2013 Iowa Photographer of the Year

Gratitude is the feeling that has been on our hearts this week. Gratitude for the family and friends that have supported and endured with us through the hardest working year of our lives in 2012. Also, gratitude for our wonderful clients (friends) that have let us in to their lives and allowed us to tell their stories and capture their memories. You are why we love what we do! It is with gratitude that we're excited share some good news with you:

Last week we both competed in the annual Professional Photographer's of Iowa print competition. The best professional photographers in the state each submit 4 prints that are judged by a national panel according to the 12 elements of a merit image.

This was Alex's first year competing and she ended up with the highest average score between her four prints, winning the coveted "PPI Photographer of the Year" trophy! She had one print earn a rarely attained "Perfect 100" score. That print also earned her the Masterpiece Award from Fujifilm and first place in the "Portrait of a Child" category. Lastly, she won first place with her wedding album and earned the trophy for "Best Wedding Image." Not bad for a first–timer! Dan is one proud hubby!

Dan ended up 3rd place in the Top 10 with all four of his images earning a merit (scoring 80 or above) and earning Distinguished Print awards (those funny looking purple ribbons in the photo). He also earned a coveted Judges Choice ribbon.

We need to keep the images under the radar until the final round of judging takes place later this year (International Print Competition), but we have posted the images for you to view on a private page here. If you are a PPA judge - don't click the link! The rest of you, please refrain from sharing the link publicly for the time being. Also you are cordially invited to stop by our studio and we will gladly show you the prints in person (which is better anyways because then we get to hang out).

Thank you for reading this! As you have surely noticed, our blog has fallen onto the back–burner in recent months but we have big plans to bring it new life in the coming weeks. Check back soon!



How We Did It: ISU MBB Schedule Poster

This year we've been blessed with the opportunity to become much more involved with the Iowa State Basketball program. For the 2012/2013 season we've photographed and designed the schedule posters, team posters, magnets, keytags and billboards for both Men's and Women's Basketball and it's been a blast. For the MBB schedule poster  we wanted something bright with a unique artistic composition to contrast how dark some of their posters have been in recent years.  The concept was to have the starting lineup exploding out of nothingness from a single pivot point, much like being in The Matrix with no programs loaded yet. Before we break it down, here's the finished poster:

On photoshoot day we tore down our studio and re–located it to the Sukup practice facility. I gotta give a quick shout–out to my boy Ryan Seiler that helped me with the setup and took the BTS photos that appear later in this post. If you see him around town, give him a high–five and tell him you like his beard:

We photographed the players individually so we could capture perfect shots of each player that fit within our pre–conceived composition. Here's a look at the setup:

And for those of you interested, here's a lighting diagram with the setup we used:

To give depth to the image I wrapped the players with light to enhance their shape to give the illusion that the white nothingness is luminescent and there is white light coming from all directions. Here's what some of the straight–out–of–camera images looked like:

We used our new EyeFi iPad tethering rig during the shoot, which made it a lot more fun for the players. They could instantly see themselves as we shot and it made it easier for them to critique their own poses and for us to communicate what we needed from them during the shoot:

Here's a screen–grab with all the layers cut–out and the composition formed. As you can see, it was still pretty flat and two dimensional:

The next step was adding atmosphere and drawing shadows between the players to create dimensionality. I photographed white smoke that was inserted in–between the layers to create the illusion of illuminated dust coming out of the explosion. This adds a lot of depth to the image:

The last step for the image was deciding what they were "exploding" from. We ended up using a shot we'd taken of the actual court in Hilton Coliseum:

We loved the grunginess of the court and used that theme to add a little bit of grunge and texture to stylize the entire image:

We have a stock of posters (with rubber bands) and magnets at our studio (210 5th St, downtown Ames) and invite you to stop in and snag some if you're interested! Thanks for reading and please visit us again soon!