McClaniversary 5 Year West Coast Road Trip!

This year we celebrated our 5–year wedding anniversary! It's hard to believe that much time has elapsed since we embarked on our marital journey, but we decided it was a milestone worth celebrating. We had the opportunity to fly to Seattle to photograph the wedding of our friends, Bjorn and Lia, close to our anniversary (there are some cool images of Bjorn and Lia part way down this post) and we decided to rent a car after the wedding and spent a week driving highway 101 south to San Francisco. Because we founded McClanahan Studio shortly after getting married we haven't had much time completely unplugged to focus 100% of our attention on one another. We viewed this week as an opportunity to do just that and it was AWESOME! We highly recommend that all married couples schedule time to unplug and have an adventure once in a while. It re–calibrates your unity and is refreshing to the soul! The following post is a hodgepodge of Instagrams taken on our iPhone and photographs taken on a Canon 5dMkIII. Our self portraits were lit with a speedlight and some of the fine art photographs were captured using neutral density filters to slow down time (sort of like Hermione in "Prisoner of Azkaban"). Our journey started in Seattle paddle boarding with friends and visiting the infamous bridge troll. Then we headed south along the Oregon coast, spent an afternoon sand–boarding some epic dunes, ventured through Redwood National Forrest, toured a couple wineries in Napa Valley and concluded with a day of biking through San Francisco and a sunset overlook of the Golden Gate Bridge. We would encourage adding the NorthWest to your bucket list and taking the time to experience these views for yourself! If you have specific questions about where we stayed and what we did, leave a comment and we'll fill you in. We hope you enjoy our images!

McClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast Dan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast McClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastDan and Alex McClanahan 5 year anniversary trip on the West Coast from Seattle to San Fransisco, featuring the Oregon Coast, Redwood forrest and Napa valleyMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coastMcClanahan Studio, Dan and Alex 5 year anniversary road trip on the west coast through Washington, Oregon and California. Redwood forrest, Napa valley, Oregon coast

Oregonian Adventure

Greetings friends! Last month we had the privilege of flying to Oregon to hang out with some of the nicest people in the world and teach at Professional Photographer's of Oregon's "Focus" conference. We took some personal days before and after the conference to find inspiration in the beautiful Northwest. Our trip began in Portland:Shortly before this trip we acquired our first iPhone and discovered Instagram (the most fun camera app ever). You'll see a lot of Instagram's scattered throughout this post. The app captures images in a variety of retro square formats that look like this:That orange Dodge Caliber was our trusty rental car that helped us tear up the coast! Shortly after landing we met up with two of our talented and fun–loving friends from college, Björn and Lia:

After thoroughly exploring Portland, we spent a day driving to the coast and exploring Oregon's beautiful terrain and weather patterns. Over the course of the day we experienced warm sunshine, fluffy snowflakes, rain, more warm sunshine and hail. It was bizarrely fantastic:

And of course no McClanahan vacation would be complete without an awkward jumping self portrait:We brought along 2 Canon 580's with our beloved Radiopopper PX's to turn Cannon Beach into a studio and had fun creating some images for the sheer joy of it:

After parting ways with Björn and Lia, we headed back to Portland for the Focus conference...

Here's a shot of our PPO class! We spent 7 hours with these guys and we can sincerely say that they were a joy to hang out with. Lots of great questions, lots of great insights and I think everybody in attendance was inspired (including us):

We want to give a huge thanks to Millers Lab and Radiopopper for donating sweet prizes to give away to these guys! It's a huge blessing to have the support of vendors that we love! We also want to give special thanks to Chea Barns, a PPO member that agreed to let us photograph her (below) as part of a live demo during our class. We photographed Chea inside using softboxes provided by Larson Enterprises (what we use in our studio) and studio equipment provided by Lisa Dillon (We love Lisa! She organized the conference and did a rockin' job)! To create the image below we composited Chea into a Portland cityscape that we photographed the night before:Once the conference was over, we headed to Mt. Hood for some snowboarding action. Along the way we came across Multnomah Falls and photographed arguably our most extreme "little people/big world" self portrait to date:

It was raining really hard and we had to take the image from a tripod without destroying our camera. We bought a poncho from the gift shop and borrowed an umbrella from the "Friends of Multnomah Falls." The camera still got pretty soaked and it was tough to get a frame with no raindrops on the lens (because the camera had to be angled up into the rain), but we got the shot. To accomplish the image, each of us was photographed separately (Dan shot Alex, Alex shot Dan). We took turns running 1/2 mile up the slippery, wet trail to get to the bridge and combined the images in Photoshop. Here's the setup:

Another noteworthy happening was Dan's new red pants from H&M (trying to pass as an Oregonian hipster). He'll probably get beat up when he tries to wear them in Iowa, but they go wonderfully with beards and strange red cars. We made it to Mt. Hood and enjoyed some of the best snowboarding we've ever had thanks to 19" of fresh powder.

We'll end this post with a few dusk images from our beach adventure with Björn and Lia. We used combination of on-camera-flash and iPhone flashlights to mess with light-painting. If we were an indie band, these would be our awkwardly abstract promo images that adorned the walls of the dorm-dwelling cool kids:

Thanks for reading! We need to go back to Oregon again to hang out with our new friends and see all the great stuff we missed. If you enjoyed this post, do us a favor and leave a comment letting us know you were here!

The After Dark Experience

*If you're planning on attending After Dark: Vegas, use promo code "MAC" to get a $50 discount!!! The scene is organized chaos. 10 fully-stocked studio bays engulfing an entire hotel ballroom, each bay being used by one of the best photographers in the industry to demonstrate their area of expertise. All the photographic information you could possibly comprehend wanting to absorb is in one room.

Imagine Lori Nordstrom working with a newborn and explaining step-by-step how she captures stunning images. To her left is Chuck Arlund showing the intricate details of posing a fashion model. To her right is Cody Clinton and Mike Fulton from TriCoast teaching people how to master off camera flash techniques. Now imagine 7 additional (and completely different) photoshoots taking place all around you.

Oh, and don't forget the 10 small group work pods where master businessmen explain pricing and marketing in a comprehensible language and photoshop gurus show off their entire workflow on live projection screens. And there's also the locations sessions – watching internationally acclaimed wedding photographers conduct live Trash The Dress sessions on the street. Remember, this is all going on at THE SAME TIME! From morning until... well, the next morning! Doesn't it make your brain hurt just thinking about it?!

In our photographic career, never have we experienced an educational event as effective or enjoyable as After Dark Education.

We've been blessed with the privilege of teaching at After Dark: Portland and After Dark: New Orleans, and next month we'll be doing it again at After Dark: Vegas. In light of the seemingly overwhelming amount of awesomeness that takes place at After Dark, we want to give you a preview of what we're going to be teaching in Vegas to help you determine whether or not you should come listen to us or one of the many top-shelf instructors (and FYI – we don't take offense if you choose them – you really can't make a bad decision). Here's a rundown of our scheduled classes. We welcome any questions or comments you have regarding them (leave a comment!):

Millennial Marketing: We are BIG advocates of social media. We've built our entire business from the ground up without paying a dime for traditional advertising and we take a personal approach to connecting with people via free internet tools. Both of us teach this class and will discuss things like branding (your brand > your photography, and we'll tell you why) effective facebooking (how to turn every session into a viral way to attain new fans and new business), and creative marketing (the kind that's REALLY fun and gets everybody talking – take our annual Christmas Card for example). We will welcome questions and like to dedicate a portion of this pod to Q/A and discussion. This has been probably our most well received class and is applicable whether you're a total noob or an old pro in your 34th year of business!

Photo-realistic Compositing: Dan will explain how to light and photograph a subject in-studio to be superimposed onto an idealized background. He'll also be demonstrating how to blend composited images in photoshop to add realism. This technique is becoming more common in commercial photography when it isn't possible to actually photograph on location or when you want to create idealized reality. Here's an example of some recent covers we produced using this technique:

Also, here's a composite we photographed on location at After Dark: Portland:

Product Design and Design Principles: Well designed products are an aesthetically powerful way to showcase your images. Our design is no doubt one of the reasons we stand out from the other photographers in our saturated market (we design all of our products in-house). Design is oftentimes avoided by photographers because it seems more intimidating than it actually is. Alex will be teaching basic design principles that you can use to create one-of-a-kind products for your studio. She'll be demonstrating  photoshop techniques and fielding your questions.

Marketing and Design Critique: During critique night (the first night of After Dark) Alex will be available to critique the design of your products and marketing pieces. Please bring anything you'd like input on! Physical pieces preferred, but digital pieces will work too (bring them on a flash drive).

Rockstar Photography: We photograph a lot of musicians for publications. It's fun because it's acceptable to literally break every rule you've ever been taught, resulting in highly creative images. Dan will be photographing a group of musicians on location and discussing experimental lighting and posing (He'll probably use a lot of off-camera lighting). The purpose of this session is to shake things up and get you thinking outside the box (which all photographers know is a very difficult thing to do). The techniques from this session can be applied to wedding parties, family portraits, etc. Here's an image from the Rockstar Photography class we taught in New Orleans (for more examples, check out the commercial gallery on our web site):

Sales Tips For The Beginner: For photographers, creating is natural - but we quickly become uncomfortable when it comes to selling our work. In this class, Alex will teach you how to take confidence in your work and teach you how to help your clients decorate their homes using projection sales. This method will give you happier clients (with awesome artwork on their walls) and better sales, so you can spend more time capturing stunning images and less time figuring out how you're going to pay rent.

Locations Senior: Dan will hit the streets of Vegas with a high school senior and photograph McClanahan style! He'll show how to find flattering natural light and how to use artificial light when necessary. Our goal with seniors is to capture creative images that are mom friendly and senior approved. Here are a few sample images from previous AD's (check out the senior gallery on our web site for a wider sampling):

Lastly, here's all the information you need to know about After Dark:

http://afterdarkedu.com/

http://www.facebook.com/afterdarkedu

Jeff Dunn explains what After Dark is all about:

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=312529768916

registration (Use discount code "MAC" to receive $50 off):

https://secure.marathonweb.com/afterdarkedu.com/all/register/63

Hotel booking (Those registered and staying at the Hilton will be welcome Tuesday night from 8pm - midnight for bonus sessions presented by 5 different mentors.):

https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_ei_new&eventID=3117068

We can't wait to see you in Vegas!!!