My Favorite Portraits of 2016

It is an understatement to say that I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a portrait photographer in the Boise area. We have the best people here in Idaho, and there's no other way to say it than to simply express how lucky I am that I get to be your photographer and capture your beautiful souls in imagery. In that light, I made this video looking over my very favorite portraits from the past year. I hope you enjoy it!

Ben's Senior Shoot

It feels like I've known this guy forever. He's been my guitar student for a few years, gone to school with my kids, and the works. It seems kind of strange to be shooting his senior photos already, but I was sure glad for the opportunity.
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 1600
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 1600
Ben has what you might call "classic good looks". Okay, so might isn't the right term. if you didn't call him classically good-looking, you're looking at someone else's photos. He's the perfect kind of guy to head into the gritty back alleys of Downtown Nampa for a kind of vintage-styled shoot.
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 640
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 400
Our retro-handsome guy has a similarly handsome old Gran Torin that is his pride and joy.Naturally, he wanted to incorporate it into his shoot, which was interesting, what with all those reflective surfaces in the frame. I was using a Sigma 60mm f/2.8 prime on my Sony a6000 for this shoot, with a single off-camera speedlight. Eventually, I quit trying to get away from shadows and reflections, and just started embracing them.
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/200s | ISO 100

Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/100s | ISO 500
While looking for a place to do the shoot with the car, we found a cool perch alongside the tracks, and found some other fun places to pose there. While it's fun to do sessions in beautiful wooded or garden areas, there's something distinctly cool about these kinda dirty side-street places, too.
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 320

Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/5.6 | 1/100s | ISO 800
One photo stood out above all the rest. Some say Brando. Some say James Dean. I know this guy. He beats them both.
Sony a6000 | E 60mm f/2.8 OSS | 60mm | ƒ/2.8 | 1/100s | ISO 500



Senior Sass

Most photographers I know love doing senior photo shoots, and I'm no exception - especially when it comes to seniors like sassy Sydney. I've known her and her family for quite a while, and she's just a delight. She has tons of style, and decided to go with a subtle "retro" look for this portion of her senior shoot. It worked great, and was one of the most fun sessions ever.

I ended up shooting the entire session with my Sony a6000 and Sigma 60mm f/2.8 lens. The two get along great, and I never felt the need for any other focal length that evening. I only got higher than 2.8 once during the shoot when I accidentally bumped the dial and hit 3.5 for a few shots before realizing what I had done. There's no reason to not shoot wide open with a model this lovely, because it accentuates her beautiful eyes and smile so well. Prime lenses can be frustrating, but they can also be fun... sometimes at the same time! It's well worth it. (I'm going to go back to my favorite 50mm f1.x lenses, though, because they let more light in and I don't have to depend on the speedlight as much.)
There had been storm clouds, overcast, and diffused skies all day long - a photographer's dream! By the time shoot time rolled around, though, the heavens parted, leaving us with a flat blue background and harsh sun pouring down. Several of my location and pose ideas were punted, and we went with some "plan B" ideas anyway, including this lovely spot in Lakeview Park. With a little help from one off-camera speedlight and a big gold reflector, we got the job done. Most of the shots in the park are straight-up natural light with a reflector because the angle of the sun was working by the end of the evening.
Talk about someone who is easy to shoot - Syd has a smile that practically clicks the shutter itself, and her serious side is just as lovely. She's a super talented actress and singer who is guaranteed to take the theater world by storm! Don't tell all my other talented friends around here, but she's in a class by herself, and she poses like she acts - all out, all the time.
Genuine, raw emotion is the thing I covet the most. Anyone can pose, but it's hard for some people to just be themselves when someone is poking a camera in their face. No problem this time around. In fact, in between pattering lyrics from Hamilton and making up jokes on the spot, she even took time to poke fun at me and laugh a little bit at my own ridiculous stances. I can't help it if it's hard for tall guys to get low to the ground!
The youth of our time are fantastic. Our future is in great hands, and as long as sweet Sydney keeps showing her heart, it will be a better place! I'm just lucky to catch these moments in time that tell their stories.

Very, very lucky.