Samantha, model for Off-Camera Flash class 1

Sometimes shooting outside with lights can be confusing. Most people are used to shooting natural light, and wonder how to add flash in to the scene. Once you set your exposure for the background, you need decide where to place your light, and what power the light needs to be to create the desired effect, and from there it's fairly simple. It takes practice to be able to keep up with the constantly changing ambient light conditions that the golden hour creates, but everything worth doing takes practice! So, that's what we did: we practiced.

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A-10 refueling with KC-135, Tucson photographer

Yesterday, I got the opportunity of a lifetime – I flew in a KC-135 while it refueled a squadron of A-10s from Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. The tanker, from Kansas, was in town for several days, training its own pilots and boom operators, and allowing hog pilots to gain experience and currency in refueling during day and night missions.

While at Nellis several years ago, I’d been able to ride with a tanker while it refueled F-16s with the 422. Yesterday’s flight was extra special for me, though, as my husband is an A-10 pilot, and I also got to spend a lot of time during the flight with the booms, watching them refuel the jets. One thing I was reminded of during the flight – the A-10 is big! There were only a few times I could capture the whole jet in the boom window, as its wingspan is pretty impressive.

We took off from Tucson at about noon, and headed east to airspace over New Mexico, where we rendezvoused with several Warthogs from the Bulldogs and Dragons. It was pretty incredible to watch as the boom operators lowered and extended the flying boom to hook up to the fighter planes. There are a lot of variables that go into air refueling, and I was impressed with the cool calm of the booms as they hooked and unhooked from the hogs.

A huge thank you to the booms for letting me pester you with questions while you worked!

Maggie: part Husky, part Weimaraner, part Shepherd, all LOVE – Tucson pet photography

Rachel contacted me a couple of weeks ago about pet photography, wanting to capture some portraits of her dog Maggie for her and her fiance’s anniversary. We found a date that worked for both of us the week after she called, and I got to meet Maggie for the first time.

Rachel and her fiance Ryan rescued Maggie a few months ago here in Tucson. They aren’t sure of her background, but Maggie seems to be pretty cautious of people when she first meets them. With a lot of hard work, Rachel has done wonders for Maggie’s quality of life! I watched in awe as Rachel took Maggie off her leash for the first time at a park, and how Maggie responded to Rachel’s commands. She was great! There were other people, dogs, and the occasional bird nearby, but Maggie behaved so well.

The biggest challenge was keeping her still! She wanted to wander off and explore the area, like any good puppy would want to do instead of taking pictures. Dogs, when you can get them to sit still, can be the subjects of great portraits, but getting them to sit still…well, that can take years off your life! Rachel got a good workout that day!

After a bit of exploring the new area, Maggie wore herself out a bit, though, and even sat for a few doggie portraits. I love how she looked right at the camera in the image above! What a good girl.

I was so glad Rachel was able to wear her uniform that evening. We captured a few images of her in her flight suit, with her fur baby. Rachel will be separating from the Air Force soon (she is currently our Flight Doctor) to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon. She has spent years in service to our country, though, and it makes me happy that she will have some great pictures of her in her uniform before she becomes a civilian. I imagine she will look back on these years with fond memories, and I’m honored that she chose me to help capture a part of that.

Thank you, Rachel and Maggie, for choosing me to be your petographer! I really enjoyed the time we spent making portraits of you for Ryan.

2016 Workshop: Off-Camera flash, Tucson AZ

Hey Tucson photographers! I’ll be teaching Flash 101 on Saturday, February 6. This is the perfect way to learn some basic lighting setups, use different lighting modifiers, and best of all, practice!

Why learn off-camera flash?

  • Everyone has a digital camera, and competition is fierce amongst natural light photographers.
  • Set yourself apart from your competition!
  • Create drama in your images.
  • Have less stress when the light starts dwindling. Clients are late? You’ve got your own light source.
  • Save. Time. Editing. Seriously. This is one of the best reasons to learn OCF. My editing time now when using OCF is so much faster than when I shot (or shoot now even!) with natural light. Less time editing = more time for more clients, or more time with your family.

We will discuss lighting basics, talk about gear, and shoot a lot over the course of 6 hours. This class will focus on using one flash to light your subjects.

Using your camera’s flash (on or off the camera) can be intimidating at first, but after you master the basics, it will become a fun new challenge to experiment with. Join me for 6 hours of learning all about flash!

We will cover:

  • working with one light
  • how different modifiers change the look of your image
  • how to shoot in full sun and not blow out your background
  • how to use OCF to add drama to your images
  • subject and light positioning
  • the best gear for you

At this workshop, we will be working with children and tweens. The class size will be small, so all attendees will get one-on-one time with Jennifer.

Sign up with a friend and each save an additional $50.

Off-camera flash will dramatically speed up your editing time, allowing you more time for other clients or to spend time with your family. Join us and learn how to set yourself apart from most of your competition, and to stand out in the saturated photographer market. Let’s take your photography to the next level!

A few flash/no flash images, straight out of camera (SOOC):

Kaylee’s family photos | Tucson photographer

Earlier this spring, I had the pleasure of photographing the lovely Cara for her senior year pictures. Spring here in Tucson is amazingly beautiful, and I hit the jackpot with a gorgeous girl in a gorgeous setting

Before we got a few more family photos, I snapped a few images of Cara and her dad. Father-daughter (and mother-son!) images are some of my favorites.  Thank you for trusting me to capture your Tucson family photos, Kaylee and Duane! I loved designing your wall display and hope you love it, too.

Kelly’s Aviation | Commercial shoot | Tucson photographer

It seems fitting that I publish this blog post about Kelly’s Aviation this week, just days after her instructor Josh passed his CFI. After a lot of waiting, a little more waiting, lots of flying, and some scheduling conflicts, Josh flew and passed his CFI on his first try. Way to go, Josh! And congrats, Kelly, on yet another student passing their flight exam with flying colors!

I’ve known Kelly Stites for more than 10 years now. When my husband and I first moved to Tucson from Korea, I was close to meeting the flight requirements for attaining my private pilot’s license. But since all of my flying had taken place in Korea (yes, there are stories, and they are good – just ask me sometime and prepare to be entertained!), I needed to get some hours under my belt in my new local area before my test with the FAA. I also apparently needed to redo my long distance cross-country…but that’s one of those Korea stories. After a little research, I found Kelly. She was working for another company at the time, but we clicked, and soon we were flying together several hours per week. With her help, I learned all the procedures I’d need to know for my test.

Sabino Canyon | Lindsay’s family | Tucson area family photographer

Lindsay and her family were set to move across the country in January, so we scheduled a photo session in the desert before the packers came. The desert here in the winter is pretty awesome – cool temperatures, beautiful light, and colorful sunsets. We met at Sabino Canyon, one of my favorite local areas to do family pictures, due to its variety of backdrops. You’ve got mountains, cacti, and access to lots of trails close to the parking lot, which is key for families with little children or older family members who don’t want to walk far.

Bennett, Brian and Lindsay’s son, is just adorable. He’s got beautiful eyes, and his hair has such style! He’s the epitome of the reason I love photographing children.

We started out with a big desert pic – they are moving from the Tucson valley to a much more green location, and wanted to capture their family with the epic fields of cacti that we have here. The cholla cactus is my favorite (to look at – don’t get too close, though!), as they glow in the right light.

Mikey’s Fini-Flight and Retirement | Tucson family photographer

It was an honor and a blessing to be able to travel from Tucson to Las Vegas last week to photograph my friend’s fini-flight and military retirement. I’ve known Mikey for more than 6 years; he and my husband used to work in the same squadron at Nellis, and we would all frequently spend time together, trying new restaurants and just hanging out.

Mikey served more than 20 years in the USAF, and spent the majority of that time flying the F-15E Strike Eagle. His accomplishments are too many to list here, but he is very well known and well liked throughout the Strike Eagle community. He is also a wonderful and giving person, and I am fortunate to have been his friend these last few years. Now he is moving on to a new job, and a new city. We wish you the best, Mikey, and hope that we’ll get to see you when you have free time!

A-10 Warthog family jet pictures, part 3 | 354th FS | Tucson family photographer

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of editing and blogstomping over here! All this hard work has paid off, however, as I now present you with the last of the images from last weekend’s A-10 Hog sessions!

Yes! More beautiful people! More shots of that sexy beast known as the Warthog! All against the backdrop of the gorgeous Tucson, AZ sunset. It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?

Thank you, Bulldogs, for being fabulous, not to mention gorgeous. You make my job easy.