photography

Beauty at the beach

Have you ever been to Lewes, DE?  It is one of the hidden gems of the East Coast.  Growing up in Pennsylvania I barely knew that south of our large state lay the wonder of Delaware.  Yes, Delaware is actually a state and not just a small town or a river.  It is know as “The First State” apparently.  When I arrived on the Eastern Shore all those year ago I did not know that Lewes would hold a special place in my heart and in my destiny.  For in this small town I would meet and fall in love my beautiful wife, Jen.  I, like so many others, mispronounced Lewes and it was a dead give-a-way that I was from out of town.  I learned quickly how to pronounce what would become such a pivotal place in my life.  Lewes, for those of you following along, is pronounced like Lewis, not lose.  So remember that little piece and it will save your some embarrassment when you come to visit this small slice of heaven.

One of the young ladies on my Senior Team this year lives in Lewes, DE.  We coordinated a shoot recently and I was super excited to head back to the town where I met and married my wife Jen, so many years ago.  To get to Lewes I took the back roads that I had grown so familiar traveling when my wife and I were dating.  It’s quite an enjoyable drive, through farm land, little towns, and then the bustling thoroughfare of Route 1.  During the summer I will avoid Route 1 at all costs because it is packed with outlet and beach traffic.  Being mid-April I expected an easy trip, yet RT 1 was jammed.  I traveled down Savannah Road, past the historic Presbyterian church that Jen and I were married in.  I reminisced for a few moments on the beauty and absolute “perfectness” of that May day.  A few more turns through town and I pulled into the parking lot at the Canal Park and shut off the engine.  I got out of my car and began to walk around a bit surveying one of the locations for our shoot that evening.  Some modern elements of stone and wood contrasting with the gentle flowing water of the Lewes Canal and sprawling grass of the park.  There is a life saving station situated on the grounds and an old light-ship anchored in part of the canal.  I circled back towards the car with a good idea of where we would photograph, now just had to wait for Sydney to arrive.  She pulled in as just I was returning to the car and we chatted for a few minutes then started to wander around photographing in the park.  

I am no fashionista so I will let Sydney describe her outfit for us:  “Keeping it simple!  My go to, out of town outfit would be my overall dress, it’s super easy to throw on and it’s so comfortable and laid back.  I paired it with a white flowy off the shoulder shirt that i recently stole(borrowed) from my moms closet!  Since the shirt already brings attention to my neck I kept it simple with my bar necklace that I wear everyday.  Because it was so simple up top I added a chunky bracelet to give the outfit some pop!”

She is a natural in front of the camera and needs little direction as far as posing.  We shot around the concrete steps leading down into the grass expanse of the park, then headed over to the life-saving station and the light-ship.  The light-ship was a mobile light house, with a large light fixture on the main mast.  It is now a museum and is docked in a berth cut out of the canal.  The ship was closed for the evening so we photographed a bit around the museum building that looks like a pilot house.  It’s the building with the red strip running along the ship-lapped wall and has this awesome dark stained oak door.  We then made our way to the edge of the canal and photographed on the rocks and among the reeds that Sydney had once played in as a small child.    

Her boyfriend arrived, we chatted, and got acquainted a bit.  We still had daylight and the weather was quite amazing so we took a short drive down to the beach past the Dairy Queen and parked in a somewhat deserted parking lot.  The beach was mostly ours, only a few people were lingering about.  In the misty distance the Cape May-Lewes Ferry was pulling in to its moorings, ready to disembark its cargo of vehicles and passengers.  We climbed up on the dunes and photographed with the sun dipping behind us.  One of Sydney’s good friends randomly pulled up and even jumped in a quick photo with her.  As the gorgeous spring sun began to sink into the horizon I hurried back to my car to get my lighting set up that I love to use for this exact time of day.  The light had such a warmth to it and Sydney looked right at home in the amber glow of the setting sun.  With her toes in the sand and catching the last bit of golden light, surrounded by some good friends, we ended the evening on a great note.  

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Senior Team Spring Session

My senior team is amazing!   Since we had such a nice day recently and the cherry blossoms were still in bloom we went out for a little shoot.  Can’t wait for more sessions with these girls and for warmer nights.  Enjoy!

 

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Night Portraits

One thing I love in working with my senior team every year is getting to try different ideas.  I’ve been wanting to do a session at night and we finally got the chance with a nice day.  I met up with Kara and Dara over at Salisbury University.  Lot’s of off-camera flash and getting to use high ISO with the existing light.  It was so much fun wandering around campus with these two beautiful girls and getting to try these portraits.  Enjoy!








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Prom Session – Dryden Dress Co.

We’ve had a good streak of warmer weather lately and it seems as though spring may have arrived early.  I met up with  some of my 2018 Senior Team to do a shoot with Dryden Dress Co. featuring some prom gowns.  We spent some time downtown and had a blast capturing this session with these girls.  

If you haven’t gotten your prom dress yet, head on down to Dryden Dress Co. in Salisbury, Sarah and Julie will take great care of you and help you find your perfect dress.  Happy Prom and enjoy the previews.

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Studio Computer Set Up

I’ve had some inquiries lately about how I have my computer system set up and how I process digital files.  This will be a series with several parts.  Part 1 will be an overview of what my system looks like, the components that comprise it, and specific technical aspects of my system setup.  Part 2 will take you through my image workflow: from downloading from the camera to client delivery.  In Part 3 we will take a closer look at how I use the Wacom Tablet for my editing.

When I first started I had an HP laptop with one external hard drive that I used to back up my images.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have any crashes or lost files before I upped my game and began to transition over to the current system that I use.  As professional photographers we have a responsibility to our clients to ensure that their images are protected from loss and we need to have systems in place that will safeguard us in case of a data loss.  There was a recent article in Professional Photographer Magazine that detailed the story of another photographer who lost files.  It is a great read and certainly contains a lot of good things to ponder and action points.

We are talking, after all, about more than just data files, these are irreplaceable moments that we have had the privilege of capturing.  Let’s face it, no matter how hard we would try to duplicate a lost image it is impossible to recreate in exact detail the moment that we initially captured.  So, we do need to have a system in place to ensure that we never have to tell a client that we lost their images.  I understand that no system is perfect and there will always be unforseen circumstances that go unaccounted for, but we ALL need some type of system that allows us to rest easy at night knowing that we have done our best to ensure that we never have that awkward conversation with any client.

I dove full-time into photography almost 10 years ago.  Now, I mainly photograph high school senior portraits and I also photograph weddings with a partner photographer.  Over the years I have burned images to CDS, dropped an external hard drive and had to send it in to have the data recovered(which is expensive).  I’ve also had drives in my RAID storage go bad, but the beauty of RAID is that you swap the bad drive out for a new one and wallah you are up and running.  I have also made the move from Windows to MAC OS and I will never look back!!  I am somewhat hands-on, and love to build things, so when I moved from the laptop to a desktop PC, I built it myself.  Over the years I have built 9 desktop computers, 3 of them being Hackintoshes.  For more info about building a PC that exclusively runs the MAC OS you can visit www.tonymac86.com for more details.  Ultimately it does not really matter what tools you use, clients have never asked if I edit their images on a MAC.  As long as the tools you use fit your needs and help you to smoothly run your business.

I am comfortable with the setup I have and would recommend any of the hardware and items in my system.  I just recently began using the Wacom Pro Medium Tablet for all of my editing and I think that I am in heaven.  I have no idea how I edited anything without this tablet.  I had been using an Intuos Small Tablet, but the Pro fits more of my needs.  I will talk about that aspect of my workflow in another part.

So…here is my computer set up for 2017:

1.  Desktop Computer

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2&3. Raid Storage – Drobo Mini and Drobo 4d 3rd Gen.  The mini has close to 3TB of storage and the 4d has 16TB of storage.  I use these when I first upload my images from my memory cards.  The raw images ONLY are stored on these devices.  My Lightroom catalog is on a separate SSD drive on my Desktop and I make a backup daily of that catalog onto a WD portable hard drive.  Drobo isn’t the fastest RAID option out there, but it more than meets my needs for a dependable, easy to use, very user-friendly, and safe storage of my images.  Check out the Drobo website for the newest options of RAID storage.

 

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4.  Wacom Pro Medium Tablet – I use this for all of my editing now.  I love that it is wireless and there are a whole array of buttons that I can customize to help with my workflow and speed of editing.  I will post a separate segment on how I use this table to edit my images.

 

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5. Spyder Express Color Calibration – I regularly calibrate my monitors so that my color stays consistent throughout my workflow.  It really does not matter what you use, just as long as it works for you and maintains consistency.  I use the Spyder because of its ease of use and cost.

6. Western Digital Portable hard drives:  I have several of these drives that I use to backup my Lightroom catalog and when I backup client catalogs from Lightroom.

 

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7.  PASS – for all of my cloud based storage.  Once I have client images edited and they have been ordered by the client they get uploaded to PASS.  This has worked for me as a digital cloud based storage option and is easy for clients to navigate and access.

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That’s my set up.  In Part II I will explain my digital workflow:  how I take care of my images from Camera to Client delivery.

Resources:

Drobo: http://www.drobo.com

Hackintosh Articles: https://www.tonymacx86.com

Wacom Tablets: http://wacom.com/en-us

Spyder Express: http://spyder.datacolor.com/portfolio-view/spyder5express/

RAID – what is it: http://www.pcworld.com/article/194360/raid-made-easy.html

PASS: http://pass.us

Western Digital hard drives: https://www.wdc.com

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Emily’s Senior Portraits

Meet Emily!  She is a senior in the Class of 2017 at Salisbury Christian School.  She is a sweet soul that loves Jesus, horses, and her boyfriend too….sounds like a Tom Petty song.  I’m dating myself with that reference, still a good song, just not known by this generation.  Anyway, we got to spend some time together the other day for her senior portrait session.

One thing I love to do is spend time with my senior clients.  This is a once in a lifetime experience that shouldn’t be skimped on in regards to time.  I take pride in crafting an experience for my clients that includes things that are important to them and tell a story about who they are.  Emily is one amazing young lady.  She rides, plays soccer, is involved in Young Life and her church and is a great student from what I hear.

We spend some time photographing at some spots that hold special meaning for her.  The railroad station is in their hometown, the barn where she rides, and Assateague(where she spends every spare moment).  It was a great session and we were treated to one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen at Assateague to wrap up her session.  This is another reason I don’t do mini sessions with my seniors, again it’s too important and you miss out on beautiful settings like this.  Sorry for the novel, but I loved this session and I hope that you love the sneak peeks!  Enjoy!

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Danielle’s Sneak Peeks – Salisbury senior portrait photographer

Meet Danielle!  She is one of our model reps. for the studio this  year from the Class of 2016 at Parkside High School.  Go RAMS!  I love when I get to photograph a strong, beautiful, confident athlete.  There is such a combination of strength and beauty in this girl that I hope is evident from what we captured.  I watched her play tennis this past spring and I wouldn’t want to face her on the court, she is intense and very good at the game.  Yet, she is also super sweet and kind and was a great joy to photograph on the court and down at Assateague.  We had a beautiful night doing her portraits and great conversation.  Her mom and big Sis came along to get in a few.  Oh…and how can i forget their adorable pug/mutt, Russell, he was my buddy for the afternoon.  Thanks, Danielle for trusting me to capture these and for getting to spend a great evening with you and your family.  Enjoy the sneak peeks!

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Garrett + Emily – Salisbury, MD wedding

I am particularly close to this wedding, having known Emily since we were both young. I was more than thrilled when she and Garrett came to us to do their wedding! It’s been wonderful seeing their love grow and working with them leading up to this day.  It was like springtime in the middle of October. As Emily walked the aisle on her father’s arm, she kept the happiest grin.  Garret whispered to her “you’re gorgeous” and my heart nearly melted. The ceremony was held at Asbury United Methodist church in Salisbury, and the reception at The Fountains.

Emily and Garrett, we want to thank you! Thank you for putting your trust in James and me to document this amazing time in your lives. What an honor it was to be a part of the celebration! Love you both and wish you many many of the happiest times!

-Amanda & James

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Garrett + Emily – Ocean City, MD – Engagement Portraits

Last Monday James and I went to the OC inlet for Garrett and Emily’s engagement portraits.  I have known Emily for several years now, so I can’t say enough how thrilled I am that they have trusted us to be their photographers! We had many laughs and such fun getting these – hope you enjoy the sneak peeks!

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