Category Archives: Portraits

Family Reunion at Chautauqua

I recently shot family reunion photographs at Chautauqua in Boulder.  The park provides a great backdrop for portraits, including deep shade, plenty of foliage for backdrops, and a view of the Flatirons.  I shot both full group shots with over 20 people and smaller group shots of individual families.  Organizing a large photo shot can be challenging.  Many issues can derail a photo shoot of this size, including grumpy kids and tricky lighting.  Family portraits involving 10 children is also challenging.  Most importantly, the subjects aren’t professional models so getting people into proper poses has to be done quickly.

Given that I was using heavy shade for most of my poses, I used my Dynamite Baja B4 lights to open up the shadows. These work well since they are battery-operated. I didn’t use other light modifiers to keep things simple.  All-in-all, the portrait shoot was a success and the people who had come from out-of-state enjoyed the scenery of the park.

Fall Portraits

I love shooting fall portraits.  Fall color can provide some beautiful backgrounds.  The quality of light is also softer as the sun is lower in the sky.  One of the keys is to photograph the subject in the shade with the subject backlit by the sun.  The leaves will also look better as they will be backlit as well.

boys portrait











I shot this portrait of two brothers near Vail, Colorado using this theory.  I shot it with a 70-200 2.8 lens with a polarizing filter.  The filter cuts out two stops of light so I can use a wider f stop to blur the background more.   I try to set shutter speed and ISO to where the ambient light is measuring neutral.  I don’t want to overexpose the background too much or I’ll white it out.  This can be a problem on sunny days.  I may even have to use a stronger neutral density filter to lower the shutter speed enough so I can use a flash.  The maximum flash sync on my camera in only 1/200 second.  I used a flash with a soft box mounted on a light stand to provide fill light and catch light in the eyes.  When using a soft box it is important to remember to set the flash compensation to +2/3 or +1 since it has a layer of fabric to shoot through.  One of the final steps is to make sure that neither of the tree trunks in the background looks like it is coming directly out of the head of one of the boys.  This can be a distracting element to a portrait.

senior portrait girl











In this example, I was shooting a senior portrait.  My client wanted fall color in the shots.  We went up to the summit of Kenosha Pass near FairPlay for the shoot.  I had my subject rest against a rock with the sun at her back.  Again, it backlit the aspen leaves and works as a natural hair light, just rimming the back of her shoulders and head.  I used a little narrower aperture to give more detail to the aspen behind her.  Again, I was using a flash mounted on a light stand to provide fill.

Have fun shooting your own fall portraits or call 303 478 7586 to set up your session today.

Also posted in Senior Portraits

Fashion Photography

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Look Fabulous fashion photography tour presented by Lou Freeman and Lindsey Adler.  It was a fun workshop and I learned a lot about lighting.  I got a chance to experiment with some cool poses and different lighting techniques.  My favorite was a three-way reflector that provides some beautiful soft light on models’ faces.  I can’t wait to adopt some of these techniques in my wedding and senior portrait work.