Oak Tree Photography bio picture

Business Portrait on Steroids

So Tricia met me at my studio estate for a business portrait. Such portraits are usually quick work—put them in front of a backdrop, have them stand tall, lean this way, turn and look here—click, click and you’re done. But Tricia wanted an outdoor business portrait. She brought two outfit changes. She was in no hurry. As we chatted I learned she’d not had senior portraits in high school. I suggested we act like this was a mini-session for a senior. She was agreeable. The evening was unseasonably mild, and the images started great and got better. The end result is the selection you see here. To be honest, I have no idea what she will do with all these images. But I couldn’t help myself—stopping at the bare minimum felt insufferably dull. If the photographer is bored, the images will be boring too. And who wants boring? I have fun during my portrait sessions, and my clients do too.

Tom Launius, CPP
918.398.1161

Whatever It Takes

I love to create portraits that look effortless, as though a person were caught in a moment of natural beauty. But the behind-the-scene truth is that much effort is expended to look effortless! Take this portrait of Jamie: she looks carefree, the light on her is flattering, the setting is vibrant. The portrait speaks of life as we know it can be. But now, look below at the image that photographers call the “pull back image”, that shows all that went into to making that image come alive. Look at all that equipment! In the lower left corner is the camera. Way back in the far right is a rectangular scrim. It’s diffusing the sunlight on her hair so it will be soft. Closer to the camera than the scrim is a reflector tilted up at an angle to bounce light to brighten her eyes. Over Jamie’s head is a black gobo that is blocking light from above. Just in front of that gobo is a portable strobe with a soft box to warm her skin tones. Whew! What a lot of stuff ! Why go to all this trouble? For the sake of gorgeous images? Yes. But even more for the sake of the people in the images. Just before these portraits were created, Jamie’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. To put it mildly, life was stressful for Jamie and her family. But these portraits were a relief, a chance for them to enjoy something lovely in the midst of a challenging time. That is why I put so much effort into effortless portraits–so families can celebrate life. (Since these portraits, Jamie’s mother completed all her treatments and has recovered!)

Tom Launius, CPP
918.398.1161

 

A Forever Expression

TylerR B&W

 

Photography is about a lot of things, and many of them are technical. But the one element of photography that everyone can see immediately, and can judge for themselves, is expression. A winning smile, broad and happy, is always a favorite. One can hardly go wrong with a smile. Nor can one go wrong with what, among photographers, is called a composed expression. This is when the person looks deeply into the camera with soulful eyes, a strong chin, and perhaps a trace of a smile on their lips. The effect this produces is one of confidence and presence. Mothers love their children deeply and desire always to feel close to them. And so mothers want images they show their children smiling and happy. Mothers also believe in their children, that their children can face anything that life brings their way. So mothers also want images that show their children as strong and kind and confident, all at the same time. And this is what a composed expression shows to mothers. As in this senior portrait of Tyler. His eyes are deep and strong. His hint of a smile is winsome. He looks ready to meet the world in the way in which he was raised—with kindness and courage. No wonder that the composed expression, among photographers, is also called the forever expression. The expression on the person’s face looks like they’re ready for whatever forever. And what could warm a mother’s heart more than that?

Tom Launius, CPP
918.398.1161

A Match Made in Heaven

More than a few times, I’ve enjoyed the honor of creating portraits for an engaged couple. Being around two people in love is always a treat. But my heavens are Matt and Marti ever  in love! Every fiber of their being glowed with affection as I led them through their portrait session. Whenever there was even the slightest pause in the creation of the portraits, their eyes would turn to each others, their hands would reach out to intertwine, they both would blush in the emotion they each were feeling. As I led them through some poses, the poses didn’t even feel like poses, so naturally did they melt into each other. And so both of them, as well as the bride’s mother, were thrilled with how they all turned out. The one shown here is a favorite of theirs—and mine. So much romance, so much joy.

Tom Launius, CPP
918.398.1161Marti-Matt-1