Alans Snap Shot

Creative Doctor shoot!

By March 7, 2016 Uncategorized
A woman doctor holding on to her syringe with blood in it.

So lets try and get a little creative today.  Instead of doing an ordinary shoot, lets have a little fun.  I got one of my models that has a great personality to do a Doctor shoot.  But instead of doing the regular shoot that you usually see, we got creative.

The first image I really liked with the syringe full of fake blood!  Nice and messy and looks real.




A woman doctor with a syringe full of blood pointing it at a man's arm covered with blood.


A female nurse is holding a great big needle full of blood.

Now lets add a black background just to make it a little more dramatic!

big knife mistake

Oops, I hate it when the doctor makes a mistake!

Nurse worried with chainsaw

Some surgeries just take bigger equipment!

A woman in her blue scrubs with a shocked expression on her face holding out the ear pieces to her stethoscope.

One thing I have always loved about this model, is that she is so expressive!


In the end, we really had a fun shoot.  And got some different and creative shots.  Don’t be afraid to go outside the box once in a while and try something that just seems a bit crazy!


How to take advantage of lighting outdoors

By March 7, 2016 Instruction

I love to take pictures outdoors.  This world is filled with some beautiful landscapes wherever you go.  All we have to do is take the time to notice them and photograph the beauty we see.

Lighting can be such a big obstacle.  How often do we take what we think will be great pictures, then look at them later so see that they are dull looking?

Timing is the biggest cure to this.  Take advantage of the sunlight.  In most cases, you are going to want the light behind you, lighting up the landscape.  So morning or evening is the best.

This takes some planning.  I often plan my travel based on where to be in the mornings and evenings to get good photos!

The picture above was taken in the evening with the sun behind me.  But not too low.  I don’t want to wait until it starts casting shadows.  I want it to be as low as possible, but still light up the whole landscape.

By doing this you will get nice golden tones.

Now here is an example of just the opposite.


This image was taken off the coast of Australia of the Twelve Apostles.  This was also taken in the evening.  But after the sun went down too far.  The rocks are no longer well lit with the nice golden light.  This picture would be so much better taken just a few minutes earlier.

Now for one more example:


This shot was taken with the sun in front of me, just going down behind the large rocky coast.  Now, this can make some cool shots.  But in this situation, it just made the picture look blown out.

So take advantage of the sun, and where it is to get the best images.  If the just doesn’t work for you in the morning in a certain location, try shooting it in the evening.

Now go out and find some beautiful landscapes to shoot!

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Self Portraits

By February 26, 2016 Shoot Ideas
A cowboy is standing in the sunset with a rope in his hands.

I spend most of my time behind the camera taking shots of both male and female models.  I enjoy this a lot.  especially trying to create art.  I find it refreshing and fulfilling.  But sometimes I get that urge to be on the other side of the camera.  So with the help of my wife, I trade roles.

cowboy close eyes hidden head

I live on a ranch, and western shots are one of my favorites to do.  It gives me a chance to let my facial hair get a little scruffy.  I have found that shots of cowboys up close, with there eyes hidden behind a hat, sell really well as book covers.

silhouette of cowboy kneel and lean on saddle

Cowboy silhouettes are another hot item for book covers.  With a saddle as a prop, I was able to kneel down low leaving lots of space on the top of the image for cover designers to use for titles, authors names, etc.

silhouette of man in tank top flex both arms

And just to shake things up a bit, I did a few fitness shots.  When I am in front of the camera, I enjoy doing silhouettes the most, as you can see from this post.  I enjoy making shapes and creating interesting images.

I think it is good for me to be on that side of the camera once in a while.  It helps me understand what my models are going through when they shoot with me.  It can be a lot harder that it looks.  I have really learned to appreciate the work that the people I shoot with do!

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A day at the lake with Ashley

By February 25, 2016 Shoot Ideas
A woman is sitting by the water smiling and thinking.

I live a few miles from a popular summer lake.  It has some nice sandy beaches as well as some really rocky shores.  A good variety of backgrounds for taking pictures.

Ashley is a model I work with once in a while.  So we decided to do a shoot at the lake.  We picked a nice morning not long after sunrise to get good lighting.

A woman is running in the water and splashing.

With a nice summer sun dress on, I had her play and splash in the water.  It really made for some fun pictures.  She was a good sport since the water was a little cold.


A beautiful woman is standing by the water in a blue dress with a smile.

With a blue dress on I took shots of her walking along the beach as the wind blew her hair and her dress.  The sun was at a good angle to light her up just right.


A woman laying on her stomach with a smile on her face with her finger by her lip

The sandy beaches here are not really very large.  So by shooting from just a slightly higher angle, I was able to eliminate the background that would have appeared just above her.  It made it possible to get a perfectly clean background so that all the focus was on Ashley.

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Photo shoot of a Native American

By February 23, 2016 Shoot Ideas
A Indian woman in her blanket with a traditional object in her hand.

It is always fun to shoot someone dressed in there native cultural dress.  I have a friend who is Native American, who makes her own outfits to fit her ethnic background.

An Native American laying on her red and black traditional blanket.

It was fun for me to see this side of her.  She seems very natural when dressed in her Native American outfits.


An American Indian woman in her traditional clothing, looking at the camera.

We had a fun shoot.  I was able to learn some about her culture, and get some great images at the same time.


A silhouette of a Native American woman holding her bow getting ready to shoot her arrow.

And of course, it wouldn’t be my typical shoot if I didn’t slip in a few silhouette shots.  I really liked how this one with the bow and arrow turned out.


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Photographing a Cowboy in the Studio

By February 23, 2016 Shoot Ideas
a cowboy leaning up against a wood wall with a serious expression on his face.

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t shoot some kind of western shots.  This is a male model that I flew in from Los Angeles to do a shoot with us.  I liked the long hair.

I went to the local saw mill and got some wood slabs.  I screwed them right to the wall, so that I have a permanent country looking backdrop on one wall.


A cowboy holding on to he weapon with his head down.

Add an old whiskey barrel, a saddle and gun, and you can get a pretty cool shot.  This man was about as far from a cowboy as you could get, but he looked good in the images.


A silhouette of a cowboy in his duster looking down.

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Fun with MUD!

By February 23, 2016 Shoot Ideas
a close up of a woman's face and hands covered in mud.

It is always fun to get someone in my studio that is not afraid to get a little messy!  Of course, I have to be willing to let the studio get a little dirty as well.

For this shoot I brought in a bucket of nice wet mud.  My model was very willing to dump it all over herself.  Which really made for some fun shots.

a woman covered in brown mud all over her face and body.

I do have a sheet of plastic on the floor just to aid with clean up.  I had her lay on her stomach right on the floor in the mud with her upper body lifted up.  You can see from the images, she was having a good time.

A woman sitting in a bunch of mud, with mud all over her body.

I was almost jealous to be the one with the camera instead of the one playing in the mud!  It look like so much fun.  But I am happy I wasn’t the one trying to get it out of my hair later!


A girl having some fun reaching in a bucket of mud.

I included this shot just so that you could see the whole thing.  There is the bucket of mud that she was so fond of!  I couldn’t keep her hands out of it!


This is just an example of how much fun you can have getting good images if you just get a little creative and are willing to just have fun!

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Cowgirl Studio Shoot.

By February 22, 2016 Shoot Ideas
a cowgirl with her western hat on looking with a sensual expression.

One of the genres I commonly shoot is Western.  It is one of my favorite.  I live on a small ranch in Utah we call The Blue Rock Ranch.  So western seems to come natural to me.  At least I enjoy it a lot.  Not all of my models are “cowgirls”, but they can usually dress up like one.

A woman holding the collar of her shirt and looking.

A pair of Denim shorts and a denim or plaid shirt and they seem to fit right in.  These are images of a model I recently shot.  I thought she did a really good job.

cowgirl short denim shorts lean over on saddle

By simply adding a prop from the ranch, it clarifies to the viewer what type of image it is.  I have found, that most good models, like this one, really know what to do with props.  I seldom have to tell them what to do.  I just give them an object and they go to work.

Silhouette of a sexy woman flipping her hair and holding her hat.

I don’t usually do a photo shoot without turning off the front lights and creating some silhouettes.  That is what is done here.  Then simply add a background in Photoshop, and this is what you get.  Hat in hand, and a flip of the hair, and a visual pleasing image is the result.

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Take portraits of people showing who they really are.

By February 21, 2016 Instruction
A woman with a gun and tattoos and smoke.

I recently did a photo shoot with a girl with a lot of tattoos.  Now I know it can be a controversial topic about if you should or shouldn’t have tattoos on your body.  This post is not to discuss or debate that issue.  The purpose is to show that you can shoot images of people that show who they really are.

A woman with a tattoo and handcuffs in her hands.

To this young woman, her tattoos were a very important part of her life.  Each one has significant meaning, and she wears them with pride.  So instead of trying to cover them up, or hide them, I made them prominent in the images.

A woman with tattoos looking down at a computer.

I did different styles and genres this day.  To show her in different situations, with the tattoos showing.


It was a lot of fun, and she got a lot of images that really mean a lot to her.

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How to survey

By February 20, 2016 Survey

What would you like to learn?  I have been a photography instructor for years.  I have enjoyed teaching many subjects, from composition, to lighting, to color, etc.  Please comment on subjects or technical areas you would like to improve on, and I will write posts accordingly!