Browsing Tag

Goat Farm

Dancer | by +Krista

This weekend, I cheated.

I’ve photographed a lot of weddings lately… so to shoot something so different from what I’ve been doing almost every weekend this fall? Honestly, it†felt like I was cheating on weddings. Oh, but dance. We have a history. A past. A connection that is so NOT like weddings- it’s gritty and tattooed†and deeper than it looks on the outside. And while I’ve fallen in love with weddings and love and the amazingness of photographing weddings, that spark with dance is still there… and maybe, in a way, that chemistry makes me a better photographer all around. I delve into weddings with that little bit of dance I carry around with me. It’s all about perspective.

My little girl takes ballet.†I decided upon ballet for her because, as a former dancer myself who quit too soon, I know that dance is tough, and builds you up in a way that simply cannot be rivaled.†Most men I know- tough guys who can take on anything, no matter how big the challenge- couldnít hold a candle to the physically- and psychologically-demanding requirements of being a dancer. Being a dancer builds discipline. Confidence. Resiliance. Character. Itís HARD. Harder than you think. But when youíre a dancer, spotlight in your face and lambswool shoved into the toes of your shoes, you eat/ breathe/ sleep it. It’s challenging and demanding and arduous and fulfilling… and worth it in ways that only other dancers really understand.

Iíve done several shoots with dancers now (here and here). And you know, I just really like it. Iím not afraid of repeating shots [because I donít] or running out of ideas [because I donít]. Iím shooting more and more weddings all the time and Iím not afraid of more weddings- because I love it so, so much. And shooting a dance concept is no different for me.

This is Greer. Sheís a dancer, naturally. (Sheís also an actor and a model and she sings, teaches dance, and does choreography, in case your brain needed to be demolished from all the talent she packs.) She and I have been trying to work with each other for months now, but our schedules never cooperated until this. And Iím so glad it worked out that way- true serendipitous alignment at the Goat Farm, with lifts and leaps†and some†non-dance stuff too. I like this niche I’ve found. A lot. And I want†to do even more.

For now, my little girl still loves dancing. Maybe sheíll stick with it. I danced with girls who went on to Julliard and European tours and parts in CatsÖ and I wonít lie, I would love that for my daughter. But she is a girl who†does her own thing- and if soccer or tae kwon do or fixing cars alongside her dad strikes her fancy, then weíll move on to†the next chapter in her life.†But that feeling of spinning on stage has never left me. The peace from stretches and warm-ups- replaced by Yoga in my journey towards 30- that peace hasnít left me either. And while the discipline and confidence have waned a little over the years (again, I blame that journey to 30), I remember my roots. And if I can satisfy that craving with the Pointe shoes still in my closet and the chance to make lovely photos of dancers, wellÖ Iím pretty sure Iíve found my happy new medium.


†Atlanta. Dance. Photographer. Ballet. Jazz. Contemporary.

Back Alley Food Photos

Last weekend while me and the Intern Army were packing up after AWA – one of them mentioned that they’d like to see how I’d do if they just brought me to an event – with no prior knowledge of the conditions. This probably came about because at different events – I tell them that we’re all competing. Not in some unfriendly ultra-competitive manner, but in a push to improve their shots – or at the very least, hopefully encourage them to try different things than they have in the past.

What that Intern didn’t realize at the time is that for the most part I go into†every event without knowing much information about the lighting conditions – besides, they always change. While any information upfront is good for preparation – it’s not the biggest factor in successfully covering an event. When the conditions are difficult, one of the most important things is simply not giving up on finding out how to shoot the event. Whether you’re in a black box, hanging out with Bhutanese refugees, or photographing a bride and groom in middle of the day. Sure experience helps – but until you have that, you need to be stubborn enough to not give up, or worse, not settle for average photos.

Last night me and the Intern Army photographed an event at the Atlanta Goat Farm.

Every now and then I’ll meet a person in real life while up until that point we were only ‘friends’ on Facebook. So last night I met Chef Keira Moritz of the restaurant Pacci and she was in charge of all of the food. Aside from the paycheck, this meant that my food photos needed to be… much better than average food pics from an event such as this – because hey, what bond is stronger than Facebook friendships?

Nevermind the super dark conditions – I was contractually obligated to make something akin to studio shots of the food and mixed drinks.

Knowing this – but not knowing what the conditions would be like – I purchased some new gear.

I bought a big plastic storage tub from Target, and a white twin bed flat sheet from Ikea. I know – I’m so hardcore. ha. Actually – if you’re not familiar with product photography, there are specifically designed ‘studio tents’ made of a frame and cloth material. Except these costs more than I wanted to spend AND they’re generally too small.

You also have the option of setting up a white seamless backdrop. I didn’t feel like hauling out a big roll of white paper and the stands to hold it up, so I went with the white box option. My plastic storage bin + the Ikea bedsheet costs roughly $9. A ‘studio tent’ of about the same size would costs anywhere between $50-$80. I think the choice is clear.

Oh – did I mention that we were in the back alley with the rest of the staff? That was awesome. Because we could get shots of the prep area. Now – not all of the Interns got shots of the prep area. I didn’t tell them they couldn’t, but after exhausting the dining scene (you can only take a finite number of photos of people sitting down to eat) – some of the interns left after the 2nd course – and I let them ( there was a cocktail hour before dinner too). At events such as this – I don’t really have time to ‘instruct’ the interns too much. No matter what – I’m still the photographer under the gun.

What some of the interns haven’t learned yet – is that the really important things – are the extras. Now I’ll be the first to admit that there are many, many other really good photographers out there doing what I do – but one of the reasons that I bring interns along with me to events isn’t necessarily so that I can work less and take fewer photos. It’s because I don’t sit down and ‘teach’ event photography in a class format. You want to learn how to shoot an event – shoot one. You want to learn how another photographer shoots an event? – watch and observe.

My interns are used to doing that when it’s a model session, or a family portrait – when I’m directing clients – but they don’t really do it as much while we’re working events… since we’re a halfway through this internship I should probably let them know that they might want to also observe how Leah and I photograph events too… you know – since they’re already there.

Of course there is a lot to learn. Even since taking on the role of ‘head photographer’ at these events where I bring interns – I’ve had to step it up. Because it’s completely different when you’re running a team of photographers and not just taking care of yourself. Or making sure that you get your obligated shots – making sure that the kitchen gives you some plated food to shoot before it’s all out the door and delivered – and the same thing with the bar staff and their specially made mixed drinks. No matter what your excuse or who’s fault it was – if you ended up not getting those shots, it’s on you. That. Would. Suck.

Still – the basic structure of events for my interns is that I’ll give them general coverage assignments (shoot the table tops, shoot the crowd) – and then they’re free to go and find the extras – the stuff that they find interesting. Sometimes it’s right there, sometimes you have to keep searching or hanging around for 2 hours before that 10 minute window of awesome appears.

But really – what else are you there to do except photograph? You might as well keep working and not just stand around…

This was our little studio at the end of the alleyway. Fortunately I brought along Leah’s parent’s folding table – otherwise this would be on the ground.

Now the reason I like using the plastic bins is that I can easily get a bit of reflection. You would need to insert a plastic sheet into the bottom of those $60 studio tents to get this – or spend some time in Photoshop afterwards. Hey, $7 and it’s done, no extra Photoshop work to mirror the image down into a reflection.

Look. Interns demonstrating the light box.

We didn’t have a food stylist on hand – and this is REAL food, not magic photo session food with all of the food photography tricks.

This is exactly what the attendees ate for dinner.


Patron. Secret. Dining. Club. Photography. Internship. Studio. Product. Food. Photos.