All aboard the Broken Heart Express for those of us who still don't have a Valentine for Valentine's Day.
I wouldn't want to pigeonhole and call myself a "UCF Graduation Photographer", but after three years of shooting multiple graduating Knights from the University of Central Florida, it's hard to not adopt that title.
UCF's main campus spans 1,415 acres - if you can't wrap your head around how big that really is, let's just say that it's REALLY big. Within all those acres are numerous locations for UCF Knights to find solace in, as well as use as backdrops for their UCF graduation photos!
Because there are so many, and every semester I definitely get asked where are the best spots to shoot on campus, I've compiled a short list of my favorite spots, if not THE best spots to shoot on campus for graduation photos.
1. John C. Hitt Library Stained Glass Window
Probably one of the lesser-known spots on the list, this stained glass window can be found inside one of the upper floors in the John C. Hitt Library on UCF's main campus. It makes for a powerful & colorful silhouette shot!
2. Pegasus Statue across from the CFE Arena
Many grads make the mistake of waiting until the day of their ceremony to take a picture here, where they are rushed by the hundreds of other grads trying to do the same. My recommendation: don't. Whether you get a grad photographer or not, go there in the days leading up, and you'll thank yourself later.
3. UCF Welcome Center
Another lesser-known location is the UCF Welcome Center. Not only are there gorgeous brick arches with walls covered with green shrubbery, but there is a giant, gold Pegasus emblem that makes for a great backdrop!
4. Student Union Boardwalk
A popular spot for confetti photos, the boardwalk leading to the Student Union is a must-do for graduation photos. The best time to shoot is in the mornings when the sun hasn't exactly gone overhead yet, providing some picture-perfect lighting for a good portrait.
5. Reflecting Pond
Duh! While the pond is currently undergoing maintenance and repairs, it'll be back by the end of Spring 2018 looking better than ever. This is a perfect location to end grad photos by popping off some champagne or just splashing around and cooling off from the sweltering Florida heat.
* I'm currently booking UCF Graduation Photo sessions for the Spring 2018 semester, with multiple packages available at different rates! Don't wait until it's too late - book today @ http://www.marcblair.photography/senior-portraits/
Whenever I go down home to West Palm Beach, FL, I always manage to link up my old friend Dani to shoot together. Most times we just drive around our town, go to rocky beaches, etc. until we're happy with what we get. However, this Thanksgiving weekend I had a different thing in mind: I wanted to shoot some studio-style portraits.
Now, at the very mention of the word "studio", the next thing to come to my mind is usually "expensive", however, as we both found out this weekend, it's very easy producing studio-quality photos on a budget. In fact, turns out all it really takes is some nerve, creativity, and minimal equipment.
Take a look at this shot we took:
Here's an extensive~ list of all the equipment it took to make this shot happen:
- a blue curtain
- a silver reflector
- a Speedlite
- a 33" white umbrella
While the curtain was a less than ideal substitute for an actual backdrop(typically, you don't want any wrinkles), it still worked out better than it should have. Luckily, you can always clean up any wrinkles in the background during the post-processing.
As with anything in photography, it's never really about how much money you've spent on your equipment. I always see so many people obsessing over having the newest and best of EVERYTHING, and honestly, there's no point in stressing over it as long as you just make the most of the resources you already have. That goes for camera bodies as well.
More photos from the session:
While the name suggests you'll be seeing robots, make no doubt that that robots are just the bare minimum of things you'll see in this show.
Although it's been a hot & stormy summer here in Orlando, it didn't stop Travis & I from scheduling an early-morning graduation portrait session, that consisted of all the essentials: a "cool" shot on top of the Pegasus across from CFE arena, popping champagne, and of course: matching your socks with your tassel.
The first 24 hours of this trip felt like a total dream. The smallest things filled me with intrigue and wonder.I must have looked really weird taking pictures of what may have seemed like ordinary day-to-day things to the common Japanese person.
I've been shooting graduation photos for UCF Knights over the past three years, beginning with the lovely ElloSteph from YouTube(check her out if you haven't already)! That's a lot of time in the University of Central Florida's gorgeous reflection pond and a lot of dodging rogue champagne corks!
Without a doubt, Florida is home to some of the best vast displays of Mother Nature. Growing up around it, you either fall in love with it or you begin to hate it.
When is the last time you took a stroll through your local state forest? Have you ever gone to a local state forest, at all?
If not, I highly recommend you go as soon as possible. For all of the jokes people make about Florida's weather, it's actually almost perfect year-round for the outdoors. Even when it does get a little chilly, it actually makes for an enjoyable walk.
One of my favorite forests to go to is Little Big Econ State Forest. Here's some cool info:
The Little Big Econ State Forest is approximately 10,279 acres and was established on March 24, 1994, by the Florida Legislature. The forest's name comes from combining the names of the Little Econlockhatchee River and the larger Econlockhatchee River, which come together just south of the forest.
The forest is quite scenic, and no matter how many times I go, I'm always in awe when I finally see the river. On this particular December afternoon, the water was quite still(or, like glass) and gave a beautiful reflection of the sky and trees above it.
Of course, my friend and I decided to also use Mother Nature as our backdrop for some impromptu model shots~
Getting out into nature is one of the most enlightening and therapeutic things you can do for yourself, and it usually can be enjoyed for free. Whether you want to rekindle your bond with mother nature that you once had as a kid, or just want to take some awesome photos, go to a local state forest ASAP.
Want to find your local state forest? Visit http://www.discovertheforest.org/ and find one near you today!
The end of every semester brings about lots of joy for me. Mostly because it means I'll be able to binge watch all my favorite shows on Netflix with no regrets, but it also means another thing: grad photo sessions! However, this isn't a post to talk about how fun it is to take a splash in the Reflection Pond at the University Central Florida or avoiding a near-death experience from flying champagne corks. This is about something much simpler: editing.
As anyone who is interested in photography, one of the coolest things is to see the transformation of a photograph from its original form, into the finished intended product. Usually, you hear about photographers having to "hide" or take away some distractions, blemishes, acne, etc. to clean up a photo, but, what about having to add a missing gold letter to someone's graduation cap?
For those that don't know, it's a tradition to go all-out decorating your grad cap with whatever your heart desires. I'll be graduating this semester, and I've already had thoughts of somehow incorporating a rowing boat with oars into mine. For one of my clients, Rachel, she wanted hers to be a spin off the famous song from Cinderella, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo."
Unfortunately, tragedy struck when she realized that her cap seemed to have lost one of its sparkling letters, which posed two problems:
- Her cap now read "Bibbidi Obbidi Done," and
- How were we going to continue this shoot when one of the main props was practically ruined?
After closer inspection, and a quick internal audit of my Photoshop skills, I realized it would be a simple job to "copy and paste" one of the Bs from her cap in place of the missing one.
Our shoot went on as planned, and after some post-processing, the task of simply clone brushing one of the Bs to replace the other was a lot simpler than I imagined it would be. Luck was definitely on our sides, because had it been any other letter besides the ones already on the cap, we would have had a much different result.
"But did she ever fix her actual grad cap?!"
Well, I'll let this picture speak for itself...