Portrait with new tools!

After finishing a nice portrait session with Patrick, I finally got to put my new Sleeklens tools to work.  I edited about 30 images using custom presets and brushes.  I found myself loving a few custom brushes in particular.  The "Brighten eyes" and "Enhance catchlights" brushes worked tremendously.  With just two clicks, I was able to make Patrick's eyes pop totally transform the headshot.  I put a side by side comparison below showing what two clicks can really do.  (Left side of face is after editing, Right side if before).

https://sleeklens.com/product/strike-a-pose-portrait-workflow/

https://sleeklens.com/product/professional-photo-editing-service/ 

https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets/

Hearing the Rattle

I got a wild hare and decided to check out IXCR's Round 3 race called "The Rattler."  It was a great track tucked away in Martinsville, IN.  I was able to catch the PeeWee riders screaming around the short course, the youth kids get buried in the mud holes, and the adults deal with a nasty hill climb.  Before too long, I'll have to join in the fun and actually race one of these things.

Endurance Race in the Mud!

Crossroad Racing Series visited Nickota MX park this weekend and I got to watch.  The night before Sunday's event, they got with enough rain to raise sealevel a few inches.  The result of that moisture was a little bit of mud.  Even with people getting stuck and blowing their engines up, everybody seemed to have fun.  They even loved the part where the dozer had to pull their trucks out of their parking spots :)

BradCottrellPhotography_CrossroadsRacing-8498.jpg

Snowcross Portrait

As soon as the grown was covered in a fresh layer of snow, I convinced Andy to gear up and meet me in the field for his motocross portraits.  I just had to wait a little bit for the light to start to fade.  Once the sun started to set, I was ready with my speedlites and softbox to snap away.  After a few shots and some very cold fingers, I called it a wrap and headed inside for a hot drink.     

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Headshots in my Studio?

Do you have a client in need of headshots and then realize you don't have a studio?  No big deal, move the shoot outdoors and take advantage of the natural sunlight and warm air.  Wrong!  This is January and for the first time in months the temperatures finally decide to drop into the single digits.  So what must a photography do... you improvise and get creative.  This recently happened to me and everything turned out just fine.  Take a look at a few of my photographs and see if you can figure out my new location.  (Answers and explanation following the photos)

So did you guess where I shot these images of Bill and how I pulled it off?  Well, if you guessed a small, cluttered garage with low ceilings, you would be correct! I manged to work inside of a space measuring 12ft long x 6ft wide x 8ft tall. That space easily fits inside of a home if you move some furniture around.

Now, how did I light it? 
Starting with the background, I hung a white bed at the back of the garage so that my work bench was covered up.  Then I dialed in my camera setting to (f9, 1/200s, and ISO 100).  Boom, no background or white bed sheet sitting just 7ft behind Bill.  Now for a key light, I stuck a speedlite in a softbox and added a grid.  After powering it up to about half power, I had Bill lit. Using just one light, I made the first image at the top of the page.  To mix it up, I added a kicker light over his right shoulder.  That gave the highlight to his face and cut him out of the background.  With the pictures looking a little bland, I went to work by adding color to the background.  I ended up adding a blue gel to an extra speedlite, setting it to it's lowest power, and shooting it on the bed sheet.  That's how I ended up with the last two photos. 

The main point to me writing this is just to reinforce the idea that you don't always need a fancy studio with an open floor plan and 15ft tall ceilings.  Sometimes a small room, kitchen, or cramped garage work just fine as long as you're willing to give it a try.  If this helped anybody or if you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading!
 

Strength at CirqueLouis

When you see some of the performances put on by the group at CirqueLouis, you think you could just jump right up on a silk or lyra and do some of what they do.  This is not the case.  They make all of their moves and routines look effortless because circus made them strong! 

Jessica Marquardt

Jessica Marquardt

Vicky Bach Smith

Vicky Bach Smith

Abbie Boehner Springer

Abbie Boehner Springer

Baby Penelope

I finally photographed my first newborn session and think I lucked out.  Miss Penelope was an absolute delight to work with.  Even though she was less than two weeks old, she acted like a seasoned model and loved posing for the camera.  Here are some of my favorite photographs from our session.

Penelope and Grandpa Huijbregts

Penelope and Grandpa Huijbregts

Penelope stealing the show

Penelope stealing the show

Penelope and Grandpa Tindall

Penelope and Grandpa Tindall

Penlope representing her Dutch heritage

Penlope representing her Dutch heritage

"Untapped" at Mercury Ballroom

CirqueLouis' debut performance at the Mercury Ballroom was an overwhelming hit as the audience got to experience the troubling times of prohibition in a way only CirqueLouis could deliver.  Not only did CirqueLouis deliver a fantastic story that took the audience back to the 1920s and 30, they did it with their own flair.  "Untapped" included exciting performances by their own members on everything from lyra, trapeze, juggling, fire dancing, to bar tending flair.  On top that, CirqueLouis worked with more local talent from Gillman's Dance Academy to add tap dance to their performance.  Overall, it was a fantastic show that has me ready for their followup  performance "Bootleg" in spring of 2016.  

Jordan Traylor performing on Lyra

Jordan Traylor performing on Lyra

From Left to Right: Terri Kendall, Cindy Law, Laura Shahan, and Vicky Bach Smith on Silks

From Left to Right: Terri Kendall, Cindy Law, Laura Shahan, and Vicky Bach Smith on Silks

Dean Serneels performing bar tending flair

Dean Serneels performing bar tending flair

Abbie Boehner Springer and Lynley Wolf Elliot on chanderliera

Abbie Boehner Springer and Lynley Wolf Elliot on chanderliera

Cast of Bootleg "Untapped"

Cast of Bootleg "Untapped"

Bootleg "Untapped"

I just finished photographing the last few members of Cirque Louis' Bootleg "Untapped" cast and can't wait for the show!  These talented people have been practicing for months and are ready to put on an amazing performance at the Mercury Ballroom on December 13th.  So get your tickets now by visiting Mercury Ballroom's website before they run out!

Darren Harbour

Darren Harbour

Amy Lynch Murphy

Amy Lynch Murphy