Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emily & Dustin Wedding at the Andaluz

A lot of photographers choose not to photograph weddings. I am not one of them. To me, weddings offer many of the same opportunities that an inspiring editorial assignment can. The day unfolds in unexpected ways and we are there to use the benefit of a trained eye and an evolving skill set to document the event in a professional and creative way. This wedding, at the beautiful Andaluz Hotel, was a bevy of opportunity. Emily was a sublime bride with a radiant smile, and Dustin was as emotional and open a groom as I've worked with. The guests and family were a very photogenic group and the venue, which I've been lucky to work in often over the years, is a photographer's playground of nooks, crannies, compelling backlighting, and outdoor cityscapes. At the end of the night Emily and Dustin collected themselves to perform an original song together that brought most in attendance to tears. It was a wonderful night to be a photographer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pulte Homes

I've had enough assignments from homebuilders, hotels and apartments over the last couple of years that I have developed an approach I am finally getting comfortable with. Initially I tried to light interiors with strobes, but I've come to believe that a tripod and bracketed exposures—and the occasional pano stitching—are the key to this kind of work. I still bring lights, but I rarely take them out anymore. This shoot from Pulte was timed well for the exteriors, and the interiors benefited from the late light as well, but blending exposures really helps to bring the details of the model homes forward in my opinion. I used some of Nik Software's HDR tools, but more and more find myself turning to Pangea Software's Bracketeer. All that said, the less I worry about the light the more I can find the angles that work best, which is the key to getting dramatic results in my opinion. I also have to say that I am a huge fan of PTlens for cleaning up lines and helping distortion from my 20mm 2.8.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back at the Andaluz Hotel

I have worked in every nook and cranny of this downtown hotel. This time I was brought in to photograph a couple of feature rooms, the library and the reception area of the hotel. I brought strobes but ended up sticking with my tripod and some careful exposure merging. I'm a big fan of Bracketeer and used a fair amount of stitching for tighter spaces.

StreetFood Asia

I shoot a lot of food in general. On this assignment, I shot a lot of food all day. The owner wanted photos for the menu, and he planned to have an image for each dish, drink and dessert. Since this restaurant has a business model with variety at its core (hence, street food) that meant a LOT of photos. StreeFood Asia is a relatively new restaurant to Albuquerque, with ownership that is committed to bringing Albuquerque a sophisticated take on asian food we didn't have, and the restaurant complements the already bustling Nob Hill district in a big way. One adjustment I had to make during this session was to use a primarily horizontal perspective because of the way the menu will lay out. This was uncomfortable, since I'm used to shooting vertical for food almost all the time, but I came away feeling as if I'd been forced through a little rut and seen something new. And I like that.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Popular Plates Magazine: Soups and Stews

Last month I was brought back by Dave DeWitt and the team at Fiery to photograph Soups and Stews for Popular Plates Magazine. This was a three day shoot that involved a huge amount of prep from the incomperable stylist/chef team of Emily, Lois and Mary Jane. One of the many perks of this job was the opportunity to work with Wes Naman, a favorite local photographer of mine. I don't often get the chance to work so closely with such a respected peer, and I like to think that we helped one another get out of ruts as the days wore on. Wes and I shoot a lot of food during the course of a given week, but we have different approaches and ideas and it was great to share and collaborate. Sometimes working as a photographer can feel isolating, but this was the opposite.

Look for a copy of Popular Plates in late September. They have a huge circulation, so it should be pretty easy to find.