Friday, September 30, 2011

Photo Friday #3 Rule of Thirds in Landscapes

Hi!  Welcome back to Photo Friday where I give you hints and tips to help you improve your own photography!  Last week I explained about the Rule of Thirds.  If you missed that one just scroll down and catch up!  I hope you have been paying attention to the TV and magazine ads and recognizing this rule played out over and over.  Although last week we discussed the rule in portraiture it also stands true in landscape photography.  The Rule of Thirds in landscape mainly says NEVER (or almost never) have your horizon cut across the middle of the photograph.  It should either be at the top or the bottom lines of the grid. 
Here is a photo I took at the beach.
Note how the horizon is located at the top third of the photo...

Note also that the girls are placed in the bottom left corner still in keeping with the rule of thirds.

So how do you choose where on the grid to place your horizon?  Do you place it at the top line or the bottom line?  Well, it depends on your photo.  Where is the most interest?  Above I placed the line at the top because I wanted the girls on the bottom of the photo.  If you have a beach scene showing an incredible sunset than you would probably place the horizon at the bottom line so that you have more sky.  In the photo below I thought the girl's footprints in the sand was more interesting then the sky so I placed the horizon at the top line.

In this next photo the leaf is placed at the bottom line because the area of interest is the spiderweb above.

Another useful horizon tip is do not let the horizon cut through your subject's head as in the photo below.

This can be very distracting!  Instead move the subject or get yourself on another level so that the horizon falls below or above. 

I hope these hints make sense to you.  I am trying to write this while my eleven year old is beside me telling me how hungry/bored/tired (you can interject just about anything here) that he is so I am feeling even more scattered than usual!  LOL!! 
Be sure and "Like" me on Facebook so that you can get special offers and even more information. 
Happy Shooting!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photo Shoot with Asante' Salon and Day Spa

I had a great shoot with Jennie Hoffman, Kim Bush and the other amazing ladies from Asante' Salon and Day Spa.  It is always fun to do this kind of shoot.  It causes me to stretch myself beyond my norm of shooting families and babies and I get to meet alot of really nice people.  I am not going to lie....having Asante' doing hair and make up makes my job easy peasy!! 
Thanks to Asante', our lovely models and my partner in, I mean weddings...Duane Chambers who all contributed to making this shoot a success! 
I am including some of my favorite photos from the shoot. 
Go by Asante' and check out other photos on their wall. 
Be sure and "like" me on Facebook and see even more of the photos!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo Friday - Tips for your Photography #2

Hey All!
Welcome back to Photo Fridays where I give you little tips to help improve your own photography.  Today I am going to talk to you about the compositional Rule of Thirds. 
Look at the grid below:

Lay this over your photograph.  See the points where the lines intersect?  These are positions where you want your main point of interest.   Look at the photo below and notice how her eyes are right at an intersection of lines. 

Also notice that her head is aligned with one of the lines.  We all read from left to right so your eyes will just naturally flow from the edge of the photo and stop right at her face.  Notice the same photo centered in the middle of the grid.  It just doesn't have the same flow to it, does it?  There is nowhere for your eye to go.  It just stops dead in the center. 

Here are a few other examples.  Note how the eyes are always at a point of intersection.

Note that her body and the flowers are all placed along one of the lines from the Thirds.

Here you can see the bride's body and the wall are both on the grid lines.  Also note here the curve of her body mimics the tree behind her. 

Here is another example:

Another example:

See how much stronger the composition is in the photo on the right? 

I hope this has helped you understand the rule of thirds.  I will be talking about this more in future Photo Fridays.  In the meantime look for this rule.  You will see it everywhere.  You will see it in print ads and on TV.  When you watch Dateline or something similar, watch where they place the person talking.  It is very rarely in the center of your TV. 
So go out and try shooting some photos with this rule in mind and see if your photos become more interesting. 


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Winner Was.....

Here are some photos from the shoot I did for the Mother's Day Contest Winner!   The judges chose her story because it touched their hearts.  They also loved that the entry was hand written. 
This family won a $500 gift certificate from my studio as well as a lot of great prizes!   Be sure and enter your mom next year!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Photo Fridays

Hey Guys!
I am starting something new called "Photo Fridays" here on the blog.  Each Friday I am going to give you a photography tip or hint to help you be able to take better photographs!  So be sure and follow my blog so that you don't miss out on anything.
My first tip is very basic.  It is this:
How many times have you taken a photo and you can't even determine what the subject is supposed to be?  You see a car and a store and a bus and a dog and...wait a minute....what  is that?  Is that your son right there? you get where I am going with this? 
Get closer.  What is the story?  Is the bus part of your story?  If it is your son's first day of kindergarten, then by all means include the bus.  Otherwise get it out of your picture!   Are you taking a photo of a baby?  Don't include the TV, your couch and the toy chest.  Focus in on that sweet baby's face.  Get in really close and just get those eyelashes.  Almost every Mom that comes through my studio will usually end up with a photo of their baby's eyelashes.  And guess what?  It almost always sells!  Why?  Because it is sweet, it is detailed and you don't have to have a big cheesy grin in every photo in order to tell your story.  Sometimes the eyelashes are the story.  Don't confuse the viewer.



There are those eyelashes!

Look at that window!  Look at that cage!

Wow!  Look at at that girl!

So get out there and get closer and see if that changes anything in your photos.  Remember to focus on the story.  What are you trying to say?  Remove every other element that is not contributing to your story.

So that is it for now!  I would love to see some samples of what you do with this hint.  Show me some befores and afters.  You can email them to me at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Repost from 9/11, 2008

I watched the coverage this morning and remembered seven years ago when the world changed. My friend woke me up and told me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center and we were on the phone watching that when the other plane hit. As the events unfolded throughout the day I remember how shocked and grief stricken I was. How could this be happening here? I remember how the skies were so silent because all of the planes were grounded. We live close to two airports so we see planes all of the time. You just kind of take them for granted but now there was nothing, no sounds and no jet trails. Occasionally you would see fighter jets fly by in formation and that would scare you even more and you would rush back into the house to see if something else had happened.

Two weeks after 9-11 we flew to New York. The airports had heavy security and we were apprehensive but determined not to let fear control our lives. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we took that trip. I remember hearing the term, "hallowed ground" and knowing what it meant but not really thinking about it that much. I totally understood when we went down to the site. You could not get very close. There were fences blocking off the whole area. You could see the wreckage though and occasionally when the wind would blow your way you could smell the smell that I hope is unique only to this place for it was horrible. There were thousands of people standing there. Just looking. No one was talking. Most were crying. Thousands of people breathing in air filled with the dust of the buildings and the dead. Thousands of people and you could have heard a pin drop.

I did not take a single photo of the site. Somehow it just didn't seem right. It seemed invasive and intrusive. Instead I just stood there with my fellow Americans and grieved for our innocence, lost that day amongst so much rubble and so many dead.

We could see the huge trucks rumbling through the streets laden with their cargo of huge beams twisted beyond recognition. We stood and cheered when the firefighters or policemen would walk by. We looked at all of the memorials and read all of the flyers that were placed everywhere begging, hoping, desperate to find their loved ones.

It was the most moving experience of my life.

I just wanted to share with you my recollections of that horrible day. Never forget.



PS... The flyer reads:

"My name is Marc and my friend Joey worked on the 105th floor of No. 1 World Trade Center. After September 11, I put his "missing" flyer all over the streets of this changed city, choosing my spots as if I were painting graffiti, looking for the best light, the easiest places to see my friend's face.

At 26th Street and Lex, next to the Armory, strangers were nice to me, saying: "Hope you find your friend." I just thanked them and kept looking for more places where Joey's smile would catch people's eyes. It felt good to be doing something, not just sitting and mourning.

Joey and I met when we were five. His mother watched us every day after school before my parents came home from work. We went to school together for 11 years, and all those years I watched him. He was the coolest guy. I felt like the dorky kid he took under his wing. He showed me a lot of things, how to look cool, how to talk to girls. His father, a Vietnam vet and a retired FDNY fire fighter, helped me learn how to ride a bike. That was the first thing his dad asked me when we hugged each other, "Can you still ride a bike, Marc?"

Joey leaves behind his beloved family, girlfriend, and friends like me, lots of us. He will never know how many lives he touched. I have cried so much that I have become empty inside. My childhood hero has been stolen from me, and I will miss him forever."

The Power of a Photograph

As I have sat here all morning watching the coverage of 9/11, I am blown away by the power of photographs. I see the crowd of the families holding up the treasured photos of the lost and I wonder about the moment the photo was taken. What were they doing? Was it a birthday party? A formal posed photo? The photos of the lost fascinate me much as the photos of the buildings destruction saddens me. One shows a terrible loss and the other shows a much loved life and the fact that they are entwined and intermingled in the tragedy of that day ten years ago speaks to me in a way I am having trouble conveying and even comprehending.

I think of the instant those photos were made. No one knowing that these people would be gone way too soon. Fathers, mothers, children and friends smilimg out at their families and now the entire world. Moments frozen in time becoming timeless

When I was in New York two weeks after 9/11 we saw all of the missing posters. Faces plastered on every surface of walls and utility poles. All of those images that were once just photos stuck in an album now pleas of help. "Here he is. He is lost. I love him. Help me find him".
Those beloved pictures became something else entirely and watching the coverage today I realize they have now become something else once again. Previously a memory of a moment, a single instance caught on film, they then became a tool, something used to help recover that person. The images are now not a memory of a moment but of an entire life. Seeing the families grasping these precious symbols in their grieving hands I look at the faces of the lost and I can hear them speaking to me. "I was here. I was important. I was loved. Do not forget". And I bow my head and make them a solemn promise, "Never. I will never forget".