Blog

Best of Fall 2020

Best of Fall 2020 – Portfolio

These past few months I’ve been working on discovering my personal photography style. I still have a long way to go, but I’m much closer than I’ve ever been to discovering what my personal style is as a photographer.  In comm 316, professional imaging, we’ve done a lot of photography projects to help us discover our personal style. This website has some great tips on discovering your own personal style and creating a professional portfolio.

The images below are some of my most recent, and favorite photography projects. I love photographing people and trying to capture their personalities. Sometimes this is difficult because people tend to get nervous or uncomfortable in front of the camera, but every so often their personality will shine through. I believe those photos are the best kinds. 

I love color, warmth, like and happiness. I hope my photos reflect that.

Lifestyle Portrait Photography

Lifestyle Portrait Photography

I like to think of lifestyle photography as a way of capturing people and moments in the purest and truest forms. It’s fun to get people to be themselves in front of the camera, especially when it’s uncomfortable and little scary. When I can get a glimpse of their style and their personality in one frame, I feel like I’ve done a good job.

Typically lifestyle photography is candid. Many of my photos are staged, but one way you can get good lifestyle shots is by telling people to just dance around or laugh or talk to you. That’s a great way to get a candid feel in you lifestyle images.

The Photo Argus has a great article with several examples of lifestyle photography.

I really love the way these lifestyle portraits turned out. I took my roommates to a couple really fun spots. One out in the trees where we got some really fun lifestyle portraits. After spending a few minutes outside of town, we went into town to get some urban vibe portraits. We found two walls that were painted with the prettiest murals. They reflected the light really nicely and the portraits turned out really well.

Family Pictures

Family Pictures – Cedar City, Utah

I spent Thanksgiving day with my fiancé’s family. I also got to take some family pictures for them. I’ve never had a family picture session go more smoothly than this one. The only communication we had about what colors to wear was “wear something neutral” and everyone looked awesome.

It was pretty cold outside, so after we ate Thanksgiving dinner/lunch, we gather outside quickly to snap a few family pictures. I was already set up so we could be as quick as possible when everyone was ready. I snapped a few shots and we tried two different angles and were done in a matter of 15 minutes.

There’s a really cute photography company based in Rexburg that has a really great family picture portfolio. Check it out here.

Family Pictures – Saint George, Utah

Family Pictures – Saint George, Utah

I was able to spend some time with my family during the Thanksgiving Holiday. My mom took advantage of our time together and asked if I’d do our family pictures. It’s nice being the family photographer because we feel like we can be ourselves and goof off and have a good time. Sometimes family pictures can be stressful, especially when we’re trying to get our clothes to coordinate colors and when we’re trying to get to a location before the sun goes down. Thankfully our family picture session went really well. It took no longer than 30 minutes and we had several good options for family pictures.

There’s a website with some tips for the perfect family pictures. Check it out here.

The weather in Saint George, Utah is always so nice, even in the winter. After being in Rexburg, where it’s freezing cold, it was a nice change of temperature and scenery. 

Personal Style Project

My Personal Style Project

For my personal style project I wanted to create a magazine look book. I’ve never made anything like this before and it’s something I could easily make again in the future. My personal style project will  start with this one magazine, but eventually I’ll create more to have a series of them. These magazines will be something I can use to show potential employers or clients. It’s also something I can use for myself, or my family as a type of year book.

The content of my personal style project will be lifestyle photos (stylized and candid), family photos, couples photography and a bit of landscape photography. For this magazine the theme is largely pink. If I create more magazines in the future they will have a different color scheme. This first issue of my magazine is the pink issue. Any other magazines I make in the future will be different colored issues.

Below are the cover page, and first two pages of my magazine. I’ll be completing the design and printing the magazine in the coming weeks.

Pinterest has some great ideas for magazine spreads and look books. Check it out here

 

Landscape Photography

Landscape Photography Part 3

Some friends came to visit about a month ago and I wanted to take them to Yellowstone and Grand Teton before the weather got too cold. The following images are a few of the landscapes photos I got on my return trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. After several landscape photography adventures I’ve discovered I really enjoy landscape photography. For these images I tried to look at the landscape a little differently. I wanted to try different angles, and get closer to things.

For these landscape photos I went back to Jenny Lake and Yellowstone. I wanted to show my friends around the beautiful places I’d just discovered. It was fun to see the different ways I could capture images in these places, on my own. In landscape photography you can get really great images by changing the way you look at things. Here’s some landscape photography tips, from pixa.com.

Landscape & Nature Photography

Landscape and Nature Photography Part 2

After my day in Yellowstone and Island Park, I got to adventure around in Grand Teton National Park. I’d never been prior to this trip and it was amazing. Landscape photography is pretty easy when the scenery is breathtaking and the weather conditions are perfect. We stopped at some well known places some tucked away places. I got landscape photos of all kinds: water reflections, blurred waterfalls, mountains, old cabins, and old cars. If you haven’t been to Grand Teton National Park, I highly recommend it. It was incredible. i’m constantly blown away by the grandeur the beauty of the landscape on this side of the country.

I found a great article for beginner landscape photography. Check it out here.

We started early in the morning to catch the sunrise above Jackson, Wyoming. I liked how the layers in the atmosphere created depth in the photo.

After getting out sunrise landscape photos, we made our way a little waterfall, tucked away off the highway. After that we made our way to Grand Teton National Park where we stopped at Jenny Lake. We also stopped at Schwabacher Landing, which has the best view of the Tetons, in my opinion. 

Our last stop in the park was at Mormon Row, where several old barns and cabins are still intact. The old structures there made for some stunning landscape photos.

After leaving Grand Teton National Park, we stopped at an empty lot full of old abandoned cars.

Landscape & Nature Photography

Landscape and Nature Photography

About a month ago I spent a day, with several amazing photographers, capturing the beautiful landscape of Island Park, Idaho and Yellowstone National Park. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to practice and refine my landscape photography skills. I’ve never been very confident in my ability to capture good landscape photos. This is because there are a few basic landscape photography tips that I didn’t know prior to this trip. I’m very proud of the photos I produced on this trip. In the past, landscape photography hasn’t been my favorite but I definitely want to spend more time with this area of photography.

We started early in the morning in Island Park, Idaho to get some sunrise photos on the Buffalo River. It was very cold but very beautiful.

Sun flare is always a great addition to any landscape photo. When the sun started to peak over the trees the light was perfect.

It’s always nice to add a bit of interest to your landscape photos by humanizing the landscape, or capturing wildlife.

National Geographic has an article with great landscape photography tips. Check it out here.

Objects in Fashion

Objects in Fashion

For this project I had the opportunity to slow down, look around, and get pictures of things, not people. Looking back I wish I would’ve spent a little more time looking at things around me to get some interesting shots, but the ones I did get turned out pretty nice.

Fashion is really about details so this project was good for me too look at things a new way. The location of our fashion shoot was at a beautiful barn in Rexburg, Idaho. The owner, Emalee, was kind enough to rent her barn to us for the evening. The lighting was perfect outside and I couldn’t resist getting a shot of this beautiful place. I also got a couples shot of one of our model’s shoes and some other accessories.

Digital Photography School has a great article about challenging yourself to capture images of regular objects in a unique way. It’s really great article.

Fashion Photography – Groups and Pairs

Fashion Photography – Groups & Pairs

Getting portraits can be difficult, but getting portraits of more than one person, especially large groups, is a whole other ball field. In fashion photography it can get a little extra tricky since it’s important to see the clothes the models are wearing in the images. You also want to make sure the models are comfortable around each other. Things can get awkward really fast if people aren’t comfortable or having a good time.

Thankfully our models were awesome and they seemed to have a really great time together. It made my job, and the fashion shoot, that much better.

The great things about fashion is everyone has their own unique style. It was fun to get multiple models together to see all the different styles of fashion together in one photo.

Pinterest has some really great pose ideas for group photos in fashion. It can be kinda tricky to pose multiple people in one photo. Go check it out! 

Fashion Photography – The Women

Fashion Photography – The Women

I love clothes and I love shoes. One reason I was so excited fort this fashion shoot was because I wanted to see what the women would where. They blew it out of the water for sure! I could see the effort in every inch of their outfits. One things that separates fashion photography from regular portrait photography is the details. It’s the little things (especially in fashion photography) that will really set your image apart.

Photographer Sergey Bidun posted some great tips for women portrait photography on his website Bidun Art. Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s important to create a relationship with your models to help them feel at ease. This will help photo shoots to run smoothly.

In fashion photography, it’s important to keep things simple but still allow room to be creative and try new things.

I added Urban Outfitters logos to two images. I really like the way they turned out. 

Fashion Photography – The Men

Fashion Photography – The Men

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to work closely with several other photographers on a fashion shoot. I’ve never done fashion photography before so it was a really fun learning experience for me. 

We had several models there for the fashion shoot. It was really fun to get to know them. For some people it’s uncomfortable for them to have their picture taken. As photographers it’s our job to make every photo shoot experience (fashion or otherwise) is an enjoyable one. If a model is uncomfortable that will be relfected in the photos.

The theme for our fashion shoot was ‘bright fall colors.’ Typically in the fall and winter, people lean towards more neutral colors. We wanted our fall fashion to be a little unique. Our models did a great job pulling it off for us.

I located an Urban Outfitters logo and placed it on one of my images. It seemed that style of clothing fit the style of our models clothes. I also found some really unique fashion photography at Expert Photography. They have what they call a ‘complete guide’ to fashion photography. It’s worth the read for sure!

Post Production – Blending Images

Post Production – Blending Images

I love blending multiple images together. The options are endless and you can create such interesting images while you’re editing. This edit actually didn’t take me very long. I picked a portrait from a couple months ago then started looking for a texture I could blend with it. I found the texture on pexels.com. They have a lot of really great free photos to use.

There are several ways you can blend images in photoshop. A few of those methods are explained by Steve Patterson here.

For my image I used blend modes, layer masks and color lookup themes to get my final product. I’m kind of obsessed with how it turned out. It gives me magical, witchy vibes. I did simple edits in camera raw bump up the contrast and saturation then opened the image in photoshop to blend the images together. It took some time to get the colors right and mask off certain parts, overall it turned out amazing.

The before image and texture image are below.

I used the fall colors and foggy night color lookup themes for the portrait, then used the bleach color lookup theme for the texture image. 

Post Production – Color Lookup Themes

Post Production – Color Lookup Themes (LUT)

I’m becoming more of a fan of post production. It hasn’t always been my favorite part of photography as it is very time consuming and tedious. One way I’ve helped myself to enjoy post production more is by trying new things, learning different editing styles and applying the things I learn. For this project I used the color lookup theme option in Photoshop. I’ve never used this adjustment layer before, but it’s super easy and effective.

I know it’s not Halloween anymore, but this picture is kind of interesting to me, so I thought I’d experiment with it a little bit. I did some quick edits in camera raw to bump the contrast and get things looking a little more like how my eyes saw it. After that I opened it in Photoshop and started testing out different LUT options. I used three different color lookup themes layered on top of each other at different opacities: bleach 29%, candle light 29% and fall colors 50%. The finished product is warmer and moodier. I really like how it turned out and I will definitely be using LUT for more of post production. It’s very quick and easy.

Adobe has a really great tutorial about how to use the color lookup themes. Check it out here.

Balance the Light – Outdoor Potraits

Balance the Light – Outdoor Portrait Photography

When shooting portraits outdoors, it’s important to balance the light. This means not blowing out the sky to expose for your subjects face. Below I will show a few portraits I captured: a series of images that demonstrate what it means to balance the light. The first portrait has a blown out sky because I exposed to my subjects skin. The second portraits I exposed to the sky, but my subject is dark. I balanced the light by using a reflector to light my subjects face. This made it so the sky was exposed correctly and my subject was still visible and exposed nicely.

It’s typical to see photographers expose to their subjects face and have the sky blown out because they don’t want to take the time to balance the light. In today’s culture people really like candid photography which is hard to capture if you’re trying to get things balanced and exposed correctly. It’s important to slow down every once in a while and take your time balancing the light to get a well exposed, rich image.

The Strobist has an article about how the way you balance the light can completely change the feel of the image. Depending on what you want will change the way you balance the light and expose your subject.

Outdoor Portraits with Auxiliary Lighting

Outdoor Portraits with Auxiliary Lighting

Portrait photography can be difficult, especially outdoors. Typically photographers expose their photos so the subject is well lit, which often leads to the sky being blown out. If you use off camera lighting, you can expose for the sky then light your subject using auxiliary lighting. I love the richness of portraits that use auxiliary lighting. 

For this project I captured several different portraits at three different locations. 

The above portraits were captured at Yellowstone National Park, in the evening. The portraits below were taken in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but in the afternoon. The light was much harsher, but using the auxiliary lighting for these portraits made it so the sky and subject were exposed nicely.

The Digital Photo Mentor has a really great post with tips about using auxiliary lighting. It’s a great place to go if you’re just starting out with auxiliary portrait photography.

Long Exposure and Light Painting

Long Exposure and Light Painting

I never do enough long exposure photography. I’m not a big fan of packing my tripod everywhere with me, so if I have a slow shutter my images won’t be sharp. This project was a lot of fun for me. It was my first time doing light painting with long exposure, and it was a lot of fun.

I started by collecting some items to take long exposure shots of. I wanted things with lots of color that would create interesting shadows. I also to light paint some things that had interesting texture. Below you’ll see the picture where I was focusing on textures.

Canon has some really fun creatives ideas for light painting indoors. Check it out here.

 

 

I hung up the red blanket to block out more light. While I was light painting I had to focus the light on the background quite of bit to get it to show up the amount that it did.

I didn’t use the red background in all of my long exposure shots, only two. The image with the office supplies just had the grey curtains as a background. I liked how some light showed through in that particular image. The other long exposer images needed more separation from the background.

Next time I do long exposure light painting I want to try it outside. There’s some great tutorials on catpurelandscapes.com

My final image for this project is for sure my favorite. I used my most colorful kitchen supplies and vegetables for this shot. At this point I had my setting down pretty well so it only took a few shots to get the light painting just right. I love the way it turned out.

Food Photography – Indoors

Food Photography – Indoors

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve done food photography. It’s something I could definitely use some practice in. The tricky thing about food photography is getting the lighting just right. You want to make sure you can see the different textures of the food, and not flatten your image with on camera flash. You want more than one light source (at least two is ideal).

For this food photography project, I wanted to capture several different vegetables of varying textures, sizes, and colors. I positioned everything on a wooden cutting bored, and started capturing photos. I used a speed light and a reflector.

Next time I experiment with food photography, I want to be in a well lit space, and have a window as another light source. For this photoshoot I actually limited any natural light from coming in. I wanted to focus on using my off camera lighting equipment. This article has great tips for getting great food photography using several different kinds of lighting.

Indoor Product Photography

Indoor Product Photography

For the indoor product photography I got really creative with lighting. The picture of the hat and watch was lit so that you could see the background. For the picture of the face products I lit it so the background was dark, like in my SQIBB project. Indoor product photography can be really fun because you get to turn any space you’re in, into a studio. You don’t have to go somewhere fancy to produce quality images.

The hat and watch picture was pretty simple. I took a few shots, moved things around and out of the frame until I got something I was happy with. For the face products, it was a longer process. I used a speed light and reflector to bound some of the light back. It took a while to get the lighting just right and make sure everything was positioned the way I wanted. I also added some water droplets to the products and wanted to make sure they were visible in the photo. In the end it turned out really great.

I found a great article, The Beginners Guide to Product PhotographyIt has a lot of great tips if you’re just starting. 

Outdoor Product Photography

Outdoor Product Photography

These shots I captured outdoors using natural light. The trickiest part in this process was getting the products positioned the way I wanted. I had to make sure everything was level, especially the perfume bottle. If it was even slightly off, you could tell because the liquid wasn’t level.

I really enjoyed this particular project because I got to experiment with the products, move them around, and see how they looked in different settings outside. My favorite is the lotion bottle with the waterfall in the back. I love the contrast is the light and the colors.

The easiest and fastest part of the process was editing. I just made simple adjustments to the light and color of the photos to make it look the way my eyes saw it.

This website has several tips to get great product photography.

Branding

Brand & Style Guide

Branding is very important for any business or company. It’s the way people perceive you and your message. The great thing is we do have some control over the way people perceive us. I created a style guide for my photography business that would help me set the tone of my business and clarify my purpose.

Branding – Photography Pricing

When you’re running a brand or business, it’s important to know what you’re worth. You don’t want to be greedy, but you shouldn’t be getting less than you’re worth, especially when you’re dedicating a lot of time and energy to somthing.

This website talks about photography branding and why it’s important. This could be applied to any business. 

OSES

OSES – Ordinary Spot Extraordinary Shot

One of my favorite things about photography is it changes the way I look at and see things. What separates good photographers from great photographers is how they view things. To turn an ordinary spot into an extraordinary shot you have to change the way you look at something. Sometimes that means changing the position of your body to compose your image in a creative way.

Pictured below is an ordinary spot, followed by an extraordinary shot.

OSES – The Process

For the images I captured in this project the process was just a matter a changing my positioning. Instead of just pointing my camera at something and snapping a photo, I had to get low to the ground, change my angle or get close to my subject.

For the image below, I got really close to my subject and it turned an ordinary spot into an extraordinary shot.

Douglas Phan is a very talented photographer. Check out his amazing extraordinary shot in an ordinary spot, here.

Charlie’s Angels Movie Poster

Movie Poster – Charlie’s Angels

This project was really fun. The most time-consuming part for me was pick what original movie poster to recreate. I talked with some friends about movie options. After going over a few of our favorite movies I nailed down Charlie’s Angels. I’ve never actually seen either of the movies (old or new) but I really like the idea of sisterhood, and working together as a team to accomplish a goal.

This is the original movie poster that I wanted to recreate

Movie Poster – The Process

The trickiest part was getting the angle of my photo correct. It was also difficult to get the lighting just right. I would’ve liked to shoot the picture an hour earlier so the sun would be higher, but I was running out of time and had to do my best with what I had to work with. 

Once I got the angle right I had to get my reflector positioned just right (held by my very helpful brother) so we could see our faces without having the sky blown out.

Movie Poster – Editing

After capturing the image, I had to edit the photo then add all the other elements of the movie poster. I used Adobe Illustrator to duplicate the pink angel wings, positioned behind me and my roommates. I also had to search for a font that would match the text of the title. I used a gradient on the text and the wings to copy the style of the original poster. I could’ve spent more time stylizing the movie poster, but I think it turned out pretty nice.

SQIBB

SQIBB Portraits (Studio Quality Invisible Background)

This was my first time doing a project like this. SQIBB is actually very easy once you get the light positioned where you want, and all the settings correct. To obtain a SQIBB image you have to expose so your background is completely dark, then you use off camera lighting to light the subject. I really like this style of photography for portraits. It creates really interesting shadows.

SQIBB Products

You can produce beautiful, unique, quality images very quickly by using the SQIBB technique. It works well for product and fine art photography as well.

SQIBB Set up

When you’re setting up a SQIBB shot, you create a triangle between yourself (the camera), the subject and the light source.

Creative Images

For the creative images project I did a composite image, using two of my own images. I blended the images together in photoshop to make them look like one image, then I added lighting effects. 

For the second part of the creative choice project, I did scanography, which I have never done before. I used a jewelry box, and borrowed some jewelry from a friend and placed the items on a scanner. It took a few test runs to get everything positioned in a way I liked. Once I was pleased with the outcome of the scanned preview, I scanned and saved the images. After saving the images, I did some simple editing to correct the colors, and remove and imperfections that were on the scanner glass.

Hi there! It’s me Megan!

Hi there! It’s me Megan!

Pictures are a very special part of everyone's story. Even people who don't like having their picture taken, still like to have pictures, though they might not admit it openly. I often doubt my abilities as a creator, but when I see the joy that art and creativity bring to others it's a reminder to me why I do what I do.