Like most photographers, I started out shooting portraits and weddings. I had a big plan to go to graduate school (this part is still in my plan) and to pay the bills or at least mitigate my debt by shooting weddings. As I got more weddings, I also got more into commercial and advertising photography and more into shooting for classes at school. I decided to narrow my focus to just advertising and commercial work, which was a good decision. Now I've sort of come full circle. My focus is still on advertising photography, but there is something I miss about shooting on the fly--not knowing what will be in front of my camera and having to improvise and innovate using available light, etc. So, to feed my need, I've created a second website for the frequent inquiries I get regarding my wedding prices, etc., and I've decided to take on a few more weddings than the one or two per year I've been doing by word of mouth.
You can now see my work and have your questions answered on my wedding website, http://www.bbshootsweddings.com. I'm hoping that with this website I can help a few couples enjoy high quality imagery from their wedding shot by a photographer who really knows the timing, lighting, posing, and retouching that all contribute to unique and spectacular images. Because I'm not relying on these weddings for my income, I plan to shoot true to my style and look for those couples who particularly like my work and want their memories shot with my eye. If you are, or anyone you know is looking for a photographer for their wedding, have them take a look at www.bbshootsweddings.com to see if I'm a good fit for their taste. And if I'm not, I'm happy to refer people to other respectable photographers who have the aesthetic they're looking for.
Here's a shot from a recent engagement shoot with a couple who identified themselves as "city people" and wanted photos that reflected it.
You can see the rest on my website.
Over the weekend I did a photo shoot with a local model. We planned to shoot at the beach in the morning, and when we got there I found that if I wanted to shoot toward the lake for the scenery, I was going to have to use the sun as the key since it would be at my back. What? I can't be shooting in all kinds of direct sunlight! I'd shot there before, but in the evening, so the sun was behind the lake that time. No matter. This was a good exercise in problem solving and I was able to figure out some lighting I've not used before, and I really like the look. I have only finished a couple of the images so far, but you can see what I mean.
The sun is very specular, and was great for making that leather coat and the model's hair really shine. Expecto Petronum!
You can see by the harsh shadow on the ground where the sun is, but the shadows that would be on his face have been filled, so it doesn't feel so much like direct sunlight.
I'm lucky to live so close to the beach. :P
Here's another photo I took recently at the same lake, just further South, but this time at sunset with the sun behind the subject more. You can see how different it feels.
Of course, I did a softer, more pictorialist treatment on this one, but the lighting made me do it.
Here are some others from the same shoot after we went back to the studio.
For most of my paid projects over the past several years I've been renting local studios hourly and just billing the client for the time, and I've had some awkward (probably just awkward for me) moments where I had to meet people at J-Dawgs or other random locations to discuss jobs and contracts. But finally I have my own place with an office and a studio I can use whenever I want. And the studio has big windows where I can play with natural light if I want, or set up my strobes and shoot commercial work. Finally! I'd also like to use the space to teach some classes on retouching instead of doing it on Google Hangouts like I have been. Real life is better. And finally, when I get some small portrait job that doesn't warrant a studio rental I can shoot in a nice quiet, weather-protected space instead of just going to the nearest park and trying to make it look interesting, and hoping the light and wind will cooperate.
I've also had quite a bit of interest expressed by local students to intern with me, and until now I haven't really had a place to put them, but now I could have them do some retouching work or shooting there in my studio, and have a place to show them the ropes at my leisure.
This is so much fun. Also this week, I'm doing a heroic sports portrait I was hired for by a national magazine, I'm doing photo and video of the unveiling celebration for the 2014 Porsche Cayman and a portfolio shoot for a local aspiring model who wants to enter a contest that would take him to New York for modeling work.
Also this week, I had dinner with my family to celebrate my graduation from college, my small son is walking for the first time and I got a new full-time job as a product photographer here in town that pays more and is much more in line with the experience employers nationally are looking for in a job applicant.
So it's been a good week.
If you're interested in renting the studio hourly or for a day, it's available, just send me an email and we can arrange it.
This is from my first test shoot in the new space. All natural light, no reflectors or anything.
When I first built my website I had poor taste. My work was shabby and I loved it. I took pictures of everything. I had a photo alphabet, candid photos of kids, posed photos of kids, photos of families, weddings, landscapes, models and flowers--and all of it was on my website. I was getting hired by family and friends and I thought my work was just stellar. Which is a bit of a microcausm of now. My work has gotten better, but I still have more to learn and I love my photos. I take pictures of a variety of things. And now I've added more of those things to my website in some new categories: Sport, Fashion and Automotive. During college, when I decided that photography was something I wanted to pursue seriously, I was told that I should only have work on my website that reflects the kind of jobs I want to be hired for, and that I should narrow it to about two categories. I read online the same advice, and decided that getting hired was something I was willing to sacrifice some of my work for. So I took my weddings category off my site. Then the engagements section and probably some others. I still got hired for weddings somehow, and family portraits, quinceaneras and anniversary parties, but I focused on shooting in advertising style in my student and personal work. That was the work I wanted to be hired for. That's still the work I want to be hired for. But now I have a variety of kinds of work all with the same commercial look, and I noticed that I had sort of miscategorized some images just to fit them in somehow. There is a lot of work I'm proud of that I wasn't showing. And I've been applying for jobs in product and fashion for which I referred people to my website...but there was no fashion or product work there. So I've sort of come full circle, and while I still don't have a candid children section, or landscapes, I've gotten back up to about 5 categories. I hope this doesn't limit my ability to be hired for advertising or celebrity portraiture, or sports photography, and I hope this will inspire more confidence in potential employers.
At least now I know that, while I love my kids and love taking photos of them, my goal in life isn't to shoot baby photos for my neighbors and family for $50 a pop.
And I think now I've developed a more cohesive and recognizable style, which holds together the images in my various categories, where as before I was doing much more experimenting and fooling around. I'm also putting my feelers out there for representation. And I can see a time down the road when I'll have some more momentum in a specific direction which will cause some of these categories once again to fall away, or if I get a rep, I may have them lopped off for me in the interest of getting jobs. And that's ok. But right now I want to show the photos I like and see how things go. I'd love to be hired for any one of the categories of work I'm now displaying, so I think I'm still alright.
Somehow this photo I took doesn't fit in any of my categories. Time to make a monkey portraiture category!
I'm in the planning stages of my first motion short, which I'm going to make for a contest, so I'll have to find a place for that on my site as well, given that it turns out as well as I'm envisioning. This whole process has also helped me see which categories need more images, or better ones to replace the weak ones. So now I have an excuse to make more images.