Best of 2011 Part One-Portraits Tampa Portrait Photography


Hello Everyone! Today I am presenting the first of two ‘Best of 2011’ posts. Today I am posting my favorite portraits from the last year, tomorrow I will post my favorite nature/wildlife shots. It was not easy picking these 10 photos. I am sure if I did it again tomorrow the results would be slightly different. But these 10 are without a doubt some of my favorite images I captured this year so here we go. The first 3 are my ‘Top 3’ the others are in no particular order. Number 1 as seen above is a photo of Nathalia and Cam taken behind Nathalia’s home near Orlando. I was hired to take some of Cam and some of just Nathalia at a different location. We wanted an image of the two of them together and did take some more ‘posed’ shots that turned out well but this candid ‘in the moment’ shot is one I knew would be a winner as soon as I saw it on the back of my camera. These kinds of shots that just ‘happen’ are often the best. I don’t think I could have planned it. We were having difficulty getting Cam to sit still he was very hyper. I got down on my stomach to take this image on impulse and I think it truly is my favorite photo of the year. I love how Cam’s tongue is sticking out just a little bit and the way the railings from the boardwalk stretch out into the distance where you can also see some palm trees. Nathalia’s smile is also priceless. These are the kinds of portraits I love the most!

Number 2 is a photo I took of one of my favorite singers, Chris Isaak at a show in St. Petersburg. I was fortunate enough to get a pass to shoot right up front during the first 3 songs of his set. Really a dream come true! Concert photography is difficult because of course the subject is constantly moving and often the lights are always changing especially when there is no natural light. Luckily in this case there was still enough natural light for the first part of the show to make it less difficult. Chris is classy and very funny as well as being an amazing singer and I will treasure the images I took that evening always! Now if only I could get the chance to photograph Sting!

Number 3 is Baby Ava. Getting that perfect photo of a baby is not easy! Ava was actually the first baby I have photographed and I learned a lot from the experience. For this image I was standing directly above her at a local park. I probably took at least 50 images from this position before I got this precious shot-she is looking directly at me with one arm around her toy and one by her ear, and I love the way her head is tilted.  There is a lot more work that goes into getting great images than most people realize. It was all worth it for this adorable image.  And now the remaining 7-well actually 8 as I simply could not pick one more image to eliminate from the final group 🙂

This is Brad, he is a model and a great guy. I photographed him a few times this year and this is my favorite image of him. I deliberately asked him to give me an ‘evil smile’ and we both loved the results. Often I will ask people to give me a look that is a bit mischievous or wicked because they normally don’t have a photo of them looking that way. This image was taken in Ybor City.

I photographed Welselly at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, Florida. I love this image because of the way the wind is blowing her hair, how well separated she is from the background of sand and palm trees, and of course her beautiful eyes. I also love the square crop-I usually have at least 1-2 images from each shoot that I crop this way eliminating distracting elements from the photo. This image was also shot shortly before sunset so the natural light was very beautiful.

Next is another square-cropped image. This image of Steven was taken on the water near downtown St. Petersburg. He was actually jumping on a small trampoline I brought with me which makes it appear as if he were floating in the sky.  I love the fact that he does not look like he is jumping at all!  I used some filters in Photo Shop to bring out the detail in his shirt.

This is Sabrina. I photographed her family in November and had a hard time choosing just one image from that shoot to present here as there were several images of her and her sister Olivia I truly loved-scroll down on my blog a bit to see the separate post on that shoot to see more. I ended up choosing this one because I love the way she is looking at me and the water that was captured in mid splash-so cute!

I had a great time shooting Halloween Portraits this year so much so that 2 images made the final cut here. This is my friend Tanya dressed as Cleopatra. There were several similar color images I liked a lot as well but I chose this sepia one to present here. I used 2 flashes in this shot-one aimed at the background and one mounted in an ‘umbrella softbox’ aiming down on her from my left.  I just think it is a classic!

The other Halloween shot is of Ninelle. I will admit I did a lot of photo shop on this image but I love the results, the lighting and the glowing sepia just works great with her Gypsy costume and she gave me the perfect expression. Just a really fun image!

Love this image! This is P.J. He was easy to photograph and I got quite a few great shots of him by the beach in St. Pete. This square crop is my favorite as I think it would make a great album cover. Love that I captured him laughing and again the palm trees in the background. I have lived in Tampa now 3 years and am still not tired of seeing them everywhere 🙂

Finally we end where we began with Nathalia-here a bit more dressed up with makeup. After finishing with her dog Cam’s photos we drove to Winter Park FL to take her portraits. There was just enough of a breeze to capture some great shots of her hair blowing around her. Of many great shots of her I believe this is my favorite.

I have a great deal of difficulty answering when people ask me what I like to photograph most. I love photographing people and wild life for different reasons. I think my biggest passion though is taking unique artistic photos of people and I will continue to push myself in this area in 2012. If you are interested in having portraits of yourself or someone you love taken contact me via email at stephaniellen11@gmail.com.
Tomorrow I will feature my favorite wildlife/nature shots which were often equally as challenging to capture.

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