Tag Archives: family

Denver, CO | Family + Senior Combination Session | Three Sisters

Below are a bunch a pictures from my recent Family Portrait / Senior Portrait combination session. I really like the variety of images we were able to get in just a short time. McWilliams Park in Denver provided a bunch of different settings and backgrounds, and I kept switching between Camera/Lens/Film(digital) combinations to keep the look changing.

As you look over the pictures below, the soft, pastel looking color images were shot on color film, the warmer more contrasty color images were shot on digital, and the black and white images were shot on black and white film. Film processing and scanning was done by the amazing Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood.

I am really happy with how all of these images turned out, but as usual, my favorites are the images shot on black and white film. The combination of Fuji Neopan 400 and the Nikon 85mm f1.8 lens constantly blows me away.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:

B&W Film
Nikon F100
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA Fuji Neopan 400)
Richard Photo Lab

Color Film
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Fuji Pro 400H
Richard Photo Lab

Digital
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw

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Westminster, CO | Documentary Portraits | Molly & Balloon

With all of the below zero weather this week, I was really longing for some summer sun. I went back through some of my photo shoots from last summer and pulled these documentary portraits of Molly. They were shot during a concert at the Westminster Promenade in Westminster, CO. Molly was having a great time playing with the black balloons while staying in the shade of the Westminster High School tent.

The dark tent overhead, with light streaming in from all sides, made for some beautiful light; and the dark balloons next to Molly’s light skin created really interesting contrast in the images.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Natural Light

Nikon F3
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Ilford HP5 Plus
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X (9min @ 20C)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Arvada, CO | Children’s Portraits | End of Year Collage

I have posted previously about a collage that I created for one of my seniors. For the holidays, I decided to take that idea and apply it to a bunch of pictures that I had made of my girls thoughout the year. I put together the collage you see below and we gave prints to Grandmas and Grandpas. I think this ended up being a cool way to display a variety of pictures, and it tells a much more complete story than any single image ever could.

These collages would also work really well to display a selection of pictures from one of my documentary family or children’s portrait sessions. Over the course of a single shoot we might not get enough images to put together a complete album, but we will almost always get enough great images to put together an interesting collage. If a collage seems like something you might be interested in, just let me know.

You can click on the image to see it larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Collage created in Adobe Photoshop CS5
Mixture of film and digital captures

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Denver, CO | Family Portraits | Sneak Peek – Sisters

Today, I have a sneak peek from a recent portrait shoot. These three young ladies are sisters, the two in the vertical shots are twins. The images are from a sort-of combination family/senior (in college) portrait session. The twins just graduated from college, and their younger sister is a student at CSU. Their mom wanted to take some time to document how they look at this transitional moment in their lives, finishing up school, but before careers and families. I think this is a great idea, and it was especially fun for me because I have know these girls since they were little.

We dedcided to try for an outside shoot – always my preference, but sometimes tricky in January. We lucked out and got a relatively warm day with just slight overcast and enough snow on the ground to give some of the pictures a sense of seasonality. Pretty much ideal conditions for an outdoor shoot in Colorado during the winter.

I really liked how these digital captures turned out, so I wanted to get them up on the blog while eagerly awaiting my film scans from the extraordinary Richard Photo Lab. I will put up a more comprehensive post once I have all the film scans and digital files prepped and ready.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Natural Light
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw
B&W conversion using Adobe Photoshop/Channel Mixer

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Arvada, CO | Outdoor Children’s Portraits | Emma+Molly+Tree

There has been a lot of black and white stuff up on the blog recently, so I wanted to break things up with a bit of color. Below are a few portraits of the girls that I shot back before Christmas. I needed to get prints of these pictures in short order, for presents, so I shot digitally. I think the digital files held up pretty well. It would be nice to have a little more highlight detail (like I can get with film), but the prints still look really nice.

Even though these are my own kids, this was a pretty typical “kid’s session” for me. For this shoot, I was more focused on nailing the traditional portraits than I normally would be. We were working on a pretty limited time table, and I knew I was going for a couple of nice prints rather than a photo story or session album. We had to shoot pretty fast because the light was falling and it was pretty cold (but not that cold considering it was December in Colorado).

I find, when photographing kids, it makes things easier if I have something for them to interact with. It takes their mind off of the camera and allows me to get more natural expressions. In this case, we used an almond tree in my parent’s back yard as our “prop”.

We waited for late afternoon to get warm, directional light. I placed the sun at the girls’ backs to give nice rim lighting on their hair and to help show the texture of the tree.

One other element in this shoot was camera angle. You will notice that I was moving around a lot. Some of the shots I was standing on a chair to get a higher angle, and some of the shots I was sitting or laying on the ground to get a lower angle. I like to move around to keep the images from a shoot constantly changing. It allows me to get a variety of different looks from a single location.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
ISO 200
Adobe Camera Raw

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Wray, CO | A Portrait And A House | Goodbye Papa Paul

On Christmas day, we lost my Grandfather (My Dad’s Dad). He was over 90 years old, and his health had been rapidly declining, so it was not a surprise, but it was a shock. We waited until the following day to tell the kids, and then we had to get everything ready for the funeral. I printed up an 11X14 of this portrait of Grandpa Paul with Molly, to stand along side the casket at the funeral. The final print turned out really nice, and added a happy element to an otherwise sad occasion.

Along with this picture, Julie and my sister-in-law, Jess, put together a large presentation board showing a wide variety of pictures from Grandpa’s life. There were photos going all the way back to 1942. Seeing all of these images together really drove home the importance of protecting your memories. I know there are a lot of people out there who have pretty much stopped carrying a camera and are just using their cell phone cameras instead. If this sounds like you, please make a conscious effort to get those pictures off of your phone and on to your computer, and then make a conscious effort to make some prints.

To go along with the portrait above, I wanted to show some interesting pictures that I shot this summer. The three images below were shot in Grandpa Paul’s home town of Wray, CO. The house shown in the photos was actually my Grandpa Paul and Grandma Nondice’s first home. They moved in shortly after Grandpa returned home from World War II. As you can tell from the pictures, they very well could have been the last people to live in this house. It is almost completely overgrown with trees and bushes. This is probably an appropriate metaphor to end this post – my Grandfather’s house, being reclaimed by the Earth.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:

Portrait
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
f4 | 1/90 | ISO 200

House
Fuji GS645S
60mm f4 Fixed Fujinon Lens
Fuji Acros 100
Ilford Ilfotec DD-X Developer
Epson 4870 Scanner + VueScan + Adobe Camera Raw

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Brighton, CO | Documentary Portraits | Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas!

Here are a couple of documentary portraits from a couple years ago on Christmas day. I like the fact that they include the Christmas tree, but it is subtle and out of focus in the background. I also really like the tones and grain visible in these film scans. As usual, these were shot with available light, in the natural surroundings. Just a couple of quick snaps after the kids had opened their presents. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get great shots. Simply pay attention to the light, the situation, and expressions and be ready with the camera. That is the fun, and the challenge, of documentary portraiture.

You can click on the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.8
Ilford HP5 Plus
DR5 Process (B&W Slide)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Documenting Your Family | Photo Tips | Tell An Authentic Story

With the advent of digital scrapbooking, and inexpensive one-off book printing, it is more important than ever to tell a story with your pictures. Rather than thinking about your final product being a print, think about a series of prints or a layout in your very own coffee table book.

When you work in this way, not every picture needs to be able to stand on it’s own. If fact, they probably shouldn’t. Some pictures will just be there to reveal a detail or give a broader view. Some pictures may even be presented simply to give a visual break. The trick is to remember to shoot these “supporting” images as you are out shooting your more traditional portraits and snapshots.

Also, when you are working in a story format, not every picture needs to be technically perfect. You are free to do some experimentation – dramatic lighting, motion blur, soft focus, interesting angles, etc. These elements can all bring depth to a photo story, as long as you already have a few “safe” shots in the bag.

So, when you are out shooting pictures of your family, try to think about how the pictures you are making will work together as a story and whether that story authentically captures the situation.  Remember to experiment with different techniques and grab some of the supporting shots that will add the flavor to your story.

This weekend, get out with your family and try to find a story to tell. I’ll be curious to find out if you found this information useful.


Below is a series of images of Emma that I shot in Glenwood Springs, CO. You will notice that almost all of these are of the more “experimental” variety (my favorite variety) – We have a cropped portrait with dramatic light and motion blur; another portrait shot from a low angle; an “action” shot that focus on leaves and grass rather than Emma walking; a detail picture that doesn’t even include Emma; and a picture of her climbing on the playground, completely unaware of the camera.

Of course, there are a few elements that tie these disparate images together – Emma’s clothes and hair remain consistent, and the pictures were all shot on the same camera/lens/film combination. But I feel like the pictures are really unified and given a purpose by the final, traditional, portrait. It’s clean and sharp and she has a great expression on her face.

You can click on the images to see them larger and read a caption. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Nikon F3
Nikon 35mm f2.8
Ilford HP5 Plus
DR5 Process (B&W Slide)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Arvada, CO | Documentary Portraits | Real Baby, Really Cute

It’s hard to shoot a picture of a baby that isn’t really cute, but you don’t see a lot of portraits of babies that are really real. They are usually laying on a white background, or sitting on a blanket covered with roses, or popping out of a cabbage patch in a costume. While those types of pictures are fun, they don’t really tell you much about that baby’s personality, or what makes them different.

Below, I have some documentary style baby portraits. These pictures were made in a real location, with natural light and authentic everyday baby clothes. Through the pictures, you can relate to this little one’s environment and understand how  she interacts with the world. They give you a good sense of how old she is, and where she is in her development. She is alert and aware – curious about the camera. She is able to pull herself up to a sitting position. She is very tactile, using her fingers to better understand her surroundings. This is all important information that can be effectively communicated through documentary portraits. And of course, you also get to see all the “cuteness” visible in a more traditional studio portrait – the big eyes, the peach fuzz hair, the chubby cheeks. I think it is the combination of all these elements that makes for interesting pictures.

You can click on any of the pictures to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.8
Ilford HP5 Plus
DR5 Process (B&W Slide)

Camera Scan
Sigma SD9
Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro
Photosolve Xtend-a-Slide

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Arvada, CO | Arvada Center | Documentary Family Portraits

Below are some pictures from one of my fall documentary family portrait sessions. These pictures were all shot over the course of a couple hours at the park behind the Arvada Center for the Arts in Arvada, CO.

I was fortunate to get to work with such a fun and happy young family, with a three year old son who reminds me so much of Molly (also three) it’s scary. We were blessed with a warm day, nice late afternoon light, and beautiful fall colors.

It was fun to document this family interacting and having a good time. I think we were able to capture some great images that really tell a story about who these people are and how much they enjoy each other.

You can view the whole event and order prints HERE.

Click on any of the images to view them larger and read a caption. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
For this shoot, I used three camera/lens combinations

B&W Film
Nikon F100
Nikon 85mm f1.8
Legacy Pro 400 (AKA – Fuji Neopan 400)
Richard Photo Lab

Color Film
Nikon N90s
Nikon 50mm f1.4
Fuji Pro 400H
Richard Photo Lab

Digital
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw

If you would like to figure out which combination was used for which picture, you can look at each image’s IPTC info (using Jeffrey Friedl’s Exif Viewer) or you can hop over to my Flickr photostream and look at the image tags.

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