Behind the Shot: Halloween

finalIn celebration of Zé's first Halloween and the lumberjack hat/beard I crocheted for him, I put together the above graphic and thought it'd be fun to share how I made it.

To accomplish the clean white background, normally I would shoot on white seamless (lit to delicious pure white perfection), but my studio gear is currently packed in moving boxes (yes, still), and I didn't want to mess with setting up hot shoe flashes, so I put together this low-tech and super easy solution using only available light (and set-up took all of 30 seconds!).

I photographed him on 30x40 white foam board (sold in a 10-pack which is GREAT because they are handy for so many things!), sitting about where you see the dragon in the photo below. I used one piece for him to sit on, another behind him (propped up by a basket), and a third piece opposite the window to bounce the light and fill in some of the shadows. You can see the set-up in the photo below.

setup

The photo below is the result straight out of camera (SOOC). Because I was using only available window light coming from the front/left, I wasn't able to blow out the background by over exposing it the way you easily could in the studio. Thus, we can see the seam where the floor board meets the background board, requiring a small adjustment. (And, that's our wood floor peeking out from below the foam board at the bottom of the photo.)

sooc

I used the Dodge Tool (O) to clean up the background, paying special attention to the seam where the two boards come together. To fix the floor, I used the Eye Dropper (I) to sample the white near the bottom of the foam board and the Paint Brush (B) to simply paint over the wood floor.

touchup

Working with white backgrounds can be tricky when you're not shooting them in the studio. Dodging can make things appear to be in order, but if you view the image on various screens from certain angles, you might see your brush strokes. To prevent this, I like to add a temporary Levels Adjustment Layer which I purposely destroy with a severely exaggerated midtone adjustment, which shows me any spots I may have missed with the Dodge Tool, as seen below. To fix any errant background information, I simply dodge the background layer while the Levels Adjustment Layer is still active, effectively checking my work as I go. When I'm finished, I drag the adjustment layer to the trash.

touchup2 Once the background was cleaned up, I used the Eye Dropper Tool and Option/Alt clicked to load the white background color as my active background swatch. Then, I switched to the crop tool to resize the whole image. (You can leave the settings blank and just drag from the corner to visually adjust the canvas area, or enter specific dimensions if you know what size you want the final piece to be.) Photoshop will fill in the canvas area with whatever color you sampled for your background swatch when you Option/Alt clicked with the Eye Dropper. This makes it possible to use the crop tool to essentially reformat the image and extend the background, creating room for our design. If you did a good job of cleaning up the background area, it should appear seamless.

crop

To create a more organic feel, I opted to add some paper texture to the design. You can use any kind of texture file you want. I used paper48.jpg from this Give Me Some Papers Quick texture collection by Nicky Laatz. After making sure the texture file was sized appropriately for my image, I dragged it into the composition and changed the layer's Blend Mode to Multiply.

texture

Next, I added two text layers using Monster and Rockwell typefaces and used the Eye Dropper Tool (I) to select the text colors from within the image itself. Finally, I added the spider web graphic (again, changing the layer Blend Mode to Multiply) to finish the design.

final And that's it—frightfully simple!

Down the Aisle: Buzz + Andre

You know you're in for a treat when the bride's nickname is Buzz! Being in residency in NYC, she's crazy busy, so her dad did most of the wedding planning, and I didn't get much interaction with Buzz until I walked in Saturday morning and introduced myself. I was immediately smitten and instantly knew the day would be a blast. And wouldn't you know, I was right! Then I met Andre and I thought—how does this keep getting even more awesome? What a gorgeous couple! And so in love. When you look at the photos you can tell they were radiating joy all day long. An adventurous gal myself, I was fascinated to learn that Buzz climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with her brother and dad. (It's on my list!) And later in the evening, after a first dance that was too smooth for words, I found out that Andre, a scientist who's originally from Jamaica, was a professional ballroom dance instructor in college. Because—of course he was. He's fascinating and talented like that. See what I mean? Spending the day with these two and their families was like much needed medicine for my heart. Thank you all!

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Down the Aisle: Lindsey + John

I'm sure Lindsey has been chomping at the bit to see this sneak peek... and the truth is, when I first went through and had my own sneak peek at everything, I originally picked 167 images for the blog. As much as I would love to post them all here, 167 images is a bit crazy (even for me). So it took me awhile to come to terms with saving some of them for later (not too much later, just later this week when their entire wedding edit and album design are finished). There's not much I can say that the pictures don't already convey: The day was perfect, Lindsey was a vision, and everyone had a rockin' good time. Lindsey assembled an all-star team of vendors to help make her dreams come true including Lovestruck Weddings and Events, JF+M, and The 402.

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ShootShack: Lindsey + John

In a fun departure from our classic ShootShack backdrop, Lindsey opted for gold sequins to fit the rest of her gold and pink theme. It was a huge hit—I love these images! ShootShack_0019ShootShack_0061ShootShack_0138

ShootShack_0232ShootShack_0167Yours truly alongside Jeff and Adam from JF+M. (They did a phenomenal job on the wedding video—watch it here. If you want cinematography at your wedding—contact them!)

ShootShack_0277ShootShack_0335ShootShack_0544ShootShack_0605ShootShack_0628ShootShack_0712ShootShack_0731ShootShack_0764And this, ladies and gents, is Candace from Lovestruck Weddings and Events. She's a wedding planning super star, and it was WONDERFUL to work with her and her associate, Lindsay, on this event. If you need help with your wedding plans—she's your gal!

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Down the Aisle: Adrian + Holly

Hastings, Nebraska was bursting at the seams with love this past Saturday as Adrian and Holly tied the knot and became "The Carlsons." (How fun is that?) 01540201

Isn't the lace on Holly's dress gorgeous? I love wedding dresses with some sort of strap...

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Air born!

 

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I love the expression on her face here... like she's not quite sure about that corsage...

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Congrats you two—enjoy Estes Park!!!

Down the Aisle: Clar + Mike

Being invited back to photograph the wedding of a sibling of a previous client is among the most ultimate in compliments. It's been nearly four years since I shot Trevor + Allison's wedding, and it was a blast to see everyone again (along with a new grand daughter to boot). Clar and Mike are both fortunate to have such loving, supportive, and connected families. From the toast Mike's brother gave to Clar's dance with her dad... there were plenty of joyful tears to go around. 0088017603520440048405320597061806780694069607920804

Trevor, Allison, and Lillia! (Guessing on the spelling... hope I'm at least close?)

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