Creative Session: Camryn is “Soaked”


After a teaser picture from this series generated some excitement on our Facebook page, I decided to make a blog post detailing how and why we made this set of imagery. Let me get the fact out of the way that our model for the day, Camryn Little, brought an intensity and imperviousness to the cold water, wind and wet concrete while we were shooting that allowed any of these photographs to have. Thank you for your talent and professionalism Camryn!

The question for the day then is why make this series of photographs. First, it is a technical challenge to expand my abilities as a photographer. These shots were staged in a controlled wet environment where I can safely and quickly gain specific knowledge in how to light and expose in a wet situation in the future. My hope is that in the future I will be ready with my underwater housings to produce these type of photos in “the wild”, but seeing as how I live in the desert climate of North Austin the chance to practice is slim. And believe me, I am constantly checking the weather forecast for daytime rain storms to photograph in nature with models on standby. The main technical challenge is how to make a dramatic portrait with raindrops/water hose producing wetness that destroys electricity powered devices, namely cameras and flashes. We overcame this by shooting on my backporch with flashes in waterproof otterboxes and our big light far enough away to be out of the “thunderstorm”.


The second reason is the one I find more interesting, the reason to make images like these is because they get in my head and I can’t shoot anything else until I purge them from my system. Ideas for my creative shoots infect my brain like a fever and can even cloud my vision of other projects until they are photographed and edited. On shoot day the camera feels lighter, the lights seem brighter and nothing will get in my way. The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to tell dramatic stories and share them with my friends. Creative shoots like “Soaked” are the natural adult extension of my barely post adolescent impulses. Why do you pick up a camera?


The last reason is produce new work and expand on past work. I have photographed couples, models and sea monsters underwater but this seemed more intense and edgy in a way. The technical skills gained in shooting underwater helped me immensely in this project. There are also strains of my recent restricted light work at play here. The water and tight lighting merged into a new category for myself that I am hoping to continue to push forward with in between the client work that we have on deck for this spring. I am looking forward to an upcoming couple underwater session that pushes my engagement session portfolio in new directions as well.

For those wanting the full tech specs of these images. LP 160 with a “Just Blue” gel to camera left and above with a ziploc bag cover at 1/1 or 1/2 power. Another LP 160 at 1/2 power in an otterbox on the floor pointing up towards the models chin to open up the shadows a bit with a 1/2 CTO warming gel. The main light is an Einstein 640 with a sport reflector and 15 degree grid at 1/4 power. My exposure was something like f/18 at 1/320th at iso 100 with a 70-200 f4L lens. Let me know if there are questions I can answer.

Thanks again to Camryn for getting Soaked! and to my assistant Austin for manning the water hose/collander/twilight cup station.


Katie & Sean – Wedding Preview

The happy couple at the atrium

Katie & Sean became the Jackson family on Friday and we had the privilege of covering their beautiful wedding at Angel Springs Event Center in Georgetown. You might remember their Engagements from the blog , but if you don’t here is a quick refresher. Sean is active duty Army in the Air Artillery. I believe his words were, “I shoot 8 to 9 foot missiles”. That was enough to impress me. In a month’s time he is shipping off to Kuwait for a year. How is that for a honeymoon period? I can never stress enough how thankful I am for the sacrifices made by our military.
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Zac and Emily – Austin Engagement Session

The last thing I posted was all about my workflow, lots of words, no pictures. Let us change that up a bit for you and give you pictures with not a lot of words.

We have already covered some of Emily’s Bridal pictures, the 2 that I could show you. Now we get to meet Zac. Started out on the East Side of Austin, meeting at Progress Coffee on 5th and San Marcos. Then moseyed over to some cool loading docks.

On the Loading Dock

The running joke of the day was to “Act Natural”, as though those are magic words a photographer can say to elicit true emotion.

Walking by the Station

Hit up the Saltillo Plaza train station for some beautiful flowers, benches, a homeless guy sleeping, and stolen moments

In the Stairwell

The ran over to Town Lake/Lady Bird Lake. Of course it was Saturday, so a wedding was going on and about 3 other photography sessions at my spot, but luckily I bring my own lights.

Of course, I had to put Emily in front of some graffiti, she pulls this off so well. Emily probably will love it, her mother not so much.

Till Death due us part

And then right around the corner, I found my new favorite space in Downtown. This cool little alleyway across from a Bank of America (so Emily will know how to get back). I setup a flash as some backlight, and pulled out my low light special – 85mm f1.8. The lightstand almost got run over, but the pictures came out great. I think they are like something out of a forbidden romance movie set in New York.

Silhouette - Take 1

In the Movies

Take 3

In honor of Emily’s blue dress we tried to hit up the convention center parking garage, but some other photographers were there with on-camera flash ready to go. I stayed out of their way out of respect.

All in all, we had a wonderful time together. So glad I got to meet Zac, we connected on bad movie jokes and cultural references that made me feel old since Emily didn’t get them. Looking very much to their wedding in May.

For all the images in this set, head over here.


Georgetown Seniors – Chelsey H – Part Two

Chelsey and I met up again at Ramaker Stables in Leader, Texas. We had about an hour to knock out some different looks and get a 17 hand horse named Bentley involved. No problem.

We started in the Small Barn, not as new as the Big Barn, but more colorful and possessing more character. I was thinking something along the lines of images out of Dover Saddlery, but prettier.

Tried working with some backlit/Ezybox combo’s, but they weren’t working for me. Ended up with an over/under lighting scheme to bring some beauty and contrast to Chelsey.

Over Under Contrast

This image has a Lastolie 24 inch Ezybox (my favorite) on top, with a big reversible umbrella on the bottom, both are off to one side slightly.

Remember in part one, when I said there were no clouds. That changed for the better.

The barn was fun, but then the sky did me a favor and went wild with clouds and color. Let’s ditch inside the barn and go crazy with the sky’s.

Fun with Skies

What is more fun that a senior and great skies? A senior, her horse and great skies!

Bentley and Chelsey

Thanks again to Chelsey for being a wonderful model.

See all of the images here


Georgetown Photowalk

I had a great time in Georgetown on Saturday for Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk. 50 photographers met up on the square in G’town at Cianfrani’s coffee shop. We proceeded to take in the town square, the old palace theater, the library and then back to the square. We walked from about 8am to about 11am.

I changed things up this year by trying out a flash on a stick. Basically I was walking around with a bare flash on a lightstand with another flash and trigger in my backpack in case I wanted to go with a two light setup. I also went about getting different subjects that most, mainly because mine were subjects and not objects. Apparently I like people.

Paul Riley, Peter Shugarts, Carlos Austin and Amresh were the guys I walked with most, but we ebbed and flowed into a group and out on our own again. Also got to see Bill Lawrence, Geoff Hammond (the photo walk leader), and Bill Meier. We sat around the lunch table and chimped like no tommorow. But we were the only ones in the room doing it, so we felt even more like zoo animals.

Great to see everyone, and the diversity of images we obtained. Already looking forward to next year.

Here is a link to my images
and the Flickr Group for all the photos link

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