Archive for March, 2012

The last time we looked at basic photography, we focused on basic understanding and usage of the aperture and shutter priority modes.  This time I want to look at mixing a little flash into the equation.  I’ll even simply the situation a bit by assuring you that you only really need to worry about the ISO and shutter speed this time.  Also, the technique I’m about to share is one of my secrets that I use at a lot of events.

Though we are using a hot shoe mounted speed light flash unit, this will still work to some degree with a pop-up flash as well.  If you want to be advanced, then you can play with your various flash settings, but a standard TTL setting is a great starting point.

Ok, so there is one more camera setting that you’ll need to know about in order for this lighting recipe to work properly.  It’s called a Rear Curtain Flash Sync.  By default, the camera pops the flash at the beginning of the exposure, so changing it to rear curtain means the flash pops just before the exposure ends.  What this does is allow the various lights and colors in the room to hit the sensor before the flash burst, allowing for more natural colors and less washout.  So get your camera manual if you need to and find this setting.  I actually leave my camera permanently set this way, so feel free to leave it there permanently as well.


This image was made using a lower ISO and a faster shutter speed.


The next thing you want to do is adjust your camera settings to pull in more of the ambient light.  If you remember, a higher ISO number will increase the sensors sensitivity to light, which means less light is required to get a proper exposure.  Something around 800 to 1600 will probably work just fine.  The idea is to use more available light and less flash to get your final exposure and the ideal end look.


This image was made using a higher ISO and slower shutter speed.


Now, set your camera to Shutter Priority and choose a slower number.  Something between 1/15th and 1/60th will do the trick.  The slower your shutter speed, the more ambient light and colors you’ll bring in.  If you speed it up too much, like say 1/125th or more, it won’t have enough time to pull much more than the light from your flash.  The would result in a less colorful image.  The trick is to almost even out the flash output with the available ambient light.  That way the flash is mainly freezing your subject and ensuring they’re properly light.

So what should you consider when doing this technique?  Well, since you’re using slower shutter speeds, you’ll need to be conscience of the amount of movement that your subject is making.  If the subject is flying all over the place, then you’ll get that crazy ghosting affect, which is cool if that’s what you want.  If not, then you’ll want to speed up your shutter speed a bit.  Of course, if your subject is not making sudden movements, then you’ll end up with a warmer image.


The two examples below demonstrate the difference this technique can make.

The first is with a faster shutter speed while the second one used a slower shutter speed.


Remember this is just one of numerous tricks that can be used to get a specific look for an image.  Not every trick is idea for every situation, so like a good spice, use it only when the occasion really calls for it.  Otherwise you’ll end up overdoing it and be left with a ton of images that have a look not balanced with the subject matter.  Anybody to learn tricks just as anyone can spread paint on a canvas.  It takes an knowledgeable artist to know how and when to use them, and when to leave them alone for another day.  Enjoy playing with your new tricks, and showing off to your friends what you can do now.

Mar 24, 2012
posted in Products with 0 Comments

So now that we have some amazing pictures of you, what are you going to do with them?  It’s so common today to have difficulty thinking past our smart phones or Facebook and remember that we have homes for displaying our memories in.  Sure, these are great ways for sharing your photos, but electronic means should be a far second after first creating amazing displays for your home.  You’ll love these displays so much better and you’ll never have to worry about losing them when your phone eats the big one, or your computer gets fried, or when your online profiles get hacked.  Electronics have a 100% failure rate while most physical displays have 100+ year archival rating.  Besides, that large wall piece is WAY more impressive than any screen view.

So, what are your options then for in home display?  There are tons of new options all of the time, but there’s also the more common ones that only get better as time goes on.  These are things such as Canvas Gallery Wraps, Framed Prints, and Books & Albums, followed by gift prints and wallets of course.  Then you can start moving into other cool things such as metal or acrylic prints, snow boards for the wall, cards for the family, and more.  We even have Canvas Banners and Illuminated Prints for our wedding reception displays.

It really is crazy the amount of options available to us today for displaying our photos, yet most people can’t get past their screens.  The screen is never going to do justice to a memorable professional photograph.  So when you start thinking about having photos taken for a wedding, or of the family, or your high school senior, think also about what you’d like to do with those photographs.  How do you want to preserve those memories and display them in a way you can be proud of?

Below is a short list of some of my common products for weddings and portraits.  Obviously there’s always going to be more options, but I prefer to focus more on the things most people will enjoy.



Wedding Albums

You are going to relive your day and fall in love again as you slowly venture through your wedding album for the first time.  My albums include lay-flat pages with protective coatings to ensure spills and dirty hands never ruin your priceless memories.  This forever keepsake will be treasure for generations.  You can also add a beautiful presentation box for greater protection and display.

Portrait Albums

Sometimes there’s so many wonder pictures from a session that you just have to have them all, but you can’t fit them all on your wall.  So that’s where our portrait albums come in.  Our most popular ones include the 10×4 flip book, the 5×7 book, and the 4×6 accordion book.



Guest Book Album

A favorite among most of our wedding couples is the Guest Book Album.  This replaces the common guest book in which people only sign with an album that displays photos from the engagement session on one side and a faded parchment page on the opposite side.  Guest love looking through the photos of the couple, and then can leave personally written messages on the open parchment page.  This creates a greater wedding keep sake that couples cherish.





Gallery Wraps

Whether using one image or a series, gallery wraps will display them with an art gallery feel right on your walls.  With the high quality and archival production, you never have to worry about replacing them, and can pass them on for future generations to treasure.  For those not familiar with gallery wraps, they are images printed onto canvas that is then stretched around a wooden frame and then treated for protection.





Framed Art Prints

Ensuring that your treasured moments are both presentable and preserved, all of our framed art work is printed on fine art paper and professionally custom framed with high quality eco-friendly materials.  Not only will you forever love it on your walls, but so will those you pass it on to in the future.







Metal Prints

If you’re looking for a uniquely new way of displaying your images, while also ensuring their longevity, metal prints do exactly that.  They can be used as wall groupings or as individual, and can come in some various shapes.  There is also the option of a standard backing that extends the surface away from the way, or using a metal box framing.  Additionally, metal prints have the ability to be double-floated and framed to get an entirely new level of wow factor.



Using the same love and detail as our other framed prints, our storyboards tell your story using multiple images in one frame.  What better way to communicate how you feel than using one beautiful display piece?

The Spread 14×36 (1) 8×10 & (4) 5×7

The Study 20×20 (9) 5×5

The Quad 20×20 (4) 5×7

The Trio 10×20 (3) 5×7




One of the special extra touches that can be added to a photograph is digital painting.  This is done by hand and can take a good amount of time.  Each one is unique because of it being hand done. To do justice to this kind of work, they are only printed on certain materials such as canvas or watercolor paper, and no smaller than twenty inches.

Photo Booth

The Photo Booth provides that extra cool-fun factor to your reception.  Using a portable studio set-up and fun props, you and your guests are going to totally love this added experience.


Save The Date Magnets 4×8

These are great for our wedding couples that want something custom and unique, and yet not easily lost.  Your guests can display it right on their refrigerator instead of losing it in a pile of papers.  Plus it’ll continue to stay there long after the wedding.


Reception Displays

Choosing one or more of our display options will beautifully elevate the day’s experience in a way that both you and your guest are going to love.  Each display is custom created using pre-wedding photos that we’ve created just for you.  The display options include canvas banners, illuminated prints, wall art, and slideshow projection.




Mar 17, 2012
posted in Portraits with 0 Comments


I recently have been experimenting with ways to set up studio setups in my home.  With the small space, it poses some challenges, mainly with the lack of ceiling height.  But once Amanda and I came up with something that works, I knew I needed to get some sessions done to test it out, so I talked with my fitness buddy, Jeff.



Jeff is a fitness instructor/trainer, and he and I had already been talking about getting some fitness pictures of him at some point.  So this seemed like a great time for me.  To play, I set up three different sets.  One was a clean white, one was against red, and the third was in black.  Each gave it’s own challenges when setting up the lights.  My limited space and limited lights made it so I couldn’t get all of the highlights on Jeff that I would have liked to have had, but we still got some awesome fitness photos in the end.



Because I have never done these kind of fitness photos, I found that Jeff and I preferred different photos for different reasons.  I was looking at my technique while he was watching his.  I would love a photo for it lighting and posing, but he loved another more because of his form or muscle sculpting.  Needless to say, I learned a few things about fitness photography.  It was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to do more in the future.