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Tag Archives: Panama City Beach
As I started writing this entry, I was thinking that 2009 was a “meh” year for me photographically. But as I wrote it, I realized that 2009 was a pretty good year for me. I did not accomplish the goals I set for myself this time last year, but it was a good year all the same.
The bulk of the year was spent finishing the basement which included my beautiful wife’s art studio, our still in disarray tiki/beach bar, and my photography studio. All of the destruction, construction, and cleaning meant not much of a chance to do as much photography as I would have liked. I did get some good shoots in, however, and I really shouldn’t complain to much. After all, I now have my own mostly finished studio space (I say “mostly finished” because no studio is ever truly finished) with plenty of room for shooting everything from family portraits to artistic figure work to product photography.
I did some travel (which I love), and went to San Diego, Albuquerque, vacation in Florida where I worked with two swimsuit models on the beach (you can’t do much of that in North Georgia), a paid trip to Myrtle Beach to photograph a hotel for the day job, and a weekend nature photography trip to the Smoky Mountains with good friends.
On very short notice, I organized the very successful model shoot out for the annual Rock and Roll Monster Bash at the Starlight Drive In in Atlanta – a feat that also put me in touch with a number of people I only knew from the internet as well as helped to get my name out to the alt model world (I loves me some tattooed models!). I also continued and strengthened my relationship with the Atlanta Roller Girls and became their official official photographer for the latter part of the 2009 season and the upcoming 2010 season. My relationship with the Atlanta Roller Girls directly led to me doing a piece on the Austin, TX band And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead for Prick Magazine – on line and in print – in 2009, too.
I ended 2009 working with the first Help Portrait project, a few shoots for my personal projects, a big group and individual portrait shoot for an international company, and some great shots of my family at Christmas. All in all, 2009 was a pretty good year for my camera and me.
As I look into 2010, I already have five shoots booked for January, including a repeat shoot with the beautiful Amy Frena before she heads off to sunny southern California to pursue her modeling career, two personal project shoots, a client product shoot, and the first shoot as the official official photographer for the Atlanta Roller Girls.
2009 did not suck, and 2010 will only get better!
***The pretty girl at the top is Amy Frena. She was one of my last pretty girl shoots of 2009, and will be my first pretty girl shoot of 2010.
I was on vacation in Panama City Beach, FL last week with my wife’s family. As mentioned in a previous entry, I tried to photograph the family in more of a documentary style than a usual vacation style. I was relatively successful (I think), but I spent more time shooting video with my little JVC Everio camera.
(A quick review of Panama City Beach. It used to be called the “Redneck Riviera”, and was tacky, gaudy, and cheesy. The Powers That Be have done an outstanding job of cleaning the place up – perhaps too outstanding. The tacky is mostly gone. There are very few seedy motels and almost no neon. It is becoming much more of a generic Florida beach town.)
Of course, while we were vacationing – having fun in the sun and sand – I noticed other people taking pictures of their families, and I had to cringe. I resisted the urge to get up and walk over to people to tell them what they were doing wrong and how to do it better.
I saw -
- People posing their families with faces directly to the sun, eyes squinting – even shielding their eyes with their hands.
- Folks shooting their families with their backs to the sun, but no hint of fill light (no reflector, no flash).
- Moms taking pictures of their toddlers’ first visits to the ocean – babies sitting at the water’s edge with moms standing up and shooting down at the kids.
- Folks with mid-range consumer dSLR cameras taking pictures of large scenes at night with the pop-up flash on the camera.
- Friends and families gathered around large tables in restaurants with someone taking a picture of the group from one end of the table.
I would like to address these common mistakes and offer corrective actions for them.
- A rule of thumb – don’t pose people facing directly into the sun. It is uncomfortable and unflattering. If you insist on doing that, wait until very late in the day when the sun has just about gone down.
- If you have your subject with her back to the sun, most point and shoot cameras or dSLRs set on an automatic setting are going to underexpose your subject. Use the manual override on your camera, or find the proper menu setting, to get some fill light from your flash.
- When taking pictures of your kids, get down to their level. Shoot from the child’s point of view. Don’t shoot down on them.
- The flash built into your camera – whether a pop-up on your Nikon or Canon dSLR or the automatic on your point and shoot – will not illuminate a landscape. You will over-light the foreground and the background will go dark if you use everything on automatic.
- The above applies to taking pictures of groups of people, too. Don’t try shoot end to end. Shoot from the side, and stand back. Your flash will light more evenly and not make the folks in the background fade to black.
On another note, we HAVE to get away from the family beach photos of everyone dressed in khaki pants and white shirts posing on the sand dunes and sea oats. I know it is pretty, and “classic” looking, but it has become trite and cliched. I can’t count how many family groups did this exact same set up while we were on vacation. It has become an expected photograph, and, in my not so humble opinion, it must stop. Yes, we are as guilty of it as everyone else. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a cliche.
All that said, it was a fun vacation. I enjoyed spending time with the family, and really didn’t stress out about Other People’s Photography Habits as it appears.
Time for the annual and traditional summer vacation! Unlike last year’s incredible vacation to St. John in the US Virgin Islands, my beautiful wife and I are headed to Panama City Beach with her side of the family (her mother, father, brother, and our 2 nephews).
Last vacation I worked on travel and landscape photography, two genres of photography at which I am not adept. I really tried to capture a sense of place and show off the beauty of the St. John, and I think I was moderately successful, though not as successful as I hope to be.
This vacation I will be working on my documentary and portrait skills. I want to tell a story about the vacation, show the family playing, lounging, swimming, and “vacationing”, as well as get some really good portraits of my family (especially the maw and paw in law). My wife has even given me permission to do a beachside bikini photo shoot! I used Model Mayhem and have lined up a few interested young ladies for that shoot.
This morning, the folks over at Photojojo.com updated their blog with an article about road trip photography with a link to a trip planner on roadsideamerica.com. I am going to make an effort to get in a few photos of the suggested road side attractions they have listed.
Watch for vacation shots posted on my Flickr page next week!