In our latest oopoomoo newsletter, we introduced the theme of grounded (#grounded) – “showcase an expansive sky anchored by a narrow sliver of land”. Jodi Sware immediately sent in a portfolio of images that we just had to share here! Here is what she said about why she includes expansive skies in her work:
I love including our gorgeous, big Alberta sky in my photographs. It was actually a turning point in my photography a few years ago when I realized how much I loved including that big sky in my images. When I started shooting this style I noticed customers and followers commenting on the sky in many images and I believe it is part of my style now. My clients are still the focal point, but I think when framed by a beautiful sky, the images are elevated to art, not just a photo. Clients seem much more willing to order large wall images when our incredible skies are more prominent in the photo.
Enjoy Jodi’s portfolio and be sure to submit your own #grounded image to the oopoomoo Creatives Facebook group or email us your entry for consideration here on the blog.
Samantha and I are proud and thrilled to introduce our latest eBook author Dave Brosha into the oopoomoo publishing fold. Dave’s eBook, The Soul’s Window, is a must have for anyone who wants to do portraits with the beauty of natural light. Dave takes us down the path of natural light as a starting point to mastering portraits. You’ll learn to ‘see in light’, understand how to deal with contrast issues, know the best camera settings and lens choices for any portrait session and pick the best point-of-view to tell a compelling story. Dave also discusses focusing techniques, the importance of flexible ISO choices, secrets to making eyes ‘pop’ and tips for working with and engaging your portrait subjects. If you want to try your hand at existing light portraiture, then this is the eBook to get — only $10!
Samantha and I have started to do more portrait work lately especially in the sustainable food and beverage industry. Below are a few photos we did recently for Brenda Irwin who needed bio portraits for when she writes over at YYC Wine. Brenda also works at Vinestone (our favorite wine store in Cochrane).
All the images below were shot with natural window light in our living room and we used the Sigma 85mm f1.4mm lens on the Canon 1Ds Mark III for a super shallow slice of focus. We sure learned fast just how thin a slice of focus is at f1.4!
Darwin and I like to experiment. And we’d like you to join us in an experiment that might seem a little crazy at first (or an incredible deal!). For this year’s Destination Travel Photography Workshop June 25-28, 2012 at Island Lake, we’re going to take our professional fees out of the cost and let participants pay what they think the workshop is worth at the end of the weekend. We know times are tough, and sometimes you can’t afford to take that class or book that holiday or buy that special vacation for your significant other. Well, we still have space in this exciting workshop, so if cost has been a factor for you, now’s your chance! Here’s how it works:
Darwin and I are going to run the workshop no matter what. Participants who have already registered will get the same deal; all you have to pay are your accommodation and meals charged by Island Lake, who is giving us an great deal. You could attend this four-day workshop for as little as $433! That’s just over $100 per day and includes all your meals and accommodations plus a wine tasting event in a luxury lodge on a private reserve. You can’t beat that! Check out the updated prices here.
The program is the same, and I’ll go into a few more details below, but this is definitely an opportunity that we can’t do with every workshop we offer, so don’t miss out. The lodge is located just outside Fernie, British Columbia, on a 7000 acre private forest. From old growth cedar to lush undergrowth, the place is very private and ecologically unique. Here are a few more images from the lake just below the resort:
Last year when we were scouting the place and arranging the details of the workshop, we saw a black bear on this lake at the far end of the picture here. Apparently a mother moose and her calf are also frequent visitors to this tranquil scene! And fresh flowers are coming up and everything is so green and lush!
You might be wondering why we’re attempting such a crazy project. Well, we’ve found that the photography industry is in a constant state of flux. New products are entering the market all the time, and it’s hard to know how to price your offerings. For example, more and more eBooks are being made by photographers teaching you how to make pictures, yet no can even agree yet on how to call them — is that ‘eBook’, ‘ebook’, ‘e-book’ or ‘E-Book’? By doing this little experiment, we hope that we’ll have a better idea at the end of this workshop how much people feel is fair value for this style of photography instruction. By the way, if it seems a bit intimidating to price your own workshop, don’t worry; we’ll put our original pricing (with percentage breakdowns like 75%, 50%, 10% etc.) at the front desk as a guideline at checkout. You pay us only what you think the value of our instruction was worth and your ‘donation’ will be anonymous to us!
So what are some of the classes that we’ll be teaching? This is a really comprehensive workshop designed to get you quickly on your feet as a photographer when traveling. We start out with Story Trumps Technique and show you why a story with impact will survive minor technical faults. We’ll also be going over practical, hands-on skills such as using your camera controls creatively, effective lens choice to tell a story and basic outdoor lighting for portraits. And because we’re at a resort with incredibly talented chefs who source a lot of their produce from nearby farms, the workshop wouldn’t be complete without a quick and dirty lesson on food photography on the fly! All this work is bound to make you thirsty, so a little wine tasting will help rejuvenate any tired energies! In all, this package of photography skills will have you bringing home memorable images from your future travels so that friends and family will be able to grasp the spirit of your adventures. Head to the information page here.
Island Lake also has a beautiful cookbook of their recipes (which you get as part of the price), and Darwin and I are going to pick a few dishes to make and photograph for the blog, so watch for that if you’re a foodie!
We hope that you will be able to join us June 25 – 28, 2012 (coming up soon!) for our little experiment. It’s a terrific opportunity to participate in an intensive, educational but fun workshop that is also programmed to be like a little holiday — and you’re in charge of the price! See you at the workshop. If you can’t come, tell a friend, this is a fantastic deal. We believe in it so much we are willing to do the event for free!
On January 28, 2012 Dave Brosha and a few of our photography friends went out on a windy Alberta day to make some environmental portraits of Talyn Stone. Wayne Simpson led the charge by making some Gothic-themed photos of Talyn along a line of silhouetted trees on a country road. While Wayne was shooting, the wind was totally epic and Peter Carroll and Samantha had to put some backbone into keeping Wayne’s light from blowing into Saskatchewan!
Once Wayne was ‘winded’, Dave took over. I’m sure purely for safety purposes only, he asked Talyn to go without clothes — you don’t want buttons and buckles and such banging about in the wind injuring people. Right Dave?
Peter Carroll continued photographing Talyn in the trees but he went for a softer, more romantic look. Samantha was up next creating some of her trademark ‘small person in the big landscape’ images. Branimir Gjetvaj documented the whole adventure and I ended the session doing fisheye portraits of Talyn on a lonely, dead end road.
Check out the video below for all our adventures and the finished images. If you want to see the video larger go to the oopoomoo TV video channel.
Peter Carroll gives Wayne Simpson a ‘hand’ while Dave Brosha assists with the light.
I show Talyn how it’s done. She never ended up using this pose. I wonder why?
We are thrilled to have Yellowknife photographer Dave Brosha coming to the Calgary, Alberta area on January 28th to give a talk for photographers entitled Mastering Environmental Light. The talk will be held in Cochrane (just west of Calgary) from 2-4 pm on Jan. 28, 2012. We think it is much better to have the talk in small-town Cochrane rather than downtown Calgary because this way you get free parking (and when was the last time you had cheap parking in downtown Calgary!) Plus we’re just a short jaunt out of Calgary and we are minutes away from Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park for those wanting to do an outing before or after Dave’s talk.
Dave will discuss how he gets his signature location portraits. Anyone who is interested should sign up soon; we only have room for 40 people. In advance of his talk we asked Dave a few questions:
oopoomoo – You have the rare ability to capture both story and technical perfection in your location portraits. Many professional photographers are good at technique but few capture story and mood. Any tips on how you get those great moments in your work?
Dave – I think the key is not to get so hung up on the technical that you fail to make a connection with your subject, work with them, and really… just let your creativity bubble. Ultimately, your subject doesn’t really care if your light is diffused by a softbox, double-diffused, camera right or left, table-topped, or from a planet far, far away. They are there to work with you, and if you’re fumbling with light and settings too long, you’ll lose them. Aside from that, you mention “story and mood”. That’s very important to me; once I have my technical figured out (and this is where practice makes perfect, and makes you quick), it’s “play” time. Shoot and shoot and shoot. Try different angles, different expressions. Don’t be afraid to work with your subject; to ask them for suggestions. Some of my best images have been out of suggestions from my talent/subject.
oopoomoo – When we see any image you made we immediately know it to be a Dave Brosha photo; you have a signature style. Any advice for photographers on developing their own voice?
Dave – First of all, wow, thank you. It’s funny, I think my style developed out of my love of landscape photography (which I considered myself first and foremost for years). I always had a love of “The Environment”, whether that be windswept tundra or dramatic lines of a building with great architecture. Either way, it was stuff I wanted to incorporate into my images of people. Although I have a studio, my passion is photographing people in other natural and man-made environments. So that’s a big part of my style, I think. The other would be when I took it upon myself to learn and then introducing lighting to the mix. People may not know this, but I would say 90% of my studio or small flash-lit portraits are made with one light source, and very simple techniques that I use again and again.
oopoomoo – Living in the north gives you access to many unique opportunities but it can also be a struggle because the number of clients are small. How have you grown your business in a city (Yellowknife) with a relatively small population?
Dave – I had a fear for a long time of plunging into the full-time world for just that reason (the relative smallness of Yellowknife). Before I opened my studio I can remember two or three of the other photographers in town telling me that I was nuts: that there would never be enough business to support a studio. Luckily I had a gut that told me that it could happen, and a fantastic, supportive wife who basically forced me to follow my dream. I think the business reason why it’s “worked” is that I haven’t been afraid to try, well, everything. Portraiture, studio work, wedding, underground mining, aerials, headshots, various corporate shoots, advertising, magazine, creative, newborn, maternity, fashion, model, and so on. This place is too small to really specialize, so I had the unique opportunity to photograph basically everything and everything. And what a way to test and grow your skillset in a short time: shoot lots and shoot very diverse.
Aside from that, word-of-mouth is gold. Each and every person I photograph is more than just a client that pays your bills. This is very important for all photographers to understand. I subscribe 100% to the belief that if you are good to people, they will be good to you. Care about what you do. Care about doing a good job for the people who have put their trust in you. When people have criticism, accept it and work with the client to make it right, rather than getting defensive and potentially ruining a relationship. While this is true everywhere, it’s especially true in a small market.
oopoomoo – Most working commercial photographers have little opportunity to leave their local community, yet you seem to be able to make several major travel photography trips a year. What is the secret to affordable travel photography?
Dave – Honestly, I have no idea how these things happen (the continued work/travel), but they just keep happening. I’m looking for a major piece of wood to knock upon right now. Last year I found photography work in five countries and all across Canada and I would say, again, that word-of-mouth was key. Don’t under-estimate the power of your local clients and contacts to lead to jobs beyond your immediate vicinity. That, and putting yourself out there as a photographer that is willing to travel through your website and the work that you show. I picked up a great three-day job in Alaska last year because a company had Googled “underground mining photography” and I think some of my stuff came up in the results. They liked it, picked up the phone, 10 days later I was on Prince of Wales Island. If I had been afraid of marketing myself online, that wouldn’t have happened.
oopoomoo – You are coming to give a seminar here in Cochrane on January 28, 2012. What can we expect to learn during your session?
Dave – Our afternoon will be a fun, fast, and furious look at the world of assessing your surroundings and choosing the right approach for lighting and photographing your subject within these surroundings. While we’ll cover some of the technical essentials (i.e. camera settings) and gear (i.e. different light-shaping modifiers), this will more be about how we can balance ambient and artificial lighting while – most importantly – working with your subject to make a memorable image. We’ll look at some of the differences between “small” (i.e. flash) and “big” (studio) lighting, look at the differences of quality and shape of light using different pieces of gear, and demonstrate on a (hopefully willing) model.
Bottom line, it will be about making environmental portraits that “pop”.
oopoomoo – Thanks for bringing your expertise to Cochrane, Dave! We look forward to your talk.
For those photographers interested in learning how Dave makes these great images just click here to sing up.