We make this, look good! {Utah Family Photography}

I’m starting this post with one of the last images from the photo shoot because this was the main image that we were trying to capture. A good friend of mine had purchased this fantastic dress for her daughter and wanted to tailor the shoot around having her look like a movie star in a back alley, like she was headed to the theater surrounded by her bodyguards. She even said that she wanted to have her boys have a Men in Black look. When she said that I was hooked!
I was originally planning to do this image in Salt Lake but the day before the shoot my friend called me and said that she also wanted to have her kids portraits taken at the ponds in Kaysville so in order to have the time to get both images we decided on taking the above in a little alley behind the Kaysville theater. I really like how it turned out though I would have wished for some ambient lights in the background. If that light over the doorway would have been on it might have made this perfect. The kids were so fun and so willing to try anything. As it turned out I was glad that we hadn’t tried to go to Salt Lake because the little one had had it by the time we were done. We had to bribe him with frozen yogurt…it was really good! As a general rule I try to keep family sessions to an hour though sometimes more stylized sessions like this take more time. It takes a lot of energy to have your photos taken and kids especially don’t need too long of a marathon session.

This was a quick grab shot as we were starting. I love casual images like this and the light was just magic. I took out a lot of flying cotton which is a bit sad because I loved the look of it but this turned out to be one of the clients favorite images and I don’t think she wants white smears all over her gorgeous wall portrait.
I get many questions about what to shoot from aspiring photographers. I tell them to shoot from their heart and they tend to look at me with baffled expressions. You know those moments where you see something and your breath catches a little and your heart skips a beat? Take the shot! I don’t care if it’s random, or unplanned, or not what you were looking for. Those are the pictures that mean the most. And if they don’t turn out? Who cares! Creativity is a muscle that needs to be developed, just like anything else.

Love the casual walking shots. I was telling them to walk in slow motion so I had more time to shoot and they started going into slow-mo walk and we were all laughing so hard and I just kept shooting. I absolutely love the image below. My cheeks hurt just looking at it and remembering how much fun we had!

Thanks guys! I can’t wait for what we come up with for the next shoot!


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It all started with a picture I had in my head. {Utah Photography}

This picture, to be precise. Please welcome to the blog stage Anna, who not only is an amazingly talented individual but happens to be my counterpart in the show I am currently involved in. I’ve known Anna for a little while now and that she was involved in Guard. Last October {2010} I was doing my creative fog thing and suddenly a picture came into my head of Anna flipping a flag and having multiple flags around her head. I mentioned it to her and we set up a shoot only to have the weather completely ruin it. Remember how crazy the weather was last fall, and this winter, and this spring? Anyway, during auditions for the aforementioned show we decided to try again and this time the weather was perfect, even to the point of threatening us with rain which just meant that we had cool clouds in the background. This was perfect as I had decided to bring out my lighting equipment for this shoot. The point being to be able to use the sun as a rimlight/backlight and have enough light using my flash as key that I didn’t have to blow out the sky and clouds behind her. It’s a different look than what I prefer for regular portraiture in that it’s a little, not sure what the term would be…harder?…more commercial? Well, I did want a less soft look and that’s why I picked this location. A few of the shots are done with natural light because I always want to experiment with everything I can. That’s how you learn. My brother Ben came and shot with us, here’s the link to his thoughts on the day.

http://bwoodstock.blogspot.com/2011/07/shoot.html

This was obviously done with no flash. I wanted a silhouette look.

This is against the portraiture “rules” of having your subjects face turned towards the light.
I have no problem with the rules or with breaking them. The point is, you need to know the rules so that when you break them you do it on purpose, not by accident. I was going for a dramatic feel and loved the shadows having her turned away cast on her face. Did I shoot one with her turned the other way? Of course I did…but I like this one better for what I was going for. Would grandma like this one better? Probably not, and that’s why I did both.

Ben had a shot he wanted where her face was in focus but everything else was movement blurred. I tried it too but ended up liking the blur better. His turned out well. How we did that was lower our ISO as low as it could go so we could use a slower shutter speed, mount our cameras on a tripod and take two exposures. One with her holding still for her face and one with the flag moving. Then in Photoshop you move the in focus face onto the blurred one and voila!

Sometimes I can’t decide whether I like color or black and white better.

Natural light, didn’t want to try to haul my flash into the floor-less and dilapidated old rail car.

She also brought a saber and a rifle. The girl has mad skills. I love her lines in this shot.

These two were taken within minutes of each other. Isn’t it amazing how you can change looks completely just by changing camera settings? Here’s my mini-lecture. LEARN HOW TO SHOOT IN MANUAL!!!!! They are both with natural light (I love how the sun is back-lighting her hair in the above shot) but the above was for what I would call regular portrait and below an almost silhouette.

This was the “oh, let’s just take one more” shot. It may be my very most favorite. I love the rim light on her body. I love her lines. Love the clouds moving in. See the rain in the middle right side? Love the sun flare!

It was a fun day but we were to tired to stick around for light painting. That will have to wait for next time. Instead we ended the night with a McDonald’s pineapple-mango smoothie. If you haven’t tried one yet, do so. You will thank me! I also got the shot I saw in my head so successful day? Yes!

Baseball

My husband decided that our son needed to start playing baseball this year. I was reticent. Not that I don’t want my children to participate in sports and healthy recreational activities, I was worried about the schedule. I should mention that one should NEVER ask me about adding an activity anywhere near the end of a school year. Honestly, that last month is made for killing off parents. Plus, we had just BARELY finished soccer.

I am now entirely converted to youth baseball.

1. How darn cute is my little boy in his uniform? Love it! He wears that hat from sun-up to sun-down.

2. He loves baseball so much I can pretty much get him to do ANYTHING I want. Handy.

3. The games are just plain fun!

Picture this, in my opinion I live in one of the single most beautiful places on the planet. The games take place in the cool of the evening, the temperature is perfect and the sun is just going down and casts that beautiful, magic, golden light over everything. The boys are playing in the park where members of my family five generations ago helped plant the beautiful pine trees that circle the park. The church that they also helped build has bells that play music on the hour and hearing them never fails to bring a smile to my face. I remember playing in this park as a child while my parents played co-ed softball and those memories add pleasure to the ones I am making now as I sit with my other children as we talk and laugh and watch my son play. Friends that I haven’t seen for years sit next to us and we talk about how we are all so blessed to have been able to move back to this valley that we all love so much. We catch up on each others lives and share the joy of watching our children grow up together like we did. We share the joy of cheering for every kid because there is no keeping score here and the hardest job belongs to the coach because every child wants to hit that ball so badly. You can feel a tension building as bats are swung and pitches missed until the moment when that lovely “thwack” comes and everyone lets out the breath that they didn’t know they were holding. Tomorrow night is our last game and I am heartbroken. I have grown to love these evenings more than my son and I can’t wait for next year!

Happy Fourth!! {Utah Photography}

Ah, tradition!

The Jeppson-Wood Family Fourth Extravaganza begins, of course, on July 3rd. Over the years our festivities have changed. Not as many people sleep over at my parent’s house as they have in years gone by and gone is the afternoon water-fight (some of us are getting old) but the basic structure still remains. There is still the hot dog roast accompanied by a plethora of salads (this is Utah so of course Jell-O is included). The sparkler bonanza and last, but not least, Kirk’s fireworks set off in the front yard accompanied by the dancing of small children. This year my Dad worked really hard on getting the thistles out of the lawn so there were significantly less casualties.

Now the morning of the fourth dawns bright and early with people re-gathering at my parent’s for breakfast and then making the trek down into Huntsville proper for the annual parade. In my humble opinion there is nothing better than a small town for celebrating the fourth of July and the Huntsville parade is the best. It is always started off by the firing of the cannon, shooting of the guns, plugging of the ears, and fly over by the jets from Hill Air Force Base.

Being a small town, people still throw candy (painfully sometimes, I totally got clobbered by a Now ‘n Later), kids ride bikes, and tractors and horses abound. The traditional families offer up their floats, usually with a dash of small town humor. We all wait for the regulars and are disappointed (Clawsons, I am talking to you) when they don’t deliver (you can make it up next year).

After the parade it’s over to the Huntsville park for booths, games, blow-ups, cotton candy, and all around good time fun. There are people I only get to see once a year and the fourth is it. It’s old home week. Love it!

We all head back to my parent’s for lunch and the mid day drag time. This year the rivers are running to high to go tubing and there is absolutely no beach to play on, so we entertained ourselves by watching Tremors. Best. Movie. Ever!

Then back down to Huntsville park for the evenings festivities. Live music which we were happy to have turned over to a DJ, dancin,g and of course FIREWORKS. I LOVE small town fireworks. you know, the kind where you are pretty much directly underneath them and every so often burning embers hit trees or people, or blankets and there is a scramble to stomp them out…no one is hurt so it just adds to the thrill.

My daughter held my son’s ears the entire time. What a great sister! He really did like them.

I love the mass of humanity everywhere with chairs, blankets, food, sparklers. All having a wonderful time. This year the fourth was extra, extra nice. In fact, it was perfect. Happy Birthday America!!!