24 February 2010

That Oozing Floating Ever-Present Kind of Love - Jodie and Nathan

well, what do you guys do on the weekends? what do you do with your spare time? i continued typing in response to a chain of back-and-forth email as jodie and i really tried to articulate how we might best style her engagement shoot. simply put, jodie & nathan, and carlie & i, were looking for the uniqueness in their story.

and ironically enough, we found jodie & nathan's uniqueness in the simplicity of a cup of coffee. it turns out most saturdays, jodie & nathan follow a special tradition: first coffee, then breakfast, then they ride their bikes.

it's nothing extravagant, thinking of a cup of joe and some scrambled eggs, but isn't that the kind of place where relationship REALLY happens? isn't that the kind of place where story lives?

for jodie & nathan the answer is a resounding YES! love could be found in the way he ordered their drinks. love oozed out of them as they sat in the grass outside the coffee shop. and love floated across the channel as i just sat and watched two people enjoy the simplicity of the afternoon.

i feel like thank you is never enough for the joy our clients bring us. and despite my fear of seeming selfish for my next sentence, i must take this moment to say how much i love my own wife. carlie, i pray that you forgive me for devaluing the simple moments in life. i love you.

and jodie & nathan, thank you for sharing your story with us. you have transformed me in the simplest and most profound way.


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19 February 2010

Perfection Was Never the Aim

rather than quickly offering the baited response, carlie and i pause, look at each other, and take a short breath through our teeth...

...well, believe it or not, we don't take THAT many photos of him... and then we proceed into a well versed and rehearsed dialogue offering an irrational explanation as to why we don't take more photos of our baby boy, when in fact, we had committed to capturing at least one... JUST ONE... intentional image of our little lincoln roe, each day for the first 100 days of his life in this world.

less than 30 days in, and we dropped our commitment.

now, i understand that it is not the end of the world. we will take many many MANY photographs of lincoln as he grows. and up until now, we actually have taken quite a few photographs. but no, that's not the point.

we failed to see through on our commitment.

and along with about 95% of the 304,059,724 americans who made new years resolutions, and finally found their excuses by valentines day, we dropped the ball.


...and i love this part.

perfection was never the aim.

so what do we do? we take more pictures of our son today. we live the life we are in now, and we don't allow perfection to the gift out of the present.


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18 February 2010

The Perfect Engagement Shoot - Melanie and Jason

you guys up for it?, i asked through the small sliver-like opening of their driver-side window, rain dancing off our cars in the parking lot.

jason nodded his head in agreement and anticipation with melanie leaning over from the passenger side. i parked my car, grabbed my gear and my umbrella, and we started shooting.

i am always in awe, though not usually until after the fact, of how creative the Master Storyteller can turn an unfortunate change of events, something completely out of my control, into something truly remarkable... and all He asks, is that i lean into it.

though i can't take much of the credit on this one. the day of melanie and jason's engagement shoot, the weather picked up momentum throughout the day, until we found ourselves in the parking lot of the lab, in costa mesa, watching sheets of rain pour down on our shoot location. and it was melanie and jason who saw opportunity to pursue something unique that rainy day. so, with their willingness to get a little wet, their excitement to capture something special, and their confidence in my leadership to guide them, we started shooting...

we found nooks & crannys, shot under trees & umbrellas, through corridors man made & natural... and finally, as it subsided just enough, under the soft rhythm of the rain itself.

the first half of the images below are some of my favorites ever, and not because of the rain... nor because of the setting or the wardrobe... and not because i feel like i am God's gift to photography [because i am definitely not]. these are some of my favorites because melanie and jason are just the kind of people we feel blessed to come across in our work; the kind of people that find themselves no matter the setting.

we can't wait for your big day, and are so thankful we will be there to capture it. oh yeah... and thanks for the sprinkles.


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11 February 2010

This Is How We Do It - Image Processing

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a core value here at gabriel.ryan.photographers. is setting clear expectations for our clients and delivering the goods on time, every time, exactly as promised... and with a smile. simply put, we make promises to our clients and we aim to follow up on each of those promises.

and though most of what we do, the actual work of owning a wedding photographer studio, is social; connecting with new people and getting to know them... there is still a very tangible need: delivering remarkable photographs.

for that aim, every image we present to you goes through a very specific artistic process. first, we capture the raw image. second, we create a proof of each image. third, we refine a select few that have been chosen to be hung on your wall or shared in your wedding book.

as simply as i can share, but no simpler, here's an overview of how we do it here, at gabriel.ryan.photographers.

nothing can compare to a well-crafted image. as photographers and student's of our craft, we first focus to capture quality images... in camera. we define a well-crafted image to blend a great moment with the right light, great composition, and proper exposure. even though you will never see one of these raw images in your custom gallery, or on our website, it serves as the foundation for what defines our style here at gabriel.ryan.photographers.


what is a proof?
well, first, the "proofs" are simply a set of well-crafted images that we have been further processed, to refine exposure, contrast, and tone.

after we have culled through the raw images from a shoot, we promise delivery of your proofs quickly, but without sacrificing quality. for weddings, we can turnaround proofs in 6-8 weeks. and, for engagements, the turnaround time is 2-3 weeks. it takes time to refine each image, but considering the debut of your proofs will be the first time you see your wedding images, we want to make sure they look great.

the first time you see ALL of the photos from your wedding, you will be browsing through your own custom online gallery. and, we also include a disc of the hi-resolution proofs in all of our collections, unless otherwise specified, which are delivered WITH the wedding book. these proofs are a great way to archive ALL of the images from your wedding and engagement.

for a select few, the artistic process continues. if an image is going to be shared in your wedding book, maybe you plan to frame & hang an image in your home, or even send a few fine art prints to your parents as a thank you gift, we want those images to look their absolute best. basically, any image will receive this special attention that is either: ordered through your online gallery to be printed, OR is selected to be a part of the story in your custom wedding book.

for this final step in the process, carlie [aka our empress of style] will open up each image individually, adding that signature gabriel.ryan. flare you have found on our website & blog, or in our custom books. though other photographers might disagree, we want to give you the digital copies of these fully-edited images, too... which is why we wait to deliver your disc of images with your wedding book... that you might have ALL of the final edits on disc.

we get asked all the time what do you actually do to your images and what do we get if we book you. at the end of the day, we revel in the responsibility to tell your story through our lens. and we can't wait for the day when that package arrives in the mail, with the gabriel.ryan. signature, and you open a box full of memories to be cherished forever.

p.s. we use a combination of our own custom lightroom presets, tra's totally rad photoshop actions, and kevin kubota's magic sharp, when processing our raw images to produce each client's set of proofs, and to achieve our look. also, we believe that our post-production efforts are best invested in the initial selection of our favorite images [the initial cull] and the final artistic retouching [the signature edit]. those two parts of the process are our stamp, our brand, our signature... so, we hold those parts of the process close, while outsourcing the bulk of our color correction to the incredible team over at shoot dot edit.

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10 February 2010

Finding a Tree in the OC - Amy and Shayne

the two of them looked overhead, at the canopy of branches that seemed to stretch from one horizon to the other, and chuckled to each other. amy could not have been happier; we had found her "big ol' tree."

in emailing back and forth about wedding plans, amy mentioned that her invitations would have an oak tree motif and she really wanted a woodsy look for her engagement photos. we set the date and location. but, as the day approached, and due to the rain, many of the local parks were closed, including our location for the shoot.

fortunately, for every missed opportunity, one just as great seems to appear.

we had dismissed one of the local wilderness parks, having shot their before, and looking for something unique to offer shayne and amy. but, with the scarcity of open trails, still recovering from the passing storms, we headed for the local park, praying that they might be open...

...and, sure enough, they were. not only were they open, but the winter storms [thanks to the glorious climate here in southern california] had given birth to a blanket of green foliage, sprouting up from the once dry earth, transforming the entire park.

needless to say, amy was thrilled. the following images tell the story. thank you shayne and amy, for the invitation to photograph your wedding, and amy... i am so glad we found you your tree.


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04 February 2010

Dingy Driving 101 - Colleen and Jason

carlie graced off the back of "reverence," camera in hand, into the boat, giving me the go-ahead to hit the throttle and pull away towards the horizon as the sun began to fall. i felt a little like james bond, motoring at the edge of the harbor; the chaotic industry of society behind me, and the unrestricted open ocean at the tip of my gaze.

as i began to drift off into my own macho-romantic fantasy, carlie began calling out orders to colleen and jason across the water, and... like a splash of cold water, woke me from my day dream.

although we typically divide the engagements and weddings on our calendar, with carlie & i taking on separate shoots since the restructuring of our studio and brand, carlie & i couldn't pass up this experience together.

colleen and jason had not only invited us to play a role in the telling of their story, by hiring us to photograph their wedding this spring, they also invited us onto their [forgive me, jason if i am wrong on the numbers] 58 foot sailboat named reverence, to shoot their engagement. and what started as a casual portrait shoot on board, quickly turned into a testing practice of my sea-legs and my ability not only to navigate a dingy, but to navigate a dingy as carlie shot from on board that dingy, capturing colleen and jason aboard reverence, from across the aquas gap. i immediately went from james bond, to steven spielberg, using motion to help capture the story of colleen and jason's engagement.

for the tequila, the music, and the company, colleen & jason, carlie & i thank you. we are thrilled to play even a small role during this part of your journey, but even more so, to get to know the two of you.


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01 February 2010

They said our life would never be the same...

...and "they" were right.

the "they" that had 4 kids of their own. the "they" that never wanted to have children of their own. the "they" that were in the thick of it. the "they" that loved us dearly. and the "they" that happened to be in line with us at the grocery store.

it didn't matter who "they" were, they all said the same thing.

case in point; up until now, i have never had to change my shirt 30 minutes into the start of the day as a result of regurgitated soy powder and prune juice. up until now, i have never kept my fingernails manicured for the specific purpose of avoiding the unnecessarily accidental collection of poo-poo. neither, up until now, have i laughed so hard at somebody who was crying so hard.

maybe its to mask the frustration. maybe its because God has given me just a bit of insight into how He must see us. whatever it is, every once in a while [more like... 3 or 4 or 5 times a day], lincoln will begin to express his opinion. his face begins to shift hue, followed by a lower lip that begins to curl downward, and finally... the release. the release of all that tension, all that stress... his opinion. and the release comes in the form of a seizure of wails, uncontrolled and sporadic.

and for some reason, whatever it is, i laugh. not at him. not with him. but, because of him. lincoln, not his birth, not simply his arrival into our family, but lincoln himself, brings me joy.

he turned 3 months yesterday, and after a long day celebrating life and family together, he had to let go of just a little bit of stress ;)



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