One of my favorite things about using off-camera flash is that you get to keep those gorgeous blue sunset skies in your image instead of blowing them out. Here, Kamila's back is to the sun, providing a nice rim light, and her face is lit with the B1.Read More
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.Read More
The Hog Sessions will be here before you know it, so it’s time to start planning what to wear!
There are lots of options – bright colors, monochromatic, flight suits, neutral colors. I’m posting several outfits from previous years, to give you an idea of how different colors look in front of the jet, at different times of the day.
If you are inclined, I recommend flight suits for the pilots – they look great in front of the jet, and your pilot can get an updated head shot during your session.
For those who have picky kids like I do, make sure they are comfortable and like the clothes they are wearing. If they hate how their outfit feels, there is a good chance we will not get any happy faces from them.
For a family of 5, I recommend 1 or 2 people in solid shirts, the rest in different patterns, such as plaid, stripes, paisley, etc. In a perfect world, I will also add layers, like jean jackets and sweaters. It gives great depth and interest to the pictures. For bigger families, increase the number of people in solid colors.
Try to avoid too much solid white. Your eye goes straight to the lightest part of the photo. Ivory or cream is a better option that true white.
I look forward to seeing you in front of the A-10 soon!
My nephew Max is 10 months old. Typically, one does a cake smash photo session when a children turn 1, but in this case, my sister and her family were moving from Tucson before his birthday. So we changed it up a little, and photographed his cake smash at 10 months.
We got some of the fake crying photos out of the way in the beginning. I love this age.
He’d never had cake before, and was a little hesitant to try something new. I was surprised! Max loves his food, and I figured he would be all over digging into the delicious chocolate cake. By the way, I order my cake smash cakes from Cakes by Amy, and you should totally consider ordering alllll your cakes from her. They are SO GOOD. Really, I can’t capitalize that big enough. My favorite flavor is her Raspberry Beret – chocolate cake with lemon filling and raspberry frosting. It’s so incredible. But I digress.
We sat Max down in front of the backdrop, took a couple of pics to make sure the lighting and background were perfect, and then gave him the cake. He looked at it. Then he looked at us.
Then Audrey, his big sister who is 3, told us she wanted the cake. We told her she could have some in a few minutes, and tried to encourage Max to dig in. He tentatively touched it with one finger, then looked at his mom to see if it was okay. She smiled and said, “Yay!” He touched it again, getting some frosting on his finger. He looked at the frosting, then back at the cake. He still didn’t put his hand in his mouth! In the end, his mom dug out a chunk of cake underneath all the frosting (Audrey finally got a bite of cake!). He was much more interested after seeing that there was chocolate cake under the white frosting flowers. He dug in a little more, and finally tasted it. “Mmmm!” He liked it. We would have been shocked if he hadn’t! He never took a handful of cake, but did daintily taste it several times before we were done.
Happy (10 month) birthday, Max! We miss you and your whole family, and can’t wait to see you next week when we visit.
For those who, after this week, are pretty sure I only photograph jets, I would like to offer evidence to the contrary – more than any other genre, I am a children’s photographer. Mostly this stems from the fact that I am a mom to three children, and therefore I have fantastic access to adorable kids. But I love working with children, primarily because they can be difficult. What? You read that right! It gives me great pleasure to know that I’m not the only one with troublesome children. Haha! I’m kidding. Truly, I love the faces they make. My favorite images are almost always the ones where they are caught off-guard, not smiling, just being themselves. In these images, you can see their true soul in their eyes.
I have had the great opportunity to work with the fabulous Miss Piper several times. She is a true redhead, and I heart her. She is full of spirit, happiness, giggles, and a few dashes of stubbornness. I love working with her!
It’s a hard knock life! Piper did such a fantastic job as little orphan Annie from Annie the Musical. Isn’t she perfect?
For those who are interested in seeing some images from our past sessions, you can see them here. Annnnnd, it seems I need to work on her family photo session in the Tucson desert next, because I was going to link to it and I haven’t blogged it yet. So much to catch up on! Rest assured that her family photographs are gorgeous, and I will hopefully have them up before year end. Thank you, Andrea, for working so hard to find the perfect outfit for ‘Annie’, and for always saying yes to my photo session ideas! Piper always makes me glad I’m a children’s photographer.
Also, a big thank you to Alexandra Yarborough for helping with lighting!
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!
I know, I know. More A10 pictures. Whuttt? Instead of blowing up the web with 18 pages of A-10 photos all at once, I figured it would be better to break the sessions into smaller pieces. So we don’t break the internet. I’m forward-thinking like that.
We had so many lovely families this day. We also had a little wind, but it wasn’t too terrible; just enough to keep us cool.
Look at these curls...
I met Piper last week. Her mama and I have known each other for 10 years; we met in Korea before we had children. Now we each have kids, and are finally meeting the rest of each other’s families as we are both living in Tucson.
I’ve been watching Piper grow up over the last four years on social media, and could always tell she is full of spunk and personality. Sure enough, she’s got a little bit of sass that I love in kids. She’s also perfectly polite, and very well-behaved. Good job, Andrea – she is a doll!
I’m on a roll! Yesterday, I posted the first of the Hog Sessions from the Dragons…from 2015. I know, I know. But as I explained yesterday, late is better than never, and I’m sticking by that statement. As many of you know, airplane pictures are some of my favorites to make. I love airplanes, and the Warthog, in particular. I’m so blessed that I can continue this tradition of making family airplane pictures each year.
Timing for photos
Just as I did with my last post, I’m including the start times for each session so you can see what the light is like and choose the time that is best for you. This day of photos was in November last year, so October sessions will have to do a little math to get an equivalent time. We lose about a minute of daylight each day, so this year the Bulldogs will want to add about 30 minutes to each session listed here, and Dragons will want to add about 15 minutes, in order to see what your light will be like. For example, a 5pm session from 8 Nov 2015 will be a 5:30pm session for the Bulldogs, and a 5:15pm session for the Dragons this year.
Because you will likely be climbing on the wing of the A10, ladies may want to wear spanx under dresses. If you have well-behaved dogs and want them in your photos, please bring them! There were lots of fur babies at last year’s Hog Sessions, and they always make the session so much more…entertaining. You know there are stories, but I’ll have to share those later.
There should be a few new babies at this year’s sessions – you can see some mama’s to be here who now have littles! I can’t wait to see y’all again this year!
No one ever accused me of blogging too much. Or blogging on time. Sure, the Dragons had their first day of jet photos like 10 months ago, so I may be a little late in posting these, but the Hog Sessions are fabulous, so better late than never, right?
The Hog Sessions
The Hog Sessions are something I started a few years back. I began taking Air Force family photos when we were living in Las Vegas (and there are so many different jets there that I got to work with!), and was asked to set up some sessions when we moved here to Tucson two years ago. Since then, I’ve met so many wonderful people who I wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise, so I’m grateful to be the squadron photographer each year for these.
The A-10 definitely has a huge place in my heart, and these are some of my favorite sessions each year.
Timing for outdoor photos here in the Tucson desert where we have full sun All.The.Time is important. I use lighting (off-camera flash), and am able to slightly extend the time we can capture good pictures outside, but we are also limited by the weather. October is usually still pretty warm, which makes all the girls in their cute jeans and boots sad and uncomfortable. I’m with them – I want fall! But I digress…. I am going to include approximate start times on these sessions so you can best choose the time frame you would like your pictures taken, based on the light you see here.
Mom getting the kids ready for the first day of school: fail.
Sure, the kids started school 2 weeks ago. Life gets busy. I had to enjoy the silence for a couple of days, and take some naps. But I’ve finally downloaded the pics from my camera.
The pre-school rush, the buying of the things, the packing of backpacks, the choosing of outfits – we rocked all those things. I was feeling pretty pumped about having everything taken care of. Tim was even in town, although not actually around that morning due to normal stuff like going to work at 4am or something silly.
It all started to come crashing down around my running shoes (I had even gotten up to workout that morning!) just before 7am, when I realized that 1) I couldn’t remember the exact time Kate’s new bus was supposed to arrive, and 2) a monsoon of all monsoons dumping hurricane-amounts of rain on us approximately 4 minutes before I thought we were supposed to walk to the bus.
The next thing I know, I’m hearing a rumbling, sort of like thunder, but more like a school bus coming down the street. But not down at the normal pickup spot. No, I hear a school bus going down the street in front of our house, which it has never done before. First I hear it, and then I see it. Yep, a bright yellow school bus. Kate and I look at each other.
Me: “Uh, was that your bus???” please tell me that wasn’t your bus, please please please.
Kate: looks blankly at me. “I don’t know!” And she’s right – how should she know? That’s definitely my job.
Me: internal cursing “Um, we better get your stuff in the car NOW and get you to school. The traffic is going to be horrible.”
Kate: anxiously scrambling to get her stuff to the car
Me: feeling awesome for stressing out my kid on her first day of middle school
I run inside and yell at the littles. Luke is asking for me to make him a sandwich. “Sorry, dude, you guys are on your own. I have to take Kate to school. I hope I’ll be back in time to walk you to the bus, but if not, you know when to leave, right? [slight panicked look from Luke, nonchalance from Claire] Don’t forget your lunch.”
Kate and I race out to the car, and I try not to hydroplane on all the rivers in the neighborhood. Now, we only live a mile from school. This means the kids get a free bus ride every morning, courtesy of our school district. When we first moved here, they thought it was the Best Thing Ever that they got to ride this bus. That glory faded fast, and within weeks they were begging me to just drive them. I always tell them no, they are lucky they get a free ride on that bus and that they don’t have to sit in traffic.
On that morning, that first day of school, traffic sucked. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Drop-off traffic on the first week of school is pretty much like driving through LA at rush hour. It’s awful. I cheerfully explained all of this to Kate while we waited in line to drop her off. “Do you see all these cars? THIS is why you take the bus. This is crazy. I bet the car line will be almost to our neighborhood when I’m on my way home.” I was pretty much right on that one. Those kids must have been 40 minutes late for class.
I did make it back home, a few minutes before we had to walk out to meet the elementary bus. By then, it had stopped raining for the most part, and I was able to take some pictures. Also, since then, the morning rush has been significantly smoother.
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.
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):
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.
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.
For our second weekend of family jet pictures, we had wind. And when I say we had wind, I mean we had WIND. As in hair in faces. As in having to use my flash disc instead of my giant octobox (geek speak, sorry!). But the ladies of the A-10 rocked it. Like they do on a regular basis.
More to come…
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.
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!
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.
Prepare to be overloaded with family portraits in the desert! The end of 2014 was pretty busy around here…we finally got settled in at our new house here in Tucson, and then the holiday season hit…and I didn’t blog anything after November 1. But this lovely family wanted photographs at Sabino Canyon, which is one of my favorite spots, so here they are (finally)!
I have known Cheryl and her family since our time together in Las Vegas. I even got to photograph her family one year for Christmas when they visited Vegas from Tucson. Are you confused yet? We move around once in awhile in the military, and even I get confused sometimes. It’s always a fun time to play “where did we meet?”!
So now we are all living in the beautiful city of Tucson again, and when her sister- and brother-in-law came to visit over Thanksgiving, we arranged a family photo session at Sabino Canyon right before sunset. The weather was perfect, like it is at that time of year here, and the sunset did not disappoint. But it so rarely does here in the Old Pueblo! I love the sunsets here.
Ainsley and Braden were adorable, as usual. Braden brought a Lego guy to keep in his shirt pocket; can you spot him in any of these pictures? Ainsley…well, she has spunk. She’s a true redhead, and I love being able to work with her! She brings sassy, sweet, and just plain cuteness to every photoshoot I’ve ever worked with her on. Cheryl looked amaaaaazing. Can you tell she is a Beachbody Coach? She can rock a pair of jeans like nobody’s business.