May 24, 2013

Katie, Boise Ballerina by an old building.

This is another shot of Katie in the alley by the green door. This has been such a productive spot for me with several dancers. The color and the light are really nice here. Plus this alley is kind of out of the way so nobody really passing by which makes it nice.
Nikon D3 and the 70-200 with all natural light.

May 19, 2013

Dance portraits of Jessica. Professional ballerina with one of the ballet companies in Boise.
A beautiful dancer she settled right into the shoot. The light in this old building was amazing. There was a mix of window and track lighting so a few color consistency issues...for the most part I just didn't worry about it.
When in doubt I went with black and white...which I prefer for dance any way.

Mostly shot with the Nikon D3 and the 85 1.4.

Apr 24, 2013

These are from the shoot with Katie. This was just a few weeks ago. We had a fairly decent day this time. Katie and I have shot together several times and it is always very productive to shoot her, she is very professional and a beautiful dancer.

The trick to shooting dancers is to allow them get into a flow. This is very easy with Katie as she needs no help working a scene. I just find a setting, put her in it and set her loose to do whatever she feels.

All shot with natural light and the Nikon D3 with the 70-200 lens.

Apr 18, 2013

This is a post from my Freestyle Ballerina project blog. As I am still working on getting more traffic to that site I decided to do some dual posts here.

This is from a shoot I did with Ann in downtown Boise last week, it was crazy cold and raining a bit.
Ann hung in there and we found a few good spots.
This is towards the end of the shoot with the Nikon D3 and the 70-200 and natural light.

Apr 10, 2013

A fellow photographer and I were doing an outdoor portrait dance shoot with Nicole a couple weeks. Nicole is not a professional ballerina but we were out having a fun dance shoot downtown.

So it got dark and we were heading back to our cars and the other photography tells Nicole to get in the was pretty cold and windy so I kind of laughed and said "no you don't need to get in the fountain". The other photographer talked her into it so I figured what the heck.

She we take a few shots and she tells her friend who came along with her to jump in with before we knew it we are shooting a romance novel cover haha.
I just went with the flow and actually really like this shot.
A good example of letting a shoot progess freely, you never know where you will end up if you keep an open mind.

This was after dark with just the light from the fountain with the D3 and I believe this was with the 35 1.8, which is a DX lens but I works amazingly well and is super sharp wide open on my full frame.
This was taken at ISO 6400 and then a bit of noise reduction in Lightroom to arrive at this.

Apr 1, 2013

I kicked off my "Freestyle Ballerina" ballerina project blog last week. I will be adding a lot of content to the site over the next few months. Please like the blog and spread the word about my new art project :)
Here is the link:

Mar 30, 2013

"Freestyle Ballerina" facebook page.

Those of you who have been following me know I have more and more been increasing my interest in shooting dancers, specifically ballerinas. I have decided to make an art project of it. I am calling the project "Freestyle Ballerina".

I will be creating a blog for it soon and have already created a Facebook page for it.
If you have a minute please check out my page and remember to Like the page before you leave.
I will be adding a lot of content to the page in the next few months.

Here is the page:


Mar 28, 2013

Freestyle Ballerina

I have been shooting dancers for 3 years, with an emphasis on ballerinas.
They are a perfect combination of all the things I like to photograph. Beauty, action and drama rolled into one.

Ballerinas make it look so easy, they are natural posers and very confident in their own skin.

The idea is that I find a nice looking setting and then I position the ballerina into the scene and ask her to "show me something" or something along those lines. The idea is for the ballerina to creatively use the setting or "Freestyle". I am often surprised with their creativity. Sometimes the smallest moves are the most effective.
Sometimes they need a little I demonstrate a pose...they laugh really hard and then they come up with something better.

I plan to continue this project for some time and to incorporate the most skilled ballerinas who are willing to participate. As of today almost all the photos in the gallery are professional or apprentice level ballerinas working with local professional companies.  Boise has a large number of very good dancers and I am finding they are willing to participate.

We do have an national ballet company here in Boise and hope someday to have their ballerinas participate...not yet....that remains a work in progress. Hopefully as the work grows they will want to be included.

So almost all of this work will be with the Nikon D3 and the 70-200 2.8 lens. I find this to be the perfect combination for natural light work. The long focal length and thin depth of field are great allies in creating separation between the dancer and the environment.

Some of you may notice a few flash and even a couple studio shots in the gallery at present. My guess is that most of the shots in the gallery today, March 2013, will not still be there in another 6 months. I plan to cull the gallery as I work with more dancers.

So anyway as of this week I have officially named this project "Freestyle Ballerina".
On the surface it may remind you of the Ballerina Project work being done in New York.  Really this is not a copy of that project. Just 6 months ago I became aware of that work. The Ballerina Project is almost wholly photographed on black and white film. I love the look of it but plan in this work in take advantage of  the processing options made available with digital.

So without further ado I introduce "Freestyle Ballerina" to the world.
I hope the work is well recieved and enjoyed by many. Please keep checking back as this is a work in progress and many additions are planned. I am including a small sample of the gallery.

Here is the work in process gallery, please have a look:!i=1868944867&k=njbSRSq

...and here is my new Freestyle Ballerina blog page:

Mar 2, 2013

Outdoor dance portrait in Boise, by Mike Reid.

Outdoor dance portraits are my favorite subject to shoot and as dance shots go this one is the S--T! I love this shot. I am so glad this is my shot because if it was somebody else's because then I would have to say "Damn I wish I had shot that" haha.

Sometimes the elements all come together, right subject, in the right place, right light, etc etc etc...this is one of those for me.
I actually shot this three years ago but I re process it every once in a while just to get to play with it again.
You artists out there know what I am talking about.
Shots like this are why I keep loading up the gear and hitting it.

This is Katie Ponozzo my favorite boise dancer...really an amazing artist. I need to shoot her more :).

Feb 26, 2013

Outdoor portrait, light is the thing. By Mike Reid, Boise outdoor portrait photographer.

This is Katrina in light from an sb800 speedlight shot through a softbox. Beautiful model in a very cool setting in a pose you don't see every day. D3 with the 85mm 1.4. this is right before dark on a very chilly day last fall. This is an old town hall built in the late 1800's.

The light adds a lot of character to this shot.

This is Katrina during the same shoot but about 15 minutes earlier, catching the last rays of the sun as it is setting. This is natural light. Nikon D3 and the 85 1.4 used again in this shot.

You can see the benefit of adopting a "best light" strategy. Think of your portraits as a recipe, when you get the mix of components is all good.

Outdoor portraits, some thoughts about the process. By Mike Reid, Boise outdoor portrait photographer.

I like to compare studio portraits to lake fishing out of a boat, and outdoor on location portraits to mountain stream fishing.
Boat fishing is soooo boring, no adventure, same old stuff not very challenging. The terrain never changes.
Stream fishing, you are always moving, seeing new things with endless possibilities. Different terrain every time.

Each portrait session I shoot I try to find a little different locations and shoot those locations and subjects differently than I have before.

I like to think of my self as a best light photographer. I started out shooting portraits several years ago shooting mostly with a basic softbox and speedlight set up. The results were very nice but I found over time that I don't like messing with lights/equipment.
I have come to understand that I would much rather spend my time working my client and the location to find the best settings and using the best available light.

Usually the person I am photographing arrives with a lot of energy and may sometimes be nervous. The last thing they want to do is stand there while I set up lights, adjust, adjust, adjust. That is no fun for anyone.

Now don't get me wrong sometimes lights are required to get the best out of a subject or a setting. Especially when shooting in a mostly green environment like a park....that is speedlight country....unless you like alien green looking skin. I always have my lights with me and will use them for best effect when necessary.

So since I always shoot the last two hours of the day I always have good light "somewhere", I just need to look for it.
Now assuming good light the first thing I do when assembling my portrait is find a nice setting with a non distracting background. Sounds simple enough......
What I have discovered over time is that I am also subconciously looking for backgrounds with a framing effect for my subject. I almost always shoot portraits with the 85 1.4 at 1.8 or 2, or the 70-200 2.8 at 2.8 or 4 and 200mm. I try to get the most blur possible on my backgrounds this helps greatly in making the background non distracting and allows me to use the colors of the background for subject framing.

Now once we have found our background in good light, it is time to place my portrait subject into the frame.
I already have the photo in my head so I know what the background is going to look like so I pick the best spot for the subject.....which I will probably change a couple times before moving to another spot. I like to try 2 or 3 different looks for a background before I move on.

Next is the pose for the subject. Depending on who I am shooting I try to leave the pose/look to the person I am shooting as much as possible, I tell them to do their thing or some version thereof. Some people need help of course, then I help them out to get into the flow of the location.

Then I take the shot, usually from a few different locations, higher lower a bit from the side. I may adjust the subjects pose or angle. Sometimes very small moves can make a big change in the photo.

I usually shoot 6-8 significant scenes per outing with several casual shots taken along the way as we are looking for the next scene.

So experienced professional sees the photo possibilities in their head and then builds the portrait from back to front. A beginner or hobbyist shoots the subject and lets the background fall where it may, essentially creating a portrait built from the front to the back.

For me every portrait session is a search for treasure. I am looking for the light, looking for the backgrounds and all the time working with my subject to have them feeling their best and ready to make the most if it when we find those perfect opportunities to make a great image.

Some shoots you know you killed it before you even get back home and see the photos on the computer screen.   When all the elements come just know it.
Those are the days that keep me picking up the gear and heading out there, nothing else like it.

Feb 20, 2013

Nell, Boise ballerina. Outdoor dance portraits by Boise outdoor portrait photographer Mike Reid.

Nell is a beautiful dancer. She works with one of the Boise dance companies. We did this shoot on a cold winter overcast day in January, it was about 38 degrees.
You could never tell from the photos but the poor girl was freezing. Luckily her car was nearby, so her boyfriend would run and get it warm and then she would go sit until she returned to room temperature then we would shoot again.
My daugher told me to never freeze dancers....probably good advice :).

These are all with natural light and the Nikon d3 with the 85 1.4 lens. Main thing I focused on was to get nice backgrounds and settings in flattering light.
We really did not shoot for more that a few minutes at a time so I was very happy with the number of keepers we did get.

It helped a lot that Nell was a natural poser (as most dancers are) so we didn't have to waste any time in pose coaching, which if you have been following me at all you know I prefer not to do any pose coaching as it slows things down and makes the subject look nervous and unnatural.

Feb 14, 2013

Boise outdoor portraits with Hannah. By Mike Reid.

Boise outdoor portrait shoot with model Hannah, a couple weeks ago at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. This was the second time I have done a shoot in there and there are some really nice sets in there.

These are mostly with the Nikon D3 and the 85 1.4. This is proving to be an excellent combination for natural light photography. All the photos in this set are natural light. Most of these shots are at F2. I always use auto iso so not sure what the iso was but probably ranged from 200 - 800.

Hannah is a fairly experienced model so I did very little posing. I put most of my effort into finding good settings in good light.
She has beautiful hair and amazing blue eyes as you can see in the photos.