For important photographs you may need someone who can take your images to the next level. That's what I can offer you, and here's what allows me to do that:

  • Equipment. Some photographs simply require specialized equipment. I have over $8000 worth of professional imaging equipment, including a full-frame DSLR, multiple prime lenses and wide aperture zooms, portable lighting equipment, filters, a high-end computer and several advanced software programs.

  • Lighting and Exposure Experience. My background in film and TV contributes to my ability to correctly light and expose even the most challenging situations. The "auto" setting on most modern cameras is pretty good, but many situations confuse the camera's sensors and it takes experience to be able to get the best exposure. And proper lighting is often what makes good photos great.

  • Attention to Detail. When I first started taking photos professionally, I was shocked to learn when I looked at the photos later that I often missed crucial details which distracted from the subject of the photograph. One of the hardest things about photography is not the technical aspects but the ability to pay attention to many things at once. That ability can only come with the kind of experience I now have.

  • Post-Production Skills. Today's digital camera are amazing. But they still aren't as good as the human eye. In order to make your images the best they can be, they must be adjusted, corrected and manipulated with advanced computer software. I prefer a natural look (I never want anything to appear "Photoshopped") but even subtle adjustments take time and expertise.

  • Creativity. The best shot is rarely the most obvious shot. Creativity is a muscle that must be constantly exercised.

  • People Skills. The most difficult thing about photography is often the ability to work with different types of people. Whether it's wrangling a large group for a group portrait or making people feel comfortable when all the attention is on them for a headshot, people skills tend to be the most important ability I have.
For this portrait of an interracial couple on their wedding day, the overcast day provided a nice soft and even light, but it wasn't enough to properly expose both skin tones while making sure that the light off the lake wasn't overexposed. I brought in a portable flash with a white umbrella, which created a soft light on the couple. I also adjusted the flash to be slightly orange to provide a warmer look, and in post I increased the saturation, which is often necessary for photos shot on overcast days.
For this presentation, the light in the room was okay, but not enough for a high quality image. In the photo on the left, notice the dark shadows under her cheek and brow. It's also a bit grainier as I had to boost the sensitivity of the sensor in the low light. With a properly-placed flash, softened by a light sphere, the photo on the right is clearly superior.
While the human eye can see a vast range of light and dark, digital cameras are still not at that level. If we expose for the brightest spot, the darkest spot will be underexposed. We have to use a combination of lighting and post-production tricks. Also, while our eyes can make mental adjustments to the color of a light (notice the orange light from the lamp verses the more natural light from outside), images from digital cameras must usually be color-corrected.
Here's another example. Even today's most advanced DSLRs can't properly expose both the bright sun outside and the much darker light indoors. Notice in the image on the left how the light from outside is a harsh bright blue and the light indoors is darker orange. With proper lighting and precise post-production adjustments, the view can nowbe seen, the wood floor is visible and the colors are well balanced.
Sometimes lighting fixtures have unique, hard-to-find bulbs. Thankfully I'm a Photoshop pro and was able to digitally replace it.
More to come...