Choosing Clothes For Your Shoot – Tyler Texas Portrait Photographer

In preparing for a photo shoot, I will usually just give some guidelines for clothing, but I’ve found that when I get more involved, it works out even better. Clothes that look good on, don’t always photograph well and sometimes clothes that photograph well do not look that great wearing them in general. Textures like lace are good, but clothes with images or words on them usually are too distracting and take away from the photo. Form fitting clothing always works better than loose clothing that hangs off which can make people appear larger. As far as colors go, its good to bring a variety rather than all one color. But for the most part, bring clothes that you feel like you look good in.

When we were discussing an upcoming shoot, Lauren had gone into her closet and sent me several photos of pieces of her wardrobe to consider.  Mixed in all the pics was a photo of a pink lace dress.  It was difficult to tell on the hanger what it would look like on her, but the color and texture were interesting so it was a go.

In person, the dress looked fabulous, and photographed awesome! And, of course, Lauren was looking gorgeous as always.  We made some Modern Glamour / Contemporary Portrait shots with it and they turned out perfect.  This is one of my favorites.

Tyler Texas Fashion style Contemporary Portrait Photographer -  Glamour portrait on black background

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Contemporary Fashion Portrait – A Shoot In Houston

At the end of December I packed my photography gear into my truck and made a trip to Houston to shoot Katrina. She’s a photographer south of Houston. This was perfect because I got to combine several of my favorite things – travel, making awesome photos, and hanging out with fellow photographers.

I love to photograph women and capture images that show their beauty that, sometimes, they may not even know they posses, and at times even believe they do not posses. I’ve shot women who hate getting their photos done because they say that they never look good and it’s just depressing so they don’t even do it any more. Then when they see their photos they get such an excited look and they get emotional a lot of the time because they almost don’t recognize themselves. That moment is priceless. Well, enough of that…

I enjoy shooting photographers because, more than most, they are usually apprehensive about having someone photograph them. They are so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, so a lot of the time they don’t have their photos made other than a snapshot here and there.  When you put them in the position that their clients are in, they get to feel what their clients feel, and I think that helps them connect with their clients better when they are shooting them. And then when they see their images…  It is similar to what I was saying above.

Photographers are usually working hard, laying on the ground, carrying heavy equipment out in the sun, sweating, while their clients are looking perfect.  Occasionally photographers deserve to have the tables turned and get to be the glamorous ones and let someone else do the work for a change. An afternoon of being the model started with hair and makeup. We had a local artist do the hair and makeup. Then it was off to the shoot!

The shoot took place in a converted hotel room. I had packed up several lights as well as other needed equipment from my studio in Tyler and brought it with me to Houston. I lugged it all to the room and used that to transform the room into a photography studio.

modern Glamour photography

We made some beautiful Contemporary Portrait images along with some Fashion Styled shots.

Katrina got to experience the full model treatment complete with hair, makeup and a fashion style studio photo shoot.

contemporary portrait

I had so much fun working with her. I can’t wait to do it again some time!


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Christmas is coming. Considering a DSLR camera? – Answers to questions

It is 3 weeks ’til Christmas and I have been getting more questions lately about DSLR cameras (the ones with interchangeable lenses). Especially questions about initial purchases of these. So I thought I would answer a few of the more commonly asked ones here.

Your camera makes great photos, which one do you use? -
A good camera does not automatically make good photos. It isn’t the camera as much as it is the photographer. You can think of this in terms of cooking… An expensive, high-end oven does not make the average person into a world class chef. But a world class chef can take a mediocre oven and create awesome cuisine. But it is easier for them to do it with better, more professional equipment.
A good photographer can make great images with a mediocre or even lousy camera. However, a good camera will allow a photographer to do what they want with less headache. Most of the time you can get very close to what you want with a lesser camera but it takes a lot more effort.
There is a rule of curse words here – The better the camera, the less curse words happen while getting the camera to do what you want it to.

Should I buy a Nikon or Canon? -
Camera brands do not matter that much in the beginning with entry level cameras. They are very competitive and both companies offer very similar options for each price level. They also offer similar lenses at almost identical prices. If you are shopping at the top level for the professional models then there are some specific differences that would make one or the other a better choice, but for the majority of people just getting their first digital SLR camera, you can really go with either brand and have a great camera.

How much does a DSLR cost? -
It appears that right now the cost to purchase a new entry-level DSLR with a basic lens (called a “kit lens”) is in the range of $475 – $575 if you shop around. That will get you into a Nikon D3100 or a Canon T3i, each with a kit lens. This price will most likely not include a memory card, however you can get an 8 GIG card for under $20.
On the upper end, you can get a very nice frame Nikon or Canon in the $3000-$3500 range that will satisfy most extreme needs. These may actually be the best choice for professionals depending on their needs from the camera.
And at the top end both Canon and Nikon offer their Pro models in the $6000-$6500 range. These offer every imaginable option along with lightning fast speed and extreme durability and they are sealed from moisture so they can be used outdoors in adverse conditions.

Should I go for the largest Megapixel available? -
Megapixels are an over rated and inaccurate benchmark to use when selecting a camera whether it is a DSLR or any camera. The number of Megapixels is only a concern if you are planning to produce prints that are extremely large. All you need is about 6 MP to make a finely detailed print that is 11×14. I have seen a 6MP produce larger prints than that and they looked great, but if you looked at them with a magnifying glass, you would see where the quality broke down. But a 16×24 or 20×30 print is not something you are supposed to view from an inch or two away. Those are made for longer viewing distance in which case you would never notice the difference. At this point, I do not know of a camera that is available with a 6 Megapixel sensor. Most are above 12 MP. I have printed 20×30 prints from 12 Megapixels and they are awesome quality. So at this point you can really almost totally ignore the Megapixel rating. If it is over 6 you will be fine in most cases. If it is over 12 you should never have an issue.

If you do happen to want to print something the size of a wall and walk up to it and see fine detail, then I would suggest the new Nikon D800 which has 36.3 Megapixels for around $3000, or maybe a Hasselblad H4D-60 with a 60 Megapixel sensor for $32,995.00.

I hope that answered a few questions and maybe helped out anyone else that might be considering a DSLR soon. Feel free to ask more. I love talking about this stuff! :)

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Trip to Seattle – creativeLIVE

As you may or may not know, I recently submitted a video application to go to a workshop in Seattle with Matthew Jordan Smith, who is a fashion/beauty/celebrity photographer and Yoanna House who is the winner of America’s Next Top model, season 2. The workshop was mainly about working with models and there were four photographer students.

This was one of the best photography related experiences of my life!  I met so many awesome people who I am proud to call my friends. I bonded with the other students and we have been keeping in touch and plan to get back together, possibly to do a project together.

One evening we got the opportunity to go along with Matthew for a shoot he was doing for a project he is working on. It is top secret, so I can’t share any info about it just yet, but it will be very cool when it is complete. After that we all went out on the town and had such a great time.  I even had my very first Indian food experience that night.

The crew at creativeLIVE was top notch! They are a great group of people and I think that their program is going to be a game changer in the photographic industry as well as the education industry.

Here is a pic of all the photography students (seated) and Matthew (standing). Left to right – Me, Kumi Sakai, Agnieszka Szczurowska, David Pascua. creative live students and instructor


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Awesome Locations

Sometimes I like to just go out and drive around, keeping my eyes open for places to shoot.  I like old, falling apart buildings.  They seem mysterious and interesting and have lots of character.  They will usually be boarded up and have no trespassing signs.  If you do end up getting access to them, the floors are usually weak and the ceilings may have fallen in already or may be about to.  Most of the time I come up empty, but some times I score an interesting location.

This was a lucky time. This is an old college that was built 120 years ago and has been sitting abandoned for about 40 years. This one has some serious character.  I was drawn into it.  Most of the flooring on the ground level was missing and the upper floors had collapsed in most of the areas.  But there were a few rooms that were still in pretty decent shape and the main hallway was fairly solid until about 3/4 of the way down the hall, then it was collapsed into the basement below.

I will definitely be coming back here to shoot!

old abandoned building

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A Friend Of A Friend | Tyler, TX Fashion Portrait Photographer

I met Lauren through a friend and fellow photographer. I have photographed her before and its a fun time every time! This time we were interested in getting something a little more edgy and dramatic with a fashion feel to it. I think we succeeded!

You would think it would be cold in January, but that’s Texas for you!

Outdoor location shoots are always exciting and they can be challenging with the weather to contend with. Wind was the big problem this time as I was shooting with a flash and an umbrella, which kept trying to blow away.  I managed to catch it most of the time.

Here are some shots from that session…

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