• Archives
  • Dec25

    Mira's Collage

    My friend Mira gives the most thoughtful gifts – This is so awesome that I can’t even express how cool I think it is with the right words. She took one of my photographs and created a collage with it that’s just amazing. I just have to share with you all.

    Here’s the photo that she used to base it on:

    Day 358 - Abandoned Trailer

    We have some really cool neighbors also who brought over treats for our dogs. Meiko posed for a little thank you shot, holiday jerky in mouth:

    Doggie Thanks

    Finally there’s this:

    Bird Feeder

    My wife Amy is like many people – she hates the Christmas pressure of buying gifts for everyone. Her random gifts throughout the year are the best though. She randomly picked this up over the summer and put it right outside the window where my desk is so that I could look up and watch the birds every once in a while as I edit photos. It’s a perfect gift, and it was given without any pretense or holiday pressure.

    Thank you Amy, Mira, and my neighbors Ricky & Evelyn – and Happy holidays to all of you!

  • Dec24

    Kegan's 9th Birthday

    Just a little personal post today for my son Kegan, who some may say has the unfortunate luck of having a birthday the day before Christmas. I say baloney, as this boy gets the royal treatment this time of year! Last week, we held his birthday party at a new Laser Tag course. He and his friends had a blast!

    Kegan's 9th Birthday Party

    This was the invite I put together for him. I used light streaks from one of my old photos and combined them in Photoshop with a picture of Kegan holding a laser blaster:

    Kegan9thBirthdayInvite

    He got to eat lots of birthday cake – if you look closely, you’ll see in this pic that somebody snuck a taste of the chocolate cake before he even blew out the candles!

    Kegan's 9th Birthday Party

    So happy birthday, son – I hope you have a fantastic bacon-filled day 😉

  • Dec18

    NIenstedts

    It’s that time of year and we’re just about done stuffing envelopes with our holiday cards. The photo above is the one we chose out of few family portraits that I made one night recently. I actually like the other two better as photographs, but the one above just worked better on the cards. It’s more about us in it then the scenery, where as this one is all about the location:

    Family Portrait Twilight

    And this one is all about those pink fluffies in the sky:

    Family Portrait

    I also shot Aurora’s first Christmas pics. Here’s my favorite of that bunch:

    AuroraXMas2012

    And you can’t celebrate the holidays without a trip to the James Island County Park for their annual Holiday Festival of Lights. We come for the lights, and stay for the giant toasted marshmallows…

    James Island Holiday Festival of Lights

    I had a client who really wanted to do a downtown Charleston shoot for their holiday cards and only had one day to get it done, and it happened to be raining like crazy that day. I felt a little pressure to deliver in the studio, so I had this crazy idea for a family portrait and this was the result (I think they like it):

    Gibsons

    My daughter and son’s piano teacher held her first ever piano recital as well. She asked me to shoot this group shot of her students at the recital (thank goodness for bounce flash and white ceilings):

    Kids-1

    Something about this time of year really makes it feel special. I don’t know if it’s entirely a spiritual thing either – maybe for me it’s more of a reflection on the past year combined with the hope of a new one.

    When terrible things happen as they did this past weekend in Connecticut, I’d like to think that instead of fighting with old and tired arguments that don’t fix any problems, that we could start to work together to make things better. I’d love for everyone to start listening to each other. I’d love for everyone to start empathizing with each other. We can’t control every awful action that may happen, but we can control how we rebound from it. Stop pointing fingers and start a new conversation, because the victims deserve better than a lot of what I see going on on the social networks.

    Peace out for now.

  • Dec9


    Photo by William Long

    On Friday morning, I was joined by 5 great volunteers to gift portraits to the families of children at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, SC. This was the 3rd Help-Portrait event I’ve led at the children’s hospital and every year it gets better.

    Help-Portrait 2012 Team
    Top Row: William Long, John Lindroth, Joseph Nienstedt
    Bottom Row: Katee Cornette, Jen Pfeffer, Kathy Hare

    Due to the nature of the event we hold and HIPA, I don’t ask the subjects too much about the nature of their conditions. Instead, my philosophy is a little different than most other Help-Portrait events. My goal for the team is to make these kids and their families feel normal. We treat them as if they were coming into a studio and walk them through the whole process. We also provide them with craft photo frames that they design for their portraits, which is always fun for the kids.


    Photo by William Long

    One of the children asked to see my camera, so I showed him how it works. Then he wanted to take pictures of our next subject, so we let him – and the portraits turned out perfect! In fact, we printed those out and gave them to the subject, and they loved them. This is exactly what we wanted to provide for these families – a fun event that made them forget why they were in a hospital.


    Photo by Kathy Hare

    Here’s one of the portraits that Tyreq made:

    Jamar
    Photo by Tyreq

    There are a lot of meaningful things that the families and hospital staff say, but one that sticks out was a parent who’s child was too sick to leave the room but really wanted to participate. Because it was the parent requesting it, we were able to send a photographer into the room and take their family’s portraits – something they haven’t been able to do because of their situation. The photograph meant so much to the parent that she figured out a way to make it happen. This was such an example of the power of a photograph and what it means to someone in need.


    Photo by William Long

    Please take a moment and watch this slideshow of images from the event. I hope the images move you even slightly as much as they moved us:

  • Dec6

    Tree Shapes on my Tree

    Here’s something fun that you can do with your DSLR (or any camera that lets you shoot out of focus).

    1) Cut a shape into an index card
    2) Set your camera to manual focus and defocus it so that it’s completely out of focus, or use a large aperture and shoot something in the foreground in focus so that the background is out of focus.
    3) Hold the index card in front of your lens and try to center it so that all of the points of light take your cut-out’s shape.

    Christmas Tree Shape

    Here’s an example with something in focus in the foreground (the shapes are less dramatic here, but you can start to see some more creative possibilities):

    Christmas Tree Penguin-1

  • Dec3

    Skirt

    Now that the advertising has run, I wanted to show you some of the work I did for Stella Nova Spa & Salon. The ad above was for the back cover of the Charleston edition of Skirt Magazine. The one below is from The Little Black Book’s back cover. The model is Karson Terrell, who had just won the crown of Miss Folly Beach Teen 2013 the night before. This was her second photo shoot of the day and she was still glowing.

    Little Black Book Stella Nova Oct 2012

    Hair and make-up was done by Stephanie Murray Waltrip, who I met earlier this year at the Change For Change Art Show when I shot her family’s portrait.

    Karson-4

    I wanted to share with you some of the shots that didn’t get used, because we had so much fun making them and I believe it shows. This photo was the final “perfected” image for the similar shot above used on the Little Black Book. The one they used was actually a test shot, so the lighting wasn’t positioned correctly yet and she wasn’t “posing” – I just had her standing in place to test the lights! My guess is that the art director liked that fact.

    Karson-15

    In a similar fashion, the photo they chose at the top of this post was not a planned shot – it was just off-the-cuff playing against a wall because the light was great on our way to do this shot:

    Karson-24

    One of the things they asked for was the color blue, and they wanted something slightly editorial in nature. Stephanie and I thought this would foot the bill:

    Karson-21

    I think that this shot truly shows off Stephanie’s talent in the hair department:

    Karson-9

    And Karson’s eyes in this shot are hypnotizing:

    Karson-11

    When they told me which shots they were going to use, I was a little surprised because neither were what they had asked for! My first reaction was “I’ll never send anything but the absolute best shots to the client ever again” because they used a test shot. Then I realized just how silly that line of thinking is. These shots are for them, not me! If I gave them something they liked, then I did my job. More importantly, the art director did her job of finding an image that demonstrates their brand. By delivering more than what they asked for, we actually did the right thing. As an artist, the things I look for in my images are very different than what someone else might see. In portraiture, my job is to decide that. In commercial photography, my job is to let the client decide.

    Karson-2

    I shot most of the shoot in portrait because that is what the client asked for. This last shot was an alternate I did for myself because the scene looked too cool not to capture in landscape. I had Karson’s mother holding my light over the side of the roof while I was leaning over the railing to get this:

    Karson-26

    If you read my blog regularly, you may remember that the portrait version of this shot won an honorable mention at the Coastal Carolina Fair this year 😉 Be sure to check out the rest of the photos from the shoot in this Flickr set.