This was my 4th year volunteering for Help Portrait. I was turned on to the idea thanks to my friends over at Long Island Photo Gallery. I researched the movement and I found that their mission was quite simple. Find people in need and take their picture. Well, St. Patrick’s Parish in Bayshore made it simple for us. They found us the people and we showed up with tons of gear to take professional portraits for every family.
The church puts on a really nice Christmas party for families in need that do not have much to give their children for the holidays. They feed the families a nice meal, Radio Disney comes in to get the kids dancing and laughing and then Santa Clause comes in for a visit to deliver each child a bag of gifts that were on their Christmas list. It is one of the most heart-warming experiences I have ever been a part of.
My role in this whole thing is to take portraits of all the families that wish to receive a free portrait. Giving the gift of photography, as the Deacon described it. Some of the families do not have much to smile about, but the children were adorable and excited to see Santa. We took professional portraits of each family and our friends at LIPG were generous enough to print all the pictures for the church so they can distribute them to the families.
I am privileged to be part of this awesome event and I look forward to doing it for years to come.
Have a Happy and Safe New Year!
With such a beautiful day, spring fever has kicked in pretty hard. I booked a couple of weddings this past weekend for guests that attended a Fire Island beach wedding I photographed. I got inspired to build a few collages from that beach wedding and one communion collage since it is that time of year. I hope everyone is enjoying the weather we’re blessed with this weekend.
I will always will be a student of photography. I look at pictures all the time, because I enjoy and appreciate them. And most of the time, I am not even looking at wedding pictures, because it’s not inspiring to recreate something that has already been done. To me, looking at pictures helps me look a scene as if it were a picture, so I can see the results before I snap the shutter. It’s not cool to constantly follow someone else’s work or always work from a preconceived shot list. It’s important to be different and it’s difficult to do this without trying.
Many photogs tend to get into a routine where every shot looks the same. Every bride and groom are standing the same, or every bridal party looks like it was posed the same way. That works for some people and that is totally fine, but if you can’t challenge yourself to be different on the spot, then your creativity may go stale. It’s easy to bring contact sheets with you and simply shoot through the notes, but when a situation forces you to be different, now you have to think. If everyone shot the same way, choosing a photographer would be as simple as going with the best price.
Two very important factors to consider when trying to recompose or recreate an already accomplished shot: People do not all look the same (features, posture, etc.), and the scenery is almost always different. When it comes to portraits, I always include soft close up images into the mix, but most of my compositions will include something in the background or foreground to reveal the subjects surroundings. And for me, that usually means outdoors. somewhere in the sweet spot of a beautiful landscape.
Occasionally, the weather prevents me form working outside and we are forced to move indoors, but the bride and groom chose the venue because of the beautiful landscape. It’s unfortunate, but there are always opportunities to get good images and when you are hired to do a job and deal with these situations, it is always my main priority to try and kill it. Envision possibilities and work with what you have. Move some furniture or use a mirror to expand a really tight space. The last thing I want to do is present the images to the couple and blame my lack of production on Mother Nature. There are no do overs!
Three years ago I joined a Help Portrait community with the help of my friends over at Long Island Photo Gallery. I researched the movement and I found that their mission was quite simple. Find people in need and take their picture.
St. Patrick’s Parish in Bayshore puts on a really nice Christmas party for families in need that do not have much give their children this year. The church feeds these families a nice meal, Radio Disney comes in to get the kids dancing and laughing and then Santa Clause comes in for a visit to deliver each kid a huge bag of gifts that were on their Christmas lists. It is one of the most heart-warming scenes I could ever describe.
My role in this whole thing is to take portraits of all the families that wish to receive a free portrait. The portrait could be of the children or the entire family. Giving the gift of photography, as the Deacon described it. We took professional portraits of each family and our friends at Picture Picasso are gracious enough to print all the pictures out for free. The photos are then delivered to the church where they are distributed to the families for Christmas.
It’s difficult to describe the excitement you feel when you are about to do something good and the reinforcement you feel once you have. I felt like I was on assignment to shoot an important celebrity and I wanted to crush it. I feel like we did. I am privileged to be one of the main shooters for this awesome event and I look forward to doing this and other charity events like it for years to come. If anyone does any charity work and would like to suggest adding photography to the mix, let me know. I would love to help!
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year!
My son Christopher has become quite the aspiring athlete. Ever since he was born, I dreamt of coaching him while he learned and grew playing sports. At 5 years old, he has already played soccer, pee wee tackle football and he is now in his 3rd year of baseball.
As a manager/coach of his baseball team, I am not able to get pictures of him playing in the games, while I am on the field coaching. My wife takes care of that with her camera and she does a good job. I was always interested in trying my skills at sports photography and what better way to get a feel for it than to shoot your own kid.
When he began playing football last summer, I was able to bring my camera down to the field while he practiced and get some nice shots from outside the fence and I was happy with that. After a scrimmage game right before the season began, I shot over 300 pictures of all the players and emailed the gallery to the coaches and parents so they could see and enjoy all the photos. They were all very appreciative to see such close action pictures of their own kids playing in game.
I approached the head coach and asked if it were possible to get onto the field for all the games and shoot from the sidelines. In football, the only people allowed on the field were coaches and players. Sometime this meant that you were watching the game as far as 50 yards away. In return, I would document the entire game and be sure to get pictures of all the players and email the link from my site to the coaches and parents each week to they can see all the pictures. They were excited about the idea and now the team had an official photographer.
Each week the pictures got better and better and I was really enjoying sports photography. I covered every game from 2011 season. The parents were enjoying the photographs each week, so much in fact that I was actually getting hired to shoot some away games for the older divisions. I began to wonder if this could be another opportunity for me. As a wedding photographer, I love shooting weddings and events. Shooting sports to me was very different and so much fun. I felt it was a perfect balance to keep shooting all the time and never get tired of it.
I recently went to register my son for football this upcoming season and I met the commissioner who had apparently seen some of the photos I took from last year. He asked if I would be interested in covering some of the games this coming season for him and the photos would be showcased in the league newsletter and who knows what else will come of it.