Friday, March 28, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Photography Background: DIY Crackle Paint

Here at Luke Photography, it is time to start building new sets and painting new backgrounds for the upcoming senior portrait season.  This year, I've decided to add a few new grungy backgrounds to the options that I have for senior pictures.  One background is authentically weathered and beaten down, the other had to appear that way.

I visited a salvage yard that sells old architectural parts that are taken from buildings that are slated for demolition or major renovation, and purchased couple of pairs of old exterior shutters that are 8 feet tall. Years of sun exposure and weather have cracked, peeled and faded the paint, and they had a beautiful patina on them.  All it took was a wire brush to scrape off the loose paint, and they were good to go.

I acquired five fiberglass interior doors in the past 6 months.  Didn't pay a dime for them.  Three were being thrown out, and I rescued them before they hit the dumpster. The last two doors were near the curb in my neighborhood on trash day.  Score.  Now I had to make them look as old as the shutters, without waiting 80 years.  Yeah, I'm a little impatient.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Attention Amateur Photographers: It's Not About the Camera

I was photographing my local high school hockey team last night and there was a father of a player on the opposing team alongside me.  As photographers secretly always do, we were both sneaking peeks at the other's choice of camera and lenses.  He had a high-end Canon camera and lens, both of which are often seen in the hands of professionals.  He held the camera dearly, shooting and immediately checking the results on the camera's LCD screen, and seemed genuinely interested in why I was just standing there calmly watching the teams warm up, my camera snuggled in my bag.  Surely I couldn't know what I was doing.

During the player introductions, I pulled the camera out, took one test shot, and stood at attention during the national anthem, while he was still shooting and frowning at the results.  Once the game was about to begin, we exchanged pleasantries, and that's when the chat-fest began.  He was having trouble getting good color rendition, exposure, and asked me what I was doing.  I explained that I had previously set a custom white balance for the ice rink so that my colors were perfect, and I know the light levels in the rink, so that my exposures were always consistent.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Speaking Engagement at Photo Northeast 2014

I will be returning to the Photo Northeast convention in Woodcliff Lake, NJ as a speaker again in 2014.  I was asked to present my program "Sports Portraits With an Edge" on how I create unique and dynamic sports portraits.

I have gotten quite a following among both photographers and high school athletes for the interesting images I create, while trying to make these 17 year old kids look like professional athletes.

Link to Speaker Page

I last spoke at Photo Northeast in 2011 when I presented my very popular "Big Budget Results with Low Budget Equipment".

Friday, November 1, 2013

Photographing Sports in the Rain

 Luke Photography, sports photos in rain

I like to support the local high school's athletes, especially those who've come through the studio for senior portraits, by taking photos during their games.  In the fall and spring seasons, there are many times here in the Rochester, NY area when it is raining, and I needed a way to keep myself and camera dry while photographing sports games without going out any buying expensive rain gear for myself and the camera. Holding an umbrella while you are photographing anything is a lesson in futility, so I needed a hands-free umbrella option, using items I already had.

Luke Photography, sports photos in rain
I needed a way to hold the umbrella in place over my head, without holding it.  If you've ever watched flag bearers marching during a parade, you've seen the belt-type apparatus that the end of the flag sits in while they're marching.  I needed this, and then something to hold the umbrella further up the shaft, to ensure that it stayed upright during use.

I dug out a PCV structural fitting from a past project (DIY light table) and dug out a nylon strap used to mount my kayak to my car.  I cut slots in the PVC fitting so I could thread the nylon strap through and create a base that the butt end of the umbrella could sit in.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What Successful People Do On the Weekends

Mid-December paddle in the snow and ice of Hemlock Lake

Before I worked as a full-time professional photographer and opened my studio, I worked as a part-time photographer, and devoted most weeknights and many hours of the weekend on my part-time profession. My weekday hours were filled with my duties as an environmental scientist (12 yrs.) or software quality manager/engineer (12 yrs.), which were my two careers in Corporate USA.  My fellow photographers were never surprised to get e-mails from me at 2am from my home studio, then followed up by at 7:30am e-mail from my corporate job.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Drew - Fairport HS Senior Portraits, Class of 2014

 Drew comes from a family of soccer players.  He has three younger brothers and they all play, sometimes totally 11-12 games a week for the family.  Knowing how important it is, and knowing how good of a player Drew is, I had planned something special for him.  Little did I know it would be over so quickly.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Greer - Thomas Aquinas HS Senior Portraits, Class of 2014

After Greer's session, I was starting to think that the studio was specializing in those high school boys that wanted nothing to do with senior portraits.  He wasn't too thrilled with the idea of having his picture taken, and I thought it would take a miracle to get him to smile.  As most of the athletes that come through the studio have done, we were able to get some really interesting and unique photos of him in his uniforms.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jenn - Fairport HS Senior Portraits, Class of 2014

Jenn is the other half of the Crater twins, a lacrosse-playing brother and sister from Fairport.  During her consultation she described herself as funny, easy-going, and athletic, and I found her to be exactly that.  Her mother described her as being shy and quiet, so I wanted to show that with the following photo of her in the spotlight on the studio floor. Jenn is a goalie on the girls' lacrosse team, so we had to make sure we took the time to include that in her session.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Ryan - Fairport HS Senior Portraits, Class of 2014

Ryan was one of those boys that didn't have much interest in having his senior portraits taken, and was mostly here because his mother wanted him to.  After his initial consultation where we talked about what we would do during his session, he was actually looking forward to it.  During his session, he was very relaxed and gave me some of the most comfortable smiles of anyone I've seen this year.