Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanks for your help!

I got a lot of great feedback on which images I should enter in the contest. It's still tough to decide but I am pleased to be able to narrow them down quite a bit!

These seem to be the popular favorites:

Awesome! You guys surprised me in places and reinforced my instinct in others.

One of my readers which emailed me asked, essentially, "what makes a good photo?". This is such an interesting question and probably has a million different answers. I was never a huge fan of the "crits" we had in college because it often seemed that people were just talking to hear themselves, or to fill up the space... and it's a fine line between recognizing composition and exposure techniques that make an image stronger, and realizing that there's just no formula for something that looks beautiful or compelling. So, while I can "defend" most of the photos that I love by talking about color, the rule of 3rds, or even just peoples' expressions, etc., there's really no substitute for how it makes me/ you feel instinctively. Am I framing photos by the rule of thirds or the diagonal rule when I am taking pictures? Not consciously, anyway - I'm just using my intuition and instinct to get what looks great to me.

Anyway, my point is that there's no way to quantify taste - which is what makes entering contests, pitching to clients, etc., so tricky. Because I can show my potential clients (be it an art director or a couple getting married) what I can do, what I have done, and who I am; I can collaborate with them on ideas for their "project"; and I can persuade them that I am the best photographer for them. And often I'm lucky because it is the right fit and we are on the same page! But I also try to stay very true to my vision and style, and my strengths, because that's what people hire me for. I can flip through photo magazines and get encouraged and inspired to try new things - but I also am careful not to just jump on the latest fashions, because they are not always relevant to my eye and style.

One of my favorite things is when a couple says, "We're not artistic or creative, but we know what we like, and we realize that hiring you will ensure that we get that creative and artistic point of view." First of all, that right there tells me that they ARE artistic and creative - otherwise wouldn't they just want someone to take very very straightforward photos of what actually happened, without any romantic, lovely embellishment? My images are true to the events, but I also seek to add a gentle filter of beauty and emotion to boring old reality. Also, I don't believe that anyone is completely uncreative - even if our styles are different.

Sorry for the rant; I have been watching a lot of Project Runway lately and thinking about how, although I totally can't sew (and don't want to!), I can tell really strongly what I like and don't like in design. And I think that's the first step to being creative - just recognizing what you find as good design and what you don't enjoy looking at. Just look at Kayne in Season 3!

Okay, I'll stop. This was a very off-the-cuff blog post, so let me know if any of the ideas aren't clear... I think, in summation, that you can't quantify a "good" photo beyond some basic starting places with composition, exposure, color, and subject matter - and that everyone has it in them to have a great eye.

My favorite images that are still in the running include:

many of the above shots (I'm so happy that the hand with the blue ring made it, as well as the couple against the blue background; umbrella violin; bridesmaid walking up stairs)

as well as these:

So why do I like what I like? Hmm. I think a lot of it has to do with color; I love working with saturated, beautiful colors. I also like the velvety depth of the ring shot and that black nighttime shot. I like some of the expressions.

This is a tough one!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Potential Contest Entries

Once again it's time for Photo District News' "Top Knots: the New School of Wedding Photography" annual contest, and after placing last year, I'm figuring it can't hurt to enter some of my favorite shots from 2007. Trouble is, I have a hard time editing... hence the long blog posts (hmm, did you notice?). I did get the potential shots down from over 75 to these 27... but I'd like to get them down to 5 or so, total. Eep! Let me know if you have any input.

the Details/ Interiors category:

Getting Ready:





One thing I love about my clients and my blog readers is getting feedback - many of you are shy and prefer to email me instead of leaving a comment, which is fine. Just know that I really value your input, suggestions, and comments!

So: which are your favorites? Which do you think are MY favorites? Which ones stand out?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A few random shots for breathing room

I took these images at my parents' house a month or so ago and thought I would share them before I take off for the Thanksgiving vacation. Have a lovely, relaxing weekend!

Gracie the kitten

She's barely a kitten anymore - growing like an absolute weed! She was a little sick her first week with us, so since she's recovered, we've been shocked at how spunky she is, and how she's doubled in size (I swear!). Her little skinny ribs are now covered in strong, jungle-cat muscles. We think she is part tiger cub, part rabbit... but with a sweet, cuddly demeanor.

This photos are about a week old and she is way bigger than this now. I am constantly surprised at how high she can jump, how agile she is... quite a difference from our little three legged lovey!

Sorry for the "look at my cat" photos, but I swear it's due to popular demand (and adorable feline-ness).

Happy Thanksgiving! More "real" photos soon.

love, Jessamyn and (crazy) Gracie

(while I was writing this, she was on my desk and suddenly started chewing on/ attacking/ shredding the envelope for my final 2007 Federal Estimated Tax payment - how I feel exactly!

And now she is doing that thing where she thinks her tail is a wild animal, separate from her.)