Mobile Phone Photography

So, everyone and their brother have smartphones now and Instagram is flooded every day with square cropped images featuring anything from someone's beautiful hipster lunch to the most beautiful cliche sunset you have ever seen. But pro photographers have also jumped on board and started doing some amazing work with their phones. Some of my favorite work with phones are the numerous big name street photographers who like spending time away from their DSLRs and sometimes even find a small rangefinder bulky and in the way. There are so many beautiful images to be seen so I figured I would share some of mine! Enjoy!

Turn to clear vision

Sleepy kitty

Cortana chip

Baseball on the iPhone

Bird attack

Relaxing on the wal

Boat

Untitled

Double exposure

Barber shop

So do you take photos with your phone? Do you have something you would like to share? Well post it on my Facebook wall, on twitter or in the comments below!

Photo Of The Day: Surprise Engagement

So, this is the first blog post of it's kind. I just recently had the wonderful opportunity to share one of the largest moments in a couple's life: their engagement. After a few brief coded phone calls, I was enlisted to help Justin surprise his girlfriend on the beach with a special not in a bottle on the beach and a beautiful proposal. They were such a treat to work with and I am very excited to present their photos to them. Hope you enjoy the photos and the video! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP5lfu4DeP4&w=640&h=360] Engagement-24

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Phot of The Day: Grumpy Baby

Today, I thought I would share a shot from a recent photo session I did for a family here on vacation. The family was wonderful and so easy to work with, but the baby of the family was ready for sleep for sure. She was not in the mood to be directed but she would cheer up long enough to get her photo taken in most cases.

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This is something completely normal on vacation shoots. People are here all week and their sleep schedule get interrupted. Even for most adults, we usually get tired quicker by the end of a vacation because of the random sleep schedule we normally keep. Well this little sweetheart is no exception. She was not having it, in some cases and we had to wait her out but that's all part of the job! I loved hanging out with this family and because we took our time and kept everything smooth, we were able to get some very fun shots like this:

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As an alternative, if you have a baby who is a little less than happy and getting their photo taken, give them something to do. When they are concentrating on something else they are much less likely to be upset. For some children, give them a physical activity while others prefer something to hold and tinker with. Either way, be prepared to inspire the parents to get the child active!

One thing I have found that keeps a child's attention is my Holga 35mm plastic toy camera. The more beat and banged up it becomes, the different leaks it produces. Very cool little camera, in most cases I even leave film in it and tell them to take photos. I am hoping for some cool shots when I develop the roll!

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Thanks for reading!

5 Tips for Beach Family Photos

Excited about your upcoming vacation to the shore? How about some professional photos taken while you are there to commemorate the occasion! Now there are a few things you need to know before booking your family photos with a local photographer. Here are a few tips to help you along the way:

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1: Dont just pick anyone
- Picking your photographer is the largest hurdle for you to face. Not every professional in the area you are visiting is right for you. If you check for someone on Craigslist and that is their only way of showing you your work, don't be surprised if they seem inexperienced or unprofessional( I am not talking down on this type of marketing, Lord knows I received some very good jobs through Craigslist starting out. We all have to start somewhere). On the other hand, if you decide to use a company that is highly commercialized, be prepared to be up-sold with high pressure sales tactics. Many that work at these types of establishments know you came to spend money and want you to spend as much as possible of it with them. Find someone who seems easy going with you, personable and willing to immerse themselves in the family.
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2: Be relaxed and dress accordingly
- As a vacation/resort town native, I know how many people have their photos taken in matching outfits: Blue and Khaki, White and Khaki, White and denim. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact I kind of like it. You may be very comfortable in a white shirt and khakis, but maybe someone in your family isn't. An alternative would be to use complimentary patterns and colors, or different shades of the same color family. Uncomfortable dress is a dead giveaway when in front of the camera.
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3: Be understanding about lighting, timing and location
- A perfectly sunny day on the beach is great for splashing around in the surf, but in most cases, bright sunlight is a photography killer. The best time of the day for photos on the beach is in the evening in the hour before sunset. Especially on the east coast where the sun sets opposite of the beach which is easier to control than water over the beach. So, even though your photo time may hog a little more time before dinner than you would have hoped, it is totally worth it with the quality of light you are allowing your photographer to use for your photos.
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4: Let your kids be themselves - I know everyone has a different style of discipline and I am not Doctor Phil, I will not even try to tell you how to raise your kids because I have no idea myself! But what I can say from experience is that kids have a hard time sitting still and parents normally lose their cool at least once during a session because their kids are doing something crazy. That's ok! As long as they are just being kids and enjoying themselves the way they know how, most photographers are perfectly content with sitting and waiting until a toddler is happy to smile and look at the camera. If you force them, they will looked forced and Mr./Ms. Grumpy Gills will be forever captured in the 8x10 on the mantle.
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5: Plan your photos for early on in your stay - I know it may sound like a great idea to wait until you have a tan, but the risk is tremendous when dealing with the sun. When you want to spend your time on the beach soaking it in, the chances are you will have tan lines and your skin will look red when photographed
Hope this helps you understand and prepare for your beach photo session! Remember when in the Myrtle Beach area to contact me for your vacation/wedding photography needs!

Photo of the day: Playful beach portraits

A really short but sweet photo of the day today. This little fella was hilarious to watch; I love photo shoots where I get entertainment out of watching the kids react to me and to themselves. I know that parents love their hyperactive children and though I know they want their kids to behave but that is not always going to happen. Kids are kids! They love to run and play and laugh and jump. Don't get me wrong, I am not a parent myself and I know there is much more stress involved in raising a child than I know. Don't think of the photographer as a guest but more as part of the family. The reason why is, the kids will be more relaxed around someone who you treat like a friend and less like a business associate. Forrester Family-37

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As a side note, I am starting to notice that anyone under the age of 6 likes the look of a 70-200 2.8. It is a huge lens and either they are made uncomfortable by it. What I have started doing instead is using either 50mm or 85mm. The 50mm is great because the front element is so small that the kids don't focus on the camera but stay on the idea of getting the picture taken. The 85mm is great too because it puts enough distance between me and the subject but not so much that the kids forget they are getting their picture taken.

Enjoy!

Photo of The Day: Glamour Girl

So, my baby sis is growing up. She graduated this year, she is starting college in the fall and soon after that I will be married and the days of us arguing at home will be gone. That is a little depressing but one thing I will always be glad of is that I took the time to do some pretty killer photo shoots with her. She is always a willing guinea pig when I am trying out something and this shoot was no different. The front yard of my house is perfect for early afternoon portraits because of all the trees and amazingly diffused light. She got in her prom dress and Mom helped out with makeup duties. I really enjoyed this shoot and we had a fun time doing it! Jillian-3

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A Photographer's Worst Nightmare

A Photographer's Worst Nightmare: So I recently had the worst week I have experienced thus far in my photographic career.

My camera crapped out on me. It didn't completely die but it was effective for not much more than a paperweight without some serious work. The shutter curtain snapped and needed to be replaced. the mirror moved perfectly and all the electronics were fine, but the sensor was not being exposed to anything because the shutter curtain was not raising. Luckily I have access to other cameras while my workhorse is in the shop getting some TLC.

This was not the worst part of my week.

Most feel that a photographer's worst nightmare might be damaging their gear or getting something stolen; I agree this leaves much to be desired on the fun scale but I have other things much more frightening in the works. One of my clients, did not like my work. It took a lot of wrestling with my pride to write this out but I think of it as a chance to share my growth and maybe help someone else. She called and was very nasty about how much she disliked the work I had done for them. Because they had been traveling, I could not even offer a re-shoot. I am aware that many people complain on vacation in hopes to get things for free. I have worked in the resort industry for over 4 years now and I run in to this all the time. But the problem was that looking back at what I sent her, I realized something: I didn't like my work either. I had never sent out work I didn't like before, but these I truly would never show and that was the problem. I at once offered her a refund. I would never make someone pay for photos I didn't even like myself. But the hardest part was realizing, for the first time, I had not worked hard enough to make these photos what they should have been. I understand that everyone has these types of things happen and I try my best to make sure my clients are as happy with my service as possible. That is why, I buckled down and made sure my next photo shoot would be the best experience I have ever offered.

I scouted longer, I searched for open shade, I timed the golden hour perfectly, I remembered everyone's names and used them frequently and most of all, I provided some of the best photos that I think I have ever taken. Being a former professional ballroom dancer, I have learned (and have tried to overcome some of it) how to be confident, over confident even and I use this to my advantage in some cases; but I now feel like I don't have to put on a show as photographer. I am comfortable in my style, I learn more every day, and I know at the end of the day that people are happy with my work. Hope you enjoy some of the photos from the shoot:

-Jarrett

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P.S.: For the camera geeks out there who are interested, I shot all of the photos for this particular shoot with a Nikon D3200 I had on loan and a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 Thanks for reading!

Photo of The Day: Catching the Moment

*Warning! Photography Rant Incoming!* I don't have to tell you how cliche certain phrases in photography are. Here is a list of the worst in my opinion:

  • "Sharing Precious Memories"
  • "Capturing Life"
  • "Painting With Light"
  • "Preserving the Essence of the moment" (whatever that means)

Anyway, it's not that these terms are incorrect, those are the job of a photographer, it is just the goofy ways we try to put what we do into words. You can describe a meal with all these amazing adjectives that will have my mouth watering by the time you are done, but by the standard I see today through newer photographers marketing themselves, you cannot do the same thing for your photography. Photography is art, its subjective and no one will like every image you take; that is a fact. Be proud of your work, and only show the photos that are your best. If your picture tells a story, you HAVE to tell that story WITH your portfolio. If one image you absolutely love because you know the story behind it, doesn't stand on it's own, I personally don't think it should be in your portfolio for people to see without a conversation; story telling with a photograph is what blogs are for. If I have a pile of candid shots of kids from family shoots, and that's what the family wants then of course that is what I will show them (that is the subjective nature of the art we produce).

Righty-O, on to the photo: Sam-1

This is a perfect example of a subjective photo. This is my nephew on Easter Sunday. He was all dressed up and was just the cutest little dude, but he was getting a little tired of all the clothes. He pulled at his collar and tie, ran his hands through his hair and insisted that we play some basketball with him. well as I was walking with him back inside, I just turned my camera on, slung it out in front of him and took a photo, He was so intrigued by something on the ground, deep in thought as he was pondering the existence of something splayed across the lawn on such a beautiful day. Is this the sharpest photo I have ever taken? Not even close. Is the composition the best it could be? No way, but what this photo represents is a memory to his family of him running around being the sweet little genius boy that he is. This is not a photo for my portfolio, but a photo that will mean something to his mother. That's what we do with photography, we use our elements: light, timing, emotion, and just a little luck to find and capture what will mean something to our client. Always practice, try to think differently and for the love of God find a new way to describe what you do if you are using any of the above or something similar.

Thanks!

John Family, Party of six please...

This lovely family are dear friends of mine and asked if I would be able to snap a few family photos of them while they had two very special guests with them. Brett and Katie are host for two children who spent Christmas in the US. I wish I knew more about this program so I could explain to you. The most informative thing I can say is that I have the utmost respect for them as followers of Christ who have been blessed with the conviction to help these children half way around the world. They bring them in to their homes, show them the utmost amount of love and it astounds me how well they interact as a family unit during everything. I was very honored to be a part of their stay here! If you would like to know more about their journey please check out Katie's Blog! John Family-7 John Family-2John Family-4 John Family-10 John Family-16

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Thank you so much! Leave your comments and thoughts below!

BONUS! Here is a little slideshow put together by Brett John, the father of this amazing family about their time here together. What a blessing! [vimeo 56988070 w=500 h=281]

Christmas As A Family Of Six from Brett John on Vimeo.