Tag Archives: photography

Engagement Photos_featured

How to Get Engagement Pictures You Will Love and Cherish

Dallas photographer Tania Griffis shares what every couple should consider when preparing for their engagement photos–and how to get ones they’ll love for a lifetime.

Summertime is here—the temperature has risen, the days seem longer and more carefree—and in case you haven’t noticed, love is definitely in the air! If you are one of the masses who are recently engaged—congratulations!

This is a wonderful time of excitement and joy, but can seem a bit overwhelming with all the wedding planning. One of my personal favorite parts of the entire process is taking the engagement photos. They are fun, relaxed and an opportunity for the two of you to show off and enjoy yourselves.

So how can you go about getting the types of photos you will love, cherish and display until death do you part? To begin, spend some time researching who you might select as your photographer.

While Google and other websites are great places to start, it can be even more helpful to get personal recommendations from people you know and trust. Once you have a few names of photographers you are interested in, look through their online websites, blogs and social media pages to get a feel for their style and how it fits what you are looking for.

Once you have a photographer selected, you should begin the process of working with him or her to plan your engagement session. Every photographer handles pre-shoot planning differently, but I recommend beginning with your end goal in mind.

Where will you display these photos? Will they be shown at your wedding and reception? Will you want a large gallery display in your home? Will you use these for your “Save the Date” announcements? If so, what creative ideas can you incorporate using your wedding date?

Don’t be afraid to speak up and let your photographer know exactly the vibe you want to convey as a couple. Think about what you would like to remember most from these photos in 10 years, and make sure you include those elements, moods, props or locations.

Did you two meet at a bar downtown? Why not shoot there? Or did he propose while horseback riding in a field? Again, another fantastic concept to capture.

Another one of my favorite tools for planning gorgeous engagement sessions is to employ the use of the popular content sharing website Pinterest. I’ll ask my clients to create a shared board where we can both add images to keep mutually abreast of ideas, concepts, colors and other elements they would like to include.

Don’t be afraid to email images to your photographer or bring some photos with you to show him or her the types of things you would like to try. While a professional photographer will come ready to help you pose and interact the entire time, we welcome your input.

Any of these ideas and suggestions can easily be adapted for family sessions or for any other type of event where you are hiring a photographer. In the end, don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. After all, it’s your big day!

To get some inspiration for your engagement photo session, click here to visit our latest Pinterest board!

Making Christmas card

How to Take Great Holiday Family Photos

‘Tis the season for taking family photos for Christmas cards. Parenting School Years magazine offers four tips for snapping the best pictures of your crew this holiday season.

Chances are you’ve got plenty of holiday photo postcards of friends and family peppering your refrigerator–or you soon will. With Christmas just less than a month away, families will be striking poses in the hopes of getting that perfect picture to grace their holiday card.

More and more, families are opting for natural settings and incorporating their personalities, sending that super-posed photo to the wayside.

Parenting School Years magazine cornered some professional photographers, who offered advice like abandoning the pose–and more–for help on how to score the ultimate family photo. Here’s what they have to say.

1. Say no to the pose. Posed family photos are awkward and impossible to make happen anyway. The trend now is to go with unposed shots. Says Charleston, S.C., photojournalist Joshua Drake, “Candids let you capture those intimate, honest moments that happen in everyday life that best reflect your child’s mood and personality.”

2. Keep them in their native environment. If you want the kids to look relaxed and happy, then it might be better to photograph them in their natural habitat–amongst all their toys. “Kids feel most comfortable on their own couch or on their playroom floor,” says Carmel Zucker, a photojournalist from Boulder, Colo. And nothing gets them more delighted or animated than a favorite toy–I know, a blow to the ego for sure.

3. READY, set, click! Just last night I was wishing I’d had my camera nearby to capture my twin girls holding hands and singing. Of course, the minute I move for the camera, they follow me. “You should always have a camera sitting around the house that’s ready to go,” Zucker says. And out of reach of sticky fingers.

4. Snap away! Brent Clark, an award-winning photojournalist based in Raleigh, N.C., confides, “Small facial movements can make or break a photo.” What about redundancy? Clark suggests moving around the room to get different angles, even “lying on the ground or standing on a chair.”

Perhaps the best advice is to let go of so many ridiculous expectations for the perfect family photo. Aside from hiring a professional photographer and paying a fortune, it just might not exist. Besides, the best photographs help us remember special moments and phases of life–none of which will be, “Remember that awesome day we spent taking a family portrait?”

Tell us. What’s your secret for capturing the best family photos?


Tim Tebow and the Double Standard of GQ Magazine’s “Sexy Jesus” Photo

Tim Tebow on September's GQ magazine coverSomewhat controversial now, Tim Tebow’s “Sexy Jesus” photo in GQ will only prove prophetic when the media rush to crucify him again—whether it’s about his faith or football.

Tim Tebow is perhaps more consistently known as an evangelist of his Christian faith than he is for his footballing skills. So it’s no surprise that the New York Jets’ new backup quarterback is portrayed in a holy light in GQ magazine’s NFL Kick-Off issue which hits newsstands Aug. 21.

But it’s the magazine’s heralding of Tebow as a “Sexy Jesus” or as a “lord” and “savior” as it relates to football that just perpetuates the double standard any successful athlete has been held to since B.T. (before Tebowing).

The divine parallels between Tebow and football drew themselves last season—and were celebrated by a sports world that always seems to be looking for a hero. In Tebow they (eventually) trusted.

Time after time, his woeful stats through the third quarter somehow miraculously transformed into a fourth-quarter comeback. It nearly made the jokesters who were quite sure Tebow was giving the glory to a God who didn’t watch football question their original assessment.

But that was when Tebow was the QB of nearly last resort, the underdog on his own team that the Denver Broncos turned to when they had nothing else to lose. And then, during “Tebow time” the impossible became possible. It had all the makings of a religious parable.

As much as the media loves underdogs, it seems they rejoice as much in building them up as they do in tearing them down. That rise and fall is good for business, ratings and newsstand sales.

Might the humble Tebow be a prime target for a similar trajectory? The media now seems hell bent on highlighting any controversy around him—or creating it if they have to.

After all, these photos from GQ’s September issue were recycled from his days as the University of Florida’s all-everything quarterback. The color’s been removed from what’s been dubbed as the “Sexy Jesus” photo and any Gators references in the stadium behind him have been edited out.

So what’s to see here? According to some critics, the “Sexy Jesus” photo is proof—finally—that this is how Tebow views himself. But even if he does, why wouldn’t he? Especially when the GQ article builds “Him” up into a deity that it’s OK to bow down to, repent to and praise his name—as long as he can win football games.

The double standard is that Tebow is crucified for his faith, yet worshipped like a god on the gridiron—at least when he’s good.

This buildup of biblical proportions isn’t all Tebow’s doing. Maybe not even close, since he didn’t even know he was going to be featured in the magazine.

But this “Sexy Jesus” photo may prove prophetic when or if Tebow takes a tumble personally or professionally, and the media rushes to nail him to the cross they’ve already been creating for him.

ESPN The Magazine_Ronda Rousey

ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue and the Difference Between Good and Great Photos

ESPN The Magazine Body Issue cover

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is featured on one of six different Body Issue covers.

When 27 athletes strip down for a magazine, tongues usually wag. But four years later and shock value gone, let’s just say there’s a difference between good and great photos.

Whenever the clothes come off, the controversy piles on, so expect to hear some murmurings when ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue hits newsstands on Friday. Or maybe not.

By the fourth installment of this annual celebration of the human body, maybe we’re over the shock value of seeing athletes in their very chiseled—but very buff, save for the strategically placed hand, shadow or sporting apparatus—form.

Already, slideshows and galleries of the 27 athletes with the “bodies we want,” so labeled by the magazine, are making their rounds on the Internet. Were it so controversial, the Twitter-verse should have alerted us by now.

This year’s expanded crop is no doubt thanks to the upcoming Summer Olympic Games that begin later this month in London. We’ll be seeing some of these athletes from the national soccer, rowing, track and field, and volleyball teams compete in just a few short weeks—albeit with some clothing on.

While not every photo is of the most compelling artistic quality, many are. The most captivating are the black-and-whites and muted tones of athletes featured with a discus or a soccer ball, or in mid-kick, mid-leap or mid-sprint. Some will even make you wonder how many takes it took to capture the photo just right.

Others, like the ones featuring New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, seem a little out of place. At least it’s hard to take them seriously next to the focused emotion of nearly all of the rest, including two particularly memorable of Paralympic rower Oksana Masters—with and without her artificial legs.

Still others, while tastefully done, are merely just pretty athletes posed with a strategic turn or arm placement, like tennis player Daniela Hantuchova who was photographed without a racquet. Sometimes their setting has something to do with their sport of choice, like U.S. men’s national soccer team defender Carlos Bocanegra who was captured with a net behind him. Sometimes it doesn’t, like New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, who is pictured on a beach holding a basketball.

Perhaps if there were any controversy, this would be it. It’s one thing to celebrate the years of hard work and training necessary to carve out the perfect athletic form against the backdrop of the setting in which its meant to excel. It’s another to celebrate the human form for the sake of doing it or without the proper context.

That’s not to go so far as to say the difference is as egregious as being exploitative of women or pandering to sell more magazines or create any buzz. It’s just merely the difference between a good photo and a great one.

5 Tips for Creatively Displaying Photos of Your Family

5 Tips for Creatively Displaying Photos of Your Family

Maya Laurent Blog post

Photographer Maya Laurent recommends creatively grouping photos for a fun display.

Who doesn’t have a slew of photos they want to display? Here, professional photographer and blogger Maya Laurent shares some quick tips for doing just that.

We all have a ton of family photos on our computers, but they remain on there and not on display in our homes. It’s time to get those favorite photos printed and on your walls.

Having family photos on your walls is not only fun to show guests but has the dual purpose of reminding your children of cherished times you have had with them. Here are some quick tips for displaying family photos in your home:

1. Head to Goodwill – Check out your local Goodwill or secondhand store and find a variety of frames in all different sizes. Buy some spray paint in a single color or various colors, paint the frames and start printing photos to place in them. Arrange them in an interesting pattern on the wall and hang the frames.

2. Make it Big – An 8×10 by itself on a wall or mantel is tiny—think a touch smaller than a piece of paper. Unless you are hanging photos in a grouping, you should always start out with a 16×20 print/canvas or larger if you plan to display just a single photo.

3. Ledge It – Many stores sell photo ledges that make displaying various sized photos easy. Just pick different sized frames, print your favorite photos and even mix it up with some artwork and favorite quotes. Place the larger frames in the back and mix the smaller frames in the front.

4. Go For The Wallpaper Look – If you have a small wall or strange corner, there’s a perfect way to make it a centerpiece. Measure your wall and figure out how many 4×6 photos you could hang in the space, placed right next to one another. Print your 4x6s with a white border, grab double stick tape and start making a wallpaper look with the photos, placing them right next to each other.

5. Practice with Paper - If you are ever uncertain about how the photos will look on your wall, cut out some paper that will be the same sizes as the frame(s) and use painter’s tape to hang them on the wall. Step back, take a look and see what you think. This is also a good trick when hanging groups of photos to get the exact look and placement you want.

Popular Photography Artfully Showcases Machines

Popular Photography Artfully Showcases Machines

Popular Photography feature "Good Machines"

Popular Photography feature "Good Machines"

Photographic inspiration often comes from items not generally thought beautiful. See how one photographer created a stunning collection of photos centered entirely on machines.

A tractor, a sewer grate, a box of nails, rust accumulating on just about anything: These are typically not the things that come to mind when you think about photographic inspiration. However, if you’re a photographer, you know that texture in just about anything can generate a response to your work. The items listed above are the subjects from some of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken. They were unlikely subjects that, with the right attention, revealed their beauty to me and (hopefully) through me.

The February issue of Popular Photography magazine featured an article titled “Good Machines” that treated readers to the work of photographer Ian Gittler. This New York City-based photographer and visual artist produced a lovely series of images of different machines and machine parts (seen in the image). His first inspiration came from a collection of engines and distribution manifolds from the early 19th century, and his work shows the beauty he finds in every machine. The images are bold, geometric and gritty in all the right ways.

What I loved about this article was not only the beautiful black and white images displayed, but the knowledge of how the photographer produced and edited those images. The reader also learns that Gittler printed his photos for a gallery show on his home printer. I’m not quite sure why that last bit of information brought me the most joy. Yet, I think it was because I tend to believe there’s some element missing from what I’m creating keeping me from calling it true art.

Gittler’s work disproves that theory, though. He didn’t wait until he had the perfect weather or the perfect backdrop or the ideal model to create his photo. He responded to something that inspired him. Then, he edited that photo and printed it on his home printer. This reminded me that there are rarely as many obstacles to the creation of art as we often convince ourselves actually exist, and the ones that are there have often been erected in our own minds.