Astrid + AJ // Engagement Pictures Trec Trail Effingham, IL

Talk about a perfect evening for pictures, this evening was the best! We had a session swap with Astrid and AJ out at TREC Trail in Effingham and wow! What an incredibly fun time this was. Not only are they friends of ours, but Astrid is also a photographer, so one night we talked about the possibility of hanging out and doing pictures. The hardest part about being a photographer is setting time aside to do our own pictures! Kind of ironic, however, I’m sure this is the same with many others having to deal with work, family, and their social lives. Looking through my social media posts, I realized that I really don’t post a lot of my own mug. I mean, not that I really want to, but I do feel by having an opportunity to get to know us on a more personal level via social media can only help. We walked quite a bit at Trec Trail and the first place we stopped was full of these yellow flowers! Along with the tree line, these made for some amazing images. Plus, having a good looking couple like Astrid and AJ didn’t hurt things either. 😉

With these pictures I wanted to challenge myself to try new things. As a “veteran” photographer (SUPER weird feeling referring myself as a veteran), there are things that I have forgotten that I would do when I was new. I continually try to push myself to do new and better every year. But as I get deeper into the business, sometimes its not about the way I shoot, but the way I handle the business. One year we revamped our practice management and worked hard to make sure our customer service matched our quality of work. This along with other business stuff, upgrading equipment, scouting new locations, networking with other professionals, it’s very easy to stop doing something that you may have done that you really enjoyed but kind of lost touch with it. For me, it was exploring my world as I photographed the person. One year I focused my drive on shooting wide, epic (because I still like using lingo from the mid-2000s) shots that produced a wow effect. Don’t get me wrong, I still love creating large images! I still very much want to produce an image that can be printed really large and not just be a print on the wall, but be a part of the wall! However, now I’m focusing more on tighter shots, or shots that tell a story more than a posed large image. You can simply shoot a candid style and be okay, and that’s kind of what I’ve been doing, but watching Astrid shoot, because she’s still kind of new in the biz, I was reminded to explore my world. Use things around me to incorporate into the image, whether it be a flower, dirt, wood, glass, etc. Anything can be used to enhance an image and add an extra bit of flare. This was a much needed reminder because it’s opened my eyes to so much… even when I thought they were already opened pretty wide already as a photographer.

The other thing I wanted to do with these image was come up with my own edit. If you are a photographer, you may know what I mean. If you aren’t, let me explain. Photographers have many options to edit images with the most popular two being Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Within these programs you can build your own presets or action to do an edit for you in a matter of seconds rather than having to manually adjust everything the same way on each image. Because you can create these presets/actions, you are also able to purchase ones that others have created. I think in total, over the last eight years I have accumulated over 400 photoshop actions and 200 lightroom presets, and I bet I only use about six in each program. With each of these, I usually end up adjusting them anyway to make them my own, most presets/actions are not an apply and move on sort of thing. So I decided to make my own to create the exact look I wanted, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! I’ve achieve the exact look I want and now it’s a look that I created from scratch, which is pretty satisfying.

This was such a fun session! I love that we had the opportunity to work with Astrid and AJ, as well has have a great evening to do pictures. They were great to photograph, and during our pictures, Liam could not have been a happier baby to have pictures either, and both Natasha and I are in love with the pictures Astrid was able to come up with!

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