Doug’s Rant – It’s Selfie Time! – August 30, 2013

Let’s celebrate the selfie and give it its due now that it’s become an official addition to the English language!

Selfie word of the year

Whoa – now THAT’S a serious selfie! Amateur photo taken by Doug with his smartphone. ūüôā

Yep, that’s right the selfie has a seat at the table and has been validated as a legitimate word¬†as announced by the Oxford English Dictionary this week. ¬†There has been plenty of dialogue and debate about the selfie. ¬†Here is the official definition if you have been living in a cave are not sure what we are talking about…

Selfie: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” – Oxford University Press

Old School Photographer Lament

Some professional photographers lament the popularity of smartphone pics, instagram, selfies and the like. ¬†Some of them worry that these amateur photos are passing for good photos when they’re not, and that this is bringing down the photography profession.

Our Position

We disagree. ¬†We enjoy Instagram,¬†snapchat, and even the occasional selfie. ¬†We use them ourselves and we feel that the more people enjoy everyday photography the more they will appreciate and enjoy professional photos. ¬†Rather than be threatened by it we choose to embrace it and have fun with it. ¬†If a selfie doesn’t make you smile you might be a curmudgeon. ¬†Lighten up!

Just Be Smart About It

As for the negative side of the selfie, you certainly have to use common sense just like anything you do online. ¬†Don’t post pictures of yourself in ways that are inappropriate or that you might regret later and maybe you should consider not completely overdoing it because according to three business schools in Britain too many selfies may actually ruin your relationships!!!

What do you think?  Do you post selfies?  On Selfie Sundays only or all the time?

 

A Beautiful End To A Wonderful Era

This was a bittersweet senior session but way more sweet than bitter!!!

Senior Portrait

Danielle is the youngest sibling of 4 and we have photographed all 4 of them at one point or another – the latter 3 now for their senior pictures. ¬†We love this family and while we’re sad that this was our last high school senior session with them (that’s the bittersweet part), we have loved getting to know them and working with them all! ¬†We are sure we will always be friends. ¬†ūüôā

High School Senior Photo

Meanwhile, on to Danielle – what a session! ¬†She is one smart, personable, sweet and beautiful girl. ¬†Danielle did a spokesmodel shoot for us on a nasty winter day that didn’t allow for any location shooting so this time we spent pretty much the whole session outside. ¬†Over the years when we’ve stumbled upon a new spot we haven’t noticed before it has made for some of our favorite photos and the senior who pioneers it gets it named after them such as Rebecca’s tree or Jared’s rock. ¬†This time we found a new spot – a short black wall that was perfect for Danielle! ¬†One of our favorite shots of the session for sure, and now it’s forever hers! ¬†Enjoy!

Senior PortraitHigh School Senior Picture

Stepping Out Into The Spotlight

Jill had an outstanding photo shoot and it’s always special for us when we photograph a younger sibling of one our seniors from the past. ¬†We’ve become very close with Jill’s older sister whom we photographed a couple years ago and with whom we produced some of our most memorable shots. ¬†Meanwhile we had never met Jill until our recent consultation with her to prepare for her own turn in the spotlight…Senior Pictures

WOW!  Such a beautiful, photogenic and sweetheart of a girl!  First we started in the studio:

Senior Pictures

Next we went on location and got a variety of great shots, but it was at the end where the session produced a new shot for us that we LOVE Рa little spontaneous hop onto a swing set that yielded such a fantastic result!  Enjoy!

Senior PicturesSenior Photos

 

Another Cool Senior Session In The City!

We proudly present to you pictures from Noah’s senior session! ¬†You’ve probably seen him in our window and on our class of ’14 brochure… ¬†Noah is one of our spokesmodels and we are happy to have him representing our studio!

High School Senior Photo

The other day we posted on facebook that “happiness is photographing North Farmington Raiders” and this was one of the sessions we were referring to. ¬†Noah’s little brother even came along and jumped into one of the photos!

Photo of Brothers

We had a good time and Ally saved a katydid who was hanging out right in front of a door to a parking garage (we think it may have had an injured leg).  In any event we were pleased with the results with the urban setting!  Enjoy!

High School Senior PicturesHigh School Senior Portrait

Danielle Dazzles!

As you can tell we are busy with seniors which makes us so happy! ¬†Danielle is no exception when it comes to the happiness level…

Senior Pictures

Danielle is a spokesmodel for us this year and so this was the second time we had the privilege of photographing her. ¬†The first time we got some great studio work done and so we focused heavily on location shooting. ¬†It was pretty hot but the lighting was perfect, and we got the standing-in-the-water shot but I wouldn’t say it was the most comfortable shot – very muddy and mucky, but Danielle rocked it anyway – a total pro!

High School Senior Photos

All in all it was a great session!  We love our seniors!

High School Senior PicturesSenior Pictures

Courtney Lights Up The Night!

This was such a cool senior photo shoot!

High School Senior Photo

We planned this one for a rare evening session and we got some amazing shots as the sun went down and then when it was totally dark with a few different lighting techniques. ¬†We had so much fun with Courtney – tons of laughs and we all were feeling really inspired as we let the creativity fly…

First we actually started with a little studio work:

High School Senior Photo

Then we headed out into the night and got some incredible pictures!  Courtney looks fantastic in front of a camera!

High School Senior PicturesSenior Pictures

Kickin’ It With Blake

It’s all about the shoes….

High School Senior Portrait

We had a great time on this fantastic senior session with Blake! ¬†We had the honor of photographing his sister two years ago and we were looking forward to this. ¬†The weather was fine and the session went off without a hitch or any crazy stories unless you count the highly aggressive salesperson who came in and tried to sell me advertising despite the fact that we were obviously with a client, and then arguing with me when I said I wasn’t really interested. ¬†Ugh.

High School Senior Picture

Meanwhile Blake has the style going on when it comes to the shoes and he has quite a collection. ¬†He also has a sense of humor since once you’ve seen this video it’s hard not to joke around with anyone named Blake, Denice, Jacqueline, Aaron, Timothy, or the last name of O’Shaughnessy. ¬†We were calling him “Ba-lak-ay” and his mom got in on the fun too. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Cool guy for sure and we had a lot of fun!

High School Senior PictureHigh School Senior Photo

Book Review: Must ‚ÄĘ Girls ‚ÄĘ Love – by Sabrina Must

I’m going to start with a little background to explain how I came to read this book and review it for our blog. ¬†Monni Must is an acclaimed photographer based in Sylvan Lake only 10 minutes from our studio, but we actually met her in Nashville, TN 3 1/2 years ago at Imaging USA – a huge photography convention. ¬†We knew who she was and we were still very much finding our way and growing our studio in terms of it being our full time family business so we were really pleased to find her to be such a down-to-earth, kind and supportive lady. ¬†We felt a connection with her right away and every time she has been in the mall since she has stopped in for a quick chat and an encouraging word. ¬†We may be “competition”, but we’ve never felt “competitive” with Monni.

Book Review Must Girls Love

Why A Book Review

We also knew that Monni had suffered a family tragedy when her oldest daughter Miya took her own life at the age of 28 in 2007, but for a time we didn’t know too many details. ¬†As fate would have it our son became very close friends with the grandson of Monni’s next-door neighbor and we ended up spending time at their house and Monni’s as well. ¬†I hadn’t known that Monni’s youngest daughter Sabrina had written a memoir focusing largely on Miya’s death, and our mutual friend put us in touch about writing a book review. ¬†I had been thinking about a way to highlight Monni on this blog – focusing on another photographer in the area whom we admire – and my thought was to base it on the books she has published with Sabrina about Holocaust survivors called Living Witnesses. ¬†I knew that the Living Witnesses project had a dual purpose – to preserve the stories of the survivors but also to serve as a coping mechanism for Monni and Sabrina to deal with their grieving (I had read that on the Living Witnesses website). ¬†I didn’t know Sabrina personally but we messaged each other and talked a little about Must ‚ÄĘ Girls ‚ÄĘ Love which has been released on Kindle and this seemed like a good place to start to gain some understanding. ¬†I hope to follow this up with a “part two” to highlight Living Witnesses. ¬†This is my first book review and boy did I get more than I bargained for.

The Story

Through the use of excerpts from Miya’s journal leading up to her suicide as well as Sabrina’s own journal entries from that time period and after, we are led through a harrowing yet riveting account of those desperate months. ¬†Sabrina explains how Miya was a girl who struggled somewhere between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder most of her life, but makes it clear that this is not simply a tale of someone who was mentally ill and just went off the tracks. ¬†The book details in Miya’s own words how the abusive nature and imminent failure of her brand new marriage gave her feelings of shame and failure that pushed her over the edge. ¬†The family is left to try to make sense of it all even as Miya’s husband tries to maintain control over the aftermath basically rubbing salt in their wounds and prompting suspicions of what role he may have played in pushing Miya to her decision. ¬†Sabrina goes on to detail her own very personal struggle, baring her soul about missing her sister and wrestling with her own demons along the way.

Thoughts on the book – I Am Changed

The phrase I used when I messaged Sabrina after completing the book was that it hit me like a ton of bricks – it had a huge impact on me unlike any book I’ve read since Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer. ¬†I felt so much sadness and anger while reading it, and yet there is no doubt in my mind I am a better person for having read it. ¬†As the father of a teenage daughter (and soon to be teenage son) it had the effect of helping me to count my blessings with my kids, my wife Ally, and the family I was brought up in as well. ¬†I found myself being able to relate to many of the thoughts and feelings Sabrina had within her family dynamics with her sisters and her parents, and it was a good exercise. ¬†Sabrina wrote in the book of the importance of “giving people the okay to open up, express their emotions, share their failures and learn from them” – and I feel the book accomplishes this. ¬†Her style is masterful and her approach to storytelling in this book is astounding – weaving family history with journal entries in a way that keeps you buried in this book and unable to put it down. ¬†The story is not told in a linear fashion but more in a way that is perfectly calculated to provide context for understanding the whole picture from one detail to the next.

I highly recommend this one and though I never met her I will never forget Miya – her story and Sabrina’s, and I applaud Sabrina for giving us this gift.

Here are the links:

Sabrina’s website

Must ‚ÄĘ Girls ‚ÄĘ Love – for Kindle on Amazon

 

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Beauty and the Bees (and some other bugs)!

Our latest senior session was perfect.  The light was perfect, the weather was perfect, the setting was perfect, and our senior looked stunning!

We started with a little studio work…

High School Senior Picture

We then went on location where as I mentioned everything was perfect….except for the bugs… ¬†and the “threat” of bullfrogs. ¬†This girl does not enjoy bugs or bullfrogs. ¬†The bullfrogs in the area only made themselves known once or twice with a random loud croak or two, but the bees, beetles and one random flying bug decided to get involved in the session. ¬†It all worked out – the beetles on the flower we were using kept to themselves (even though they briefly scared our model), and the bees didn’t sting us or her. ¬†The one random flying bug flew right into her eye at one point but didn’t stay, and for not being a fan of bees she still looks pretty comfortable by the flowers where they were buzzing around! ¬†She’s a real sweetheart with a great sense of style – we laughed a lot and we had a really fun time together! ¬†Love these shots!

High School Senior Photo

We even made a fun vine from the session… ¬†ūüôā

High School Senior PictureHigh School Senior Picture

Fun, Fire, Flash and a Little Football!

Every senior session has a story…

For this session we tested out a new light for an idea we had for a night time shoot. ¬†We ended up getting the shot but we almost didn’t. ¬†We needed bleachers at the end of the session and we struck out on the first two high school stadiums we went to. ¬†At the first one the lot was being resurfaced and it would have been next to impossible to get our equipment to the stadium, the second one was in use by the football team there under the lights, and the third…… ¬†was locked, and it was getting late. ¬†Luck finally turned our way when we discovered that the second entrance was unlocked and we were in! ¬†It was totally worth it…. here is the shot:

High School Senior

As for the rest of the session this senior totally rocked it and we had a great time!  Great kid, great family, spectacular pictures.  He is definitely the kind of guy you would want on your team!  Enjoy!

Senior PictureSenior PicturesSenior PictureSenior Pictures