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VIPs tour Opportunity Village – Billy Walters, Brad Garrett, David Copperfield, Frankie Moreno

November 14, 2012 | By | No Comments

In advance of their big gala fundraiser tomorrow evening (“Camelot”), Opportunity Village today hosted a VIP tour of some of Las Vegas’ most well known and generous people. I had the privilege and pleasure to document all the fun and excitement.

The clients of Opportunity Village, who learn job skills and do valuable work to earn a paycheck, were truly excited to meet some of the people they’ve known for years from TV and from the Las Vegas stage. Brad Garrett, of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame, is as generous of spirit and laughter as he is tall. Talk about lighting up a room! So many clients were also ecstatic to meet in person perhaps the most famous and successful magician in the world, David Copperfield, who also gave so deeply of his time and emotion all day long. Frankie Moreno, “Best of Vegas” Best All-Around Performer of 2012 and headline act at  the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, wowed everybody with his tremendous musical energy and generous spirit. And Billy and Susan Walters were also gracious enough to co-host the tour. Billy Walters is probably the most successful sports gamer in history, respected throughout the world of sports gambling. He and his lovely wife Susan are also among the most generous givers to Opportunity Village. In fact, tomorrow night’s Gala black tie fundraiser is in their honor.

I was truly honored to give back to this most impressive charity. This is the way charity ought to be done – nearly all private donations (80% of OV’s donations are private), a focus on giving people skills, and giving them the opportunity to earn a paycheck with dignity.

I happened to do my first tour of Opportunity Village on a pay day. I cannot overstate how excited and proud each of Opportunity’s clients (who are also its workers) were to be getting their hard-earned checks. If you love pay day, you’ve got nothing on these folks!

Stay tuned for more VIP photos, and for a whole lot of photos from the gala ball tomorrow night.

Re-Branding – Our New Business Cards

July 24, 2012 | By | 3 Comments

What do you think of our new business cards?

What do “available light” photographers do when the lights go out?

May 14, 2012 | By | No Comments

What do "available light" photographers do when the lights go out?

The above photos are out-takes from an intimate dinner I shot at Canaletto’s fine Italian restaurant in The Venetian this past weekend. In one shot my lights fired. In the other my lights did not.

What’s interesting is that my camera settings are otherwise identical – aperture f/2.8, shutter 1/60, ISO 3200. For the non-photographers that means WIDE OPEN. My high-end professional camera is at the outer reaches of its ability to take in light, and yet the unlit shot is really dark.

Wedding photographers work in places this DARK all the time.

I love working with “available light” when the available light is great. And then I also love reaching into my tool bag of different lights to create my own better light. Sometimes I make my own lighting conditions for artistic or dramatic purposes, but usually just to give your photos a little extra pop. Sometimes, like in the photo above, I’ve got to create my own light because there just isn’t any available light available.  🙂

As a wedding photographer, I have to solve this problem all the time – during receptions in low-lit banquet rooms; during intimate dinners in low-lit restaurants. Or outdoors after the sun has gone down.

I often wonder, what do “Available Light” photographers do when the lights go out?

I dunno. But it’s a question you should probably ask when you’re interviewing photographers for your wedding or event.

You should probably also ask to see examples of their work in dark conditions. On many photographers’ websites I don’t see any photos after the sun has gone down.

You’ll notice on my wedding portfolio and throughout my blog that I regularly post after-dark photos where I have created the light.

Low light conditions? Challenge Accepted.  🙂

I guess the lesson learned is, if you hire an “available light only” photographer, make sure your wedding is over before the lights go out! 🙂

Table Shots: Brides Love ‘Em. Photographers Avoid ‘Em.

July 29, 2011 | By | One Comment

In my experience, most photographers eschew them, while most Brides & Grooms love ’em. I’m referring to table shots– posed shots of family & guests usually with the B&G as they walk from table to table.

And why wouldn’t a B&G love table shots? The bride & groom are hosting probably the biggest party they’ve ever thrown. People from all places and moments in the b&g’s lives have come from far and wide to celebrate and support them on one of their most important days ever. Of course they want photos of themselves with everyone!

So why do so few photographers show table shots on their blog & in their portfolio? I think there are a few reasons. If you can think of others, please speak up in the comments 😉

Some elite photographers and photojournalistic purists eschew table shots because they say they are too “cheesy”, posed and un-real.

I LOVE photojournalism, and give my b&g’s lots of it.

But I disagree with the purists who eschew table shots for reasons of authenticity, because I actually find the emotions and group interactions in table shots to be some of the most genuine and fun there are. People let their guard down when joking around among friends.

Table shots can be difficult to shoot well. At root they are portraits. But, unlike in-studio portraits, they draw the b&g (& photographer) through a wide variety of lighting & background conditions. Sometimes the light overhead is too bright. Sometimes it’s too dark. Some shots are tight – just the b&g and two other people. Other shots are very wide, with dozens of people piling in. The backgrounds are also almost completely random and difficult to control.I suspect that some other photographers avoid taking or showing table shots because they neither possess nor know how to use the off-camera lighting necessary to create good photos in such difficult conditions. Because most b&g couples are going to want table shots at some point during the reception, I always bring multiple kinds and sets of off-camera lighting, and a trained lighting assistant. That way I’m prepared for anything. And I can deliver very clear, well-lit, fun table shots to the people who want them – brides & grooms!

#6. Ya Gotta Serve Somebody.

June 16, 2010 | By | One Comment

Offer to help those around you with your photography. Venues need good photography of their rooms, their gorgeous landscaping, their events in progress, their food. Friends need headshots. Friends need family shots. Spread the love (i.e., do these things for free) and the love comes back.