Mixed Light Selfie On The Beach

Mixed light photography

My wife Diane and I love the beach at Siesta Key, Florida. Anyone who has been to this beach raves about the white powder sand. As a photographer, I’m often left out of pictures. Which is OK. However, this particular trip caused me to think about a photo of my wife and I. Especially since we enjoy Siesta Key beach as we do. I’m always telling Diane, I want to create our portrait on the beach.

So one evening after we’d gotten cleaned up and had dinner, I told Diane; OK, let’s do the portrait on the beach thing tonight. The first words from Diane were; OK, let me fix my hair!  Imagine that. I told Diane, I want to get my camera set up, so I’ll head out and you can catch up.

The problem with this type of photography at this time of day is the low light levels and mix of light sources. With the sun setting or after sunset, you need a long exposure in order to capture the ambient light. To insure the light on the faces is correct, means you need to add some flash. Now you have a mixed light source. So how does this work?

First you need to make the giant leap of faith and shoot in manual! I  can hear you out there now: OMG – shoot in manual, what’s an f-stop? Yep, you will need to know your f-stop from shutter speed. The quick answer is to use the lens aperture to control the flash exposure. Then find a shutter speed to control the ambient exposure. After that, it’s just an issue to get the pose right. In this set up, I didn’t want to drag extra strobes, light stands, camera and tripod onto the beach. Although for you I’d make sure the extra lights are used. One other handy item was the hand held remote for the camera.

So after was all said and done, Diane and I chose the image below to have printed. OK, I’ll admit I did enhance the night sky a little. Let me know your thoughts!

We have this wonderful body of water here called Lake Erie. So if you’d like to have your family photographed in a setting like the one shown, contact me.

Mixed Light - night portrait on the beach

Diane and Tom on the Siesta Key Beach at dusk.

Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Pieces, NEW For Ocean Sands!

Tom’s fingers have been poking away at the keyboard here at tom-szabo.com. At this point, the on-line store for Ocean Sands jewelry has the following categories:

  • Bracelets
  • Earrings
  • Manatee Bone Necklaces
  • Shark Tooth Necklaces
  • Whale Bone Necklaces

There is inventory ready for sale in each category, that’s good for you. A great selection to choose from. Remember, these featured fossil materials date back to the Miocene and Pliocene era, about 2.5 million to 26 million years ago!

In preparing the store, some new concepts have been introduced. There are two necklaces with a sea shell ground to form a ring around a prehistoric shark tooth, suspended from pearls or a quartz crystal. If these may not be exactly what intrigues you, there are more shells in inventory. That means more variations will be on the way.

Featured in the Earrings section is the NEW tear-drop shaped Marquis wire. These new wires are 2 inches long. They provide a real long elegant look. Plans call for a 1 inch long Marquis Wire. That will allow for more and longer embellishment to the shark teeth used.

Of course these new and exciting pieces are for the near future. But don’t sit back and wait. Check out the current inventory so you don’t miss anything. I need to get back to the store. I’m looking at some nice sized Megalodon Teeth hanging from a rugged chain, They need to get put into the  store. You shouldn’t have to miss anything!

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Ocean Sands Jewelry by Tom Szabo.

Earrings

Earrings

Infant First Portrait Session

Infant Portrait Session.

So there’s this girl, NO, NO, NO, not like that! Shannon belongs to the same networking group as I. Gosh we’ve known each other for years and years. I feel like her brother. I can’t say Father since I know him also and he’s a pretty cool guy.

Well Shannon and her husband Travis recently had their first child. Let’s call him say, Mike. I’ll use my brother’s name. Mike is now almost four weeks old. So Mom and Dad brought him into the studio for his first sitting. You’ve heard the description of newborns; eat, poop and sleep. That’s what makes them so cool to photograph. You can put them in almost any healthy non harming position, photograph them and they sleep through the entire session.

Well, not little Mikey! Midway through his session, he woke up. I think he just didn’t want to miss anything! In any event, Mikey was a trooper. We put him in all of his poses and he just stayed their for the most part.

Typically, in these sessions, infants are often photographed in the suit they were born in. Of course it was then that Mikey decided to leave his mark on the fleece posing cloth.  Good job, Mikey. But no problem that’s what washing machines and bleach are for!!

So here’s a few images of Mikey for you to enjoy. Oh by the way, can you tell Mikey’s dad is a deer hinter?? Mike was a pleasure to have in the studio. Love you Mom, Dad and Mikey!

Infant in camo.

Get ready all, I’m waking up!

Sleeping infant

Aren’t I just so cute while I’m sleeping?

Infant boy in black and white.

Our little guy in black and white.

 Mom and Dad with infant son.

Don’t Mom and Dad look so happy?

If you’d like more information about infant photography or any other services offered by tom-szabo.com, check the studio website for contact information.

Commitment to Craft

Commitment To Craft

Those of you who know me are probably aware of my commitment to my craft – Photography. I’m willing to help people solve a problem. I use this medium to share tips and techniques. Yes, I’ll give you suggestions/critique on your work. It doesn’t matter to me if you use a DSLR or a cell phone camera. Although I have my opinion about cell phone shooters – chuckle!

It’s been my expressed opinion that people often fall into the trap of believing high-dollar corporate marketing about their technology vs individual skill. Meaning buy our product and you can create like the pros. If that were the case, our entire golfing population would be on the pro tour because they bought expensive golf clubs. Now we all know the truth behind that one.

To be a good – not necessarily award winning photographer, takes time, effort and knowledge. Time spent experimenting with your tools. Effort to work at your craft. Learning about your camera, exposure, composition and lighting. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect you to get a degree in photography. However you need to learn enough to achieve the results you desire. Buying the latest and greatest technology doesn’t do that.

You may have heard my comment: A poor image with an Instagram filter is still a poor image. Can filters and special effects enhance your results? Bet your media card it will. It all starts with a well done image and that happens using the skills I mentioned above.

A great way to begin understanding what makes good photography is to study those recognized for being a master of their craft. Why do art students spend so much time in class and places like art museums? They’re studying the masters. It doesn’t mean you copy them, but you need to recognize what makes them a master and try the studied technique.

On occasion I’ve offered a link to a photographer I feel has a “Good Eye”. This link just came across my inbox: https://www.theguardian.com/music/gallery/2016/nov/16/patrick-harbron-intimate-rock-photography

Take a look at Patrick Harbron’s work. Most of it seems was created during the age of film photography. You’ll see how He uses composition, lighting and equipment to get his results. If you’d like a discussion about what film teaches us, that’s another topic. Does Mr. Harbron get special access at events? Probably. But might you’ll be able to get special access at your child’s next performance or sports outing? Maybe – give it a try and let me know about your results. Oh yeah, be sure to check out Mr. Harbron’s work.

tom-szabo.com logo, commitment, craft

tom-szabo.com; jewelry, photography & scuba instruction.

Black Friday – 2016

Black Friday 2016

Holy Cow, Are you kidding me? Black Friday is almost here. Where did summer go? I know it’s the middle of November, but I’m still hanging on to summer by wearing sandals. I know at some time I’ll have to convert to socks and shoes.

So do you have a plan to take advantage of the specials for Black Friday? You could try waking up real early to get to the big-box store right at opening. Maybe you could leave at 12:01 a.m. after Thanksgiving Dinner to get a jump on things.

Once you fight your way through the front door, then what? Maybe you have a specific gift in mind for that special person or family member or maybe not. My luck would be I have a great idea only to find the store has just sold out – urrgh! You may be stuck wandering the isles aimlessly looking for a hint. I’ve done that. Ask my wife and she’ll tell you She knows she’s difficult for whom to buy.

Here’s a good one for the guys. You find just the perfect outfit for your girlfriend or wife. Get just the right gift wrapping paper. Only to find out – that great outfit doesn’t fit!

So here’s a suggestion. Buy some fun and an heirloom. I’ve got the solution. On Black Friday you can call me while enjoying your morning coffee (Let’s say after 10:00 A.M.) and purchase a certificate good for a 1-1/2 hour studio sitting, an 8X10 color print  and save big money. Normally an $85.00 purchase. But for Black Friday you can get the package for 50% OFF. Hey for that price you can purchase a second to give to another friend or family member for the price of one gift. You’ll look like a hero!

This offer is good only for Black Friday, so don’t hesitate! A sample of the certificate is shown below.

Black Friday - 50% OFF Portrait Package

Relax, have your coffee and get your shopping done! One-size-fits-all.

Sun – For One Light Portraits

Sun: A very interesting portrait video came across my feed today. I wanted to share it with you.

First of all most Facebook photography I see has one thing in common – Bad Lighting! Please stop and think for a minute; where does your outdoor light come from? Of course the sun. So that means you have a single source for your photos. In this video photographer Aaron Anderson talks about shooting portraits using – guess what: 1 light. Think of his one light as the sun. I know, what a concept – LOL.

In the video you’re going to see a lot of studio equipment. Yes, but pay attention to the main tools he uses, a strobe, a camera and a reflector. That’s it. What Aaron does do however is CONTROL the illumination. Don’t have a big DSLR? no problem use your cell phone camera. Remember his main light placement and position your subject using the sun in the same relative position. Oh you don’t have a white reflector card? How about the side of a building, a newspaper, a blanket. Look at what’s at hand that you can use.

You may not have Photoshop to make the post process editing. Don’t worry, you’re not a pro trying to sell your work. Paying attention to your subject position will get you better results than what you have been doing.

Watch the video and pay attention to what Aaron is doing with his 1 light (like the sun). Enjoy and feel free to post your thoughts and/or results. I’d like to see your results.

 

Portrait photography tom-szabo.com

Relaxed portrait pose for a high school senior.

Light, It’s All About The Light!

Light, It’s all about the light.

Light! My wife Diane and I like to vacation at Siesta Key Florida. The beach has the softest and whitest sand you’ll see anywhere. During our walks on the soft powder white sand, Diane gets tired of my commentary on the people taking photos with their cell phone cameras. It generally goes something like this “there’s another photo that won’t turn out very well!”

Even though she gets tired of listening to me, I’m right. Two major problems I see: Stop putting the sun at your subjects back! Number two, move in closer. So let me spend some time again talking about lighting. Why my comment about sun placement? Camera sensors don’t have the capability that our brain does. Sensors can’t adjust the image we see through our eye and correct the exposure. Don’t believe me? Take the scenario I just described and experiment. Put the sun behind your subjects back. Look at their face. I’m sure you’ll see the detail in the face. That’s because our brain and eyes work together to adjust the lighting and see the detail. Now take the picture. How much detail do you see in the near black orb called the face. Almost none.

So how do you fix this problem. You have to train your eye to evaluate scenes for lighting. Look for the highlights and the shadows. Make slight adjustments in subject positioning to reduce the amount of shadow in the subject. Take a picture after your adjustment to see the results and continue to adjust your subject. Eventually you’ll begin to learn what works.

Another way to learn is to observe what other photographers do. I’m not saying to copy their technique as much as observe and adjust. Evaluate the lighting of the scene and subject to see how they work with light. Look at what award winning photographer Irene Chen has accomplished in her photography. Although she uses studio lighting for the award winning images, see how she uses control over lighting to work her magic. Read more about her work.

You’re welcomed to ask me questions. Or just give me your comments.

Film used in family portrait photography. Light.

Portrait photographers strive for detail in their final prints.

Film Photography – Dead?

Film Photography – Really?

Film, remember that stuff? With the explosion of digital cameras today, most of you would likely wonder why shoot on film? Let me back you up a bit. Before digital, you had to put more thought into your photography based on the type of shooting and light conditions. You selected film to support your planned shooting.

Cameras were available in varying sizes. The size concept was based on the physical size of the negative you were shooting. Real photographers would argue the benefits of shooting 35mm, 2-1/4, 4X5 and 8X10. Who cares, you say. Well it all boiled down to the larger the size of the negative, the sharper and more detailed the print. Speed was also an indication of the density of the film. The better the density of the negative, the better the image quality. So if you could record an image on a larger negative size, then you could get incredible detail in your print. That is what photographers would strive for.

So here comes this photographer, Pali Kalsi. He started photographing on the larger formats and got intrigued by the results. To the point where he decided to build an 11X14 camera. Those of you who still remember film cameras and negatives, think back to the negative size for a 35 mm camera. Now imagine a negative 11 inches by 14 inches. The detail in an 11X14 print would be simply amazing.

For more details and to see some of Pali Kalsi’s work, check out this article. As always, let me know your thoughts!

Film used in family portrait photography.

Portrait photographers strive for detail in their final prints.

Fashion Mags – Photo Lighting Tips

Fashion Magazines – Photography Tips

Fashion magazines – OK, I admit to looking at them. No, No, really, I’m not that way. The fashion industry spends A LOT of money on photographers to advertise their products. So it stands to reason that they would be hiring the best fashion photographers, they can get. So why not look at their work for hints, tips and how to’s?

Next your going to ask me what should you look for. I’ll offer two things to look at: Poses and Lighting. Poses should be pretty straight forward. No you don’t have to expect your subjects to be professional models. But when you tell your child to hold for a picture, suggest body positioning or hand placement that you’ve observed in a magazine.

As far as lighting goes, start with reading catch lights. These are the white dots that appear in the subject’s eyes. If you look close enough you may be able to count the number of dots in a single eye. This will tell you how many light sources the photographer used. Upon further review you might be able to tell if they are round or square, further suggesting square reflectors, rectangular or square soft boxes or round for umbrellas.

In addition to the catch lights, look for highlights positioned against shadows. This will help you identify the main light position relative to the subject.

To help you get started, look at the images used in the article at this link. Tell me what you think or feel free to ask me your questions.

Girl poses in doorway.

Can you determine the light source and direction for this portrait?

Golden Hour Photography?

Golden Hour vs. Mid Day

The Golden Hour as referred to by photographers as the hour around sun up or sundown. The sun and atmosphere combine to give the photographer unique and colorful lighting. Photographers often avoid shooting mid day. Why? The more direct and overhead sun causes a lot of shadows, a lot of contrast and deep dark shadows.

So do you put the camera away during mod day? Absolutely not. This is where you have to be a photographer not a “snap-shot-er”. Huh? Yes, spend the time looking at the scene obviously for composition but also for lighting. Can you position your subject in a location where the lighting is softer and away from dark shadows? Can you shoot in an area that is in shade? Of course you can. You may have to think a little bit and take the time to find a location that gives the light you want.

Take a look at what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic. At the same time look how He controlled the light in his images.

Golden Hour vs. mid day photography

Choose an environment that offers soft light. If needed, add fill flash.

This Portrait Video Will Make You Think About Lighting

Portrait Photography And Lighting.

Portrait photography requires that you always think about lighting. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a boat-load of studio equipment or a cell phone. I found this short video demonstrating 3 different set ups. These set ups will demonstrate how you can change the result using some minor tweaks of lighting.

Obviously you’ll notice how much equipment a professional photographer uses. That’s not the point. The point here is when taking a picture of another person or persons, you have to open your eyes and plan your shot accordingly. I hope you find the video helpful! Feel free to post your questions, comments or thoughts.

tom szabo, tom-szabo.com, portrait photographer for families, high school students and executives

Notice how your eye is drawn to the subject in this image?

Think About The Colors To Enhance Your Portraiture

Do you really love your family? Silly question right? Because you love them, why would you share them through lousy pictures? Today with the proliferation of smart phone camera technology, it’s too easy to shoot without thinking. I suggest taking about 3 seconds to examine your subject and their surroundings before you start snapping away. Of course think about the lighting, but don’t forget about the colors in the subject and scene. The color scheme should compliment the subject not cause conflict. Check out what Chris Gampat has to say on this topic.

Photographers – We All Were Beginners!

As a photographer and a Scuba Instructor, I often tell beginners: “We all started as beginners”. It’s a thought we should all remember. We need to be reminded that we had to work to get where we are today. Here’s an interesting blog post that talks about the road we travel to improve as photographers:

A Declaration Of Love To All Our Crappy Shots

Enjoy!

Why Does This Photo Look So Bad?

Cell phone, point-n-shoot or DSLR camera, it doesn’t matter. A bad photo is still a bad photo. As I said before, A bad photo with an Instagram filter is still a bad photo, it just has an Instagram filter! Do you even recognize that you’ve taken a bad photo – maybe, maybe not.

Many unsuccessful photo are the result of not paying attention to lighting. I created a short video to demonstrate one of the major outdoor lighting problems and a couple hints to help correct it. I hope you find it helpful. As always, let me know your thoughts.

Working For FREE?

If you own a business, I’m sure at some point you’ve been asked to work for FREE. In this case the article is directed at photographers. But I’ll bet if you replace “photographer” with your profession, the scenario will sound familiar. Check out the article and give me your thoughts!

How Would You Respond as a Photographer if You Are Asked to Work for Free?

Make Your Photography Subject Standout!

Anytime I look at an image, I expect a clear answer to the question: What’s the subject? When you ask this question, is the answer clear to you? Let’s not be concerned with camera exposure at this point. Let’s think about composition. How do you use your camera so its obvious who or what is the subject of your image. Here’s a great article to help you emphasize the subject of your photograph:

Six Ways to Draw The Eye to a Specific Subject in a Photo

Portrait Photography Help Video

So how do begin to understand a photographer’s thought process? The best way is to spend time talking with a photographer. Most of us do not get the opportunity to speak with world renowned photographers. So here’s the next best thing, read an interview. Lauren Halligan of the Saratogian News, speaks with Sarah Pezdek-Smith about her work. See if you can pick up a helpful hint.

http://www.saratogian.com/general-news/20150401/five-questions-for-sarah-pezdek-smith

 

Senior Portrait Photography

So you want to by pass hiring professional to shoot your child’s senior photos? OK, then do some research and learn what it takes to capture that perfect photo. Here’s a great article on where to begin. If you decide not to do this project yourself, then please consider contacting me to be your family photographer.

Zach Ashcraft: Taking Better Senior Portraits

Photography Tips

The tips in this article should help you to open your mind when you look at the cell phone camera screen. Although I follow the author’s comments under the section “Avoid Using Flash”, I’d suggest using flash. The reasons cited are valid for the pro photographers, but the people I see using cell phone cameras might not even notice the problems mentioned. I’ve seen too many pictures ruined by not using flash vs the down side noted in the article. So read on!

http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/lff2EpQRe0r6hLsYFDCtZI/Tips-for-pictureperfect-photographs.html

People Photography – Your Eye Is Key

If you’re not looking at your subject and visualizing the resulting photograph, chances are you’re DOOMED! That’s right take a quick look at the surrounding elements and the subject then ask yourself: How will this look when finished? For People Photography, the first thing you should check is whether the face is in shadow or not. If the face is in shadow, then move to illuminate the subjects face. In addition, what background elements are there to add or distract to the surrounding environment. Want to improve your photography? Read, Practice; Read, Practice; Read, Practice; then repeat.

Check out this article to see what I mean.

Portrait Photography Projects

Poses For Portrait Photography

Posing a subject for a portrait is sooo very important. When people come into the studio, they are nervous and uncertain. Try to take a picture of your family or friends at an outing or on vacation. Even then you have to direct your subjects to achieve your intended result.

So here is a short workshop style video that will give you some suggestions and techniques. Yeah, Yeah, I know; You’re going to say Tom I’m not a professional. That’s right, but take just one tip from this video and you’ll be better off. There is a section on newborns in the video. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it also. Let me know your thoughts.

A Complete Guide to the Basics of Posing for Portrait Photos

Tips On Wildlife Photography

Let me suggest that you first look at the images in this article. Then look at some of the pictures on your cell phone camera. Do you see a difference, aside from the subject. Read the article looking for tips that might apply to the picture you’ve taken. I’d like to hear your comments.

Matthew Gillooley: Tips on Photographing Wildlife

Draft

Lake County Chambers Home & Lifestyle Expo

Lake County Chambers Home & Lifestyle Expo – February 21-22 at Great Lakes Mall. The Home & Lifestyle Expo is hosted by Lake County Chambers of Commerce. Visit with over 60 member businesses primed and prepped to give you tips, tricks and advice for your own home and lifestyle. The event’s Premier Sponsor is Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center | Mentor, OH. For more information about this event, please contact Linda at or call (440) 357-7572

A Portrait – Just Because

It amazes me that people will schedule a visit to the dentist every 6 months or yearly but hesitate to have a portrait created.  I’ll guarantee sitting for a portrait is a lot more fun than going to the dentist!   Let’s call my subject “Jane”.  Jane decided to come into the studio for a portrait session, just because she wanted.  A side benefit was that she could offer her children a print – “Just Because”.  Jane enjoyed her sitting and was pleased with the results.  I hope you like the results also.  Give me your thoughts.

 

Portrait of women in color

Just For Fun!

Black & White portrait of a woman

Black & White conversion

 

Infant Photography – Thanks For Being Cute!

What do you bet every photographer, could tell you horror stories about photographing infants and children in the studio. There have been many a time I’ve scratched my head after a sitting with a child or children. I’ve even gone so far as to offer a return to the studio at no charge when things have gone  REALLY bad. Maybe after so many tough children’s sittings, you get rewarded with a great one.  That’s what happened with this little guy.  We’ll call him “Jimmy”.  When Jimmy arrived, he was in a very happy mood.  You could tell that everything was wonderful in Jimmy’s world.  He was very comfortable in his little studio setting and enjoyed visiting me.  Hopefully you can see the happiness in his eyes and posture.  I truly enjoyed my visit with Jimmy.  Hope to see you again – li’l buddy!

Photography - infant holding his sandal

I think Jimmy likes his sandals!

Infant photographed in studio

“I’m just so happy!”

Photographer Asks: What’s Your Beef?

I want to try something different with my Blog.  Part of the maturation process involves learning to make decisions.  If you’re an adult you’ve gone through the process.  Some of us more successful than others.  If you’re a teenager, well the process may still be ahead of you.  Yes, that is a generalization on my part, but it’s my blog and I allow myself to do that! (Chuckle)

So here’s my first question to adults and teenagers alike:  What is it about your child or parent that drives you nuts?  Please feel free to post your thoughts.  Then feel free to comment about the thoughts posted.  Adults and teenagers please offer comments on the other views. Offer some helpful hints and insights to the issues posted.

There are sone requirements:  No swearing.  No name calling.  No berating anyone.  I will exercise editorial license if I feel necessary.

Is Cheap Photography Really Good For The Customer?

There is no doubt this economy has taken it’s toll on small business.  I get offers to shoot for organizations for free in hopes their event will generate leads for my studio – Yeah right!  Brides call to get pricing for wedding photography with a budget of $500.00.  But they know someone with a big camera who will do it for free.  Mom’s call for pricing only to tell me they can go to Sears or Walmart an get all these prints for less than my sitting fee.

Well check out what’s happened at Sears and Walmart.  Their photography vendor just pulled out of the US Market.  Maybe there are other reasons for the pull out, but I wonder just how long can you be the cheapest provider and stay in business.  Read on…..

http://www.staradvertiser.com/business/businessnews/20130405_Sears_portrait_photography_vendor_no_longer_in_business_retailer_says.html?id=201568891

Give me your comments!

Love, Anticipation and Excitement in Portraiture

Erika and Mark called to schedule a maternity portrait session.  When they arrived, we talked about their thoughts on the session.  After deciding on wardrobe and colors, we get ready for the photography.

 The three of us talked about the range of emotions that expectant couples experience.  Words like love, intimacy, excitement, nervousness and potential came up.  I explained to Erika and Mark that I wanted to catch these emotions during the session .  As an expectant couple it wasn’t difficult to see those emotions come out.

 I hope my goal was achieved.  Let me know your thoughts.

Maternity portrait photography session

Erika ponders her child.

Expectant couple

Erika and Mark, the happy couple

Child Photography

 

If you’re a Parent, and you want to see how much energy your toddler/young child has, schedule a studio portrait session!  As a photographer it just amazes me how much energy kids have.  If only we could bottle that energy and sell it! 

This energy can be an advantage or a hindrance.  Fortunately RJ’s Mom and I tried to use his energy to our advantage. My studio is in my home.  So this provided plenty of space for RJ to run, and run, and run, and run – Get my point?  In between all this running, Mom and I managed to get RJ to sit still a few moments for some portraits.  As you can see we even managed to get him to imagine himself flying through the air.

 As I go through the image files to prepare the web proof page, I use a “Not Used” folder for sorting.  A session like this generates a lot of images in that folder!

Photograph of young child

“I can really cause you some trouble”!

Child studio photography with props

“I’m flying”!

Portrait Photography Dilemma – Solved!

Photography, Portrait

Our Christmas portrait in South Carolina for 2012.

Families are becoming more “transient” as time goes by.  Meaning, as family members move for job opportunities more frequently now.  Most every Christmas, my wife’s brother, his wife and two boys join us for Christmas day.  This year due to job opportunities, one family member moved and was not able to come home for the holidays.  So he and his “bride” extended an invitation for us to join them in their new home in South Carolina.

 As we gathered together, the camera and tripod came out as usual.  Only this time we were able to shoot some portraits on the beach in South Carolina along with the typical christmas tree backdrop settings.  I normally print out a 5X7 for each family and send it after the holiday.  This year I had a lot of poses for print for sending.  Then it dawned on me.  Why not group them together as a collage and have one printed for each family unit.  So that’s what I did.  As you can see we have the entire group on the beach, a beach title, a group in front of the tree and in this case a photo of my wife and I together.

 All-in-all, I think it turned out nice.  Everyone had multiple photos of the family and one of them by themselves all in one 8X10 print.  Dilemma-Solved!

 

A Suggestion Made About My Recent Photography Studio Newsletter!

In the A Thomas Image studio E-Blast for October 2012, I mentioned a new brick backdrop.  A friend of mine asked: “Why didn’t you include a picture of the new backdrop”?  I actually thought about doing just that, but I was in such a hurry to get the announcement out, I omitted the image.  Well, “duh” on me!

 Today, I acquired another muslin backdrop.  It dawned on me this might be a good time to announce the muslin backdrop, include a photo showing it and update everyone on the brick backdrop.  The muslin backdrop is a dark charcoal in color with some splashes of purple and tan.  It’s large enough to drop from the studio ceiling and cover the floor.  It should work very well for the right portrait photography sitting.

 

Photograper announces portrait backdrop

Tom Szabo of A Thomas Image is posed with the newest studio mulin backdrop.

 

Some portrait clients might like a warehouse or loft theme for their sitting.  The new brick backdrop will accommodate that very nicely.  Lighting can be adjusted to give the appearance of being outdoors in an alley or indoors near a window.  It’s neat for that “urban” feel.  With a little creativity, graffiti can be added to the image.  Graffiti can be customized to include client names, graduation year, special announcements or the name of your band.

 

Brick wall background for portrait photography

Brick texture for that urban look.

 

 So now I just need someone to schedule a sitting where we can use these backdrops.  Any takers?  I also hope this blog post helps redeem me from my e-blast photo blunder, he said sheepishly!

The “Scattered Family” Portrait Photography

Portrait of the scatered family

When's the last time your family sat for a family portrait?

 

When’s the last time you actually had the entire family together in one room?  If you’re like most today, you have family members living in multiple states.  Or if you’re like me, I still live in my home-town, but my Mom lives in another state!

 

So if it’s difficult to get everyone in the same room, when is the last time you had a portrait created for the entire family?  For some reason that just doesn’t seem to happen much anymore.  Recently a business acquaintance of mine had his entire family in town for the Christmas holiday.  It wasn’t my friend, but his wife who made the decision to have the portrait created.

 

The good thing about the time we live in is; all of the family members will be able to use technology to view proofs and make decisions on the selection of that perfect family portrait.  They’ll be viewing proofs on-line and talking via email to make their selections.

 

Ahhh, time just keeps marching forwards – doesn’t it?

Having Photography Fun With An Oversized I-Phone

 

Recently some of my business friends and I promoted our businesses during the local holiday lighting ceremony.  Since this was the first time anyone exhibited during the event and our location was somewhat remote, no one was sure what size crowd to expect.  Part of the strategy was for my studio to set up the oversized I-Phone prop out in the entry area to draw in the crowd.

It was intriguing to see how people had to be encouraged to use the I-Phone prop with their own smart phone.  But after some cajoling, they took advantage
of the opportunity.  Here’s a couple of images from that night.  It was fun to see some folks get a bit crazy.  Hope you enjoy!