses might be best. Armed with that information, they can decide what they like and don't like. In the end, they look more natural and confident in the photos. 

This specific senior knew he wanted his guitars incorporated, so we just went from there. As you can see, the results were really nice:

On top of getting lots of great images, I was also able to enjoy listening to him play. He's quite talented! It is always a treat to bring along something that a senior really treasures so it can be a part of the shoot. 

To wrap things up, both sessions went smoothly and I hope I'll get to work with this fun-loving family again soon. 

The Bowers

This past week my family had the opportunity to catch up with some friends - a family we only get to see every few years. The Bowers stayed with us for two days before heading to their next destination, and that gave us plenty of time to talk and play games. The last time they were in town, their oldest daughter was only a baby. In between some other jobs, I snuck in a little photo session with them as a gift. Since it was on such short notice, we decided to take the pictures in my own backyard. Even though I had to work hard to keep distractions out of the photos (random camping chairs, the grill, my dog, etc.), I was pleased with the images we got. The girls (ages 3 and 1) were cooperative and fun to work with, so we actually got a family picture with them both looking at the camera and smiling within the first few shots. It was great! I couldn't help but post the picture I took of the eldest girl. Her eyes look amazing. She is so precious. (And before you ask, no, her eyes aren't edited to look bigger or brighter!)

Maybe when they come through again, I'll take some more family pictures!