Lakeland Senior Pictures – Julia goes to the beach

In the last post, I wrote that Julia came down all the way from Erie, Pennsylvania for her senior pictures. My specialty in Erie was photographing seniors on the beaches of Lake Erie, and I often had senior dancers ask for poses and leaps at the beach at sunset. I developed an approach that allowed my seniors to capture a wide variety of images in a short period of time, including dance poses, silhouettes and leaps.

So  I was not surprised when Julia asked for the same, only Florida style. I was up for the challenge, and we headed West to the Gulf of Mexico.

Following a great dinner at Crabby Bills Indian Rocks Beach, we headed across the street to access the beach.

I usually capture a few images before we head to the water, just to set the mood. Here’s Julia with the dunes in the background. You have to be careful to stay away from the sea grass and other plants, as they are off limits!

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Julia made some nice dance poses and leaps. Here are a couple, caught before the sunset became too colorful. I kept the flash off for these, to develop more of a silhouette effect.

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Then we did a few senior poses with the developing sunset behind her. Note the balance of subject lighting with the water and the sky. That takes some practice to get right, especially at dusk, when the lighting levels are constantly changing.

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Here is a leap that we caught during the sunset. The key with dance leaps is using a fast shutter, the right light in front, and balancing that with the color of the sky and sea behind the subject.

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Overall it was a great session. Though the sunset was not as developed as I have seen, it did provide a great backdrop for senior pictures

Lakeland Senior Pictures – Julia

This summer as I was settling into my new life in Florida, our friends joined us for a few days. I had photographed two of their three kids for senior pictures. On their trip to visit us in Lakeland, I took some time to capture senior pictures for Julia, their third.

Julia’s a dancer and a lacrosse player, so we focused on some images which included some of her activities, as well as some great images in a variety of outfits. It was in the 90’s outside, so we jumped from the AC to the outdoors and tried to stay cool.

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I applied an infrared finish to the second image.

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I use large studio flashes outdoors, and I also take advantage of special lenses that can provide a very narrow depth of field, meaning that items in front of and behind the subject are nicely blurred, as you can see below.

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We spent some time in Hollis Garden. I like the garden but everyone uses it, so we captured a few ballet images and a couple of lacrosse outfit shots, and moved on. Of course, Julia is from Pennsylvania, so it’s safe to say that no one else from her school had Hollis Garden shots!

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Lake Mirror is a great backdrop for a variety of images.

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I put a bit of watercolor on this image, which I think turned out nicely!

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Next, we moved to downtown Lakeland where I found some really neat walls to use for close up and full-body portraits.

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We headed out to Florida Polytechnic for some bright daylight shots with the amazing architecture. This was full on mid-day, and I was shooting off a high-powered studio flash to balance the ambient light and clearly illuminate the subject.

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There are many great locations in Polk County and surrounding areas for senior pictures. I envision using several locations for each senior session. Check out the next post for some great beach shots with Julia!

Erie Dance Photography: Haley’s Beach Pictures

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Haley is a young dancer who wanted to have some interesting dance pictures taken at Presque Isle Beach at sunset. So we picked a clear day and had an adventure!

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As we approached sunset, we carefully mixed the right amount of light to get a nice colorful early evening sky. Haley thought ahead and we buried a board under the sand so her pointe shoes would not sink into the sand.

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Here’s a great image right at sunset. The waves were a bit high, but we were able to capture some great dance pictures. Great job Haley!

Erie Senior Portraits: Meaghan

Monday was a classic summer portrait day: Hot, muggy and the radar projection was showing all manner of badness about to happen.
Meaghan worked with us in studio for a couple of hours, focusing mostly on dance images, including this lovely black and white portrait:
Then we ventured outdoors, eventually arriving at one of my favorite walls:
I love the jeans and boots look in this image!
Considering the weather was so threatening, we did not have high expectations for sunset. However, the clouds parted and we experienced one of the most colorful and intense sunsets that I have seen in quite some time. Here is the sun about ten minutes before setting:
Look at that beautiful warm light. We’re throwing a bit of light back to Meaghan so she is not silhouetted by the strong backlight of the sun and sky.
This dance image was taken after sunset. Note the intensity of the colors in the sky. We emphasize these through underexposure of the background:
Again, front/side lighting is necessary to render the details of the dancer. We simply turned off the lights to render this lovely silhouette of essentially the same pose:

Meaghan, your images are lovely! Thanks for the opportunity to capture your senior portraits. 

Coming Soon: Stay tuned for an “In the Box” dance collage featuring Meaghan!

Erie Photography

I have been working on a great new idea, inspired from one of my professional groups. I call it “THE BOX”. Julia was my first willing participant.
The camera and lighting setup is very specific. The edits are very time consuming. But the outcome is outstanding. It’s a type of collage, constrained by the boundaries of the frame.
It’s designed to capture many aspects of a person, group or family, and present it in a somewhat organized fashion for the viewer.
I’ll vary the frame colors according to the subject and clothing. But for this first subject, I kept the backgrounds pure white and the frame pure black.
Julia’s costume was such a great, bright red, that I had to keep everything else constant to keep your focus on the costume, and her amazing dancer poses and expressions.
I’m adding this to my Senior options this year, and maybe my Family shoots as well.
I hope you enjoy it. Give me some feedback and ideas, and I’ll work with them.

Erie Portrait Photography: Julianna

Tonight we conducted a portrait session for Julianna.  Including both formal and casual outfits, we captured some great images.
This one was shot against pure black, in her formal dress:
Utilizing both natural light and our great indoor brick wall, we captured this interesting image. 
The next images were shot against a blue-purple background which matched her outfit perfectly. A bit of backlighting makes her hair stand out.
Being a dancer, we had to get a leap shot.  Look at that form!
Here’s a great natural pose of Julianna.
Great job, Julianna!  Look for the rest of the images soon!