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If you haven't already seen the final images of the
"Super Engagement" photo shoot, then visit the portfolio page & take
a gander at them! There's also a neat behind the scenes video below that we shot with my iPhone 4!!!
Although many ideas begin to sprout once I'm on location and starting
a shoot, the majority of the projects I'm hired for are planned out in detail
long before; this occasion being no exception.
Both scenes were set in Louisville KY; the first half of the shoot taking place at a downtown Panera Bread. It was a nice fall day, with weather in the high 50's, & a periodic breeze. There was a warm glow underneath the sun-kissed sky that made for a great backdrop on certain shots.
During the initial consultation, Gio, the groom to be, used words like
"non-traditional" & "cinematic" to describe the feel He wanted their
engagement images to portray. Well, He pretty much describe my style! Considering Gio proposed to Victoria during her college graduation & She's currently back in school, the idea behind the first series of shots
was to portray a solo study session interrupted by the love on her mind.
The backdrop to the latter scenes were that of the Louisville water front, near the "Big Four Bridge"; the bridge that goes nowhere. "A dramatic climax" is what Gio & Victoria mentioned they wanted to play out in some of the scenes. I draw inspiration from every direction of life when I work. That plaid blanket is my special POLO blanket. When I used to work in Lexington, Ky, to escape my busy days, I would take that blanket with me & climb rooftops downtown. I'd lounge around for hours on warm summer eves with my iPad mini, Pandora, snacks, a good book, & incense. It was very tranquil to be above the commotion with a stunning view of the city, clouds, birds & sunset. I even had a dinner date on a roof once. I prepared an entire meal with dessert & had it hot & ready waiting on the rooftop across the street from my downtown loft at the time. The date went very well!
These shots are from an awesome scene I composed on a high school senior portrait session. Many love the fact that I give them a surreal edge to their images. Imagine looking at your portraits 20 years from now & remembering the feeling of creating images that were magazine or advertisement worthy. I'm sure it'll be nostalgic.
Each photo shoot I've done, has its own uniqueness that I hold close
to heart, but this shoot will always have sentimental value of large proportion for me.
For this project, Dan Townsend contacted me to work on a shoot with him. Mr. Townsend was one of my former high school teachers. Not only did he teach my business law & computer application class, but he also was one of the first individuals that helped me take my photography seriously.
When I began my professional photography career managing a chain portrait studio, I used film exclusively, but I purchased my first DSLR long before from eBay when I was about 14. I would to take it to school & take pictures of anything that caught my eye. Visuals in general intrigued me. One day, I decided to give the photography club
a try. Well, I ended up being voted to be president of the club & Mr Townsend was head of the club, in addition to heading the yearbook staff. At a time when not too many people around me saw the value or significance in what I was going for, Mr. Townsend really found ways to keep me active & engaged in constant learning & shooting. My focus began to shift into a career minded mentality.
The first person to pay me for photos when I was a teenager, wanted their money back afterwards. The images were that bad... Although it was only $20, it was a blow to my ego. From then on, I took extreme learning into my own hands. I began to study YouTube, college material, & purchase books from amazon that dealt with everything from photography & Adobe products, to business & advertising.
Well, applied knowledge is the key, & keys open doors to opportunity. By the time I was 18, I was managing a portrait studio.
I still remember everything Mr. Townsend taught me, & am forever grateful for his life long dedication towards learning & teaching others.
It was an honor to work by his side again after more than a decade from our first encounter.
Majority of my photography is composition work made up of many images put together, however sometimes the compositions are comprised of just one image but many layers of graphic design & illustration on top of the picture. There are many things I do to my images before they get into Photoshop, but one of the first things I do once in Photoshop is selective color correction. I break the image up into different pieces based on colors & fine tune each separately. This is actually done a few times throughout the retouching process.
If I'm not adding any other actual pictures to the original image, then I begin the illustration process on top of the original image. I draw on layers separate from the original, in the case of a mistake or a needed adjustment, I can make alterations in a non-destructive manner.
As you can see in this image, I drew my own visor into the helmet with a glare on each side to give perception of a bend to the eye & also to match the light I later added. The bright light flares seen on the original image where drawn in towards the end.
More color adjustments are made throughout the the work period to keep consistency between all of the layers.