All The Light There Is To See

Last Thursday, I was scouting light for a family shoot.
I parked at the edge of Alum Rock.
Then I started walking.
And walking.
It was hot and dusty.
And my walk turned into a hike.
After two miles, I was sweating as though on a long run.
Rapid-fire, a non-verbal thought came to me.
It felt something like this…
Yes, was the thought.
Yes, I’m changing careers
Yes, there’s uncertainty
Yes, there’s self-doubt
But this is my new office
My new workplace
My new commute
After the thought flashed through me,
I pressed on, giddy as a 50-year old kid can be.

I’m running a family promotion this summer, so let’s shoot.

Let’s Shoot, She Said

Can you take my photo, Alex asked.
She needed a new profile pic for work and LinkedIn.
Of course, I said.
So we met in Campbell near the Ainsley House.
Typically, the first five to 10 minutes is a warm up period.
I’m reading the light,
Tinkering with exposure,
And establishing rapport and trust.
The client is often wrestling with discomfort
And the self-consciousness of being observed by a Cyclops.
It can take some time to get comfortable,
In both directions, in front of and behind the camera.
Results in the beginning are usually competent and satisfactory, if a bit forced.

Portrait photography candid profile picture business woman outdoors

But after warm up, interesting things can happen.
Interesting good things.
In the case of our photo shoot, Alex and I started talking about life,
About college, about baking, about scuba diving—
And of course about work,
Where integrity and self-assurance are key.

Portrait photography business executive head shot woman outdoors

Then something unexpected happened.
Unplanned and unbidden,
Our conversation turned into a fun, creative jam session.
We played with foregrounding and framing.

Portrait photography candid profile picture social personal flowers outdoors

We captured candid profile pics for use on social media.

Portrait photography candid profile picture social personal flowers outdoors

And we made B&W portrait art.
Catch light! Catch light! Just look at Alex’s eyes.
This image is proof that life without specular highlights is drab.

Portrait photography outdoor black white fine art headshot outdoors

A business portrait photo shoot
That morphs into a creative session for social media photos,
Which then evolves into B&W fine art photography is pretty damn cool.
And I’m very grateful it happened.
Thank you, Alex!

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Going, Going Gone

Zoie, 2018.
I’ve known her since she was two-years old.
I won’t do the math, I refuse.
Time has moved too fast.
She’s not even my daughter,
And still I grieve a bit as she launches into the world—
But launch she must,
And that’s exactly what she’s ready to do.
As a high school student,
Zoie’s mind was a sheet of paper ready for learning.

Portrait photography bay area high school graduate eyes closed

As a graduate and former class president bound for ASU, she’s woke.

Portrait photography bay area high school graduate eyes open

In addition to magnetic eyes, Zoie has an amazingly infectious smile.
It’s impossible not to smile back. Just try.

See, you can’t do it.
That’s the best kind of emotional contagion.
Her mom is a strong, passionate woman.
And she’s ready to release her daughter into the wild—almost.

high school graduate portrait with mom

And whether her parents are ready or not,
This kid is going to soar.

Family portrait photography high school graduate

Just look at her expression.
Bright future ahead!

Check out this month’s special promotion

50% Off Family Sessions

Family photography special offer in July and August. San Jose, Bay Area, Silicon Valley.

In July and August, I’m offering a steep discount on family photography. Fifty percent off means you pay only $250 for a one hour session with your family on location or in your home, with a $50 credit for the first five re-touched images you download, ready to print or share on social media. For instance:

Five images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) for a total of $250.

Ten images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $50 (next five downloads) for a total of $300.

Fifteen images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $100 (next ten downloads) for a total of $350.

Twenty images—$250 for time + $50 credit (first five downloads are free) + $150 (next fifteen downloads) for a total of $400.

If you have any questions, please contact me at Kevin@1103photography.com.

I’m eager to chat with you about photographing your family!

Say Hello

 

Eyes like Exotic Insects

A neighbor’s niece was visiting from out of town.
We were introduced.
Hello.
Hi.
Your eyes, I said.
Yeah, I know, she replied.
They’re amazing.
Yeah, I know.
Confidence, you got to love it.
Can I take your picture, I asked.
Yeah.
Great.
In the shade of our backyard,
She sat in front of the side of our house,
Which was brightly illuminated behind her.
I went high key with the 85mm
And got lots of fun-interesting shots in minutes,
Like this one, slightly playful…

Portrait photographer in bay area captures playful eyes

…and this one, brightly astonished…

Portrait photographer in bay area captures astonished eyes

…and then this one, exotic eyes edged with reptilian intensity.

Portrait photographer in bay area captures exotic eyes

Notice how the taupe background on the left
And the green background on the right
Pool in her irises like an estuary,
Where a brown river meets an emerald sea.
Love it when that happens.

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Quarry

Landscape photography at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino while in hot pursuit of a coyote but cornering yellow flowers instead

Camera in hand,
I chased a coyote through dry brush,
Over two ridge lines
And into a valley,
Where she lost me for good.
In a sweat,
I plopped down, frustrated.
I complained to myself.
At last, I looked up
In a field of yellow wild flowers,
Sagely nodding in the breeze.
I chuckled.
Lesson learned,
I gathered them up in a single frame
And returned home.

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Mirror, Mirror

Say hello to Giovanna.
Or Gio for short.
Gio’s a mom and a marketer to boot.
She’s into healthy eating, weight training, and silly humor.
Emphasis on all three parts in equal measure.
I’ve known Gio a long time, before the Age of Children.
And now our girls are classmates and friends.
They’re good buds.
And Gio and I are good buds, too.
Luckily for me, she’s up for photo shoots at the end of a long week.
We practice lighting and posing for candid profile pictures,
Like this one minus the sepia treatment.

Portrait photography creative business headshot woman smile

Recently, we pushed ourselves beyond our customary limits.
And we explored shadow and light, hair and eyes.

Portrait photography black and white woman eyes shoulders hair intensity

We explored clavicles, lips, and the spine.

We explored strength and toughness…

Portrait photography black and white woman eyes shoulders hair clavicle

…and shoulders…

black and white portrait woman eyes shoulders hair

…and the assurance that comes from being the boss lady of one’s own life.

Portrait photography black and white woman eyes shoulders hair arms intensity

We shot for over an hour,
Using a 50mm f/1.8 at ISO 200,
With only a reflector and a white backdrop.
My favorite image from the session is this one, hands down.

Portrait photography fine art black and white mirror back eyes

It’s not an original concept.
Not by any means.
But it is the first time I’ve ever executed on the idea.
And I’m pleased with how it turned out—
A frame within a frame, capturing almost every feature we sought to explore.

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