Photography Workshops

Creativity and Fashion Shoots in Texas (Part 2)

Here’s some more images I shot while teaching creativity and fashion for a week in Texas at the biggest photography event of it’s kind. I specifically teach photographers how to connect with people to pull out genuine emotion, while at the same time nailing lighting and everything else technical. That way when you start adding complexity (like movement under studio lights), you create some uniquely magical photographs.

And this cute model with the red hair was terrific to demo these principles because she followed directions and moved instinctively well. And her personality worked well under the studio lights so I was able to push the creative bounds and shoot a lot of movement with her. I love all of these with her hair in motion.

And she really jumped well in high heels. At first I wanted her to jump barefooted because I worried about her landing and getting hurt. But she insisted that she could jump in high heels and they make these photographs even better. She had great positioning in the air, and photographers should note that even when jumping, the lighting is still perfect on her face and waist.

My shoot with her was very quick because I wanted other photographers to try what I was teaching. I’d do a quick demo with her then allow everyone else to shoot. But even in our short demo shoots, we created a huge variety of photographs. This set of mid-lengths on blue really show personality and make her eyes pop.

If you’re a high school senior, a model, or otherwise need some creative images that grab attention, give me a call at 801-728-3317. And if you’re a photographer wanting more training in lighting, creativity, or technique, visit my training site at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com. I have live seminars around the country and lots of online courses as well.

And until next time, America.

Creativity and Fashion Shoots in Texas (Part 1)

I’m excited to share these photographs that I created while teaching my big week-long intensive photographic workshop in Texas. It’s the biggest and best event of its kind where 1000+ photographers from around the world come in to learn in small groups for an entire week with one instructor. As one of those instructors, my class is specifically on creativity, fashion, and adding emotion to an image – while at the same time nailing everything in camera. That means everything is measured and angled perfectly so exposure and color temperature are perfect, and skin, eyes, and body shapes look great before any retouching.

This first set of images in this post is not a Photoshop effect, but rather one exposure with a series of extremely quick flash bursts. This model was wonderful and moved like a dancer so I was able to describe how I wanted her to move during the shot, and she was able to hit her mark over and over. So each photograph is a series of multiple exposures all in one shot.

I love the blending of images showing movement, and how her red hair pops against this beautiful blue background. All my equipment was provided by my friend Melanie and her family at Arlington Camera. They were able to set me up with exactly the equipment I needed to create a full studio at the hotel. And I broke that gear into multiple studio bays to let photographers try the techniques I was showing.

Here is a short iPhone video showing me in action creating these images. This video was shot by my one of my equipment wranglers and helpers, Lisa Crayford. I took the raw footage and added the photos I shot to the end. Notice how I’m locking my body in to be my own tripod during the long exposure, and looking out over the camera to make sure I shoot and catch exactly what I want.

If you need some creative images that grab attention, give me a call at 801-728-3317. And if you’re a photographer wanting more training, visit my training site at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com.

And until next time, America.

Street Shoot in Carlisle Pennsylvania, Part 2

While teaching a photographic workshop in Carlisle, Pennsylvania we did a shoot on the beautiful street in front of our hotel. I had previously posted the high school senior that I’d photographed, but I shot a cute little girl who was the daughter of the photographer who organized the event. I wanted to share some of those images as well with again, no retouching. We have great expressions, great skin, eyes that pop, and our color is nailed throughout the shoot. I taught systems for doing all of this on a shoot and these images show how great it works throughout a portrait session.

This little gal had such a variety of expressions, that I thought a composite design was best to show them all off. I can imagine her older in a few years, looking back on this shoot, loving this design, and enjoying her young personality.

And this trio shows off another cute outfit of hers. I really liked her boots in this and wanted to show them off.

If you’re a photographer and want to learn more, check out my live workshops as well as online training at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com. And if you’re in need of some great photography, give me a call, 801-728-3317. Spring is here and I’d love to create something amazing for you.

And until next time, America.

Street Fashion Shoot in Carlisle Pennsylvania, Part 1

I just got back from teaching a multi-day photography seminar to the Professional Photographers of Pennsylvania. For one of those days, we did a live shoot on the beautiful street of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, just outside the convention hotel. They had this very pretty high school senior model for me to photograph so that I could demonstrate various lighting techniques while shooting fashion images.

The big take-away I hoped photographers would get out of my program was that no matter the location or lighting style, images should be so good in the camera that they don’t need retouching. Eyes should pop, skin should glow, and people should look better and thinner because of your lighting techniques – not retouching.

And great images means a quicker work-flow, cleaner retouching techniques, and far more powerful photographs because they’re believable. As a followup to that shoot, I wanted to post some of my favorites – unretouched of course. I spent my computer time picking favorites, doing some quick color toning, and adding edges. Other than that, no retouching, no eye whitening, no skin softening, nothing. I hope people can see how great these images look. In fact they’re better than most people’s images after retouching.

During the workshop I showed how to create and design collages for clients. During that demo I shared my quick retouching techniques. So in this collage, two photographs are retouched. The rest are not. I doubt most people could tell which ones are which. If anything I hope people notice the variety of personality and expressions from such a short shoot.

And here is a fun trio design using photographs shot just inside the stoop of an old building.

This next image is actually a painting that I created in front of the crowd of photographers. So this was first retouched, then used as a reference to create this painting. I love paintings because they’re so unique and different. And they look stunning on the wall.

This blue tone to the background is not a computer effect. It was done in camera with just lighting. This street was fantastic to shoot on. Every building and doorway was quaint and engaging. We had a lot of wonderful meals on our downtime in this area, all within walking distance.

And to finish up the shoot back at the hotel, a few images in the hotel lobby using a couple strategically placed lights.

I also did a second shoot with an adorable little girl. I hope to post some of those later. But for now, if you’re a photographer and would like to train with me, check out my training website at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com. I do a few live events around the country each year. But I also offer full online courses on everything from lighting like a master, to getting great expressions, to the quickest workflow using Adobe products. Those courses are great for people who want to learn at home, or get a head start on a live training event with me, or for those who want even more training after a live event.

And for kicks, here is an iPhone pic of me in action shot by one of the photographers. Aside from my entertaining “stance” (which is the correct way to bring your camera-line lower), I like this photo because it shows my camera meter. I believe strongly in constantly measuring the light from all directions. And it also shows the how the street scene and the model look normally with “natural light” (which is how the iPhone sees things) versus in my photographs which have specific lighting techniques added.

If you’re in the market for some new photographs, either as a senior looking for a fashion shoot, or perhaps you need something for your family, now is the time. Give me a call as spring is booking up, 801-728-3317. I’d love to create some fantastic photographs of you.

And until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part VII)

After the Mongolian Buddhist temple, we were taken to a Mongolian school for young children. The principle met us and showed us around, and everyone was wearing traditional robes much like the ones we were given in our ceremony.

BryCox_MongolianSchool_01

This was a reading class, and the kids all read together, out loud. They were very excited to have us there and seemed to be reading extra loud to impress us. I loved it.BryCox_MongolianSchool_02

There were classes teaching Mongolian dance, Mongolian guitar, and many others. This class was for learning Mongolian writing. I loved the robes, the hats, and the bright colors. This young man was in full concentration and didn’t look up at me at all.
BryCox_MongolianSchool_03 BryCox_MongolianSchool_04

They had me try my hand at Mongolian writing. It was pretty hard, but I copied the squiggles on the chalk board, not knowing if what I was writing was amazing or completely illegible. So then my government friend wrote my name on the chalk board in Chinese for me to try, knowing it would be much easier. So here you can see I have a column of Mongolian and a couple columns of Chinese.

 

BryCox_MongolianSchool_20

This little girl was stunningly adorable. She caught my eye as she was coming up the stairs and I had to stop her. I pointed to my camera and she did a curtsy. I can’t explain why I immediately just loved her so much, but I really like the photo and feel I captured her inner beauty.BryCox_MongolianSchool_05

This is the teacher for the Mongolian guitar class. I liked his outfit and entire manner. I stopped him right in the hallway as he was leaving his class.BryCox_MongolianSchool_06

Outside in the cold winter wind, I saw this little boy in the cool red jacket. I liked his style and got a photo of him and his two friends.BryCox_MongolianSchool_07

There were boys outside practicing archery, and I had to get a picture of them.BryCox_MongolianSchool_08

This young man was gathering up the bows from class and taking them back inside the school. I liked his mixed clothing, and the fact that he was standing by the doorways. Often doorways in town were covered with these blankets to keep the heat in, while allowing people to come and go.BryCox_MongolianSchool_09

This little girl caught my eye and I thought she was adorable. I singled her out for her own portrait.BryCox_MongolianSchool_10

We also visited a market street in town, which was a walking street of shops, and I was able to finally buy a winter cap for my ears. We were leaving the next morning and so I only wore it for a few hours, but it was worth it. Along this market street, all of the shops were almost identical in size. I saw these two little baby kids playing, both in yellow with their mothers close by.BryCox_MongolianSchool_13BryCox_MongolianSchool_12And these ladies, all in pink and black working at their shop.
BryCox_MongolianSchool_11

Here, I started to photograph this dog in the image below, because it was framed nicely by the door behind it. As I did, this little child came up to the window and pressed her mouth and nose against the glass. I quickly shifted my focus and got the shot. I’m guessing that it’s a little girl, and you can see her mother working in the store behind her.BryCox_MongolianSchool_14Then as if on cue, her little friend came up to the other window too, both framed by windows, and the dog turned and looked. It was quite a thrilling moment that me and my photographer friend from Malta that I was walking with, talked about for a while afterwards.
BryCox_MongolianSchool_15 BryCox_MongolianSchool_16 BryCox_MongolianSchool_17

That evening we had our last big dinner. We were leaving early the next morning and I had heard about people doing “sword gymnastics” in town each morning. I told my government friend that I was going to get up early to find some people doing sword gymnastics that I could photograph. It meant leaving the hotel at 5:30 am, and I asked about where some places might be nearby. He insisted coming early and taking me which I thought was extra kind. I told him I didn’t want to impose and that I would be fine, but he insisted and drove me to a couple places.

 

The sun had not yet come up and I was pushing the limits of my camera’s ISO settings to get a decent exposure, plus the temperatures were incredibly cold, even with my hat and gloves purchased from street vendors the day before. But it was worth it and I was able to get some great images. BryCox_MongolianSchool_18 BryCox_MongolianSchool_19

There are so many images that I could post, but these last few postings cover some of my favorites. As you can see, I had a wonderful adventure and met some very great people. I’m very grateful for these opportunities I had and for the people that made it happen for me. And I hope all of you that have been following these posts have enjoyed these images too.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part VI)

Having a few hours to photograph the Mongolian temple alone was really nice and serene. Eventually as the sun rose, the sky turned blue and the place warmed slightly. The air become less frigid and more comfortable, and monks began to appear and prepare nearby, opening the Buddhist temple doors and getting in their robes.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_313

BryCox_Mongolia2015_323

BryCox_Mongolia2015_314

BryCox_Mongolia2015_324

BryCox_Mongolia2015_325

BryCox_Mongolia2015_329BryCox_Mongolia2015_330

BryCox_Mongolia2015_332 BryCox_Mongolia2015_331

Once the main monks were ready, they rang the gong outside the front doors, signaling more monks to come and chant, and letting the local people know that the temple was open.
BryCox_Mongolia2015_327BryCox_Mongolia2015_328

BryCox_Mongolia2015_326

As more monks arrived, each took their spot inside, kneeling and beginning their group chant. These two monks watched over as the younger monks read and chanted together.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_339

BryCox_Mongolia2015_335

BryCox_Mongolia2015_340

They normally don’t allow photography and because there were making a special exception, I moved quietly and slowly, not wanting to be a distraction. I picked my angles and shots carefully, shooting slowly and waiting for the right moments. I tip-toed to a few spots to create a variety of angles, mostly crouching behind pillars and objects for concealment and for a low camera angle that matched the height of the kneeling monks. I would sit crouched, absorbing everything in, and just wait for the right moment to shoot. Then I’d absorb some more, look around for another angle, then when I was ready, slowly move to the next spot.

The lighting was extra difficult, being very dark inside with the only light source being a very bright sun-lit door. In relation to the dark room, the door was incredibly bright, and would have created a big washed out area, so I had to pick my angels carefully to not show the door, but also use the light on an angle on the monks’ faces.
BryCox_Mongolia2015_337
BryCox_Mongolia2015_336Soon local guests started to arrive, dropping money and saying prayers. I felt I had the images I had hoped for, so I stepped outside the temple. The room was very small inside with very little room to move, and having guests arrive, I didn’t want to distract or be in anyone’s way.

Waiting outside, I photographed a few local people that visited the temple, like this man. I loved his clothing and layers, and his expression didn’t change a bit as I raised my camera to quickly photograph him.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_341

I found these two men very interesting, they way the stood, studying me, partly in shade, the colors of their coats, their faces – it was too interesting not to shoot.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_342

Out in the courtyard, this woman lit an incense rod and placed it in the alter.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_343

As the locals each finished and came out of the temple, they gathered by the doorway, watching me, some even photographing me with their phones. I liked the personality and balance in the way they all stood.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_345

BryCox_Mongolia2015_333

It was time to leave and I had a walk ahead of me, back through the outer gates, down the steps, and through the terrain and many trails. This is the door to the outer gates at the top of the steps. It was too dark to photograph first thing in the morning, but as I was leaving the sunlight came in at the right angle, casting the right shadows to give this pop and dimension.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_346

BryCox_Mongolia2015_347

Along my walk out, I kept seeing things I had to photograph, like this bench for meditation and tree covered in prayer ribbons.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_348

BryCox_Mongolia2015_349

I took a different trail on the way out than I took on the way in, and it was nice getting a different view. For instance in my last post you’ll remember that I first arrived, walking underneath this large stone structure in the distance. At this point in the day, the sun was up, the clouds were out, and the sky was blue. It was a great way to end my trip to this beautiful place.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_354

Later I photographed a market street full of people and a Mongolian school for young children, all in traditional dress. I’ll share some of those images in my next post.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part V) Buddhist Temple at Sunrise

Early the next morning, we were taken to a Mongolian Buddhist temple. We arrived before sunrise, even before the monks themselves were up. The entire place was empty, quiet, and incredibly cold, especially to me since I was only wearing a t-shirt and light sport coat. The only sound in this serene place were the numerous prayer ribbons flapping in the wind. BryCox_Mongolia2015_301BryCox_Mongolia2015_302

BryCox_Mongolia2015_303

There were trails that led off in all directions through the trees. Some led to this large stone structure held up by four pillars. All of the pillars were covered with prayer ribbons coming in from all directions, all flapping in the wind.
BryCox_Mongolia2015_309
BryCox_Mongolia2015_305

BryCox_Mongolia2015_306

BryCox_Mongolia2015_308

Continuing on through some trails, I found this monk getting up and coming out of his yurt. He saw my camera and waved me off as if to say, “no pictures.” But the government official that was walking with me said some stern words to the monk, and then turned to me and said, “You may now photograph him.” The monk smiled and I was able to get this great portrait.

The government official had become a friend at this point. We had many interesting conversations while I was there, and he also knew that I loved to photograph people and faces, not just locations. I don’t know what he said to the monk, but I was very grateful to get the man’s portrait.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_310

The trails wound their way through the terrain and eventually led to these stairs, going up to the Buddhist temple. I loved that the place was empty, even void of local temple visitors because of the early hour. Having the place to myself to photograph was superb.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_312

Once getting up to the temple and seeing it was closed, I hiked on, looking for more vantage points and ways that I could photograph it from a distance. There were trails in various directions, that led up and down mountains and through small canyons. And some trails were laced with these prayer ribbons that seemed to go as far as you could see.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_320

A short hike up some steep rocks let to a great view of the temple and the sun rising behind in the mountains.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_316 BryCox_Mongolia2015_315

I continued hiking higher and realized that I had very few pictures of myself on this trip. Most of the time after visiting a place, I come home to realize that I have lots of photographs of the things I’ve seen, and no images of me there. I took a moment to shoot a self-portrait using an outstretched arm and my Lumix point-and-shoot. After looking at the image on the back of the camera, I realized I had forgot to remove the shemagh I was wearing to keep my head and ears warm from the cold, winter wind.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_317

I had packed light and was unprepared for below freezing temperatures. I was only wearing my t-shirt and light sport coat because it was all I brought, knowing that on the past trips to Beijing, I was able to pick up good knock-off NorthFace jackets for $15 when needed. But on this trip I was nowhere near the silk markets of Beijing while in China, and when I got to Mongolia, it was far colder.

I did however buy some knit gloves in Mongolia that had the words, “MAN” printed on them, and I almost always travel with a shemagh for its versatility. It’s handy as a scarf, but can be a tourniquet or sling in an emergency. On this trip I wore it often as a face mask to filter the common cigarette smoke or dusty air, I used it as a sunshade on long drives, and here at the temple I wore it as a head wrap to keep my ears and head warm in the wind.

But forgetting that I had it on the photo, I pulled it down around my neck and asked my new photographer friend from Malta to take a few shots of me. He and I got along great and we found ourselves often hunting for very similar images. I liked his eye, and he also shot the same Nikon D800 that I had with me. So with my Nikon, he shot these two images of me.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_319

BryCox_Mongolia2015_318

I was very grateful to get some photos of myself on this trip, and now that I’m home, I prefer the first image with the shemagh tied around my head. Though the scarf isn’t oriental, it does give the image a more exotic look.

Hiking up to the highest point on one mountain, there was a fence of prayer ribbons surrounding a very large rock on a cliff. I shot this panorama and it became one of my favorite images from the trip. I’ve already made up a small 30″ print of it for my home.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_321

Also, my briefcase from Saddleback Leather has become one of my favorite travel items. I use it as an airline carry-on for my iPad, laptop, headphones, and books, and then at my destination I change the contents and straps and it becomes my backpack and camera bag. I had the thought that perhaps if I photographed my cool looking bag in this exotic location, maybe the company would want to buy some images or give me some trade.  So with that in mind, I shot these two images as if for an ad for Saddleback. I haven’t yet contacted them or shown them these images yet, but I really like how they turned out.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_322

BryCox_Mongolia2015_344

At this point, then the temple opened its doors and the monks began to come for their daily chant. I have a lot of images of them worshiping that I’ll share in my next entry. They are some of my favorite images of the trip.

BryCox_Mongolia2015_332

So until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part IV)

After lunch in Mongolia, we were taken to see “a village” where the farmers lived. They had been given notice that we were coming and they were ready for us, dressed and ready to give us a parade down their main road.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_48

As the women danced, there was a little motorcycle trike-type-vehicle with a flat bed that drove down the middle carrying a drummer. Next to the motorcycle walked a cymbal player and a horn player.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_49

Of the entire crowd, I was drawn to the most interesting face, the cymbal player of the parade. I photographed him a few times, and at the end, he removed his gloves and shook my hand with a big smile.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_37

During the parade, these beautiful local ladies came out to see us and the parade.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_38 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_39

And this little boy came out of his house to show me his puppies by holding them out by their tiny paws. His mom, excited by him getting photographed went to get more puppies for him to show me. Interestingly, the puppies didn’t whine or squeal at all from being held this way. They seemed to like the attention from their little owner.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_40

After seeing the village, we went out to the farm were workers were hustling to bag corn. I found myself shooting a lot of horizontal portraits that showed the local environment. Here you can see the brown empty corn cobs in piles, ready to be hauled off, and bits of corn kernels that didn’t make it into bags get swept up with a homemade broom.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_41

Running and moving quickly as the sun was setting and these guys were working and didn’t want to be bothered, I would wave to people and smile. I love how big their smiles were back to me.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_42

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_50 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_51 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_52 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_53

This last woman was sweeping spilt corn kernels into piles, then separating the dirt by throwing shovelfuls into the air, allowing the dirt to blow to the side.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_54

That night, me and the other foreign ambassadors were given custom Mongolian clothes that were made for each of us, and then honored at a dinner. One nice touch for me was when they played the theme song from “The Magnificent Seven” as I walked up on stage to receive my award. Being a cowboy at heart, I’ve always liked that movie but it also has Asian roots being a re-make of the 1950’s movie, Seven Samurai. I’m not sure anyone else was aware of the connection, but it made the moment more meaningful to me, especially dressed as I was.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_43

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_45
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_46BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_44

As you can see, each day was an adventure and I was treated royally, for which I’m incredibly grateful. Coming up, I’ll share with you the images I created the next morning at a Buddhist temple at sunrise.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part III)

After Beijing, I was taken to Inner Mongolia as a photographic ambassador. There was a photo convention there too, and myself along with some of the other foreign photographers from the Beijing round table were the guests of honor. The drive was a long but beautiful 12 hours.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_31
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_32

The next morning a local government man who became a friend of mine over the next few days took us on a tour of his city. Being foreign guests, he was in charge of our well being and he also worked as our pseudo-translator. One of our stops included a desert area where he said, “You can photograph ships over there.”

I walked, looking for what didn’t make sense – perhaps some giant, land-locked ships deserted in the desert. But instead I saw a sheep herder and his sheep a ways off. “Oh SHEEPS!” I said in my mind. And being raised in farm country of Utah, I was less interested with photographing the sheep but instead enthralled with the sheep herder. I love faces, especially when I travel and I ran up to this man, waved, and pointed to my camera to signal that I wanted to photograph him.

I wasn’t prepared with my pro gear this morning. I thought we’d be shaking hands or something, so I was actually in my suit and only had my small Lumix LX100 point-and-shoot camera around my shoulder. But I love that camera for it’s dials and manual controls and I was quickly able to get these portraits of this man, shot just as you see them, un-cropped.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_35
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_36

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_47

I started to understand what it meant for this city in Mongolia to have us foreign photographers visit as “photographic ambassadors.” They were proud of their city and wanted to show us everything, from museums, to farms, to their cultural heritage of schools and Buddhist temples. They fed us great food each meal and wanted us to get great images of their part of the world which they hoped we’d go show the rest of the world. All of this was seen as good publicity for their city. Plus they mentioned multiple times what a great honor it was to have all of us from so many different countries, there to visit their city in Mongolia.

At this point we took a lunch break and returned to the hotel and I was able to change into my casual clothes and refit my leather shoulder bag with my larger, pro camera gear. I was also able to go on a short photo walk around the hotel in search of some gloves as it was below freezing there and all I had packed for clothes besides a suit was a couple t-shirts and a sport coat. I found some great gloves and also captured these abstract moments.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_33 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_34

After lunch we were taken to see a village where farmers were working. I shot so many images there. The local people heard we were coming and were dressed for a parade down their main road when we arrived.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_49

It was quite an experience and I have a lot of those images to share coming up. But as you can see, each day was an adventure, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of this event.

Until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part II)

Before leaving Beijing for Mongolia, I took a few hours between meetings to walk a few miles around my hotel. I quietly photographed people and the scenes around me. Here are some of my favorites, starting with some older men flying kites, something I hadn’t noticed in my previous trips to China.

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

And with Beijing being a city of 20 million people, there is a lot of variety in city life in just those few miles around my hotel. I hope you can feel a sense of what it’s like to visit this city from these photographs.

© BryCox.com, Bry CoxBryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_18© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

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

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

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

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

The complexity of the newsstands are interesting to me. And in this first image, you may not notice right off the bat, but the salesman’s face is behind the glass in the upper left corner.© BryCox.com, Bry Cox© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

After this photo walk I had a big dinner to attend. Then early the next morning we traveled to Mongolia, a long 12 hour drive. It was much colder up there and I had to make due with what little I brought with me as you can see in this self portrait overlooking a Mongolian Buddhist temple at sunrise. Some of my favorite images of the trip were created in Mongolia, and I’ll share some of those in my next posts.

Cox_China2015-2880-Edges-900p

So until next time, America.

Bry Cox at Photo Beijing China & Inner Mongolia (Part I)

I just got back from speaking in China at Photo Beijing, 2015 where I was treated like a king. It was such a great experience and I’ve been anxious to share more about this trip. My hosts also asked if I’d be a photographic ambassador and visit Inner Mongolia as well, and I took a lot of great images there of the most interesting faces. I’ll share more about that later. For part 1 of this trip I wanted to start with Photo Beijing 2015.

BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_01

I wrote an article on street photographer Vivian Maier, which is getting compiled with other articles into a book being published later. Because of that article, I was asked to travel to China to speak on Vivian Maier. (I’ve also posted that article online for paying members of my photography training site for it’s insight into posing and reading people’s personalities.)

After speaking on the opening day, they had a big ceremony complete with red carpet where they had me walk while being photographed by a huge crowd of people. While walking amongst the camera clicks and flashes, they had television cameras too from CCTV, and I could even see myself projected on the huge screen in the distance as it cut from camera to camera. The whole thing was quite exhilarating.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_02 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_03

I was so excited that I made this iPhone video at the top of the carpet, still on a high from the walk.

They also had these models wearing dresses made of photographs, walk the carpet the opposite direction.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_04 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_05

At the top of the carpet, there were welcomes and speeches from government and photographic dignitaries.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_06 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_07

And I had to get a photo with me with my friend Bing, who invited me over to China, and who I got to know years ago when I first went to China to speak in 2009. Her father is one of the most well-known photographers in China and was in charge of the event.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_08

After the red carpet ceremony, we were taken to a television theater and asked to sit on the front row for another opening ceremony event, this time we were entertained by amazing local dancers and singers. Again, this was all filmed by cameras from CCTV, which continually cut to cameras on us. Sometimes, the cameras were awkwardly close to my face, so close I couldn’t see over them to see the dancers.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_09 BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_10

All of these images I’m posting were shot with my small Lumix point-and-shoot camera, which I love for it’s manual controls, retro look, and very small size. It was the best camera to take on a trip like this, giving me both control as well as a very small size and weight.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_11

The next day, me and the other speakers were part of a roundtable discussion. I was the only one from the US, and other countries represented included Bangladesh, Malta, France, Germany, UK, Indonesia, and many others. We all wore headphones with receivers capable of receiving various channels of audio from the translators. It was incredibly interesting to see so many people with so many backgrounds and languages, all connected by photography.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_12

Somehow when my name was translated from English to Chinese and back into English, it came out as “Bry Cox’s Bio.” So a few times throughout the event I saw my name written this way.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_13

I was also given some translators at this event, local college student volunteers that followed me around everywhere and made my life easier.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_14

When they asked if I’d come speak on photographer Vivian Maier, I had no idea how big of an event it would be. They had beautiful signs like this printed around town inviting the public to an exhibition of original prints shipped from New York.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_15

And here I am at the exhibition after I was done with my work and meetings, wearing more relaxed clothes. It was an incredible show. They had 50 original images on display, and they had made wall paper based on her negatives. It was all quite beautiful.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_16

Before this, I had only seen Vivian’s images in books. It was quite an experience to see them up close and in person, looking at real silver halide prints. The detail that close was incredible and the images were even more beautiful and inspiring.
BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_17

Of course in Beijing I went on some photo walks where I did some of my own street portraits that I’ll share in my next post, images like this cute little boy driving his motorized trike through the busy streets of Beijing.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_18

And later in Mongolia I was presented with custom made traditional clothing in a ceremony which I’ll get to in a later post. And while there, my hosts took me to photograph a Mongolian primary school where kids wrote in calligraphy with giant brushes, to a Buddhist temple at sunrise, and to a local farming village where the residents put on a parade for us. During all of this I created some photos that I’m really excited about, and I’ll share them in the next posts.BryCox_PhotoBeijing2015_China_19

So until next time, America.

The Story Behind My Birthday Portrait, And Our Love/Hate Relationship With Photos

I just had a birthday and like all of us, it reminds me that I’m getting older, I look different – and that’s usually reason enough for people to not get new portraits. In fact photographers don’t like being in front of the camera any more than anyone else. Everyone has the same excuses to put off professional photos: it feels vain, I’ll do it later, I’m getting older, I don’t have time…

No One Likes Being In Front of the Camera

Being a photographer for so many years, I’ve found that actually no one likes being in front of the camera. My clients constantly tell me how much they worry about their upcoming shoots, moms put off family shoots because they worry about how they look, high school seniors fear their shyness or other weaknesses might show, beautiful models are more critical of themselves that you can even imagine, and even famous VIP clients confide in me about their various concerns.

BryCox_2015_Birthday_Selfie2-900p

My biggest job as a photographer is to help my clients feel comfortable and to bring out their real emotion in a portrait. I don’t want fake looks, I want real expression that I can light in an exquisite way. That’s why I say my specialty is exquisite lighting and emotion – you need both for a fantastic portrait. And because I believe that my clients should get regular portraits, I too try to create regular professional portraits of myself. I personally use these for my website, for magazine articles I write, and for when I go speak at conventions to train photographers. Sure I could do what a lot of people do and send a 10-year-old photo, but I really dislike when I see others do that. It looks unprofessional and is says that you’re embarrassed with yourself now and that you deep down really wished that you looked like you did back then.

That’s unhealthy. We should be happy with ourselves right now. But we’re bombarded with ads, creams, and magic serums telling us that we shouldn’t be happy with ourselves. The old hippie mantra was, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” as if to say that our elders are stupid, life experience made you wrong, and that youth was the answer. And decades later the media is full of pop musicians, models, tv shows, and movies all staking a claim on “youth.”

So what’s wrong with being the age we are? What’s wrong with lines and wrinkles that we earned? What’s with Hollywood actors always pretending to be characters 15 years younger than they are, like 40 year olds saying they’re 25, or 30 year olds pretending to be high school teens with silly haircuts?

The truth is that in a few years we’ll look back to how we look now and think how great we looked, meaning we should enjoy how we look now.

BryCox_2015_Birthday_Selfie-900p

Our Ancestors Valued Portraits

It wasn’t too long ago when our ancestors would scrimp and save to get one or two great professional portraits in a lifetime. These would be professionally printed physical heirlooms that would be passed down through generations and people would fight over who got to inherit great-grandpa’s portrait. Even today we run into burning buildings to save important photos and family archives.

But lately we’ve moved into an era of digital-snapshot-proliferation, where every device is a camera, no image is very good, few images are printed well if even printed at all, and we’re overwhelmed online with bad, egocentric selfies – often from the exact same angle and with the same annoying cocked-head and unattractive pouty duck-face. All this makes people worry that a professional portrait means that “we’re in love with ourselves,” which isn’t true at all.

Plus add all the new untrained photographers flooding our feeds with sub-par, over-retouched, washed out, puffy-eyed, “natural-light” photos that are to some young people becoming the new norm – just like the awful sound of Auto-Tune in trendy pop music which is indicative of bad signing.

I care about this industry. And despite the devaluation of photos is some areas, I still believe in the actual importance of a good, well-made professional portrait, and that it’s good for the soul.

A Good Professional Portrait IS Good for the Soul

What Are We Passing on to Our Children? How many times do we wish we had a better portrait of someone that we loved but lost? Maybe it was a relative that passed away or maybe it was someone we cared about that is no longer in our lives. When we get portraits done, it’s often for our closest loved ones.

But a great portrait isn’t just valuable later and to other people, it’s good for us right now. A good portrait that is well lit and masterfully retouched and void of all the artificial rubbery-skin looks, is good for the soul. It’s good for your own self-worth.

Testimonials From Mothers and Single Women

I could share countless stories from mothers who’ve told me that the portraits I did for their high school senior child changed how they felt about themselves. Girls walked taller and boys found more confidence because I portrayed them in ways they couldn’t see before in themselves. I can tell you stories of older women that have gotten married and thanked me for the attention they got on Facebook and dating sites.

I’ve photographed children in foster care who avoided eye contact and smiling, kids sometimes with severe issues of self-worth that have never had a good portrait of themselves, that later get soggy eyes when they see their finished, framed image on display. You can see the gears turning in their head as they come to terms with the fact that they are perceived differently than they see themselves internally, and they’ll say, “That’s me?! …….That’s Me!!”

And moms have given me big hugs after I hung their family wall portraits in their home, because they are so stunned at how great they look surrounded by their closest loved ones. It’s a big change from before the shoot when they are stressed about their hips, their clothes and countless other things.

A well-made portrait is good for the soul. Why? Think of the all-to-common alternative. How do you feel about yourself when your so-called “professional” picture is only deemed viewable by the public after your “photographer” has over-retouched you until you have a plastic, pore-less, rubber face? Or when they whiten your eyes so that you look like a weird alien that is going to shoot lasers out of your eyes and start fires, or when they “liquify” and bend your body to change your boobs or arm shape? What does that say about you? How do you feel when you look at it, knowing that it isn’t you at all?

Come in to my studio and get a real professional portrait that you absolutely love. I’m a Master Photographer and use specific lighting techniques that will accentuate the right things and hide the things you worry about. You’ll be amazed at how great you look before I do any retouching. I want you to have regular portraits from throughout your life that you love, and that your future children and grandchildren will fight over when we’re all dead and gone.

My 2015 Birthday Portrait

And because I believe so strongly in portraits, I make myself get portraits regularly. It’s not always fun at first, but I’m always grateful afterwards.

So this last week I set up my studio for the lighting I envisioned. Being an older guy I wanted an aggressive angle that would accentuate wrinkles and skin texture, not hide it. And being fall outside, I shot myself in the clothes I happen to be wearing, including my Black Rapid snow cap (a gift from the owner of Black Rapid from earlier in the year). I was wearing the cap just prior and opted to just leave it on because I thought it was different than my past photos, and I was also being lazy, knowing that I didn’t want to comb my hair or overthink the shoot too much.

BryCox_2015_Birthday_Selfie3-900p

I shot about a dozen images because I can’t see exactly how the light is working when I’m not behind the camera, I have to imagine it. So I shot a few more than I thought I’d need and from those I narrowed it down to these two as my favorites. I think they’ll work well with my new website that I’m working on, but more than that I’m really happy with the photos and am excited to use them, as we all should be with professional photos.

So if you’re in need of some great new portraits (and I know you are) either of yourself or your family, let’s get them done now for Christmas, and beat the Christmas rush. Call me at 801-728-3317.

And until next time, America.