Yesterday, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking Renee’s headshots! We met up at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. The cafe staff was super accommodating, giving us access to the private room in back for our initial photos. There was a huge window on one wall, flooding the entire room with light. Somehow, I keep lucking out in terms of weather for my important shoots. Once again, the sky was just overcast enough to give the world the perfect natural diffused light. It was a little windy, but at just over 50 degrees, it was the perfect day.

With portraits, especially headshots, it is extremely important to draw attention to the eyes. That was a snap with Renee. Her blue-green eyes are absolutely magnetic and are complimented perfectly by her big, warm smile. As soon as I got set up, we jumped right in. We utilized every aspect of that room that we could for our first set of shots. From there, we went outside to the vine-covered wall on the side of the Common Roots building. There was also a great alley full of interesting backdrops just a few feet away. As we started working more, we both started to relax and get more into it. It was great to watch her after I suggested she think of a few of her favorite roles she has played to use as inspiration for posing and facial expressions. That seemed to really loosen her up. She started taking moments to internalize, and then she’d come back up with a brand new look on her face. It was such a theatre thing, and something I can totally identify with. There were also just some great lighthearted moments. At one point, Renee was posing in front of a brick fence next to the back of a house. Next thing we know, someone is coming out of the wooden gate right next to the fence. We casually strolled away as if we’d never been there, but started laughing the second we were out of earshot.

After we finished up at Common Roots, we drove over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There was tons to work with there. Staircases, windows, brightly colored walls, and more. This was my favorite shot, taken just outside the lobby. There were tons of these great red twig plants and they were just the right amount of texture and color to make the perfect backdrop.

We wandered all over the grounds of the MIA, plus went across the street to Washburn Fair Oaks. The park was totally muddy and gross (yay spring?) and we got a lot of weird people walking by, but we still managed to get some shots I’m proud of. I got over 700 photos total in the two hours we spent shooting, 400 of which made the grade to be sent off to Renee for approval. All in all, a very successful session.

I used my L series 50mm for the entire shoot. I played with my aperture and shutter speed a lot, but my ISO was hardly ever above 200. I used a reflector for a few shots, but for the most part, we didn’t really need it. The natural light was just so good. I do wish I had remembered to bring my ladder. While cumbersome, it is so useful for getting a variety of different angles. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thanks to the fine people at Common Roots Cafe for being so helpful, and for making tasty food. I tried a coconut lime tea cake and it was awesome. And of course, thank you, Renee! I had a blast working with you and I hope you like your photos!

corner table.

For my 16th birthday last month, my parents took me to Corner Table. Like many of the restaurants we favor, they pride themselves on using fresh, local ingredients to craft a unique and ever changing menu. This, however, was something special. We ordered the prix fixe and were provided with some of the most delicious dishes ever to reach my table.
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adrienne & ian.

Words cannot describe how happy I was when Adrienne first contacted me about taking her and Ian’s engagement photos. I was also a little nervous, considering I had never done anything like it before. I’ve taken a few shots of my parents together, but most of my knowledge of couple-photos consisted of browsing through them on flickr enviously. I had heard horror stories of wedding and engagement photography, yet I remained intrigued. So when the email came in, I was bouncing off the walls. I immediately wrote back and we started planning. We chose two locations and two days — Loring Park for day one and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for day two. I gave them some hints on how to prepare for the shoot and then we were off.

I have to say, I am a huge fan of Loring Park. I had never been there before, but Adrienne had worked at one of the restaurants in the area, so she knew it pretty well. The park itself is gorgeous, plus there is some really cool architecture nearby. Also, if you take a walk across a bridge, you can explore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. We utilized all of this for our first day of shooting.
The weather was perfect. We had a nice layer of clouds, giving our play-space a wonderfully natural diffused light. My mom came along to act as my chauffeur and assistant. We brought a small step-ladder, a tripod, and a reflector, all of which proved to be quite useful during both sessions.

We started out behind Nick and Eddie at this adorable little table. I first asked the couple to just sit like they would if I wasn’t there. While they did that, I started adjusting my settings and trying out different lenses. I switched between my 50mm and my Tamron 18-270mm multiple times throughout the day. Once I had settled on some basic settings, I started asking for more specific poses. A Lunalux employee came out at one point to see what we were doing. Apparently, the table was owned by them. The woman seemed a little miffed (whoops!), but she gave us a card for the place and asked us to email them the photos.

As the day went on, we all began to relax a bit and just started to have fun with stuff. We got some great shots by the fountain and some in the sculpture garden, but one of my absolute favorites of the day was of the two of them in a dance pose next to a sign that says “dance here”. They went salsa dancing for their first date, so along with just being kind of hilarious, I thought it was a cute play on how their relationship has grown and how it has stayed the same. I would’ve gotten a few different ones there, but my camera died. Definitely a sad moment. However, I was confident in the photos I had gotten and we were able to pack up and call it a day.

My set up was basically the same for the session at the arboretum. The sun was a lot harsher, though, so that made things a bit of a challenge. Also, the arboretum is huge and unfortunately, we did not have nearly enough time to go through it. However, we still got quite a few shots that I’m proud of. There were lots of amazing colors to work with and, as the sun started to set, some great flares.

There was one spot in particular that I really wish I had managed to get some better shots of. When she was in school, Adrienne went to the arboretum on a field trip and there was one spot that she remembers thinking would be a perfect place for a wedding. Unfortunately, the lighting on the hill was too harsh and my mother’s valiant attempts to block the sun with our reflector were fruitless. Still, we left the arboretum with over 300 photos to go through.

My parents and I went to the reception, which was held in Adrienne’s dad’s backyard. It had been completely transformed into what my dad remarked looked somewhat like a roofless club you might find in LA. It was beautiful and the food was delicious. The newlyweds looked so happy. As they took to the dance floor, I got my camera ready and, with the help of my Lensbaby Composer, took one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken.

The whole experience was so rewarding and so much fun. Getting to know Adrienne and Ian better was great and I am so happy I got to work with them. They are now living in Singapore, as Ian works his post-doctorate job as an entomologist.
Congratulations, Adrienne and Ian!

Take a look at all of the photos here and tell me what you think!