I would really like to see this work properly. The blogging has been on hold and I didn’t have everything up and running for such a long time I forgot how to do it with this new website.
So here goes.
This photo, of Ashley and Mark, was from their elopement in downtown Bend last winter. For such a short wedding, the photos were fabulous. She wasn’t wearing a dress, so I use them in the engagements section of the Pete Erickson Photography website.
Angel and Alex found me on the Wedding Wire. After upgrading my membership I was wondering if the expense would be worth the effort, and after meeting these two I realized it’s worth every penny. They live over in “The Valley,” as Oregonians put it, which means they live on the rainy side of Oregon. I’ll be driving over to their part of the world in July to shoot their wedding. They drove here for our initial meeting and for our portraits.
Driving here for the likes of me was very flattering. My goal is to give them the best pictures possible. This is my goal for any couple, but for them I really want to dig down deep and pull out something special.
We met at Dillon Falls in February for our portraits. The weather was cold, but not stormy. The clouds were mostly blocking the sun but with my Profoto that doesn’t matter as much.
We made some super pictures they loved. Couples loving their pictures is the biggest reason why I love portrait and wedding photography. If you want to see more, please check out my Central Oregon Wedding Photography website.
Alli and Scott live in Eugene and are getting married in Sunriver this summer. So they had a limited amount of time to get their engagement portraits done and could only come to Bend in early March. Anyone who lives or has ever been to Central Oregon knows our spring is worse than most peoples winters. The afternoon we set to get our pictures done, at Caldera Springs in Sunriver, proved to be a horribly wet and windy day.
To be honest, I didn’t think we could pull it off.
These people, perhaps because they come from “The Valley” as it’s called, aren’t bothered by any stinking rain. We had an amazing portrait session together and made some amazing pictures. The clouds allowed me to turn off the light at a few key moments so they could just be themselves. They’re amazing together. I love when people can have fun and ignore the camera for a few minutes. Those moments become the iconic pictures of any day.
This photo, done in May of 2011 for the Bulletin, was the first time I used the Profoto for any kind of work. She was 102-years-old and they wanted a portrait of her. I saw photos of her in the 50’s when she was in her 40’s and she looked like she was 30. She aged amazingly well. I was impressed with how alert she was even though her hearing was going a little.
For the portrait I wanted to keep it simple and fast because there was no telling how long she would last. Because I was new to using the Profoto it took me a few minutes to set up and get going. I’m really glad to have been able to use the machine for newspaper work while learning. Before this I had used the company Alien Bee lights with soft boxes for portraits and had been using the camera strobes with small SF State Photo III lights for 15 years and so wasn’t a total beginner with the lights.
I was, however, a beginner with the 2.3 octobox and putting the rods in the speed ring. The older Profoto speed rings have no color coding and it was very easy to not line the rods up with the proper holes. This fumbling took a couple minutes. Very embarrassing to say the least.
After a few shots to get the light set up right I had her look into the light to hit more of her face and minimize the nose shadow.
The thing I noticed first about shooting with this light was how it created super sharp pictures. The small camera strobes have nothing on one of these lights when it comes to creating sharp pictures. The second thing I noticed was how she almost glows. Doing portraits with the small strobes for 15 years I was used to the look, but this blew me away.
As a matter of fact, I’ve barely pulled out and used the Nikon strobe at the last couple Bend Oregon weddings. It’s all been with the Profoto either with the beauty dish and grid pointed at the people as a portrait or standing in the corner bouncing off the ceiling to give nice light.
Once a person gets used to using a machine like the Profoto they can’t go back to using anything else.
One reason why I love not being a newspaper photographer anymore is all the fun stuff a person can do in photography these days. I’m loving the ability to create a new look to a picture with post-processing. One of my favorite new programs is the Google Nik Analog Efex Pro program. A person used to have to buy each of the Nik programs one-at-a-time but now you can buy all these programs in one shebang for about the same price as one of the old ones. The other two I love are Viveza and Silver Efex Pro II.
Being able to take a picture, done nicely to start with, and add grain and bokeh, put a silver plate over the top, change the film, add grain, lens vignetting, etc. in just a couple minutes is something a person could only dream of five years ago. Making these changes to a newspaper picture would get the photographer fired and blacklisted for all future news work. Making the same changes with Central Oregon wedding and portrait photography will set your pictures apart from the competition and let you be the artist you always wanted to be.
These examples are from a recent portrait session at Smith Rock State Park. I already blogged about the session here. These photos, however, were all done again in Analog Pro. I always give the couple the original adjusted photos in color because so few people like this look.
These were all done in slightly different ways. What I really love is the desaturated, grimy look with lens bokeh on anything not of interest. I really love the wet plate look, but it can’t be used on everything.
Analog Pro is a fun program to play with and I recommend trying it out to see what look you might like in your photos.
Bailey and Joe will be married this summer in a place called Grizzly. They’re a super fun couple and we had the opportunity to do portraits with them and their horses at Smith Rock State Park recently. It took a couple tries because of the weather but it finally came together. I love working with people who bring ideas for pictures with them and are willing to experiment with new ideas. They even walked out onto a cliff to get some super portraits. As a Central Oregon Wedding Photographer I love working with couples like this as often as possible.
Special thanks to my assistant Hannah and assistant in training Shauna for helping with the lighting, holding the horses, and climbing around on the cliffs with the Profoto light.
On a side note, I just had surgery on my vocal cords a couple days ago and am currently headed to Death Valley National Park for a few days to recover and do some photos. These portraits aren’t quite done but I had to get a few out there. Another side note: I hate putting these awkward keyword links into the posts but have to because of the necessity to improve SEO standings.
We went to Smith Rock State Park yesterday to do portraits of a wonderful couple, Bailey and Joe. It was my first real outdoor use of the Profoto B1. It was also the first time I’ve done engagement portraits as a Bend Wedding Photographer at Smith Rock.
What a place to do engagement portraits! How could a person go wrong with a background like this? Most of our time there it was cloudy and windy but we still made some killer portraits. I’m right now taking a break from editing the photos to do a quick entry on the amazing B1.
All told I shot over 300 shots mostly using the B1 at a power setting of between about 7.5 to 9.5 and it went down to the last bar on the battery. Luckily I bought two because it did run out the other day in the studio while shooting with the modeling light on. When the battery runs out the light just quits. It doesn’t go dim or take longer recharging. One shot it’s going then it stops. Something to keep in mind and the reason why a person needs a backup battery.
It’s not quite as powerful as the slightly more bulky Acute battery I’ve been using for a couple years. But where it loses power it makes up for in both durability and portability. My assistant, Hannah, was very happy to not have to lug around the heavy battery pack (I have the lithium version – but it still weighs a person down) with the big black cord getting caught in everything.
Just look at this picture. It’s lighting Bailey and Joe nicely with my favorite light modifier, the beauty dish with the grid, and is only a light on a stick.
Having an assistant hold it is crucial to success. We were on a cliff in gusty wind conditions and it would’ve blown over the side if she hadn’t been there. When I was first using the Profoto and when using it on stories for the newspaper I worked alone and it was a hassle.
This machine brings new value to the portraits people get. We can work faster and in more creative ways in any location to make amazing pictures. I’m almost of the opinion to start automatically including the engagement portrait session with the wedding packages because these are so valuable. The couple gets to see how I work and in return they get better portraits than what we’ll have time to make on the wedding day. Plus it helps the mind to stay doing pictures.
Anymore with electronic sharing of pictures on websites, blogs, Facebook, and dating sites like Match.com a person needs to have nice professional portraits done. This light becomes the solution to the problem of making them amazing. My big challenge will be to convince people of the value of getting them done for money.
Last year I set up a portable portrait studio on the garage to do mug shots and whatever people want. My hope is to be able to bring the occasional bride in for some nice white background, or black background, portraits and maybe add them to my Bend Oregon Photographer website. It of course rarely gets used.
Luckily it was fairly cheap to make.
In this photo the ceiling and floor look a little warm because I did a quick adjust before loading the photo. However they’re both painted a neutral grey and don’t reflect any color back onto the subject. The curtains are some cheapies from the Portland Ikea. Getting them was my first Ikea experience. What a crazy place that is! The curtains fold up into a couple plastic bins attached to the ceiling.
For Dan, I bought the 10′ white background and just rolled it off my normal portable background support. After this I’m going to figure out some ceiling mounts for the big paper backgrounds. Rolling this thing by hand was a real hassle. Seeing this photo I’m going to have to cover the door window in the future with another curtain or something because the blue light coming in has the potential to pollute the light from my flashes.
Having used two Profotos for my portraits lately makes me want to get more of these things. I’ve been using one with the a couple Nikon speed lights as backup and can now see the humongous difference the big guns make for portrait photography. I will be selling the Acute because having two battery powered lights is a waste of resources and it would be nice to get someone else into the joys of battery flashes in a cheaper way than buying new. Spread the love of the big guns.
The question is how do I want to go? One or two D1’s or a plug in power box with my Acute light and just sell the battery? One D1 would go into my current Think Tank rolling case with the B1 really well and I would be able to use the D1 Air Remote for both lights. But then a person wants three.
With very limited funds these questions are mostly academic and not reality.
On a side note: the four-year-old is shouting “Play Dough!” at the top of her lungs across the table right now and really annoying me.
Genna and Isaac, a young and fun couple, were married on the first Saturday in spring at the Foundation Church in Bend. They let me be their wedding photographer. What fun it is for a person doing what I do, Bend Wedding Photography, to see such a nice couple, their super families, and fun friends all in one place for such a wonderful event.
Super busy with taxes and a sick kid this week and so this post will be about 100 words long.
This is Genna at her wedding in Bend last Saturday. It was great fun working with her because she let us do some creative photography. As a Bend Wedding Photographer (always with a shameless keyword link) I really appreciate when the people I get to work with let me try ideas. Sometimes the ideas work, sometimes they don’t. This one worked pretty well. It came from studying another, super amazing photographer’s website. He shot it through a window with the light of a soft box hitting the subject and reflecting off the glass. I used my ever handy Profoto beauty dish with a grid to camera left and slightly behind her while she stood leaning against the slim mirror.
A soft box with a grid might work better in these situations. The trouble with this idea is twofold: 1) a soft box with a grid costs around $700 and 2) a 3 x 4 foot soft box would take a ton of space and require being carried around the place all day and switching back and forth with the beauty dish. The beauty dish itself is no small or cheap piece of equipment. So it becomes a quandary. Do I want more options or do I want more hassle?
What do you know? The post ended at around 250 words. Amazing how ideas in photography can occupy one’s mind.