AJP recently spent some time in the studio with a cool band, Population 3. For part of the session we broke out the icelight and worked on some really nice rim or individual highlight shots of the band members. This is Gary with the light just outside the shot high and to my left. The icelight is a portable LED light at ambient daylight. It looks like it will be great tool for portrait, engagement, and highlight images. Really looking forward to breaking this out for some weddings this year, esecially after dark. The ISO is higher for the images and I think it comes across a little blue but I also think that blue cast will fall off on outdoor locations. Hey Gary love the color on the guitar.
We recently went out to Shepherds Manor Creamery and photographed Laura & Matt’s engagement pictures. The creamery manufactures sheep cheese and is moving into yogurt in the future. The day last weekend was really cold and both Matt and Laura really toughed it out. Most of the exposures are lit with speed light’s off camera controlled with radio triggers. The day was overcast but did have a lot of even light. I like pale blue days like this; it lets us mix light, tell a story, and have fun with the photographs.
I grew up using a PC and it actually has been many PC’s. I am one of the many who grew up indoctrinated as a PC guy. Well after my latest PC meltdown I started on the road to what PC guys call the fruit company, or apple, or the enemy, or just them. Like most PC guys I started with what I thought was a gadget, the Ipad. Now as a PC guy I wanted the Ipad for a number of reasons. I wanted to download apps to play games. I wanted a device to show my images to brides. I wanted something portable, nice, and dependable. So I opened my wallet really, really wide and bought myself an Ipad.
What I discovered was that I bought myself a great device for sharing content and a fantastic device for organizing my life. Then being the PC guy that I am I bought another Ipad for my coordinator and made her schedule everything. This allows me to concentrate on images, work on social media marketing, and avoid doing things like these blog posts. Now however instead of forgetting things, my calendar reminds me with new found efficiency to sit down and write up some content for the masses.
From the Ipad we went to the cloud which led to buying the IPhone. This of course is a natural progression for most of the world but I was still carrying around the world altering shield of a PC guy. Now we have IPad’s, IPhone’s, and then it happened, my PC sent out smoke signals signaling defeat.
So I have two of the Apple I’s so now I figured that I need a third. I went and got myself a new IMac. This was the biggest jump for me. Of all the processing power that I have none is more important than my computer. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer editing, updating, searching, and hopefully providing inspiration, content, and images. So far the IMac is faster, easier to use, and looks better when rendering images. On top of that I fully clouded under the IMac and track my days much easier than before. I know everyone is saying, “I told you so”, well you are right.
P.S. – I still don’t have a new laptop but the, “blue screen of death”, popped up last night on the laptop so it is just a matter of time.
For me the definition of social media should be constant work, or oversight. I post to Facebook with the frequency I am supposed to use, or what I like to call balance. Instagram is a tool for me to broaden appeal; it gives you one image that to me is like dart. I want to hit the bull’s-eye every time with Instagram. My weakness is my blog, I don’t post to it, I don’t update to it and that is a bad thing. So I am going to schedule myself in my calendar to post every Monday.
Hello everyone out there. I have a new bio, I included it below, I like it, and I like it much more than before as I go on sounding like Dr. Seuss. So what goes into writing a bio? For me it’s about two things. How do I feel about my work and how does my work look? For me to write a bio I have to be honest with myself and really bear down on what type of work I want to do. The other thing is the structure, order of the bio, and yes even how it looks because now everyone looks at fonts.
Content is always another problem. For me it is all feel when I write so I try for the “sweet spot”. If the words do not feel right then I often just start over until I have something I feel. Then I edit, edit again, and change some words to drive the meaning home. I pull out a lot of the extra stuff so the spoon hits the ice cream right away. So what do you think?
Jim’s Photography Bio
“Hello my name is Jim and I am a photographer. Some people, most people, ask me what my photography style might be? Usually I go into a long description for such a cool question, but, after thinking about it way too much I came up with the answer “unscripted”. I photograph people in love (weddings), people at work (commercial), people competing (sports), people mingling (events), groups of people (families), smart people ( graduation), people combined (maternity), new people (newborn), and sometimes I walk around and look for beautiful things to photograph (that might or might not have people around).
I started photographing people and their events fifteen years ago. Pretty soon as some people told other people I was photographing people I didn’t even know. One day at a wedding surrounded by happy people a nice lady in a fancy hat asked me how much I charge to take pictures of people? After that I started AJ Photography or AJP as most people call it and that’s why I am writing this bio, about photographing people.
For me it’s not enough to just photograph people at an event. I need to capture the emotion, show the day, and mark a place in time for the people. I love it all; the preparation for the day, the photography of the day, and finally the image editing that follows the day. So give me call, send me an email, ask me questions, I love to talk about people and would love to photograph people for you.”
Photographers are magazine junkies. Not only do we live for those high color smooth paper images almost all of us would trade a 2.8 to be featured in the magazine. One other problem is that there are way too many photography magazines out there as well. In my e-reader life I started with a Nook and then moved onto an Ipad, because it is color (first Nook) and it is really good device to take on the road. I use my Ipad to show pictures to brides, commercial clients, and to keep the all important calendar in order.
As I learn the Ipad I find myself looking at the magazine choices and trying to figure out what I want. Now on the Ipad there are many more options available than your typical shelf magazines. I have subscribed to a couple of the shelf magazines for a couple of reasons. I like that I have a subscription instead of paying cover price, it’s cheaper, and I get to track the subscription for a possible tax write off. If I want to look at a past issue, it’s available electronically, not sitting on a table catching rings from old bottles of coconut water.
I actually read the magazines on the Ipad instead of looking at them sitting under the coconut water. One other aspect is that I save tree’s because in my world everything is now digital and therefore my magazine habit does not consume wood pulp. The Ipad also gives you a frame of reference for those of you who compare the digital world to the print world. Occasionally I have bought the magazine to see how good it looks in print compared to the Ipad.
I don’t like the wireless download speeds and regardless of popular opinion the screen protectors get just as dirty as the regular screen. I also don’t like some of the protectors for the Ipad themselves, when you clean your screen they will transfer crap if your screen is damp or you use an oil based product.
There is also the possibility of getting the manufacturer magazines like Nikon or Cannon. Magazines based solely on using flash, or lights, or any other photographic equipment a well. All in all I will be moving to the Ipad fully over the next couple of months. So in summation, at this point, the Ipad magazine road is well traveled as all photographers should be. I didn’t even get the point of carrying a boatload of magazines, in your Ipad, on a plane, which of course is a definite plus.
Ok so I have been a total slacker with the blog but I have been super busy with the pbotography work and my personnel life has seen many changes. I am working on themes for the blog, do I want to drive more picture content or more information content? AJP or AJ Photography has some evolving to do, we have just relaunched Facebook, have relaunched social media, with more to appear in the future. I have broadened my work some in the past five or six months as well and plan to feature more diverse work in the future. So stay tuned for more updates and please feel free to comment or ask questions
Jim at ajp
This is in Frederick, MD at Baker Park on a Friday right around lunch time. There is a covered bridge next to a willow tree that looks like it got twisted in a wind storm. Photographers sometimes see and catalog things coming back to them again and again until whatever it is they see their presents itself in the right way in the right place. It’s getting there. I had the pleasure of photographing Iris and Jeff’s wedding a couple of years ago and was really happy that they called me back to photograph their first maternity portrait shoot. For maternity work I try very hard to make the expectant mother happy and comfortable during the session. I often take my time and move from place to place running through a variety of poses having fun with the couple and the work, trying to draw out something cool. I also added a color photograph through Baker Park into the creek and some of the spires of Frederick.
All the images this day were basically in the shade so I used indirect flash to fill the subjects. A lot of images are surrounded by dapple to give them a soft effect. The ethereal quality for the Black and White images started with Nik Silver Efex Pro then some added sharpening following conversion. Oh yeah did I mention that Iris had the baby. Well she did. Congratulations Iris.
The initial question a couple has to ask themselves is what type of picture they want for engagement pictures. I am going to divide the pictures themselves into two categories, formal and relaxed. Formal pictures are portraits, shot in a studio, with lights and standard traditional poses. Many times a formal engagement picture is used for an announcement in the local paper or it can be used on those, “Save the Date” magnets. I can formally photograph a couple for their engagement pictures if they wish but most of the time these days couples request relaxed images.
Almost all of my couples these days prefer relaxed images and prefer to go somewhere cool, personnel, or natural for pictures. I am not going to say here that engagement pictures are photojournalistic, they are not. Often casual engagement pictures are where the engagement actually happened, like a park or some other spot important to the couple’s relationship.
I of course have a neat story about casual engagement pictures. A few years ago a couple hired me to take engagement pictures of them but in a rather unique setting. We drove up route 70 towards Hagerstown then turned around and headed back towards Frederick. The couple in front of me started pointing and gesturing in their car then pulled over on the highway. They waved me in front and I also pulled over.
The couple got out of the card and proceeded to tell me that they were on their way to Washington Monument National Park when they got stuck in a snow storm. They managed to turn around but had to pull over because the conditions became dangerous. The groom had planned to ask the bride at the park for her hand in marriage but could not wait so he asked her right there in the car sitting along the highway in a blizzard.
For the engagement pictures they sat on the hood of their car and I took a bunch of photographs of the couple sitting on the car on the side of the highway. Now I agree that so far the story is cool but they also mailed out, “Save the Date”, cards to their guests. On the cards dead center was the image of the couple sitting on the hood of their car on the side of the road. Now the really cool part, the couple had to explain about eighty five times why they were sitting on a car on the side of the road for their engagement pictures.
Anyhow that is my story and for me the moral of the story is that I think people, for their engagement pictures, should be engaged. I say this for a number of reasons. The first reason is that the pictures are better, more relaxed, and real. These couples are new and it should show, especially within images for their engagement. Another reason is that I get to work with the couple, see how they fit together, and figure out their dynamic, before the wedding. There are a thousand little things that a photographer picks up by working with the couple one on one before their big day.
Lately in my area of the world Harper’s Ferry seems to be a very popular destination for engagement pictures. I scout out my locations and pick a couple of places that I know will be definite spots for pictures. I usually save these spots for the end of the session to give some closure for the day. One other thing I like to do is go for a walk. Harper’s Ferry has a lot of character, levels, and different textures which lead to great and varied images. Walking a couple through the landscape then blending them in is really a lot of fun and allows
me to work with the couple multiple times during the photo shoot.
So if you are getting married and you have the opportunity to take advantage of an engagement shoot, they are often free with wedding packages (mine are), make sure you make the time. It will help you build understanding with your photographer, and in the end they are a lot of fun.
Jim Jarrell, www.ajphotographyonline.com