This week I attended the funeral of a neighbor, dear family friend, and client who passed away at age 102. A couple years ago I created his official centenarian portrait at age 100. I shared some of those images and the stories on my blog, here. They are some of my favorite photographs because of the stories they tell about this wonderful and perfect man.
Years ago, my town was mostly farmers. And because LDS/Mormon leaders are not paid for church service, many of these farmers would regularly have to briefly leave meetings to change their irrigation or do some quick work before coming back to the chapel to teach their assigned lesson. Seeing Wilford with his pitch fork, standing on his farm in dress clothes reminds me of those young memories and of the worth ethic he instilled on his family and many of us youth growing up.
He was a perfect man, kind, giving, and incredibly generous. A small symbol of his character is in these wooden pens that he made with wood brought to him by friends who traveled the world. And he made these pens with a lathe that he made and kept in his barn. I think about him building his own lathe, and I am inspired. There is a solid sense of contentment in this earlier generation that is lacking today. It was the sense that you earn the things by saving for them over time, then you made them last, and continued to fix them. And if you couldn’t afford something or couldn’t make it yourself, you did without. I am honored to have been given one of his wooden pens, and I wore it in my suit pocket to his viewing.
And a few years earlier, I photographed him with his dear wife for their 70th anniversary. They’re now reunited together again in heaven.
I will miss Wilford. The world needs more good men like him. I hope his character, ethics, and love of God continue to be passed on through the generations of his growing family. Here’s a link to his obituary.
A good friend, James Christensen, has passed. I extend heartfelt condolences to his wife and family and thank them for the great times my friends and I have had with them at their home. We’ll alll miss James dearly.
He was a great man to look up to, and I identified with him particularly because he was deeply religious while also keeping a young, humorous, slightly rebellious streak. He gave so much of himself and his time and talent to the LDS Church in a variety of callings, and the enormous murals that he painted in temples will forever inspire, as does all of his art.
His love of symbolism in scripture and art, and his ability to see what others might miss, and to add these details to his own pieces provide an almost magical insight. He hosted various barbecues and kung-fu film nights — he had the ability to connect with all of our friends despite age differences.
And as you can see in this portrait below, he raised a wonderful family that I’m honored to have photographed for Sari’s wedding.
And my friends and clients will remember the many Christmas CDs that we produced over the years bearing his artwork. These were a joint project. James Conlee produced them, James Christensen provided the cover art, while I handled the graphic design and printing.
I would sometimes have to adapt his painting to a square design or to allow text to flow over top. That meant digitally changing his art, sometimes extending things or cropping areas, all of which I was always very cautious about doing. But when it was needed, I made sure every change was true to the original feel of his painting so it’d be un-dectable. And then I waited for his opinion. He was always very kind and would say, “Well done, Bry. I like how you did this, and how you did that.”
Here’s a few covers from over the years.
The most dramatic change was with this painting below where I removed everyone but the one angel in the middle, and then recreated stars and sky in their place. All these alterations were discussed beforehand. He was great about them. Here’s his original painting.
And here was the final CD cover. I feel lucky and blessed to have known him, to have his artwork on my walls, and my heart goes out to his family and loved ones. I can’t imagine the loss they feel. But I also have no doubt that he was welcomed with open arms into the highest levels of the next life.
For anyone looking for more info, here are a few links. First, his Official site at Greenwichworkshop.com. Next a video produced by Deseret Book. Despite the awful production value of this video, it is really nice to hear him talk again, and to remember how he discussed his work, to see his thought processes, and to hear the familiar cadence of his voice.
It’s time to order Christmas cards, and for the next while any wall portrait includes free Christmas cards. Get any wall size (like a 16×20 or larger) and get 25 free custom cards designed using a photo from your shoot.
Photography I believe is one of the absolute best gift ideas. A photo of a loved one is cherished for years, and I have some fun ornaments and gift ideas that you’ll love. You may want to get some of these for yourself as well as for loved ones, like these fun Christmas ornaments.
These first type of ornaments are printed on metal and are great for children or family portraits. They are $45, or free with qualifying portrait orders.
My second type of ornaments are small boutique framed images, ready to hang with a brown twine loop. These are great for your tree but also are good all year round, hanging on a wall. These are $69, or free with qualifying portrait orders.
Call me at 801-728-3317 and I’ll get your order going. We can use images from past shoots or current shoots, and I can also ship orders directly to you too.
The leaves here at my studio gardens are almost gone. None of us like to think of Christmas too early, but if you’d like some outdoor fall portraits for Christmas cards and gifts, this is the last time to get them created.
I know just how to make you and your children look great. And I believe in short shoots that don’t tire everyone out, where we get even more variety and choices. And the fall leaves make for great family portraits as well as exclusive line of abstract paintings on canvas.
If you’d like to bring your family or kids in for some fall leaf portraits, give me a call at 801-728-3317.
Spring is officially here and it’s time for family portraits. But sometimes people want something different, unique, something that they can feature in their home as an art piece and be proud of. For those clients, I offer custom painted portraits, painted from the family groups I create during your session.
I have photographed Janet’s extended family before, but this time they wanted something different. So while they were on vacation in Utah, I drove up the mountains and met up with them and photographed each family in some tall grass near their vacation property. I shot a variety of options with the families looking at the camera, and some of them interacting with each other that I could use to create paintings. Here are some of those finished paintings. They look amazing up close when they’re finished on canvas.
And here are some of the other groupings, starting with the biggest extended family group, and then each family separately. I love the diversity of location options in Utah. With a little bit of scouting and some custom lighting, I was able to make this location work right outside their vacation home. By me coming to them, I was able to integrate a location into their images that meant something to them, plus it saved them vacation time so that they could quickly get back to their time together.
And of course I love to focus in on children and do just some individuals. Rather than show every child’s individual portrait, here are some from just one family.
And for every single shoot I do – whether it’s in my studio, outside in my Utah studio gardens, or off on location as this shoot was – I really hope that my clients see the quality and value that I offer. I work to mix into every single image a combination of emotional impact and fantastic lighting. I want both, real expressions that draw you in mixed with all the technical details nailed.
I know it’s time for YOUR updated family portrait. Give me a call and let’s get it scheduled. 801-728-3317
Being Easter, I wanted to post something and it hit me today what to share. I have been working on this image and many others as part of a big commercial project I did in Death Valley. This image was shot in color infrared, a light spectrum invisible to the human eye. The bright colors are real, they are just not the colors or type of light we see.
So aside from the candy Easter colors, I like this for Easter because the sun is dramatically shining over Death Valley from the horizon as if rising. It says symbolically, “The Son brings light and life to Death.”
And for a little more Easter spirit, I want to share a video with my little 4-year old nephew narrating it. He was an early reader and last year when my family showed him an Easter video he started reading the captions. My sister and brother-in-law stopped and recorded him and combined his voice with a new version of the video. They did it again this year, and this is it.
It was a rare opportunity to get all of Janae’s family in town together. So during this short window when everyone was in Utah, they came in for some new studio family portraits. And one of my personal favorite parts of creating family portraits is to connect with the children. I am not satisfied with kids just looking my direction or into the camera, and I don’t want cheesy, fake, or rehearsed smiles. I want them to really shine. I want a family grouping that is well composed, beautifully lit, where everyone (including the tiny kids) all look real and amazing. And I am really glad with how this turned out.
And with all family portrait sessions, I also like to photograph individual families. These final options were printed as 4 large squares and custom framed to match so that they could all hang together on Janae’s wall as a beautiful series. Notice how great everyone looks, especially the children.
And this last image is just a fun grouping of the original family. Portraits like this are great to show love and togetherness even though we all change.
March is a great time to get in for some family portraits, and I have a promo going right now. Give me a call at 801-728-3317 and let’s discuss creating something new for you.
My friend Trish recently passed away of cancer and today is her funeral. As a tribute, I thought I’d post a few pictures that I did of her over the years. She was always a good friend, and years ago before she was married I would go boating with her and my friend Chad. They both taught me to wakeboard and boat surf. Some time later in 2008, she got engaged and I photographed her wedding. For a few years after that I also photographed her family for her Christmas cards.
Here are some of my favorite images that I shot of her over the years, starting with her engagement portraits.
Some of her wedding images…
And some of her family portraits for her Christmas cards, in her home. The portrait on her mantle is one of her wedding images.
Here is a link to her obituary for those interested. I’m grateful to have known her, to have so many fond memories of her, and to have been able to create these photographs of her that I hope are kept and cherished by her loved ones for years to come. I wish her family and loved ones my deepest condolences.
Family portraits are incredibly fulfilling for me to create. A well-made family wall portrait brings joy to people for years if not decades. And Shirley’s family had grown quite a bit since I’d last photographed them. It was neat to see everyone, to hear about their lives as I photographed them, and I always find it especially fun to get little children to not just relax, but to smile and laugh for a portrait.
We had talked earlier about doing a large canvas panorama of her family above her couch, and this is the final image.
It’s a little hard to see all the great faces online, so I made this 15 second video to show the big group.
Because Shirley and her husband were leaving on a religious mission for a while out of the country, the large canvas pano would have been hard to take with them. So I used the individual family groups to create this square wall collage.
And here are some of the individual families. They were each shot individually for the panorama so that they could each get their own portrait, but it also made it easier on the family’s time constraints, as well as making the most of my custom style of lighting. I have a lot of space and options here in my Utah studio, but even a family this large makes for a very tight fit if I were to try and shoot everyone at once all in the studio. But shooting each family separately, we were able to create something much more unique and artistically pleasing, plus it helped the family because there were some members that couldn’t be there all at the same time. Everyone was coming and going throughout the shoot, and we never had everyone in the studio all at the same time. And it all worked perfectly.
As you view these families, notice how comfortably everyone is grouped together in each portrait, and how great each kid looks.
Family portraits are one of the most important images we can create. I believe strongly in a great family portrait, and now is a great time to get your family in the studio for a portrait.
Give me a call at 801-728-3317, and until next time, America.
I find it especially fun and rewarding to create family photographs of my relatives. Recently we had a short window of time when JJ and Cherie’s kids would all be together here in Utah. We were able to get a variety of family photographs, and this one was used for their Christmas card.
And spontaneously while doing just the kids’ photographs, they began doing the Arrested Development chicken dance as we laughed. It made for a great back of the card.
I love this family, and Christmas time, and the chance to make them their Christmas cards. I hope everyone everywhere has a very Merry Christmas.
Family portraits are important and meaningful, especially when children are young because they change so fast. It’s wonderful to be able to have a custom art piece on the wall that you can enjoy, not only right now, but also in 20 years.
And for my clients that are looking for something completely different, I offer my special line of painted family portraits. This is not some quick filter or effect. Instead I individually paint each image from scratch using a photograph that I create during your portrait session. It’s a lengthy creative process, but I created this sped up video so that you can see it come to life in a short 15 second time-lapse video.
That finished painting is now hanging as a beautiful canvas in their home. During the creation as I was photographing the family, their dog ran around behind them, came around the side and looked up at them. For one split second everything was perfect, and I quickly got that shot. Everyone is looking at each other and interacting including their beloved dog that really wanted to be a part of the moment.
With summer ending, this is the last great time to photograph families that want outdoor images. The studio gardens look amazing right now, and the colors are green and lush. We can do a variety of family options and groupings for a lot of choices. And though no one likes to think about Christmas early, the weather is starting to get cooler which means outdoor options will become limited, plus we only have about 14 Saturdays left to get things by Christmas.
Besides family groups, it’s always nice to get an updated couple portrait. I’m amazed how many couples I photograph admit that they have not had a professional couple portrait since their wedding. Let’s fix that and get you something you can put on your desk at work or display around your home.
Here at my Utah studio, we can shoot outdoors and indoors during the same appointment. For Angie’s family, we went in the studio for some fun, high-contrast black and whites of individuals that could be displayed as a series of squares going up the stairs.
And those squares worked really well as this framed trio too.
Let’s get some great portraits of your family inside the studio and outdoors in the gardens while the weather is still nice. Now is the perfect time to get in and beat the Christmas rush of fall.
Give me a call at 801-728-3317 and until next time, America.
I recently posted on Facebook about installing this large 7×4 foot portrait, and included with a few images of me hanging it. I received a bigger response than usual, 260+ likes, 30+ comments, and private messages from people asking how I did it. So I thought it’d make a great blog post.
Here I am hanging the portrait with a couple large Little Giant ladders that still were’t quite tall enough.
And here is the portrait so you can see the details better. This family had grown quite a bit with married kids and lots of cute new grandkids. So when they hired me, they wanted to make sure that they could see everyone’s faces and could enjoy the image from the given viewing distance of the room.
The day of the shoot was cold and rainy but I still wanted to create the image outside. Yes, they have a large home and we could have set up in a room somewhere, or I could have even set up a studio in their gym, but I always emphasize my specialty of lighting and emotion, and I knew I could create something with more drama outside in front of their home. And yes, we could have rescheduled for a pretty, sunny day, but I don’t like to reschedule for lots of reasons.
One, many times like this, it’s the only day when family is all in town. Two, sometimes rescheduling means the portrait is never created. And three, rain makes for really beautiful and saturated colors when custom lighting is handled the right way. Plus after 20+ years of creating photographs full time for clients I know that I can work within the cycles of a rain storm as it goes from a big downpour to a slow drizzle to hard rain again.
The trick is to be all set and shoot quickly when the rain slows down so that I’m done before the next wave of hard rain comes again. And that’s what I did. While the family waited in the warmth inside, I set up my lights and camera and had everything metered and ready to go. I kept everything covered until we had a lull in the storm, and then had everyone come outside and we began working.
Storm or not, I pose and position people quickly and in natural stances, then I play with the kids with a puppet routine that I’ve worked up over the years. I love it when even the tiniest kids, babies really that can’t even talk are laughing at my puppet show because they know it’s funny.
I started with the largest family group, and moved quickly to individual family groups. I only shoot about 3-5 images per family because I don’t want to wear people out, or exhaust the natural smiles of the children. And on this night we had other reasons to hurry as the rain was starting to get heavy again.
Besides the biggest group I was able to get two other families groups shot before the rain hit hard again, so I moved under the awning that can be seen in the earlier groups. Again, I wanted to stay outside so that all of the family groups would have a uniform look, color scheme, feel, and lighting style. I want them all to look good when hung together and not look like different shoots. So working under the awning was perfect because the clients were able to stay dry (even though I was standing in the rain), and we were able to finish the session so that everything matched and looked beautiful.
I love that this little baby is laughing. In the big family group, she was the kid laughing the loudest at my silly puppet routine.
At some point, no matter how fast you work, kids are spent. They only have so much energy for photos, but it’s still fun to try and get a grandkids photo, even if some are crying. We did one under the awning and then went inside to the fireplace and did one big casual group of the entire family.
Here is a view of their finished portrait in their home. The most common concern with families is getting your portrait too big or too small for where it is hanging. You want to be able to see faces and it is hard to imagine sizes when looking at a price menu. That is why I preview your order on a projector so that you can see your exact image at the exact size you’d like it. And if you know you’re getting over a certain size, I’ll come to your home and will help measure walls so that we get it absolutely perfect. And yes, I’ll even come hang it for you too.
Summer is ending and this is a great time to photograph your family. It’s always hard because schedules are crazy, and right now kids are going back to school. But winter is even harder and right now it’s still warm and pretty outside. Give me a call at 801-728-3317 and let’s create something amazing for you.