Makenna’s Senior Portrait Sneak Peek

This weekend I photographed Makenna for her high school senior portraits. She graduates in just a couple weeks, and though she hasn’t seen any of these images yet, I thought I’d share a sneak peek of some of my early favorites for the Memorial Day weekend.

She is smart, funny, and the shoot was so much fun. We started outside at her softball field and successfully avoided the rain while getting some really cool images of her in uniform. The storm clouds made the shoot all the more dramatic.

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Then we came to my studio for some fun studio images like this trio and textured art piece.  BryCox_McKenna-Sr_02 BryCox_McKenna-Sr_03 BryCox_McKenna-Sr_04

With both a location and studio shoot, we really shot a lot and will have a lot of fun picking them out. With so many great images, I’ll make sure I post some others here after things are worked up.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone. And until next time, America.

– Bry

BlackRapid Motorcycle Ride 2015

For two weeks, BlackRapid (maker of the coolest and fastest camera straps) is on a motorcycle tour of the backcountry of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and California as part of their #livethemoment mantra.

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The night before the ride, they used my place to setup and prep for the next morning. And I have to admit that I really liked having these cool bikes in my driveway and parked in my garage for the night.BryCox_BlackRapid_01

The next morning we had a 70% chance of rain so we trailered some bikes behind the BlackRapid support van while Mike Ridinger and I rode our bikes and we headed out to Pictureline in Salt Lake City for some strap giveaways. BryCox_BlackRapid_04

Here’s a closeup of BlackRapid founder and owner, Ron Henry, his wife Shawna, and my good friend Mike Ridinger, a serious and long-time biker.BryCox_BlackRapid_06

Here’s a shot I took of Mike as we rode into Salt Lake City that morning, with storm clouds looming around us, and a bit of light rain.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Once we arrived at Pictureline, the sky cleared up. Even the weather apps changed to show better weather. Here, the BlackRapid team set up and gave away straps for a few hours, answered questions, and let people try out the straps with their own cameras.BryCox_BlackRapid_08

Then by early afternoon we headed south towards Moab. I had to be back for appointments the next day, so I just rode for the day with the team. We had wet roads most of the way, got a little rain, but never anything too bad. In fact we watched heavy storms pass to the right, the left, in front and behind, but never right on us. Here is Ron on his Harley.

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Mike on his chopper. BryCox_BlackRapid_12

And yes, these were taken one-handed as I rode, using a BlackRapid strap. I didn’t look through the camera obviously, just held it out and shot guessing by instinct on the composition. I really like this one below with my handlebars and Mike and Ron in the distance.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Here’s Shawna on my bike during a gas break.BryCox_BlackRapid_09

Part of the fun of being on a bike is that you are out in the environment, you feel everything, smell everything, and you see the entire sky, and not just the frame of a sky through a car window. And the sky that day with the storm clouds was unbelievable. © BryCox.com, Bry Cox

We were always seeing storms to the side and behind us, smelling the rain, feeling the wind, but never a huge downpour on us. Here’s an iPhone pic I took of our bikes with the support van as we watched a storm to our left and one in front as well blow by.BryCox_BlackRapid_16

Here’s Mike with that storm in the distance, sporting a small BlackRapid strap for his point-and-shoot.BryCox_BlackRapid_17

Below is an image of another great storm to our side, and the clouds and light were perfect. Mike pulled over to shoot it and I had to do the same.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

I took one of it too with my iPhone so I’d have something to post to social media accounts that day as we were riding. This is one of my favorite iPhone images from the day.

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And this rainbow was to our left as we approached Moab.

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After reaching Moab, we ate dinner and I as they settled in to camp, I got back on my bike and headed home so I’d be back for my appointments the next day.

Well that is just DAY 1, and for me it was a 550 mile ride round-trip ride. But the BlackRapid team will be riding for two weeks and you can follow the trip on BlackRapid’s social media accounts, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as Mike’s Instagram and Facebook account.

And if you’d like to see what I posted from my phone (besides this blog post) they’re on my iPhone Instagram account as well as to my personal Facebook page, using #BlackRapidMotorcycle2015.

Until next time, America.

Teaching Fashion and Creative Photography for a Week in Texas

Every year for one week in the spring, I teach an intense week-long workshop in Texas for photographers who fly in from all over the country, and sometimes other countries as well. I am back from that event and am mostly recovered (as I get little to sometimes no sleep each night), and wanted to share some of the images I created while I was there sharing my entire system, everything from lighting, to digital workflow, to business.

This event is always amazing and inspirational, and this time in particular I have come home to some of the best thank you emails and calls from the photographers that I think I’ve ever had. I really appreciate it. I feel honored and grateful to be a mentor to photographers and help them learn and do better.

So I have specific steps to creating a portrait that I share. The trick is to get exquisite lighting, truly capture someone’s personality, and also nail everything technically as well for perfect skin tones, perfect brightness and contrast, perfect eyes, and fantastic expressions that draw you in as a viewer.

And with perfect images, it means I can spend some time on the computer doing artistic work rather than corrective work, so I have fun creating paintings, collages, and creating other art pieces.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Here I shot this model against a studio background using a specific fashion light setup. Nothing has been retouched, no eyes have been brightened and no skin blurred. All I did was convert to black and white and design this awesome collage that shows a lot of personality.

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When an image is real, it has more power. The mind can tell when something is fake, and by lighting exquisitely and capturing emotion in a real way, the image is far more powerful. Then, if I want to do some artwork on it (like this image below), the image can retain it’s powerful draw because any retouching done to eyes and face is so subtle, that it can’t be seen, and all the heavy artistic work is done to the background.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Of course I love my paintings, and so I took this same image another direction as well, painting it too.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Here are more un-retouched images. For variety, I used the curtains in the conference room, and shot these all with one studio light. Again, none of these have been retouched, I just designed up this cool collage showing a variety of poses and emotions to tell a story.

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I also shot this model in the hotel’s bar using the Einstein bulbs hanging in the back as a background. I had to be strategic to hide people in the background, but created this with a very minimal setup.

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I took three images from that set and designed this trio.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

And I shot other models both in studio and out.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

One night in particular, I photograph a slew of models, each for only a few minutes, and each in separate locations around the hotel, inside and out. None of these images are retouched or corrected. These are all straight out of camera. But this also shows one big creative secret, and that is to not shoot the same thing twice – no two images can be the same. To truly be creative, you have to change up each shot making small changes and then big changes, and these thumbnails show that.

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These were shot for the event so I didn’t work up any of them. But if I do, I’ll post them here on my blog.

So a special thanks to my cute models for coming and working with me, to my suppliers and sponsors, and everyone who came out and oversold my class.

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© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

I love speaking and teaching in Texas and love that it’s full of people that pour their whole heart and soul into making it a great event.

And did I mention that I played blues harp in a band there too? Here’s our official band photo shot by the famous John Hartman, shot just before our gig in the hotel’s garage.

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And here we are backstage before going on, shot with my point and shoot camera on a tadpole selfie stick. I’m still hoping to find some video of us playing.

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Well that’s it for now. If you’d like to attend one of my photographic events or get some online training, visit my site for photographer training at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com.

And until next time, America.

Happy Mother’s Day (My Two Nephews)

For Mother’s Day, I wanted to honor my sister and mom by posting these two collages I did of my two nephews, ages one and three. We did this shoot because my smallest nephew had just turned one. I had previously posted about my older three year old nephew, but my little one year old nephew is so tiny and cute, I wanted an excuse to feature him as well, and Mother’s Day is perfect for that.

And since these little boys come in quite a bit for photographs, I thought it’d be a fun change to light these little boys with a completely different lighting setup, one that I use for adults because of the exactness of the lighting. Kids move around so much that I need more leeway in my lighting and tend to light them a different way, but these kids are familiar with me and my studio so I tried this fashion style of lighting that I use for my high-contrast black and white series, and it worked great. They were so fun and expressive, it was hard to stop shooting them.

I like the results so much, I am going to have to try this now with other kids that come in to the studio.

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Yesterday was also my brother-in-law’s birthday, and I presented him with these collages as a gift. My older nephew looked at the images and got really happy and proud saying, “That’s when I was laughing, and when you had the pig on your head.”

He’s a smart kid and can replicate my pig puppet routine I do for kids down to the last nuance even weeks after a shoot. In fact, I had just featured my older 3 year old nephew at Easter because he’s reading like crazy, and read a beautiful Easter message I wanted to share.

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So thanks to the women and moms in my family, and thanks all the women and moms out there. Happy Mother’s Day!

And until next time, America.
– Bry

LaRae’s Wedding Sneak Peek

I had the pleasure of photographing LaRae’s wedding. It was a beautiful spring day full of joy and romance, and we were lucky to be able to shoot some images outside. The wedding was held in Layton, Utah at the Chantilly Mansion, and all the vivid colors made for a wonderful background to work. LaRae wore a vintage fur that she had inherited from her grandmother, and it really set off her wedding dress. We really had a blast taking photos that day and I wanted you to see some before the album is ready to show.

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I can’t wait for you to see the entire album. But until then, enjoy these, visit my main website at BryCox.com to browse other wedding images, and give me a call if you’re getting married, 801-728-3317. I would love to photograph your wedding.

Until next time, America.

Easter Message & My 3 Year Old Nephew

When my first nephew was born, I bought him the Baby Signing Times video series. Ever since his communication skills have been crazy good. He’s now 3 years old, and I tested him last week by writing out the sentence, “The garbage truck is big and loud.” He read the whole thing but needed help with the word, “loud.”

So this week my sister and brother-in-law showed him the recent LDS Easter message video for Family Night, and he started reading the captions out loud. They thought it’d be a fun family project to record him and combine his voice with the original video. They shared it with me and I thought it’d be the perfect thing to share with everyone as part of my Easter message to all of you.

I also just did this photo shoot of him and he was a blast, giggling and laughing the entire time. And afterwards he mimicked me and my entire pig puppet routine that I’ve used for years to get kids to smile. He reenacted my routine down to the last detail. He’s a very cute and fun kid and I’m a proud uncle.

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Happy Easter, everyone. And maybe soon I’ll share some more images of my family and nephews.

And until next time, America.

Andraia’s City Photo Shoot

One fun way to shoot outside in the colder seasons of Utah when nothing is in bloom is to shoot downtown in the city, using the textures and buildings as a background. Of course that only works for certain kinds of shoots and all the elements have to work together for an artistic theme, which is why this is such fun shoot to share. I think it is a great shoot where all of this works perfectly.

First, Andraia’s clothing choice of warm and black tones not only blended well with the colors of the city, but it also made her stand out and created a fun style for this fashion shoot. And secondly, she moves really well and takes direction perfectly which is really needed because lighting people in a city takes a bit of work. I need to light her to compliment her and also light for the background to create depth, and all the while be non-intrusive with the various stands and pieces of gear I’m setting up so that people walking by don’t trip or break my stuff. Yet the look is that no one is there and the whole image pops.

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I like these long lines of the pillars with her standing full length. The straight lines of the pillars and the angles of the steps are a nice juxtaposition against her curves and her stance. Plus it’s fun to have that splash of blue up in the far corner for balance.

Below, Andraia’s serious expression and the perfect material of her outfit is all contrasted against the old ragged stone.Cox_Andraia_002 Cox_Andraia_003

Down an alleyway, some elements and lines in the wall worked great for visual balance for this photo.Cox_Andraia_004

But the overall look and pose make me think of a painting too, so I took some time to create one of my unique paintings. I have creative ideas before I start but the painting process makes me change my mind and therefore I never really know what I’ll end up with. Here I ended up completely changing the background to a more abstract and textured background and I love how every part of this turned out.

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In this area, I really liked the gold railing and set up using an angle that made for a nice complimentary background while also hiding a lot of distracting things as well. But here we were more exposed to the street because we were right on the sidewalk. That meant getting a lot of distracting attention from passerbys who would stop, gather around, watch, or even yell questions to us. We even got some whistles. Yet, Andraia was a pro and wasn’t distracted, and continued to take great direction, move well, and even throw me a genuine smile for this shot.

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It is always a pleasure to shoot Andraia, and this shoot provided too many great images to choose from. But these are some of my favorites.

Warm weather is coming, and it’s a great time to make an appointment for your photo shoot. But no matter the weather, I know just how to create some great images for you. Give me a call at 801-728-3317 and also check out my portfolio website at BryCox.com. My studio is located in Utah north of Salt Lake City, and I do shoots everywhere – inside my studio, outdoors in my studio gardens, all over Utah, Ogden, Salt Lake City, and Provo, to jobs out of state as well. My skill is making you look great and doing it with lighting. That means I’ll make you look great and I’ll capture you in unique and fun ways that others can’t copy.

Until next time, America.

Jessica’s Cold Wind Photo Shoot

I recently spoke for Adobe at the two big national photographic conventions, PPA in Nashville and WPPI in Vegas. The week leading up to the second convention I photographed Jessica, and used her shoot as my demo for the crowd in Vegas to teach workflow and retouching. It worked great because it was a fun photoshoot that involved some problem solving.

We had a batch of warm weather and planned something outside, but it turned out to be a very cold day in Utah instead. And because of time constraints, our first choice for a location shoot fell through and we instead met at a parking lot between us where there was no “traditionally great” place to shoot. But we set out to find something that would hide the brown, dead, winter look of Utah, and also possibly block some of the heavy and cold winter wind of the day. And with some creativity and lighting skills, I know that any background can work.

Jessica spotted this awesome bright red double-decker bus and we set up. The wind was cold and pretty heavy, I believe hitting 20 mph that day. But the wind was blocked on this far side and the sky was on a great angle from the sun to really go blue when mixed with some lighting techniques that would also knock down the harshness of the sun.

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Jessica is great in front of the camera. She’s relaxed, she moves well, and she responds perfectly to direction. I love the emotion and action between these images in this trio above. The deep colors, her hair blowing, her laugh – it all really makes this set incredibly interesting.

We also did some work on the side of the bus to put the sun behind us, but the wind was a lot stronger here so we didn’t last long. But here is one of my favorites with her hair blowing in the wind. And with the warm beautiful colors, you’d never know it was freezing cold. However, between setups, she was bundled up in coats. She was a good sport.

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We didn’t have much time left, so I thought of finishing up inside somewhere warmer. There was a nearby hotel where a friend used to be night manager, and so we walked over and asked to use their lobby for a few minutes. This is Jessica as we were walking in, wearing my down parka backwards on top of her own layers.

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We took about 20 minutes or so in the hotel’s lobby, and got a great variety of amazing images. There is a lot of expression and changes of mood in these images, and notice too how the lighting changes from shot to shot to constantly highlight her cheekbones as she moves. There were so many fun images and every one shows a different side of Jessica and I couldn’t cut any out. In fact I thought they worked great as a series so I used them all and created this square collage.

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Though my program for Adobe was on retouching techniques, the big secret is to of course do everything with lighting so that no retouching or adjustments are required. And then when you retouch, it should be subtle so that everything looks natural. That’s what really makes women look great.

But as a side note, none of the images in these collages have had any retouching or adjustments. And yet her eyes pop, her skin glows (and isn’t gray or muddy), the angles of light and the color balance are all right on so she looks great and the background colors pop – and add to that Jessica’s graceful movements and her fun personality and we have one killer shoot.

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This colors of the couch and wall worked great with her outfit so I made a trio (above) and felt this one long shot below was really interesting and captivating, so I used it as the basis for a painting.

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And here is the final painting.
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And on the way out of the lobby was a big leaf mural. I shot a few closing images by it and did some texture work to the background.BryCox_Jessica_05

Well there you go, one great shoot created on a very cold and windy day while finding new and unique places to shoot.

If you were a photographer who attended my speaking event then you can see how the collages and and other ideas all came together. If you’re a model or a high school senior and want fantastic images, now is the time to book. And if you’re a bride and want to look great no matter where your wedding is located or what the weather is like, give me a call. 801-728-3317. I know just how to make women look great, so call me and let’s talk about your dream portrait.

And until next time, America.

Caribbean Street Images Using My Point-And-Shoot Camera

I’ve been so busy with the studio and with speaking gigs, that I am behind on my blog. I’ve got a list of shoots that I’ve been meaning to post about and that list keeps growing. But I recently went on a spontaneous Caribbean cruise, and thought I’d share some of the images I created there.

A big group of friends were going on this cruise and asked us to come. I loved the idea for the photographic opportunities and chance to turn off my cell phone for a solid week, but we had said no because there were too many reasons why it didn’t fit into our calendars. However the night before the boat left, things seemed to just work out, so me and two other friends spontaneously just packed our bags and took a redeye flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico to see if we could somehow talk our way on the ship. After a crazy adventure in getting there, everything worked out and we stepped on board completely surprising everyone.

I packed my normal big bag of camera gear ready for any photographic opportunity, but ended up only using my small point-and-shoot because of the size and mobility. It’s more about how you use the camera than what camera you use.

Here are some of the images I created.

Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com

Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com

I love faces and portraits of people when I travel. Plus I like to walk and explore areas and absorb and photograph the abstract scenes that make you feel like you’re in a unique place.

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Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com

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I always take my own photos, using a self-timer and an extendable pole. I used to come home from places with lots of photos, but no photos of me because I’m the one behind the camera. Some years ago I’ve made it a resolution to always get photos of me too.Bry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.com Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com Bry Cox, ©BryCox.comHere’s my taxi driver on one island. I aimed and shot this without looking through the lens. I really like how it turned out.

Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com

Yes, I packed my tux. It seems silly to take a tux on a boat, but since I wear it almost every day just hanging around my house anyway, I figured I’d take it.

Bry Cox, ©BryCox.com Bry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.comBry Cox, ©BryCox.com

And this last photo was taken by a friend using my camera. I really like this background and photographed a few people from this island here (as you can see above. ) Just ignore the fact that my foot is cut off. :)

Make sure you check out my main website, BryCox.com. And until next time, America.

Jolie’s Wedding Album Design, Timpanogos Temple

Jolie’s wedding at the Timpanogas Temple in American Fork, Utah is beautiful. It was a hot day which meant a deep blue sky with the right handling of light. And mixed with the couple’s really fun personalities, the images are great and romantic. You may have seen their sneak peek earlier on my blog, but I wanted you to see the entire album.

As you view this, notice how happy they are to be together, how great they look, and how vibrant the colors are, and how wonderful every single photograph looks.

If you’re looking for some wonderful wedding photographs, give me a call at 801-728-3317. I am a Utah based photographer and I work all over Utah and the US.

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If you want more info on how I would shoot your wedding, here’s some details and examples for you.

And until next time, America.

Michelle’s Wedding Album at the Rock Church & Providence Bed & Breakfast (Logan, Utah)

I’ve been excited to post this wedding for some time because I had a wonderful day photographing Michelle & Tysen’s wedding at the Rock Church & Providence Bed & Breakfast in Logan, Utah.

The couple is so wonderful together, the day was planned perfectly, and the emotion in these images is wonderful. There was a lot of attention to detail with beautiful gifts for the guests, gorgeous flowers, a wonderful backdrop of flowy material and tall trees, and the sunset was stunning. The entire collection of images are romantic, dramatic, and the images tell the story beautifully. Here is their entire album design as a slideshow from morning until sunset.

The album design starts in the morning with the couple getting ready, then it moves to the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time (first sight portraits). Then before guests arrived, we took some time walking around and creating some really romantic images of just the couple. Then the ceremony starts, you see the family groupings, and then the really fun reception complete with live music, croquet, and bocce ball.

The music is by my sister, Elise (MusicByElise.com)

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If you’re looking for some wonderful wedding photographs, give me a call at 801-728-3317. I am a Utah based photographer and I work all over Utah and the US.

If you want more info on how I shoot weddings, here’s some details and examples for you.

And until next time, America.

Winning Over Deborah’s Cute Kids

When these kids arrived, it was a typical scene where one of the kids (in this case the young boy) didn’t want to be photographed. He cried and carried on about it, and didn’t want to change into his gray sweater and in fact he wouldn’t stand anywhere in the studio without collapsing and crying. But my specialty is exquisite lighting and emotion, meaning that I’m not just going to nail the lighting and technical aspects, but I will also draw out real expressions. I love winning kids over and have worked on it my entire career. In fact I have an entire routine now from years and years of playing with my pink pig puppet in the studio. One of my friends who has moved away, has a few times called me by FaceTime just so I could do my pig puppet routine for her little girl again.

So when this cute, sad guy wouldn’t cooperate, I told him he could keep his white shirt, he could be as sad as he wanted, and he could even have his mom by him. I just needed him to stand here so I could show him my pig puppet.

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This was just the warm-up. Within three images I had him laughing, all that’s all I wanted at that point, was for him to relate standing in my studio to fun and laughter. So at that point I let him go and continued to photograph his sister. She was adorable and cute, and really held her poses well. She was a young model and was warmed up before we started.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

When it was her brother’s turn again, he was a breeze. I had him won over. We got him in his sweater, he sat in his chair while I moved around the studio adjusting lights and getting things set for him, and when I started my pig puppet routine, he laughed and laughed right on cue. From that point on, he never stopped laughing. I changed setups, I shot black and white, I changed backgrounds, and each time it was his turn, I would start my silly puppet routine and he would laugh. Notice how he’s almost falling out of his chair laughing in some of these photos.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox © BryCox.com, Bry Cox © BryCox.com, Bry Cox © BryCox.com, Bry Cox © BryCox.com, Bry Cox

When it came time for a family group portrait, both of the kids did a great job and we were able to get a great image of everyone. And when everyone left, this little guy was drunk with laughter. He could hardly stand straight. It was so funny, and completely opposite of how he arrived.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

I love photographing families and children. If you need some great family or kids portraits, now is a great time. The Christmas rush is over, and I can fit you in quickly, 801-728-3317. My studio is located just north of Salt Lake City, Utah, and no matter what the weather is like outside, I can get great images in the studio. And many times you can view them right after the shoot too.

And make sure you check out ideas on my main website too, at BryCox.com. Happy New Year, and until next time, America.