Photographing a Private Bowling Alley

bowling alley

This was probably my most unique assignment to date. I got a request not too long ago asking me how much I would charge to photograph one room. I thought, “Just one room? That’s odd.” I asked for more information and found out this was a bowling alley inside someone’s house! The lanes were installed by Fusion Bowling and they install private bowling alleys. Talk about a niche market!

I showed up for the job in a very exclusive community and found out the home belongs to a professional major league baseball player. The bowling alley is actually on the second floor.

The shoot was pretty straight forward. The lanes create natural leading lines that make composition a no-brainer. The client asked if I shot HDR. I told him I don’t because I generally don’t like the look of HDR; it just doesn’t look realistic. I have seen some interior photographers use HDR in a style I like, but I haven’t figured out the technique. Every HDR I’ve tried always has that “HDR look”. I prefer a natural look so I take multiple exposures and blend them using masks. I did take several exposures in this case specifically for HDR and I might post an update so you can see the comparison. I’m currently reading RC Concepcion’s “The HDR Book” to see if I can learn something new.

You can see more images from the shoot in the gallery; and don’t forget you can like, comment on, rate and share individual images on my site. Give it a try!


Photographing the Spa at Bella Collina

Hot Stone Massage

I recently had the opportunity to go on a commercial photography shoot for a spa owner I’ve worked with in the past.  The owner is opening up a new spa at the beautiful Bella Collina Golf Club. The clubhouse is designed to look like a Tuscan villa and the architecture is breathtaking.

The shoot consisted of two models portraying  a couple and enjoying the spa services; including an outdoor massage, pictured above. For that shot, the owner wanted the setting sun’s rays breaking below the archway. So I set my aperture to f/22 to get the star-effect from the sun. I also had an off-camera flash with a CTO gel camera left to help overpower the sun. I also took a second exposure to bring back some detail in the sky and blended it in the final image.

Couple at the Bella Collina Spa

For this shoot, much like the last with the spa owner he would look at my LCD screen to evaluate the image. While this might drive most photographers nuts, I actually prefer it. This way, I know exactly what the client wants and he can give me immediate feedback. Granted, I wouldn’t work the same way for, say, a wedding or portrait session. It was also nice because the owner would help stage shots and direct the models.

Couple's bath at the Spa at Bella Collina

I’ll post a link to the entire image gallery once the client has had a chance to review and download all the images.

What Kind of Photographer Are You?

Just a quick note that will hopefully clarify something for my fellow photographers:

I once heard a photographer say they were going on an editorial shoot, but it wasn’t being published. Another organized a “photojournalism” shoot, but the very act of staging it takes out the “journalism” part.

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) says there are three main categories of photography. They are: Commercial, Editorial and Retail. Commercial photography is used to sell a product or service. Editorial is for education or journalism and retail is for personal use.

So let’s say you get hired by a local business to take pictures for their website; that’s commercial. Shooting something for a magazine? Editorial (unless its selling something which is commercial). Wedding photography or portraits fall under retail.

This is where licensing your work (aka, getting a signed contract) becomes so important. You see,  the categories are not mutually exclusive. Let’s say, for example that you shoot a wedding (retail). Then, you submit an image to a wedding magazine (editorial). After running it, the dress designer decides they want to use it in an ad (commercial). Can you say “pay day”? By licensing your work you can make money each time the image is used, charging different amounts for each license.

By the way, “photojournalism”,which falls under editorial, means to observe and document an event without interfering. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when it’s misused having spent the majority of my adult life in that field.

Another pet peeve of mine is when someone photographs a “trash the dress” shoot and the dress is not actually trashed. I’m just sayin’.

Ok, got that off my chest. 🙂 Here are some reading suggestions:

ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography, 7th Edition

Best Business Practices for Photographers, Second Edition