Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sneak Peek of Caroline & Robert's Wedding

We can't wait to share this wedding at The Arts Club with everyone, so here is a sneak peek at Caroline in her gorgeous Angel Sanchez gown. We have some amazing news to share, so be sure to check back in!
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Sweet and Delightful Day with Jill & Ryan!!

Meet Jill & Ryan everyone! Jill had brought up the idea of playing washers during the session which I thought was a fantastic idea! We started the day off with a few games...it turned out to be a great way for them to warm up for getting their photos taken. I loved the effort that both Ryan and Jill made through out the day and we created so many wonderful images from it! These are some of my favorite photos and one of my favorite sessions this year!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Engagement Sessions 101: Posing & Interacting

Posing and interacting is what the entire engagement session is all about. Getting my clients comfortable will always produce the best images. No one is comfortable in front of the camera, present company included. I find that meeting up with a client at one of their favorite neighborhood spots is a great place to start because they're likely to have fond memories there, they'll be in a comfortable environment, and having a drink usually gets them more relaxed.

Once I start shooting, I can quickly get a sense of how relaxed they are and how naturally they interact with each other just by observing how they react to having their picture taken. Not all couples interact naturally. I always tell my couples that being in love and looking like you're in love are two different things. Its my job to make them look like they're in love all while being themselves. If things seem pretty relaxed I'll start instructing them on posing. Posed photos are great as long as the couple looks natural, but my main goal is to always get them to interact with each other. The "natural interactions" happen fast so I'm always on the look out for these moments. Its these natural, spontaneous moments that always end up being my favorite photos from the session.

So what does a posed photo look like versus a natural interaction?  The two images of Tom and Erin below are examples of posing vs natural interaction (or reaction).  Though they look great in both photos, I would classify the second photo as the more natural because I didn't instruct him to laugh in that moment. Its a genuine laugh too, not one that I told him to do.  Yes, sometimes I'll tell clients to laugh if I have to.  Surprising? Perhaps but everyone is different and everyone responds differently in these types of situations.  People can forget to laugh if they're nervous.  Laughing and looking away (while laughing) almost always makes a photo look more natural.

Laughing, taking a deep breath, jumping up and down a few times, shaking out your arms are just some of the things I do to get people to relax.  I think most people think engagement sessions are a walk in the park and its not always that easy.  At the end of our sessions, my couples have a new respect for modeling because that's essentially what they're doing.  As I always say, what you put in is what you get out.

Another tip I give my couples is to take whatever pose I instruct them to do and make it their own so they feel comfortable.  So for example in the third photo, I had Rory face Nick and pivot her body back towards me and to put their arms around each other in a way that feels natural to them.  Its not going to look natural if it doesn't feel natural.  If they don't look comfortable then ask them what they can do to make the pose feel more comfortable to them. The other photo shows them walking on the beach and a nearby dog came running up to them and I just kept shooting as I watched the scene play out.  I love that photo because it shows their natural reactions.  The more natural things are the more successful the session is. 



The pair of photos below is of a destination engagement session I did in Austin with Maureen and Wil.  I picked these two photos from their session just to give you another example of posed and natural. Obviously the one on the right is posed, but these photos are also an example of what to wear.

What to wear is probably the most frequent question I get asked and for good reason. Bottom line is that they are confident and comfortable in what they are wearing. I usually recommend that they not be afraid to incorporate color. Maureen and Wil did a wonderful job of using color without matching. Bringing more than one outfit is always a good idea (causal and semi formal) but if it doesn't fit their style then by all means just have them go with one outfit. There is no right or wrong. Props are also great to incorporate and I always leave that up to my clients whether or not they want to bring something. You can always go to a bar, coffee shop, food truck, ice cream truck and use that environment for a more styled look as well which is something I always love doing!




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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Engagement Sessions 101: Weather Conditions

Often times we want to shoot in the most ideal weather conditions because we think that is what will help create the best photos, but if we limit ourselves to only shoot during a sunny afternoon we also limit the possibility of creating more unique images. The photo above was from an engagement session with Stephanie & Luke and it is still one of my favorite sessions of all time because of all the gorgeous images I was able to create in the fog.
Their surroundings is what helped add to the story of the day and even as we walked thru all the fog it just felt very dream like and I wanted that to still come thru in the photos. Having the image in your minds eye is what enables you to know exactly how you want to frame the photo. How do you develop that? I think its a combination of constantly evaluating what inspires you and just shooting everyday (at least in the beginning). Eventually you won't have as much time to shoot everyday. I used to think if I went out shooting that I had to take my giant D4 camera, but nowadays I find that I'm much more comfortable with a smaller camera so that I don't attract attention.

When I'm out on an engagement session, I'm constantly analyzing the environment as we're traveling to our designated locations and even when we arrive to each location. This is where the photojournalist side comes in. I remember watching an interview with Penny De Los Santos, one of my favorite food photographers and she said she approaches each plate as though she were a dog. She's constantly moving around the plate in search of the best angles to shoot. That's the approach I think we all use for the most part regardless of our subjects. Its a delicate balance during an engagement session though. A plate of food isn't going to get uncomfortable while you're standing there trying to figure out how you want to frame your shot. You constantly have to be thinking about your subject and how you're making them feel. As you develop more confidence as a photographer you won't have to worry as much about this because it becomes second nature. The more you talk about your style on your blog or social media, your clients will have a better idea of what to expect. 

But back to the weather thing, just try shooting in different weather conditions. The more you get out of your comfort zone, the more diverse your images will be. Take things one day at a time and don't get caught up in what everyone else is doing.
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

We hope everyone has a relaxing and safe 4th of July!
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Monday, June 9, 2014

I wish you could see this image on my large screen...magnified. Maybe its time to invest in a good macro lens. I'm using the Kenko tube on a 50mm lens for this. Red leaves are so vibrant and ever changing when the sunlight hits them just so. We planted this tree last fall and I was afraid it wasn't going to survive Chiberia but I'm so glad that it did(way to persevere tree). I like taking elements of various media such as paintings, photos, sometimes video, and combing them into a single image. Perhaps its my inability to choose just one single medium....or maybe I just like combining things. Are you on Instagram? You can follow me at instagram.com/melissahayes where I'll post a series of these red leaves.
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