Thursday, December 31, 2009

Emma's Photo shoot

Emma is an aspiring model who needed some shots for her portfolio. Even though we only worked together for a short time, I always try to create a wide variety of looks.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Fun

This week I shot a ton of fun people. One family session was a great time. And with any family this is always a standout. I think everyone will agree that she is too cute.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winner gets her Photoshoot

This weekend the winner of our free boudoir photoshoot came in to collect her prize. Like almost all of our clients she had never done anything like this before and was very nervous. She brought someone along to help her out.

We started off with my basic start to see how she would work with the camera. Once I saw how to work best with her we discussed her desires for the shoot.

Throughout the shoot I would stop and show her shots and she was amazed. Even without retouching, the combination of posing and lighting made her look amazing.

She got her proofs the following day and she said she is having a very hard time reducing the list of photos down to a reasonable size as there were so many great photos.

Orcatek Boudoir Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Why people want boudoir photography

With the closing of the boudoir and glamour photography contest, the reasons giving for wanting to win were interesting and varied. There were almost as many reasons as entries.

There were the standard reasons such as gift for future groom, anniversary present and of course Christmas present.

And then those for themselves as well as their loved ones, such as capturing youth, lifting spirits and boosting confidence.

And a few men who wanted to give it to their wives to let them know they think they are sexy.

There were many, many other reasons given. Boudoir photography makes a great gift in so many ways.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Casting Call Fun

This week I was casting for several magazine spreads. A wide variety of models was contacted to fit the various types we needed. An amazing group of women showed up for the casting. It is always interesting to see how they react to the 2 minute photo session.

Next week the publisher and I will begin to pick the models we will be using. It will be a fun series of shoots.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Have some fun

Sometimes as a photographer you need to take some time to do something different. I usually like to go out and photograph some nature. I find it retunes my eye as I am forced to look at things a bit different.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

37 Ford Hotrod

This week my favorite shoot was this 1937 Ford roadster. It was an amazing car and the owner really has taken care to keep this car a show winner.

Orcatek Automotive and Motorcycle Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Friday, November 6, 2009

Help Arizona Pugs

Pug-a-palooza is where I went this weekend. The event was by the Arizona Pug Adoption & Rescue Network. With the tough times in today’s economy, many of the wonderful dogs are being rescued. The group needs foster homes and adoptions for the many dogs they are saving through their efforts. With over 60 pugs needing help, it is a tough time.

There were lots of pugs to adopt and others came in support and took place in the pug costume contest.

Look at these pugs I photographed. Each one has it’s own personality.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Drawing for Free Boudoir Session

Just in time for the holidays, Orcatek Photography is having a drawing for a free boudoir photo session. Just follow the link below for all the details.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography Holiday Drawing - Phoenix, Arizona

Monday, October 26, 2009

Photoshop - Going Down

When I rode the zeppelin I took some shots for an image that I had floating around in my head. This became the background for this shot.

I contacted a local model, Maxym and asked her if she would be my victim. It took a lot of hard work on her part to get the fall to look right.

I spent my time matching the lights to the background so the composite would work.

The end result is close to what I had in mind. I will still tweak it a bit to get it perfect.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weddings After Dark

This week I had the pleasure of photographing Candice and Daniel's wedding. It was a beautiful event and the couple is obviously very much in love. Their wedding started just a few minutes before sunset creating some challenges and oppoturnities for creating images.

The ceramony was short, which allowed it to complete before it light got too dim. With a little flash and proper camera settings it was possible to capture everything.

As we rounded everyone up the sun set and filled the sky with color. It also got very dark very fast. I could even see to pose and had to trust my camera to focus with the assist beam. Checking the LCD during the shoot allowed me to verify that it was working as expected.

Between the bonfires and decorative lighting there were plenty of opportunities to create some great images. I always like it when a wedding gives me something new to work with.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Airship Tour - Fair Weather

Last week I spent several days in San Francisco to ride Airship Ventures zeppelin to get some shots of the city and the Golden Gate bridge. This was my second trip out to try to get a ride. Once again our flight was cancelled due to weather, but we decided to stay another day and try again. Luck was with us and we did get to finally fly. Discussions with others reveal that cancellations due to weather are quite common, so don’t be surprised if you plan a trip and don’t get to go.

We booked the two hour flight as the website showed the flight going up the valley, across to the coast, over the bridge and back south via the bay. Our flight was at sunset so being on the west side of the bridge was going to be perfect. Golden sunset light on the bridge would make for some great photographs.

The zeppelin has two windows which open to allow glare free shots. I was really looking forward to getting some great shots. At an altitude of about 1000 feet you have a great opportunity for photography.

We flew north towards the city. This time of year the sun was setting a bit earlier than I would have liked. I wanted to hit the city about 10-15 minutes earlier. We did not go out over the coast as the website indicated, but since the captain can vary the route as needed I wasn’t too surprised.

As we came up to the bridge I asked about flying over it and was told they were not allowed to fly over. I asked about going around to the front and was told they cannot do that either due to park regulations. So I was not going to get the photographs I wanted as shown on their website. Needless to say I was not happy.

If I had known this was the case, the 1 hour flight would have gotten the same results for much less money.

The zeppelin makes a great photographic platform, just need to be very aware of where it flies.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Black Mercedes

This week I faced the challenge of photographing a black Mercedes in the studio. As with all black cars, dealing with reflections was key to success.

It was worth the effort as I really enjoy photographing cars. From classic hotrods to awesome exotic cars, each presents their own challenge for the photographer. Finding the perfect angle to show off the curves of a fender, or just the right light to bring out details hidden in shadows are just a few of the problems I enjoy solving.

I’ve got another car coming in soon that will provide the opportunity to use some new techniques.

Orcatek Automotive and Motorcycle Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Your Modeling Portfolio

So you want a modeling portfolio to start your career. A model’s portfolio is her resume. It shows what she has done and is capable of doing. Before going out and getting your portfolio done, contact the agencies you want to work with and see what they prefer to see. Some don’t want anything more than very basic photos showing what you look like.

A portfolio should include at least the following: casual head shot, fully styled head shot (hair & make-up professionally done), a body shot (swimsuit is ideal, or lingerie), fashion shot, an action/lifestyle shot and even an editorial or catalogue shot. The key is not to put styles you don’t want to work from in your portfolio, ie don’t include several lingerie shots if you don’t want that type of work. Include at least one B&W shot as a lot of work is still done in B&W.

Over time you will replace old photos with newer ones. Best of all is you will get to add tear sheets from work you have done. Tear sheets get there name from pages being torn out of magazines showing a model’s work.

Your best two pictures show be the first and last in your book. If the first shot doesn’t catch their eye, then they may not go much further thru your book. And you want the last shot to be remembered so you close on a high note. Very often the first shot is the made-up headshot.

It is better to have a few great pictures than a lot of just average pictures. Standard book prints are 9x12 and contain a max of 20 photographs. It is better to have only 10 really great photographs, as quality is key. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but it is an important point to remember.

You need 2 good headshots. One should be the fully made-up shot mentioned before and the other with minimal make-up and retouching. Ideally your hair will be back on the second photograph as they really want to get a good look at your face as you are naturally.

You need a good mix of environments in your book. This means that you need some location work and some studio work. Don’t use two shots of the same outfit. Pick the best one and use it.

Beware of agencies that want you to pay them or their "special" photographer to get your portfolio made. If they won’t let you use your own photographer, run, run away fast. It is fine for them to have suggested photographers.

Modeling can be a fun and rewarding career that will require a lot of hard work and good decisions. Photographs are a major expense that you will be paying. Be sure to get what you need, when you need it.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Photography - How to succeed part IV

This is the final part on being a success as a photographer. In past articles I talked about working with clients, providing them with what they want and equipment choices. This week I am going to discuss some more tools and training. I am going to assume you are working digitally.

The worst thing you will ever say as a photographer is “I will fix it in Photoshop.” I wish every time a photographer said this they would get a shocked by their camera – ZAP! Yes Photoshop is a great tool, but it should be used to enhance a good photograph. Removal of stray hairs or getting rid of blemishes are good uses for it.

You notice I said Photoshop. There are several other good programs that you can also use such as Gimp or Paintshop. The challenge with these programs is when the need comes to share your work or get training your options will be limited. What does come down to is the need for a good program to process your images.

The next question I get is, “what plug-ins do I need?” Plug-ins are add-ons to Photoshop that automate or add features. None are needed. You can achieve what you need to do in most cases without them. Some are nice to have as you have revenues and time becomes more valuable. If you must spend some money, I suggest looking at a sharpening tool and a skin softener. You can download trials from every good vendor. It is a matter of tasted as to which works best for you.

Learn to create or find actions to do your work. Actions are an automated series of steps that Photoshop will follow very quickly. I have about 4 that I use daily which I have created. They are typically 15 to 20 steps long. What would take me 15 minutes to do manually, the action does in a minute. For example I use an action to take a two page album spread and cut it in two to images, adjusting the image for the gutter (area where pages come together) so the spread looks good when the book is opened.

If you can’t write them, look on-line for them using your favorite search engine. One good site is - Lots of free actions. Even if you don’t use them, you can see how they are constructed and learn some things about Photoshop. Assign the ones you use to function keys to save time running them. You can even use these in batch processes to do a hundred images at once.

Get some training on Photoshop. Attend classes, read magazines or even on-line. Lots of good free videos are available on YouTube. Photoshop is very powerful and some basic training will go a long way.

The one tool you should get is a tablet, such as those by Wacom. They make a $80 small tablet that does everything a photographer needs – the Bamboo. It will save you huge amounts of time once get used to using it. Later you may wish to upgrade to a large one, but I have both and have found the small one is as good or possibly better for my photo work.

The other big time saver I cannot stress enough. Learn the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. I cannot stress enough how much time this will save you. It doesn’t take long. Here’s how to do it quickly. Each time you go to click on a tool or menu item. Look at the short cut and then use it instead of clicking. The items you use a lot you will learn in a very shot time.

Once again I’ve gotten long winded here. Feel free to drop me a line with questions. For those in the Phoenix area I do teach retouching with Photoshop.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Photography - How to Succeed Part III

This is the third part on succeeding as a photographer. The question I am always getting is what equipment and tools should I buy. Canon or Nikon is coming out with a new whiz-bang gizmo, should I buy it? In short, probably not. I am not going to recommend brands, because as long as you stick to the major manufacturers it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the long run.

First off are cameras. The body you choose depends on what you will actually be shooting. Shooting action sports a camera with decent frame rate should be considered. Also read up on focus speed and tracking. Portraits low light may be important, so look at noise levels for these images. In the end a lot of photographers choose a camera which does well in both areas, but isn’t the best at any. Another option is two cameras, one suited for each style.

Eventually you will want to have two cameras. As a professional you need to have a back-up available. In the beginning I suggest renting your back-up camera until revenues justify owning a second. Also remember your back-up does not need to be the same model as your primary. A lower end camera can work fine.

Which brand of camera should you use? If you know other photographers, using the same brand could be beneficial. You have the ability to possibly borrow a lens for flash in an emergency if you use the same gear. Also you will have someone to ask questions.

Lenses are another area of debate. A prime vs. zooms is the one of the biggest questions. Primes almost always give better results than zooms. But in the real world, it can be very difficult to tell if you have good zooms. The most important thing is to buy good lenses. You will have them for a long time, whereas camera bodies in the digital world have become consumables unfortunately. Again, rent the specialty lenses as you need them.

Lighting completes the picture. Reflectors and bounce cards are your friend. Learn to use them and you will need fewer lights. If you are shooting outside the studio you need a good on camera flash. Lots of modifiers are available read reviews and get one you like, or make one. Also the ability to use your flash off camera will come in handy, so consider this as a future upgrade – brackets with cords or wireless remotes for longer distances.

In studio you can do a lot with just two lights, especially with the use of reflectors and a few modifiers. Umbrellas are the lowest cost for starters, but softboxes tend to be the favorites. Get some decent stands and some sandbags to keep the lights from falling over. Once again look at wireless remotes. Some lights have them built-in. Again this equipment can be rented as needed when you are starting out.

In fact renting a studio is a good idea when starting. A studio is a huge overhead. Many studios rent to other photographers, and some cities have studios that only exist for rental purposes.

Insurance is probably one of the most important items that photographers overlook. You need to not only insure your equipment, but also have liability insurance. You may be able to add onto your home owner’s policy when you start out.

The biggest equipment area is spending. Don’t buy until you can justify with revenue. If you don’t manage your money, there will be no money to manage.

Next week I will continue this discussion and talk about computers, software and organizations.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix Area Photograph Studio Rental

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Photography - How to succeed part 2

Last week I wrote about providing the clients what they want. Today I am going to spend some time going over another key area in being a successful photographer – working with your clients during the shoot. If you shy and want to hide behind your camera, shooting people is not where you should be. But photographing products, nature or architecture may be a better area for you to specialize.

Unless you are shooting a professional model, most people need direction to create a photograph that they will love. You will even hear the person say “I hate having my photo taken” or “I’m not very photogenic.” Getting to the root cause of these thoughts will help you create the images desired.

I go for the direct approach by asking “What makes you feel that you are not photogenic?” or “Why do you hate having your photo taken?” Very often their answers will be easily addressed during the session. Sometimes it just creative posing and other times it is going for the less staged portrait. The key is to understand their concern and relieve it.

To get natural smiles I have a running dialog during the shoot, telling really bad jokes and general being a bit silly. Sometimes I talk about movies or TV. Just find an interest of theirs and talk about it. This will take them away from thinking about the photos and get them relaxed enough to create great photographs.

You may have seen that commercial where the dad says “I know all the songs from High School Musical.” The child is embarrassed by the singing and dancing dad. But by being aware of the world of your subject you can relax them. Shoot younger kids know Sponge Bob. You get the idea.

Another thing to consider is shooting with music. Have clients bring an mp3 player of their favorite songs to patch into the sound system. If they don’t bring one, ask what station they want on the radio.

And of course, getting feedback as soon as possible helps so much. Some photographers hate showing the clients the LCD. I find that limited use can be a huge benefit. Nothing works more to put a client at ease then showing them a great shot on the LCD.

And of course a running commentary on the shots helps too. I am always saying “Wow!” or “Amazing!” or “This is a great shot” etc. Your positive chatter boosts your client. And the best part is, you should being telling the truth. These are great shots of the client.

So what it comes down to is making the client feel comfortable. You need to remove the stress and make the photography session a fun experience. You need to very quickly develop a relationship with the client. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with a lot of very successful photographers and thoughts are common across the group.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photography - How to succeed

How to succeed as a photographer is a question that I am frequently asked. Typically people want to know what kind of camera the need, or what Photoshop tools to use. The answer I give often surprises them.

First learn how to take a good photograph. The take an art class and learn composition and color. Then get a basic understanding of how to control light. Finally learn how to use your camera in manual mode. Now you can take photographs, but this will not make you successful, merely qualified to be a photographer.

To be a successful photographer you need to know how to work with your clients. Being able to read their needs and desires for a photography session is critical. If you merely meet their needs, they won’t leave happy. You want happy customers, as they come back and they also send you referrals.

Being successful is not about up selling your clients into huge portraits. Sure you make a profit, but you don’t build confidence. Sell a client what they really want, not necessarily what they ask for, and they will be very happy.

For example when a client comes for a portrait session I will ask what they plan to do with the photograph. Are they going to need prints for family and friends? Where in the home will the photograph be hung and how large is the space. This allows me to suggest the proper size for the space, typically larger than they thought, but on occasion smaller.

For the friends and family prints I discuss with them the option of acquiring digital files to print themselves or I can do the prints if they would prefer the convenience and quality control. Most clients will get the “important” prints done by me and use the digital file for email and secondary prints.

Providing the client with what they want is only a small part of being a successful photographer. Next week I will continue with part II on this topic.

Orcatek Photography – Phoenix

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Automobile and Motorcycle Studio Photography

Motorcycle or photography in the studio presents some interesting challenges. For this week I will take a look at some of the many options for dealing with these details.

First of all cars are big and don’t move easily to “adjust their pose”. Motorcycles are a bit simpler to photograph as they can move easier, but cars or trucks are just a whole lot of work. Careful planning is required.

The first thing you need is a studio that has enough space to hold the car and allow you to get far enough away to shoot it. If the photographer is too close you will need to use your wide angle lens leading to shots where the vehicle will have a huge front end for example. Sometimes this look can be what you want, but more often than not, it is problematic. I prefer to be a good 20 or more feet to keep proportions correct.

For moving the car around the studio, car wheel dollies are great. One goes under each tire and you can jack it up then basically push the car in any direction that you want, even spin it in a circle. They are not a cheap tool, but if you shoot a lot of cars, they are well worth the investment.

Lighting is another key. You need a large soft light from above for most automotive work. Since I shoot on white, I have painted my light stands and cords white to hide them in reflections. Nothing more annoying than a beautiful white highlight on a car with a light stand jumping out at you.

The other most difficult thing to deal with is reflections. The whole automobile is one great big mirror. Chrome on motorcycles can be even worse. And of course the classic black hot rod looks great, but shows everything. A very clean studio area is critical. Anything that must remain should be pushed as far away as possible from the car. This includes yourself and your assistants.

I actually have my assistants step off set behind a wall in my studio. I wear black to help hide my reflection. Another reason for keeping the photographer to automobile distance large during the shoot, is that it makes the reflections much smaller and easier to deal with in post.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. And if you are in the Phoenix area, I do rent my studio to other photographers.

Orcatek Automotive and Motorcycle Photography

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Couples Fine Art for the Boudoir

When a couple comes to my studio for a boudoir session, they often don’t really know exactly what they want other than they would like to pose together. So the first thing I like to show them as a photographer is some of my couple’s fine art nude work.

Very often the fine art nude style is something they hadn’t considered but are very interested in doing some. They describe these types of photographs as “classy”, something they could actually display in their home for others to see.

Creating complimenting shapes with couples does present some extra challenges. You now have two bodies which you need to protect modesty. Additionally they both may have some physical attributes which they would prefer to be managed. However with careful posing and lighting, the photographer can create photographs which anybody would be proud to display in their home.

One method photographers like is to intertwine the bodies of the man and women, wrapping arms and legs into a twisted puzzle. I shoot tight, often making in a challenge to identify the body part owner’s in the photograph.

Another technique it to compare or contrast the same body part. Chests, backs and rears are all great choices for this style of photograph.

Fine art nudes are not typically thought of as boudoir by many, but adding them to the styles available to boudoir photography clients provides an opportunity for couples to create photographs that are tasteful and beautiful.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography – Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Motorcyles on the Beach

This week it was off to the beach for to photography a motorcycle. Shooting a motorcycle at a beach is very difficult. The biggest challenge is the motorcycle will sink into the beach.

On a sandy beach I would bury a layer or two of plywood just below the surface of the sand and then smooth it out after placing the bike. In this case the beach had a hard area that was not sandy at all. Being hard and dry the bike could stand on its own.

I was pretty happy with the end result. When things were set and I liked where the sun was, creating a good shadow. Adding in some additional light to fill in the rest of the shot and it came together as I had imagined.

Orcatek Automotive and Motorcycle Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family and Maternity

Pregnancy is a very special time for the entire family. A great way to show this is to involve the entire family in some of the maternity photographs. The sample here shows a future big sister posing with her future little brother.

Everyone in the family is looking forward to the new baby. Featuring them in the photo session makes the day fun for everyone. Children always seem to come alive when they are asked to pose with their future sibling. They often have their own ideas of what they want to do, so I always take a few minutes to shoot a few of those frames to keep the enthusiasm going.

And a proud father always makes for a special moment. The love that you see when the father and mother pose together makes for an amazing photograph. Capturing this emotional time for the couple creates heirlooms that will be remembered forever.

So consider bringing the family for part of your maternity photography session. Or maybe do two session, one with the family and one to feature just you.

Orcatek Maternity Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Maternity Bodyscapes

This week one of my most enjoyable shoots was a maternity photography session. Pregnancy is such a special time that it really needs to be captured in a way that will be a lasting memory. I find that using non-traditional techniques in the maternity photography arena gives my clients something different.

Bodyscapes are an area that I find is very effective for maternity photographs. Traditionally reserved for the fine art nude community, they make an excellent way to capture the magic of pregnancy. My favorite technique is rim light to really show off the shape of the belly.

I use an elevated table for the mothers-to-be to lie on so they don’t have to face the challenge of getting up from a low bed or mattress. A single step up and they can easily lie down on the padded table.

When I mention bodyscapes to my clients they often have no idea what I mean. But once they see some sample shots they are sold.

Orcatek Maternity Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boudoir Photography - Changing Lives

This week I have received an surprise e-mail from Ellen, a woman that had a boudoir photography session a few months ago. In it she talked about how much she her husband still loved the book we created, but she also wrote about something else the book had done for her. Something she had not expected, but it was something she could not thank me enough for.

Ellen was my typical client type, a real woman – in her late thirties who didn’t live in a gym. She only did the book as her husband had been raving about how much his friend loved the one he got from his wife.

She said that I could quote part of her very personal letter here:

“I never really saw myself as beautiful. I always felt plain or average. Whenever I would look in the mirror I would focus on what I saw as my flaws.

But now my life has changed. The boudoir photographs you took brought out all my best features and made me look more beautiful than I had ever imagined. I have found a new confidence that came from seeing myself they way Dave has seen me. He has always told me that he loved the way I looked and now I see it too.

I just didn’t know where to look for my own beauty before the session. I was blinded by my own point of view. Now when I look in the mirror I give myself a quick look and do a little turn and there I am, SEXY Ellen. It sets my mood for the entire day, confident and proud.

Thank you so much for finding the real me. Dave says thanks too!”

It made me feel good to get this letter and know that I had an impact on someone life. Good luck Ellen, you deserve the best!

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography - Scottsdale

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Girls Come to Town

This week was an extra fun week in the studio. A group of three wonderful women came to town for boudoir / glamour sessions. They were a referral from a prior client whose book that had seen and decided they all wanted to do one too. They liked how sexy yet classy the photographs looked.

The group had scheduled several weeks ago so I was able to find a time where they could all shoot on the same day. Groups like this are especially fun for everyone as they help each other with changes of outfits and encourage one another with their comments. The fun of doing the photo shoot with friends creates a party atmosphere.

The decision on who should go first is always an interesting group dynamic. This time the decision was easy as Beth was ready first. I always start by doing my “warm-up” set on the first outfit. It is a quick set to see how the woman responds in front of the camera and to let her begin to develop her comfort level. The set runs through some standing, sitting and laying poses and allows me to quickly show them how good they look.

Beth was a bit nervous at first, but after about 5 minutes Jessica was ready and began to watch and encourage her with comments on how sexy she was looking. A few minutes later Sharon was ready too. The two of them continued rooting Beth on through the warm-up. I then did Jessica’s and Beth’s warm-ups too.

The ladies were all now really getting into the grove as we progressed onto their next outfits. This time Sharon went first. As the others finished getting ready they came to watch and would often comment on how they wanted a shot just like the one I just shot. As their turns came up I made sure to get those shots they had requested.

Each girl typically gets a set of similar poses, but not the same as I like to work with the flow as I shoot each woman. I see how she moves and what looks best for her body type and adjust as needed to bring out the very best. I never want my boudoir photography to become boring or formula. Each shoot needs to be different to bring out the special something that makes each woman unique.

This group had two who wanted to do some nudes, whereas Sharon had said she didn’t think she wanted any. I prefer to shoot my nudes low-key and in black and white, but depending on the mood of the shoot will stray away from B&W and the low-key set. Today it ended up being a mix of set-ups as we moved between the different sets in the studio. Jessica saw the implied nudes which most of my nudes actually are and decided since she was actually covered in the photograph she wanted some too because they looked so sexy.

Jessica ended up being the star of the nude session. Once she started to see some of the images she really got into the mood and did an amazing job. Something just switched on and she became so relaxed and her photographs showed her new confidence.

We continued the day through various outfits and sets. Each one of them ended up with a wide variety of looks to choose from for their books. There are going to be a lot of very happy men next month when they get their books.

Orcatek Boudoir Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weather Thwarts Flight

Spent last week in San Francisco, California shooting photographs for an article on Airship Ventures. They provide rides in their airships over the area. The views should be spectacular. They fly to other areas around California for special events.

The plan was to come up to their base at Moffett Field and do their two hour flight to get plenty of variety of shots from the air. Unfortunately the first day low clouds caused our flight to be canceled. No problem, we would just go on the shorter bay area flight scheduled for the next day out of Oakland.

As we arrive at the meeting point in Oakland things look like a go. Then we get the bad news, winds were too high for our flight and we were canceled again. Winds are a big deal to airships, as they get blown about pretty easily being lighter than air. Whereas they are capable of flying in the winds of the day, the do not as the ride is very rough, unpleasant and possibly dangerous to passengers. Good call by them, but a disappointment to us.

I did manage to get these shots of the airship when stopped by Moffett for our ground shots. We will be going by soon to take the flight and finish the article.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Glowing Maternity Photography

Capturing that magical look that pregnancy brings to a woman is such a rewarding type of photography. I really enjoy working with pregnant women to document this time in their lives. These photographs will become heirlooms that the family will treasure through generations.

When I shoot maternity photographs I take my experience from glamour and boudoir and apply those techniques. The softness desired in glamour photography creates very beautiful maternity images. The future moms are prefect for this type of look.

Also, I find the lighting techniques from glamour and fine art come into play. Using the light and shadows to contour and hi-light the shape of her belly takes an excellent knowledge of lighting. In my fine art work I shoot what are known as bodyscapes, and pregnancy creates some amazing opportunities for this type of photography.

Often the father and/or siblings will pose with the mom to be to show the family’s newest member in their first “portrait”. And of course there are plenty of fun maternity poses such as baby blocks on the belly and hand hearts that are always fun.

As always I am looking forward to my next maternity photo shoot. I know that it will be a joy working with the pregnant mom to be.

Orcatek Maternity Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shooting cars at The Studio

This week I had the chance to shoot a car in my new studio. Having done a lot of automotive photography, I knew just what I wanted as the new studio was created. As I moved the test car into the studio I could see that everything had come together just as I wanted.

The lighting was everything I had hoped it would be. This shot gave me just what I wanted using the standard configuration.

I plan on doing a lot more automotive photography in future in the studio. Location work falls off so much here in Phoenix during the summer due to the heat. Now I can do the shoots in the studio while I enjoy the air conditioning.

The only thing that I will be adding is some hydraulic car wheel dollies to make positioning the car easier. With them if the photographer needs to rotate the car and inch or two it is a quick job to do as opposed to trying to drive the car back and forth to get it perfect.

The Studio is available for rental to other photographers.

Orcatek Photography

The Studio – Phoenix

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Studio is now open

The Studio is officially open for business. We built the Studio so that photographers could rent a studio with the features to create amazing work without paying for all the flashy stuff that doesn’t pay the bills. With today’s tight economy, photographers need to watch their budgets very close. The Studio is the answer to their needs.

We have four primary shooting areas available for rent. Each bay was created to fit the varied needs of a photographer. Why rent what you don’t need. Of course if you need more we have that too.

The first bay is a large cyclorama which is 20x36. Plenty big for photographing cars and large groups. With two cove corners to allow the photographer to work with ease.

The second bay is a small cyclorama which is 18 feet wide. The bay extends back 23 feet. Perfect for fashion photography.

Bays three and four are what we call our standard bays. They are 18 feet wide and 23 feet deep. Bring your own backdrops or rent our seamless papers.

The bays can be draped off for privacy as needed.

Located on the Tempe / Scottsdale / Phoenix border, it is the perfect location.

It took a lot of time and effort to build The Studio, but it was worth it. We have already had photographers come in from Los Angeles and they said it was just what they needed – affordable quality and functionality. Exactly what we had in mind.

The Studio – Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and the rest of Arizona

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Studio Construction Continues

Studio construction continues as we race towards a May 1 completion. Painting is scheduled to begin Wednesday on the main studio. The lobby is scheduled for paint today.

So many things to get done, power, internet, alarms, audio systems, new locks, moving equipment, new furniture, permits, etc. Slowly but surely it moves on. We have our first scheduled shoot for May 2, sure hope we are ready!

BTW, if you need a great drywall guy in Phoenix, message me and I can hook you up.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Skylights in the Studio

The new studio is still in progress with the build out, but I couldn’t resist testing out the skylights to see if they were going to be as nice as I had hoped. They were better than I had hoped. Simply set the camera up - ISO 400, F5.6, 1/60 and shoot away.

Lots of freedom of movement around the studio area as the pool of light is very large. The skylights themselves are 4x8 and about 21 feet above the floor.

This sample shot is pretty much straight out of camera. I just cropped and reduced it in Photoshop.

We are still on schedule for a May 1 opening of The Studio. Back to the work to make sure everything gets done.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Couples Boudoir

Boudoir photography of a couple presents a whole new set of challenges. Each of them can be overcome by the photographer. Many of these issues are the same in a multi-person photograph, but some are more specific to boudoir and glamour.

Lighting multiple people is always a challenge, but boudoir tends to use much more dramatic lighting than your typical portrait. More shadows from direction light. Often the couple will be facing each other so care must be taken by the photographer to keep one of the faces from falling too far into shadow. I always use the main light on the woman’s face, the guy is secondary. Here I may use a fill card to bounce some light, or a fill light with various modifiers to keep the light from hitting parts I wanted in shadow.

Posing the couple also adds some challenges. First you always make sure that she looks great. Then he is posed to work with her body. The limited to lack of clothing also adds a few challenges. In my studio, no shots can show genitalia, poses must always conceal. Additionally clients may have other levels of modesty to preserve in the photographs. Sometimes it is a movement of a fraction of an inch of an arm or a leg to provide the needed coverage. Always checking through the viewfinder as they move from pose to pose, it takes a careful eye to keep the shots perfect.

Probably the most difficult challenge is the interaction portrayed in the photographs themselves. The photographer has to work to create a sensual image without it looking like something from an adult entertainment site. The best inspiration comes from fashion magazines, where they often show couples posed sexy but not trashy. The emotions I work to evoke from my clients are desire, love and passion, but avoid lust.

I have found boudoir couples sessions to be an emerging trend. I have been getting more and more questions about this type of photography. Hopefully the trend will continue, as the couples who choose to do boudoir together tend to be great fun to work with.

Orcatek Boudoir Photography – Phoenix, AZ

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nervous Nancy Does Boudoir

I got a call a few weeks ago from Nancy about doing a boudoir photo shoot for her future husband. She said that she had thought about calling before but got too nervous. This time she said she wanted to at least find out what boudoir photography was all about. I explained that boudoir was about finding the beauty that everyone has bringing it out in photographs.

I asked what her concerns were and she talked about how she wasn’t a model and didn’t have a perfect figure. I discussed how with posing in lighting we would make her look great. I explained how people in magazines look in print and in real life. She said she would like to come in and see some samples.

Nancy came to the studio and we reviewed the options and looked over my work. I showed her some before and after images of other shoots (I have permission to show these, privacy is important). After seeing this and talking more about her desires, she decide a book would be the perfect package. We scheduled her for last week.

She arrived at the shoot and was very nervous. She had brought a friend as we had discussed to help her change. Heather did Nancy’s hair and make-up as we chatted about various topics she began to relax a bit. I looked at her wardrobe and started planning the shoot sequence to minimize set changes.

As Nancy stepped in front of the camera I could see was nervous. I posed to show her what I wanted her to do. Me posing like a sexy woman always helps to break the ice. I took a few frames and showed her how she looked. Her friend took a look and told her she looked amazing, Nancy thought so too. Her nerves melted and we continued shooting.

I would stop every once in a while and show her how the shoot was progressing. Each time Nancy would just love the shots. Her friend flipped through my “idea” book and showed her some poses she should do. With her confidence at a high she agreed quickly and changed to an outfit for the new poses.

By the end of the shoot Nancy said she was having the best time. She said she can’t believe how relaxed I made her feel in such a short time. She had no idea boudoir photography would be so fun. Her friend decided she was going to come back next week to get some boudoir photographs for her husband.

Nancy called me after getting the proofs and said they looked even better than she imagined, and they haven’t even been retouched. She said it was going to be hard to pick just the photographs for her book. She asked if she could come back to do some more when her first anniversary comes around. How could I refuse?

Orcatek Boudoir Photography – Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Professional Make-up for Photography

Professional make-up for your photo shoot has many benefits for both the client and the photographer. I include make-up services in a lot of my packages and in others I let the client decide.

There are several benefits to the photographer. First is the reduction in the amount of time spent retouching. A good make-up artist (MUA) can make their skin look almost perfect. Additionally they keep the shine off the skin that some people get on their faces (both men and women). I hate retouching the shine off skin.

Now even if a client knows how to do their make-up (many are quite good), a professional MUA will be able to do things beyond this. Airbrushing the skin is one technique that yields awesome results that they provide. Additionally a MUA will be able to create specialized looks that fall outside the range of normal make-up. Classic pin-up is an example; another would be fashion make-up for model portfolios.

One of the benefits to my clients is how easy it is to just come to the studio and have everything handled for them. Many find it very relaxing to have their make-up done for them. We chat and joke around and get to know each other before the shoot. This puts the client at ease prior to the shoot, settling some of those pre-shoot jitters.

The MUA’s that I work with also travel to my location shoots. My clients love it when everything comes to them to make their shoot special. We’ve gone to client’s homes, hotels and even the middle of the desert. Every time the results were worth it.

Many MUA’s work in salons in addition to working with photographers. I have a team of MUA’s that I have used that provide incredible work. Having several on my team allows me to always have proven talent available when needed.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fine Art Nude Photography Vs Boudoir

Fine art nude photography is very different from glamour and boudoir photography, yet often clients like to add some photographs of this style to their shoots. They often feel that the fine art images can be displayed about for all to see, whereas they may find the boudoir images a bit too personal for such a public showing.

Boudoir and glamour photography is about making photographs to show beauty and reflect a sensual and sexy attitude. The pose, lighting and expressions are all designed to make the woman look stunning and glamorous. The photographer works to create an emotional response of desire in the viewer.

Fine art nude photographs are about showing the natural beauty of the human form. The shapes and textures of body are photographed. The expressions are typically serene; eye contact with the camera is less common. Poses are often less inviting than boudoir.

Sometimes the photographs are abstract in nature. The photographer limits the frame to a small portion of the body leaving the mind to ponder exactly what is shown. It is more about the shapes and lines than the actual body.

A common style of fine art nudes are bodyscapes. Lighting is used to create strong shadows and highlights, bringing the edge or shapes into the image. Clients find these images especially appealing as you can’t usually tell who the image is.

Fine art nude photography is still heavily black and white. Boudoir is more often photographed in color. Both disciplines do cross over, so take this generalization with a grain of salt. I personally tend to do my fine art in black and white.

Adding fine art photography to my offerings has given my clients another option for adding to their photography options during their sessions.

Orcatek Boudoir And Glamour Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Natural Light - Real or Fake

Natural light is a wondrous tool for photography. I had the opportunity yesterday to shoot in a room with a wall of north facing windows. The light coming in makes it so easy to create great images.

Great photographers through the years have often had studios with north facing windows and/or skylights. They knew that the light would give them amazing opportunities to create their work.

So you have two options in your studio. Option one is to have a wall of north facing windows to give you that great light. Windows on any side are still better than no windows. Other directions just are more or less effective depending on time of day. Sometimes I like windows with direct light on them to create the effect I want.

The other option is to fake a wall of north facing windows. To do this you need a good sized white wall. You then turn several strobes straight at the wall powered up a pretty good amount as they will be bouncing to create the light. A single strobe on a smaller white wall can work if you limit yourself to a smaller area. I like using the large wall as it just makes it easy for your model to move around the entire shooting area.

The faked wall is good, but not quite the same as the real thing. Sunlight just has a quality that the strobes can be made to come close to, but just miss.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Perfect Picture

Trying out new video tools

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Boudoir Fantasies

Boudoir photography is a great way to play out some fantasies. Everyone has some fantasies, most of a wide variety. With a little planning you can fulfill a fantasy or three during your boudoir photo session. You may even create a new one. Let’s talk about some of the classics to get you started.

Very popular is the naughty schoolgirl. Outfits include a short, typically red plaid skirt, a white halter top or shirt tied to a halter, and a variety of shoes. Props include books, pens, rulers, suckers and glasses. Movies such as “House Bunny” have kept this one popular. The flipside is naughty teacher.

Cheerleader is another classic with the obvious outfit. Props are of course pompoms. Often the pompoms are all that’s needed to create the fantasy photographs.

The naughty nurse fantasy is also popular with a lot of men. Outfits can be scrubs, a classic white nurse’s dress with stockings or a white lab coat. Props include stethoscopes, thermometers, tongue depressors, and bandages.

Then there is the bad secretary who just can’t seem to type. Short skirts and tops with button fronts are typically all that’s needed.

How about cooking in the nude wearing just an apron - watch out for the bacon grease. This of course leads to the maid who cleans more than houses. Both are common ideas that seem to run through a man’s mind.

Of course the movie classic, wearing nothing but an overcoat to meet him. It’s simple to create a wide variety of photographs with just an overcoat.

Of course if he is a fan of Mardi Gras, plenty of beads and a “flasher” top is all you need. Or add a feathered mask to go from Bourbon Street to the boudoir. Both are a fun way to bring create a mood.

And of some reason men really like they idea of two women together. So bring a friend who might be willing to add to your photos. I often just bring the second woman into the shots so she can remain anonymous. An arm across your body, a leg wrapped around yours is all it takes. If he doesn’t know who the other woman is it adds to the fantasy as in his mind he tries to figure it out.

Librarians, biker gals, ski bunnies, sports illustrated bikini model, Victoria’s Secret Angels, TV characters, hookers, massage therapist, nudist, delivery girl, mechanic, cowgirl, military, cigars, police, fire, construction worker, hitchhiker the list goes on and on. The only limits are your imagination. Think about what interests he has, and bet you can find a fantasy that fits it.

So discuss the fantasies you want to fulfill with your boudoir photographer. And of course you can use the session to show some of your fantasies too.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Photography on Location

Working on location with clients on location can be both fun and challenging. The resulting images though make it work the extra work required.

One of the biggest challenges faced when shooting on location is the lighting. Frequently these locations are outdoors so you have the sun to work with. Then comes the supplemental light needed to make the image come to life. Sometimes its reflectors, other times it is portable strobes. More often than not it is a combination. I personally like to use my speedlights as they are small and run on batteries.

The Pocket Wizard company has come up with a new version of their product that really makes this work well. Radio Poppers has also been selling a product to provide very similar features, albeit in a very different way. The end result is wireless control of your flashes using full ETTL in environments where the built-in IR method was difficult if not impossible to use. Both these products really add to options for location photography.

Another challenge on location is permission. Phoenix requires a permit to shoot anywhere in town that is not private property. Private property owners control their property. The city is actually pretty easy to work with, and the permit is not expensive if you meet the requirements. Private property owners can be hit or miss. Some are great, others are huge corporations that you can’t even find a person to say “yes or no”.

Other cities are in the Phoenix area are not so clear cut. I have contacted most of them and they say no photographer permit for small shoots that I typically do. However I have had police and park rangers ask for my photography permits. I always tell them the truth; I was told I don’t need them. If they insist, I ask them where I get them. In any case, I still have been run off a few times, and on follow-up found that no permit was required. Better to take walk away on your own, then in handcuffs, so I prefer not to fight it too much.

So check the rules in your area. Get some portable light control. And produce some great location images.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Before Baby Boudoir

A request that seems to becoming more frequent is the before baby boudoir photography session. The desire to preserve the memory of the time before becoming a mom brings many clients into the studio. This also leads to the wonders of a maternity session 7 to 8 months later to remember this special time. As it turns out, there is always a time to capture the beauty of a women worth remembering, each one special for it’s own reason.

My clients give a variety of reasons for wanting a before baby boudoir photography session. Each one unique in their own special way. In the end it creates a memory for both him and her that will last a lifetime. Some feel the won’t feel sexy after the baby arrives, other are concerned about body changes that can occur, and still some just feel that is something that a mom “can’t do,” so they should do it now.

Whatever the reason, every woman deserves to feel beautiful and sexy at any time in her life. And that is what boudoir photography is all about, capturing the wonderful beauty that resides in every woman at any time.

In the end I have had many clients how came in before baby and returned after baby to do it again. They found that being sexy was not limited by having a baby. They tell me that doing the sessions before and after baby was the perfect way to celebrate themselves.

Orcatek Boudoir And Glamour Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Power of Black and White

When color photography first came out, everyone was excited. Now we could see things in the colors they actually are seen. Slowly over time black and white faded out and was seldom used. Along came digital and it started in color as we expected color from digital, just like we did from our film.

Now black and white images get noticed as they stand out from the sea of color photographs. They add an artistic value in the eyes of many consumers of photography. They create a feeling and look that just isn’t there in color.

Take the image show here. It would be very different in color. Sure it would contain more information about the tone of her skin, is she pale, tan, darker or lighter than you. In black and white it is difficult to infer. What becomes more important is the shapes and how light catches it.

Shadows vs light become the key to defining an image. Creating a digital image is not as simple as choosing black and white on your camera or in Photoshop. You need to plan ahead of time to create the textures and mood you desire. Lighting will be planned differently to get the contrast desired.

Sure I use the B&W setting on my camera to preview the idea. I also tweak those settings to fit my vision of the shot to aid in my set-up.

Colored filters are often used to create to change the color relationships when converted to black and white. In color it would throw a skin tone way off, but in black and white it can enhance or reduce features as you desire.

I like to explore black and white when create boudoir images as it brings them to another level. I find clients all love seem to love it too.

Orcatek Boudoir And Glamour Photography - Phoenix, Arizona

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Digital in the Studio

This week I had the chance to work with a wide variety of clients, with all different needs. They all had one thing in common though; they wanted to look great and were nervous about getting their picture done.

The advantage of using a digital camera quickly becomes obvious. There are several major benefits to using a digital camera. It becomes a valuable tool in putting a client at ease.

First with the instant feed back you can show them instant feedback from the rear of the camera as to what the shots are looking like. Clients what to know that they are “doing it right” when giving them direction. By showing how good the photography looks, they can relax and make the pictures even better.

Second it allows for proofing during a shoot. When shooting a head shot I will shoot in batches. Shoot a batch review on a computer to either select a shot, or use as a point of discussion to discover what they like and tune the shoot to get the shot they desire. Very often when the client sees the shots on the computer they find that they like a pose that they had never considered.

And of course digital allows for quick deletion of those really bad shots where clients blink or anything else. This gives the client a much better set of proofs from which to select their photographs.

Lastly digital allows the photographer to capture more frames. The cost per frame is much lower than film. I find photographers in the digital age more willing to experiment, knowing that it is very cheap to do so.

I know digital has made my clients happier, and it has made me more productive.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Rush for Valentines Boudoir

What a week. Valentines Day is rapidly approaching and I have so many boudoir and glamour sets to edit and print for a wonderful bunch of clients. The shoots are always fun and always different as each person has their own personality we work to bring through during the shoot.

I had special requests this year for cars, motorcycles, cigars, feet, guns, basketballs, poker, flowers, balloons, candy and groups to name a few. It was always interesting and sometimes challenging, but always fun. Making the photographs look sexy without looking trashy is what creates images that are fun to show off.

This year I had more clients bring in samples of what they would like to have done. This always helpful as it lets me get a feeling for their style. Sometimes they are pages from magazines, but more often it is images they have found on the web. These sample photographs give ideas where to go with their shoot. Do they prefer B&W or lots of shadows or maybe some high-key photographs.

I have my own sample book of boudoir and glamour photographs that I have at the shoots to let them look through if they do not bring any samples. It is interesting as during the shoot as they relax they often ask for some styles that they had not mentioned before. Digital cameras allow them to see what they are looking like and they realize that I will make them look great in photographs they didn’t think they could do.

I better get back to sorting out the proofs, deleting the blinks and other odd photographs and send them off to the client.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography – Phoenix.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Implied Nude

The implied nude image is very popular in today’s boudoir photography. The image by definition does not show body parts that would be considered part of a nude image. These photographs allow the client to appear very sexy while remaining modest. It creates a photograph they could “show their mother.”

There is a art to creating the this look, and the photographer should be aware of the variety of ways to create this look. The primary methods are props, poses, shadows and Photoshop. Sometimes a combination is used to create that perfect photograph.

The easiest way is through the use of props. A perfect example was the recent issue of GQ where Jennifer Aniston used a men’s tie to cover her body. A sheet is often used, held to cover key areas, yet exposing as much as possible. In my studio I often use a simple wooden chair, where careful posing can hide the few key inches here and there.

Poses are where a photographer’s skill comes more into the mix. For a great image, it really needs to look as if the pose was not trying to hide body parts, but the hiding was merely incidental. The typical example of a “bad” image is the hands grabbing the chest to hide it. A draped arm like is this sample covers the body, yet remains classy.

Shadows are the most difficult method for a photographer to master. Understanding exactly how the light will fall is key to success. I prefer to work with modeling lights when possible to allow me to more easily visualize how the shadows fall so I can fine tune the pose and the light placement. Other times I go from experience in environments where this level of control is not possible.

Finally I include Photoshop. Typically this is used to remove a thong strap from a photograph for the client to create the look while allowing their modesty during the shoot. Many women, who are comfortable being topless at a photo shoot, do not want to be totally nude. With the use of Photoshop they can still get the photographs they want to have created and be within their comfort zone.

It is pretty easy to see how a combination of these methods can be used to create a greater variety of options for implied nude photographs. Most of my images usually use a combination of methods, allowing me to make sure there is something unique for each client.

Boudoir clients often want to be very sexy, yet still be conservative. Implied nudes fill that need making them a great addition to boudoir and glamour photographer’s bag of tricks.

Orcatek Boudoir and Glamour Photography - Phoenix

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Canon 50D does Barrett-Jackson

I love January in Phoenix as it is the time of year when all the car auctions come to town. I enjoy the opportunity to see so many wonderful cars all gathered in one location. Last week I spent some time at Barrett-Jackson with my Canon 50D.

The lighting is all over the board at these auctions – full sun, open shade, tungsten, and mixed. I knew this would give the 50D a good chance to be tested. I had done some shooting with it outdoors and in studio, so I knew it worked well in these environments, but the indoor shots with random lighting seemed like it would be a challenge.

With prior cameras I would just crank up the ISO and shoot in AV mode keeping an eye on the shutter speed vs the focal length, tweaking the ISO where I could get away with it. The 50D now has an auto mode for ISO that I decided to get a test shooting the stage. As the cars move across the stage the lighting varies dramatically, and I wanted to get the cars in the clear, so I there was no one spot that they could be shot.

And not being a bidder, this meant I had to shoot from the cheap seats, so flash was out of the question. So I decided to switch the ISO to auto and see how the camera behaved. The ISO swung from 400 to 1250 depending on where I had the camera pointed and what aperture I selected. It kept the shutter speed within acceptable hand holding for the focal and length and never seemed to falter.

Upon reviewing the shots I was quite pleased with the results. Even though the noise level is acceptable for this type of work at the highest range the camera selected, it was nice to have even cleaner shots available when the light was better. I can really see where this feature can come in handy and why the Nikon users have always spoken so highly about the usefulness of this setting.

Auto-focus is also something I got a chance to test under the poor lighting and the 50D did great. I was very happy to see that it locked quickly and accurately under some tough conditions. The images were focused correctly and the camera only hunted when it faced the toughest targets where there was no contract to be seen. Experience has taught me to just focus on an edge and then recompose to the low contrast area as needed.

I will feel quite comfortable using the Canon 50D for this type of event in the future. Next week I hope to spend some time with my 5DII in the studio.

Orcatek Photograrphy - Phoenix

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Imaging USA in Phoenix

Once again it was time for the Professional Photographers Association (PPA) to have their annual conference Imagine USA. The event was held here in Phoenix this year and it gave me a chance to try out our no light rail system from Valley Metro.

The light rail was easy to use and full, but not crowded during the times I traveled. They did check my ticket on two occasions during the convention. If I had to travel to Phoenix on a daily basis I could easily see using this. Wish the voters had approved it back in the ‘80s. Now we would have a great system instead of the limited line we have now.

The convention was great as usual. For those who haven’t been before it consists of a tradeshow where you can see all the latest and greatest products. And a series of seminars/classes were you can learn from the best in the industry.

The tradeshow was very helpful for me as I was looking for some new providers for some of the products I use. I was able see the products to make educated decisions on which vendors to choose. Sometimes it was a very difficult choice as several vendors had very high quality products at similar price points. In this case I am going to order studio samples from each to see how there service performs.

I also saw several products I had wondered about after seeing them in magazines. Some were better than I expected, and others were good but had something I found that kept me from buying.

The seminars and classes were overall pretty good, but there were a few that were bad and I left part way through and switch subjects. The classes covered business, techniques, Photoshop and trends. Several of the speakers I wish I could see in a smaller venue to really pick their brains as their knowledge was so incredible on the topics they discussed.

I ran into lots of other photographers that I know and it was good to get caught up on what each of them was doing. Since it was here in Phoenix I skipped the parties where a lot of the networking takes place.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Valentines Day is Coming

Welcome back to my blog. I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Even though Valentines Day is over a month away, it is a good time to start thinking about giving photographs as a gift. Between scheduling, select proofs and production of your gift, it does take some time for the process.

Of course boudoir and glamour photographs are very popular for lovers. These special photographs are a gift that is always well received. There are so many options within this area that your photographer can help you choose the perfect package to fit your needs.

But Valentines need not be limited to boudoir and glamour. Traditional portraits also make a wonderful gift. Everyone wants a nice photo of that special person in their lives. A professional portrait is a great way to say “I love you.”

And couples portraits are also a great idea. A photograph of the two of you showing your love for each other in your eyes will make you both feel great each time you look at it.

So don’t miss out and book your with your photographer soon.

Orcatek Photography - Phoenix