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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

Governor’s Family Portraits

Christmas is almost here and it’s a great chance to spend time with families. It’s also a great time of year for family portraits while everyone is together, and this year I was honored to create the Governor’s family portraits and Christmas cards. It was a huge project as it also included designing and printing thousands of cards, as well as mailing them all out. Every day for a couple weeks I was working on this job to make it all come together, look great, and hit mailboxes on time.

I really love how it all turned out. I’ve had many clients that were on the Governor’s mailing list already comment to me about how great everything looked and how fun it was to get it. Here is the opening portrait on the card.

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I really work hard to make photo shoots quick, fun, and painless. It was nice to hear afterwards that they felt it was the fastest and easiest shoot they had done. Once I get everyone positioned and the lighting just right, I have a very goofy routine that mesmerizes the kids. I shoot what I need, but I don’t wear people out by shooting a ton. When I know we’ve got it, I move on so that expressions don’t get stale and people can get back to their lives.

I really love this big group portrait below. The Herbert family is a very nice and wonderfully big family with a lot of cute, little grandkids. The lighting in this area had to be just right so that the background wouldn’t be dark and black, but instead would be a nice medium warm tone that accentuated but didn’t distract – while at the same time making sure the faces on everyone was dimensional, even, and created great skin tones.

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For the card, I cropped it down to a long panorama that you see when you fold open the card.

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And usually on the back of cards I just do my logo, but we added this cute group portrait of all the grandkids. There are a lot of great expressions in these cute faces.

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Of course we also photographed individual families too while I was there.

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I really think it turned out great. It’s also been fun to hear from various clients of mine that have received the card. For instance, here is a sweet mention on Instagram from one of my good clients and friends Shauna Lake of KUTV news. She posted this when she got her card.

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Well I hope everyone has a great Christmas and can spend time with family. If you need some great family portraits while people are in town, let me know. 801-728-3317.

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

Share The Gift, The Largest Nativity Event & Music Video

This weekend, the #ShareTheGift Largest Nativity music video was released. I was hired for two days to be there during the creation to capture some behind the scenes images as well as do all the VIP portraits for social media, as well as shoot some video interviews too. It was all put together by the Radiant Foundation who brought together Peter Hollens, David Archuleta, The Piano Guys, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and YouTube personalities like Shay Carl, Alex Boyé, Cute Girl Hairstyles, Devin Supertramp, Stuart Edge, Kid History, Studio C, and The Gardiner Sisters.

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It started with the Guinnes Book of World Records representative double-checking all the numbers and making sure a record was made as over a thousand volunteers streamed in and were given white robes to wear.

Cox_Nativity-150Cox_Nativity-120Cox_Nativity-140 Cox_Nativity-152Cox_Nativity-136Then the announcement was made that a new world record had indeed been made.
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Throughout the night, I photographed people in the VIP tent on the ‘step and repeat’ background. A lot of those images can be seen on the Live Nativity’s Facebook page. Here’s some of them.

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And as it got darker, the filming began for the music video. This was just day one of filming for the music video.

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Day two of filming included people like David Archuleta and the Piano Guys at a different location. Again, I was there to do the VIP portraits on the ‘step and repeat’ background, as well as some behind the scenes shots.

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The hashtag has been trending on social media sites, as has the music video this weekend on YouTube. It has been a huge hit and has been covered by the news both local and national. Here are links to some of the news stories:

Deseret News / KSL News / Channel 4 Salt Lake KTVX / The Blaze / Salt Lake Tribune / News in Virginia / Fresno California Bee / CBN Christian Broadcasting Network / Univision / AOL News …

Here is the final music video

It was a real honor to be asked to photograph this event. I know there were a lot of people at all levels that worked countless hours on this project. I hope everyone gets a chance to watch the video above, as well as this beautiful video below that is a part of the same #ShareTheGift campaign.

Merry Christmas and until next time, America.

How I Created My Christmas Card, A Group Portrait of Me

For many years I’ve done group portraits as my company Christmas card, always a group of just me as if it’s taken at my own company’s Christmas party. And because I personally see each job through from beginning to end, I wear a few different hats and the card has become a growing joke, getting better each year. Well here is my card and how I created it.

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Clients, especially children that come in are always asking me how I shoot my group photos of myself, so I decided to share with you my process.

First I mapped out the entire shot, and decided on which images I’d need, where the various people would be positioned throughout the image. I needed depth, but didn’t want anyone in front of anyone else. I even have three people tied together with garland, all handing each other the same strand. It all has to look real and work. Each person had to be working together naturally, and that meant thinking about how the angles and lighting should be.

Once it was mapped out, I began photographing the pieces. I started with my studio/home. I needed to use open area of the front and didn’t want it covered with the cedar fence and line of trees in front. So I used a wide angle up close to get the entire home in the shot without the fence and trees you’d see from the street. This gives me the best angle on the place but causes bending on the vertical lines, that I will fix later.

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Next I photographed my folks’s tree in their home. My mom always puts together the best tree.Cox_Christmas2013-114

Then back at the studio I photographed each remaining part on my fashion gray background so that they could be extracted easier. Extractions are not easy nor fast, but a solid gray background makes it easier at least.

To fit a large ladder in the studio on gray, I chose my smallest ladder, and doubled the size of the legs digitally, adjusting too for the perspective of the steps. I then photographed each version of myself, imagining where each would be positioned in the final image, but used the same step on the ladder to stand so that I’d fit in the studio shot.Cox_Christmas2013-groupEach photograph was fired with a remote that I am hiding in one of my hands. For instance, in the shovel image, I’m holding the remote up against the shovel’s handle. Once I’m in position, I fire the shot. After each shot, I change clothes, set up the next image, and shoot again.

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After all the camera work, the digital work begins. I started with the individual versions of me, each extracted off the gray background and placed in the shot where they were mapped out. The ladder was also extended taller, being key to making sure all the other people were in the right spots and in proper perspective.

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Slowly the group began to grow, and the star was added in the hand on top.Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-1c

Then I extracted the tree off the living room background and prepped it.

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The tree was brought in and more details were brought together.Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-1d

 

Then to the background. I corrected the vertical lines, and the image was cropped to fit the final piece.Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-1e

I then created snow from scratch and added it throughout, fading out the home as well for a misty look and to keep the background from being too busy and competing visually with the foreground.Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-1f

The background was added to the crowd, and more details were added like sparkles on the Christmas tree’s lights.Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-1g

Once the background was in, people needed to be moved slightly on the right side to work better with the background. Once they were in place, shadows were drawn in so that each person and object cast a shadow that matched the lighting from the sun behind. Each point of contact with the snow was then painted up close so as to “drop” everyone into the snow so they didn’t look like they were on top. That, along with creating custom shadows, help give the final piece a more 3D look and not a flat, fake look. There’s much more I could do to make it look real, but a little of that fake look will help with the comedy effect.

The star was also given a nice sparkle. More snow was added around the edges to create a natural white vignette to keep the focus inside the image, and the tree’s trunk was finished as well.

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Finally, I used one of my custom edges to finish the piece, added the text, and the legend of who everyone is at the bottom. And the finishing touch as always, is adding my signature, in this case in the bottom left.

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So what’s your guess on how long it took to complete this project? All in all, it took about 23 hours including both the camera and digital designing time, and that doesn’t count working with the printer and mailing company to get it all out to each of you. Hopefully when it comes, it brings a smile to your face. If your address has changed, let me know so that I can update it for the next mailing I send out.

I hope all of you have a joyous season with family and loved ones. Merry Christmas!!

And until next time, America.

Pat’s Updated Fall Family Portraits

One of my favorite things about being a photographer is being able to work with some of the same families again and again. It is fulfilling creating a custom wall portrait that I know they will look at and love for years to come. It’s just another reason why it was great to hear from Pat wanting a new and updated grouping. The last time I photographed her family was in 2003.

It’s amazing how fast time flies and how much children change and grow, and it was really neat to see the original portraits in Pat’s home when I delivered her new and updated wall portrait. Notice how little the parents have changed over the years, but how much the children have grown. Some have gotten married and there are even some little grandkids too.

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And below are the kids alone. What I think is interesting, besides how much everyone has changed, is how I analyzed the group of kids both 11 years ago and today. In both cases I looked at the kids and saw a line, and grouped them boy/girl/boy/girl. In fact they are all in the exact same order with the exemption of swapping two girls. And we even did a slim-line crop again too. I love that.

Being a Utah photographer means having lots of locations to to use as backdrops. For the new portraits, we shot up in the canyons and for the original portraits 11 years ago, we photographed in my outdoor studio gardens.

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During the new shoot, we also created smaller family groups that we finished as squares. That way they could all be framed and hung in a grouping on the wall together.

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It’s amazing how a photograph can stop time, and I love that the value of a photograph only grows over the years. If it’s time for a new and updated family portrait, there’s no better time. I can get things finished for Christmas for you and even get some cards done quickly too.

Give me a call, 801-728-3317 and check out my main portfolio website too at BryCox.com.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox Portrait of Keith Stubbs in Utah Business Magazine

This month, Utah Business Magazine is using one of the portraits I did of Keith Stubbs for their article on him. Many people already know who he is, but if you are unfamiliar, the article starts by introducing him this way:

“Keith Stubbs is arguably one of the busiest men in Utah’s entertainment industry. The radio personality and stand-up comedian hosts two radio shows each weekday in Salt Lake City—from 6 to 10 a.m. on 101.5 The Eagle and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on ESPN 700 for the Keith Stubbs Sports show. He also owns WiseGuys Comedy Clubs in both West Valley City and Ogden, with a third opening in downtown Salt Lake City later this year.”

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This was a very fun photo shoot with Keith, and we got some great images from it that show a lot of personality and tell the story of being a comedian and entertainer.

And it’s always fun to see my images in magazines. The November 2014 issue of Utah Business Magazine is available on newsstands throughout Utah, and the article can also be read online here: http://www.utahbusiness.com/articles/view/keith_stubbs_bringing_laughs_to_utah

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And as always, check out my main portfolio at BryCox.com. I do have another photo of Keith there in the VIP portfolio.

Until next time, America.

Utah’s Adoption Exchange Heart Gallery on KSL News

Utah’s Adoption Exchange had it’s Heart Gallery opening Wednesday night at the Utah State Capitol. I wasn’t going to post about it publicly, but since it was on KSL News and people have been messaging me about it, I’ll mention it briefly here and then let you read more about it on KSL if you’d like.

For the last few months, some professional photographers including myself have been photographing kids in the Utah foster care program who tend to be older and often overlooked for adoption. It is a wonderful cause and especially good for the kids.

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Having been a portrait photographer for so many years, I really believe in the power of a great portrait. People need great portraits of themselves, and it’s not about ego or esteem or being in love with yourself, but instead it’s about seeing your self-worth.

It is good to regularly see a great portrait of yourself, something that isn’t overly retouched or covered in effects, but instead is real and honest. A great portrait should capture the sparkle and light in you and make you feel good about who you are when you see it. That’s why I said yes to this program. I especially love to photograph children, and this was a great opportunity to share with some specific kids at a very formable age, a new perspective as to who they are inside.

There are many ways to help, and I think this is a powerful one. Imagine a child for instance that usually avoids eye contact and rarely smiles, but then is given a powerful photograph of themselves that they see every day. And in that photograph they see a different perspective of themselves and they know on some level is a true version of who they are. They know nothing is fake about the photo, and looking at it they see a version of themselves looking confident, have unwavering eye contact, and smiling with a glow and sparkle in their eye.

I know seeing an image like that speaks volumes to the subconscious and helps with identity and self-worth. I’ve had past clients tell me this very thing for years, sharing stories about their child I photographed, sometimes a high school senior who came out of his/her shell after our photo shoot, or of girls who had gotten married or their dating life surged because of the new-found confidence and new way of seeing themselves after our shoot.

I hope that that these kids we photographed for this adoption project will see themselves in a new light too, and that the families looking to adopt can see them in a brighter light as well.

I’m grateful to have been able to help with this project. If you’d like to see more about it, here is a link to the KSL news story, and here are links to the Utah Adoption Exchange and specifically the Heart Gallery photographs. (And above is the video clip from KSL’s news broadcast that should play by clicking on it.)

Until next time, America.