Welcome to the blog of Steve Bowman Photography. Articles of dubious interest. Fingers crossed I remember to update.
Shoot: Shannon & Brad. Engaged.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012 5:49PM

Almost another casualty of storms tearing through the area, we scheduled this last minute shoot before Shannon & Brad headed back up to La Crosse.. though we didn't make it all the way through to the end before another down pour arrived, it ended up being rather serendipitous... not just because of the stunning pictures we got, but also because it washed off the mud I inflicted upon them by making them wade through the fenlands and lay in the dirt... heck, I'm just pleased the rain shots ended up being what I promised after everything I put them through to get them... "hey, why don't you guys sit in the middle of the road?"...Technically, this was a challenging shoot from a lot of different perspectives. Firstly, scheduling had been an absolute bear as storms tore trough the area all day. Shannon & Brad are not from around here however, and their wedding is creeping up, so we really had to get it done sooner. As such we were on-again-off-again until finally we made a last minute decision to do it. Thankfully, Shannon had requested using a location I know well, that I like and that is close by, which took all of the occassional unknowns off the table.The biggest problem I was having initially was that the ambient was really very dark because of the weather. It felt like shooting at dusk rather than 3 hours before sunset. So it was that interesting problem that I really ...

Shoot: Amy & Paul. Married
Thursday, April 26, 2012 11:05PM

The oldest church in Madison played host to it's newest married couple yesterday, as Amy & Paul ied the knot in front of family and friends from across the country. Once again blessed with great weather, a plethora of awesome locations with an awesome wedding army, and a final surprise for Paul in the fluffy shape of Bucky, it was a great day... Amy & Paul. Married. from Steve Bowman on Vimeo. Anyone notice anything different about the ceremony pictures for this wedding? No? Phew...So, just as Amy had joined Paul and the ceremony begins, my camera has a shutterfart. Not the little kind that causes giggles and smells like cabbage, but the big kind where you really start to worry about whether the 3-day-old taco meat that seemed like a good idea turned out to be a very very bad idea resulting in a shower and a pair of pants in the garbage. Funnily enough the physical reaction was just as bad as that rather disgusting metaphor... wide-eyed panic, cold sweat and insta-angst.Like any piece of technology, they seem to have a mind of their own... like a capricious child, knowing they have you over a barrel, they decide they need some alone-time and down tools. Now, for a photographer, there are few moments worse for this to happen than the beginning of a wedding ceremony.I wish I could tell you what it was, or how I fixed it, but I still have no clue. All I know is that ...

Technique: Dance Dance Revolution.
Monday, March 19, 2012 4:35AM

It's that time of the night where everyone is relieved... the bride & groom can finally get off of their timeline, the guests finally have implied permission to drink copious amounts of alcohol, and the photographer knows the work day is almost over. It's time for the dance floor to become the center of attention.Before the alcohol-fueled mayhem really takes off however, there's the final formal moment of the day: The first dance. This is really one of the most intimate moments of the day. If by intimate you mean standing in a spot light, being watched by hundreds of people judging your slow-dancing skills. That said, you can catch some really tender moments right here, and therefore deserves so much more than just mounting your flash on top of your camera and banging away.We all have a vision of how this should look through photography however, and there are a couple of considerations to make.Usually it's intentionally dark during this event, which spotlights the couple. This leaves you with a few choices as to how you approach it. My lighting set up is always the same, though my choice of settings and positioning can produce very different results.Without exception, I always go for a two light scheme for the formal dances. The key is a boomed 22" beauty dish, and the second flash is always set on a tripod to a height of about 3ft, and angled to about 30 degrees. The ...

Opinion: Driving Creativity..
Sunday, March 11, 2012 11:30PM

Yeah, I've had better ideas when it comes to a witty title, but don't judge. I think a lot about creativity. Whether it's rolling my eyes at it's erroneous over-use amongst photographers, or trying to distill what I like and don't like about certain things that I do.There's a truism out there that there's no such thing as an original idea. Not to say that everything's stolen, but to a point it is. Then we take what we stole, give it a paint job, a new name and pass it off as our own. It's the nature of any creative work, unless you have Apollo's daughters on hand.Sources however can be very abstract and surprising. Thanks in large part to a constant burden of being a transplant in the US, I tend to gravitate to things that remind me of home. I can only take you Yanks so long before I need a mental break, you see. Happily, there's BBC America which has a strange albeit fortunate habit of running shows in marathons. One of their flagship shows on this watered-down network of British TV is the mighty Top Gear. Primarily a show about cars, it would be more like saying The Biggest Loser is about health & finess. You don't tune in to watch them exercise, you tune in to see morbidly obese people fall over to an over-dramatic soundtrack. As such, you watch Top Gear to watch them ride across Vietnam on scooters, make celebrities drive economy cars around a track, and generally ...

Shoot: Lindsey & Carl. Married.
Friday, March 09, 2012 9:07PM

I'm convinced that Illinois wouldn't have the budget deficit it has if it weren't powering the traffic lights it has every 25 yards... however, it was hard to be sassy being down there given the occassion that brought me. Lawyer Lindsey & Chef Carl, in town from Virginia, tied the knot in a charming little lodge in a warp speed ceremony... so enjoyable a day it was I don't even begrudge the fact I almost lost my fingers to frostbite during the portraits... though it was my own fault for declining Lindsey's kind offer to borrow her shawl.. I'm sure it will be much better in Jamaica which is where they're headed tomorrow... Lindsey & Carl. Married. from Steve Bowman on Vimeo.So remember when I wrote that post on black and white images a few weeks ago and talked about seeing a predominance of them in wedding photography because of poor light? Well, as adorable as Lindsey & Carl's wedding was, this would have been a prime candidate for that...The location for the ceremony was a quaint lodge in Spring Grove IL. Fresh snow fall, frigid temperatures and a late kick off meant we didn't get to use the great location, (but one can imagine what it would be like in summer or fall), yet for all the promise of the gardens, for the guests, the lodge was just as warm and welcoming. For the photographer, however, it was frought with problems.I think the technical term is freakin' ...

Shoot: Angela & Jon. Married.
Friday, March 02, 2012 6:40PM

"Huge" was the order of the day for Angela & Jon... huge ceremony, huge reception, huge wedding party, huge amounts of friends, families, laughs and alcohol... ultimately a huge amount of fun for everyone involved.. starting in K-town, then road tripping it up to the Pfister via the art museum it was an unbelievable day...Angela & Jon. Married. from Steve Bowman on Vimeo. Good lord... going from my smallest wedding of the year to my largest was somewhat of a face-melter. The slideshow blurb really doesn't do justice to just how big things were. In reality, going into this wedding, I was a little curious as to how it was going to go from an operational viewpoint, especially the size of the bridal party. For those of you who don't shoot weddings, let me set the scene for what this portion of the portrait shoot is like...Firstly, though they profoundly love the bride and groom for whatever their respective reasons (forced to because they're related, or because back in college they bailed them out of jail after an alcohol-fueled adventure involving a goat, a speedboat and a pair of clown shoes..I don't judge), inevitably in their eyes, they've fulfiled their bridal party duties and are primed to collect their reward...a meal, an open bar and a dance floor. Rarely do they seem to have patience for the photographer trying to herd them in kitten-like fashion...This ...

Shoot: Emily & Mike. Engaged.
Sunday, January 29, 2012 4:18PM

I'll resist the urge to say how brisk it was today at the Briski family farm. Or I won't. Either way it was, and brisk I mean bloody freezing. After a while on the tundra that was a field, we warmed up in dad's workshop to the alternate strains of heavy rock and classical music, before heading into the barn for a roll in the hay while Wilson hunted cats interminably... between freely flowing noses, hand-warming arm pits and frozen foreheads however, Emily & Mike performed admirably, and I'm sure when hypothermia isn't on the cards they'll look even better when you see them next... Emily & Mike. Engaged. from Steve Bowman on Vimeo. Not kidding about that wind. We'll just say it was a great day to have a 8lb beauty dish rather than a soft box. In addition we had noon-day sun and very open areas to work with. Not being familiar once again with the location as it was Emily's family farm, it's always a bit of a stress to pick out the halfdozen locations to hit across the session.We started in a small copse of trees after a cold walk across the fields, and though it mercifully cut the wind, working inside thickets is tough as once again I'm relying on the tele to thin the DoF. Any wider shots either looked very messy with the background of bare branches, or they had to be the tight portraits. That said, it gave Emily & Mike some time to settle in with some basic ...