Archive for October, 2009

Wedding Albums

Following after my friends Pooja and Amit over at Blue Lotus Photography who recently posted an awesome blog entry on the albums they’re issuing to their clients, I finally got off my duff, cleaned my kitchen table (and scratched it, sorry Amy!), and took some macro shots of the sample album that we present. I am always telling potential clients that “you have to see these in person” and I’m hoping that these photos and this blog do them justice.

These albums are my lab’s most popular, and are aptly titled their “Flush Mount Panorama”. We offer three different sizes to our clients (8×8, 10×10, 12×12) and what caught my eye about this lab is that theirprints extend across the entire 2-page spread, including the spine! The albums are laid out individually by Amy, and she throws in any combination of individual and/or panorama pages. We have a 20-page minimum standard that we use, but we offer a multitude of ways to customize the albums and tailor each one to our clients.

One of the greatest perks about the lab is that they ship within 2-5 days, which is unheard of! Often clients will come back asking for another copy for their family or close friends and I am very pleased to tell them that they’ll get their order by the end of the week!

We have an option where you can chose to have a photo placed on the presentation box…it looks pretty sharp and prints well on unique texture.

The presentation is very clean, and these albums are built to last!

I am a really big fan of the leather cover that wraps around the outside with a black satin finish on the inside.

We offer either corner etching, or a picture placed on the front cover.

Amy spends a good deal of time with each page to create some fantastic layouts.

These pages are killer; they have a solid weight and feel to them, and not to forget a gorgeous luster finish that’s really something else.

Here’s how the pages lay flat within the biding. Even on the pages printed with a black background you can’t see a single seam.

And the rounded corners bring the whole thing together nicely!

If you’d like to check out some larger pictures of this album, please head over to my site.

Omid and Parisa Jahanbin Wedding

Some of you may remember Omid and Parisa from their engagement session in August…two months later, and these two are now officially married!

Their wedding was an absolute BLAST to shoot and they were just as awesome to work with the second time around.

This was my first time attending a Persian wedding, and now I am hooked! It was an incredibly festive event and I took a ton of pictures, which made it very hard for me to pair down these blog shots. Their family and friends were a lot of fun and kept the enthusiasm and the partying going all night!

The Aloft National Harbor hotel made for great modern backdrop for our portrait session before the ceremony.

Just like their engagement session…these two could not stop laughing and having fun!

The Sofreh Aghad spread unique to Persian weddings.

Holy smokes did Omid and Parisa’s guest party! From the second the couple’s first dance was over the floor was PACKED…all night long!!!

I think I saw maybe 20 guests sitting down at a time, and that number is a stretch!

I don’t think the enthusiasm in the room ever came down from an 11!

A big thanks goes out to Omid and Parisa for inviting me along!

Rob Engels

After spending all of last week in DC shooting two weddings and two corporate events, it’s nice to be back in Charlottesville where I have my girlfriend, desktop, and a quiet office to start sorting through the 8,000 pictures I shot!

First on the list to be edited is a shoot that I did for my long time friend, Rob Engels. I met Rob about 15 years ago, and he and I eventually worked at Hard Times Cafe together. Rob was patient enough to take me under his wing when I first started working for my stepdad, so when he requested that I shoot him for his new blog,,I jumped at the chance.

After transitioning from the restaurant industry to a corporate lifestyle andbecoming a father of two kids, Rob found himself overweight and unhappy. One day he decided to change his lifestyle, pick himself off the couch, and start running. Flash forward to two years later, where Rob is now an accomplished marathon runner and is in training for a full-fledged Iron Man triathlon scheduled for the summer of 2010.

Rob’s message is simple; anyone can do this. I have always known Rob to be an extremely motivated individual, but the most charming part of his story is that he doesn’t go out there and buy any of the ‘Gucci’ gear. Rob has always had a very boiled down and minimalist approach to everything he does, and now he’s trying to convey that message in his blog.

Taking some of Rob’s advice, I kept things real simple throughout this shoot with one light for the majority of these pictures. The photo above and below were shot around 0900 with anAB 1600 strobe and a giant 30 X 60 softbox. My Vagabond II provided the on scene power and after that it was just a matter of balancing out Rob against the bright morning sun. I cranked down the aperture to my most comfortable setting of F 16 and killed some of the ambient in the background by around -2 stops just before hitting my max sync speed of 1/250th of a second.

It was surprisingly difficult to catch Rob at just the right moment due to a number of factors. To start off, my strobe was set to almost 1/2 power (which is a lot!!!), so I only had one chance to capture the shot for each pass that he made. Plus, you have to keep in mind that the light from the flash is going to freeze everything that it hits, so you really have to remain cognizant of a number of things when working with people in motion. Couple that with the fact that we only had a 30 minute window to make this all happen before the sun became too bright to work with, and I had a real pressure cooker on my hands.

Not to fear, everything worked out great and Rob is thrilled with the images that we produced.

A big part of Rob’s blog is going to be dedicated to tips that he’s picked up along the way. These two shots above are there to show his readers the unique stretches that he’s found to work best for distance runners.

When the light on the track became too harsh to overcome with the strobes, we moved to the woods to grab some pics of him running along the trail. Before I was mainly contending with motion, but now I had to deal with a fast rising sun and all the little pockets of light that were starting to break through the trees. One way I found to mitigate some of the harsh fill from the sun was to move the strobes in close to Rob, which in turn made it more difficult for me to frame and created a smaller “bubble of exposure” around where I imagined Rob’s foot striking. After a couple of passes, we nailed the shot above, but my angle was just a hair off which is why you can see that flare up in top right corner.

After the woods we headed back to Rob’s house to take a few macro shots of the gear that he’s using. Since we were indoors, I left the big strobes in the truck in favor of a small camera flash. I brought along myLastolie Ezybox Hot Shoe, which I purchased a while back and haven’t had much use for it since it makes very punchy and dramatic light (not necessary for the majority of my paid client work of weddings and corporate events). The Ezybox was the perfect light modifier for these product shots and I’m very happy with the results this compact combination produced.

You can view the rest of the images from our shoot in the gallery that I’ve posted and be sure to RSS to Rob’s blog or drop in every once in a while to see what he’s been up to.