Tag Archives: Tucson family portrait photographer
I really enjoy high school senior portraits – they’re a fun, relaxed chance to make some great images, without the timeline of a wedding, or the unpredictability of small children. Most of my senior clients (that makes them sound like senior citizens, doesn’t it?) are already incredibly image-savy, and come prepared to really participate. Ariana in particular was smart, self-aware and gracious, with mad dancing skills, great eyes and an easy smile, all of which make my job that much easier. Along with her mom (Ciara, a longtime friend of mine) and one of her pals in tow, we made a sunset lap of downtown and really covered some ground. Without further ado, here are some of my favorites!
Shayne’s an f-15 fighter pilot, and heard about me through a trio of fighter pilot-clients of mine. It’s been a cool bunch of guys to get to know. Beyond my appreciation for their service, I’m always frankly a bit in awe. First, it’s one of the two real-world jobs that I dreamed about as a kid, and think might be more awesome than what I get to do every day (firefighter is the other, in case you were wondering). Second, the people who do it have to have that wonderfully rare cocktail of talent and focus you find in pro athletes. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think it gives them a kind of “dude-aura” – and so, apparently, do the ladies.
Anyhow, Shanyne’s a family man, a job equally tough and praise-worthy, and I think he’s pretty awesome at that as well. I met his wife Dana and their kids Brady and Bree out at Reid park for an early morning summer portrait session. It’s a great spot, with a ton of visual variety over the course of a short stroll. We hit the playground, the Rose Garden, the woods, the lake, the duck pond and the entrance to the zoo before it even got hot, and the kids were champions the whole time. We had a great adventure and made some gorgeous, natural pics – here’s a few of my faves.
I got to run around Pima Air and Space museum with Joel and Catherine and their two adorable daughters this week, making photos in celebration of their 10 year wedding anniversary. Joel is an f-16 fighter pilot and he and Catherine are friends with Luke and Devon, with whom I did a similar shoot back in 2009. It turns out the spouses of pilots think they look pretty sexy in their flight suits, but I don’t think you can get married in one.
PASM is always very generous with access and they really go out of their way to take care of military families and pilots in particular. They made sure we had the loan of a golf cart when they found out Joel was a pilot, a real boon when you’re ranging over acres of ground and wearing a wedding dress and toting two small kids. We all had a blast, though with temps in the 90s by 9 a.m. we had to duck under shade of giant wings between shots.
While there’s no doubt the planes are unbelievably cool (and gigantic!) making photos with them poses some unique logistical challenges: To begin with it has to be between 9 and 5, which are hours not normally associated with soft, flattering light in our state. Furthermore, as a portrait photographer, you’re generally looking for a “clean” background. Not an empty background, just a clutter free one. The background needs to be dropped just enough out of focus to be recognizable, but not overwhelming or distracting. Unless it’s deliberately a “people standing in front of large object” photo (a vacation classic!) you want to blend whatever it is into the composition so that it fits in well and helps frame the couple rather than cut through them. In day to day work, telephone poles and parked cars are both on my “must-avoid-at-all-costs” lists. And as for “just Photoshop it out”, that’s really just a poor (and hugely time consuming) substitute for getting it right the first time.
At the museum, wildly different kinds of planes are parked wing tip to wing tip, row after row in every direction outside. It can be fiendishly hard to find an angle that lets you highlight the plane you want, and avoid all the others, and still works with the direction of the light. To show part of a plane in a photo without it looking weirdly amputated or somehow incomplete, you usually need the nose, part of both wings and maybe a bit of the tail – it’s a complex shape, and that’s before you add the couple to the shot. I feel like my brain gets an extra workout when I’m there, trying to calculate angles, pick lenses, and compensate for the light – all to make a photo that looks “simple” when it’s done. We shot in color and infrared black and white – I was hoping for a few dramatic clouds, but no such luck. I’ve tweaked these teaser shots with a little filter/post-processing magic, playing around with a few different vintage looks to complement the age of the planes.
Despite the “brain workout” it was a good time from start to finish. Joel and Catherine were delightful, and their kids were adorable and patient. I hope they enjoy these at least as much as I enjoyed making them!