“Casual portrait” sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? “Portrait” makes one think of posing in front of a mottled blue cloth, perhaps at a department store, and gazing into the flat, bright lights of the studio. And the blue cloth certainly has its place, sometimes – I was window-shopping for one recently myself. But I much prefer to take photos of people outdoors, when the light is good, and when the setting has a chance to become part of the photos. The beach has endless appeal in this area, but recently, I visited Pennsylvania and had the opportunity to do portrait shoots in park settings. The flowers were gorgeous, and the grass and trees were lush and green. With the sun low in the sky, the light was divine. One of the shoots was with members of my family, and as they started to relax and have fun, the pictures reflected their mood. I especially like the shots of my dad playing with my nephew; it was so nice to see such rare happiness. Little kids have a lot to do with that! The pictures of my brother’s family came out well, too. It was as if summer added its glow to the scene.
Are you getting portraits taken of your family for a special occasion, or maybe for holiday cards? Or maybe you’re just overdue. I recommend having a photographer do a portrait session in a beautiful place, or a place with texture and interest, or a place that means something to you. Prepare to spend some time. Coordinate your clothes, but you don’t all have to wear the same thing. (Though jeans and white or pastel shirts can be very effective!) Avoid brand names and logos on the kids’ shirts, for a more timeless look. And play. A good photographer will play with you, and you’ll get joyous, spontaneous and even some “formal” informal portraits to treasure.
See more photos from these sessions and others in my photo galleries.
Earlier Monday, I drove south to check out some storms and saw a lightning bolt hit well ahead of the rain and clouds – one of those bolts from the blue. That’s why the lightning safety folks say, “When thunder roars, go indoors.”
Ah, luminous youth! See the photos here.
I covered space for four years and was completely immersed in the shuttle program. I haven’t retained the level of detail I knew then, but it was a huge part of my life. I was awed by it, then dismayed after the heartbreaking Columbia accident, but always impressed by this technological colossus and the people who put it together. They’re the ones who have made history.
I’ve put together a tribute to the shuttle – a gallery of some of my favorite images. It’s not complete yet; I still have to upload all the high-res files and write detailed captions. But it helps me share that sense of wonder I still have when one of those shuttles aims for the stars. See the gallery
I recently had the chance to take some photos of my friend Heidi and her beautiful little boy, Ryan, who was on the cusp of his second birthday. It’s fun finding that moment of joy and capturing it on camera, but I love all the expressions that cross a child’s face, including the grumpy ones. I wonder what I was thinking at that age. Probably, “Can I have a cookie?” I added a few photos to that gallery this weekend when I dropped by Ryan’s birthday party.
At another party, at a lovely location along the Indian River Lagoon, I shot a few photos of friends and their kids. We have furry children (dogs), so it was fun to see the real kids playing among the rocks, stalking one another with Nerf guns and making s’mores. All of that marshmallow-roasting is enough to make a girl nostalgic.
The weather has been gorgeous here in Florida, but I’m waiting for the pattern to change out west so I can hit the road for my annual storm-chasing trip. After last week’s violent tornadoes, the atmosphere seems to be taking a breather.