Archive for June, 2010
How I squelched my fear of using strobe on-site.
In the wedding-photography industry, the use of natural lighting is the norm. I’m interested in changing that. By incorporating artificial lighting techniques into my repertoire, I am able to share with my clients the gift of visual depth, saturation, and drama–something I couldn’t always otherwise achieve if I weren’t getting cozy with strobe. Given my all-over-the-place, a-hundred-miles-a-minute schedule, it’s been challenging to carve out time to sit down and learn how to use new lighting tools. That’s where the hire of a Lighting Director re-focused and re-directed my photography career.
When on-site at a photo shoot, adrenaline floods my body. My work day is marked by a sense of intensity, urgency, and hyper-vision (and, obviously, pleasure from doing the thing that I love most). Working with artificial light only ups the ante.Despite all of the test shoots leading up to my first use of strobe out in-the-field, when the big day came around, I was a nervous wreck. A total contrast to my typical California-girl cool.My nervousness translated into clumsiness. During my first round of shots for a new corporate client, I completely forgot that my lighting director synced my camera to fire the strobes–resulting in overexposed, barely recoverable images. I felt heart-racing panic. (My emotional state wasn’t helped by the artistic director who was breathing down my neck, watching my every move.)
Yet as a Bikram yoga devotee of three years, I’ve developed a knack for breathing through fear and intensity. For those of you unfamiliar with Bikram, just imagine you’re in a room heated to 100+ degrees, contorting your body into positions with names like camel and cricket. Now, imagine you’re in this scenario and somehow achieving a meditative head-space. This is the practice of yoga. With measured inhalations and exhalations, I summoned my resolve and returned to the moment–the most important thing was my client, and focusing on my own fear wasn’t helping them. I asked my lighting director to give me a meter reading and returned to the fray. My next images? Total Rembrandt. The results were rich with texture and depth–dare I say, jaw-dropping?
It turns out that using lighting in the field makes my experience as a photographer more dynamic–rather than relying on old tricks, I’m stimulated by the synthesis of new techniques into my skill set. Not to mention that my clients receive images with a quality that exceeds their expectations.
And the Lowepro Bag Winner Is…
What a great response to my giveaway offer–thank you to everybody who participated in the contest. In order to win a free Lowepro Stealth Reporter D650 AW shoulder bag, I asked folks to craft a striking, vivid description of their favorite photograph of all time. Wow, you people are writers! What lush, evocative descriptions–not to mention tastefully chosen images. Some of my favorite comments included:Trey Ratcliff’s stunning “An Icelandic Horse in the Wild” leaves John Martin awe-struck. Shawn Reeder described “In the Early Light,” focusing on the joy of finding the perfect vista on Shuteye Ridge. Andy Macpherson finds inspiration in “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper,” by Charles Ebbets. A wedding image by Joe Buissink wows Bryn Clark. VeroG, Dave Krepps, William, and Alicia Sisk all chose to describe images by–well–moi! Thanks, guys.
As difficult as it was to choose, I narrowed down my favorite entry to Darren Su’s. His intimate description evokes the cultural and historical nostalgia of family. Please see Darren’s winning entry and the accompanying image below:I never met my grandfather, because he died just a few years after taking this amazing color photo of my mom and grandmother in 1949. These are two of the most precious people in the world to me, and here they are in their youth sharing a truly magical and wonderful moment surrounded by brilliant color and light so many years ago. My grandfather’s award winning photographs are like a window in time. They have been a huge source of inspiration for me as a photographer.
Moreover, the fine folks at Junebug selected one of my images–of Joan and Lawrence‘s once-in-a-lifetime day at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay–to represent its San Francisco Wedding Photographers section. I’m thrilled.
I have been anticipating the launch of Junebug Weddings for a long time, and it’s a joy to see the careful cultivation and hard labor of a group of committed entrepreneurs comes to pass.
Congratulations, Junebug Weddings. Thank you for your exceptional contribution to the wedding-photography industry and your support for my studios work!