Babies: Lucy

March 23, 2011

This past weekend, the Mrs. and I had the privilege of meeting Lucy. If you haven’t met her yet, you should, because she’s great people. Between almost rolling over for the first time, melting our memory cards with sheer cuteness, and snacking on her delicious left and right hands, I asked her:

“So, where do you see yourself in 5 years.”

She responded with a look that could only mean:

“Well Mr. Jocson, hopefully by the end of year 5 I will have successfully launched my 3rd multinational company.  I will likely keep this one privately held, since my first 2 companies would have been public, and while a great learning experience, it would be about time to take a slightly different route.  I would maintain control as much as possible to the best of my abilities, and stress the importance of participating in important, albeit not necessarily profitable activities.  For example, I would hope that said company could maintain strong local ties to the community, play a part in furthering landmark public policy, and serve as an advocate for the disenfranchised that need a voice.”

Sooo cute!! It’s great to see social consciousness so alive in today’s youth. After our shoot, we stopped off for some bubble tea, Ms. Lucy balanced my checkbook, reallocated my 401(K) elections, and promptly fell asleep. I tell you people, this girl knows how to live.

auntie+uncle tagging along for fun

i stole a moment of mom+dad stealing a moment while uncle+auntie stole lucy

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You know those people that you don’t know, but you do?  I think I first met Karen almost a year ago, toward the end of the summer.  We ever-so-briefly worked not-quite-together-but-within-the-vicinity-of-each-other on a project, where we traded jokes, war stories, art projects, wedding plans.  Yes, wedding plans.  The wifey and I were nearing the end of our wedding planning, and Karen+Josh had just begun theirs.

Those of you that know me (or don’t know me) know (or don’t know) that I rarely share such personal details so readily — but Karen is just so gosh darned easy to talk to.  Dangerous.

A few months later, we crossed paths at an event, where I met Josh for the first time.  And the Mrs. met them both.  It was love at first sight.  These crazy kids are just so fun, and the world needs more of people like them.  But only if they’d hang with C+C on the regular.

in typical seattle fashion, this day started at a coffee shop. a coffee shop of luuurrvee. or coffee. perhaps just coffee.

How do I … No you’re not showing me, you’re just doing…. No wait, where?… How did you…. what?

That’s typically what it sounds like when the wifey asks me how to do something.  It’s usually promptly followed with “You suck at teaching.” and the absence of thank-you-cake.  And I love me some cake.

I LOFF CAKE!! little jocson likes biiig cake

Unfortunately for me, it’s true, I’m not the best teacher.  But I AM trying to get better.  Continual improvement. It’s a process really.

Fortunately for you, I have, here for you, a special treat.  It’s not cake, but 4 out of 5 pediatricians agree — studies show it’s potentially better than cake.  It’s our first guestblog of recent history, brought to you by none other than Ami of ami’s in LA Photography!

So, you say you want to kick up the level of awesome in your shots from ‘epic’ to ‘sweet merciful justice?’  Have no fear, let’s have Ami help get us there.

P.S.  Major thanks to Ami for taking the time to put pen to pad (fingers to keys?) for this one.  It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Mrs. and I are out shooting both days this weekend, so it’s nice having a blogsitter in while we’re out.

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I’m no expert at post production.  Or photography in general.  I’ll be the first to admit that.  Shout it off a mountaintop, even.  But when Jocson asked that I do a post on the topic, I had no choice but to oblige, because after all, he was kind enough to do a guest post for me, too.  I do love photography, though, and Jocson’s pretty cool.  So, to deter him from coming after me with a spork, and also in the hopes that this post might help at least one person, I present the amisinsLA intro to post production.

The most important thing to me about post is that your straight out of the camera shots (SOOCs) need to be on point as possible.  Meaning, at the time the photo was shot, the image was exposed well and lit properly.  I will tell you right now, personally I find it near impossible to correct a flat, poorly lit image (and trust me, I take my share of those), no matter how much I tinker with it in Photoshop or Lightroom.  I’m sure it can be done, but I can’t do it.  Not just because it’s difficult, but to be honest, after I’ve applied a dozen Photoshop actions, I’ll know that I’ll just look at the image and it will look artificial to me.  Because I have done it.  And it has looked that way.

That’s not to say that I don’t bump the exposure.  Oh boy, do I.  Nailing your exposure is something that takes tons and tons of practice (for me, anyway), so being able to correct it in Lightroom or Photoshop is a beautiful thing.  Especially when you shoot RAW.  Shooting RAW ensures that you have maximum control over editing your photos.  The camera basically saves the conditions of when your photo was taken and saves it all on a file so you can alter it later.  Again, it’s a beautiful thing.  But, relying on that alone can be way more work in the end than it’s worth.  So I highly recommend practicing shooting in different lighting situations and understanding what settings will lead you to a well-exposed shot.

Exposure isn’t the only thing I adjust in Lightroom.  I also alter the saturation, brightness, blacks, temperature and tint.  Sometimes I adjust them all.  Other times I adjust some, and even others, I just adjust one.  The point of post for me and my personal style is to help make the photo to look as natural as possible.  If you don’t know what your style is, my suggestion would be to compile a ton of images that speak to you.  Ones that you naturally gravitate towards in magazines or on blogs and make you go, ooooooh.  Then figure out why you like them.  Is it composition?  If it is, then for the most part, post production (aside from cropping) isn’t going to help you very much.  That’s more of an in-camera issue.  But if it’s colors and light, then post can definitely be a great tool.

So now comes the good stuff.  Once you have a shot that you are happy SOOC and have an idea of where you want to go with it style-wise, you can head to Lightroom (or Photoshop, but I’l be using Lightroom for the purpose of this post).  I also shot the following two images JPEG, so all of the settings start at zero as opposed to RAW that has your exact settings saved for you SOOC.

In this first image, you can see that the before and after are pretty much the same, but the exposure and brightness have been bumped a bit.  This is because the image SOOC was a bit underexposed, but otherwise fine.  The light was hitting Bry’s face from camera right, illuminating his face sufficiently.  I also bumped the temp to +5, because I wanted his skin to have a hint of warmth.  If his face had been too warm, or even had a tinge of redness, I would have decreased the tint a tad.

In this second image, you can see that the original photo was way underexposed and had to be compensated for in post.  I don’t think I was originally even going to bother with this photo, and instead just pass it off as a lost cause, but I liked his expression and the composition, so I tinkered a bit with it in Lightroom.  I bumped the exposure and brightness, brought out the blacks a touch, and desaturated the photo a bit as well.  The purpose of desaturating is  so that when the colors are entirely too vivid (sometimes after you amp up the exposure), desaturation restores balance to the colors.  It can help to essentially create a softer photo.

I’d like to reiterate here that I really believe that you have to understand where you want to go in order to get there.  Sometimes you just don’t know, so you experiment to see what is appealing to you.  That’s great, you totally should.  But first, you have to understand fundamentals (light and composition) and second, learn from others.  I think when you study the works of those that you admire, you start understanding and recognizing patterns.  When you take various patterns from various influences and apply them to your own work, you start creating something entirely new that you can call your own.  You shouldn’t feel like a copycat for applying methods that the artists you are looking at have learned from other artists who learned it from others and so on.  Even the very first artist presumably took influence from somewhere–maybe nature, who knows.  The point is, study, learn, apply, and practice, practice, practice.  I think that goes for everything.  I haven’t been doing photography for a super long time and I’m still learning every day.

So that’s my brief intro to the steps I take in post production.  If any of the above was unclear or if you have any questions, please leave a comment on Jocson’s site or you can always email me directly.  You can find me at amisinLA at gmail dot com and at my site.  Thanks, and hope to see you there!

Genius fever.

March 9, 2011

There’s been a nasty something-er-other that’s been going around locally lately.  I was struck down last week/the week before, at the height of which I vomited out a guestblog over at Ami’s in LA. Check it out.  4 out of 5 feral SeaTac cats are calling it genius.  The 5th cat is calling it bold, with hints of honey, lavender, and tobacco.

And while I’m whoring out non-jocson-blog related appearances, remember that ACAP event?  Check out more about the organization in their latest newsletter from last month.  More of our photos are featured throughout the pub, so check those out too.  Woo!

And, just for good measure, and the sake of a visual, here’s a snap of me + my groomscru from last year.  En route to the bachelor party we figured out how to properly use a tripod.

2AM, and I’m wide awake.

OK, perhaps I should start at the beginning.

We had an AWESOME day today with Diana+Jesse.  Longtime readers may remember Jesse from such posts as this one, and Diana is his lovely wife.  We got a bright and early start to our Sunday with shots all across Seattle, which somehow concluded with unplanned frozen yogurt of spontaneity.

For those taking notes, this is where the gates of hell opened and all its VIPs broke loose to mambo.

The wifey and I have been on a bit of a restricted diet for the past couple weeks, and had cut out virtually all carbs.  This has kept our sugar intake uberlow for awhile, so upon consumption of the wonderous, magical, all-too-spectactular frozen yogurt (and toppings!…oops) today, I think our bodies didn’t know what to do with it.  I hit a fastasgical high for bit, then crashed on the couch in a coma.  For the afternoon, evening, and night.  The Mrs. too.  Aaannnn now I’m awake.  Wide awake.

It was totally worth it though.  And as I think back on the moment of weakness and reconsider whether if I were to revisit the situation again — would I do anything differently?  The answer is most certainly, hands down, no doubt about it:  Yes.  Emphatically, Yes.

I would get more yogurt, more toppings, nuts, and a king sized butterfinger.

So as I thought back over the day, I remembered how much fun Diana+Jesse were/are.  I couldn’t help but tear into the photos to pick a few to sneak peek.  I’m sure Cindi will do the same over on her blog, once the coma wears off, and we’ll toss a few onto our Facebook page (don’t forget to ‘like’ us, if you haven’t already! /end shameless plug) as well as we work though our culling and processing.

These kids are so durned cute!  And so in love, you can just see it radiate in every motion.  They’ve been married for a few years, but never got the chance to do engagement photos.  We’re firm believers that every couple should have a good set of photos to mark the start of their relationship / joint-life with.  Not for narcissism’s sake, but because as you nest nothing bring as much warmth and personalization as family photos, there’s great fun in looking back at them in later years, and the great grandkids will get a kick out of them in generations to come (I know I wish I had more photos of my parents…let alone my grandparents, great grandparents and beyond) … and, OK, for narcissism’s sake.  We’re all dead sexy in this world, every last one of us.

They may not technically be ‘engagement photos,’ but we hope they’ll bring as much excitement, and do this gorg(eous) pair justice.  We’ll have to see what the moms think…

on 3.. 1...2....3awwwwwww

well, at least jesse think's i'm funny

so effing fierce... be careful if you click to view fullsize, you may get shanked

 

Earlier this month, we had the privilege of partaking in the TacSea! TacSea! festivities.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’m excited to say we’ve culled, corrected, polished, and published our way to glory.  Take a peek at some of our faves here, digest, laugh, cry, and come on back when you’re ready to let me know what you think via the comments.

If a particular one tickles your fancy, and you’d like a high-res e-Copy, drop me a note and let me know.  Prints are also available in a variety of formats from our lab at greatly discounted rates for this special event.  If you’re interested in a large size print or canvas, let me know and I’ll get that squared away for you.

Bigups to all the artists and attendees.  Let’s do this again.  Soon.

Portraits: Jun

February 21, 2011

We had an awesomely sunny weekend in Seattle — these have been pretty scarce as of late, so I really can’t complain.  So it was a little cold.. eh.  So it was a little windy.. eh.  Doesn’t matter.  Especially when you’re shooting with Jun.

Jun’s one of those pretty-much-always-genuinely-happy-folks who doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  When the gusts picked up and we could hear it knocking on the walls of her condo, she didn’t panic for the day to come.  When the sharp frost bit as we stepped outside, there was no question in her mind whether it was a good idea to keep going.  And when realized we were approximately a 250 mile uphill hike to prime Kodak-approved locales, I struggled to keep pace with her enthusiastic gait.  Jun’s just one of those easy-going individuals that makes all the goings-on easy.

More words from the wifey on her blog

Portraits: Stephanie

February 13, 2011

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down…

Points to whoever knows what song that’s from.  I do love Saturdays, but have been dreading this one for the week for one reason:  Rain.

OK, so usually I don’t mind it (the rain), but today we had scheduled a shoot with the lovely Stephanie, and I really wanted some good sun for it.  The day started out pretty decent, and the sun even peeked through around lunch time to tease and taunt me, but by the time we met up with Steph… yep… rain.

Well almost.. you could tell it was imminent, and the winds were really picking up, so we opted to postpone so we could really knock it out right.  Rather than head out into Seattle proper to shoot, we stopped by Steph’s place to hang for a little bit.  It was right as the rain outside started to finally come down that the thundershowers and lightning bolts of inspiration hit.  While it was wet outside, I guess you could say we had a bit of a dry run indoors for our soon-to-be-rescheduled shoot.  We even got a little brave toward the end and ventured outdoors.

A wise photographer once told me that as you near the perfect shot, you will know it because you will see a glow… and you will shout things.  I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered perfect, but I will say that I am surprised none of the neighbors called the cops fearing the worst from Cindi’s and my sporadic, sudden, seemingly random bursts of enthusiastic expletives.  Steph. just. makes. it. too. easy.

she's a natural. she just doesn't know it

GORG!

so fierce!

Check out the wifey’s blog for her rundown.  We both can’t wait for round 2.  Thanks Steph for inviting us into your home, being such a great sport, and allowing me to yell inappropriate things 4 inches from your face!

Tastes Like Handcrafted

February 11, 2011

We’re meeting up with SLM+RJ tomorrow for dinner, so we put the finishing touches on their images tonight.  While my laptizzle was busy kicking out the files all high-tech-like, I headed over to my shameful mess of a desk to work on our packaging all low-tech-like.  That’s right folks, this marks our first client package bearing our new branding. Huzzah!  Handcrafted by yours truly, complete with blood, sweat, and tears.  Except, instead of blood, sweat, and tears I substituted liberal amounts of ribbon, rubber cement, and love.

one of the cookie sheets, fresh out the oven and ready for the cooling rack

the madness

a sprinkling of personal touches

really diggin the petal closure ... because...

..it keeps itself closed!! go go low-tech!

handcut hangtag, and check out that sweet handpunched hole. i got down all amish-like and cut that sucker myself

getting the dress blues on..

all dressed, ready to party..

...and hit the dance floor

In other news, please allow me to shamelessly whore out our new Facebook page.  Happy early Valentine’s Day.  We like you.. do you like us too?

Babies: Sneak Peek – Elsa

February 6, 2011

You know when you get a bad idea… you know, a really bad idea… really bad idea… you have that friend that talks you out of it?  Pulls you back to sanity, makes you realize the error of your ways, and allows you to continue on with life as if it never happened?  Well, for me, that friend is not Eric.  In fact, Eric is the total opposite.  He’ll instead be the friend that’s out on the ledge with me, or helping me attach my fake mustache while we go over our plan to flee the country and avoid the shame of our failed harebrained scheme.

It’s a common trait in pretty much all of my close friends.  I’m not sure if it’s a function of external factors, such as temperate Pacific Northwest rains pushing inhabitants to be as mad as March hares, of if it’s by necessity that only those with their own pinch of insanity are able to deal with mine.

Lucky for Eric and me, we have wives.  Wives who are completely sane, and not afraid to tell us when we’re not.  So when we hatched the idea of a baby photo shoot, and our wives approved, we knew we had our hands on the formula for low energy nuclear fusion upon which we could retire.  Or, at the very least, we had an idea that wasn’t half bad.  And it also taught us the importance of first qualifying an idea to “shoot the baby” with the more descriptive “photo shoot.”

Baby Elsa’s pics are now in our queue, but we couldn’t resist sharing a few shots. Those of you who follow the wifey’s blog will have already seen a couple of these, but I went ahead and added a bit more.