Thinking Like a Client | 4th Year Anniversary (Personal)

Every year, for our anniversary, I’ve made it my personal mission to make sure that Walt and I get professional photos taken of ourselves. Our first anniversary, we couldn’t afford a photographer, so I took a few with a tripod and a remote. (They weren’t that great.) Year two, we hired Nessa K (our wedding photographer) and it was an amazing experience. Year three, we hired Brittany Esther who flew in from Canada, and that was also wonderful. Walt does not like having his photo taken, but because I insist on it, and because I don’t ask for anything else — no jewelry, no baubles, no fancy dinners, no cards — he obliges. This year, I thought we’d do something a little different; give him a little reprieve. I thought it would be fun to have just my photo taken and given to him as a gift. He would reap all the rewards of the photos without having to sit through them!

And so the idea of my boudoir session was born. I’d always wanted to have a boudoir session done; the seed has been growing ever since I discovered that women hired boudoir photographers for pre-wedding sessions to gift to their spouses after their big day. The idea had been brewing for a long time, and only until this year did all the pieces come together:

  1. I signed up for a one-day “workshop” in New York, sort of spontaneously, for September (our anniversary is in October)
  2. One of my friends had an apartment in SoHo that would be the perfect spot for a session
  3. I know a lot of NY/NJ photographers and was able to hire one that I trusted to see me declothed

While having professional photos of our relationship is a good enough reason to have an anniversary session every year, I also like to do this because I hunt for a new photographer every time. There is so much talent in this world — heck, even in this city — that I want us to be photographed by as many of them as possible. I have a wish list the length of my arm! And because I haven’t been shot by them before, it’s always a learning experience to talk to them as a client would, to actually shop like a client would, and to experience being on the other side of a lens like a client would.

That is why I do it: for photos, and also to remember what it feels like to be the client. The jitteriness! The anticipation! Picking out the outfit, choosing the right lip color. Perusing pin boards for hair inspiration. The build-up! Making a connection with the photographer; how does she make me feel more comfortable? It’s a big learning experience.

As a photographer, it is easy to forget that potential clients have such a huge variety to choose from. So here’s what I learned as I prepared for, and then received photos from, my boudoir session…

moody interesting [Read more…]

For Photographers: Visualization and Compositing

I received a few emails and comments about a particular photo in Brynn’s bridal session post, so I thought I’d share how I made the photo.

hamilton pool bridal session

A while back, I went to Ryan Brenizer’s workshop. He’s pretty well-known for his “Method” (which I inevitably use at least once during a wedding or session — practice makes perfect, after all) but he has a lighting method, lightly named “compositing,” in which he shoots many frames of the same moment while lighting different subjects, then slices them all together in post-processing.

I admit I’ve tried this only a few times during weddings, and have failed more often than I’ve succeeded. The last time it was actually successfully done was last April during Steven and Liz‘s post-wedding session down on SoCo.


This was shot at night, with my assistant Chris holding one light above Liz, moving, holding the light above Steven, and then me slicing the two shots together in Photoshop.  [Read more…]

Sarah & Brody | Austin Engagement Session

Brenizer method panorama by Austin wedding photographer Elissa R

It was really sweet seeing Sarah and Brody be adorable and snuggly together. I’m really excited to be a guest at their wedding next week :) Here are a few of my favorite photos from their session!

Prisming during engagement sessions - by Elissa R.Architecturally cool engagement photo by Elissa R.Rainbow on engagement ring photo - by Elissa R. Stairwell engagement photo by Elissa R.Austin engagement photo by Elissa R. Tender kiss between engaged couple by Elissa R. Austin wedding photography - by Elissa R.