Senior Portraits-Kylie

Had a great senior portrait shoot this past Wednesday in Ashland with Kylie. It was a fairly chilly out, but we still got some really nice things outside and Kylie did an awesome job looking warm and happy on a cold day. Then, after we lost the sun, we headed indoors for some more formal portraits. This was probably my last senior session of the season, and it was a great way to wrap up a busy year. It seems like everyone's images are due into the yearbook in the next week or two, so if you had a session with me earlier in the season and still need to choose an image to touched up for submission, let me know ASAP.

FROST? Are you kidding me?

Yesterday morning was a particularly rough episode in my ongoing struggle to accept the end of summer. Frost. Really, Mother Nature? Was that entirely necessary. I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job, but that seemed a little over the top. Just because you can cause the untimely end of our garden doesn't mean you should. That's just mean. After we harvested everything that was even remotely ripe the other night in the freezing drizzle (thanks for that also) I took a few photos of this spicy thai pepper. Our neighbors Mike and Tonia, grew these in the garden this year. Pretty? Yes. Incredibly hot? Also, yes. About a week ago, Mike double-dog dared me to eat one, and of course if someone double-dog dares you to do something you pretty much have to. So I did. Let me just say that I didn't realize that the human tongue could sweat, but I'm pretty sure that's what was happening. I will now be using this little guy as a heat source.

The Underwater Senior Portrait Challenge.

I had some time this weekend to experiment more with an underwater camera housing I got a while back. The photo above is one of many lovely self portraits that I made while playing with it. Obviously, the subject leaves a lot to be desired, but all in all I think the picture is pretty cool: interesting background, good color, nice light, and most importantly, a rockin' perspective that you don't get to see every day. That of course got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing), how can I use this to do something cooler than just taking pictures of me holding my breath. So here it is folks, Hired Lens Photography announces the The Underwater Senior Portrait Challenge.

You think I'm kidding. I'm not. I'm looking for some brave high school student (or two) in the Chequamegon Bay Area that wants to take their senior portrait underwater. I'm offering a 15% discount to anyone that will use one of the poses from their portrait package to do an underwater shoot. The rest of the session can be normal terrestrial-based photography. Why do I want to do this so bad? Because its different, because it's a fun challenge for me as a photographer, and because I think it will look really cool when it's all done. And  that's always the goal: great photographs. So who's with me? Worst-case scenario, you choose one of the other, more standard photos from our shoot for the year book and you still have a good story to tell. Think about it, and contact me if you're the bold aquatic subject I'm looking for. This is the chance to do something really different.


Wow. Okay. I just had my first chance in three months to take a deep breath. It's been a busy spring. Good, but busy. Between shooting, editing, and some other projects at home, pretty much all my time has been booked. I just got back from Milwaukee late friday night, was home for two days and now I'm in Grand Marais, MN for another project. I'm getting to meet lots of cool people though, and getting some good images along the way. I haven't even had time to toss up a few of my favorites from recent shoots, but I promise they're coming soon. Today and tomorrow are the last of my spring editorial projects, then senior portrait season is right around the corner. I've already gotten the first few e-mails about sessions during the summer. Should be a good year. Have a great week and stay tuned for a few new photos in the next week or so.


Okay, try not to look cold. Ready...Go.

Had my last Senior Portait session of 2009 this past weekend. Stephanie and her mother, Penny, drove up from Drummond for a shoot on Sunday afternoon. It was a clear, beautiful day here in Ashalnd. It was also about 8 degrees. That, if you're not aware, is cold. Real winter weather makes photo shoots a lot harder. Things freeze up, parts break in the cold, fingers get too cold to push the shutter button. Winter shoots are hard on the camera, they're hard on the lights, they run batteries dead in no time flat, but, most of all, winter shoots are hard on the subject. Stephanie was a trooper. 

Now, keep in mind, I was wearing long underwear and about 42 layers of polyethelene and fleece for this shoot. Stephanie on the other hand was wearing a long sleeve shirt and jeans. Afterall who wants to look like they're on an arctic expedition in their yearbook photo (Okay, okay. I would have loved to look like I was on an arctic expedition in my yearbook, but I've always been a little ...abnormal, shall we say.). She would sit in her car while we got a shot set up and then hustle out, peel off her winter coat, and try to look warm for a few minutes while I snapped away. Then back to the car to warm up for a little bit. Not a perfect system, but we got some pretty cool photos. After about an hour and half outside, we went inside for a couple studio portraits. Here are a few of my favorites:


Making Bad Weather Look Good.

When Vicki (Allyson's mom) and I scheduled Allyson's senior portrait shoot, was projecting sun for Thursday afternoon. Sounds good. A sunny fall day, yeah, let's do that. was wrong. Thursday afternoon was cold and grey. I mean really grey. And really cold, for that matter. The sky in the image above was not photoshopped to look that way, that's really how bad it was. And yes that's full color, grey just happened to be the only color around.

So what do you do when you get bad weather? Well, you could postpone the shoot, reschedule for another day, wait for better weather. I try give people that option if that's what they want to do. Or you could do what I like to do, which is work with what you've got and get some really good photos anyway. Personally, I think an ominous cloud-laden sky can be far more striking than a happy sunny day, but maybe that's just me.

Bad weather does take a little more planning though. You've got to have a dry place to leave extra equipment, a warm place for the subject to hang out while you get things set up, more lighting equipment, and someone to keep the lightstands from blowing over in the wind (Thanks Vicki, you were an awesome assistant.) That aside, the final images can still be pretty sweet. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a photogenic subject either.

Here are a few more frames from Thursday afternoon: