Many families like to have a professional portrait session in the fall. It's a great time to get updated photos of your family as well as a beautiful image for your holiday card. When we get a call for a portrait session, one of the first - and most important - things we must consider is the location. You've heard it before - location, location, location. If the family wants to have a studio session, we need to choose a background. If the family wants to be photographed outdoors, in nature, we go scouting for a location.
A couple of weeks ago, a Newport Beach family called with a unique request. They want a location session, outdoors, very close to home (i.e. Newport Beach) --- in the fall colors! Wait....what?
Scouting locations for a portrait session involves consideration of a number of important factors, including what does the background look like? What is the lighting like at any given time of the day? Can we find a spot where we won't be overrun by lots of people inadvertently taking over the background? And in this case - we had to find something with the look of fall colors as well. Not an easy task in Newport Beach, California!
We considered several park locations in the area and actually scouted out a few of them. The family in question did not want to travel more than a few minutes from home, making the search a bit more challenging. Once we did find some locations, some of them were quite a hike from the nearest parking area, also making it a big challenge.
We took Buddy along, as he loves to be part of the scouting team! Here is what we found.
Not only does it look like a fall scene, there is a beautiful pond, full of lots of ducks (just watch your step while walking around!) You will also notice the scene is framed by a beautiful big tree in the foreground.
Although those trees you see in the background are not really orange, the sun shining on them at this time of day gives them a glow which makes them look that way. At this point, there is no photoshop involved - it's just finding the right spot, at the right time of day. We hope that it will be this sunny on the day of the shoot -- praying!
And, of course, Buddy approves of this location and will be on hand as our number 1 assistant when we photograph the Newport Beach family - who I think will be quite pleased with their fall portrait!
Fireworks are spectacular and appear for just moments. Many people shy away from trying to photograph them because they feel it is too difficult or they would not be able to end up with anything good. I say, go for it! It's a lot of fun and you might end up with some fabulous photos!
Many of you will be attending Independence Day celebrations - of course, these parties always culminate in a spectacular fireworks display. Here are some fireworks photography tips to help you get the best fireworks photos ever!
Here's what you'll need:
1. A camera that allows you to shoot in "Shutter Priority" or "Bulb"
2. A tripod
3. A cable release to trigger your camera
4. Plenty of memory and charged batteries
If you are using a Point and Shoot camera, see if your camera has a "Fireworks Scene" mode and put it on the tripod. Fire the camera right after the rockets fire.
If you are using a DSLR, attach your camera to your tripod. Set your camera to "Manual Focus" and set the lens to "Infinity". Set your mode to “S” or Shutter or "Tv" and set your exposure between 1 and 2 seconds at ISO 200. Use your cable release to fire the camera immediately following the rocket launch. Cable release helps reduce vibrations. You can shoot in either JPG or RAW, however RAW files will let you adjust the exposure a little easier afterwards in software to get your ideal image.
You can also experiment using "Bulb" setting for those DLSRs that include it. If you cannot find the "Bulb" setting in your Mode Dial, set your camera to "Manual Mode" (M) and slow the shutter speed all the way down to make the Bulb appear; this forces the shutter to remain open for as long as you leave the shutter release Open. Set your Aperture to f4 and your ISO around 200. If you want to brighten your pictures, raise the ISO to 400 or so. Click the shutter when you hear the rockets fire and let go of your shutter as soon as the burst is over.
If your camera includes Live View, try using it so that you can enjoy the show too!
We can't help it. We love to photograph. We photograph people, places, objects, animals, you name it. If we see something interesting or beautiful, we have to create a photograph of it.
Our adventure began in a tent in Burbank with a special treat - front row seats at Odysseo by Cavalia, courtesy of a very dear friend! To say that it was an unforgettable, magical evening would be a huge understatement. We were not allowed to take photos, but if you take a moment to view their website, you can get an idea of just how wonderful this performance (featuring 60 horses!) was.
The evening was a wonderful prelude to the amazing week ahead. We visited Sedona, Arizona, truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! Every time you turn around, there is yet another gorgeous photograph to be taken.
The lighting was a photographer's dream, the weather was perfect, and it made for an amazing vacation spot.
We took a ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad which took us out into the wilderness for some lovely desert spring scenery.
We had a fantastic time hiking some of the beautiful trails in and around Sedona's red rock country.
Among the red rocks and cactus, we saw many beautiful flowers.
And a hiker or two!
Sedona is also know for its vortexes and healing energy sites. Many tourists travel there to experience these geomagnetic forces. One of our adventures involved a four-wheel drive jeep tour which took us to several of these sites.
At one of the sites we visited, the trees along the path were twisted and growing in a spiral because of the vortex energy. Hugging these trees is supposed to be very healing, so of course, we had to try it too!
We love photographing high school seniors! This is such an exciting time in life, embarking on a voyage of independence, new adventures, and unlimited possibilities. This special time of life flies by so quickly, so it is our goal to create memories that will be treasured for a lifetime. We love to meet with our seniors and plan their sessions to include the things that are most important to them.
Angie lives in the desert, but her absolute favorite place to be is at the beach. So we took her to our favorite beach nearby and created a fun, playful session.
We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day! I don't know who had more fun - us, or Angie, or quite possibly, Mom!
We're pretty sure Angie will remember this day for a long time to come - and she now has a beautiful album so she can enjoy the photos any time she wants!
With college coming up fast, Angie doesn't know it now, but she will look back upon this time as one of the most carefree of her life!
This past summer has been a very busy one here at Prasad Photography! One of the things that has kept us happily clicking away was photographing portraits for 9 young ladies, each performing their individual Arangetram or dance debut performance. The arangetram (literally, "ascending the stage") is a rite of passage, the culmination of an odyssey that took each of these girls from student to graduate under the direction of guru Ramya Harishankar of the Arpana School of Dance in Irvine, California. Each dancer's performance consisted of two plus hours of the elaborate, graceful and highly technical Bharata Natyam form of dance.
Mitali was the first of this group to perform her Arangetram. Traveling from San Diego to Irvine for classes, hers (and her mom's!) is an example of the kind of dedication it takes to succeed as a Bharata Natyam dancer.
Like the other girls, Preethi is passionate about dance and also multi-talented. She enjoys learning carnatic music as well as designing in multi-media.
Leena was the youngest of the group, an eighth grader, yet extremely accomplished. She is also a talented musician in both voice and piano, having won several regional competitions.
It's Not Bollywood
Many of you are familiar with Bollywood (have you seen "So You Think You Can Dance"?) - but unlike the glitz and glamour of Bollywood, the Indian film industry that regularly stages elaborate choreography in exotic locales,
Bharata Natyam is one of the most famous Indian classical dance forms. Originating in temples in South India for centuries, it is now one of the most widely-performed dance styles in the world.
Nikita is a talented singer, performing with the Irvine High School Chorale, and her other activities include Youth Action Team and Red Cross Club.
Viva is quite the all-around dancer, having studied ballet, tap, hip hop and jazz - and she was president of the Hawaiian dancing club in high school to boot!
Adorned in brightly colored costumes, headdress, makeup, jewelry and a pleated skirt that unfolds into a fan, the Bharata Nayam dancers perform with bright-eyed enthusiasm, their side-to-side neck and eye movements, hand positions, balanced still postures and instantaneous morphing among characters dramatizing ancient tales.
Sheila is another all-around talented girl, playing tennis for junior varsity, as well as painting, training vocal carnatic music, and many other pursuits.
Among her many pursuits, Pavan is a very talented painter as well as an accomplished sitar player.
Tara loves the fine arts and is an award winning classical piano player, having won many competitions. She is also an honor student and is an active volunteer for Kids Who Care Foundation along with her many activities.
Sumona teaches Bollywood, yoga and meditation, as well as ESL and is an inspiration to many.
Keeping Traditions Alive
It has been so much fun photographing these beautiful young women who are actively keeping alive the honored traditions of their culture. Ramya was there at every photo session helping the dancers perfect their poses, some of which were very difficult (these girls were able to get their bodies into some very challenging poses!). Hair and makeup was done by Saru Janahan, who was always there with a smiling face and ready to jump in and help. Over the past few months, we have enjoyed getting to know all of them and to work with them individually. Each of them is so accomplished - with many other talents in addition to their mastery of dance. They are truly inspiring!
Here is a video showing some of amazing images of these girls. Enjoy!
We were honored to be invited there to take photographs of many of the couples and families attending. As you can see, the AFSC set up a backdrop to go along with their theme of a "Garden Paradise." We brought in our lights and camera equipment and went to work (or should I say, "Play!")!
One of the beautiful folks we were honored to photograph was Dr. Cordula Dick-Muehlke, Executive Director of the center. She is undeniably dedicated to the well-being of her participants, helping them to age successfully in the context of Alzheimer's Disease and other dementia. She is such an extraordinary person and has touched countless lives doing what she does. What a beautiful soul!
Our team was fantastic - thank you, Hayley, Adam and Dave! They were also excited to be there, helping others, and helping everything to run smoothly. We could not have done it without them. We photographed over 60 groups of people during the two hour cocktail hour. So many warm, friendly and simply wonderful people - what a joy!
A little bit about the organization: Alzheimer’s Family Services Center is one of the most inspiring nonprofit organizations we love to support. AFSC is located in Huntington Beach, California and offers a warm and welcoming environment where people living with Alzheimer's and other dementia are able to spend each day. The people who run this organization (many of which are volunteers!) are absolutely phenomenal. They are gracious and so devoted to helping make their participants' lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It truly brought me to tears, seeing how dedicated they are to their members.
Here's Prasad working with several of the AFSC staff:
After cocktail hour was over and our job was finished, we attended the elegant dinner where the organization honored their "Participant of the Year," honoring her with a slideshow and her beautiful story. We were all brought to tears, it was such a lovely and moving story. It really brought home the fact that most people with Alzheimer's and other such illnesses are normal, often brilliant people who can no longer function as they once did. AFSC is the only Alzheimer's Day Care Resource Center in Orange County, and many people we've spoken to about this have expressed their wish that they had such a place in their area, with its state-of-the art facility, expert staff, and programs based on the latest research.
Everyone we met was just phenomenal and we are honored to have worked with them!