{365} Photo Project: February

As I type this February is now behind us. I have been adding photos here all month so I would be ready to share and blog about another month of living the 365 photo project life. When I look at the images again I can see those days where we (or really I) was in the thick of it being February. So many indoor photos of homebody life, or occasionally getting outside only to meet up with people back inside. The days when I photographed a detail like my car or my kitchen counter or my floor, with only a few photos of anything happening outside. Maybe that will change now that March is here! (she types this as she looks out her window at the snow falling and another coating of white starting to cover the dirt and the pavement…)

But, here we are and here is how my February unfolded in front of my camera….

2/1 Olivia | Scarborough, Maine | waiting her turn to be photographed after her mom.

2/1 Olivia | Scarborough, Maine | waiting her turn to be photographed after her mom.

2/2 A hit to the face at roller derby | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/2 A hit to the face at roller derby | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/3 Brothers on Super Bowl Sunday.

2/3 Brothers on Super Bowl Sunday.

2/4 Trader Joe’s Parking lot | Portland, Maine.

2/4 Trader Joe’s Parking lot | Portland, Maine.

2/5 at trivia | Gorham, Maine. ps we won!

2/5 at trivia | Gorham, Maine. ps we won!

2/6 On my floor.

2/6 On my floor.

2/7 Another slice of my life.

2/7 Another slice of my life.

2/8 Another afternoon with Jamma and Button.

2/8 Another afternoon with Jamma and Button.

2/9 VW.

2/9 VW.

2/10 Hanging with the niece and neph, and creating animojis until my battery wears down.

2/10 Hanging with the niece and neph, and creating animojis until my battery wears down.

2/11 Crafty.

2/11 Crafty.

2/12 Snow Storm happy hour with Amy.

2/12 Snow Storm happy hour with Amy.

2/13 Snow storm day, so here’s more finding light and home decor.

2/13 Snow storm day, so here’s more finding light and home decor.

2/14 Valentine’s and afternoon distraction.

2/14 Valentine’s and afternoon distraction.

2/15 Leaving the Hospital | Portland, Maine.

2/15 Leaving the Hospital | Portland, Maine.

So, confession time: I have a policy with myself to not change my mind once an image is picked, but on the 15th I posted a different photo and I now feel I made the wrong choice. So the photo above is the better photo, in my opinion, than the one I posted on FB. The one I chose originally was a little more dramatic and had more colors and light happening, but there are technical issues with it that bother me. SO, I went back to the one I felt I should pick. Yet I still question if choosing this one is the easy choice. The bottom line though is this image is better technically, and I like the different pockets of color. AND the human in the corner. I was intentional on my part to keep him in the frame.

On a personal level this was also a week where more than one family member was in a hospital for varying (hopefully temporary) life setback kind of things. It’s possible my head was not in the best place during this week, so my decision making was a little clouded. It’s also possible I wanted to somehow capture what was going on that week, but didn’t want to share other people’s personal happenings on my FB page because that’s not really my place.

This is one of those 365 photo things I still haven’t mastered. At times I am definitely protective of other people’s privacy, which seems like a contradiction when photographing and sharing your life everyday. But I know it’s not always my story to share, whether that’s a family member having medical things or even clients needing photos but not wanting them shared until they are ready, since it’s their story and their message…

Privacy in an era of oversharing. Ha! A whole different topic, so let’s get back to February and photos, shall we?

2/16 Roller Derby spectating with my heartshadesquad pals | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/16 Roller Derby spectating with my heartshadesquad pals | Happy Wheels | Portland, Maine.

2/17 Sunday lunch and shopping with GG and Ablock | Sebago Brewing | South Portland, Maine.

2/17 Sunday lunch and shopping with GG and Ablock | Sebago Brewing | South Portland, Maine.

2/18 Kitchen | Playing with my old 50 and shallow DOF.

2/18 Kitchen | Playing with my old 50 and shallow DOF.

2/19 Kitchen Copper.

2/19 Kitchen Copper.

2/20 Broth time.

2/20 Broth time.

2/21 Basement Sweat Station.

2/21 Basement Sweat Station.

2/22 the day we celebrated National Margarita Day.

2/22 the day we celebrated National Margarita Day.

2/23 at Crisp | Scarborough, Maine.

2/23 at Crisp | Scarborough, Maine.

2/24 OMG it’s my kitchen. AGAIN.

2/24 OMG it’s my kitchen. AGAIN.

2/25 Art in a coffee shop | CIA coffee shop | South Portland, Maine.

2/25 Art in a coffee shop | CIA coffee shop | South Portland, Maine.

2/26 Family.

2/26 Family.

2/27 Oh, there’s a snowflake in one of our windows I forgot was there!

2/27 Oh, there’s a snowflake in one of our windows I forgot was there!

2/28 Brunch with Chem | shooting with the nifty 50 and my coffee comes to me in this mug | Sinful Kitchen | Portland, Maine.

2/28 Brunch with Chem | shooting with the nifty 50 and my coffee comes to me in this mug | Sinful Kitchen | Portland, Maine.

And that’s a wrap for February! I always want to end it like a film set with a big “THAT’S A WRAP EVERYONE” and we all clap, but also that’s more attention than I really like. So for now, just a quieter mini high five to myself and other photog pals for completing another month in the world of documenting your every day life, every day of this year.

* (Insert Judd Nelson fist to the sky final image at the end of The Breakfast Club here and every month of 2019)*

Maine Portrait Photographer: Head Shots, part 1

So, I photograph people. Over the last several years I started photographing a local real estate company’s head shots, in addition to actors, small business owners, and anyone in need of a head shot for promotional use. I don’t use a studio, and don’t travel with a big lighting set up. This way of working has its pros and cons, but it works for me. Plus, it allows me to carry what I need on any shoot and not draw any more attention to myself than carrying a camera already does.

So, now you know a little about how I work. I thought I would blog and share some info about where/what/how with some of these shoots, in order to help with ideas and so people can see what works and why.

As a a natural light photographer, I avoid mid-day/the harshest light. A sunny cloudless day is actually not my friend. 9am in Maine most of the year is already harsh, in the world of natural light. And Portland does not have high rise buildings, so finding shade and even light can be a challenge at times.

Michelle, Hair Stylist Extraordinaire. This image is my favorite from her session, but not the one she chose based on what she needed to use the image for.  Taken in January / roughly 3:30 pm / with snow on the ground. Yes, we are outside - in an entry way before entering a museum.

Michelle, Hair Stylist Extraordinaire. This image is my favorite from her session, but not the one she chose based on what she needed to use the image for.

Taken in January / roughly 3:30 pm / with snow on the ground. Yes, we are outside - in an entry way before entering a museum.

Different times of year will give different kinds of light, just like different times of the day will. The colors and light tend to vary in seasons, depending on what’s growing and what is happening in the sky (producer of the natural light). But more than just the sky giving you the light, there is also the factor of your surroundings. This photo above of Michelle is taken in an area with a lot of bright architectural details, so I wanted to use this to our advantage. Plus her hair and those walls!

Kristia, actress.  Downtown Portland, Maine / October /roughly 5:04 pm. I stopped her by this wall so we could capture some of that light happening & dancing around Free Street. I will likely show more of Kristia in other blog posts on this topic, as we photographed her until roughly 7pm, which in October in Maine means you are on borrowed time with the light, but can still make use of that time of day.

Kristia, actress.

Downtown Portland, Maine / October /roughly 5:04 pm. I stopped her by this wall so we could capture some of that light happening & dancing around Free Street. I will likely show more of Kristia in other blog posts on this topic, as we photographed her until roughly 7pm, which in October in Maine means you are on borrowed time with the light, but can still make use of that time of day.

Casey, actress.  Portland City Hall / also October / approx 7:20 pm. The bright architecture (again) helped us be able to keep photographing here at this time of day/year.

Casey, actress.

Portland City Hall / also October / approx 7:20 pm. The bright architecture (again) helped us be able to keep photographing here at this time of day/year.

Tom of Port Properties.  On a street in Portland / late October / 3:42 pm / weather: chilly and a little windy, sky: overcast.

Tom of Port Properties.

On a street in Portland / late October / 3:42 pm / weather: chilly and a little windy, sky: overcast.

With both Krisita and Casey there were a few locations and outfit changes, as is needed for people who want a few looks. For others, like Tom of PortProperty, we needed one spot and just a few minutes of his time. So as I walked to meet him and his employees I decided where I wanted to photograph them, then spent just a few minutes with each person - partly so they could get back to work, mostly because it was cold, but also because sometimes people are doing something they have to do rather than something they want to do. And I try to respect that.

Dava, owner Portside Real Estate.  In a warehouse / August / roughly 9:11 am. Confession: we got lucky this day as this door was open so we ducked inside to get out of the sun, which gave us this great background and nice light. I have not been able to repeat this moment in this spot ever since.

Dava, owner Portside Real Estate.

In a warehouse / August / roughly 9:11 am. Confession: we got lucky this day as this door was open so we ducked inside to get out of the sun, which gave us this great background and nice light. I have not been able to repeat this moment in this spot ever since.

Julia of Portside Real Estate Group.  In the same complex where I photographed Dava, but in winter and around the corner.  January /roughly 3:08 pm / Bright sun, but cold day - so we ducked into an alley.

Julia of Portside Real Estate Group.

In the same complex where I photographed Dava, but in winter and around the corner.

January /roughly 3:08 pm / Bright sun, but cold day - so we ducked into an alley.

Carrie, realtor.  South Portland / February (yes! it was cold) / roughly 4:07 pm.

Carrie, realtor.

South Portland / February (yes! it was cold) / roughly 4:07 pm.

So, as seen here photos can happen year round, even in cold Maine with no indoor studio. I will continue to share posts on this topic and some of my favorite times and places to go.

And of course, there’s always inside, in winter. This home was perfect for it, had great natural light, light walls, clean decor. I loved how her necklace matched the decor in this home that wasn’t even hers!

And of course, there’s always inside, in winter. This home was perfect for it, had great natural light, light walls, clean decor. I loved how her necklace matched the decor in this home that wasn’t even hers!

Want your head shots by the ocean? Great! We’ll plan it at certain times of the year (want those boats in the background? Then it needs to be after Memorial Day and possibly by Labor Day…) AND a certain time of day. So head home, eat dinner, and get your face ready for your close up because I only schedule those sessions in the evening. Or early morning.

Except of course, in the winter!

Stories Behind Photos: How much do you want to know?

How much do you want to know about a photo? The whole story? Enough information to understand the image on a small level, but leaving some curiosity? Nothing at all so you can enjoy it for yourself?

This is something I think about. I am not necessarily in one mindset over the other, because I see the benefit of sharing information but also understand the need to let people form their own opinions. I do know I often won’t read super long posts and over the top descriptions of images. Yet, it seems lately people respond to my images more if there is at least some context included. Some story. Some information. Some way to connect us and make us feel something.

So how much do you want to know? Do you want to know more about the people who trust me to be in their space with my camera(s)? Does a little story or background help make the image stronger? Does it help you/any of us connect more?

Maybe it doesn’t really matter. I know sometimes we want images to speak for themselves, but I personally love to know the stories about a photo subject, even if it’s just a little snippet of information. Photos do connect us, and stories can make that connection even stronger.

Spry.

Spry.

Here’s an image I like because I know the subject and it shows me things about her that I know or have observed in the roughly 7 years we have known each other. But if you don’t know her, you may or may not like the image, and it may be for different reasons. If you know her, you may react as some of my pals have liking the photo of this person you know and enjoy.

I photograph Spry sitting on the bench between roller derby jams often. I gravitate to her during game time when I am there with my camera. It may be because we are friends, but it may also be because sometimes she is sitting in just the right spot, or because her face is expressive/animated when she is sitting with her team mates. Maybe it’s the Maine tattoo on her shoulder, or the way the MRD logo stands out when not covered by a ponytail or long hair. Maybe it’s because I know one of these will work out and will give me an image I like.

And when I look at this one I also see that hand gesture and head tilt - a very human moment. How much more do you want to know? Because I also want to point out when I see that hand gesture I chuckle a little because of that crooked pinky from that time she broke it all these years ago, I believe from a mechanical bull riding accident. But maybe that’s her story to share and not mine.

Did I tell you too much?

Or do you still want to know more?

{365} Photo Project 2019: January

So, here we are, one month into 2019 and a few days into a winter cold snap. It’s not “Minnesota cold” here in Maine, but it’s cold enough for my car to have issues and my furnace to remind us we are on borrowed time. Nonetheless, my camera and I persisted.

2017 was the year of the 52 week photo challenge (which turned into more of a ‘Sundays with my camera’), and 2018 I was challenged to a photo a day project, aka a 365 photo challenge. These things have been so helpful in getting me back to shooting the kind of work I love, and making time to document every day life. So, as 2018 ended I didn’t feel like stopping and have continued on with a 365 photo project for 2019. This year I am also working on getting back to blogging after a hiatus. Thankfully I have this project for extra subject matter!

{1/365} Fresh New Year. I like it.

{1/365} Fresh New Year. I like it.

{2/365} Reminder to look up sometimes. There’s lots of pretty stuff when you do that.

{2/365} Reminder to look up sometimes. There’s lots of pretty stuff when you do that.

{3/365} When my neighbor appears with the snowblower I go and grab my camera. :)

{3/365} When my neighbor appears with the snowblower I go and grab my camera. :)

{4/365} On this day I needed to get out of the house. I drove around looking for something to photograph. I remember feeling kind of meh and not focused. But in this moment that all went away, I knew I got my shot, and headed back to my car feeling good about how the day unfolded. Photography is funny that way.

{4/365} On this day I needed to get out of the house. I drove around looking for something to photograph. I remember feeling kind of meh and not focused. But in this moment that all went away, I knew I got my shot, and headed back to my car feeling good about how the day unfolded. Photography is funny that way.

{5/365} Maggie at the Big Ass Rooster show | Salvage BBQ | Portland, Maine. Her dad was joining the band this night.

{5/365} Maggie at the Big Ass Rooster show | Salvage BBQ | Portland, Maine. Her dad was joining the band this night.

{6/265} Hangtime with the niece and my mom.

{6/265} Hangtime with the niece and my mom.

{7/365} I’ll have what he’s having.

{7/365} I’ll have what he’s having.

{8/365}

{8/365}

{9/365} I adulted well on this day - I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. Found this in the parking lot.

{9/365} I adulted well on this day - I went to the dentist for the first time in a long time. Found this in the parking lot.

This is how my January unfolded. Winter in Maine sometimes keeps us inside or a little isolated at times. So on some days I leave the house to chase light, eat a meal with a friend, run errands, play games with the niece, go to the movies with the neph, go to the dentist, to watch roller derby, or head to NYC for a quick one night trip. My camera comes with me for almost all of it, with the exception of the days when I know I got what I needed and it’s ok to head out without it (and give my shoulders a break).

{10/365} NYC. She was singing as I walked down the street, so my camera wanted to capture her.

{10/365} NYC. She was singing as I walked down the street, so my camera wanted to capture her.

{11/365} Last night we celebrated Sarah, so it was a rough morning for some.

{11/365} Last night we celebrated Sarah, so it was a rough morning for some.

{12/365}

{12/365}

{13/365}

{13/365}

Some days I get to sit and watch for repeated behaviors, which is what i did on this day watching these first graders put their hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care. Except they do care. They care about getting that basketball and scoring. Over and over again they would all be under the basket with their arms up, sometimes with their eyes closed. It was kind of funny.

{14/365}

{14/365}

{15/365} Trivia and GIF lessons.

{15/365} Trivia and GIF lessons.

{16/365}

{16/365}

{17/365} Icy sidewalk at the end of the day.

{17/365} Icy sidewalk at the end of the day.

{18/365}

{18/365}

{19/365} Women’s March, Portland Maine.

{19/365} Women’s March, Portland Maine.

{20/365}

{20/365}

{21/365} After Mary Poppins. He’s so good at standing in the right light and waiting for me… :D

{21/365} After Mary Poppins. He’s so good at standing in the right light and waiting for me… :D

{22/365} Through my windshield.

{22/365} Through my windshield.

I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself as I do this for a second year in a row. I know a lot of us creatives will do that - set ourselves up to not succeed because we actually want to improve. Then life throws a curveball and maybe things don’t stay on course. I have some goals but also have an understanding of how hard it is to be 100% all day every day. I want to make sure I get as many people in my project as I can, I want my shooting and my editing to improve as I go along, and I want to take risks and try new things when the moments call for it. But other days I want to make sure I stay focused on the project and keep moving forward. I feel strongly that working on something EVERY DAY only makes you better, even if it takes some time to see any improvements. So, doing a 365 photo project is another way of committing to your craft and working to be better.

{23/365} The hubs made those metal elephants, the painting on the wall, and the furniture all of these items are sitting on.

{23/365} The hubs made those metal elephants, the painting on the wall, and the furniture all of these items are sitting on.

{24/365} Brunching with one of my photog & 365 pals.

{24/365} Brunching with one of my photog & 365 pals.

{25/365} Derby pal who spends time in this coffee shop drawing every day before work.

{25/365} Derby pal who spends time in this coffee shop drawing every day before work.

{26/365} Tenacity.

{26/365} Tenacity.

{27/365} There’s a new gym in town and they are pretty cool.

{27/365} There’s a new gym in town and they are pretty cool.

{28/365} Playing with an old lens at the beach on a cold day.

{28/365} Playing with an old lens at the beach on a cold day.

{29/365} #everydaylife except I drive a small car so don’t have to do this very often.

{29/365} #everydaylife except I drive a small car so don’t have to do this very often.

{30/365} Nella my neighbor playing in the snow while my car battery gets charged in the background. :D

{30/365} Nella my neighbor playing in the snow while my car battery gets charged in the background. :D

{31/365} The niece and my mom. Aren’t they cute toghether?

{31/365} The niece and my mom. Aren’t they cute toghether?

There we go! Ended the month on a good note — photo shoot in the cold (my camera and fingers weren’t super happy) then warmed up by the fire with these two playing apple to apples until the sun was gone. Now we are moving on to February!

And another photo shoot in the cold…

Stay Warm! xo ~ jb