I call them “bigs”, but they’re still littles to me.
High School students are very special because they are capable of applying what they’ve learned academically, socially and emotionally compared to the lower grades. It’s also a time they are preparing to soar into their adulthood. The possibilities of their achievement are boundless. Their excitement for College is palpable. And to photograph them at this junction is invigorating. Whoa, that’s a lot of adjectives!
Below is my final sneak peek of last week’s Commercial Shoot (Pinewood School, Upper Campus).
Middle School students are sometimes the hardest to photograph because they either love being photographed or they’re the complete opposite, so getting the kind of images I want usually takes more patience, a long lens (so they don’t see me — heehee), and a certain flair for making the students feel at ease.
Here is a sneak peek from last week’s middle school shoot (Pinewood School, Middle Campus).
Photographing schools is so much fun because A LOT happens in a school.
Students are studying and playing, they’re laughing and quiet, they’re working by themselves and in groups, they’re listening and sharing, they’re sitting still and moving… and often very fast!
My secret to photographing schools is striking a balance between being a fly-on-the-wall where I don’t disturb anything and sculpting a “prettier” scene by talking to my subjects or re-positioning things and people — all the while, being mindful of the light, backgrounds, composition, expressions and lines. Most of my time is spent doing the latter (“sculpting a scene”), but the trick is doing it in a way that doesn’t discredit the authenticity of a moment.
Below are some images of the littles (Pinewood School, Lower Campus).
With the prevalence of internet usage and infusion of social media in our daily life, consumers have become more visual now than ever.
Not only do they count on a website or app to look appealing, they also are more inclined to notice — and judge — if an image is an authentic one or one that is a stock photo. Does the image provoke a feeling? Does the image look real? Is it believable? These are the questions that consumers answer subconsciously. Unintentionally. This is what happens now with visually-savvy consumers.
A content-heavy landing page is no longer desirable. What is enviable are sites with eye-catching images that make the viewer feel something. A connection. A feeling. A desire to buy it, to attend it, to be a part of it. Whatever the business is, the images can make a consumer intrigued. It is then up to the total content of the pages to seal the deal with whatever the business is selling. Without the compelling images and a buttoned-up marketing strategy, consumers will exit the site.
You only have a few seconds to make a first impression.
So if you’re a business owner or you manage a business, take a look at your website and ask yourself, “What does my home page say about my business?” “Does it command my attention?” “Does it look modern and exciting, or boring and dated”?
As an example, I’ve attached print screens of Rice Business School‘s Before and After home page and program page. This was a recent Commercial Photography project I worked on, and I am very proud to be a part of it. I think you’ll agree that the Before and After are like night and day.
These are a few of the rotating images…
Websites have been vital for businesses for eons, but with each year, I believe that Commercial Photography has increased in its importance. What do you think? Can you have a great business without a strong web presence and imagery?
I went back to Houston, y’all! :) This time, I spent a few days photographing the beautiful and prestigious Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. (For short, I call it Rice Business School.)
All important projects have goals.
One of my goals was to capture the personality and essence of Rice Business School in an authentic way. My days consisted of attending classes, taking casual headshots of students within each MBA program, capturing images of professors collaborating with students, scouting locations, and sculpting images based on the light. Putting someone in the stairwell because there was “good light” was not unfathomable!
All great adventures have obstacles.
One that surfaced was the weather. There could be sun and clear skies and then a half hour later, it would turn dark, rainy, and windy. And no one would blink an eye… except me, a California girl whose State has been in a severe drought for years. When it rains in CA, it’s reported on every news channel!
No obstacle was too big, however, even when we found out on Shoot Day 1 that there would be no students on Day 3 and few students on Day 2. So yes, I had to photograph a school with limited students. Meh, not a problem! ;) All kidding aside, I wholeheartedly believe challenges are opportunities for growth, so bring them on, I say!
Now take a look.
These are the faces of Rice Business School… the faces of the campus, faculty and students. They have much to celebrate at this school, and I am humbled to be a part of their creative process.
Now that you’ve seen Commercial Shoot days 1 and 2 of Duchesne Academy of The Sacred Heart, I wanted to share a peek of day 3… “The Dry Day”. You can just imagine how I hopped and skipped around campus that morning when I saw the glorious sunshine!
In this blog post of the all girls’ Catholic School shoot, you’ll see students who show self-confidence, curiosity, respect, friendship…
…and beauty from within.
I had the pleasure of flying to Houston, Texas last week to photograph Duchesne Academy of The Sacred Heart, a Pre-K to 12th Grade Catholic school for girls. [FYI: Duchesne is French and is pronounced "doo-shen".]
I was blown away by the tremendous amount of kindness that exuded from the students and faculty during my 3-day visit. There were students who helped put away furniture that we moved for the shoot and did it even after we said they didn’t need to help. People held doors for us and welcomed us with big, genuine smiles. When we asked for directions to a room, there were students who didn’t just point, but rather, they took the time to walk with us.
That may sound small, but I don’t think any amount of kindness is ever “small”. And they never went unnoticed or unappreciated.
The emblem for this school is a heart, which I think is perfect because, from what I experienced, this school is full of HEART. <3
Since I have too many favorites to share on this 3-Day Commercial Photography project, I divided them up into two blog posts:
Part 1: Days 1 and 2, which were the wet days. Yep, it was raining. On Tuesday, there was even a thunderstorm and the darkest sky I’ve ever seen in the day!
Part 2: Day 3, which happened to be the dry day. Wahooo… and there was sunshine!
Below is Part 1. Enjoy!
There are many niches in Photography. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE bringing my Lifestyle twist to Commercial Photography.
When I visited Pinewood School’s Lower and Middle Campuses last week, I had between 15 to 30 minutes per area to photograph it.
For 7 1/2 hours, I was on high alert for all things beautiful: smiling faces, focused students, engaged instructors, good light, colorful backdrops, special moments… Details that represent student life on campus. I was also constantly looking out for things to avoid, like distracting elements on students and in backgrounds.
I had limited time to get the shots that tell the story of the schools and minimal ability to set things up as these were actual students in their classes. It was nonstop excitement. My adrenaline is pumping just thinking about it!
Lower Campus (Grades K – 2)
Middle Campus (Grades 3 – 6)
When you’re a parent, you want the best for your children. Choosing a school can be so hard because we know that a good school is beyond lesson plans and grades.
It was my pleasure to return to Pinewood School’s Upper Campus (Grades 7 – 12) to photograph their new programs, campus changes, and the delightful student body!
Below is a sneak peek of my day there. And if you missed it, you have to check out their football practice photos!
I love buying fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers directly from the farmers. I love hanging out at farmer’s markets and listening to music. I love looking at all the vivid colors, shapes and textures of the produce. And, let’s be real — I love satisfying my uncontrollable need to accept (and devour) any and all fruity taste-tests!
Farmer’s markets are awesome.
And now, after my Commercial Shoot at North Berkeley’s farmer’s market, I was able to talk with some of the farmers and watch them work. And wow — they are not only incredibly hardworking, but also, they are some of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.
I am so grateful to be reminded of how farmers are the HEART of America!
I am also delighted I had the opportunity to take photographs for a great organization, Ecology Center, and an amazing program, Market Match. Eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge when you have a small budget and this program enables lower income families to essentially “stretch their dollar”, so they can buy fresh and delicious produce at farmer’s markets!
This Commercial Shoot was a dream come true in so many ways: the visual beauty of nature, the people, the program. Love it all.