The Older They Are, The Harder They Party

A number of years ago – maybe 3 or 4 – I did a class project, designed to make use of my major for someone’s benefit. My mother manages nursing education at Sanctuary at Faser Villa, a Metro Detroit senior care center, part of the Trinity Health System. This particular center hosts a number of yearly parties for their residents.

In other words, things lined up nicely.

Throughout the growth into my career, I got a boatload of experience shooting events and operating on-site photobooths. For a couple years my girlfriend and I brought a photobooth setup to the senior center; she ran the booth, I shot candids. Over time I began dabbling in video and eventually brought it into the mix. Now each time we attend an event, she shoots pictures, I shoot video.

It’s kind of interesting, working within a set group of people. When you shoot any given event, be it a wedding, or Mitzvah, or company picnic, you have to read the crowd and get a feel for the people.  Pinpoint the couple guests who are super outgoing and seem to exude happiness into whatever group of people they happen to be near. You’ve gotta learn the venue and figure out where the best light is. You also have to try to anticipate the event schedule and be in position before things happen. In the end, you’ve gotta do the best you can and work with what you’re given.

But shooting the same event each year gives a different edge. It’s especially pronounced in a setting like a senior center.  Activity schedules tend not to change much (it’s difficult for the residents if things change all the time). The setting is the same (it’s in the same building each time). Also, for the most part, the residents live there full time, meaning the attendees at the parties tend to remain fairly consistent.

So, instead of a reset each time, I get to work with the information about the event, guests, and venue I had from the previous party and build on it.  It’s unique in comparison to my experiences shooting parties and events.

The most recent party we attended was the Annual Harvest Ball, an Autumn-themed event they host every October. Check out the video below!

– Jon

A Good Old Fashioned Celebration

It was a brisk fall day in northern Montana… OK – that’s a lie.  It was the last day of June in Detroit and it was HOT.  Like really, really hot.

But that’s all I really have to whine about.  The rest of the day was super awesome.

Based on this post, some of you may know that I don’t regularly shoot weddings.  It’s not so much because I don’t like them (’cause I do).  It’s more that shooting a wedding for someone you didn’t know until they hired you has some drawbacks:

– They aren’t your buddies and there’s a chance they may feel a bit uncomfortable with a camera pointed at them (regardless of how good you are).

– You don’t really know a lot about their personal lives, so striking up conversation/making them laugh is pretty much left to the stock commentary that gets used with every client.

– (This is my big one) – Their personal bubble is a LOT bigger.

Those are just a couple of reasons why I only shoot weddings for family and friends.  I can get closer, make them laugh more consistently, and – most importantly – it seems like less of a job and more like fun (which GREATLY improves image quality).

So anywho – a friend/former instructor of mine got hitched at the end of last month and I was there along with Ashley Lawler and Laura Raymond for picture takin’.

Here are some of the nifty shots we got.

– Jon