I spent the afternoon yesterday taking photographs of a couple of models at the Jeffrey Mansion in Bexley, Ohio. This is a beautiful building and grounds. It’s part of the City of Bexley Parks department now. We weren’t able to shoot inside the building, but around the mansion there are lots of great spots for getting a great image. At some point, I’d love to do something inside the building. It has beautiful woodwork and great lighting. The front windows remind me of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, with lots of squares of clear white glass. The patterns inside should be outstanding.
We spent most of our time along the rock wall on the back of the house. I loved how there was an archway and stairwell leading up to the lawn. At the top of the stairwell is a small building made from the same rocks looking out onto a large greenspace (today that greenspace is used for playing little league soccer and football.
Layla and Michael, my subjects, are actually a couple so it made capturing these images extra special. I’ve worked with Layla before. She’s a natural. She knows how to move and pose to get great images. This was Michael’s first time in front of the camera and, though he seemed a little shy, he did a great job. I wanted a playful, romantic feel to the images and I think I got some great results. Feel free to comment below with thoughts and suggestions.
I like to read blogs by photographers about the work they are doing, just so that I can learn from other photographers and find ways to make my images better. I like to read about how photographers manipulate an image to make it more interesting or to alter the feeling of the image.
I’ve found that photographers like to share their tricks and tips and you can really learn from one another. I’ve written before about the annual Help Portrait event. I’ve learned more from interacting with other photographers there than reading a book or studying tutorials.
One area that I struggle with is how much I alter an image after I’ve captured it with my camera. I’m a bit of a realist when it comes to my images. I want them to look like what I saw when I took the image, but with the obvious improvements in the details: insuring the the exposure is right, altering the contrast and sharpening the image. I don’t often try to drastically change what I’m seeing. I think part of that is from studying photojournalism when I was attending the Ohio State University. You just didn’t manipulate an image. It’s there to tell a story, or help the journalist tell his or her story.
But with the kind of photography I’m doing now, I need to push myself to do more creative things to the images I’m taking. One of my favorite photographers, Ansel Adams, said that you need to imagine the final image you want to achieve and capture an image the moves you toward that final imagined image.
I do love it when you press the shutter release and can see that you have a special image. Take this image, for example. We had an amazing background with the boats and water in the background along with trees with Spanish Moss. With all that, I also wanted to make sure that the focus was on the couple. I decided to add some light to them to make them brighter than the rest of the image. I want the eye to move to them. I think I got it right in this image.
Earlier this year I was privileged to shoot the wedding photos for my niece and her groom. They were a wonderful couple to work with and we had a blast making some special images for them. The couple’s exit was capped off with a sparkler farewell. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about how this was going to turn out. It’s dark, so it’s hard to get a fix on the subject with your focus. They were planning on walking through the lines of people waving the sparklers.
To help with the lighting and focus, I asked them to stop and kiss half way down the line of people. This is the shot I got. One unique shot. No retakes. No hold it, I didn’t get that. No pressure (HA). All-in-all, I think it came out great. I love the light from the sparklers and the flow of the image. I love it when something like this comes together and you get a magical image. In their wedding album, I made this a panoramic image across the last two pages of the book. I think it’s a fitting ending point for the flow of the work.