More beautiful Debutantes

Beautiful Mildura Debutantes

While we were away for a good bit of the debutante season this year, resulting in reduced numbers of deb photo sessions. We did get to shoot with some amazing, beautiful and elegant young ladies and their partners. What’s more, we got to shoot a whole bunch of locations… Which is always a buzz for us.High key, soft and romantic image of beautiful young debutante in Excitations Studio Gardens, near Mildura.

The above portrait of the gorgeous Alexandria. Photographed in Excitations Garden Studio. New angle to take advantage of the trees in background with no leaves. Plus deliberate over exposure in camera to enhance the soft winter light look.

Full length location photograph of a debutante and her partner in Excitations studio garden, Yelta near Mildura.

Ali and Ryan and a whole lot of space… Love shooting with debutantes and partners now… So much freedom to experiment a little, go for those slightly different shots as well as getting the “must haves” for the family archives.

How far is too far when photographing debutantes? I’m thinking this is a bit over the edge for most peoples taste. But hey….  I’m here alone, nobody is looking and I love simple photographs and the image below is one of those.

Soft looking photograph of young debutante walking away from the camera through Excitations studio Garden, Yelta, Victoria, Australia.

The simple act of walking away from the camera to a new location was all that was needed for this image. No posing, no fuss, just seeing and clicking.

Then for something completely different we set off to photograph Sophia and Travis in an amazing formal garden. Plus we had this lovely old FJ in original condition to play with.

Panoramic styled colour photograph of debutante and partner in an FJ holden car

 I wanted the above shot to be a “Driving Miss Sophia” look, while playing with the lines created by perfectly trimmed hedges.

Half length image of debutante standing in front of texture stone wall. Deb photos in Mildura by Excitations.

I have to let you into a little secret about here. When all your debutantes for the season are beautiful, elegant young women…. It isn’t hard to create stunning portraits… Whatever the style  chosen. Sophia was no exception. This creation courtesy of Sophia and Robyn who worked together to style the shot.

Photograph of debutante and partner sitting on a garden bench against a stone wall. Deb photography in Mildura by Excitations.

A verandah, stone wall, rustic seat and a hedge to help frame the shot and add warmth to the image. Just add a beautiful couple… Job done.

 

 

 

Winter sunrise time-lapes

Sunrise time-lapes over the Murray River near Mildura.

Yesterday moring 23,000 people gathered at 4:52am to view the sunrise at Stone Henge in the UK. Nine of them were arrested for being drunk and for about 30 seconds they saw the light.

This morning, I watched the sunrise alone, didn;t get arrested and it lasted for around an hour. Lucky I live in Sunraysia I reckon.

The lesson for today is arriving on location 38 minutes before sunrise isnot early enough to create a time-lapes

Portraits of kids on white

Today we look at creating portraits of kids on a white seamless studio background.

This technique isn’t new…. Quite the opposite in fact. However, with the current trend for photographers to only shoot on location, mostly outdoors. It amazes me just how beautiful, stylish and clean portraits of kids on a white seamless background can be. Seriously, a single portrait of a child, photographed against a white background makes for wonderful enlargement on most any wall. Little pieces of personal art, with the added bonus of being great images of your child at the same time… Win, win I think they call that.

Photograph of young boy standing on a photo studio white seamless background during a  kids portrait session at excitations, Mildura Photographers.

The portrait of Joseph, above is a case in point. We could have used a number of backgrounds, even headed out into our studio garden. But Mum already had a number of portraits of her children on the wall and each had been created against a white seamless background…. So it was a no brainer to go with white. It was also fun for us as we hadn’t shot white for a few months. And looking at these images… Well let’s just say I have a few more ideas floating around.
This is one of those situation where having a large studio helps…  A big shooting stage and heaps of quality light from high speed strobes makes for a much more successful portrait session.

Olivia and Anthony, wedding photography.

Late last year we photographed Olivia and Anthony’s wedding.

It goes without saying we had a great day. Lots and lots of photos in some really cool locations. Some simple formal wedding photography and lots of casual “run and gun” shooting as they say overseas.

Groom with parents in background black and white photoIt is always a challenge when it comes to selecting a handful of images to post to this blog…  Do we run with the casual shots of Anthony and the boys outdoors, or with his grandfathers restored tractor? Or with???? Eventually we settled on this shot in the family dinning room.

Photo montage of bride laying on bed with natural rock pattern blended through background. Mildura wedding photography by Excitations. There were dozens of amazing photos of Olivia but today we decided to go with this composite… Olivia merged with some textured rock. Almost prepared to bet this one will not make the final cut…. But it was fun to do.

Close up of bride and groom kissing, photographed through out of focus flowers. Wedding photography Mildura by Excitations.First location after church…. Back home into Mum’s rose garden.

Black and white wedding photograph in wheat field. Wedding photography by excitations, MilduraThen we all went out to play in a wheat paddock. Wedding photography locations are everywhere. All you have to do is track them down, Manage a few uninvited bush flies and you’re in business.

Bride and groom in wheat paddock, holding hands. Mildura wedding pheographers, Excitations.While we were out in the wheat, we shot two cameras. One down low and wide, the other up close and personal with a long lens. We notice the video crew were doing the same thing. So I guess we had all angles covered.

Soft romatic image of bride and groom close up, shot by excitations Mildura Photographers.After being out in the sun for a while, we headed into an undercover stock yard. Awesome light and again two cameras. This one a medium format digital, complete with soft focus lens. The other shooting a more contrasty style of image.

stron black and white close up of bride and groom in undercover stock yards. Wedding photography by excitations, Mildura.Speaking of more contrasty. Here is another image from the MF camera but this one in black and white.

Full length wedding photo of bride and groom kissing in garden setting.This shot is of a bonus location. We originally went here to shoot some lovely formal gardens.. Beautifully manicured hedges and lawns. Great spot. But over the other side of the house, there was this amazing tree, and some incredible light. Well you know the deal…. If there is a great location with amazing light… You just gotta shoot it.

Dancing the night away at Club Da Vinci Mildura. Photography by excitations photographers, Mildura.Then of course there was eating, drinking, singing and dancing all night long. Fantastic night with lots of photo opportunities.

 

 

Buyer be aware….

Yeah I know I’ve changed that saying to suit this post.

By far the vast majority of photographers out there who are taking money in return for their photographic expertise are genuine in their endeavors. Some are better value than others. All shoot different styles, and offer different levels of service.

However, there are a small number of cooks amongst us. Very dodgy customers if you like. That’s no different to society in general. Except every time someone calls themselves a professional photographer and deliberately goes out to defraud people I get upset… really upset.

Case in point. There is a female photographer working the Northern NSW Wales area, who it is alleged has been booking weddings, taking the money and then either not showing up to the wedding or not supplying  images after the day. Now I stress at this point, she hasn’t been charged with an offense, nor convicted in a court of law. That maybe be in part due to her  trading under several names and being very hard for consumer affairs to catch up with.

You can read one account of this story here.

The lesson to be learned here for a buyer of photographic services is. You should check out who you are hiring. Anyone can have a Facebook Page claiming to be a photographer, anyone can set up a website (and pinch pictures from other sites to populate it) anyone can be on Instagram or any other social media…. In fact having a business card does not mean they are the real deal. Make inquiries, use a bit of common sense and in all likelihood you will not be scammed.

Farcical weeks of email internet issues

Heading says it all really, started the new year all positive and ready to go!

Sadly we’re not through it all yet. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice to say we lost our email/social media machine. Which in itself is no biggy. However the change over to a new machine has been anything but smooth. So if you have emailed us or in-boxed us on Facebook, then I’m afraid we may not have gotten back to you yet…

We hopefully are nearly on top of it. We have a lot of stuff to get out to you regarding all manner of things. Not the least of which is a new set of workshops locally and away.

When is a print not a print.

I’m not sure but maybe when the print becomes a work of art.

art print of spinifex plant growing in a soft pastel environment.

Robyn and I have for years resisted the temptation to refer to our portrait photography as works of art. Many of our city based colleagues have for years done so. Referring to the photography as art prints or “works”. I guess this gives a sense of added value to a photographic print.

This was brought home to me recently when a new client suggested that it was ridiculous for us to charge so much money simple for a print. A print that he could have made just about anywhere for cents. To him, the act of making the print, which is an art in itself, was the whole job. All the skill in “seeing” the image, setting it up, creating the shot then the hours of of colour profiling, retouching out pimples, spots, removing double chins and a few extra kilograms around the hips was valueless. The only thing he should have to pay for was the print.

And then there is the actual print. We’ve just had a fine art quality print made. Printed onto exquisite art paper by a printer with years of experience making art prints for galleries and museums. The cost…. More than we normally charge for a print that size. But it is a wonderful thing to behold. And providing we don’t do something silly with it, this work of art will outlive us by one or two hundred years.

Contrast this print with one.  I was recently shown by a fine art photographer.  Destined  to be hung in a gallery of some note. The photographer had taken the gallery owners advice and had it framed beautifully. Sadly the print job was rubbish. Very poor quality and very easily picked by any art buyer with even the slightest bit of knowledge. Worse still the print material used is rarely if ever these days accepted by the gallery world, because of its very limited life span. Temporary art if you like. Here today and gone in a very sort number of years. But as our fine art photographer friend said. Why would you spend money on getting a high quality print made when you can get a cheap job just as good from the supermarket. Why indeed?

Maybe its time we started thinking about our photography as art rather than just selling a print. Maybe it’s time we put a value on our time and skills rather than just selling a few prints.

Just saying……..

 

Artistic integrity

Artisic integrity and photography…. What!!!

The idea of photography being art has never really sat well for me. Because so much of the photography I see, sure as hell isn’t art if you know what I mean. And the label “fine art photographer” is one I would be reluctant to wear, even if that genre was one that I was striving to join. Just try doing a search for fine art nude photography on the web and you’ll see what I mean…. Wowsers!

Today of course there will be much discussion again about whether photography is art with the news that former Aussie photographer Peter Lik, has just sold a single work for over $7,000,000 . Just watch the experts come out after that one.

Photograph of naked back and buttocks beside a weather beaten door with a potted succulent plant. From a fine art series by excitations photography in Mildura.From a series called “Curves and Spikes” by mildura photographers excitations.

 

However I digress once again. It took me many years to understand that me merely taking photographs was in some way an act of artistic expression. The first dawning for me occurred at the opening of a photo exhibition where one of my images was hanging, surrounded by many other works from other photographers.

One of the viewers of my work, a well known artist, asked me whether I had noticed the strong triangular lines created by a small island in the background which was repeated in the pose of my model. For a second, I was dumbfounded.  I didn’t know what to say. Of course I’d bloody noticed… The whole point of the models pose was the repetition of lines. Her integration into the landscape. Human form being part of our landscape was the dialog if you like…

Finally I said Yes… He  just smiled softly and nodded his head knowingly and moved on. At that point I started to believe that I did in fact have some artistry  in my vision. My way of seeing does have some merit. When I frame things within the view finder there is artistic merit.

Art photo work in progress of rock cave photo by Ian Mckenzie excitations.Which brings me, to artistic integrity. Being a photographer who earns his entire income from photography. I have become use to having my vision butchered by all sorts of people. Mostly well meaning people with varying levels of visual literacy. Mostly I take it as part of the job. It hurts, when someone doesn’t get it in any way shape or form. A couple of instances spring to mind.

One, a portrait of an elderly lady. Devoutly religious, we posed her inside a church, cross on the wall in the background another tiny cross in her hands. Sounds corny but it made a powerful image. It was  picked up by a publication to illustrate an article about the lady. Days later, the picture editor rang me to inform  me, the picture came up well AFTER  THEY HAD FIXED IT. His words. THEY had cut out the cross in the background, trimmed off the ladies hands and totally destroyed the context of the image. Even worse they had put my name on it. So much for artistic integrity.

More recently another producer of a visual publication had to FIX some of our images. Images that we had poured many hours into getting just right. Seems these people had changed the shape of their page layout and our pictures wouldn’t fit. So it was decided, without asking us, to just stretch the images out so they would fit the shape. Result a physically distorted set of photographs. Worse still, instead of using the high res files supplied, it was quicker to use the low resolution comping files…. The photos have come out a bit blurry… Must have been something you did when retouching them Ian… Again artistic integrity.

Storm chasing Mildura

Storm chasing Mildura and being cut off by heavy rain and hail.

It’s not often we get a chance to go chase a storm. Mostly because if your are a photographer you have lots of advanced bookings. the other reason, we don’t get a lot of storms to chase hear in Mildura. Probably a good thing… But I digress.

Last Saturday while sitting at the computer trying to get work out….. The ever present twitter feed beside me started to tell a story of an approaching front. A front with all the hallmarks of being a photo opportunity in the making. Sadly as I watched the electrical activity started to drop away to the South. Disappointed that time wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to follow the front South. I continued working. Pausing for a moment to post a note on FaceBook to the effect that any photographers south of Mildura should get their butts into gear and get ready for a show.

Then as the afternoon progressed. I took a peek outside… The sky was amazing and there was a storm almost on us. To early but hell…. It was a storm. I drove to Wentworth, getting held up by some heavy rain and hail, which was a bit uncomfortable as I had pinched Robyn’s car….  Great little rig but not built for storm chasing, or heavy  hail. All worked out well. Except the photos…. BORING. On the drive home, past a couple of NSW Police, so pulled over for a chat and told them about a medium sized Red Gum, situated in a public park that was struggling to stay upright. Day over or so I thought.

Thunderstorm passes over vineyard.A second, much smaller storm began to develop later in the afternoon. It was touch and go as to whether I would stop work again to try and cut it off. You see my preferred angle for late afternoon thunderstorms is ahead of the storm and to the East if that is possible. After setting out it was soon apparent  mother nature had other ideas. Firstly the storm front was moving mach faster than I anticipated. Secondly there were not a lot of roads available to me. Even less as the storm flattened out and heavy rain began pouring down. Followed a few minutes later by a barrage of medium sized hail stones. It was pull over and ride it out time. At least this time I was in the old Troopy, so no fear of getting Robyn’s car all dented.

As with most thunderstorms the rain and hail stopped almost as quickly as it had started. Two things became apparent almost immediately. There was much more ice laying around than I had expected and the air was filled with the distinctive aroma of shredded vine leaves. Not unlike the smell you get just after a mechanical harvester has past over a patch of vines. Thing is of course it wasn’t harvest time!

Hail damage vineyardI was able to take a few photos of the damaged vines and hail laying around before the storm moved off and I once again gave chase. Still hoping that I may get a shot worth keeping. As it turned out I manage to get one keeper. Not the amazing shot that all photographers strive for, each and every time they pick up a camera. Until next time however, it will do.
Thunderstorm NE of Mildura Storm chasing Mildura.

Warranty photography products.

Excitations being old fashioned and behind the times still offer warranty on photography products.

Maybe it sounds a bit silly talking about a warranty on our photography products. We’ve always offered one. There has never been a piece of paper saying we guarantee this product for X amount of time. But if there was a problem we fixed it…. That’s how we work.

In the past, most of our suppliers stood behind their products as well. So if we had a quality problem with a photographic print for instance. A quick phone call and our suppliers would replace it. Also damage in transit was usually covered. It was a good industry to work in. Everyone  had an interest in providing quality products to our respective customers.

That is not the case today. Many of our suppliers, in fact most. no longer warranty their products and services. If there is a problem, we are now the ones to pay for the reprint, or replacement frame. In fact there are only two of our suppliers who still stand behind their products 100%. I don’t blame them. Most are struggling to stay in business, with increasing competition from cheap imported products. Aussie supplies have to find ways to stay solvent. One such way is to drop warranties.

Not fair, not good for our long term future… True, but none of the cheap imports have any warranty at all…. So you can’t blame Aussie suppliers.

We will continue to  fix any problems as we have always done. I can’t say we’ll do that for ever because, frankly we have no idea what the supply of quality photography products will be like in the years coming.