Oak Tree Photography bio picture

Color Harmony

madisonred

Sometimes a little thing goes a long way. In the world of art, there is a concept called “color harmony”. Colors that stand in certain relationships to one another are seen as creating specific effects. For example, colors that are similar to one another are seen as restful, while colors that are different from one another are seen as active. How, do you ask, does this apply to portrait photography? Well, one way of insuring that a person’s face will stand out in a portrait is to place them in front of a background that is similar in color to their clothing. That way, the colors of the clothing and the background become less active, while the colors of the person’s skin tones, which are different from the clothing and background color, become more active and thus stand out. Notice the beautiful portrait to the right. Even though red is a strong color, because both the dress and the background are red, their color becomes more restful, supporting and contrasting with the facial skin tones and hair color, which stand out even more vibrantly. At Oak Tree Photography, we do the big things to make your portraits wonderful, but then we do the little things that take them to an even higher level!

Tom Launius, CPP
918.729.0500

Classic Senior Boy’s Portrait

mattonstumpI love senior portraits. I pull out all the stops and create portraits that stand the test of time. Whether it’s a boy or a girl, I enjoy the process immensely. But, I admit—I have a special place in my heart for portraits of senior boys. This is because, in contrast to senior girls, few senior boys are motivated to have their pictures taken. While many senior girls dream for years about being “a fashion model for a day”, a lot of guys say, “Oh, Mom, do I have to?” For that reason, some senior boys never get their pictures taken at all. Which is sadder than sad, because then, in years to come, there will be no portrait of them in the prime of life. So, I love working with Moms in motivating their son. And I love working with the senior himself, to win him over, taking a wide variety of portraits, including ones even he thinks are cool. Now, this doesn’t mean that all senior boys are resistant to portraits, oh no, that is far from true. Consider Matt, whose portrait accompanies this post. Matt not only is handsome, and personable, but he was eager and involved. And so his images turned out fine. But, even if he hadn’t been all that motivated, his images would still have turned out great. I am so committed to senior portraits for boys, and I have learned so many ways to reach them, that it never fails for the portraits to turn out to be everything the family had hoped for, and more!

Tom Launius, CPP
918.729.0500

Fifty-Six Seconds

kayceeSo I was at this wedding, and good friends were coming whose family I had taken portraits of not long ago. But I had neglected to get a portrait of their daughter. The day of the wedding was lovely, the gardens of the Thomas Gilcrease House were lush, the opportunity was unfolding for a fine portrait. I found a superb location with gorgeous light, enhanced the light with a reflector positioned just right, enlisted the girl’s grandfather as a quick stand-in so I could double-check the details, approached the family to clue them in on what I was up to, they were eager, awaiting the arrival of their girl with her father…and then…they…were…running…late. The minutes were ticking away, the hour for the wedding was approaching, if the portrait did not happen before the wedding, the sun would set and the light would be lost. And then—they arrived—four minutes before the wedding. No time to lose. Inwardly spinning but outwardly striving to be calm, I brought her to the pose. “Stand this way”, “hold the flower here”, “turn your face slightly away”. I clicked off two images, then another, then a fourth. I’m wondering if she’ll warm up. I click a fifth and a sixth image–the magic is not quite there. I pull out a plush toy to get a little silly. She’s loosening up. A seventh click. I turn the goofball game up a notch. She smiles that smile that says “Kaycee”. Click. Yes! The eighth image was the look. So I stopped. Later, I checked the time stamps on the eight images. From start to finish, the session had lasted fifty-six seconds. That meant we made it to the wedding…with three minutes to spare!

Tom Launius CPP
918.729.0500

Self-Portrait

tom

So. Every now and then, the photographer needs to get in front of the camera. Not that I’m shy about being photographed: I’m not one of those photographers who are neurotic about their own appearance. I’ve always been more or less comfortable with who I am and how I look. That being said, since I’m so oftentimes behind the camera rather than in front of it, I don’t appear in that many pictures. But here’s one of myself that I took at the tail end of an unusually long and lingering fall in Claremore, Oklahoma. Most of my portrait sessions were wrapped up for the season, and I wanted one more image with those gorgeous fall colors in the background. So, I supplied the foreground, and a colorful dogwood supplied the background. That’s my ever-trusty light meter hanging around my neck: it’s my best friend in measuring light to create the most gorgeous portraits imaginable. (And, in the interests of complete factual accuracy, this isn’t a true self-portrait. Yes, I set up the scene, chose the background, metered the light, focused the camera, and tweaked the pose, but it was my son Taylor, along for the ride, who actually tripped the shutter. I could have tripped the shutter with a wireless remote, but my son is such good company that it made the portrait process so much more enjoyable. Hats off to you, Taylor!)

Tom Launius, CPP
Oak Tree Photography
918.729.0500

What It’s All About

You know, maybe a photographer shouldn’t admit this on his own web site, but being a photographer is not so easy. Creating a portrait for someone involves so much: knowing the technical aspects of your camera, understanding and controlling light, and then you have the person themselves: How to pose them to bring out their best? How to draw just the right expression from them? And though few photographers would want to admit this but, try as you might, you can never know in advance what a person is going to like or not, so being a photographer is a chancy business: you can bring your A-game to the shoot, and they still may not like what you have created for them. And that isn’t even beginning to detail all of the headaches that come with managing the finances of your business, keeping up with your equipment, staying on top of your sales and, hardest of all, marketing your business to draw in new clients. Now, I’m sure you didn’t visit my web site to read about my pity-party. After all, your life has more than its share of challenges, too. So what keeps me going in photography? Well, taking Brook Walker’s portrait is the kind of thing that keeps me going. I took her portrait on Mother’s Day weekend at the Broadmoor in Tulsa. She was a regal lady, everything about her exuded style and class. I took superb portraits, she declared them the best she had ever had taken. She placed a generous order,  mentioning that it had been decades since her last portrait. Then, while I was processing her order the next week, I received a heart-stopping call from her son in Arizona: Brook had died suddenly. They had no picture for her obituary. Could I email them the one I had taken? Of course I could, grateful that I had been in Brook’s life, even if but for a brief moment, to take a lovely portrait by which her family could treasure her memory by. Rest in peace, Brook, you are a class act—for people like you, and the privilege of knowing them, I’m glad to be a photographer.

Tom Launius
tom@oaktree.pro
918.729.0500