Saturday, October 22, 2011

Photo Shoot 15: October 2011

          Over the summer, my aunt asked me to shoot my cousin's graduation pictures. They had actually already been done in August, but the studio who did them didn't do so hot. I actually saw the results in person -- the photos were bland (by that I mean low-contrast, not a lot of variation in color and light) and some were actually blurry. I couldn't believe it. I actually realized at that moment that yes, I'm actually pretty good at this . . . I just couldn't believe a professional studio would turn out such sub-standard work.

          So about two weeks ago, my aunt officially hired me to shoot Addie, my cousin, who is a senior this year. I'm still working on post-production, but here's just a glimpse of what I've been working on. This shoot made me not only appreciate and love my family to death, but it also taught me how different someone's face (especially a young person) can look when shot from different angles and in different light. I've also known this for some time, but what the subject is wearing as well as the background can also dramatically alter the tone of the pictures. I remember my own senior pictures years ago and how different outfits and different backgrounds would completely change the feel of a photo. When I finally got my prints (it was the "thing" then to exchange wallet-sized photos with a message on the back), different friends of mine chose different ones, based on what the photo brought out in my personality. I think these shots of Addie reflect all the various sides of her. In some of them I see the little girl I've known for so many years. But I also see a beautiful young woman who I'm proud to be related to! She is just gorgeous to me.

(Click once to enlarge)

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Thank you so much Ashley!!!  It’s exactly what I was hoping for.  Addie’s personality and spirit shine in your work.  You capture so much more than just a face on a piece of paper (or computer screen).  You are truly talented. I am so happy.  Thank you again.
Love, Annie

Photo Shoot 14: September 2011

          My husband's friend Christina & her husband John hired me to do their maternity pics about three weeks ago. I was honored because this is such an important, special time in their lives . . . it was so neat to be a part. Just being with the two (three!) of them for one afternoon made me see how excited and happy they are to be anticipating their first child -- a new baby girl.

          The shoot itself was a challenge for me because I had only done one maternity shoot prior to this. I did some research and read about what made other photographers successful; it pushed me outside my typical comfort zone and I thought the shoot turned out great! We not only did the more intimate boudoir-type photos, but also went outdoors to the bay side of Long Beach as well as the beach itself. I also had some more fun with Adobe Lightroom -- I'm constantly discovering new techniques to make a photo really pop! I think the program adds a new dimension to my work. I'm not quite used to the new look yet but it's what's popular right now and that sells! (Scroll down to read another testimonial!)

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Client testimonial:

      WOW Ashley!!!!!  Absolutely sooo beautiful!!!  You had me in tears the minute I opened up your album and saw that picture of me.... THANK YOU!!!! You captivated all I could ask for and for that I am grateful!!  After the baby is born we will set something up with you =)  Again thank you.... I will treasure these pictures forever!! 
The Pearces

Friday, October 21, 2011

Photo Shoot 13: August 2011

Amanda's Wedding

     My dear friend Amanda got married in Salamanca, Spain in August. It was such a beautiful wedding! Of course they had their own photographer because I was invited as a guest . . . but you know me. I couldn't not bring my camera. So I snapped photos whenever I could -- as she was getting ready, as the wedding was being set up, as Diego & Amanda hugged and kissed wedding guests afterward. Here are some of my favorites. (Even though this wasn't an official "shoot," I still think it's worth posting, since it was on-location!)

Castillo de Buen Amor, near Salamanca, Spain
What I learned: 
*It's impossible to be a wedding guest and photographer at the same time. I would have liked to just be the photographer, honestly (even though I did have fun as a guest!).
*Emotion tends to surface at weddings. Be there to capture it.
*Sometimes casual moments make the best photos. Some of my favorites are of the most casual moments, like this series where Amanda is preparing to put on the veil. I can't even remember what she was talking about in the moment. But her personality comes through so wonderfully; her expressions convey an innocence and beauty I had never before seen in her.

(Click once to enlarge)


In and around the castle . . .
Some outside shots of the castle. . .  fun!!

(That's my mom in the pool.)

The courtyard & balcony from the ground floor

The second floor balcony, looking out toward the courtyard.

A secret stairway leads to another hotel room

A perfectly placed table decoration

A salon inside, complete with abundant antiques
The "cocktail hour" the night before the wedding

The wedding day . . .

Ah, yes . . . the hair!


The make up . . . the jewelry . . .

The program and favor . . .  a little fan wrapped in Spain's colors with a red carnation

. . . and the lovely bride and groom, Amanda & Diego!

Amanda's mom

Amanda's dad