What happens when a photographer throws a Christmas party?! Hours of PHOTOBOOTH fun! I kept it simple - my "booth" was made up of a Nikon D90 on a tripod, a SB800 flash on a light stand with a shoot-through umbrella, a Botero collapsible grey background and my MacBookPro for viewing purposes. Add a wireless trigger for the flash, a remote control, a cord to tether the camera to the computer and a box of props from the party store... and voila! Its probably safe to assume that not many people actually read my list of photobooth rules posted in the entryway but I guess it wasn't too difficult to figure out: Stand in front of camera, press the remote to take a photo, view the photo on the screen... and repeat. The next day, I suddenly had 523 images to go through and a group of people who can't wait until the next photobooth event! As suspected, the pictures only started out fairly innocent and wholesome. Here are just a few that passed the public viewing test...
For a few days every December, the artists outnumber the non-artists in Miami. Two words: Arts. Basel.If you're unfamiliar with Art Basel - its a giant art playground for people like me. In other words, its an international contemporary art fair that only happens in Switzerland and Miami. We stayed away from the convention center in South Beach and hung out in the art/design district for the day, where there were still a ton of events going on. Here's a glimpse into my day - starting at Wynwood Walls, all through Midtown and then ending at Art Miami and Red Dot...
Noah is now 6 months old and taking photos of him is no longer just waiting for him to go to sleep and putting him on a pillow. This little bug is moving now and it took a whole crew to keep him in front of the camera. In fact, practically the whole shoot was directed and designed by Noah's mom... my best friend. Hopefully I captured her vision in my own style - I think they'll have plenty of photos to choose from for their holiday cards! He sure makes an adorable Santa!
Iris had no idea what was coming. While she was blindfolded and escorted into the clubhouse, about 80 of her closest friends and family waited to surprise her with an incredibly memorable 75th birthday party. All of the hard work put into creating such a great celebration, had to instantly pay off when her face lit up with amazement.I enjoyed being an observer of it all – hundred of memories floating around… old pictures being passed back and forth… so. much. emotion. I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate 75 years young!Happy birthday, Iris! Lots more photos to come! (the whole gallery will be posted here soon: tammij.photoshelter.com)
Sometimes, photos should come with warning labels.... "You're about to smile." "You're about to laugh." "You're about to fall in love with this adorable face." "You're about to book me for your own session so you can have photos of your own children looking this happy." Okay, okay, I may have just thrown in that last one for fun... but seriously... Can you look at this smile without smiling yourself?!This is Jordan. He may only be 13 months old but he covered every inch of Volunteer Park in Sunrise last Saturday morning. So if you find it entertaining to imagine me chasing him everywhere with my camera, feel free to do so. I didn't want to miss a beat. Or a shot. Letting kids run free and play on whatever they want may make the picture-taking process a bit more difficult, but I'm always striving to capture their true personality and natural smiles. The only way to do that is to let them be themselves. Are you taking notes? Tammi J Photography, Lesson #1: Keep the kid(s) happy - the photos will show it. Its not usually very difficult... until you try to sit the child down and face your camera for that unexciting, but highly sought after posed group photo - kind of like the last one in this post, of Jordan with his Mom and Dad. I'll let you in on a little secret, though... He's not smiling that big because he likes me... or because I told him to say "cheese". Which I guess can bring me to lesson #2 - ALWAYS pack a bottle of bubbles.I wasn't the only busy one at this shoot... Jordan ran, played, helped drive the golf cart and even took quite a few photos himself. But enough small talk... on to the cuteness. Ready... set... go!
"Pumpkin patches." Just one of the many things very different down here than it is in Chicago. In Chicago, October was one of those times of the year that you had to leave the city and remind yourself that you do in fact live in the Midwest in Illinois... and you're surrounded by nothing by farms. And corn. A whole lot of corn. Before Halloween, we'd drive an hour or so out to one of the many farms in the suburbs that grew pumpkins. The idea of visiting a pumpkin patch included much more than actually visiting the patch and picking your pumpkin. It was a an entire day's event. Hay rides, caramel apples, face painting, corn mazes (yes corn mazes), apple cider, etc. So this year, when we were invited to the "pumpkin patch" in Miami, I was confused. There aren't pumpkin farms in Miami, are there?! Turns out a South Florida pumpkin patch is actually just a pile of bought pumpkins piled in a Church parking lot. Nothing really to keep you there for more than 30 minutes except maybe the indecisiveness of the kids choosing pumpkins and the very urban playground right next door. Oh well, still a fun day!
Remember this little bug born back in May?! Well he keeps getting bigger... and fast! Since it would be silly to blog his 3 month portraits at the same time as his Baptism event photos and some shots from 4.5 months... I'll just combine a few of my favorites from the past couple months all in one post. Hope it doesn't overwhelm you with cuteness. Next up will be holiday portraits - I can't wait to see how much he's grown! You don't have to deny it... I know you can't either.
Don't hate me for being a slacking blogger - a lot has happened in the past few months. Including a big move... all the way from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you know me, you won't have to ask me why - you know this is where I'm from and this is where my family still is. If you don't know me... well, you probably still wouldn't feel the need to ask me why. But I swear to you, the winters had nothing to do with my decision to leave. I miss Chicago. The city. The people. In fact, this very post is about two of the people I miss the most.Meet Larry and Jenny. My other two-thirds. Two of the best friends anyone could ask for. To say I have been a huge part of their entire relationship probably sounds a bit odd - but its the truth. Such a huge part, that when Larry decided to ask Jenny to marry him, I got to be a part of setting up the proposal. 4 pages of instructions, 200 stars and hearts, 200 pieces of tape, dozens of candles and only 2 close-calls losing my balance on top of a chair trying to reach the ceiling. I may have cursed Larry hundreds of times during the hours I was there setting up, but being a part of his super cute plan and an extra special day in their forever... totally worth it.We knew we had to get engagement photos done before I left for South Florida and we picked a perfect Chicago day to do them. My favorite part of the day was seeing them leave the session more in love than ever. And of course ending the night enjoying pizza and beer on their couch, total LarJenTMJ style.Capturing this love story was so special to me. I can't wait until the wedding!!
One June 7th, singer-songwriter, Brandi Carlile's voice carried through all of Millennium Park. She's definitely one of those artists who is best appreciated live - which obviously was the force behind her latest album, Live at Benaroya Hall with The Seattle Symphony. I think it’s a combination of her great energy on stage and the sometimes-heartbreaking themes behind her songs that really closes the gap between the performer and the audience. Even in this case, when some of the audience was stretched out on a picnic blanket more than an entire city block from the stage.
June 1st was a historical day for our state - it was the first day same-sex couples could obtain civil union licenses from the County Clerk. June 2nd was the first day these civil union ceremonies could be performed. The city of Chicago held a celebration on that Thursday morning, where they hosted 32 civil union ceremonies in Wrigley Square of Millennium Park. Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended and spoke at the event, and Cook County Clerk David Orr, the Hon. Timothy C. Evans, Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, and members of the Alliance of Illinois Judges all officiated the civil union ceremonies.When I was first was asked to shoot the event for The L Stop, I had no idea what to expect. I'll be honest and admit that one of my first thoughts were, 'there are going to be a lot of protesters'. I'm now embarrassed to think that I ever expected anything negative. So much love. So much happy. Although filled with TONS of media and press from every newspaper, radio station and news channel, the event still seemed private (the pitiful 4 or 5 protestors from the Defense of Marriage Act were held far away from the closed off event). Couples were brought to stations 4 at a time and performed their ceremonies surrounded by their closest friends and family... oh yeah, and about 50 cameras trying to capture the history.Alright, so here's the deal. I'm not one to cry at weddings and get all emotional. But these couples have waited SO long to be able to finally be declared spouses legally in the state of Illinois, it was so hard to not get choked up. I overheard so many heartfelt vows in one day, my goosebumps didn't leave until I was on the train heading home. You couldn't help but awh at the oldest participating couple, Patrick and Jim - at 79 and 73 years of age, these two have been together for 47 years. 47 YEARS! They spoke of how they were forced to be closeted when they first got together and it was hard for them to believe they were now living in a time where they can not only publicly declare their love for each other, but also be declared legal spouses by the state.I won't take this opportunity to remind everyone that we still have a long way to come - civil unions are still not marriage - but simply to congratulate the 36 (including the 4 last minute ceremonies) couples that entered into a civil union on that Chicago morning and all the others that have or plan to, across the state.