TIUA Closing Ceremony Practice

It’s that busy time of the year, with graduations and end-of-year events. And time for Tokyo International University of America at Willamette to have their closing ceremony and send this year’s group of students back to Japan. We’ll be shooting the event on Friday night but today I (Tamra) went to the practice and helped this year’s group of kids see where they need to look when they’re shaking hands and getting their certificates. Practice is held early in the morning a couple of days before the ceremony and the students are always a little sleepy, so having at least one of us there to give them the practice at looking at the camera is important!

TIUA students

The students gather for practice.

look at the photographer

Demonstrating where to look

TIUA student at practice

Practicing holding their certificate

Gunnar Gundersen of TIUA

Gunnar Gundersen, the EVP of TIUA, gives the students some final tips




Product Photography on White

Although it’s great fun to create a fancy scene for a product shoot, there’s something to be said for simple on-white images, especially when they’re going to be used in an online store. For our client Smart Racing Products we recently photographed a simple screw that’s a new addition to their inventory.

on-white product photography

Photographed on a white background

Many photographers use light boxes or tents to shoot metallic items, but we often end up getting our favorite results shooting (as in the image above) using just a 12×12 piece of white scrapbook paper and a combination of window light and continuous lights. For this shot we turned off three of the five bulbs in our continuous light which was placed camera left, and let natural light be the fill. Once we picked which exposure we liked (we shoot a variety, even when it’s just one little screw) we took out a slight yellow reflection (from some unexpected Oregon sunshine) using the color settings in Apple Aperture. Some clients have us just email or Dropbox them the file at this point, but for Smart Racing we also upload any images to their website and Amazon store.

ITT October 2 Graduation Event Photography

The photos from the October 2 graduation are up at UnitPrints, and you can download full resolution images to print and use on social media, or you can order prints directly from the UnitPrints lab. The two group photos we liked best are the first two items in the gallery after the cover page, but we also included the rest of the group photos toward the end of the gallery.

Click here to see the gallery.

ITT June 2014 Graduation Photos

The photos are up at UnitPrints.com. You can print them there, or download the high-resolution images to print elsewhere or use on social media. Feel free to pass the link on to anyone from your class or to your family and friends.

Here’s the link: unitprints.com gallery

ITT Graduation June 2014 — Event Photography

It’s always fun to do a repeat gig — you know the people and the location and can concentrate on the images. We’ve been shooting he graduation ceremonies for the Salem campus of ITT Technical Institute since they had their first graduation event, and it’s always a fun event to photograph.

Food Photography — Scones, Muffins, and Rolls

To go along with the on-white hero shots of their products our Bakery client had us create a collection of styled shots. We photographed scones, muffins, pretzel rolls, bear claws, and cinnamon rolls. We were especially tasked to show the difference in sizes between the large and mini muffins and scones, and to show the variety of muffins and scones they sell.

plate of assorted muffins in two sizes

plate of muffins

We used a variety of plates, baskets, and sets for these images. Unlike our photos of the holiday cookies where we used holiday decorations to emphasize the themes, we styled a majority of these items similar to how they might be served, complete with napkins and cups of coffee.

two croissants on glass plate with blue napkin

two croissants

For the pretzel rolls we went one step further and turned the rolls into hamburger and sandwich buns, and then plated those items with potato chips and beer.

food styling of pretzel bun

pretzel bun sandwich

The client was very happy with all the images and used them for both printed flyers and on their website.


January Food Photography – Hero Shots

In January of this year our California commercial bakery client requested a set of on-white food images for their website. We refer to these types of images in-house as “hero shots” for the way the food image is center stage. For on-white we can either leave the natural shadows and natural white-ish background or “mask” the food item and place it on a pure white replacement background.

photo of pretzel roll

pretzel roll hero shot

There were 29 separate products that needed to be shot. The client sent them all to us via overnight UPS right after they were baked, and sent multiples of each item so we could pick the best version of each item. Since it was a cloudy and rainy week we couldn’t use natural light so we set up our set of Interfit continuous lights and went to work.

The two white-frosted muffins were a particular lighting challenge , since the frosting needed to look white yet remain separate from the background. All the items needed to look fresh and tasty.

Fall Cookies — Food Photography

This is catch-up post #2 — a shoot from last Fall.

Our California commercial bakery client hired us again shortly after we photographed the pecan buns to photograph their collection of season fall and winter cookies. Since cookies are flatter than the pecan buns this required us to think differently about our camera angles and the set design.

food photography on holiday set

Decorative set elements included colored sugar, milk, a floral spray, and snowflakes

In addition to our standard brown tabletop, we shot on white, brown burlap, and several shades of blue. The scrapbook paper we use for color backgrounds is 12″ by 12″ so it’s perfect for small items like single cookies, but still requires precise camera angles to avoid a lot of post-shoot work in Photoshop extending the background. Also, food projects stain paper (you can limit the stains with small pieces of parchment paper, but they still happen) so you need to have several pieces of the same color on hand to replace the stained pieces or you end up doing a lot of retouching.

cookie photo

Cookies on blue paper

The burlap we found at a craft store was in smaller 8×11 sheets, so we overlapped them and liked the look and texture. We have since added larger fabric pieces of burlap to our prop collection, but we still go back to the smaller sheets because of the interesting angles you get from overlapping the sheets.

photo of cookie

Football cookies with autumn leaves in the background

Our sets also included a variety of white plates in interesting shapes, some square wooden baskets (to contrast with round cookies), sparkly holiday leaves and berries, and loose sequins. For the rounder Chai cookies we used blue napkins (to coordinate with the blue paper used elsewhere) and baskets. The bakery used a variety of the final images in their email marketing, and in printed flyers as well as on their website.

Food Photography – Sticky Buns for California Bakery

I’m catching up with some blog posts — a few of our photography projects never got featured thanks to the change-up of our website back at the end of last year.

We had some wonderful sunny weather back in September of last year, with an amazing amount of golden light, perfect for outdoor shots and window shots. One of our design clients asked us to do some photography for their commercial bakery in California.

pecan bun photography

photo of sticky buns

They overnighted us their newest product, a pecan-topped sweet roll made of croissant dough. We created a variety of images for them that took advantage of the beautiful light and the golden dough.

We used warm golden wood and golden baskets to compliment the color of the food, along with white linen and a cheerful blue gingham napkins. Images were shot both indoors and outdoors to enhance the variety. Once the client picked their favorites from the gallery we retouched the images and added them to their website.


Jenny & Zach’s April Wedding

Jennifer and Zachary’s April wedding was both sweet and very silly at the same time — just the way we like our events!

bride and groom making a face

The Bride and Groom being themselves

We got some beautiful photos of the entire wedding party enjoying their day, and some of our all-time favorite Bride and Groom shots.

first look photograph

First look without the look — he didn’t see her in her dress until she walked down the aisle

Portrait of bride and groom

Bride and groom portrait

The wedding and reception were at Kerith Lodge, about 25 miles west of Salem. The lodge is rustic and features lots of wood and wagon wheels. The weather was pretty but a little chilly during the outdoor photos.

We’ve known Jenny and Zach for several years and photographed their engagement as well as doing family photos at Christmas. We feel very honored to have been selected as their wedding photographer.