Well it’s senior season again, one of my favorite times of years. It’s time to get out on the streets and in the woods and in the studio.

Above all, it’s time for cool photos! Believe it or not, I was looking at my senior photos the other day. Yes, my mom still has it hanging in the house. I absolutely love that she values it so much.

The problem is I really do NOT  like the photo. You’ve seen them before. There’s a tree, a manmade waterfall and me – leaning on the tree. That’s the photo. I think that might be the only evidence of the shoot. It might be the only photo that was taken. I honestly don’t remember. I thought having my senior photos taken was going to be torture. I went in thinking I’m gonna lean against a tree in a shirt I hate and stare at the camera. Guess what, that’s exactly what happened. Granted, my attitude wasn’t great, but I believe it could have been turned around if I thought the photos would be cool. If I thought I was going to look cool, maybe even have some laughs, the experience would be different. But I had been conditioned by years of seeing the same photo in every yearbook. I’d seen my friends photos. There was that tree and that waterfall.

So here we are a few years later on the other side of the camera. I love the irony.

The difference is there are no trees and no waterfalls. And there are other differences. As you know if you’ve read this blog before, Bob and I try to keep the principles of what we do pretty simple. We think people should have fun when having their photos taken. We think you should laugh and be yourself. And when it comes to seniors we think you should look good. That’s our job. These photos aren’t about preserving what you looked like in high school, they’re about preserving who you are.

So with that being said, we have our first senior of the year in the books and we are excited to show her off. This is Daria, a Lackawanna Trail student and multi-sport athlete and really cool young lady. We spent a couple hours in the studio working on her shots, listening to a little music and having a good time. And we really love how her photos turned out. Here’s a look at a few.

6O4A7346-Edit6O4A7306-Edit6O4A7274-Edit6O4A7250-Edit6O4A7152-Edit-26O4A7122-Edit

 

 

What better way to celebrate our 400th blog post than with some throwback images … way back … like to the days of coal mining.

I can’t believe I never wrote about this, but Bob and I took a trip down into the Lackawanna County Coal Mine Tour for some engagement pictures this past winter. Seems like a weird place for some photos? Yeah we thought so too, until David, our groom to be, explained what was going on. During a Halloween party, David had the idea to propose to his then-girlfriend Jeanie. But no ordinary proposal would do. So David, dressed in period clothing of a coal miner orchestrated a dance for his little canary (Jeannie). And at the end of the dance, he dropped to a knee and popped the question.

So in a kind of re-creation, David contacted us to say “Hey, can you do these type of photos and what do you recommend?” Well, David we recommend getting back in those costumes and meeting us at the coal mine tour for a trip underground. Now, the people at the coal mine tour could not have been more accommodating. This had to be a weird request, but they never blinked.

So off we went. We did some photo outside the tour and then hopped in the cart for our trip underground. We went down with a group of other visitors. Yeah, we got a lot of looks – in case you’re wondering. Jeannie was in a bright yellow canary outfit and David looked like he was about to take a pickaxe to the walls. But as is always the case, we had a ton of laughs. How could you not, really?

So buckle up and let’s get into the mines.

_M3_0341_M3_0621_M3_06796O4A01756O4A02186O4A02536O4A0309

 

I’m always going to believe in the magic of a photo. It could be the simplest photo. It could be taken with professional gear. It could be taken with a phone. There’s a reason we have hundreds of them on our phones. There’s a reason they hang in our homes. It’s just the reason is different for everyone.

There’s also a reason I called Vanessa Sabo and told her to come to our studio with her family. She needed a family portrait. Maybe she knew that, maybe she didn’t. But she was getting one either way.

Vanessa is Elijah’s mom and Elijah is pretty sick and now living in New York City under the care of Sloan-Kettering, a renowned hospital specializing in cancer. So we invited Vanessa, Elijah, and his dad and brother and sister to visit the studio to get some photos done. To us photos can help heal a little. Maybe we invited them to heal us a little. I honestly don’t know, but I believe in the power of photos.

So last week, the Sabos came to our studio – an average family full of remarkable people and dealing with a problem we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemies. There they were standing under the lights, smiling, laughing, teasing each other and cajoling the kids to behave for just one photo. Just an average family facing a mountain.

I sent Vanessa the photos yesterday at Sloan. She said she cried. I didn’t tell her I cried too.

Try telling Vanessa there isn’t a little magic in even the simplest photo.

6O4A68946O4A69086O4A69436O4A69596O4A6984

 

 

So a little while back I did some photos for friends Jon and Sarah. I wanted to mess around in the studio a little with some different ideas and Jon is always willing to offer up his kids as guinea pigs when it comes to photography. I loved how the photos of Sam, their son, turned out. The idea was that if they liked the photos of Sam maybe we could do shots of all of the kids. Well, that’s what we did. The are a few things I love about this — from the photos to how we planned it out.

Let’s start with the planning because there is an important thing that often gets overlooked when going to a studio to have photos done. Ask yourself, what am I going to do with the photos? It’s great to have them, but you really need an idea of what you want in a finished photo. We talk to clients about this all the time.

That’s where Jon and Sarah come in. They think of photos as artwork to be displayed. Few people would buy a large painting without knowing where in their home they want it to hang. It’s the same with photos. If you are going to invest in photography, let’s work together and get a plan going of where things are going to be in your home. What kind of space do you have? What are the colors of the room? Will black and white work better or is color the best choice? We always recommend snapping a few photos with your phone and sending them to us so we can help in the process.

In Jon and Sarah’s case, we decided that individual shots of each kid, photographed and edited in the same style would work best. We will probably do canvas prints, each at least 30 inches wide and stacked on top of each other. We are still looking at black and white or color. The wall where they will hang is neutral so either will work. All of these little decisions can pay big dividends in the end so our clients and Bob and I have a good understanding of what we want the finished pieces to look like.

So here are the edited images from the shoot. We love how they came out and think once they are on the wall, Jon and Sarah will have really nice images of their children that they can enjoy for years.

6O4A6589-Edit6O4A6589-Edit-26O4A6642-Edit6O4A6642-Edit-26O4A6680-Edit6O4A6680-Edit-2

 

 

The studio can be an interesting place to shoot. In fact, a lot of times it’s my favorite place to shoot. In a day where most photographers prefer outdoor on location shoots, the poor old studio gets a bad rap. I’ve talked to a lot of photogs who even bristle at the idea of a studio. Too much expense; why do I need a studio for stuff I can do outside; visions of Sears portraits, etc…

But Bob and I look at it a little differently. To us it’s like a creative lab. Think about it. I have complete control over everything creatively, especially the light. For anyone who has ever taken a photo outside and worried about clouds, sun, wind  … you know what I mean. The studio  can be a completely inspiring place to work! In fact, tomorrow, I have a friend coming to the studio for some shots of his kids. His last text to me said, “I want you to do whatever you want creatively. I just want great stuff to hang on my walls.” Oh my God, I’m exited about that!

But even with all of the control the studio brings, it can bring some organized chaos, too. Just last week one of our friends brought her children down for some portraits. This is the second time they have visited for some portraits and both times it has been spectacular. In fact, I don’t think I have posed her kids for a shot yet. Their instructions when they get in the studio, turn the music up and dance. That’s it. Just dance. How cool is that! The kids love to dance so why not shoot them getting down to a little disco. Yes, that was their choice! I love the studio for exactly that reason. While some people will tell you there are rules for studio photography, I think rules suck. I think they are made to be broken. The studio should be a place for some laughs, some cool, light and some photos that you might not expect. Above all else, photos, no matter where they are taken should surprise, inspire and capture the people you are shooting. Besides, who wouldn’t rather dance, right!

6O4A62386O4A62476O4A63836O4A63946O4A64196O4A64206O4A64236O4A64346O4A64686O4A6491

It’s not that we’re trying to get out of the wedding photo business. Just the opposite in fact. The more the better! But if I had to get into another line of  work it could be pet photography. Can you even specialize in that? I have no idea, but if there is a market for it, I’m in. Bob and I just finished Puppy Love Part II in the studio and what an amazing time it was getting to meet new people and their pups. There was Maisey and Riley and Jazzy. Heck, they are some of the best models around. Dangle a treat in front of them and poof – a great photo. OK, well maybe it’s not that simple, but it is a lot of fun watching when a pup’s ears go forward and their eyes light up and you grab that shot. Let’s face it, we all love our pets so why not have some great photos of them. I know in my house they are sometimes treated better than the humans.

So a big thank you to everyone who visited our studio and made contributions to One Life to Live Pet Rescue and the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. Your participation did a lot of good and we had some laughs along the way too. Stay tuned, we are going to do a bunch of other specials at the studio this year so stop on down!

Thanks,
Bob and Chad

_M3_5702_M3_5750_M3_58136O4A58966O4A59026O4A59486O4A59766O4A59946O4A6011