Thursday, November 15, 2007

Weekend in Chicago

Chicago pictures! We had a really good time while we were there staying with Amy, but most of the pictures aren't of stuff we did so much as stuff I felt like taking pictures of. It was kind of hard to turn off work photography mode and get into fun photography mode, where everything doesn't have to be a meaningful work of art (but oh, if they all were ...). Eventually I got over the photo equivalent of writer's block and had a lot of fun with the snapshots, which I haven't just gone out and done in a long time. :)

Definitely been there. And I don't know what it is, if it's a big city/small city difference or something else, but I just know that this isn't a sign that you'd see in Indianapolis. Gives me something to think about.

Ode to Jamba Juice, which me and Billy kind of live for when we make the trip north. He is big on Orange Dream Machine, which is of course awesome, and I like the Razzmatazz, which is possibly a little less awesome but I feel like might be easier to take in larger doses, and since I want all the Jamba I can get but don't want to be sick, it does the trick that way. I tried Strawberry Surf Rider this time, but it was kind of tart for my liking.

This sign was just up between some stores on a pretty busy road, and I have no idea why, but I do really like it, even if I am completely unsure as to why that particular illustration was chosen to go with the quote. Nonetheless, it gave me pause.

The last one pretty perfectly segues into this. One of the things I really like about Chicago (and New York, and New Orleans, and other big and/or creative cities) is that there is little art all around. Or big art, I guess, but the point is, it's there.

This was actually a movie theater that we went to near Amy's house and I think that this was really the point where I realized that all pictures dont' have to be interesting to everyone as long as they're interesting to me, and this one was. I can't believe an actual movie was under there! It just seems so old school horror movie or something, and I love it. The theater was absolutely gorgeous, too, just detail on everything and either nicely restored or nicely maintained. However--we did see Blade Runner, which is supposedly a sci-fi classic, and since I love my sci-fi and my Harrison Ford, I was really excited for it. And I was on board for most of it, until the end, where it took a turn. And when I saw that it's 96 on AFI's Top 100 movie list, I was totally shocked because let me tell you, I did not love it.

The Brown Line is under construction but I couldn't resist the opportunity to photograph my (very common) name with the pretty red and yellow design. Oh, and Billy likes to joke that he's going to make a game show to find himself a new girlfriend and this is what it'll be called, and their last names all have to Brown too. Eye roll.

Chicago is so in love with itself. They put the word "Chicago" on EVERYTHING. You kind of have to see it to believe it, but I really think that next time I go I'm going to give myself a little assignment of taking pictures of all the interesting ways the word "Chicago" is displayed. Funny--I hated homework in school and now I'm giving myself some. :)

I'm pretty sure that by now, my love for fire hydrants is pretty well-documented, but I haven't really done anything with them yet. I'm hoping to get some picture frames for Christmas and then maybe I can hang some of these prints on my wall. I really don't know what it is about fire hydrants, if it's that they're all different due to different locations or varying degrees of neglect or age, or all pretty brightly colored so as to be easy to find, or if there is some lame part of my psyche that likes the metaphorical putting out of fires. Whatever it is, I'm just going to go with it.

Ah, nice. Now I will say that this is not really what this picture looked like, but it is the picture I set out to take with the skyline all silhouetted. Sigh. I love it.
Hopefully stay tuned for more snapshotting throughout the wedding off-season. I had a lot of fun with these!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Erin & James: Engagement

Erin and James! If you guys remember Rob & Danielle, the couple from the very first blog post, she found me through Erin, who was also in her wedding. Awesome! I love the word of mouth thing, and I also love getting to see people more than once. Perfect! Erin and James are my first wedding of next year (so far!), in March, and I think it's fun that we are having fall engagement pictures and spring wedding pictures. And these pics ... very fall. We were at the art museum right around peak leaf weekend, and the weather was perfect.
So here's the happy couple in piggyback formation. And this is the nice one, before he tried to chuck her over the side, which cracked me up. And also made me feel a little woozy--you know I'm afraid of heights!

Erin is one of those very skinny people with delicate features who you can flatter from any angle, which makes me just a tiny bit jealous until the photographer within takes over and thinks about how it'll be awesome to play with different perspectives on them at their wedding, since James also has a nice strong jawline. Yay for couples with nice profiles!

The classic walking over the bridge shot. You know I like these. But again, not everyone looks great from behind, so this is fun for me. Plus, Erin especially has spent a lot of time at the art museum and knew of some cool out-of-the-way places to go, which are destined to become new favorites for me. So, note to future high-heel wearing brides--bring some comfy shoes! As a sidenote, which there seems to always be a few of in these blogs, huh--the older I get, the more I realize how hot high heels are. I'm still kind of shy about wearing them since I'm so tall, but I am trying to get over it since a.) my boyfriend is 6'3" and I won't tower over him and b.) they are just so sexy and feminine. Plus, I really think if I made it an entire day without tripping, it would rank in the top 5 of my life's accomplishments.

In this one, I suggested that James dip her, which I think might have to be one of my new go-to moves, because there is something about dipping that brings out the hotness. I mean, think about it--it's all very fairytale. The girl hangs in the balance, depending on the big strong man to not let her fall, and then he rescues her and brings her back to safety. And for just a second, I think you have no choice but to forget that this is 2007 and that there are girls who want to open their own doors and the Prince Charming and Rapunzel inside of us wins out. I mean, look at his face! It says it all.

Okay, now this picture ... this picture. Sigh. This is going to go down as one of my favorites of the year, at least. The thing about the art museum is that it's really pretty, but also there are always TONS of photographers around doing the exact same things that you are, so you can get a little insecure that you're not really doing anything original. Or at least I do, since I worry about things like that. But then there are also little hidden gems, like this area, which is the perfect fall picture between the sun shining through the leaves on the trees and the leaves on the ground. And doesn't this look like the cover of a movie or some romance novel or something? I just cannot get over how pretty it is. And also, don't ask me where it is for two reasons: First of all, no chance I could give you accurate directions anyway, and secondly, if I give away all my secrets there will be no reason for anyone to hire me anymore. :)

A lot of times I end up making people accidentally do things, either because I'm yelling at them from far away or because I'm sometimes not awesome at verbal communication, which I blame on my mouth not keeping up with my brain, which leads to me skipping important details sometimes. Anyway, this was one such incident, where I didn't really intend to make them climb over the bushes, but I sort of liked how it turned out anyway, so ... serendipitous!

And, because we were at the art museum ... Yeah, you know it. :)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Stacy & Kyle: Wedding

Stacy is a friend that I met through another site I blog on, and I had only actually met her once before we did these pictures, but I thought we hit it off. I didn't actually do their full wedding, just some portrait shots beforehand, but I saw everything getting set up, and I LOVED it. My favorite kinds of weddings are actually the ones that don't look a whole lot like weddings but actually more just plain old celebrations of people and their love and commitment and relationship. This wedding had Star Wars coloring books on the tables, Hershey kisses sparkling under simple glass and candle centerpieces (scenterpieces, ha!), and was held in a church/bookstore/coffee shop with tall ceilings, dark wood, and a whole lotta artwork. I really thought it was fun and beautiful and really suited Kyle and Stacy perfectly, at least from what I know of them.

I can't figure out how to make good chronological orders of the pictures I'm loading in here and I'm trying not to let anal-retentiveness take over my life, so I'll just go out of order. No one's going to die over it, right? Anyway, this is where we snuck into someone's driveway to use their fence as a background, hence the crouching. It was all very top-secret, spy stuff. Thankfully, Stacy and Kyle were pretty indulgent of my whims.

This is the one I wanted to show last because it is my favorite. I loved that yellow garage door, and I love how the magic of Photoshop makes it look kind of pineappley. Trivia: Did you know that the pineapple is the international symbol of welcome? More trivia: Did you know that I had a cream and blue, very country-looking pineapple couch in college? Man, I loved that thing. It had the perfect lean to it. And it was so long. Sigh. Memories. Back to the topic at hand, I told them I wanted to do a foot-in-the-air kissing shot, and Kyle decided that his foot needed to be up too. Man, I loved that. There are a lot of grooms out there who aren't really into the whole picture taking thing, but Kyle was definitely willing to ham it up and have a good time, and I love the fearless spirit when I'm doing these shoots. The pictures come out marvelously every time.

This one's for Grandma.
(I always say that to people when we're taking these kinds of pictures. I need to not give away all my secrets on my blog or people will catch onto my recycled jokes.)

Okay, now here, I've been kind of dying to try out the silhouette/stained glass window shot. It's a standard wedding photographer shot, but I still think they're really cool, plus, they're a good way to showcase the venue without just taking pictures of the window, you know? This turned out much better than I thought it would for my first time, and thank you to everyone who "inspired" this idea. (As Billy likes to quote, "Good artists borrow; great artists steal.")

We were trying to head back to the church at this point because it was starting to sprinkle, but I kept seeing things I wanted to take pictures in front of. When we finished this shot, I told them not to let me look at anything else on the way back. It was at this point that Stacy suggested horse blinders, and man, did I wish Billy was there to hear that because he would have cracked up. I really could use some horse blinders for like ... every day wear. I would be a zillion times more productive (and probably a zillion times less creative, but, you know, it's a trade-off.)

Here we are in front of an Italian restaurant down the street from the church, and I made them sit there with the blue curtains, since blue seemed to be the main wedding color. Also like how you get a clear shot of the Chucks from here.

Okay, now this picture led to one of the coolest, most neighborly things happening that I have seen in awhile. We were doing this picture in front of that fence, which happened to face the back of someone's house, where a lady was cleaning out her garage. She came out and said, "Is it your wedding day?!?!" and was all excited and congratulating them. I love when we're out doing pictures and people get honked/yelled at. Like, that's right! Someone wants to love you forever, you do deserve some recognition! Anyway, we finished up and walked onto the next place and were heading on from there when we see a black car honking and waving. We all kind of wave back, but were kind of confused, like, do we know that person? So the person signals for us to stop and the car pulls across the intersection to where we were, and it turns out it was the lady from the garage, bringing them a bottle of wine to congratulate them! Is that not the sweetest thing? Some days just really make you believe in humanity.

Ah, and lastly, the lampost. Where I cut off the lamp. :) Nonetheless, I had instructed them to use the pole as a prop, but not in the gross way, and this was the result, which I LOVED. See, really, it is win win for me. I like giving people direction on how to pose because it's more creative control for me, but I also LOVE it when they pose themselves because, hey, less work for me! Plus, I feel like personalities come out that way and people feel and look comfortable and natural. Have I mentioned yet how much I love photography? Because I do.

I am really excited for these two because they just seem to light each other up. I love it when these love cliches actually end up being true, so I can see it with my own two eyes and not end up a bitter, cynical, jaded old hag. Everyone needs to know people like that in their own lives, to be encouraged to love and be loved like that. Congratulations!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Megan: Bridal

So, as some of you know, my boyfriend (and assistant) Billy is an advertising copywriter. And I remember him once telling me that people have a real tendency to fall in love with their own BS. And today, that is me, because I am absolutely in love with these pictures. I think they are perfect and beautiful and wonderful, and nothing is going to change my mind. Of course, that is due in no small part to Megan, who is one of the best models I've ever had, and not only because she's beautiful but because she was relaxed, had fun, and was up for anything. And also, Natalie (her sister and fellow hot babe) was along for the ride and helped me out majorly by making Megan laugh whenever I asked her to. This was such a fun day.
This is my current favorite picture and will be the first one you see when my new website launches. Natalie called it The Secret Garden, which totally fits, and all the pictures taken there were pure gold.

Somehow, we hit the jackpot with the little alley where this door was located and a lot of the pictures below are from that same area. Megan saw that door and said, "I kind of like that door. Is that a cool door?" Girl read my mind.

This is the fence that we stopped at the eventually led to the magic alley.

Love the contrast here. I'm noticing that the coloring is a little different when I load onto the blog. Normally, this one's a little more blue green, which I prefer. Still love it, though.

Yeah, this place is still operational, which tells you what kind of neighborhood we were in. Megan is laughing here because it was the first of many times she got hollered at while doing this shoot.

The Abbey. I finally found the perfect lighting, and I love the menu in the background. I'm debating lightening this one up a bit, but I sort of like the moody look. Any thoughts?

Definitely in response to me demanding, "Natalie, be funny!"

Honestly, who just has a fabulous teal and purple school bus sitting around? Whoever they are, I would like to shake their hand.

One of those things that transports bit plates of glass.

Ummmm ... she is definitely laughing here about an off-color remark about something that had just happened. See the next and final picture for that ridiculous story.

Okay, so I see this door and it is beautiful and amazing and I just HAVE to take a picture in front of it. But there's a lot of trash around, including a bag of pork rinds. So I go over to bravely move the pork rinds out of the frame, when I say, "Be careful, there's a lot of glass over here. And flies ..." And that is when I noticed that, apparently, whoever had been eating the pork rinds had a pretty serious bathroom emergency that they just ... didn't leave for. This picture totally proves what a pro Megan is, not only for standing that close, but also for keeping a straight face.

One of the things that I loved so much about this shoot was getting to do some exploring. I loved all the rundown buildings with their quirky and unique doors and paint jobs, and some of the odd props that we found along the way. The creative control that Megan allowed me was really kind of her, but also just really energizing for me. I always love taking pictures, but I left this shoot really thrilled with the entire process in a way that was just very exciting for me. I felt opened up to a lot of new possibilities, ideas, colors, poses ... you name it. Just the kind of inspiration that every artist dreams of. So thank you, Megan. :)

Andrew & Kelly: Engagement

Andrew and Kelly were the first people to book me for 2008. This obviously means that they are WAY on top of things, and this certainly did not end there, as they showed up for their engagement pictures with the backseat packed full of clothes, shoes, belts, ties, jewelry ... you name it. That was super fun for me, since it was like playing vicarious dress up, and that was one of my favorite games as a kid.
Okay, so you can't necessarily tell from this picture, but they were both up in that tree. And I do not mean just one foot on the ground, leaning in ... there was climbing involved. And this is when Kelly really won my heart. Do you know ... that girl CLIMBED A TREE wearing heels. And not just heels, but like ... HEELS. As I am already 5'9" and think that I am tall enough, I don't wear heels and think they're hard to just walk in. So when she started up the tree in those things and made Andrew follow her ... I know this chick was hardcore.

Purple flowers! That's the wedding color.

This one was taken in front of the most amazing fall flowers you have ever seen. I cannot resist the bright colors.

Now, if you're an Indiana photographer there are two obligatory backgrounds that you will do at some point, probably often. The skyline shot is one of them ...
... and this is the other! But come on, it is too perfect NOT to.

More purple flowers!

I am a sucker for perspective shots like these. And don't you just love her jacket? It's so cute and Euro.

This picture turned out SO cute because they were both laughing at me. I had asked Andrew to show me what it would look like if he put HIS feet in the air. Needless to say, it was not the pose of a guy about to marry such a hot girl.

Great light here. And I know I've been raving on about how cute these two are, but I don't think I've said yet how pretty Kelly's hair is. It's like that perfect shiny hair that you know she doesn't have to do anything to and it's never been touched with color yet looks like shampoo commercial hair. So jealous. And yet I do love my hair dye. I think this girl is going to make a phenomenally beautiful bride. Andrew is a lucky guy!

Rob & Danielle: Wedding

Let me just say, Rob and Danielle are an awesome couple to kick off the blog with. I have had so much fun with them from the get-go, including the scorching hot day that we took their engagement pictures. And they actually have a really neat story. They were high school sweethearts until he dumped her, which I already know she is NEVER going to let him forget. He got married to someone else but that didn't work out and they ended up finding each other again after all these years! (Well, not ALL these years--they're only in their early 30's!) So at their wedding, they had their old prom picture up, and the ringbearer's pillow was made from her prom dress. How fun and cute!
This is the perfect picture to show how fun these two were. This was taken during the maid of honor's toast.

Apparently, Rob is a big milk drinker (sick!) and decided that it was his wedding and he could have milk if he wanted to. So yes, that whole carafe is his, and yes, he drank straight out of it.

These are Danielle's friends from college doing karaoke with her. They are all fantastic singers who were in the music program together at DePauw. I love all their faces here, and I think that shortly after was when Danielle took off flying around the room like a little kid playing airplane. Except more gracefully.

Ah, the good old classic ring shot.

This one was one of my favorites, because it's cute and fun and funny, and involves the piano (because as I said, music is really important to Danielle), but also because of how happy she looks and how Rob is looking at her. Who DOESN'T want to be looked at that way? And one of my favorite things about this wedding and one of the reasons I was so excited to do it was because it is always totally obvious how much they love each other, and it comes through in pictures. And that makes my selfish photographer heart REALLY happy.

Cake shot! Nothing overly exciting, but I did like the very black background. Those are windows leading outside, where the rest of the party was held, but it was too dark to get great pictures. Fortunately though, most of the action was inside, centered around food and karaoke.

This is Rob with the flower girl, and come on! This is the cutest shot in the world.

Cutting the cake! I told you the excitement was around the food! Plus, look at the concentration on her face while he just kind of goes with the flow. You KNOW she's the one in charge of how the cake cutting is going down. Also, at one point during the receiving line, I looked over and noticed how much Rob and Danielle are like her parents--she's very animated and extroverted, and he's quiet and looks perpetually amused at the madness around him.

Oh, man, don't you just love that color? This was also one of my favorites, and I thought Danielle's eyes looked AMAZING here. Also, she had on sparkly fake eyelashes which are something that I MUST have before I die.

Thank you, Rob and Danielle, for letting me and Billy take part in the big day! We had a lot of fun, loved how the pictures turned out, and also learned the valuable lesson of not asking your boyfriend to snag you some cake while he's wearing all black unless you want him to be mistaken for a waiter. :)