William Ames Photography: Blog http://store.amesphotos.com/blog en-us (C) William Ames info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:44:00 GMT Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:44:00 GMT http://store.amesphotos.com/img/s/v-5/u98761971-o655440281-50.jpg William Ames Photography: Blog http://store.amesphotos.com/blog 96 120 Which Vendors Do You Have to Feed at Your Wedding? All of them. http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2016/2/which-vendors-do-you-have-to-feed-at-your-wedding-all-of-them William Ames Wedding PhotographyWilliam Ames Wedding PhotographyWilliam Ames Wedding Photography A portly wedding planner named Sandy Malone, Twitter @SandyMalone_ has angered a lot of photographers with her advice about not feeding photographers.

Photography, especially wedding photography, is an athletic endeavor. I say this as a trained martial artist and avid hiker.

Instead of simply asserting myself, as Ms. Malone does, though, I'll use this as a teachable moment. I'll tell you what it's like, then you can decide for yourself.

My Typical Start to a Wedding Day

My typical wedding day starts the night before, packing gear and marking off checklists, then lugging a few hundred pounds of equipment to my car.

The day of, I again go over my checklist, then head to the venue, usually a hairdresser or somewhere the bride is getting ready. To photograph these early events, I have two camera bodies and at least one speedlite around my neck, with a bag of accessories and another bag of contingencies in tow. Total weight around my neck is about 30 pounds, with another 15 or so that I carry from place to place. During this time, I'm not just standing around. I'm constantly moving, and when I'm not moving--and this is key--I'm doing something like a crunch.

Why Photographers have Great Abs

William Ames in Beaver StadiumWilliam Ames in Beaver StadiumWilliam Ames in Beaver Stadium Something that's not intuitive to most people is that it takes some core strength to take professional-grade pictures with a DSLR is that it requires crunches. That's right, crunches. Why? To stabilize the camera. At the moment I take a picture, the camera needs to be as steady as possible, because I want the images to be as good as they can be. This is usually in less-than-ideal lighting, but even in bright light, you can't just snap, or you'll get a lot of blurry photos.

When I compose a shot, I press lightly on the shutter button to focus, and I start to stabilize. I hold my breath and press the shutter while stabilizing my core, hence the crunch. I do this about 7,500-10,000 times during a wedding, no exaggeration.

The Ceremony

I carry three cameras around my neck during a wedding ceremony. One is my main camera for wide angles and normal angles, one is for telephoto work so I don't intrude on the event, and one is a contingency should one of the others fail. My telephoto lens, by itself, weighs 52oz, or 3 1/4 pounds. My main camera is 32 ounces without a lens that weighs another 2 pounds. I have about 20 pounds of gear hanging off my neck during a ceremony, even more during a reception because of flash strobes and extra batteries and packs.

During a ceremony, I need to walk quietly and stealthily. This is where my martial arts training really comes in handy! To walk quietly, you need to roll your feet, which requires more muscles than stamping around. Try it. Walk quietly up a flight of steps, like I do in church balconies. Walk across a large room without making a sound...50-100 times, then feel the strain around your shins. I do this during the entire ceremony and anywhere I don't want to be a distraction.

Naturally, I run around a lot, too. I need to pop down on my knee to get a shot of the bride walking down the aisle, but then I also need to get a shot of her train...so I book to the back of the church as fast as I can--while also being quiet. I am constantly moving during a ceremony. Constantly.

Portraits are Hard Work

During a typical wedding, I've got--maybe--45 minutes to do six hours worth of portraits. I am literally running around, non-stop, that entire time...while doing the crunches I talk about earlier, and while carrying all my bags and gear, usually around 40-50 pounds.

Portraits aren't usually all in one place. either. I shoot a lot of Penn State weddings, since I'm based out of State College, an appropriately named college town. During a "Penn State" portrait session, I'll take portraits at about five locations spread around this large campus. There's no parking nearby any of those, either, so I end up lugging gear 25-50 yards for each location. To get that done in the time allotted, I need to run, and I do. Even at a single-venue wedding, it's hectic, and we need to do portraits away from the rest of the guests, which means lugging all my gear to a place far away. I take hundreds of shots during the portrait session, so there are hundreds more crunches. In the summer heat, it's a bitch, let me tell you. Pardon my French ;-)  I can't even get a drink of water, most weddings, and I haven't eaten since I left my house that morning. I carry another 10 pounds of Gatorade around with me, adding to the weight.

Getting Hangry

I will admit to getting rather irritated at this point in the day if I haven't been offered food. First, it's in my signed agreement, but more important, it's just human decency. I can tell you lots of stories about bridal parties sitting around and eating catered lunches without offering me a thing.

Here's another thing that may not be intuitive. Like any athlete, I have to eat a light breakfast. You can't just gorge yourself in the morning and expect to be able to perform. You just can't. I typically have a single McDonald's sausage biscuit for breakfast the morning of a wedding, chased down with a shot of Five Hour Energy. That stuff is great, by the way. It's all the B vitamins! I go through three on a typical wedding day. The other reason for eating light, and I'm sorry for being direct here, is that I don't get any bathroom breaks. I'm literally working, non-stop, the entire day. I don't get or take breaks.


First DanceFirst DanceFirst Dance So after shooting a frenzied portrait session, I am usually tasked with getting shots of the bridal party announcement, first dance and sometimes the cake cutting as soon as we walk in the door. I have about 5 minutes to get my off-camera strobes setup, and since nobody ever saves me a parking spot, I usually have to run in--with 50 pounds of light stands, batteries, grips, strobes and cameras--from 100 yards away, sometimes uphill or over rough terrain. As for that, please don't have the first dance and cake cutting when you first walk in. I don't know where that idea came from, but it doesn't work...for a number of reasons. For one thing, you're really taxing my ability to get those shots, since it usually requires off-camera lighting, and that's a tricky thing to setup. If you want amazing first-dance photos, let your photographer have some time during dinner to get the lighting just right.

So after all day of running around and working up a sweat, everybody else has had lunch and a cocktail hour. Not me. I'm still working off that sausage biscuit and Five Hour Energy. I'm hungry. I need calories to function for another five hours. I'm usually one of the last people to leave a venue, first to show, last to go. By the end of the night, I'm looking for food anywhere I can get it. After everything is over, my first stop on the way home or to my hotel is at a convenience store, where I grab 500 calories or so.

Our Agreement

I explicitly state in my standard agreement that I need to get a guest meal, but I can't tell you how many times I've been denied. This isn't usually by the bride and groom, who are almost always generous and great to work with, it's the venues...and usually people with the title of "wedding coordinator" who think they're in charge of "the help". Let's get one thing straight. I am not "the help", and I don't answer to wedding coordinators or planners. I work with them, not for them. I answer to the bride, which is part of my agreement.  I don't know why, but a lot of venues simply renege on the guest meal that my clients have paid for. One local establishment here actually has a "vendor meal" that is basically inedible. Seriously? You can't cook one more plate of real food? I'll pay for it again if you're that hard up for cash.

I don't mean to sound pretentious or arrogant here, but it's not that my clients or I can't afford another guest meal. So venues: Give me the meal my clients have paid for, and give me a place to eat it....which reminds me, please don't sit me at a table with your third cousins, either. That's really awkward, and even while eating, I still need to pay attention to what's going on, so I can jump up and get a shot that I sense coming...or to book across the hall because the DJ didn't check with me before cutting the cake. A good DJ will never do that, but sometimes it happens with amateurs or friends. I have to be ready for anything. I'll also note that I do need to be in the reception hall. Do not seat me in a hallway or ante-chamber, like I'm some piece of riff raff that has to eat table scraps. This usually happens in quaint venues like a Bed and Breakfast, where the lady of the house thinks that I should eat downstairs with the footmen and maids.

...but I digress!

The Bottom Line

I've been performing an athletic job for eight to ten hours or more, and I'm hungry, tired, dehydrated and my back is killing me by the time the reception gets going. I need calories to continue to function. Feed me. Get me water, or better yet, Gatorade. Your pictures will benefit.

As for Sandy Malone, I address her directly: You don't know a thing about what I do for a living. I could plan a wedding, and I have. You could never photograph one.


William Ames, State College PhotographerWilliam Ames, State College PhotographerWilliam Ames, State College Photographer

William Ames has more than 20 years of experience in traditional and digital photography, digital imaging, photojournalism, wedding photography and more, with more than a million digital images in his portfolio.

His photos have appeared in magazines, books, billboards and numerous publications. He is the leading photographer of the Penn State Campus, with thousands of fine art prints displayed in homes and businesses across the nation.




info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2016/2/which-vendors-do-you-have-to-feed-at-your-wedding-all-of-them Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:22:17 GMT
Penn State White Out and Stripe Out Posters http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2015/11/penn-state-white-out-and-stripe-out-posters Now available, 24x36 inch posters of the Penn State White Out (Ohio State, 2014) and Stripe Out (Rutgers, 2015).

$19.95 each, plus shipping and PA sales tax...or get both for $32.95.

Printed on sturdy, 100# poster stock with a CMYK press, these affordable posters are perfect for any office or dorm.

Offered by William Ames Photography, these images are sure to be collector's items!

Looking for canvas wraps or different sizes, or true photographic prints? available at pennstatephotos.com


Penn State Whiteout PosterPenn State Whiteout PosterA 24x36 poster print of Beaver Stadium during a "white out". Printed on 100# poster stock, an inexpensive alternative to fine art prints. Penn State stripe out PosterPenn State stripeout PosterA 24x36 poster print of Beaver Stadium during the first stripe out game. Printed on 100# poster stock, an inexpensive alternative to fine art prints.

Penn State whiteout and stripeoutPenn State Stripe Out and White Out Posters24x36 posters of the Penn State whiteout and stripe out games.

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) beaver stadium penn state psu stripe out white out http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2015/11/penn-state-white-out-and-stripe-out-posters Mon, 09 Nov 2015 19:14:12 GMT
Penn State Old Main Photos http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2015/7/penn-state-old-main-photos Penn State Old Main, by photographer William Ames.

Old Main at Night, May 2015 9:00Old Main at Night, May 2015 9:00

Blue Skies over Old MainBlue Skies over Old MainPenn State's Old Main in summer with deep blue sky.

Choose "Flat 5x7 card" or "4x8 Greeting Card" for Christmas, greeting or graduation cards...customize text at checkout.

Old Main PanoramaOld Main PanoramaPanoramic view of Old Main in summer.

Old Main's New ClockOld Main's New ClockA new clock in the Bell Tower of Old Main, restored and updated by Ann Beha Architects.

Choose "Flat 5x7 card" or "4x8 Greeting Card" for Christmas, greeting or graduation cards...customize text at checkout.

More available in the Old Main gallery!

Click below for a slideshow:

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) Old Main Penn State art buy photos prints http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2015/7/penn-state-old-main-photos Fri, 10 Jul 2015 18:39:02 GMT
Ultimate Penn State Wedding at Beaver Stadium http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/10/ultimate-penn-state-wedding-at-beaver-stadium Planning a Penn State wedding? Did you know you can have Beaver Stadium as your wedding venue?

Here are just a few of the more than 4000 photos we got that day...

Click on the images below, or here for a slideshow.

Uplighting by Nittany Entertainment makes a big difference at the Mount Nittany Suites, and pay the extra fee to have the lights on in the stadium. You'll appreciate that.

If you'd like photos like this from your wedding, send me an email so we can discuss your plans!


info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) Penn State wedding beaver stadium wedding http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/10/ultimate-penn-state-wedding-at-beaver-stadium Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:49:07 GMT
Penn State White House 2014 http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/10/penn-state-white-house-2014 Penn State's White House game for 2014 was versus Ohio State, and these pictures prove that Beaver Stadium continues to be the premiere sporting venue in the nation.


Penn State White House 2014 v2Penn State White House 2014 v2Penn State Beaver Stadium 2014 White House, versus Ohio State. October 25th, 2014.

Commercial licensing and stock available.

Use coupon code "freeship"
Beaver Stadium White Out 2014Beaver Stadium White Out 2014Beaver Stadium White Out - Ohio State. October 25th, 2014, overhead aerial photo.

Ships for free with coupon code "freeship"

Commercial and editorial licensing available.

Penn State White House 2014Penn State White House 2014An aerial shot of the 2014 Whiteout, or "White House" at Beaver Stadium against Ohio State.

Best printed at 16"x20". Ships for free with coupon code "freeship"

Commercial and editorial licensing available.
Penn State Beaver Stadium White Out 2014Penn State Beaver Stadium White Out 2014Aerial view of the Penn State beaver Stadium White Out, October 25th, 2014 versus Ohio State.

Ships for free with coupon code "freeship"

Commercial and editorial licensing available.

Penn State white out, 2014 - Ohio State

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) penn state white house white out whiteout http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/10/penn-state-white-house-2014 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:28:19 GMT
Nittany Lion Inn Wedding at Penn State http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/8/alyssa-and-jack---nittany-lion-inn-wedding I met Alyssa and Jack for their engagement session, and I knew immediately that they'd be a great couple to work with.

We got some great shots at the engagement session, but the wedding was simply amazing...so much emotion, fun and details planned out extremely well.

After the ceremony at Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus, we headed over to the Nittany Lion Inn, where the excitement never stopped. In all my weddings, I have never seen such a dynamic group of people, and one of the best "first look" sequence from a groom I've had the privilege to photograph. They literally started dancing before dinner and never stopped.

Below are just a few samples from the thousands of great photos I got. I actually had a rough time paring down to just these few.

...but enough talking about it. A picture is worth a thousand words!


First lookFirst lookFirst looks don't always capture much emotion. In this case, Jack's face says it all. First lookFirst lookFirst looks don't always capture much emotion. In this case, Jack's face says it all.

Off-camera flash, balanced with available light makes this shot. Perhaps one of my favorite photos!

We didn't know this was going to happen, as it was sort of spontaneous...I was literally shooting this sequence as I was running into position. A little hustle pays off for moments like this.



info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) campus cheerleader nittany lion inn pasquerilla spiritual center penn state wedding http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/8/alyssa-and-jack---nittany-lion-inn-wedding Fri, 01 Aug 2014 20:24:04 GMT
After the Portrait Session http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/5/after-the-portrait-session After the Portrait Session

What are the next steps?

First, you will probably want to look through the photos online, in order to see how the session turned out. The gallery allows you to view thumbnails, individual photos, or an online slideshow.


To see the full, high-resolution photos, you'll need to download the images. You can do this one at a time, or all at once.

Think of the digital download as a "product"...at least that's the way the gallery works with it.

To download an individual photo, just click the "Full Resolution Digital Download" link in the upper right, then complete the checkout process in the Shopping Cart:

To download the entire gallery, first select all of the photos, then choose the "Full Resolution Digital Download" as the product, then proceed to the Shopping Cart. Here's a two-minute video walk-through of the process:

How to Download an Entire GalleryThis video demonstrates how to select multiple images, or an entire gallery, for downloading.


info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/5/after-the-portrait-session Tue, 20 May 2014 15:09:46 GMT
Winter at Penn State http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/2/winter-at-penn-state-snow We've been fortunate (photographically speaking!) to have a few good snowfalls here in Happy Valley.

I thought I'd share a few of my more recent photos with you.

Snow on the Nittany Lion, Black and White Snow on the Nittany Lion, Black and White Snow on the Nittany Lion, Black and White Snow falls on the Nittany LionSnow falls on the Nittany LionSnow falls on the Nittany Lion Old Main in the SnowOld Main in the SnowOld Main in the Snow Penn State Old Main, February 2014Penn State Old Main, February 2014Penn State Old Main, February 2014 Snowy Nittany LionSnowy Nittany LionSnowy Nittany Lion, December 2013 The Nittany Lion in WinterThe Nittany Lion in WinterThe Nittany Lion in Winter, February 2014 Closeup of Snow on the Nittany Lion ShrineCloseup of Snow on the Nittany Lion ShrineCloseup of Snow on the Nittany Lion Shrine A Snow-Covered Nittany Lion Overlooks Rec HallA Snow-Covered Nittany Lion Overlooks Rec HallA Snow-Covered Nittany Lion Overlooks Rec Hall Penn State Old Main in WinterPenn State Old Main in WinterPenn State Old Main in Winter

Penn State's Old Main with Sundial in the SnowPenn State's Old Main with Sundial in the SnowPenn State's Old Main with Sundial in the Snow   Snow on the Sundial at Old MainSnow on the Sundial at Old MainSnow on the Sundial at Old Main Penn State Elms in WinterPenn State Elms in WinterPenn State Elms in Winter Penn State Landmark Sign in WinterPenn State Landmark Sign in WinterThe Penn State Landmark sign in winter, with Beaver Stadium in the background.

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) campus elms nittany lion old main penn state snow sundial winter http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2014/2/winter-at-penn-state-snow Thu, 06 Feb 2014 20:03:33 GMT
Custom Penn State Christmas Cards http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/11/custom-penn-state-christmas-cards Create your own customized Penn State Christmas Cards from any of the photos selected by William Ames Photography.

Select your favorite photos, front and back, with customizable text and easy-to-use online tools.

Have a family photo to add to the back? No problem! Contact us for details.

Below are some samples, customize your own at checkout! First, select an image from the gallery, then choose your style and add your own text in the shopping cart:

Penn State Old Main Christmas Card sample Sample Penn State Christmas Card Penn State Old Main Christmas CardPenn State Christmas Cards Custom Penn State Christmas Cards.Penn State Christmas CardsCustom Penn State Christmas Cards, featuring photos by William Ames. Nittany Lion Christmas CardsNittany Lion Christmas CardsNittany Lion Christmas Cards


Samples of available templates - you choose the photos, front and back:

Christmas Card samples

Holiday Card samples

Click here to get started!

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) campus christmas cards nittany old main penn state psu http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/11/custom-penn-state-christmas-cards Wed, 06 Nov 2013 21:38:19 GMT
2014 Happy Valley Calendars are now available http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/11/2014-happy-valley-calendars-are-now-available 2014 Happy Valley calendars are now available, with a number of scenes from the Penn State campus, including Old Main, the New Nittany Lion Shrine, Beaver Stadium, the Elms and more.

These make great Christmas gifts for any Penn State fan or alumni!

Two calendars to choose from, in partnership with Cafe Press - $19.99 each:

2014 penn state photo calendarPenn State 2014 Photo Calendar2014 Photo Calendar with the new Nittany Lion Shrine and other Penn State campus photos. penn state 2014 photo calendar2014 Penn State calendar2014 Penn State photo calendar, featuring images by William Ames. Old Main, the Nittany Lion and more.


info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) 2014 calendar happy valley nittany penn state photo http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/11/2014-happy-valley-calendars-are-now-available Wed, 06 Nov 2013 15:23:02 GMT
Restoring the Old Main Frescoes http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/10/restoring-the-old-main-frescoes Ann Beha Architects contacted me a few weeks ago to take pictures of "their project" in Old Main on the Penn State University campus.

While I've literally got thousands of photos of Old Main in my collection, I don't have any of the interior of the building.

What I didn't know, was that the frescoes were not only in need of restoration, but that the project was complete! I would be the one to take pictures of the finished work for their portfolio.

In addition to taking my own angles, they were looking to match some of the historic photos, probably taken with a view camera and bellows. While I don't have such equipment, I do have digital technology, so I was able to pretty closely match the originals. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to match them perfectly, but they're still pretty close.

The work was tedious, and the lighting terrible, with three different color temperatures from tungsten, daylight and fluorescent. Due to the delicate nature of the frescoes, flash was not an option. I suppose that's why they called me :-)

While the lobby is generally open to the public, we did have "special access" to take these photos. There were chairs and other furniture we had to move, as well as signage and other distractions. Several administrators did stop me to ask what I was doing.

Below are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took, and I'm proud to have them in my collection.

Click on the thumbnails below for a large slideshow format.


Old Main FrescoesOld Main FrescoesThe newly restored Land Grant Frescoes in the lobby of Penn State's Old Main, painted between 1940 and 1948 by Henry Varnum Poor.

Henry Varnum Poor (1887–1970) was an American architect, painter, sculptor, muralist, and potter.

Wikipedia for more on the artist.

160310-813160310-813 TBI_1837TBI_1837 MH-HT-1336MH-HT-1336 DBL-1622DBL-1622Zoe MacMaster IMG_5188IMG_5188

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) henry varnum poor land grant frescoes old main penn state http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/10/restoring-the-old-main-frescoes Fri, 11 Oct 2013 13:46:44 GMT
Mount Aloysius Convocation Center http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/10/mount-aloysius-convocation-center I do a number of commercial projects every year, and I had the pleasure of photographing the Mount Aloysius College's new Convocation Center for construction firm P.J. Dick.

Below are a few photos from the shoot...

Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA Mount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius Convocation CenterMount Aloysius College Convocation Center, Cresson PA

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) Mount Aloysius Convocation Center arena basketball cresson http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/10/mount-aloysius-convocation-center Thu, 10 Oct 2013 01:11:38 GMT
Post-Processing - the difference between color/exposure correction and full retouching. http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/9/post-processing---the-difference-between-color/exposure-correction-and-full-retouching I am often asked for examples of what I mean when I say "corrected for color and exposure" versus "full retouching".

While I discuss the complete process in my article on The Digital Darkroom, I thought some more specific examples might be helpful.


The first photo here is what comes out of the camera.

But first a word on why "professional" pictures look so bad without any processing. After all, an iPhone takes amazing photos!

Many professional photographers (like me) don't want the camera doing the thinking. We shoot in "RAW", which captures all of the information the camera's sensor picks up. This is different from a point and shoot camera, or shooting in "JPEG", where the camera processes the data, makes decisions as to how to present it, then discards 20-30 percent of the information. The problem is that the extra information is quite often useful. Processing by hand in a program like Adobe Lightroom gives much more flexibility.

Again, this is what came out of the camera. It's underexposed and it's tinted blue.

Now, I deliberately underexposed this shot, because I knew the white area of the scarf would blow out the highlights, and that's bad. I also knew that I could correct that in the post-process. RAW image, with no processingRAW image, with no processingRAW image, with no processing
RAW photo


Here's the photo after I ran it through Lightroom, with a few gradients on either side. I normally wouldn't make the gradients that obvious, but I wanted to demonstrate that it's possible. These can be helpful when flash is used, or when a sky is overpowering a much darker foreground.

Note that I corrected the color so it no longer looks blue. I also brightened up the image while maintaining detail in the scarf. If you were to see this enlarged, you'd also see that I added some sharpening to the mascot.


Nittany Lion MascotProcessed for color and exposureProcessed for color and exposure
Processed for color and exposure



Here is the photo after I've had some time with it in Photoshop.

Photoshop lets me control everything about the photo, including special effects. In this case, I removed some distracting elements, like the string on the canopy, a stake in the ground, and some of the missing patches of the lawn. I punched up the sharpness of the mascot, and I didn't think his index finger was visible enough, so I lengthened it. In the dark area of the Lion's mouth, that's where the poor fellow inside can get a view of the outside world. Trouble is, if you looked closely at the previous photos, you could see inside. In this version, I darkened that. I also found that I didn't like the color of the grass, so I made is more green, and I removed some of the vignetting caused by the gradient I applied in Lightroom. Sure, I could have changed that in Lighroom, but I was already there, so to speak. A few other minor things I did were to balance the color a bit more, and I blurred the background just a bit. I didn't like the way the flag looked with the natural bokeh (background blur) of this particular lens.

So, all in all, this picture looks similar to the one above, but just a little better...in my humble opinion :-)

With a portrait, of course, there are also skin blemishes, sweat and other sundry things to improve, and I'll present that in another article.

Fully retouched photo of Nittany LionFully retouched photoFully retouched photo Fully retouched

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) digital darkroom fully retouched raw processing examples http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/9/post-processing---the-difference-between-color/exposure-correction-and-full-retouching Fri, 27 Sep 2013 16:01:27 GMT
Event Photography with Arnold Palmer and the Nittany Lion http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/9/event-photography-with-arnold-palmer-and-the-nittany-lion I had the privilege of being the lead photographer at The Village at Penn State this week, where Arnold Palmer invited the Nittany Lion to a presser on some new recreational facilities his team is putting in for the residents.

Arnold Palmer with the Nittany LionArnold Palmer with the Nittany Lion at The Village at Penn StateApparently, the Nittany Lion likes Arnold Palmer's iced tea. Apparently, the Nittany Lion likes Arnold Palmer's iced tea ;-)



Penn State Nittany Lion MascotPenn State Nittany Lion MascotNittany Lion Mascot

This guy was great to work with...

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) arnold palmer nittany lion penn state the village http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/9/event-photography-with-arnold-palmer-and-the-nittany-lion Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:22:41 GMT
How to get better photos of the groom and groomsmen http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/8/tuxedo-photos How do I get better photos of the groom and groomsmen?

wedding party photo Penn State Eisenhower Chapel I'm a photographer, and I've been to a lot of weddings. After a while, you start to see some patterns.

My clients often ask me (too late) what can we do to look better in our photos? It starts long before your wedding day. Venues and scenery can make for some amazing wedding portraits, but at the end of the day, it's you I'm taking pictures of, not the landscape or architecture.

Every bride agonizes over the dress, and rightly so. Men just don't seem to get it: clothes make the man.

As a photographer, it's my job to find the right settings and poses to make you look good, and I will. One thing I can't do is change your wardrobe.

With rented tuxes, you don't have a lot of choices, but you can certainly make better decisions and instruct the rental agent on how you want the jacket and slacks to fit. Make sure he does it, too. For companies that are in the business of formal wear for special occasions, you'd be surprised how lax their standards are.

Double--or triple--check the fit. Fifteen minutes before my own wedding, I didn't have a shirt that fit, even though I had checked it a few days earlier at the shop. True story, but we'll save that for another blog post!

Here are my suggestions to make the guys in your wedding photos look measurably better - with almost no effort required.

The ill-Fitting Tuxedo Jacket

wedding tuxedo jacket too small A bad fit on your jacket is the #1 thing you can screw up if you want to look shabby on your wedding day.

Too big and you look like you're wearing your older brother's hand-me-downs. Too small, and you look like you've been stuffed into a sausage casing. A jacket that's too small can ruin your photos altogether. It bunches up and forms all kinds of pulls and wrinkles that cannot be fixed in Photoshop with any reasonable amount of effort.

The #1 issue I see with jackets is that there isn't enough room in the shoulders. This causes the jacket to bunch up and create all manner of ugly puffs and wrinkles.

For example, the jacket on the left is a bit too small. Note that it pulls on the buttons and creates a snag on the lapel, also the sleeves are wrinkled. Other photos I have from this wedding show that there just isn't enough room in the shoulders and upper sleeves.

For the shoulders, you should have enough room to comfortably reach in front of you, for example, as if you were eating dinner...which you will be doing; or dancing, which you will also be doing. You will be moving around a lot, reaching, wrapping your arms around your new wife, reaching over, bending. Make sure you have the room to do that.

The #2 issue I see is sleeve length. They are usually too long. With your hands at your sides, the sleeves should fall about an inch below your wrists, or just about where your thumb starts. Your shirt should stick out about a bit, too.

Consider Buying

You spend thousands on the dress, so why not buy the tuxedo? If you make a classic choice, it's likely that you can use that tux again. Having a tailored jacket and pants makes all the difference in photos, and tuxedos don't cost any more than a decent suit. Think about it. You'll spend thousands of dollars on photos that are going to be hanging on your wall and passed onto the next generation. What is it worth to look your best?

Droopy Pants

bad tuxedo pants It's rare when I see proper hems on men's pants. They are almost always too long; often by four or more inches. This looks terrible in photos, and it's very difficult to fix in Photoshop. Have the inseam measured accurately, with the pants where they will actually be worn, as opposed to "up on the waist".

bad wedding pants A good hem will allow your pants to touch your shoe laces about halfway up your shoe with about an inch of "break". Don't be afraid of "high waters", or having the inseam a bit shorter. It'll look better than stepping on the back of your trousers every step...and you're less likely to trip.

Esquire magazine has a nice entry on how to make sure your suit fits. I agree with it, wholeheartedly!

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) break groom groomsmen jacket photos sleeve length tuxedo wedding http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/8/tuxedo-photos Mon, 19 Aug 2013 14:42:17 GMT
Penn State Wedding, campus portrait session http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/7/penn-state-wedding-campus-portrait-session Penn State Campus Wedding Portrait Session

Old Main, Allen Street Mall, College and Allen, Nittany Lion Shrine and more

Tara and Michael wanted a lot of locations for their campus portrait session, and we got them all in, on time. There was a lot of construction around the Allen Street Mall, but a little Photoshopping took care of that ;-)

The wedding and reception were held at Toftrees, but we got a lot of amazing photos on our brief excursion to the Penn State Campus.

Penn State Elms wedding portrait Penn State Campus wedding portraits Penn State Old Main wedding portrait Penn State wedding portrait Penn State wedding College and Allen St Wedding photo, State College Nittany Lion wedding portrait

info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) Nittany Lion Old Main Penn State wedding campus portraits http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/7/penn-state-wedding-campus-portrait-session Tue, 30 Jul 2013 02:17:17 GMT
Penn State Arboretum Wedding http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/7/arboretum-wedding Wedding Portraits at the Penn State Arboretum


Here is a sampling of weddings I've had the pleasure of working at the Penn State Arboretum. If you're thinking of having a wedding at the Arboretum, send me an email, and I can show you additional shots from these sessions and more....while I don't update this blog often, I do get lots and lots of photos every wedding season!


First up, we have Amy and Ryan - they are both "Bleed Blue and White" Penn Staters, so The Arboretum was a natural choice for their wedding.

Below are a few shots from their special day.

Penn State arboretum bridal bouquet

This photo was actually on the way back from the portrait session, when we went back to the Overlook Pavilion for group photos of family. We didn't stage this, but I thought the framing looked nice.


Penn State Arboretum Esplanade wedding party

Penn State Arboretum fountain wedding photo As usual, I slowed down my shutter to let the fountain show up a bit better. Water always seems to look its best when it's blurred a bit.



Penn State  wedding

Penn State arboretum wedding walking down the aisle

Penn State arboretum wedding - happy bride


Jeanie and Ben

We had the threat of rain all day, and it actually did rain during the ceremony, but that didn't stop us from getting some great wedding party photos.

After a quick 15 minutes at the Arboretum, we hit the Nittany Lion for the "must have" photos for any Penn Stater. On the way to a Toftrees reception, we did a smash-and-grab at the Landmark Sign by Beaver Stadium.

Bride and Father are Penn State ArboretumBride and Father are Penn State Arboretum

Penn State Nittany Lion WeddingPenn State Wedding at Nittany LionWedding party portraits at Penn State Nittany Lion


Suzan and Sam

I had the pleasure of photographing this couple for their engagement session, even though they moved away from the area before the wedding. They were a delight to work with, and we got a lot of great photos in the time we had.


Penn State arboretum wedding party photos

Penn State arboretum wedding portraits Penn State arboretum wedding sundial Penn State arboretum wedding kiss

Penn State arboretum wedding ceremony

I thought this was a nice touch, which they used for their post-wedding Thank You cards.



Theresa and Carl

...returned to the Penn State Arboretum to the place where Carl made his proposal of marriage, the fountain.

I slowed down the shutter speed on the fountain, which I think is essential. I wish we had more time, but the wedding was actually held at another location, so we only had about 30 minutes. Wedding guests tend to get cranky if they wait too long! We could easily have spent another several hours. These are just a few shots I selected at random from the session.

The reception was at Celebration Hall, and I decided to throw in a picture of the sparkler sendoff at the bottom of this post.



Penn State Arboretum fountain Wedding

Penn State arboretum park bench wedding photo


Penn State arboretum lotus pool wedding photo

Penn State Arboretum wedding

Sparkler sendoff Celebration Hall wedding


info@amesphotos.com (William Ames Photography) William Ames Photography overlook pavilion penn state arboretum photos psu wedding http://store.amesphotos.com/blog/2013/7/arboretum-wedding Tue, 30 Jul 2013 02:02:13 GMT