Sunday, August 24, 2008

Phoenix Photowalk--Mix it Up!

I did something that I never do last night, which is join a group on a walk, the Phoenix Photowalk, organized by the NAPP, (National Association of Photoshop Professionals.) I must admit, after I got over my initial shyness, I had a great time. I shot some models, met some very funny and interesting photographers, including one very cool woman who sat by me at dinner, who had so much in common with me, it was scary...including saying one thing that I always say, which is that I roll around on the floor all day with the kids I shoot, so that made me laugh... and made me realize that I really don't get out enough. The amount of guys who have been at it for 20 years, just for the love of photography, never imagining that they could make enough to get paid floored me. I thought it was so cool, to shoot whatever I wanted, so I did, which was very freeing for me and just kind of re-engineered my feeling of how much I love what I do. I broke free from the models and started shooting a little boy who was in the waterpark running around with such joy and abandon that it just made my heart happy, and then I waited until after the sun set and shot the Tempe bridge. The people behind me were all like, "Why is she shooting now, she lost the light?" I just wanted to turn around and tell them, but I didn't because I didn't want to make them felel funny, so I'll tell you--the best light to shoot landscapes is after the sun sets--try it. You'll be so surprised.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Baby Alyssa and Mom Jen

I shot the beautiful Jen and beautiful baby Alyssa yesterday. Alyssa lasted sooo long, and crashed soooo hard after the shoot! She did a great job, holding her little sweet head up and smiling away, having a little bit of tummy time before turning into a baby Marilyn Monroe and having rose petals poured all over her. She loved the rose petals! Then they laid down and the girls snuggled a little, which made me want to have a baby all over again. It was such a beautiful moment, the way Jen looked at that baby was breathtaking. I felt very privileged to be a part of it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Arizona's Working Parent of the Year-- Me?

I was recently informed that I am a top ten finalist for Arizona's Working Parent of the Year. How cool is that? It makes me feel really great that people think that I'm a good parent, because my baby girls are the most important things in my life. I don't even feel like I work...I just laugh and have fun hanging out with super nice people and then the next time I see them, they cry and hug me and bring me baked goods. I'll find out next Saturday if I win. Wish me luck! Both of these images of myself with the girls were taken while we were shooting in Jamaica this past May, by my sweet little husband, Buzz, who denies any responsibility whatsoever. I think he did a great job!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How to Pose for your Headshot--get the Tension out.

I was asked by the Great Donna Kublin, President of the Arts Council of the North Valley, to take this headshot of the new Chair, Doug Clark, who is a realtor, and is also a Republican member of the House of Representatives. He was so handsome and nice and self effacing, and he brought his ridiculously polite and interesting son with him. The whole thing took less than 20 minutes, including powder, shirt change and test shots. He was a great subject. This man has this picture thing down! Doug was very relaxed, and didn't have any tension showing the whole time we shot, which was really cool. One thing that I noticed about him is that he was totally up for anything that I asked of him, which is shouldn't be, because you as a photographic subject should be totally willing throw yourself into your photographer's hands, without being pummeled into submission, but as you know, having your pictures taken feels awkward sometimes, so people stiffen up. Doug didn't. Most people hold tension in their mouths, or shoulders, or, strange as it may seem, their hands, and when in stressful situations, like going to the dentist, getting assulted by a burgular, having your picture taken (!), the stress starts there. If you wake up in the morning and your jaw hurts, you hold tension in your mouth. Take special care not to clench when you are having your pictures taken. Open your mouth...just a little. Let your lips come apart a little. You can't clench your teeth with your mouth open, now can you? Likewise with your hands. If you're in a scary movie and have to take the person next to you to the hospital for severe brusing, you are a squeezer. There's nothing that turns a tender, endearing shot of a mother and child into a claw handed nightmare than someone who holds tension in their hands. Practice relaxing your hand by holding sand, or an egg during stressful situations before your photo shoot. A huge tension gatherer is in your shoulders. Stand sideways and look in the mirror. If your shoulders are covering your ears and you're not auditioning for a J.K. Rowling film, you have a problem. The best way to get the tension is to let a friend, one of those friends who is usually too pushy for every day hanging around with, in on your secret. Ask him or her to push your shoulders down every time they see them riding up. If your friend isn't around, keep pushing your shoulders down for two weeks. You'll be so surprised at how often your shoulders are up and how high they are. The biggest place that people hold their tension is their foreheads. Take a big piece of tape, stick it on your forehead, and go about your day. You should probably do this while you're at home, preferably alone, but I have witnessed some of my queen bee models walking through the mall with tape on their foreheads, probably being copied by whe wannabees of the world
the next day at school in an attempt to be cool. You will not believe how many times that tapes pulls at your forehead throughout the day. Keep the tape on for a couple of weeks and your eyebrows will stop having a mind of their own. As an extra added bonus, you won't need Botox nearly as often.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Dennis Family

I have been shooting the Dennis family since Natalie Dennis was born. I put her tiny little self into a basket, ans she just slept away while we shot her in all of her beautiful baby glory. Now she's nine and a half, which makes me older than dirt. Still glorious, but piercing blue eyes wide open, along with her parents whom I adore, and her grandparents who I wish would adopt me, but more about them later, strong silent type brother Michael and sister, "wild woman of the west", Michelle, we had a lot of fun!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Senior Picture Time!

There are Senior Pictures and then there are SENIOR PICTURES. Last week I shot a SENIOR PICTURE. By all rights, it should have been a tough shoot...115 degrees, a dog was involved, boys notoriously hate Senior Pictures, but this Zach was so incredibly cool. He is quite possibly the best swimmer in the state, recruited by EVERY school in the Big Ten, plus Navy, super smart, interesting, funny, has a great look, yet was completely self effacing and modest about his accomplishments, with the nicest mom and sweetest girlfriend to boot. Even the dog was the coolest dog ever. I love it when a plan comes together. It's days like these that make me just love my job. These pictures, by the way, except for the painting, are completely untouched.