Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Country Cruisin' with Jordana Wright Photography

We get so busy running Jordana Wright Photography, that we have to make a point of taking an afternoon off to enjoy the recent beautiful weather.  One of my favorite pastimes is cruising around in the countryside with my husband.  Today the weather was so beautiful, we decided to go for the first cruise of the spring.  We had a great time exploring the country roads, stopping to photograph barns, streams, and other surprises along the way.  Here are a few of our favorites from the journey...

Thanks for visiting!  Stop by again soon for more photographs featuring the Midwest in the spring by Jordana Wright Photography!
All images Copyright 2010 Jordana Wright Photography

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Paris IL Bridal Show with Jordana Wright Photography

     We've been VERY busy so there's a lot to talk about!  This post contains a lot of information for Brides & Grooms, so check it all out, and as always feel free to contact Jordana Wright Photography with any questions! 

     We had a blast at the Bridal Show in Paris, IL yesterday!  We met a lot of Brides from the area -- all in various stages of the planning process.  As someone who was a bride less than a year ago, the show brought back a lot of memories for me.  I remember first hand how nerve wracking it can be to make the big decisions in planning a wedding.  You want it to be perfect!  And then you find yourself at a Bridal Show surrounded by vendors, beautiful photographs, delicious food, and realize all at once how much needs to be accomplished!  One of the most important decisions you will make for the perfect wedding is choosing the perfect photographer.  After all, our photographs are the wedding day treasures we carry with us throughout life!  

The Engagement Session Giveaway...
   At the show Jordana Wright Photography rolled out some exciting new products and services for the 2010 Wedding Season.  From Bridal Registries (more on that later), and a variety of new options and customizations for Wedding Albums, to an Engagement Session Giveaway, we had a lot to tell Brides about!
   This morning we drew the names for the five winning Brides.  Very exciting!  Each Bride wins a FREE full Engagement Session including:
  • 1 hour, on-location Session with Jordana Wright Photography
  • 50 final retouched images
  • Online Proofing
  • 8x8 Guestbook (20 Sides) featuring images from their session
     We've started contacting our winners to set up appointments for their Free Sessions!  Fortunately, for those Brides who didn't win the Free Engagement Session, we're extending our Bridal Show offer for the next 30 days.  Any Bride who books their Wedding Date with us in the next 30 days (by Wednesday, April 21st, 2010) gets an Engagement Session, with all of the features listed above, added to her Wedding Package for FREE!  The offer is open to all Brides & Grooms, so if you couldn't make it to the Bridal Show in Paris yesterday, don't worry!
The Differences with Jordana Wright Photography...
At Jordana Wright Photography we work very hard to keep up with all of the latest trends in Wedding and Portrait Photography.  We constantly adjust our vendors and the products we offer to get the most exciting products at the very best deals for our clients.  We've been rolling out a lot of new products, working on streamlining the process for Brides, and creating exciting new services to provide even more customization for our clients.   Among many others, this video is one of the many exciting new things we debuted at the show...

     We really love getting to share these videos with our clients.  They provide us with an opportunity to give our clients a little taste of our personality, philosophy and shooting style -- all things you want to know when selecting a photographer for any occasion!   As we get back into Wedding Season, all of our conversations with engaged couples lead us back to this, one of our most important focuses -- making sure that we are a good fit for our clients!  
     With Weddings especially, choosing the right photographer has as much to do with personality and comfort level as with  budget and style.  It can be really easy when you meet photographers to get caught up in their sales pitch and the emotional connection you feel with the images they show you.  But no matter how talented the photographer may be, you have to ask yourself, "Do I want to hang out with this person on my wedding day?"  It sounds crazy.  Sure, a photographer is just one of your vendors, but truth be told, you'll spend more time with them on your wedding day than anyone else besides your new husband or wife!  So its best to be sure about their personality and if you get along with them well.  The goal should always be to craft ahead of time, through planning and organization, a stress-free Wedding Day!
     At Jordana Wright Photography we're always adapting to new products, requests and ideas to improve the level of ease for our clients.  One of the new services we're implementing to help better serve our clients is our Bridal Registry Service (click for a downloadable info sheet).
About Bridal Registries:
Creating a Bridal Registry with Jordana Wright Photography can help you increase your budget for your Wedding Photography while offering your guests a fun, personal, and unique choice for their gift to you!  Now, in addition to household items, couples can register for beautiful, timeless Photographic Gifts they'll cherish forever.  Registries can be set up for guests to purchase specific products for you (like wedding albums, metal prints, canvases, or large-format prints), or you can choose to build up a Gift Credit with us, good towards print products you select after the wedding.

Here's how it works:
1.       Book your wedding photography package with Jordana Wright Photography and decide if you want to register for specific products, or start building up a Gift Credit.
2.      Let your guests know about your Photography Registry!
«    We will give you a link to a personalized Registry Information Page to post on your wedding website.
«    We can print Registry announcements to include with your Wedding Invitations! Announcements measure 2"x3.5", are printed on Pearl Paper with UV coating, and can feature an image from your Engagement Session. $20 per 50 Announcements.
«   Tell your guests, friends, and family about your Registry and they can contact Jordana Wright Photography directly! Have them call 217-686-4366 or email us at jordanawright@gmail.com.
3.      Guests contact Jordana Wright Photography to purchase a gift from your Registry!  Monetary gifts can be purchased in any denomination starting at $50. 
4.      When a guest contributes to your registry, they will receive a card to give you on your wedding day telling you about their gift! 
5.      After the wedding, Jordana Wright Photography will present you with a list of the gifts you received so you can choose which images to use for each of your gifts!  If your Registry was designed to build up a gift credit, we'll let you know how much money you have to spend on exciting products featuring your wedding photographs!

Okay folks, we threw a lot of information at you, so once again, if you ever have any questions about the products and services offered by Jordana Wright Photography, don't hesitate to give us a call or send us an email!  Thanks again for stopping by!  
Check back soon for even more exciting developments!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jordana Wright Photography does Smoke Photography


Smoke Photography and Collage

Article: Cassius Wright     Photography: Jordana Wright 

     In our ongoing quest to innovate and offer new dynamic products and services, Jordana Wright Photography stumbled upon a very interesting method of capturing images known as Smoke Photography.  Although this idea (and method) of capturing images of rising smoke has been around basically since the beginning of modern photography, only recently has technology finally caught up with our ambitions, and allowed us to fully use the timeless and ethereal qualities of smoke.  The practice of smoke photography is almost overly simple.  It requires none of the expensive gear normally needed for any kind of advanced photographic endeavor.  There are no strobes, sync cords or expensive drops required, but use them if you want.  It is actually very simple to Macgyver yourself a smoke photography setup in just a few minutes.  All you really need are camera, clip light, black background, and incense.  Yes, incense.  We have not tried cigarettes, firewood, or any other type of flammable material, but would imagine that incense is probably the cleanest, nicest smelling, most controllable, and safest thing you could ever burn.  Once you gather your supplies, take your incense, and put it on a chair or other flat surface.  Be mindful not to set anything/ anybody on fire.  Any black smooth object will serve as a backdrop.  We used matte board for this particular set of images, and it served admirably.  Then, turn on your clip light and shine it so that the smoke will be illuminated, but so that no light shines on the black backdrop.  And that's it!  After lighting your incense, (the more thick, oily smoke, the better) try to focus manually on the smoke as it curls upward.  You may find auto focus has problems getting clear shots of something that moves and drifts within its various focusing points.  Experiment with briefly passing your fingers or another stick of incense through the base of the column of smoke.  Blow as gently as you can, from many different directions. Have fun. Play like you're finger painting as a child again.  You will be rewarded with unique and interesting shapes that dance playfully past your lens, causing you to take far more pictures than you anticipated.  You will most certainly succeed on your first try, if you just keep the light off the black.

After shooting, use Photoshop to invert your images to a negative.  This is where the creative fun with your newly created organic shapes takes true form.  Add color to the smoke and begin to experiment with layering multiple copies of the same smoke around, across, within, and through itself.  Try two or even more copies of smoke to see how they mix with each other, how they are affected by color and blur.  If at this point you find your Photoshop skill level to be too low, seek YouTube for a number of fantastic how-to videos.  Some are better than others, as with most things user submitted.   Once you have created some pleasing wisps and colored them in to your heart's delight, try flipping them, rotating them, blowing them up, and shrinking them down.  Try cropping out sections and repeating others as patterns.  You will be amazed how such randomly created objects can pattern, interact, and yet still remain distinct.  Some of them are truly beautiful, not unlike clouds on a summer afternoon, taking on shapes of familiar characters, moving and twisting across the sky, and then vanishing.  Thanks for visiting Jordana Wright Photography!

All Images Copyright 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Important Information about Copyrights and respecting them

    With email, and social media networks like Facebook, Buzz, YouTube and Picasa making photo sharing, downloading, and printing easier than ever, understanding the Federal Copyright Laws is extremely important in order to protect yourself from legal issues.  Many people believe that they own any pictures taken of them, when in actuality, a Photographer legally owns any pictures they create.   Under no circumstances (typically) does the person depicted in the image own the copyright to the image.  Here are a few things to consider about Copyrights:
  • An image is Copyrighted by the photographer the instant it is created.  All images created by any photographer, even images that have not been registered directly with the US Copyright Office, are automatically protected.
  • Images with a Copyright symbol located anywhere on them, either through digital metadata, or a physical Copyright stamp on the front or back cannot be legally duplicated by anyone but the photographer without express WRITTEN approval.  
  • Knowingly removing watermarks, Copyright stamps or the Photographer's name from an image (whether physically through cropping or digitally) is illegal and could result in  legal proceedings. 
  • Many photographers manage to keep their session fees down because they hope to sell their clients Prints as well.  When a client takes a print to a photolab to have it illegally duplicated, or illegally scans, uploads, or prints the duplicates themselves, photographers are forced to raise their session fees to combat image theft.
  • In choosing a photographer, clients should take into account not only the photographer's style and price point, but the quality of their products.  As professional photographers we have access to some of the most impressive and exclusive photo labs in the country.  Why compromise the quality of your Prints and your legal wellbeing by going to a neighborhood photolab?  
At Jordana Wright Photography, clients will find our Copyright rules explained clearly in our Client Agreement signed at or before Portrait Sessions and Events.  Many studios place a garish studio name or logo on the front of your image in order to combat Copyright Infringement and increase their business branding.  Jordana Wright Photography chooses to preserve the original images for our clients, only watermarking digital copies, and striving to provide our clients with physical Prints unmarred by text, logos, watermarks or Copyright stamps on the front of images.  We will always provide a Copyright Protection message located on the back of each print, along with the words "Do Not Copy" just as a reminder.  We are always happy to produce additional prints or products for our clients, and work very hard to provide attractive, affordable prints.

A photographer's livelihood is the images they create.  Every professional spends hours booking and setting up for sessions, travelling, maintaining our gear, learning new techniques, researching new products, and retouching every image for the benefit of our clients and our business.  Please respect the hard work we put into your Photography Sessions and Retouching and don't copy or reproduce the images yourself or at an alternative photolab.  Following Federal Copyright Laws allows photographers to keep our businesses healthy, and our prices reasonable.  

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Room...Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero at Indiana University


Article: Cassius Wright   Photographs:  Jordana Wright Photography

Imagine yourself walking into a giant university building for the first time.  Upon entering, you stop and survey a typical university scene.  Students walk about, going to their various classes and study sessions.  You look for a map with a "you are here" sign.  Only then does a man (name tag: Dan) come over to you and feverishly whisper, almost reverently, "Are you guys here for.... The Room?"  We assure him that we are.  After a brief set of directions, Dan concludes, "they're all upstairs......playing football and wearing tuxes and stuff."  He says it matter-of-factly and without jest.  What in God's Name are we getting ourselves into?

     Believe it or not, this scene plays out all over the United States on a VERY regular basis, thanks to the creative and marketing genius of the one and only, Tommy Wiseau.  Wiseau is an enigmatic persona of unknown european origin (we think? maybe Louisiana?) who travels from screening to screening, show after show, a one-man carnival, selling memorabilia to eager fans and building his cult status one packed college theater at a time.  The Room is a 2003 Independent film, dubbed by audiences and critics the world over as 'The Worst Movie of All Time'.  And, yes, that includes Ed Wood films.  Since The Room's initial flop at the box office, Wiseau has cleverly crafted this disjointed story of love, betrayal, friendship and lust into an international phenomenon which now screens to sold out crowds, enjoys popularity amongst Hollywood elites, and has its own growing merchandise line.  Of course, none of this makes the movie any better.

     What makes The Room better are the people who come to see the screenings, Tommy Wiseau, co-star Greg Sestero, and the atmosphere the group creates.  For those familiar with Rocky Horror Picture Show and the antics the crowds engage in, you understand.   Instead of cross-dressers like Rocky Horror however,  The Room features scenes which have spoons (in picture frames) in the background,  so people throw spoons whenever they appear, and LOTS of them.  Some of the establishing cinematic scenes have REALLY LONG panning shots,  so people chant "go, go, go!" excitedly when one starts.  Clapping and cheers ensue every single time Wiseau steps onto the screen.  It's only after the bad R&B music kicks in during the second of four uncomfortably long, topless sex scenes that you begin to realize the depth of the insanity around you.  But you realize at the same time that you've never had a better time at the movies, and for only $5.  Random characters with major plot dialog disappear, and then others appear unexplained, throughout a barely understandable tangle of euro-English and hilarious one-liners.  The crowd grows more rowdy as the film nears it's ending.  Then it's over and the lights come up.

   The crowd begins to go nuts as Wiseau and Sestero walk down the aisle from the top of the hall to the stage.  "How you like, everybody good time" lilts Wiseau into the microphone.  The entire house is on it's feet chanting "Tommy! Tommy!"  It takes some time to quiet them.  For the better part of an hour, fans pepper both Tommy Wiseau and a noticeably quiet Greg Sestero with questions, some real, some asinine, all with one thing in common:  Wiseau either responds in broken English and ends up talking about loving one another, or simply says "okaayy, next question".  Some questioners he berates, some he calls to the stage. "Come forward, have hug with me."  One young man takes his time at the podium to sing Tommy Wiseau a song, a Capella.  He sings poorly.  Wiseau takes a full 8 minutes to organize and play catch-football (watch the movie for great football action scenes) with fans at the front of the stage, yelling at them if they misunderstand his sporadic commands. Several girls approach the microphone to ask Greg Sestero on a date, for a hug, if he's single.  He looks bashfully at the floor, unsure about embracing this stardom, borne of epic movie failure.  Tommy Wiseau however, has no such bashfulness.  He looks at one girl and says into the microphone with all seriousness, "Helllooo sweetie, I call you sweetie now okaaayy, talk just you and me now, like there is nobody all these people here."  The crowd goes wild!    Tommy Wiseau is a legend with a hit film, if only to 250 students, and if only for one night.

   But what a night!  The packed house empties into the lobby for the promised photo-ops and autograph signing with Tommy and Greg.  They stand and sit, with Tommy grabbing, twisting, pulling, standing, sitting, jumping on furniture, and otherwise doing his best to get a great shot for anyone and everyone.  He leaves voice mail for random people he will never know, often starting with The Room's trademark phrase , "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!", or "oh, hi Josh, don't hurt you......byyyeee", as overjoyed girls thrust cell-phones into his face.   He asks for spelling of names he doesn't know.  He takes the time to speak with everyone in line.  He leaves cryptic, and often illegible scrawls across movie posters bearing his movie's trademark logo and font.  He asks nearly everyone if they liked the movie.   He seems at once proud and defensive of his achievement.  He watches as a young woman approaches and asks for his autograph.  "I liiike the way you walk."  Her jaw drops, and she blushes, but lets Wiseau and Sestero hold her up in the air between them for her chance at a photograph.  As she hangs between them, legs spread wide and smile breathless,  a voice from the crowd questions the pose incredulously.  "Oh yeah, dude?"  Wiseau looks up for the photograph, and down at the girl in his arms, smiling.  "Oooh yeah", he replies.  He is Tommy Wiseau, and tonight, he is a movie star.




Monday, March 1, 2010

Jay Maisel talks about the importance of always carrying a camera

Not everyone immediately knows who Jay Maisel is, but you'd be surprised how many of his images you'd recognize.  Perhaps his most famous image is the cover image of Miles Davis' album "Kind of Blue", but his photography is everywhere.  Several years ago I learned that my Grandfather had been friends with Jay many years ago.  I was interested in learning more about him and his photographic style, so I took Jay's seminar "Light, Gesture, Color & New Works" at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in NYC in 2008 and was astounded by how much I learned from him in just over an hour...  For any photographers out there who are looking for a way to add a little variety to their work, shift perspective, or get a new stylistic enthusiasm, start by researching Jay Maisel, his work, and his philosophy on photography.  You'll immediately catch yourself exploring the world in a different way -- seeking out new perspectives -- and it'll make all the difference in the photographs you take.

Here is a picture that Jay took of my Grandparents, with my Grandfather's camera, when they happened to run into each other in London in 1965.  

Visual Acoustics Trailer

I can't wait to see this movie... 

About Ansel Adams

This is an excellent little film about Ansel Adams directed by Ric Burns.  In a time when so many nature & landscape photographers are inspired and shaped by the work of Ansel Adams without even knowing it, its nice to learn a little bit more about this legendary photographer.  Check it out!