Monday, March 3, 2014

Let Them Be Little | Personal | El Paso, Fort Bliss Portrait Photographer

I am not a child photographer.

I say this all the time.  Most frequently when I am describing the services I provide for others.  I am not a child photographer.

Yet, ironically, every single day I find myself taking photographs of children.  Granted, they are my children, but it does not make the task any less difficult.  In fact, in my experience photographing families, my son proudly holds the Impossible Child To Photograph title above all others.

Yesterday was a beautiful day.  Cool, but not cold, and with just a hint of sun peeking through the clouds to warm our cheeks as we went about running our errands and making our requisite weekly zoo trip.  I was determined to finally take my son's 4th birthday portraits.  I had a vision of an adorable Toy Story set to match the theme of his February birthday party.  Before the kids stirred in the morning, I boxed up my son's toys and loaded my equipment into the car.  After the zoo, we headed to the Municipal Rose Garden, where my flawless artistic vision would spring to life.

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Things did not go quite as planned.  I anticipated some difficulty.  Perhaps some light wrangling.  Instead I found myself shooting erratically, running at full speed after a lighting fast, squealing preschooler who wanted nothing to do with his favorite toys when there was so much Outside to soak in.  After four (maybe five) failed attempts to seat him in the designated area, I threw in the towel.

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We went home.  Immediately, he wanted to play in the backyard.  I lugged my toddler and the camera outside.  Buzz and Woody went to their place on the table, and he started lining up little green Army men just so before he turned on the sprinkler to get mud started for their daily dunking.  I could see my attention-getting window shrinking.  Calling on my old bag of tricks, I started singing a goofy song.

Wouldn't you know it?  He looked.  He smiled.  And my heart melted.

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It was at that moment that I realized that I didn't need a set to make his portraits special.  Every rare moment that I can catch on camera of him smiling or laughing is so very dear to my heart.  I want him to see photographs as reminders of wonderful times, not the preservation of stern commands or resentful feelings.

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He is four.  He likes to run down paths and through fields for the sheer joy of it.  He makes mud pies to feel the different textures of the mud and rocks and sand.  He dumps paints together in the sink to create colorful swirls.  He watches in mute awe as airplanes and helicopters pass overhead.  He cannot speak his mind, but he can show me just what he is thinking, feeling, or wants.  So I know when he tugs my hand while a fast song is playing, he wants me to dance with him.  When he laughs, I know he is happy.  And when he lays his head on my chest when the song is over, I know that he loves me.  Life is simple, chaotic, and beautiful when you are 4.  I'm in no hurry to enforce the "Sit still and say cheese!" method.

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So, no, I am not a child photographer.  I am a mother capturing flawed, fleeting moments that I will treasure eternally.  In that regard, our "sessions" will always be a success.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter | The Seasons | El Paso, Fort Bliss Stylized Portrait Photographer

Winter has been a tad unpredictable for the 2013-2014 season.  El Paso has seen no more than a light dusting in areas, while the East coast and Midwest are being hit with a one-two punch of snow and ice storms.  I'm sure that the people who have to deal with iced over roads or shovel their driveways are sick of dealing with it.

Personally, I love it.

Winter can be harsh and unyielding, but it can also be soft and serene.  An overcast sky and a fresh white blanket of snow is more appealing to me than a beach on a tropical island.  I know, I know.  It seems crazy.  But there is something soulful about the solitude of winter.  It brings a special kind of peace.  At least until my son is itching to get outside to run around in the pretty white stuff.

My ultimate goal with  this shoot was to portray the wonders of winter in all of its aspects: The magical, the peaceful, the commanding.    Using the light to portray various moods, and post-processing to bring a little extra magic to our White Sands shoot, we created a set of winter wonderland portraits that I am so, so proud of.

**  WARNING:  The slideshow has music!  Turn the volume down if you are at work!  ;)  **

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The {L} Family Portraits | El Paso, Fort Bliss Family Portrait Photographer

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, primarily because my favorite holidays take place then. I adore cooking a big meal on Thanksgiving for several guests and partaking in Christmas traditions with my children.  I'm pretty big on anything and everything that promotes family togetherness, which is probably why it is my favorite time of year to photograph family sessions, too.  The weather is (typically) cooler, which means cuddling is more natural and enjoyable than it would be in the dog days of summer.  That easy connection is so, so important to me when I am shooting, and I know it is one of the factors that people love when looking through their images.

I especially enjoyed being able to take this family's first formal family/Christmas portraits!  They were so much fun, and their oh-so-adorable little one is so at ease in front of the camera that it was impossible to take a bad shot (which made culling the images pretty darn difficult!).  Enjoy the cuteness overload!

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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Notebook | Cinematic Inspirations | El Paso, Fort Bliss Stylized Couple's Portrait Photographer

Walking through the streets of downtown El Paso, I found the perfect little area: A somewhat secluded cobblestone street framed by trees and brick buildings. I was immediately reminded of the dancing in the street scene in the popular film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel "The Notebook". It had been a while since I had photographed a couple's session, so as soon as I got home I put out a model call to local friends and started planning.

Models were secured, screenshots were shared, wardrobes discussed, and a date set. Then the cold front came, just in time for session day. It was freezing. And wet. And windy. Not ideal conditions for a shoot inspired by a love story that mostly takes place in the warm, vibrant summertime. So we adjusted the wardrobe and, when the overcast afternoon rolled around, we steeled ourselves against the winter weather advisory and met up. After a small hiccup that may or may not have involved my not packing a CF card in my bag, we dove right in.

And they rocked it.

If they had reservations or were uncomfortable in any way, it did not show. Not one little bit. By the end of the hour, my feet were practically blocks of ice, but when I sat down in my car to thaw them and quickly flip through the images, I couldn't help smiling.

Love is an amazing thing. Even when essentially acting a part, it isn't forced. It flows naturally, and can be captured with breath taking clarity, regardless of obstacles or discomforts.  This family has love in spades.  And, boy, did it make them perfect for their roles.

**The slideshow plays music!  Just a fair warning!** 

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

El Paso Desert Bridals | El Paso, Fort Bliss Bridal Portrait Photographer

Going into the session, the weather was less than ideal. It was overcast and close to sunset, two factors that often make a time that would normally be a glorious golden hour into an environment about two shades darker than I like to work with. But, with my gorgeous model and loyal sidekick OCF, we photographed through the diminishing light and managed to capture the small sliver of sunset sky peeking through the clouds. 

This session was just so much fun! The car, the boots, the wind assisting in fanning my beautiful client's hair at just the right moments. It was a great shoot, and a lovely night despite the looming rain clouds.

Technically, these "bridal" portraits were taken just before the bride's first anniversary.  It's never too late (and always fun!) to break out your gown and rock a glam bridal session!

Happy Belated Anniversary, Carolyn!  May you celebrate many, many more in happiness.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

White Sands Desert Bridals | El Paso, Fort Bliss Bridal Portrait Photographer

You may recognize this lovely model from past sessions.  She has posed in a gorgeous red dress, a full bridal gown, and two glamour sessions.  Really, she looks amazing in anything and is as sweet as can be.  The big difference in these images is that this is her actual wedding gown!  She recently celebrated her wedding, so these top secret images are officially allowed to make their debut!

Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Playing Catch-Up! Weeks 3, 4, & 5 - 7/14-8/3 | Project 365 | El Paso, Fort Bliss Portrait Photographer

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind!  My husband was in the field, Lily is cutting her eye teeth, and Alex has been bouncing off the walls because it was too hot to play outside for a while.  Then the first rain came.  We celebrated with cocoa, movie marathons, and some tasty treat-making, and the days got away from me.  Before I knew it, I was two weeks behind blogging my Project 365!  Fortunately, I have not stopped taking pictures, so getting this catch-up post put together took no time at all.

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Whew!  There we go!  Be sure to keep going around the circle and check out Tina's week here.