Sunday, September 26, 2010

Justin Bieber and Mascot Camp

To the smart dude that created the first music recognition app... thank you!! YOU are brillz. You are up there with the creator of IMDB in my book. However, I need you to know that your genius caused me to do some soul searching recently. It happened when I was watching the contestant videos for the Jasmine Star wedding workshop on CreativeLIVE. I heard this catchy-fun song on a video, whipped out my phone and soundhounded it. The result popped up, I did a double-take and quickly closed the app. I looked over my shoulder to be sure no one was around, took a deep breath and opened the app again. Justin Bieber. F'REAL?!? The.Biebs. Who am I?  I was just jammin' to the biebs? Oh yeah. I was. I watched the video again for another listen and sure enough, I liked the song. I even went over to iTunes and bought it a few days later (the shame. rarrr.)

J to the Beibs is great for Saturday morning dance parties with my baby girl and hubby. We love to dance. My love for dance, however, is not coupled with talent. I mean, I'd definitely beat Elaine Benes in a dance off but I seriously lack coordination. To the point that in High School I was the mascot, not a cheerleader. Recognized my weakness and leveraged my strength. I rocked that bear suit up and down the football field and danced my way to camp champion two years in a row. 

By the way, one Saturday I snuck in that Bieber jam for our dance party and the three of us danced our little hearts out. Guess I'm not the only one in the house that likes him ;)  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ham Game

It’s garbage. OK. I said it. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is garbage TV and I watch it anyway. I think it’s entertaining. Yes, I’m entertained by garbage. I used to be entertained by garbage on MTV and now that I’m more mature and adult-ish, I’m entertained by garbage on BRAVO. 
If you are into watching the History Channel or (gasp) no TV at all let me fill you in on the Ham Game. One of the housewives, Caroline, has three grown kids that still live at home. Two boys, one girl. From time to time they get a wild hair and go into the kitchen and throw ham at each other. Caroline HATES it. Probably because she has a gorgeous kitchen and the kids do little to help clean up. The ham game looks like great fun to me, but I like games and silliness in general. 

Since the J* workshop I’ve been looking for light and natural reflectors. I’ve become a little obsessed with it. Everywhere I go I think, ‘If I had to take a portrait here, where would be the best spot? Where is the pretty light?’  So, John and I created a new game - the Photo Game. I get my camera and get in the car. He drives and stops wherever he sees fit. Then, I have to make it work. Take one good portrait. Today for the first round of Photo Game he took it fairly easy on me. We went early in the morning so there was pretty light everywhere. This is where we stopped.

Sunlight - pretty, field - pretty, forgotten tractor trailer - let's do this. 

Olivia's face in this picture is sure to get many eye rolls later in life. But, I thought I would include it because it's a good example. John is standing in the same spot from the picture above. Instead of moving him, I moved and used the trailer as a big reflector.

Some details. I love shooting details. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I’ve seen you before

Sometimes you get lucky. Your daughter is being adorbs, you rush for the camera (miraculously you know exactly where it is AND the batteries are charged) you point it at her, press the shutter and you get a good picture. For me, this happens about as often as turn down ice-cream for dessert. Almost never. I’ve given up on making the mad dash for my camera because Olivia has usually moved on with her life by the time I make it back to her. So, most of the time, her cuteness is caught via the camera on my cell phone. The snapshots are facebookable, but not frameable and I’m ok with that. Yes, I’m a photographer and looking at these with a critical eye would make me cringe. They’re grainy, the light is horrific, and composition is boring. But my mommy eyes love them. My mommy wallet isn’t going to pay to have them printed, but I love them nonetheless.

When I want get a frameable shot, or when I’m shooting for a client, I do a lot of pre-visualization.  I can see the end product before I touch my camera. Part of this is skill from my experience and background as an artist. I have a trained eye. But, I also brainstorm and sketch things out. Sometimes I scout locations and practice shooting. Then, when a client is in front of me and I look through the viewfinder, pressing the shutter it’s like tapping an old friend on the shoulder.  ‘Oh, hey there, I know you.  I’ve seen you before.’  

My latest frameables...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Does Santa shoot Nikon or Canon?

"Aunt Jessi, can we track Santa on your computer?"  Kids have this way of making you feel old without even trying. Did you know that you can track Santa on NORAD's website? Well, I didn't until last year. I haven't checked, but I'm sure Santa is on Twitter too. Skype? Probably.

The internet had barely been invented the last time I tracked Santa. I had to sit and wait for the evening news to report on his whereabouts. Instead of texting a wish list, I plopped down in front of the TV to watch TGIF and hand wrote a letter with some paper and a crayon. Am I really so old that I am talking about the way things used to be?? Whatever. I’m up with technology. See, this year I’m blogging my wish. Boom. And, it’s a total gear head-photo-nerd wish – a new camera. With that, I am joining the great debate... Nikon or Canon.

I’ve read a ton of forums on the subject and both sides are clearly passionate about which is better. I mean, this topic can really stir a pot. However, it seems that the differences usually boil down to menu options and ease of use. Most will admit that it’s just personal choice.

Whatever I decide, I’m certain that come Christmas Eve I will be snuggled with my hubby and our sweet baby girl in front of the computer tracking Santa on the internet.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's Fall Y'all

It’s no secret that I heart Starbucks. I usually keep it simple: regular coffee with a shot of espresso, cream and sugar. Yumm! However, in the fall – oh how I love the fall. Football. Birthday. The smell of dried leaves. The beautiful light. But I digress… In the fall there is something magical at Starbucks. Barista’s label it PSL. Pumpkin Spiced Latte. 
Maybe it’s because my birthday is right before Halloween but I love pumpkiny stuff (pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin fudge, pumpkin-pecan ice cream, pumpkin shaped candy corn) and Pumpkin Spiced Latte’s top the list. They are so delicious.

I know it’s technically still summer but there’s college football on my TV and I’m drinking a PSL so, Happy Fall!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

J* Workshop Day 3-5

Day 3 was the wedding day. I got to watch Jasmine shoot a real wedding. LIVE. It was awesomazing! Yep, awesome and amazing. Jasmine is a true professional. She has her business down to a science and she performed under some serious pressure. She managed to take control and yet keep the vibe light and fun. Five lucky photographers were selected to go to the workshop and help shoot the wedding. They are now known as the CreativeLIVE Five. We got to see them in action too. I’ve had a few days to let the workshop sink in and I’ve tried to think of a comparison for the non photo nerds here … Imagine you played football in high school and you’ve wanted to coach for years. So, you start coaching kids for a local YMCA. You dream of one day coaching a college team or maybe even in the NFL. Then imagine that Sean Payton calls you up and invites you to training camp and lets you watch from the sidelines as he coaches (and wins) the super bowl. It’s something like that.

Day 4 everyone exhaled. The wedding was a smashing success. Congratulations to Laura and Billy!!
Jasmine showed her gorgeous images and talked more about business.

Day 5 was a big wrap up. Jasmine also had the CL Five show two images they captured and she offered them critique. I cannot imagine how nervous I would be to 1, Show my work to thousands of pro’s watching on the internet and 2, Have Jasmine critique it in front of everyone. YIKES!! But, the CL Five are all quite talented and got some sweet work for their portfolios.

To say that this workshop inspired me would be an immense understatement. It’s impossible put into words. I felt like Jasmine was talking directly to me, speaking right into my heart. She shared so much about her journey and starting out as well as a TON of information about the BUSINESS of her business. Being a successful wedding photographer takes a LOT more than being a good photographer. A lot lot.

If you are a photographer and you missed the workshop I would strongly recommend purchasing the downloads from CreativeLive. Also, if you are into blog stalking like I am, check out the CL Five’s blogs:
Nate Perkes, Sachin Khona, Victoria de MartignyStephanie Miller and Audrey Smit.