Thursday, November 23, 2017

Slices of Family Life



Images. Like reflections of a kid in a rain puddle. A family holding the funny dogs. An engaged couple with their boots walking a dirt path. I have seen thousands and thousands of faces over the years. Images. I have captured weddings and families and seniors. Some images very memorable with lots of forethought and some images done hastily in a hurry, quickly composed. Images. A moment in time recorded forever. Many end up in the little trash icon on the computer. But some. Some images make it through the sorting process to last forever.

We at Photodelux often wonder what people do with these digital images today. Do they print them, leave them to live on the computer or hang them on a wall? When my kids were young I had a little school picture of them to stick in my wallet. Thats what a lot of men did with a wallet print and still do. I wonder how many of my images have been printed up and placed in a wallet like my wife Vicky's dad did so many years ago.  Here is that image:


See,  Vicky’s dad passed away from a massive heart attack in a bowing alley in Independence, Ky in 1976 when she was 13.  He had been suffering some heart problems and well it was just his time. So sadly James Kincaid went out in to eternity and left a wife(Nora) and 3 girls. And all the images dear to him were at a standstill. They became his belongings.  At a kitchen table many years later it is now Fall of 2017.  At her mother Nora's house, Vicky is confronted by a wooden box which contains her fathers wallet unopened for almost 40 years. Wow. She opens it. Inside the billfold, among other things, is a picture of her and her parents. Yes, bring on the tears. Images. Slices of life.

Of all the hats I wear, photographer is at the top many days. And the fact that someone close to Nora and James, brought a camera that day, recorded the negative and had a paper print made at the local Photomat is not lost on me. It’s what we modern day scribes do. It is the right thing. Record a slice of time for precisely the moment when a woman can look back to when she was a little girl and realize her fathers love for her so many years later. It’s an incredible responsibility to be a modern day scribe. Images.

It was my privilege to photograph my friends Steve and Katie Poitinger and family in brisk 40 degree weather at Armco Park this week. It was the day before Thanksgiving. We have a history together.  See, I was in my teenage years and Steve was a young coach and teacher at Franklin High School. Where together in 1982, we won the mid-Miami League Championship in both track and boys soccer. That league is now defunct but the memory and bond still last. 


Coach P was more than my track coach. He actually taught me how to drive because he doubled as the drivers education teacher during the summer. He encouraged me to go participate in summer track with the Mound City Dashers out of Miamisburg where I pole vaulted, ran sprints and even threw the javelin. When I made it to the state track meet in 1983 he and Katie bought me the commemorative t-shirt to remember the occasion afterward. I still have that shirt around here somewhere, Ha. Coach P moved on to arch rival Lebanon where he retired.

So fast forward to summer 2017 and a day where our bodies are suffering some wear and tear.  We decide to meet for breakfast in Lebanon and the discussion at some point turns to a family portrait. I say it would be my privilege to photograph an image of the family. So now assembled, forming smiles, a button is pushed.  And all I can see is a little girl and a baby boy in front of my camera who someday will have a record, a slice of time to bookmark this season with people who are loved and adored.

Friday, February 3, 2017

A Buckeye Wedding in Northern Ohio

It started in a church office on the carpeted floor.  I watched this baby crawling, who was one of a two boys born twins.  Evan and Tanner were their names and I watched with marvel as they grew to be adults.

And then one day, years later, I receive a call about Evan finding and marrying this wonderful girl named Kelsey.  Would you like to be a part? Of course! It's on New Years. Of Course! It's north of Columbus. Of course!

And as luck would have it the ceremony was on the same day as the Buckeye football team took on the Clemson Tigers.  It was a celebration of Evan and Kelsey in spite of the result of the game.

The bride and groom were tenacious in some cold weather and windy conditions but the result gave some beautiful images of the day.  Congrats! Go Bucks!  O-H



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Wedding of Jessie McIntyre and Kenneth Ford October 1, 2016

Let me live, there's a buffet.
You will not prevail!     

Did they say Pirates?    

     Sitting in Starbucks at the photo consult with Miss McIntyre and Mr. Ford, they mentioned a pirate invasion and I held my breath. True to form, on that October 1st night, there was swashbuckling at the reception hall. The pirates actually interrupted the welcome speech and held up the bride's father at muzzel point. Perilous times were at hand!
   
     The scoundrels had to be fended off by the groom for the brides honor. A sword fight ensued and it was glorious. Most weddings are traditional because tradition is methodical and tradition is familiar. If you sway a little bit from the normal the wheels will fall off right? Not on this day.

     Kenn and Jessie wanted details to show their style from a wedding dress with skull and cross bones to a weapons exchange at the altar.  They weren't afraid to do something out of the ordinary to make the wedding day memorable.   It actually was really special.
   
     There seems to be a lack of creativity in the wedding industry these days.  I mean there is a massive break from tradition in many cases but what groom would present his bride with a longsword and the groom receiving a battle axe? Most weddings are in a word "safe". The Meadows event was not for the faint of heart yet it fit perfectly for the Fords.

    I'm all for tradition, but still, the day should have fingerprints. The personality of the couple and who they are need to be expressed. The ceremony at the Hinkle Gazebo in Eden Park was where the bride played as a little girl. Tradition would say, "Get married at the church." Caution asks,"What if it rains?" The answer: create new tradition and throw caution to the wind.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Samantha Beany and Stephen Hart Wedding


October 8, 2016

Ceremony: Seasongood Pavilion
Reception: Freedom Center

There are times in a photographers life where it gets personal. Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly said it best in You've Got Mail, "Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."   Well making images is personal to us.  We see this as an experience,  a journey from the day we start talking about your wedding to the moment the shutter on the camera is pressed.



And also, there are times in a photographers life where we are privileged. And I felt very privileged to be a part of Samantha and Stephen's wedding day. These two have something special between them.  Call it love or mutual respect or appreciation for each others quirkiness but I sensed it the whole time we were with them.

Then there are times when we get emotional. With many of the people who let us photograph their wedding, it gets emotional. We feel it.  I believe to produce great images that spark sentiment you have to feel it behind the camera. Samantha was beautiful and witnessing a mom place the vail in her hair from her wheelchair pulled every heartstring.



And lastly, there are times we get playful.  Stephen and the groomsmen broke out nerf guns. It was a guy thing.  We suggest grooms get creative with the time they spend together. The girls take a longer time to prepare but the guys seem to have time to fill.  Fill it with Fun!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Everything Important I learned from a bridesmaid

So who gets your attention on the big day? Do you listen to that still small voice in your head, your spider-sense or (heaven forbid) a guest who wasn't even on the guest list? I've been in the wedding photo business a long time. 15 years have gone by in the toss of a garter. There are lots of voices to listen to that inspire creativity and confidence. But what about when it's crunch time? As a lead image creater I find myself in some very sticky situations at times on the day of the event. I think it's smart to listen to a very genuine voice - the voice of the bridesmaids!
I would even venture to say that every good thing I've learned about photographing on the big day has been inspired by the advice of a bridesmaid. She wants the best from you so her friend will look beautiful, and the images will be gorgeous. Here are some things this group has taught me:


1. Pay attention to small detail.  

At an early Spring ceremony, I was shooting a wedding ring shot in a rush, which is a cardinal sin. Image makers should slow down to get the best shot. The picture became a beautiful ring shot, well done with bokah blur and tack sharp. As the proud papa, I showed it to one of the bridesmaids who said, "Did you notice the inscription on the inside of his wedding band?"  No I missed that.....  She said, "The words were very important to the bride." I reshot the image and was thankful for the heads-up.





2.  Don't mess with the dress.

These ladies have been around the dress in several settings. They are infatuated with it, in a good way. They see the gown way more than the photographer. At one wedding we were trying to decide where to shoot the dress in a tough location, the maid of honor had a window setting cleaned and ready in advance. It worked for us! Once, there was a blue tag sown inside the dress and I wasn't aware. Yep you guessed it, maid of honor drew our attention to the tag which was so important. Bridesmaids are there when the bride slips into the dress for the first time. The dress is the most important item next to the groom. I think it deserves special attention.


3.  Laughter breaks down barriers.
People images are authentic only if the tension is relieved in the face.  The bride at one hot summer wedding was really nervous and uptight. We had a hard time getting a relaxed expression from her. What to do? I asked the bridesmaids if any of them knew of any funny stories about the bride. Tell them! They began to talk about stories from their childhood experiences with the bride. Which brought belly laughs and genuine expressions. Saved the day!


My motto - listen to the girls.  Some egos are too big. Some professionals feel like they have to know it all to be a professional. I disagree. I think you have to befriend the people who are closest to the bride and that know her best.  That's the key to success.  Bridesmaids are the voices of reason in chaos. They know the bride better than anyone and they will spot details that could be missed.  At many weddings they are crucial. And if I befriend the girl in the purple satin dress, I may get to photograph her becoming a bride in the very near future. 



Sunday, January 19, 2014

What do Wedding Photographers Do in Winter?

Glad you asked! The off season isn't really down time anymore for us, because the wedding season has changed and extended so much. But here are the 6 things I like and need to do:

1. We examine our mission. "for the bride and groom on a budget" We do what we do because of the Creator God we follow. We are inexpensive. We think this is a ministry to young couples and their families who need spiritual support as well as a photographer.  We pray for our clients. We ask ourselves how we can be the helping hand of God for couples getting married.

2. We enter training. We don't know everything there is to know about our profession. Products are constantly changing (like albums) and we want to know if these will fit our clients needs. I know I can do better work and I have voiced that for the last 10 years. We improve.Wedding Photograhers in the off season.......

3. We exhale. We relax from the creative process extended to each client. Creating can be exhausting!  We love what we do, but forming and creating the right images takes its toll on us. We put up the white flag and surrender to just recharging our batteries.

4. We evaluate our work.  We look back over all the weddings we shot and ask ourselves what worked and what didn't work.  We highlight our best work and use those images for our website, contests, and any wedding shows we may participate.

5. We extend our pricing.  It is something we hate to do but need to do.  Every year things get more expensive for us from the SD cards to flash drives to dvds to printing. We still think we are the best value around for our market. Sometimes we raise prices or leave them alone.

6. We scrutinize equipment. Even high quality Nikon tools need checked out and upgraded. Just like any other business, we evaluate our cameras, computers and software. Send for repairs and cleaning. We just upgraded our website at photodelux.org.  Let us know what you think!



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seniors that Rock!

Spencer Pierce
Mariah Cadwallader
     I have the greatest opportunity to take photographs and make people happy(sometimes). I think one of the delights for me is meeting complete strangers and feeling like I have known them all my life. It is an incredible feeling and it happens all the time!
     The "other" great moment is photographing high school seniors I have know as babies or small children, and seeing how they have grown and matured. it is always an honor to tease them and see them smile in a whole new dimension some 10 years later.
     The "next other" great moment is getting reacquainted with old friends who need senior portraits made for their student and they don't have time and they heard that "Tod does photography" and we get out and make some absolutely gorgeous images for them.
     I think the best images come about when you are familiar with each other a little bit. I always like to shoot engagement photos for the engaged couples in advance of their weddings because it lets me see them in advance. I get to think about facial structure and the best lighting situations. I get to see them laugh and learn what makes them smile. I get to see where the flaws are in their features and how to hide them. And yes we all have some areas we see as flaws!
     I still love doing this simply to get the opportunity to make something out of nothing. Where people start as a bundle of nerves and you keep working until you release the shutter on a relaxed smile and feel like you have done something for them that will last a couple lifetimes.