Family Portraits in 09 – Samara the Porcelin Doll

Happy New Year! Our tree has just come down, the ornaments put away, and the last of our holiday visitors have gone home to begin their 2009. Here in the world of Stacey Vaeth Photography, I’m putting into practice some great techniques I learned while training with the crew at DLWS and master shooter Joe McNally as well as getting geared up for a very busy 2009, including shooting at the 2009 Inaugural Peace Ball next Tuesday.

My first shoot of the new year was a bundle of fun. 17 month old Samara and her folks Chris and Jolina were a blast to work with. We got some great shots that I hope will be with the family for many years. Despite a minor setback after working at the Tidal Basin in 18 degree weather (and quickly coming to our senses and rescheduling for later in the afternoon!), we had a blast.

Samara – 17 months

Only Chris could make Samara giggle with glee. Perhaps because he is 3 times her height.

A beautiful moment with mom. I think they were focusing on the “Fish” in Chris’ iphone. A screensaver that turns out to be a infant saver as well. Soothed her quicker than a bottle of milk.

This tippy toe acrobatic feat never ceases to amaze me. Samara was trying to get tall enough to see the doggie walking by the window.

A moment with mom.

Ringing in the Holiday’s

The beauty of the holidays…(besides the obvious) is that I have time to work on some creative and no-pressure projects (i.e. no one is paying me or taking a once in a lifetime step – so i don’t have to worry about screwing it up!). Today I brought over two gorgeous friends of mine, Beth and Erin, and set em loose in front of the camera – and look what they did:

Honestly – give these ladies minimal guidance, set up some lights like the SB 800 as the main light in the lastolite 15×15 softbox – and they created such astounding beauty. Erin is here playing in my curtains, backlit by the sun – frontlit with studiolights and Sepia done in post.

Here she is looking uber-tough – done with a SB800 gelled with full cut CTO – taped off to create some irregular shadows (off high camera left) and a SB 600 dialed down three stops from the main light set about 5 feet off camera right and shot into a gold reflector that is in front of her face. What I love about this shot is that she is clearly on the move, and the reflection in her glasses gives a sensation of urban life.

And Beth – sat her down on a rickety old porch chair in the freezing cold with some directional natural light filling in her face – evened it out using the softbox 45 degrees camera left and up high – and look at those eyes – gorgeous –

And Erin in fur…

And the pair. Too bad I made Erin look like Santa Claus here – but hey – she’s pulling it off.

our parting shots today – getting cozy – erin in her usual spot – curled up with a book – what I love about this shot is of course the lines, but also that you are spying in on her – capturing a fleeting moment of sun flowing in on a Sunday afternoon –

beth making coffee look sexy…she thought this should be a Sanka ad. Anyone out there remember Sanka? I don’t think it ever looked this good…

Infant Toes

How you parents out there get anything done during the day is beyond me. With these little feet and fingers and cheeks to ooh and ahh at, I would be completely useless if I had one of my own. I had a very full day today, shooting little Aiden this morning, followed by a few client meetings to get everyone’s holiday print orders in. Today encapuslated why I love what I do. “Creating family heirlooms through fine art photography”. that was my mission statement when I opened Stacey Vaeth Photography, and to this day it continues to be the driving inspiration behind each and every shoot. These images, for instance. I cherish the fact that Aiden will have these images, printed big and beautiful, when he’s going off to college, getting married, and having kids of his own. And the prints that my clients ordered today – big canvases, float mounts, mobiles, and ornaments…truly we are creating fine art here.

I’ll be posting something more in detail this week – but if you’re looking for a gift idea, i’m going through photo session gift cards like hotcakes this year~
Happy Sunday all…

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

A few last shots from our recent stay on Lake Atitlan. The light was terrible, gray and flat all week long – so I lit these flowers with a gelled SB 800. I was amazed at how gentle i could get the light to dance on the delicate petals.

Revisiting the Past…

I love this tradition in Guatemala. Everyone comes to the airport and crowds the exterior to welcome home their loved ones.

ahhh. Juan and I are back in Guatemala for thanksgiving. It is interesting, this gift of art that I am so thankful for. To be let into the lives of my clients or perfect strangers, to capture them for one (usually otherwise rather un-noteworthy) moment. There is a lot of power in that. For the life of a photographer, we are entrusted with handling with respect the vulnerabilities of others.

That delicate balance…one of capturing a meaningful expression, a sensitive moment of pain or exultation, without exploiting the person behind the lens, is the ever present challenge of good photography.

Being back here in Guatemala, where my husband and I lived for three years, is to be back in this see-saw of good photography/trite photography. How do you capture the beauty of a people living in the recent wake of 36 years of civil unrest, a corrupt government that we cannot even begin to understand, and a generosity that defies all reason? You got me. I give it a go…but in the end, you have to see this country to to believe it.

Sanjeev and Jennifer

Here are a few pics from Sunday’s shoot with engaged couple Sanjeev and Jen. You can tell off the bat how supportive of each other and in love they are. These pics were taken at Meridian Hill Park, in NW DC, where Sanjeev proposed back in June. Despite the freezing cold weather, they look warm and toasty in each shot. I can’t wait to shoot what is sure to be their amazing wedding, next year.

Fun with Arlo and family…

I didn’t have a chance to post these great pics of Arlo before leaving last week…here is one of my favorite photos in quite some time. I couldn’t stop giggling behind the lens, those shoes are just so cute. Arlo, on the other hand, was clearly not having nearly as much fun as his parents and I were. It was a blast shooting at the Arboretum on this family shoot:

Last Day on the West Coast

Having just returned from Seattle and our amazing trip out west, I’m here in DC attempting to get caught up. The work that we did on the west coast was so enlightening and exciting for my future work – i can’t wait to apply the new skills to my next shoots. Here are a number of images from Cary Park in Seattle, a city that I fell in love with instantly, to close the trip:

This image was a happy accident (i love those) – in playing with long term exposure this came through. The painterly lines of color along the bottom third balance out the strong block of blue. Imagine if the color lines were in the middle of the shot or if there were no black in the image.

And a parting, classic, twilight shot of the Seattle skyline. Till next time!

So I arrive home from our journey rewarded by a visit from a great friend from the Peace Corps, and of course a long awaited reunion with my husband. We haven’t stopped laughing in 24 hours.

Cape Kiwanda

We are approaching the end of our trip and had a great time the last few days at Cape Kiwanda, Oregon. Here is a shot of Dad shooting on the beach across from our hotel in the early morning light.

And a few shots of him using the SB 800 and magical twilight just over the border into Washington a few hours ago.

Freezing cold surfers at 6am on Cape Kiwanda:

The pier in Tillamook, where we later went and met a few local crabbers and got some great documentary shots.

What an amazing few weeks…

We had a spectacular day today – each of these images was taken on the path from the Eagle Caves overlooking the Columbia River George, all the way through Portland, Oregon to the Pacific Coast. No special lighting today, just spectacular, beautiful landscapes at sunrise and sunset.