portable lighting

Shooting the Blues: Portrait Session with Jill Newman at Gas Works Park

A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful photo session with blues guitarist Jill Newman of Vancouver, B.C.

She was looking for different poses and backgrounds that would differentiate her from the typical “standing between railroad tracks.” These were for her upcoming album and posters for venues she’ll be playing at.

Blues Guitarist Jill Newman:

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014.

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

A week before the shoot, I went with my wife Heidi to meet her at the Seaside Bakery Café in Blaine, Wash. Jill and Heidi began talking and as they did, I could see the Ideas begin churning in Heidi’s brain She came up with a great plan that Jill agreed to.

Jill was looking for something industrial and unique. Heidi recommended Gas Works Park in Seattle. It was open, had plenty of structures to shoot around, and was an industrial look she was looking for.

Getting Comfortable

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014.

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The following Saturday, Jill and her partner Jordan, who writes the blog “Rain In Blaine: Tales of the Perpetually Soggy,” picked me up for the drive down to Seattle. On the way, I began texting my friend Earnie Glazener.

Fortunately he had the day off and wanted to come and help. Great idea. He said he’d bring some gear along so if I needed it, we’d have it.

Colorful Pipes

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014.

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

We met him in the parking lot to plan the shoot. Earnie brought his Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 remotes, reflectors, and his own camera gear.

We planned our shoot to begin in a set of concrete arches, go inside the main building, then end near the large outdoor structures. Basically, we made a big circle.

Inside the main building:

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham portrait photography, bellingham wedding photography

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

It took a bit to feel comfortable shooting her. About halfway through the concrete structure, she and I began to loosen up. Earnie showed up about this time and used his reflector to fill in the shadow areas.

With Jordan playing security guarding the extra gear, we continued shooting and moved to the outside of the main building. There were some pretty colorful pipes that are on the outside which I used as a background.

Taking a Breather

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography) bellingham portrait photography, bellingham wedding photography

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

After that, we moved to the inside of the main building with all the old pipes and equipment. Using my SB800 and SB80 on remotes, I lit Jill with one strobe and Earnie held the reflector. We found a pair of old tanks and I positioned her between them.

With the Sun streaming into the main building, I used that as my main light source, Earnie held the reflector at my right, and we had a single flash on the left which I set 2 stops below to add more fill.

Back outside, the Sun was becoming lower in the sky making the light a bit more dramatic. Using it and just a reflector, we took a few around some of the smaller rust colored structures. Eventually, the Sun set behind Queen Anne Hill and put the park in complete shadow.

Against One of the smaller structures:

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham portrait photography, bellingham wedding photographer

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Not to fret, there is a technique I used a few times before that I thought would work great for these light conditions: Put the background in silhouette, under expose the sky, and use a powered up flash to light the main subject.

The Money Shot

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham portrait photography, bellingham wedding photographer

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

We did a few of these then it began to get too dark. we wanted to shoot a few photos of her on the big “kite-flying” hill with the city as a background. As it was late, my thought was to shoot her with the city lights in the background. But we needed to wait a few so we went to dinner.

At about 7, the lights across Union Lake were bright and vibrant. I precomposed my shot, made a few test exposures which ranged between half to 2 seconds, then tested the strobes.

Lights of Seattle:

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography), bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham portrait photography

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Dreaming:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. bellingham wedding photographer, bellingham portrait photogrpaher

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

We took about 20 or so photos with various poses. Then we moved to the main structure. Several years ago I shot the structure in silhouette with the city lights reflecting orange off the low clouds.

Using this and strobe, we took only a few photos. The shutter was about 15 seconds at f/4 and used a main strobe  on the right with one powered down 1 stop on the left.

City Lights Igniting the Sky:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014.

Blues guitarist Jill Newman for her new album at Gasworks Park in Seattle, Wash., on Saturday afternoon Feb. 1, 2014. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The “spots” in the one above are actually stars. I thought at first they were dust, but upon checking other frames decided they were stars.

Had it not been near freezing, we would’ve spent more time testing various shutter speeds, poses, etc.

Overall the images came out pretty good.

Do you know of a local band, musicians, artists, or performers in Bellingham, Whatcom County, or Skagit County that needs some images? Let them know I’m available.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Paul Conrad is an award-winning photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.

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Calendar Photography: Illuminating Goddesses

***Updated***

For the past week or so I’ve shot portraits of Goddesses for my local client Ashley Benem of Benem’s Body Works.

Ashley contacted me through a friend of a friend. Upon first discussion, her ideas intrigued me and wanted to work with Ashley on her project. She needed various models dressed as certain goddesses for her calendar.

These consisted mostly of studio sessions with a few outdoor shoots. For the studio, I used Einstein monolights made by Paul C. Buff.  These lights are phenomenal.

I borrowed them from my good friend Earnie Glazener of Seattle, Wash. I’ve used studio lights multiple times before, but these were fantastic. With a quick tutoring session, I realized I need to get me a set of them.

For the main light, I used one with the parabolic light umbrella (The PLM system), which is basically a huge beauty dish and gives off some wonderful light. My fill was a basic soft box by Paul C. Buff. On some shots for more dramatic light, I used a Photflex reflector to fill in the shadows for more dramatic light.

For the outside shots, I just used the reflector to fill in the shadow areas.

After setting up the lights, I took a few test shots each day using my Color Checker Passport by X-Rite Photo. Just a few shots at the metered exposure and then a few more bracketed. The good thing with the Einstein lights is that they are extremely consistent with their color temperature.

These are some of my favorites and how I lit them:

Artemis the Hunter:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Ashley Benem of Benem's Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis the Archer, Goddess of the Hunt, Forests, the Hill, and the Moon, during a photoshoot for her upcoming calendar.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Ashley Benem of Benem’s Body Works portrays the Greek goddess Artemis the Archer, Goddess of the Hunt, Forests, the Hill, and the Moon, during a photoshoot for her upcoming calendar.

Lighting: What was important in this photo was the angle of her drawing the bow (it is a real bow and arrow) and the ability to see her eyes. Yes, the inspiration for the angle was the movie poster for The Hunger Games.

A basic lighting set-up was used for this image. Ashley was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the left and a powered down soft box (2 stops under) on the right. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 80-200 zoomed halfway for a slightly compressed feel.

Post Processing:  Simply brought into Adobe Camera Raw to get correct color balance and add a little fill light. Brought into Photoshop and used separate layers for curves (slight increase in mid-tones) and Black & White layer for the sepia.

Persephone Daughter of Zeus:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Greek goddess Persephone daughter of Zeus being tempted by Hades. Queen of the Underworld and vegetation goddess.

Lighting:  What was important in the photo was all the white with emphasis on the reds of the pomegranate and her lipstick, yet, still maintain some color for her skintones.

The model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the right and the soft box on the left as fill. I wanted less depth of field so I powered down all the strobes to their minimum. Exposure was 1/250th at f/4 using my D300s with 50mm f/1.4  focused on the pomegranate.

Post Processing:  I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw twice: once for correct exposure and color balance, the second time to get the overall overexposed look. Those were then layered in Photoshop with the bright layer converted as a smart object and placed on top of the “correct” layer. I then used the eraser tool with the opacity and flow settings set to the mid-range on that layer to bring out the red in the lips and pomegranate of the underlying layer. I then added a curves adjustment layer to flatten the highlights and add just a touch of contrast.

Athena Goddess of War:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Athena the daughter of Zeus, Greek Goddess of wisdom, warfare, architecture, divine intelligence, and crafts.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Athena the daughter of Zeus, Greek Goddess of wisdom, warfare, architecture, divine intelligence, and crafts.

Lighting: What was important in this photo is to make her look the part. Ashley did a great job coaching her to bring out the character as she did with all the models.

While shooting, I had to pay attention to the sword because when it was turned the “correct” way, the glare was overwhelming. The model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the right and using a Photoflex MulitDisc 5-in-1 reflector on the right using the gold fabric surface. I wanted less depth of field so I used my 80-200 to compress it a touch. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 80-200 f/ 2.8 focused on her eyes.

Post Processing: I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw for correct exposure and color balance. Then using Photoshop, I layered a curves layer to bring in the mid-tones and add some contrast by anchoring the upper shadow area. Then I added a Black & White layer to add the sepia toning.

Brighid- Celtic Goddess of Childbirth & Poetry:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Brighid the Celtic Goddess of Childbirth and Poetry.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Brighid the Celtic Goddess of Childbirth and Poetry.

Lighting: What was important in this photo is to ensure the herbs on her left were properly lit as well as lighting the globe with a spot light so it has a glowing feel to it.

While shooting, I had to pay attention to the globe to make sure the model held it in the spot where my snooted SB-800 strobe was firing. The rest of the model was simply lit with the large PLM umbrella on the left as the main light to keep the herbs well-lit.  The right side was lit using a soft box set about 2 stops under the main. Exposure was 1/250th at f/11 using my D300s with 17-35 f/ 2.8 at about 20mm focal length.

Post Processing: I brought the image into Adobe Camera Raw for correct exposure and color balance. I also made the shadows a little deeper to drop out the black background. Then after importing it into Photoshop, I layered a curves layer to bring in the mid-tones and add some contrast by anchoring the upper shadow area. Then I added a Black & White layer to add the sepia toning. With the B&W layer, I added a mask and using the eraser tool, deleted that part over the herbs to bring out the green. The opacity and flow settings on the eraser tool were set to the mid-ranges to keep the edges from being to stark.

There are a total of 13 models for this shoot. Each one has their own special characteristics. Each one with their own special circumstances. These are just my 4 favorites.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.
Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Pablo Conrad Photography

“Like” my Page on Facebook

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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography The last rays of the setting Sun bathes the snow-capped peak of Mount Baker in alpenglow as the lights of the city of Bellingham, Wash., begin to turn on during evening April 23, 2013.

Mt. Shuksan in Alpenglow

***Before my computer hard drive failed, I began writing this post. Now that it’s up and running, I’ll be catching up on a few entries***

Late last week, I headed up Highway 542 in western Whatcom County east of Bellingham, Wash., to photograph Mt. Shuksan to bathed in alpenglow. Being typical Northwest weather, I wanted to head up while it was sunny and nice.

After a few stops including Horseshoe Bend Trail and Nooksack Falls, I arrived at Picture Lake in the Mount Baker Ski Area at the base of Mount Baker. Hopefully, I thought, the lake would be somewhat melted. However, as expected, it was still covered by deep, hard packed snow.

Using One Flash:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

No worries. I drove around a bit to find a good angle and wasn’t seeing any “sweeping vista” that excited me. So I got out of my car and just walked around the loop shooting generic “I was Here” photos. Nothing spectacular.

The light was somewhat late afternoon super bright sun. Taking a break, I noticed to trees growing by themselves and I visualized Mt. Shuksan between them. In summer, the trees would be on the shore of Picture Lake.

Using Two Speedlights:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

To get to the trees, I’d have to walk across a snowfield which covered part of the marshy area of the lake. Rather than chance postholing my way to the trees and possibly falling through the snow pack, I opted to find another angle.

But even after another half an hour of seeking, I couldn’t find something visually interesting. Time was running out so I just grabbed my ski/trekking poles, put on my ski jacket and walked down to the two trees.

I must mention, I lived in the Colorado high country for many years before moving up to the Pacific Northwest. Walking across snowfields is somewhat second nature. Caution is the operative word when doing so.

As the Pacific Northwest gets heavier snow, and ofttimes more, than Colorado, I found the traverse rather easy. I still took caution by using my poles to test the snow pack in front of me. I did not want to fall through.With ease, I made it to the base of the trees and saw my composition. Nothing super fantastic, but definitely something different. One caveat to work with: Lighting the trees with portable strobes/speedlights as they were in full shadow as the Sun was below the ridge behind me.

A few weeks ago I bought a set of radio slaves. One transmitter and two receivers. I’ve used them a few times before this, so setting up my speedlights wouldn’t be an issue.

Carefully I hiked back to my car to get my tripod, camera, lens, filters (Polarizing and ND64), radio slaves and speedlight. Upon returning, set up my tripod with camera and adjusted my composition. I then waked about 15 feet to the left to set up a speedlight with radio slave.

I had to move fast as the light was beginning to change fairly quick. As I took a few test exposures to get the light on the mountain balanced with the speedlight, I noticed I needed another. One speedlight wasn’t enough even in manual mode at full power. So I went back to my car to get a second speedlight.

I placed the second speedlight next to the first effectively doubling my light on the trees. I made sure neither had the diffuser and both were set to telephoto to narrow the light, therefore effectively increasing the output. Then I tested various aperture settings and shutter speeds. I found the one exposure that worked well.

REMEMBER:  When using an off camera speedlights, this basic rule applies: Aperture controls both the total image exposure and the flash exposure. Shutter speed controls the exposure of your ambient light. Read more on these earlier blog postings: Intro to Creative Flash Part 1: Shutter Synch, Intro to Creative Flash Part 2: Aperture, and Intro to Creative Flash Part 3: Using Speedlights as a Portable Studio.

With the above exposure “rule” in mind, I set my aperture to get correct exposure for the trees, and set my shutter speed to get a good exposure on the mountain.

I started figuring my exposure by using the “Sunny 16 Rule.” At 1/250th for my shutter speed, I began at f/16 on my aperture. The trees were underlit. So I opened my aperture 2 stops to f/8 and the exposure were a little under, but I liked them as they weren’t overly dominate.

Here’s a quick primer on the “Sunny 16 Rule:” Sunny 16: An old Rule for a New Age.

As I knew the light would wane dramatically as the Sun set, I stayed at that exposure. As the light waned, I just used longer shutter speeds to compensate for the loss. However, the exposure of /250th at f/8 seemed to balance the light the best.

The Final Result:
© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

As the Sun set behind me, the color began to change from a very light pink to red. It was very peaceful watching as Mt. Shuksan changed color. I noticed an odd noise that went “whum whum whum whum” every minute or so. It was low pitched and echoed. I half expected a bear to come investigate.

When the light faded on Mt. Shuksan, I packed up everything and headed back. I did fail to photograph my impromptu lighting setup. Didn’t think of it until I was back at the car.

When I was finished packing everything back up, I looked up to see my tracks to the two trees and noticed the pink afterglow in the sky and how it lit the mountain. So I took a few more shots.

My Tracks and Pink Glow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan in the Mount Baker/Snoqualmie Wilderness in northwest Washington east of Bellingham.

Camera info:  Nikon D300s w/MB-D10, Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8, SB800 & SB80DX Speedlights, radio slaves & trigger.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming in Skagit County in the Northwestern part of Washington State.

Tip Toeing Through The Tulips

It is the Tulip Festival in Skagit County near Mt. Vernon, Wash.

Being as the weather is unpredictable in the Pacific Northwest this time of year, I headed down there on a whim when it was a sunny day last week. I didn’t want the chance for the clouds and gray to roll in. It was a glorious sunset but lacked some clouds to break up the monotony of the sky. It’s a quick half-hour drive from Bellingham.

This is just a quick posting of some of the images I shot.

As I drove around, I stuck with the Roozengaarde Farm as it was easy to get to without any parking issues. However, I will say that after about 5 or 6, traffic is very light and there usually are not parking problems.

Feel free to leave comments about which one is your favorite, and just don’t excite you.

1. From low, with the Sun back lighting the bulbs:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

I laid low on the ground for this while adding a bit of overexposure. It’s different and looks good. Although it looks good, this is not my favorite.

I used my 80-200 and zoomed in while laying on the rain-soaked ground. It was hard to shoot, especially trying to keep the horizon straight. I also focused further away to make the closer bulbs out of focus.

Trying a more artistic approach than usual.

2. Low, off camera flash, Sun backlighting the blooms:

Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.(photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

For the above photo, I again was low to the ground and used my strobe on a mini-tripod and radio slaved so as not to worry about the cord. It was my first time using the triggers and I think they worked well.

My main goal was to capture a “starburst” coming through the tulips. I have one and it’s posted below. I created the starburst using a time-honored method of tenacity, luck, and patience. Here’s a link to an earlier posting about how to create one: Capturing a Sunburst: A Few Tips

I also posted another photo with a starburst coming through the tulips. Some like this version without the starburst, some like the starburst. Which is your favorite and feel free to leave a comment about what you think.

3. A vertical utilizing the strong back light of the setting Sun:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography-Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

Again, a little overexposure and utilizing the lens flare helps create this low contrast image.

4. A lone red tulip amidst a forest of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.
There is a saying in photography: Repetition is a great compositional tool. However, repetition without opposition is boring.

With the Sun getting low to the horizon, it made for some sweet side lighting. I found this lone wolf and shot it from different angles. I liked it when the Sun was not directly behind, but slightly off to the right.

5. The Sun sets beyond the sea of yellow:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash., on Tuesday April 15, 2013.

For this image, I exposed for the setting Sun to get a nice exposure on the sky but still allowing for some detail in the farmhouse. To get the tulips lit,  I remotely triggered my speedlight using radio slaves.

So I set my shutter speed to synch with my speedlight and used my aperture to properly expose for the sky. I then set my speedlight on manual and set it for what the aperture was on my camera.

6.   Red Tulips, Blue Sky, and a Starburst:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - Tulips blooming at Rozengaarde Tulip Farm in Skagit County, Wash.

Same photo as the second one. But to capture the starburst, I moved until just a pinpoint of light shone through the tulips. Being as I was stopped down to f/22 on my lens, the refraction caused by the aperture blades created the starburst.

Hint: older lenses have straight blades which create a polygonal shape. These make for better starbursts. The new lenses have a more circular aperture and do not create a starburst.

I think now matter what the skill level of the photographer is, as they continue to grow, the continue to ask questions about how to improve. My question to you is what is your favorite and why? AND what is your least favorite and why?

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Follow me on various Social Networks:
Pablo Conrad Photography

“Like” my Page on Facebook

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© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Photo Shoot

Update:  After I posted this blog, the Seattle SMUG received a letter thanking us for our efforts.

I always believed that photographer’s have a gift, and on occasion, should use that gift to help lift the spirit of others. I wrote about this in a previous post Volunteering is a Good Thing: It Strengthens Your Community.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Antonio Cejudo of CoCo & Company Hair Salon of Seattle, Wash., putting the finishing touches on a client.

This past week, I had the privilege of volunteering for a cancer survivor portrait shoot. The Seattle Smug Mug User’s Group (Seattle SMUG) which I am asst. coordinator for, held a two day portrait session at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash., for survivor’s of cancer.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

These ranged from head shots to large group photos. The organizer of the event was my good friend and Seattle photographer Erin Kohlenberg. She did a wonderful job getting everything together. As she stated once: “This will put my project management experience to good use.”

A few days ago, the Seattle SMUG received this letter:

I just wanted to tell you a WONDERFUL story.

One of our cancer patients just passed away. I was talking with his wife today and she was telling me the family photo that your team gifted her was at the patient’s memorial service and everyone was telling her what a precious gift it was to have the fa

mily photo and how wonderful the patient looked in the photo (although the wife told me he was feeling horrible the day of the photo shoot).

This photo project you took on has made a world of difference for so many of our patients and this is just one small story.

Thank you and I hope this project can continue.”

During the two day event, Seattle photographers Henry Lingat, John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Ilona Berzups, Wenmei Hill, and others, not only provided their talent, but also provided the necessary lighting equipment to do a good job.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Seattle, Wash., photographer John Cornicello during one of the shoots.

On the digital editing team, Paul Gibbons, Mitch Reinitz, Seattle SMUG Leader Earnie Glazener, and others spent the time with each family to edit the images and provide a selection for their personal use.

CoCo & Co. Hair Salon provided excellent service in the hair styling and makeup department. Owner Nathan Panuco coordinated makeup artist Antonio Cejudo and stylists Lili Carlson and Kim Hicks.

It was a simple flow. Each survivor signed in, had their hair and makeup professionally done, moved onto their portrait session, and then went to a station with someone skilled in editing to help them chose which image they wanted as their complimentary 16×20 professionally printed masterpiece, which is generously provided by Bay Photo out of San Francisco.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

Mitch Reintz, left, goes over a client’s portrait session with them.

They were also given a CD of the high res images of their choice, and those sized for the web. No photographers copyright, no watermarks, these were a gift from the photographers and volunteers.

It was incredible watching the clients view the images as the editor went through them. They were amazed at the images and it was good for the soul to see such happiness in their eyes. Some have not even had their hair nor makeup done in quite some time.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

A client smiles while viewing her after having it finished by CoCo & Company Hair Salon stylist Kim Hicks.

The actual location of the shoot was in the lobby of the Baroness Hotel across the street. Not only did the hotel provide space for the event, we had several caterers provide food and drinks. Seattle vendors Stuffed Cakes, Starbucks, Take 5 Market, Tom Douglas Catering, Noah’s Bagels, and Eltana Wood-Fired Bagles provided food and refreshments.

It was a good time for all. for more behind-the-scenes photos, follow this link: Seattle SMUG Cancer Survivor Charity Shoot

But the most important thing was seeing the smiles on the faces of the survivors and their families. Those moments, now captured for them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Special Thanks to everyone involved:

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers, organizers and donors for the Virginia Mason Cancer Care Survivors Photoshoot. Links to photos from this awesome event to come soon.

Photographers:

John Cornicello, Melissa Wax, Paul Conrad, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups

Assistants, Editors, Behind the scenes photographers, Greeters and general help:

Anne Mills, Arnie Cohen, David Loseno, Diana Alvarado, Doug Bulger, Earnie Glazener, Erik Zakarian (Video!), Francine Scott, Henry Lingat, Ilona Berzups, Iris Dumuk, Jess Villanueva, Kamella Boulle, Kelly Hasenoerhrl, Lori Davis-Sandoval, Maris Gerard, Mitch Reinitz, Nat Seymour, Paul (Pablo) Conrad, Paul Gibbons, Ron Yeh, Sara Burgess, SuJ’n Chon, Susan Schroeter, Susie Carey, Terri Christensen, Wenmei Hill.

Hair & Makeup:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography

CoCo & Com. Hair Salon makeup artist Antonio Cejudo works on a client’s makeup.

CoCo & Co. Salon (http://www.cocoseattle.com/): Nathan Panuco, Antonio Cejudo, Kim Hicks, Lili Carlson

Organizing Help from Virginia Mason:

Meredith Kennedy, Nancy Tyler

Special Thanks:

Earnie Glazener for coming up with the idea

John Cornicello and Henry Lingat for the use of their portrait lights and backdrops

Bay Photo Labs (http://bayphoto.com/) for donating a 16×20 metal print to each family group.

The Baroness Hotel (http://www.baronesshotel.com/) for letting us take over the lobby for two days.

SmugMug and SeattleSMUG for supporting photographers and supporting these events.

Thank you to the organizations who donated food:

Take 5 Urban Market

Tom Douglas Catering

Noah’s Bagels in the Queen Anne neighborhood

Eltana Wood-fired Bagel Cafe

Stuffed Cakes

Extra Thanks to Francine Scott for bringing Starbucks Coffee & breads.

Virginia Mason Foodservice
Thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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