Sunday, September 16, 2012

Personal Projects ~

So Whitney & I did something last week that we try to do occasionally, and this was to schedule a day for personal projects at the studio. You get so busy with your everyday work that sometimes you just need to re-charge your batteries and try out new things: styles, lighting, subjects -- wherever your heart, brain, and soul take you.
Plus, we opened this up as a "drop-in" experience for anyone who wanted to drop by and participate.

Did anyone takes us up on it? Well, not this time around, although there were a number of people who definitely wanted to, but couldn't get away for it (a Wednesday afternoon) so we'll keep scheduling these in. But boy did we have fun!

We played with every style of lighting we could muster up, which is considerable: strobe, continuous, and even plain-old available. Which is hardly plain at at; the whole north wall of the studio is a roll-up door, so we can enjoy the best northern-light quality you can imagine. Whitney often uses that for her portraits of children, and used that with her image you see on the right. My image above was taken with my Elinchrom strobes.

Bliss Studio's intern Stacie got right with the program. A very talented artist and photographer, it was really fun to see her approach to lighting and posing, too.
Which, come to think of it, is the real benefit to the drop-in philosophy: sharing tips and learning new things goes both ways.

This is one of the images Stacie made and shared with us. She was exploring lighting and angles we hadn't noticed before. The most fun I have in the studio, when I get the most energized and feel the most creative, is when I have a group of people at a lighting workshop. Sometimes people who are learning have the most to teach.

And of course, post-production technique can (or at least should) round out the vision you began forming in your mind when the camera was in your hand. These two pictures illustrate that, as well as really showing how two people can interpret the very same subject in such different ways. This is Whitneys image of two sunflowers on the right, mine is below.

We both use Photoshop CS6, and we both really enjoy using OnOne software too. But all of that is about the same as saying we both use a darkroom.

We have this discussion all the time, and perhaps you should too. Does the use of post-production software enhance your vision and interpretation, or define it? It's a tough call, and the line separating those can be pretty vague sometimes. My own philosophy of photography and the "painterly" manner in which I tend to interpret  my subjects is something that began to form even back in the black & white darkroom, where at times it could take weeks to make the exact print I was looking for. Does photoshop merely speed up this process, or fundamentally alter it?

Your thoughts?

That'll make a great discussion for our next post! That, of course, and some of your photos.

You know where:           And drop in next time!

Later, amigos!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drop-In Studio -- What An Idea!! ~

Have you ever wanted to just pop into a nice photo studio, get a little hands-on instruction, and have some fun? And not pay a fortune?
Well, Whitney & I have thought a lot about this, too. After all, we're at the studio most of the time, sometimes doing commercial work, and sometimes just working on personal projects. So we thought we'd just swing open the doors and offer a drop-in, open studio on a regular basis.

In fact, we're going to be offering it every other week, so you can make plans around it. We'll start it out on Wednesday, Sept. 12 from 1 to 5 pm.
Here's how it works: Whitney & I will be there working on some flower arrangements that day (and other kinds of projects on other days), so bring in your camera and work right along with us, practicing with the lights, arranging still-life compositions, metering, the works. You can even bring some of your own flowers and still-life subjects if you want, and come away with some great shots. It's a great way to get some practice and some individual attention. Stay 4 hours, stay a half-hour, it's all up to you. The cost? A measly $20.
Just helps us pay the electric bill!

This is a drop-in studio experience, not commercial studio rental, so we ask that you not bring a client or shoot a commercial job. Just you (& friends!) having some fun, gaining some great experience, practicing new skills.
So drop in on the 12th between 1 and 5! Questions? Email me at Or Whitney at
Or text me at 503-449-0662.

Or grab a Starbucks and just pop on in and surprise the bejeebers out of us. We're going to be there anyway. Might as well join us!

Oh yes, where are we? Bliss Studio, 7693 Cirrus Blvd in Beaverton (near Washington Square), Go the the Directions link on my website for easy directions:

Hope to see you there!