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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 Christmas Portrait & Christmas Cards

Now that my new Christmas cards are printed and ready to go in people’s orders, I can share the new photo and design. It was all created digitally starting first with a self portrait shot here in my studio (fired by remote using my hidden hand). The original background I created was all shades of white snowflakes, but I decided I needed a bit more color and punch, and changed it to this current blue background.

And because the background was made from scratch and took some time to make, I also used it for a recent commercial shoot for Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand shown in the previous post. Anyway, here is the final portrait and design.

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For the printed cards, the text, ‘Merry Christmas’ is stamped into the card in reflective gold foil. I really love how they turned out, and they’re on a very nice watercolor paper too so they have a great feel. I’m excited for clients and friends to start getting these cards.

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And you’ll notice too if you go to my main website front page, that the opening image is also this new portrait wishing visitors a Merry Christmas.

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And here is how I adapted the image and design for my various Facebook page banners showing that with one commercial photo, there are many uses.

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If you need a great commercial image or portrait for your company, give me a call at 801-728-3317. Being winter in Utah, it’s a great time for studio work which is perfect for high-end commercial shoots.

And of course I hope everyone has a wonderful and Merry Christmas.

Until next time, America.

Kendra Lowe’s Commercial Portraits & Website

Kendra Lowe has been busy, and we’ve been creating new photos to keep up with all of her projects. She released a song and music video to raise money to fight sex trafficking, she just returned home from a tour of performances in France, Jordan, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia (in just the first part of 2016), and she’s been busy recording and arranging pieces for herself and other prominent musicians.

All of this means that she needs great photographs to send to various groups for printing and promo use as well as updating her website. So we’ve spent some time shooting images images of her performing and on stage plus commercial portraits in the studio.

Here are some of the images I’ve created of her recently. These first images are of her as music director of and while performing with David Archuleta.

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And between shows we created this series of images of her playing keyboards and piano. Stage lighting is always difficult. The lights are never aiming where they should for a great portrait. So I adapted the stage lighting with reflectors and other various means to create the right atmosphere while giving me some great portrait lighting. I really like how these look.
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© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

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And here are some of our favorites from the studio shoot. All great, and all showing different sides of her personality.

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I was happy to be able to use my piano in part of the shoot too. 🙂BryCox_KendraLowe_17

Not too long ago I created her a brand new website because she was being featured all over. She had just finished in one month doing Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, a European Christmas Tour, and events with Mitt Romney, David Archuleta, Lexi Walker, and Lindsey Stirling. All of her free time was gobbled up creating arrangements and orchestrations for a number of groups like the LDS Church. Some of these gigs came as her role as the musical director, arranger, and pianist for Lexi Walker, a 12 year old singing prodigy who I photographed and posted about earlier.

That website is KendraLowe.com and we are in the process of adding even more to it now.

Some people are surprised to hear that I create websites, but I’ve been doing my own websites as well as sites for specific clients since the 1990’s. There are a lot of things I do as a photographer and designer to help my clients with their photographic needs. Most people need photographs for a specific commercial need, and many times I can keep the look and vision of the images throughout the entire entire process, which helps them save time and money. It looks extra professional when original design concepts are followed through from initial photography to final output.

If you are unfamiliar with Kendra, she plays the piano, violin, banjo, she sings, she orchestrates, she really does it all. You have to read her bio on her website. And here are a few more images we created before.

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© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

I like websites that are engaging and are photographically and visually impactful. For her opening page, we did a full bleed page that’s responsive and adjusts to the device and computer screen you’re viewing on. I wanted a variety of images, so I pulled photographs from past events too, like this recent event where she played for David Archuleta and Lexi Walker.

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And this image where she sang with a full orchestra, …
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If you need some great photographs for your business, or just would like a new photo of yourself that is impactful, give me a call at 801-728-3317. And make sure you check out ideas on my main website too, at BryCox.com. Happy New Year, and until next time, America.

Janae’s Studio Family Portraits

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.

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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.

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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.BryCox_StudioFamily_Janae_6

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.

And until next time, America.

Shirley’s Portrait of Her Growing Family

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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

My “Company Party” Christmas Card

Merry Christmas, everyone! This year I re-used my previous card because it took so much work to create it originally. It’s a group portrait of me, taken at my company Christmas party.

Cox-Christmas-2013-Card-Design-2-finalChildren especially have told me that they like my cards and can’t figure out how I can be in so many places at once. To see how it was made, check out my original post that explains all of the time-consuming details.

I love that this holiday is about people taking the time to go out and specifically shop for others. It’s a great time for selflessness, and a time to remember the reason for the Savior. I hope all of you have a joyous season with family and loved ones. Merry Christmas!!

And 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

New Portraits for the Doctors of Premiere Wellness in Utah

Premiere Wellness has been updating their website and needed new and professional portraits of their doctors. In doing this shoot I thought about myself and what I would look for in a doctor based on an online photo. I would search not just for credentials and experience, but also look to see if a doctor seemed approachable and kind in their photo. Are they going to listen to me and customize their care based on my needs? These doctors explained to me that this is exactly how they work, so their photo needed to show that. That means images that are professional, beautifully lit, and have an emphasis on emotion and personality.BryCox_Wellness-07

Premiere Wellness offers chiropractic care, physical therapy and holistic treatments from Dr. Kory Brahnam (center), Dr. Evan Brady (left), and Dr. Jared Anderson (right). Aside from the group portrait, we also did individual images of each doctor for their website as well as on business cards and in papers and for speeches they might give.
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I’m excited about how these look and would be happy to photograph you for your business needs. I am based in Utah and mainly work in the Salt Lake area, but travel all over the country for clients who want the best possible portraits. Give me a call at 801-728-3317 and let’s create something great for you.

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.

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.

Kendra Lowe Featured on Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Blog

My friend Kendra Lowe is featured today on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir blog. The opening photo is the image I created for her, to be used in exactly this way, for musical bios and write-ups.

It’s quite an honor for her to be featured by the choir, as it is world-famous. Founded in 1947, it is a 360-member, all-volunteer choir, part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Called “America’s Choir” by President Ronald Reagan, the choir is completely self-funded, recording albums for support.

Kendra has performed with the Choir before, and on June 24, 2014 Kendra will accompany David Archuleta for a worldwide live Facebook chat.

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Kendra is a good friend of mine and a great musician. She’s a full time composer, arranger, and performer, and she plays multiple instruments like the piano, banjo, and violin exceptionally well. She has perfect pitch, she performed with the Utah Symphony at age 6, was the Assistant Executive Director of Utah’s Stadium of Fire show, toured with David Archuleta (of American Idol fame), and is a constant studio musician.

We really had a great time during this photo shoot and the image above is one of my favorites from the shoot. In fact, I actually posted about this shoot on my blog at the time and you can see it here, but here are some of my other favorites.

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If you need something more than the normal photograph, and instead desire some iconic images that also tell a story of who you are, then give me a call. I’d love to create something wonderful for you. 801-728-3317.

And until next time, America.