Saturday, May 11, 2013

Photographing Your Own Kids

Without a doubt, the hardest assignment for a professional photographer is when he has to photograph his own kids.  My children don't behave for me the way that other people's children behave.  They don't pay attention, they act crazy, they throw fits.... add to that the fact that Daddy's patience tends to be shorter with his own kids than Booray's patience with someone else's kids and you can see how a little family photo shoot can go sour fast.  Next thing you know you are yelling at your kids the same way that you are always telling clients not to yell during your photo shoots.

I think the best thing to remember when photographing your own children is that many times the best pictures are not the ones you expect.  This applies to all photography, really.  Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the perfect portrait that we lose sight of the emotion and fun that can make a great portrait too.  I like to try and get both during a session if possible.

Let me be clear that I'm not saying that any old snapshot is great as long as everyone is having fun.  This is a trend that is popular with new photographers who are weened on facebook and think that  lighting, composition, etc. are all secondary.  They are still just as important.  The trick is to get both, personality and good photography at the same time.  Be it artificial light or natural light, getting it right makes a big difference.

Just remember that some days you can work all day to get a perfect, posed picture of your family and when it's all said and done it's the one where your kids were goofing off that really captures who they are.  If you can get this:

... and also get this:'re having a good day.

Booray Perry is an award-winning wedding photographer in Tampa Florida who tries not to yell at his kids when taking their picture.
Getting married on the beach?  Here's how to have the Perfect Florida Beach Wedding!
Nothing makes a party more fun than The Vogue Booth.  Tampa's Best Photobooth!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lasting Impressions Ceremonies Stealing Images

Well, here we go again.

Lasting Impressions ceremonies in Clearwater Florida is posting images on their Facebook page that were shot by other photographers and claiming them as her own.  Kathy Collins is the owner.

Here's the Facebook link (while it lasts)

Here's an example of an image on her Facebook page:

If it looks familiar, it's because it's my wedding, shot by me and blogged here:

The ceremony was not by her company either. She was not attached to the wedding at all and I have never worked with her.

Here's another example:

We've been looking through the images and have found pictures stolen from numerous photographers.  What's especially heinous about it is that she not only posts the work as her own but she makes up lies about the people!  That's Jessica and Matt on St. Pete Beach who she is calling Marissa and Robert at Treasure Island.

My wife has been laughing all day as she tracks down the original images that are stolen and reads aloud the lies she is telling.  The funniest part was that she changed the name of the bride and groom and it doesn't match the monogram on the cake.  LOL

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sandy Hook

I was watching "60 Minutes" recently and they had some parents from Sandy Hook on the show.  They were each showing a picture of their child, now gone, and speaking a little about them.  I noticed that most of the pictures were professional portraits.  Aside from the emotions that I was feeling about these poor people and the tragedy they experienced, I also was thinking, "Nice that they have some professional portraits."

Then, a mother held up a picture of her son, Dylan Hockley.  Professionally photographed, he was wearing a shirt with a Superman logo and beaming into space with a big smile.  She said, "This is Dylan. The picture sort of sums him up perfectly."

I thought, "There it is."  We photographers are always trying to educate people on the value of good, professional photography.  It seems we spend so much time just trying to convince people that what we do is different than what you do when you take a snapshot with your phone. We educate, plead, cajole... "Yes, we say... you need a good wedding photographer, portrait photographer, baby photographer.  Yes... we are worth the money."

"This picture sums him up perfectly."

Think about how many pictures she must have of her son. Thousands of pictures.  But it's the one taken by a professional photographer that she chooses to represent her son to the world. That's the one that she thinks best shows him for who he was... one micr-second of time, frozen forever, that captured who he was.

I don't know who the photographer was... I tried to google it so I could give him credit for the shot you see above.  It's a great image.

This post has been re-written a couple of times.  It's hard to write about something as relatively meaningless as photography in the context of what happened at Sandy Hook.  But that's the way our brains work... we bounce around, we connect to things in a thousand different ways and when you are a photographer you connect to things through images (as well as the hundreds of other ways).  This is a photography blog so I write about photography.  I'm glad she has some great portraits of her son.  I'm glad she has one that "sums him up perfectly."  I wish she didn't need it so much more now than before.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tampa Print Competition 2013

Last night was the annual Salon Print Competition for the Tampa Area Professional Photographers Association (TAPPA) where each member is allowed to enter up to six images and be scored by three certified judges.

It's a tough thing.  Prints are graded from 1-100 and the magic score is 80.  Score less than 80 and you have a nice print but score more than 80 and you have a "merit" print.  A merit print is one that is deemed worthy to take to the next level of competition (state, national..).  80 is the magic number that everyone is hoping for.

There were 112 images entered last night and 24 merits.  That's 21%.  That doesn't seem like many and it's even worse when you consider that one photographer in the guild who shoots commercial and landscapes received a merit for all 6 of his images (this is almost never done).  Take him out of the competition and you get 106 images and 18 merits (just 16%).  (59 prints received a score of 78-79)

I entered 6 images myself and had a strong feeling that one would merit.  You have to understand that it's very hard to merit.  All six images are great but that's not enough in competition, especially in the wedding/event category.  The judges have to see something unique.  Simply taking a well-posed, well-lit shot isn't enough if it's the sort of thing they have seen many times before.

I ended up with two merits, one in "Uncategorized," and one in "Weddings and Social."

I had a good feeling about the sunglasses.  Still, the judges showed some restraint.  Their biggest concern is that it is "kitchy."  In other words, it's a "gimmick" picture.  I guess they frown on using props, etc... I don't know.  I think that if I had just photographed the couple normally it wouldn't have received a merit at all because that shot has been done a million times.  So, I got a merit for shooting an old shot in a new way but was almost knocked down for being "kitchy."

You can see how print competition can be frustrating. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ritz Ybor and Pediatric Cancer Foundation

I just got an email from my friend Oki at The Ritz, Ybor.

Every year, they have an event called, "Miracle on 7th Avenue."  It's a great night of music and fun with all the proceeds going to The Pediatric Cancer Foundation.

For the last three years, I've been shooting/printing pictures of Santa at the event with the proceeds going to the cause.  I always enjoy it.

Anyway, Oki's email came with a picture of the check that their parent company (Radiant Group) gave to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.  I know that my contribution is nothing compared to all the hard work that others put into the various fund-raisers throughout the year but still, it's nice to know that I was in there somewhere.  :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wedding at Mirror Lake Lyciem St. Pete

I wanted to get this album online because Mirror Lake Lyceum is such an interesting venue.  There's nothing else quite like it in St. Petersburg.

Kristen and Shawn had a fantastic wedding!

The first panel is the cover, 2nd panel is the first page.  After that it's double-page spreads.  Click on the images to bring them up larger..

Booray Perry is an award-winning wedding photographer in Tampa Florida.
Getting married on the beach?  Here's how to have the Perfect Florida Beach Wedding!
Nothing makes a party more fun than The Vogue Booth.  Tampa's Best Photobooth!
Don't settle for a bad headshot on your website or social media pages.  Get the best professional headshot in Tampa Bay..

Odds and Ends...

Oh, blog..... I've neglected you of late. :)

We were swamped over the holidays with weddings and events.  Then, in January I went to Imaging U.S.A., which is the national convention for the Professional Photographers Association of America.  It was held in Atlanta this year and, since I live in Florida, I decided I should go since it was as close as I could hope to get without actually being in my home state.  Florida's great but it takes eight hours just to leave the state by car. :)

The convention was great.  Lot's of photographers to meet, workshops to attend and I got to hang out with my old friend Jodi from Ben and Jodi Photography. She spent the whole week drinking as much "sweet tea" as she could find since they just don't offer that up in Ohio.

I spent most of the time at the convention taking notes full of ideas for a speaking program.  One of the big things in PPA is education and members are encouraged to "give back."  I decided that I would put together a program that I could share with local chapters and spent the whole weekend brainstorming ideas.  Last night I presented my program for the first time to the Lakeland PPA chapter and it went well.  No one got up and left, only a few items were thrown at me, good times. :)

I had a unique opportunity last month when I was asked to shoot some images for the WWE.  That's right, your humble photographer got to photograph professional wrestlers!  The whole thing was green screen so that the backgrounds can be replaced for tour programs, etc.  One thing I will say about the wrestlers, male and female alike, is that they were the most polite, well-mannered people you could ever hope to work with. It was a pleasure to meet them.

Of course I had plenty of weddings as well and no blog post would be complete without some wedding pictures:

Finally, we wedding photographers love to complain about people who get in our way at weddings.  We call these people "Uncle Bob" and usually it's someone who owns a nice camera and in their eagerness to "get the shot" at a wedding they end up blocking us.  It's just one of those things... everybody likes to complain about something so we complain about Uncle Bob.

Well, just let me say for the record that not all "Uncle Bob's" are created equal.  (I've written about them here.)  At my wedding on New Year's Eve, I met a man who was using a camera that he had bought some 60 years ago for his own wedding.  It shot film!  

When a man at your wedding has a camera that is older than you are, he get's to do whatever he wants to do.  :)

It was a great wedding. We got fantastic images and the party was a riot!