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: ‘Portrait’



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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

 

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Beach Stroll with the Family

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

There comes a time in life when your kids go off to school and life starts going in different directions. Some of my most happy moments is when I can do a family session with one of these families that takes the time to stroll and just be family while I capture their togetherness. Hanging out on the beach with the C family kept me smiling. The moments captured were priceless. Enjoy!

 

Part of what makes my job so enjoyable is seeing the interaction in other families. This family had amazing communication and sent off awesome happy vibes.

After a session like this I run home looking forward to the editing time – to relive those happy faces all over.  How can you not smile after spending time with these guys?!

This image above is a square image. I often like to take similar shots and crop them differently to give another perspective of the moment and look for the home. Many frames are built as square – or if someone wants a centered image, the square works beautifully.  15×15, 20×20

The most popular crop in my collections is the 2×3 crop. This is the one that is shot in camera. This particular crop is one I love because it shows so much more. It does not feel cut off as I find the 8×10 feels.  The 8×10 crop works great for a head shot, sure. But when you combine Nature and Family you kind of want it all! For this reason I go with the 2×3. This can be a gorgeous 16×24. Those additional 4 inches captures a lot!

Again, I love my cropping. Here is the same image in a 10×20 (which can be a 15×30 or 20×40) crop. Where the square hones in on one aspect of an image, the 2×4 gives more. By the time you start moving on to the 10×20 you are getting more of an almost (not quite) panoramic type feel. I find that this can be so fun vertical or horizontal. I have quite a few of this crop in my own home. Just love it! Works wonders with storyboard work as well.

Often times, before a photo session, I will show my clients the many products that I offer. During that time I take note of the images that make them go ooooo or ahhhh. If they tend to lean towards images with textures (a bit more artistic) then I make sure that in the session I get enough images that I may play with them using textures. Offering a different and fun look for them to choose from. I loved this setting for textures because of the colors and features already there. I knew I could make it pop in a very fun way.

As you can see ~ The family has pets. These dogs were so fun. They loved the water and were game, along with everyone else, to jump right in!  When pets join the fun I like to take moments and get them individually as well. Many of life’s memories include these fury fun family members. For that reason it is important that they shine too!  In the next 3 you can see I took some very similar images which was the intent. I do that so that if a story board was requested I would have 3 images that match perfectly.

There were seagulls everywhere, the lighting was so dreamy, and the dog was being a dog. What a fun sequence to capture!

There are a variety of looks in just one small area. When talking to the boys I asked what setting each liked. By doing so, hopefully each member in the family will have something they enjoy come out of the session. One of the boys loved the grass. Because this family is 3/4ths men – I thought this son’s choice would be perfect for their together shot.

If dad gets to be with the boys then of coarse I wanted mom to have her moment too. I love how they were all willing to stick their feet in the water. The setting was serene.

You know – I wish I could take credit for what the animals, birds were doing while shooting this. Not only were the guys so natural at smiling and making my job easy – but the animals all seemed to know what I was aiming for and performed perfectly!

I can never explain how important mom and dad time is too. Maybe because I feel that that is so in our house. I love those tender moments. Ok, maybe it is the romantic in me. This beach had its fair share of perfect spots – and this couple were so beautiful together. It is no wonder they have such a darling family!

Here is another crop. I love this image. And yes – often you want a close up of the two – but there are times when a person wants a piece of art in their home. This is an example of that. This is a 10×30 crop. Very thin but works great over archways or doorways. If you have a collage on your wall the 10×30 adds a fun new dynamic to the set.

J&D Thanks so much for letting me spend an evening with you and  your boys! I loved how friendly, fun, and easy your family was to work with. Loved all the smiles and laughter! It was a perfect way to capture this time in all your lives. Thanks again!

 

 

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