CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Tag: ‘Photographer’



LDS Temple Photographer

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

I believe supporting my fellow photographers and friends. One way of doing this is by helping them with exposure. I have a dear friend Robert Boyd and his family. He is a phenomenal photographer/artist. He currently has written and released a book with his art. His art is LDS Temples. A sacred place to those who belong to the LDS community/religion.  So very excited for he and his family. I recommend the book to anyone who is LDS & to ANYONE who appreciates beautiful art or has an interest in religion.  I personally have a love an respect for all beliefs – and am amazed at images that portray different aspects of ones culture.

So a HUGE Congratulations to you Robert!

His Facebook Fan page & Website
https://www.facebook.com/RobertABoydFineArt

http://www.robertaboyd.com

His book can be found here:

Deseret Book

Amazon

And other book selling retailers.

For those wondering – I am not LDS. As mentioned many times, I have a great love and respect for those who cherish their beliefs as well as other fellow artists.

 

Practice Starts with Me March of 2013

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

I am the first to admit that I cannot stand being in front of a camera. I am not comfortable with the skin I am in and am not good at posing myself. I cannot tell you if I look good or not cause I don’t see it. But when I am behind the camera I see what I like or don’t like. Not sure how many can relate to this, but my self image is not the best.

As  a photographer I believe in always challenging myself with new or different things, from editing to ways of shooting. Afterall, the more you shoot, understand, and practice – the better you can get. Does that mean all my images are great? NOPE Not at all. I take my fair share of FLOPS. The thing is I cull through the images before bringing them to you. Heeeheeeheeee. So this particular blog is not going to be my most comfortable blog. I am going to share my personal challenges from Feb. 2013 and a few images from it too.

Always remember that practice is just that – practice. Here I had challenged myself to shoot some self portraits. If I am not comfortable and feel what others feel, I may become more empathetic to how those in front of my camera may feel. Here – you all can see my own discomfort too. :/ Can  you sense my nervousness?

_DSC3843bfweb

So – I admit one thing here. I did not push the shutter and I had a tad of guidance from my dear friend Stacey. I will go into that later. Some things I did to feel better about the session was make sure I did my hair. I have natural curl, but I still curled it. I made sure to wear a little makeup, and I bought a new shirt. I felt beautiful. Because I felt beautiful – I was much more relaxed than I would have been otherwise.

_DSC3844fweb

I loved the look and texture of the gray rug on the floor. Not too distracting but not too plain – hopefully adding without taking away from the image. I think it did well. I also put myself down lower on the ground so you could not all look at my double chin. That meant a lot to me.

As I mentioned, Stacey assisted me some with this, but it help me to think a bit outside the box. When I got home from Wisconsin I decided to try another self portrait session in my own yard, outside, on my own. I did get my daughter to help keep the camera from being blown over – but then I also ran back and forth attempting to get a good shot. (If that was possible.)

The day was a bit rainy so I went with wet hair. (Something, I realize, would have looked better had I done my hair or dried it some.) The feel was intended to be the raw me though, so I feel that it turned out as it should. I feel like a princess living out in the woods. It is hard to feel like a princess in the brush as I hope you can see in the next few shots.

_DSC3858fweb

It is hard not to be in tears while posting this. I find that this shot is a small look into my soul so bear with me. I am not comfortable, I am nervous to look at the camera, I am ok with the viewer seeing simply a profile of me. I am a mom of five and my body shows that. Unfortunately, my metabolism does not make it easy to keep my once under appreciated body. It is hard not to look past my own shell.

_DSC3861fweb

My first attempt to look at the camera when the shutter released was not easy at all. I had to coax myself into it. Not fully accepting of the moment, the task, or myself – I just did it.

_DSC3879fweb

I then told myself to be pleased with the fact that I tried and that is what counts. Honestly, I am very proud of myself and often draw back on this experience when shooting others. I try to stop and remember how I felt so I could better help others feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Of coarse, I had to turn to my children to brush off the experience,  because thinking too hard about it is never good. I had time enough to edit and dwell on it – then becoming more pleased with the overall outcome.

_DSC3887fweb

My girl is my constant companion! She loves to assist me on shoots – even those of just myself. She was also my comforter this day saying “Mom – You are beautiful!” I love that they are there to help me reflect through their eyes. This is my angel. Grateful I can practice on all of my babies.

_DSC3894fweb

 

My son was hanging out watching what was happening. I thought – I want to practice in Full sun. Where would I go in a huge meadow with only one tree. He was in reg. school or play clothes – nothing thought out at all. So we worked it and he of coarse nailed it for me :)

This is not an uncommon day at all for me. I will keep some and get rid of other images – learning from it all. I then will go to plants and work on macro images. They are so fun and help me to become better at focusing. Understanding Depth of Field (DOF).

 

_DSC3904bfweb

I have discovered that although tilted images may be popular and fun – I don’t like how I do them LOL I tend to want to tweak it upright after all is said and done.

_DSC3908fweb

Here are some shots of our huckleberry bushes. I love the contrast of reds and greens.  shooting in full sun gave me a bunch of options to work on – from dealing with shadows to over exposure. I also work on colors and b&w options.

_DSC3909bfweb

_DSC3909fweb

Both of these shots were played with in color and b&w. In the end I liked both options Hahaha.

_DSC3910bfweb

_DSC3910fweb

Many think that being a photographer is quite glamorous. I am here to testify that it is work, practice, work, with some success inserted – but never without work and practice.

Thanks for letting me pull some pieces out of my vault. Thanks for letting me share a bit of me.

Blast Back through 2013 (The beginning)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Blasting back through 2013 because I have neglected my blog for so long. Why? Same old excuses, I suppose – LIFE. Family, Work, Sessions. Only issue is that I was not able to juggle it all on my own. So I guess it is not really the same old same old. Either way, I have missed my time sharing – writing and sharing some outstanding images with all of you. So I am going to try to get back into the swing of posting more regularly.  At first, please be patient with me as I am going to be catching up on a Year worth of images and session. There has been quite a mix of things happening, such as my branching out into designing book covers and editing as well as being the Mom of 5, doing it with my husband working away from home for long periods of time, being a parapro at the kids school, and doing what I love PHOTOGRAPHY.  But don’t worry, I will try to break it all down step by step. So let’s rehash 2013, step by step, as I throw in the current as well.

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014. Myself, I am excited for the new. Grateful to be looking back on 2013 as a memory.  Let’s take our first walk back into 2013.

January 2013

January 2013

Do you all remember this image I brought to all of you? Can you believe it was over a year ago? I think it is a great start. Let’s move forward to the present from here. This session thrilled me because not only did it look great with colors, setting – but it worked perfectly with colors in my home. I will come back to this session one more time once we get to April’s posts for 2013. For now I want to talk about color.  If you notice we have a few colors going on in this image. My girls are wearing sweater dresses. Both are the same style but different colors. My oldest is in gray, white design, and a red ribbon trim that matches her sister’s red sweater dress. I don’t always go for the matchy matchy, but this went well because they were different in color, but one dress had only 2 colors while the other had 3 colors, drawing on the younger sisters colored dress with that ribbon color. They both have matching winter boots. White and black.

Fun thing with gray’s and blacks is that they work well if they are in the same tone. So I have my boys in Red, Drk. Gray, and Black White and Red sweaters. For pants, I would have liked them to wear jeans, but my boys have different personalities. My youngest and oldest like to dress up so they chose dress pants. LOL obviously the oldest child was not too concerned about it matching perfectly. My middle son likes jeans so he went with that. Sometimes it is worth not even worrying about “the exact look” I want, but on the session being a success & remembering that this is them! They dress like this. I don’t want a fake of what they like to look like – but to capture them and what they do look like now. So we made it work.

Why sweaters? Well, it is cold out here at winter time. I figured that if the girls were in sweater dresses then why not sweaters for the boys. I love the texture and look of sweaters. It dresses it up without having to throw a tie in. The kids are comfy and happy. That is what you want when planning on your next family session. Happy, and comfy – while keeping their personalities in tack :)

As a group they looked fantabulous. As Individuals they looked just as spectacular!

_DSC1534fweb

 

With girls – I like clothing that allows motion. Motion in movement, motion in wind.  The setting makes a difference for sure. If you look here you can see her movement, the dress’s movement, with the waves splashing in the background. Together it makes a very fun and moving image.

_DSC1477fweb

I am a girl to the very core. I love twirl! So if someone comes to me with ruffles and skirts… well, we must twirl! It helps having motion and texture in the outfit.

_DSC1183fweb

I really thought his pants would not work – but you know, they match the sand. Who would have thought. Nature taught me a lesson. I relaxed and that is when magic happened. My son became a knight fighting battles with his stick sword on the beach. His phantom enemy retreated in defeat, back into the ocean. My son the victor was one happy boy!

_DSC1228fweb

A moment that would not have been as beautiful had I flipped out on the choice of his britches.

_DSC1266fweb

Where one boys stick becomes a sword – the other’s becomes a shovel of sorts. The possibilities are endless when you have more that one boy or stick or both!  At sessions I try to tell people to not be so worried about dirt either. Dirt washes, while moments last forever, especially when you take a moment to allow myself or a photographer capture it for you!

_DSC1233fweb

Had I been upset about the dirt I would have never captured the pure joy in his face. In fact, I am pretty sure the stick and the dirt both had a part in his delight. Hahaha

_DSC1324fweb

When I see this I see not just what he is wearing and the setting – but his entire personality. The clothes do help create that atmosphere alone with everything around him. As you can tell, he does not have movement, but a look of satisfaction.

_DSC1114bfweb

If you are a fan of black and whites and you can’t find anything that matches – I suppose you can have it all converted to a black and white session. Those are just as beautiful. However, if you want it in color – try to find colors within the same tones. Blues within the same tones, Reds, Pinks, and so forth.

_DSC1084fwebA

In the end – just try to enjoy the moment. The more you enjoy it – the better the images will turn out. If you are a parent then relax. If you are tense it will be a miserable experience for all. You might even get some blackmail images for your child in the future. Hahahaha But it will turn out ok. You would be surprised at the magic us photographers can capture and produce when you do not see it in the moment. For instance – this particular image above. Just moments before they were bickering (not uncommon between close sisters or siblings.) The very next moment they were best friends! Wa – la!  One f my favorite images and moments captured forever!

This may seem like an endless post on clothing, colors, and hints – but I hope you will have also learned that the best thing to do once you have researched and found the photographer for you is to then enjoy the session & relax!

Please feel free to post comments or thoughts. I will have some newer sessions on here shortly for you to enjoy!

 

 

Invites, Postcards, Announcements… and more

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We have options, options, and more options. The options are limitless. Christmas cards, Wedding announcements, Postcards, we even make bookmarks that are a hit at Valentine’s!  Here are just a few for you to look at. I will bring more to you in the near future. Although great to look at, it does not even compare to seeing and feeling them in person. Everyone that has examined these are wowed. Your images truly shine and are complimented perfectly in these printing formats. When you choose a card I will custom design the card for you. We discuss and I give you the option to switch it up or keep it as is. The goal is to make you happy with what you are getting.

I have to say that that Christmas card was one of my favorites. Not only are the kids cute – but the template works perfect for families or children. It is a definite favorite!

I have to say that my 4×9 wedding announcements have had the best feedback! Everyone of my couples have had the greatest response to how amazing these look! Each time I have opened up a new set for examination I just ooo and aaaa myself. What else is cool is that they fit perfectly in a legal size envelope. These cards make sending announcements quite affordable.

The colors are brilliant. There are other sizes and uses for the post card style. You can use them as High School Senior announcements or advertising.

I have also made calendars from these to hand out examples of my own work, made bookmarks for my children, I cannot say enough great things about these.

I am a perfectionist and I have to have my colors just right! I have to have my quality just right – after all, these represent myself as an artist. If you would like a sample of this sent to you feel free to contact us requesting an announcement sample with your address and I will mail it out to you.

New Spiral Bound Photo Books!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Introducing our newest product. The new Spiral Bound Photo Books!

Why ~ I am not a fan of preview books for a couple of reason, one mainly being that they don’t look great to me. I like polished finished looks to all my products. This is a new product that can serve several purposes. It looks great, it presents beautifully, it showcases images perfectly, it can be used as an affordable alternative, and did I mention how beautiful these are?

The new books come packaged in a black box with tissue wrapped around it for protection.

As you can see the book has a custom designed hard cover with image on the front. The texture is linen. Angled just right you can see it. Gives it a wonderful polished feel. If you prefer no texture that is an option as well.

Both the front and back covers are made of hard material. This book is a 5×7 size. I chose that option because it shows off your images so nicely. Not too small and not to large.

I love how the book lies flat because of the spiral binding. This book takes up very little room, yet has big appeal.

The pages turn on the spiral binding quite smoothly. The picture quality is gorgeous. I would not choose a product that does not show well or that I would not want in my own home. This is definitely a product I enjoy in my home. This is a great gift item for parents or grandparents – family members.

The standard book comes with 10 pages (20 images). Up to 10 extra pages (2 images per page) can be purchased so  you can potentially have a total of 40 images. The Spiral Bound Photo Book I have here has the standard 10 pages.

One thing that I enjoy doing each year is making photo albums or books of my children. I would love to have one for each child. Having an affordable option is something that definitely appeals to me as a mom of 5 with many extended family members. This is also a wonderful option for all types of shoots: Model portfolio building, Children, High school Seniors, Couples, Parent books, Boudoir shoot, Trash the Dress shoots.  I am squealing at how cool these are!

The options are currently:

Spiral Bound Photo Books

Hinged Albums

Senior Session Albums

Layflat Albums

Ice Layflat Albums

Would love to have your feed back on any of these options. If you need information like sizing and pricing feel free to contact me.  Now off to work on editing some more sessions to bring to you! :)

Kaitlyn Martin ~ Singer/Songwriter ~ High School Senior

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

This uber talented girl was such a great sport! Let me first tell you about her. She is a singer/songwriter. She has a song already recorded and available to purchase with a video as well on youtube.  The song is “Hey You”.  Here is the link to the video .  If you decide you want to purchase the song you can do so here at iTunes .  She has a fan page on facebook for those of you who would like to follow her progress.  You can visit her Facebook Page HERE .

Kaitlyn graduated from High School this year.  She is the winner of Terrace Idol 2012.  She performs all over Seattle including at events such as The Police Explorer’s Talent Show, Art festivals, and Farmer markets ~ Drawing some of the largest crowds the events managers have seen in the years they have held their events.

Being Kaitlyn’s photographer has been so fun for me, not only because of the shoot – but my children have become a HUGE fan of hers, telling me that she is their new favorite music artist, that Selina Gomez is now their number 2 LOL. It is very “COOL” for them to meet and know a recorded musician. Not only that – Kaitlyn’s parents are some amazing people!  Active with all of their 4 children – spending time with them doing family adventures. They are genuinely good people who I enjoy knowing.

So for our Photoshoot we hit 2 main locations. The first being Seattle. There is a specific alley that I love for its character. Then we went on to Fort Casey on Widbey Island. It is also another favorite place for me to shoot. I love the versatility of the park. From barracks to beaches to light houses. The place offers to much – and again the personality. Simply could not have asked for a better location.  On the way to Fort Casey we also made a super quick stop to a mini field that most people do not know about. It is a place I had stumbled across with my own family. Usually containing tall grasses for fun shoots, this time it sported a field of purple thistles. It was a perfect match for the outfit she had chosen, unbeknownst to us.  So here is her photo session(s).

Kaitlyn Martin ~ Definitely a name you do not want to forget. Check out her work. This girl can’t help but make you smile, from her images to her music!  Thanks so much Kaitlyn for spending the day with me. It was a full day but as everyone can see – a very successful shoot! Looking forward to hearing more of your amazing songs too!

Jessica Lemmons ~ Trash the Dress

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

One of my all time favorite types of photography is the Trash the Dress shoots!  For me as the photographer it lets me be ultra creative.  The thing that makes it even more fun is other fellow photographers on board with the fun.  I had the pleasure of having my fellow photographer and friend, Jessica Lemmons of  Jessica Lemmons Photography,  have the desire to do a trash the dress session since she is going through a divorce.  We have come to find that Trash the Dress sessions are very therapeutic for those going through such a stressful time, such as divorce, in their lives.  What topped it all off was that I was not shooting this alone!  My dear friend Stacey Hamilton of  Time’s 3 Photography in Racine, Wisconsin was here with me too.  Keep checking her blog out for the images she captured from our amazing day!!!

I can not tell you of the FUN we had!  We had crowds stopping and asking questions right there in downtown Seattle as we worked our camera’s.  We had one man stop and say he wanted to be in the movies and that we should take shots of him because he had blue and green eyes!  :)  We had others just stop in the middle of the road to have a chance to speak with Jessica – our amazingly gorgeous model!  Then we went into an interesting alley way to get a new feel.  After those adventures we took it to the beach – docks – and yes! You all know me – we were in the WATER!!!!  Here it is for you all to enjoy:

That is a Wrap!  Well, at least as far as you know ;).  We are definitely going to have to have future updates or shoots.  If you are interested in a fun Trash the dress session just email any of us ~ And do not forget to visit both Jessica and Stacey’s blogs.

 

 

 

Model and SPA

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

At the SPA Studio they would have a Wednesday Feature model night.  This is where a model would come.  We would choose the location in our studio we wanted to work in, set up our set and our lights (as a photographer) – then we would take turns working with the model.  She or he would cycle through each of the 2-5 different photographers.  The great thing about this program is that the model would get some fun images for their portfolio, practice working with different photographers, and experience working the camera – the photographer would get to work on their lighting, posing, techniques, communication.   Here are some images from a model that the camera absolutely loved.  For me she was a model that made my job as a photographer a breeze!  (Again – thank you to When for this opportunity to work in your studio and for finding amazing models to work with as well.)

Before I show her images I have a couple images of fellow photographers.  It is great because we work as a team while setting up in that we will stand in and let the photographers shoot us to test their lighting and tweak it as necessary.  These guys John Clark and Ted Leung both were kind enough to stand in and let me test my set up before shooting my model.  Thank you guys!!!

John Clark has a great understanding of studio lighting.  He is quiet and sweet as can be.  Photography is not his day job – he calls it his hobby, but he sure knows how to rock that camera!

Ted Leung is a husband, father, hard worker – and adds photography to his other jobs.  He is creative in his shooting.  It was fun shooting along side him because he is innovative and does not settle for less!

Ok back to our model for that night:

If you are a photographer and you have the chance to work with Kristen Rey do so.  She will make your job that much more enjoyable and very easy to accomplish.  Thanks again to SPA – When, John, Ted, and Kristen.

 

All Images Copyright CJ Wilkes Photography | Blog Theme Created by LJP & SLR Lounge