Monday Introductions

It’s been a long time since I did Monday introductions (mainly because I really need new head shots and unlike being behind the camera, I actually hate being in front of it) so I just wanted to hop on here and share a little about who I am and what I believe in.

Hi!  My name’s Lisa and I’m a wedding and lifestyle photographer in Northeast Florida.  I could tell you all about my love for puppies and coffee and world peace, but honestly who doesn’t love those things?  I’m assuming you are here for photography related purposes so you probably really don’t care what I order at Starbucks.

Natural Light and Film

Natural light and film are two of my main ingredients to creating images that will stand the test of time.

Natural light and film are two of my main ingredients to creating images that will stand the test of time.

I’ve been a photographer for most of my life and have experimented with many different styles.  I don’t regret it because experimenting taught me a lot about what I like and don’t like and ultimately led me to my own little niche, portraits on film in beautiful natural light.

This is not to say that I dislike shooting digital or at night.  It would be unrealistic for me to try to shoot everything in film and expect it to look good.  Digital photography definitely has its own advantages and I am so appreciative of having access to this technology.  I shoot pretty much all of my night time and low light indoor receptions and ceremonies digitally.  I will always shoot film when I have the option but I don’t believe in the quality of the images suffering just for the sake of shooting film.

I love natural light but I also know how to shoot at night!  I think that one of the biggest misconceptions (sometimes) about natural light photographers are that they don’t know how to use flash to light indoor ceremonies and receptions.  I do realize that there are some beginners that call themselves natural light photographers because they don’t know flash and it really scares me for the brides that book with them.  I always recommend to brides before booking any photographer, ask to see several full wedding galleries and make sure the night shots look good also.

Off camera flash is great for lighting up subjects in dark reception spaces while also maintaining the atmosphere of the venue and its ambient light.

Off camera flash is great for lighting up subjects in dark reception spaces while also maintaining the atmosphere of the venue and its ambient light.

For me, off camera flash has a place and that place is usually receptions.  I don’t believe in using off camera flash for portraits if there is ambient light available.  I aim for my style to be timeless and classic and although you can create a really cool looking portrait with different flashes, lights, gels, etc.. I don’t find this look to be timeless.  For me, a portrait is about connecting with my subjects and the image being all about THEM.  When I see flashy lighting effects, it’s distracting to me and almost like the photographer is trying to show off their lighting skills, rather than their subjects if that makes sense. 

The image on the left is from 2010 (as you can probably tell by that horrible watermark lol!) and the image on the right is an example of the style that I’ve come to love. Both images are of a beautiful bride but one seems a lot more timeless and romantic to me. There aren’t any added distractions in the image on the right, which allows the subject to really shine. The image is about her and only her, not about my lighting and camera gear.

The image on the left is from 2010 (as you can probably tell by that horrible watermark lol!) and the image on the right is an example of the style that I’ve come to love. Both images are of a beautiful bride but one seems a lot more timeless and romantic to me. There aren’t any added distractions in the image on the right, which allows the subject to really shine. The image is about her and only her, not about my lighting and camera gear.

This is not to say that I don’t like these pictures and think that they look really cool.  When I worked at Glamour Shots (I know lol) a million years ago, we would make everything black and white or sepia and leave one thing in color, like a red rose for example.  I once thought those images looked cool, but they look so silly when I see them now.  Most trends are like this and won’t stand the test of time.

A quick edit of one of my recent images “glamour style”. I cringe at the fact that I ever thought this somehow added to the image instead of making it dated and tacky.

A quick edit of one of my recent images “glamour style”. I cringe at the fact that I ever thought this somehow added to the image instead of making it dated and tacky.

I love film for its timeless aesthetic.  In 10 years when I look back on my film images, I won’t be embarrassed of them like I am with selective color and the Glamour Shots aesthetic.  I don’t have images like that hanging on my walls because to me, they are tacky.  The reason that I shoot weddings in the style that I do is because I aim to create heirlooms.  I strive to take beautiful images that will stand the test of time and that my clients will be proud to hang on their walls 50 years from now.

Fuji400 film processed and scanned by the Goodman Film Lab.

Fuji400 film processed and scanned by the Goodman Film Lab.

Timeless Images


This is also the way that I feel about editing styles. The first ones that come to mind that are currently trendy are the “dark and moody” and the overly orange and saturated photographs  (I don’t really know what to call this style).  I’ve seen some beautiful images from both styles and this is not to knock them.  I just don’t believe they will stand the test of time.  I believe in a few years, people will look at them and have a similar reaction to how I feel when I look at my pictures from Glamour Shots.

Also, I’m just not a fan of the dark and moody look for weddings in general.  The last time I checked, weddings are supposed to be happy occasions.  I love capturing gorgeous, happy, images that are full of light for my wedding work.  I don’t understand adding weird presets afterwards and I find dark and muddy images create a depressing mood, which is basically the exact opposite of what I am going for.

I love Kodak Portra 800 for its vibrant colors. The light and colors in these images create a happy mood. Weddings are happy occasions!

I love Kodak Portra 800 for its vibrant colors. The light and colors in these images create a happy mood. Weddings are happy occasions!

Beautiful, Natural Skin

Another thing that I feel strongly about is minimal photoshop and retouching.  Obviously photoshop has its advantages such as removing things like bruises, acne, stains on the dress, etc. but I never would want to alter someone’s appearance.  This is another thing that I’ve been guilty of in the past and blame it on my “glamour days”.  

I cringe when I see skin smoothed to the point of making people look like wax dolls.  I believe in capturing beautiful, natural, skin.  Every laugh line tells a story… they are supposed to be there!!  Another reason that I love film so much is because it produces beautiful, creamy, skin tones that don’t need a ton of photoshop and has a painterly quality to it.  Film is beautiful and luminous and timeless and doesn’t need to be photoshopped to the moon and back.

This is a recent photo of my son and one of my favorite images that I’ve ever taken of him. I love the freckles under his eye, his long lashes, and his gorgeous olive skin. Sure, I could smooth his complexion and get rid of “imperfections” but by doing that, I’d be erasing what makes him HIM. I love this little face so much and I want to capture it exactly as it is so that I can always remember how he looked at 11 years old. (I did photoshop out a little scratch and some crustiness in the corner of his eye from sleeping, and these are both GREAT examples of what photoshop is perfect for.)

This is a recent photo of my son and one of my favorite images that I’ve ever taken of him. I love the freckles under his eye, his long lashes, and his gorgeous olive skin. Sure, I could smooth his complexion and get rid of “imperfections” but by doing that, I’d be erasing what makes him HIM. I love this little face so much and I want to capture it exactly as it is so that I can always remember how he looked at 11 years old. (I did photoshop out a little scratch and some crustiness in the corner of his eye from sleeping, and these are both GREAT examples of what photoshop is perfect for.)

Styling

I absolutely love to style and capture details.  My clients pay a ton of money for their rings, shoes, flowers, etc. and they deserve to have beautiful images taken of them.  Styled images are great for wedding albums and are a beautiful way to remember the little details of your big day.

Some details from a recent wedding. I believe that the little details help tell the story of the day and deserve to be beautifully styled.

Some details from a recent wedding. I believe that the little details help tell the story of the day and deserve to be beautifully styled.

Posed and Directed Images While Also Capturing Genuine Emotion

Yes, it’s possible to do both!  Obviously I’m not going to jump in and pose you while you walk down the aisle or dance the night away at your reception, but my couples love that I provide direction during the formal portraits.  

Unless you are a professional model, chances are you won’t be comfortable posing all on your own.  My job is to learn your best angles, capture you beautifully and authentically, and make you feel comfortable while doing so.  Some people are more comfortable in front of the camera than others.  If you’re like me, you need some liquid courage or you’ll freeze like a deer in headlights (another reason my head shots are overdue- I’m so awkward and uncomfortable and unsure of myself in front of the camera.)  

Most people aren’t quite as bad as me about it, but everyone appreciates a little direction.  I promise that I won’t make you do silly poses like that photoshoot from Masterminds, but I will provide guidance on flattering and natural looking images.  Most of the images that people assume aren’t posed, really are.  Once I get you posed, thats when I say things like “love on each other!” or “whisper something in her ear and make her laugh”.  We are able to capture genuine emotion this way, while also ensuring that you look your absolute best!

A recent engagement session. The couple was relaxed and happy, and open to my direction. These images are posed but also very much show emotion.

A recent engagement session. The couple was relaxed and happy, and open to my direction. These images are posed but also very much show emotion.

I hope you were able to find this post informative.  These are some of the main things that contribute to my style and how I approach my work.  I’m always an open book so please feel free to ask me if you have any questions!  I hope you guys all have a wonderful and productive Monday!

Lisa SilvaComment