Monday, February 27, 2012

More Photobooth Fun!

Over the weekend we shot a baby shower for our beautiful friend, Katya. They went ALL OUT, like...carnival tent all out! They set up a photobooth and as it is now you go!

 This week we'll be working on those photos as well as figuring out how in the hell we launch our newly finished website. Stay tuned!

We'd also like to formally welcome our newest couple, Michelle and Shaun! Their save the date pretty much reserved them a place in my heavy metal heart forever. Welcome to the AV family guys! NOW YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE! <3

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

[Rockstar Couple] Jessica & John's MBTA / Museum of Fine Arts Engagement Session (Boston, MA)

There's this thing about John...he's crazy for trolleys and our subterranean travel methods in general. When he pitched the idea of a subway session for his and Jess' engagement session, I got a little thrill like I was 16 years old again and breaking MBTA rules, kinda like this with better hair. Because I'm a lousy outlaw these days, I sent a couple of emails to the MBTA asking what the rules were, but received no response. I've had the Orwellian experience of being asked, over the intercom of a moving red line train, to stop taking photographs so I fully expected to be stopped before I could even utter the word "speedlight".

But as it turns out, John is actually some sort of Jedi Knight.and whenever a badge approached us they were smiling and walking away within a minute...even after he and Jess crossed the tracks to pose.

We finally got ourselves a new flash to replace the fallen LumoPro we lost while shooting my family photos last fall and with it, a Strobies 24x24 soft box which is responsible for the pretty light in the dark subway. How cute is Jessica? I mean seriously.

Originally we were planning to go to the Boston Public Library, but they keep odd Sunday hours so we decided to wing it...which is sometimes the absolute best way to do an engagement session. This theory was proved when we ended up going the wrong direction on the trolley and found ourselves at the Museum of Fine Arts, who quoted us a million dollar insurance plan and a long list of legalities when I inquired about shooting there, because John and Jessica actually got engaged there. We decided to get some photos in front of the museum on the stairs. Jess was really brave shrugging off her Northface jacket to brave the cold in her cute little dress. And it was COLD.

Once again, Jedi John started to work his magic with the staff at the MFA. A quick photo here, another just inside on the stairs, a flash of their MFA membership card and we were checking our bags and heading in to shoot before we knew it!

This place is absolutely amazing, if you've never been you are really missing out. I hadn't been in a couple of years, and James had never been so it was an extra sweet day at work! We know, our job is so terrible!

Jessica and John love the MFA, they showed us all their favorite spots and told us about the backgrounds of several amazing pieces.

This is my favorite room...

Shooting without flash in such a dark place was definitely a challenge but I learned how to stop breathing a while ago from shooting in churches.

Here's where John popped the question, in front of Jess' favorite Rembrandt (Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.)

We had such a great time with Jessica and John and it goes without saying that we're excited to shoot their wedding at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum !

Especially since they've got a great sense of humor. ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Engagment Session: More Than Just Photographs!

The Benefits of Choose an Engagement/Wedding Day Package
If you’ve shopped for wedding photography at all in the past five years, you’ve probably heard at least one photographer try to sell you on the engagement session. Initially you might think “eh…I don’t really need an engagement session; I’m not putting an announcement in the paper.” Maybe you’ll brush it off as your photographer trying to squeeze more money out of you. Well I am here to tell you the real reasons why photographers love engagement sessions and why you will love them, too! I am here to grab you by the shoulders, and (lovingly) shake you until you see the beauty of the engagement session!

Why We Love Them: Getting To Know You!
Not surprisingly, people photographers love people. You have to love them, or at least be fascinated by them, to be happy in this niche of photography. Part of having the desire to document people is the desire to tell someone’s story. A street photographer may encounter a homeless man erecting a lean-to under a bridge and effectively tell his story without ever speaking to him. That kind of hands-off approach doesn’t work well in wedding photography, however. We need to know a little bit about you and what’s important to you.

James and I always include engagement sessions in our collections. This isn’t just to entice potential clients, it’s to make sure we walk into a wedding with a clear idea of who our couple is. It is so important to know something about the subject you are documenting. During an engagement session, you’ll likely spend anywhere from an hour to an entire evening with your photographer(s) and a good photographer (read: one who cares about you and your story) will spend that time not only getting you used to weirdness of being photographed, but also getting to know you!

John and Jessica got engaged in this very spot, in front of Rembrandt's Portrait of a Man Wearing a Black Hat at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Let’s use our imagination for a moment: Say you spent months planning your wedding down to the smallest detail. You met your fiancé on safari in Africa and to commemorate this, you buy your fiancé a pair of gold binoculars from Tiffany’s and arrange to have it left on his hotel pillow. He loves his gift of course, he will tell you so later, but when the wedding photos come back there’s only a singular photo of the gift opening and you can’t really see your fiancé’s face.  You realize your photographer didn’t get the significance of the binoculars and missed a moment you wanted to see, but couldn’t. Now imagine this same situation, but at your engagement session you told your photographers all about how you met…maybe you even pulled them aside and told them about your surprise.  You get back a beautiful photo of the package, the signature blue box, the ribbon being pulled off, your fiancé’s ear-to-ear grin, his teary eyes as memories wash over him…exactly, people. This is good stuff, right? You can make this photographic magic happen!

Why You’ll Love Them: The Photos!
Wedding days are absolutely crazy.  They’re also amazingly fun and the photos you get will show you and your fiancé on an absolutely crazy day. The best part about engagement sessions photographs of you and the person you love on a regular day. Just you, your love and your favorite outfits.  There’s a relaxed feel to an engagement session that you just can’t get on a wedding day and the pictures that  relaxed atmosphere enables you to get are valuable in their own special way.  When you look back on those photos, you’ll remember just how you felt that day, in the days before you married your best friend, maybe before you had children or before you moved to France…whatever you do, you’ll remember that amazing year leading up to your wedding day.

I would go a step further (and naturally, I have a bias here!) and challenge you to a yearly anniversary shoot with a photographer! We all change so much and time goes by in the blink of an eye…photography is important for documentation, memories and family stories. Value it and seize the opportunity to tell your story, you won’t be sorry!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Insta.awesome: My love affair with Instagram

If I had known how obsessed I was going to become with my iPhone's camera I would have sacrificed my Blackberry Storm to the cellphone gods a lot sooner! When I finally upgraded my phone I was introduced to this amazingly simple camera and sharing app called Instagram. It works kinda like a Twitter, but with photos. I can follow people and in turn be followed. I can also link my Instagram straight to Facebook and Twitter. It also has some pretty sweet photo manipulation effects including a Lensbaby-like blur effect.

The Love Affair begins!
Through the hooping glass

I was unprepared for how amazing the camera was going to be on the iPhone and how often I was going to use it! Through Instagram and my powerhouse portable camera, I no longer had to feel guilty about not carting my DSLR around with me and missing so many beautiful images and gave me the ability to share what I saw with everyone else too.

My very Red haired Nephew

On my Vacation back home to Arizona

One of my favorite things about using Instagram are the monthly challenges like #febphotoaday or #febphotoskill which I discovered through Zack Arias @zarias on instagram. They're monthly photo challenges with a different theme everyday of the month. I feel like it helps me to be constantly challenging myself. Ive had trouble attempting 365's in the past and never make it out of the first month so these are perfect! haha.

When Pam and I were on our engagement shoot in Boston I took one of her for #febphotoskill's Silhouette challenge in front of the Boston Public library.

#febphotoaday Inside your closet

#febphotoskill Negative Space

#febphotoskill High Contrast
High contrast

The other thing that I completely love about instagram is that for Altared Visions, I now can share awesome pictures straight to our twitter and facebook! Especially when there are some amazing details and awesome locations.

Also when I'm in another state and our couple are complete Rock Stars...

For me personally, the camera and Instagram on the iPhone alone made this one of my best purchases ever.. Yes. EVER!! (Nothing against Android users) Not even counting everything else the iPhone can do and all the apps available for it. I've learned to embrace iPhotography and its made me a stronger photographer because of it.

For all the current instagramers in the Altared Visions universe give us a follow at @altaredvisions and follow me personally @barron262 (And Pam soon, she gets her iPhone tomorrow!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

A "Vow Renewal" Engagement in AZ

This last week I decided to take a much needed vacation back to Arizona to get my Mexican food fix and see my friends. Its been a little over two years since I've been and was missing it, so I told Pam to hold the fort down and did some jet setting. I had a blast while I was there, I probably ate about 5 pounds of food, did some desert hiking and a whole lot of *coughs* partying.

I get to be lucky enough to fly back out to Arizona in April to shoot two of my friends, Chris and Kelli's 10 year vow renewal wedding. (stay tuned) Ive known both since high school and I cant think of a single time since they've been married that they weren't laughing or smiling. Kelli happens to be an amazing photographer too and had a great idea to do an engagement session while I was down. How could I pass up such a great opportunity to shoot them before April? So we packed up their kids and headed to Tempe.

I knew that since Chris and Kelli were already rock stars these pictures were going to be a lot of fun!
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona

See ROCKSTARS! They even brought some sweet beach cruisers with them.
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona

Their kids behaved amazingly and we were able to walk around and explore shooting as we went.
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona
See always laughing
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona

I was in love with the architecture of this bridge and all the lines!
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona

Kelli came up with a great idea for Chris to dip her and it turned out being one of my favorite shots from the day.
Chris & Kelli Vow Renewal E-Session Arizona
Thanks again guys, I'm honored to be included in your renewing of love for each other and cant wait to see you again in April. Better Alert all the Mexican restaurants and tell them to re-stock cause ill be back!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Altared Visions in Arizona!

Our very own James, bi-coastal engagement photographer (more on that tomorrow!) AND impromptu off-camera lighting instructor! If you follow us on Facebook, you may have read that both James and I were venturing out of state this winter for different adventures. I went to New Hampshire for the weekend with my fella for some retail and mountain therapy and James went back home to Arizona...and people who follow our blog and facebook that AREN'T our Mothers! Woah!

See James turning on some lighting newbies with the magic of speedlight-hurled photons on a group shoot he and his friends Mario Fontes and Kelli Linn Martinez put together! So awesome! Congrats on a fun vacation and a little taste of our future dream! Read Kelli's blog post on the group shoot here!