Tag Archives: creative

Endless Summer

14 Aug
SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

SSP Endless Summer :: Massachusetts

Gosh, this year is flying by.  Can you believe it’s already August?  I’m smack in the middle of my busiest season, and I feel like there isn’t a single minute I don’t have something to do.  On the one hand, it’s tough to stay on top of everything, organized all of the time, and find a way to get everything done in just a short 24 hr day!  On the other hand, though, I feel blessed to have so much opportunity, to be able to pursue what makes me happy, and to see the places I’ve seen…most of it in the name of photography.

Bixby in the Blue

Bixby in the Blue :: CA

It occurred to me the other day, I have been and done so many things in my life (with many many more to go) with a camera in my hand…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  With that in mind, David Pasillas and I have started up a blog tour project where my fellow bloggers (that’s you!) can contribute it you want.  All you have to do is be willing to give us your thoughts on what having a creative outlet has meant to your life.

If you’re interested in joining the fun, send me an email at seespotsphoto AT yahoo DOT com and I’ll send you the details. 🙂

Also, speaking of projects, the quote project is just about finished.  I picked a quote, and I’m working on the final piece of art now (with the help of my favorite font experts over at Print Therapy)…as soon as that’s finished, I’ll announce the winner!

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

I Go On Again, Because You Asked Me To :: NH

Also also, I’m planning a hike up Mt Washington this weekend…trying Tuck’s for the first time…wish Sean and I luck!  We’re overnighting so I’m really hoping for good weather and some sweet sunset on top of a mountain shots. 🙂

AND NOW….another picture of summer in CT, because I can!

Beach House

Beach House


Rocking Faces Off

9 May

…not me…the musicians, of course.

Hearts & Thieves - Seb - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – Seb – http://www.heartsandthieves.com

I always wonder how much people enjoy photos of bands they’ve never seen.  I mean, if you’ve never heard their music, it’s virtually impossible to have an emotional attachment to them.
I would assume, if you’re like me, at the very least you probably appreciate the art behind a good image.  I mean, a decent portrait is still a decent portrait…in this case, they just happen to have bright lights and deep shadows.

Hearts & Thieves - Aaron - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – Aaron – http://www.heartsandthieves.com


I wonder…if the images were good enough, or the band members were attractive enough, would you check out the music?  Is it a bit like judging a book by its cover?

Hearts & Thieves - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – http://www.heartsandthieves.com

I suspect some people would.  I mean…I’m not saying you’d love the band.  But good images are part of what marketing a band is all about, right?  Wear the right thing.  Pose the right way (with at least some of the band facing away from the camera. haha) Say the right thing. Befriend the right people.
Most things in life are who we know, right?

Hearts & Thieves - Sal - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – Sal – http://www.heartsandthieves.com

Well…I suggest…if you’re going to give a band a try based on images alone, you start with this one, Hearts and Thieves.  They’re a great original band with a 90’s rock feel.

Hearts & Thieves - Rick - www.heartsandthieves.com

Hearts & Thieves – Rick – http://www.heartsandthieves.com

Connecticut is truly blessed to be the home of some amazing local bands.  Most of them you’ve never heard of, but I truly hope you do someday….hence this post. haha  I’m a huge advocate of creativity in all of its various forms, and encourage you all to show some of your fellow local creatives some love.

For those of you looking for a little info about what goes into good live concert photos, check out this previous blog post.


The Self Edit Mini-Challenge (Sorta)

27 Jul

One of the hardest things for any photographer to do is be objective about their work.  It’s not surprising – photography is an emotional art.  You aren’t just sharing an image.  You’re sharing your vision of the world, and your feelings about the moment as you press the shutter.  Photographers pour their heart into their work, and sometimes, it’s difficult to separate the emotional attachment you have for an image from the compositional and connective realities of what lies within the frame.

So David Pasillas and I are issuing a two-part mini-challenge.  First, push the limits of your creativity.  Second, embrace your objectivity.

Step 1: Grab your camera, any camera. Creativity isn’t limited by the tool, it lies within the artist.

Step 2: Pick a subject and take 100 different photos of it.

AGGGGHHHHHH!!  100 photos!!!???!!  We know, it’s a very intimidating number, but before you run for the hills, read the rest! 

100 photos isn’t that much, don’t let the number scare you.  For most people, especially those who shoot digital, that’s only about a ½ hour of work.  Consider it a 30-minute challenge rather than a 100 photo challenge.  And we fully encourage you to use those 30 minutes to rock the heck out of the photo world.  Use those 30-ish minutes to explore new angles, try different settings camera settings, manipulate the light subject.  If it’s something you’re interested in shooting – a flower, a tree, grandma, a car, whatever… – you’ll reach 100 images before you can say “Cheese”!

Step 3: BE RUTHLESS!  Choose your best 5-10 images, thinking about things like emotional impact, composition, exposure, artistic effect (etc) and edit them.  Of THOSE images, submit only the 2 strongest images to submit@davidpasillas.com.

This awesome challenge is going to allow for growth as a photographer in a couple of areas. First, it will put you in a position where you’re forced to push your creativity when shooting. Most likely, you’ll run out of ideas and end up crawling around on the ground to get a different perspective. If you don’t get to that point after 100 shots, shoot another 100….seriously. The more you shoot, the more you will get out of this exercise.

Second, you will gain some experience as an editor, because truly, being able to distance yourself emotionally to see an image for what it is…well, it’s an invaluable skill.  Self-editing is part of the foundation upon which your reputation will be built.  Not every photo taken is five-star material, but the strongest photographers know the importance of putting only the best images into a portfolio.  In this case, appearance is everything.  You want your name to be associated with powerful images, and the first step in that process is learning to recognize the weak ones.

Note, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love your art…just know that your emotional connection to an image doesn’t necessarily equate it to a marketable image.

In this case, imagine that you’re the editor of National Geographic, Life, or Sunset magazine. You get hundreds, nay, thousands of images coming across your desk each month. You have to choose the best of the best for the cover photo. You should have the same approach with your images. Choose the ones that you think should be in a magazine. Learn to pick out your best shots, understand why they work, and understand why the others don’t. Improve your skills as an editor and you’ll see the quality of your photos improve.

Here are a few helpful hints from David:

The first time I did this challenge, I was told to take 500 pictures of a single flower. I got to choose the flower and was free to do whatever I wanted. I feel like 500 might be a little intimidating for most of you at this point, so let’s start with 100.

Some things I tried or was told to try:
I used different lenses
shot both, wide angle and zoomed in
different aperture settings
many different angles and compositions
shot through things
shoot at different times of the day
set to manual focus and take some photos out of focus to achieve a painterly look
spray water on the flower
tear off the petals and make something with them

If you’re using an iPhone, try shooting with different camera apps. Get creative. Get weird.

This challenge will run through two weekends, from July 28 (Saturday) until August 5 (Sunday) at midnight.  So…ready to get your creative on???!!??

Quotography Gallery!

16 May

Finaaaaallllyyyy!!  It’s here!  The Quotography gallery is up and running!

Check it out, show the participants some love, show Nick some love for all of the hard work he put in establishing the gallery, SHARE(!!!) and make sure to stay tuned for more upcoming projects.  Our next one, already in the works, will be awesome.  We hope you’ll join us! =)

Keep an eye on our Blogs and Facebook pages for updates. And as always, thanks for being supportive, awesome and gorgeous.  You guys rock!

Quotography Inspiration

27 Apr

There is no trick to Quotography, but as I’m sure many of you can attest, there are some quotes that are easier to put into images than others. We have decided to tell you a little bit about our process in the hopes that you, our fellow collaborators, can get something out of it! Remember, our way of doing it is not “the right” way to go about it…it’s just a discussion to get your wheels turning and the creativity flowing.

The best way to do this, I think, will be with some examples.

“In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away” – Shing Xiong

Shannon’s Thoughts:

The first thing I do with most quotes is look for the obvious, tangible items in it. In this case, I could try to do something with breath…maybe frosty breath on a cold morning…something along those lines. However, I don’t think that would really illustrate the message Shing Xiong is trying to convey. Instead, I would focus on the ‘moments’ portion of the quote.

‘Moments’ could be something with clocks or watches. Maybe a clock involved in an image of something I value. A watch on a couple holding hands or kissing?

However, to me, this quote is special enough that I would want to do better than a first obvious thought. If this were my quote, I would be inclined to do a photo involving other photos of special moments. Maybe a photo of polaroids spread out on a table? Or a photo of a scrapbook. Photos are my favorite way to remember important moments, so it would be an ideal way to both illustrate the quote while still communicating my personal values.

Nick’s Thoughts:

It’s funny Shannon should pick this quote for us to brainstorm on as an example, because we actually reference it quite a bit with the Charity I work for, so I already have a strong connection to its message.

When approaching quotography, I typically go either one of two ways. First would be to try and pull elements from the actual quote and arrange them in a way that would make for a complimenting image. The other is to try and visualize what the overall message is of the quote and work on capturing an image of that idea, which at times has no particular element from the quote included in the imagery.

Given my relationship with this quote I would definitely go for capturing the idea of unforgettable moments over the elements, which could go in multiple directions. The romantic in me would shoot a well dressed man on one knee asking for his soon to be fiance’s hand in marriage, while she was beginning to weep tears of joy as he presents the sizable rock he has patiently saved up for over the last year. However, the charitable figure in me would shoot more of a reaction to a front row experience at a concert or event. The outrageously energetic cheers as a favorite band comes on stage or the fainting girl as her dream guy rockstar gives a gesture of recognizing her existence. Even a shot of a the winning marathon runner breaking through the ribbon at the end of the course, both hands in the air celebrating a hard earned victory while moments later he will surely be too exhausted to hardly even move. Each of these unforgettable experiences would play in perfectly to the overall message of this quote.

Some quotes are more difficult to apply imagery to…

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Shannon’s Thoughts:

I briefly thought about doing something with a globe, but again that’s an obvious portrayal and I feel, inaccurate. This quote makes me think of someone who leads by example, such as Mother Theresa of Martin Luther King, Jr. They epitomized the idea of large change with non-violent methods. Obviously, I wouldn’t be able to take a photo of those particular examples, but there are humanitarian efforts all around us. The trick is to recognize them.

Some ideas that come to mind are involved as photographs representing a cause, or as simple as catching a random act of kindness. In my mind, both would tell a story of gentle change.

Nick’s Thoughts:

This is another instance where I would go for the imagery of the idea behind, which in my mind would be small actions can have large impacts.

Imagery wise, I would probably go for something simple to compliment the quotes easy nature. Perhaps a image of some youth out in the middle of town holding up a “Free Hugs” sign (which if you have never done yourself, I would highly suggest it! Its a very rewarding experience to see the impact a simple hug can make to someones day), with a recent hug receiver walking away with a huge grin on their face. Or even better yet a couple elderly ladies walking away giggling about the handsome young teens that they just received hugs from. Even something simple like a shot of someone tossing their plastic cup and paper bags in the recycle bin rather than the trash.

Notice that neither example necessarily ran with the exact wording of the quote, but captured the essence of the ideas expressed.. however, you could just as easily run with the elements in the quote, using gently and the world within your imagery. Its completely up to you how you approach it, as we said, there is no right or wrong way to go about this project, as long as you get the creative juices flowing. Our intention is that by seeing our methods, you may be able to shape your own creative process.

If you have any questions, or just need someone to bounce ideas off of, please don’t hesitate to contact us: Shannon (seespotsphoto@yahoo.com) or Nick (nrmayo87@gmail.com)!

The most important part of this project is that you HAVE FUN!!!! There will be no judging, only celebration of creativity when this is all said and done. We look forward to seeing all of your creative results as well as show casing our own!!


17 Apr
Oh How Far We've Come!

Oh How Far We've Come!

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~Ansel Adams

At some point in every creative person’s life, you hit a dry spell.  You want to be imaginative, and fun and innovative with your art.  Truly, you want to!  But you can’t.  You can’t focus, you can’t think, you can’t…well…create.

At one point in my photo-history, I hit just such a dry spell.  My solution was projects.  Mini-series, if you will.

Currently, I have several long-standing projects which I add to as I either come across an appropriate image-to-be, or when I’m in need of inspiration.  I’ve started a series on Bikes, Diners, Chucks (aka Converse Shoes), Old Cameras and of course, Quotography.  The above photo is part of both of the last two series!

Do you set challenges for yourself?  Do you find it helps gets the creative juices flowing?  If you haven’t tried, do you want to? =)

It’s a Portrait Kind of Weekend

16 Apr
Model: Beth

Model: Beth

Running a photography business is work!  There are calls to make, emails to send, insurance to procure, blogs to write…  It’s a 9-5er, on top of the 9-5er I already have.  One thing it’s not though is a chore, tedious, boring, bothersome or frustrating.

Hmmm…I guess that’s five things. =)

The point is, I love photography.  I never want to get the point where it becomes ‘just a job’ and to ensure that, I live for “fun nights”.  These are the sort of nights where creativity flows like wine.  Wine also flows, if we have it. Haha

They are nights where I can renew my love for the art or photos, where I can feel inspired, learn and try new techniques without having to worry if it will fit a client’s agenda.  They are, just as they sound, fun.

Saturday night I had a beautiful model, more clothing than we knew what to do with and several hours on our hands.  Our only agenda was to create. I’d say we used it productively!

Make the time to appreciate your art.  Love what you do. ❤ Photo. ❤


10 Apr
"Faith becomes a bridge between where I am and where I want to go." ~ TD Jakes

"Faith becomes a bridge between where I am and where I want to go." ~ TD Jakes

“Faith becomes a bridge between where I am and where I want to go.” ~TD Jakes

When I first saw that quote, I felt the weight of it. Thirteen words that I could identify with, that felt true based on my experiences in life. And being a ‘visual’ person, those words brought images to mind – an unassuming bridge with a dramatic sky to add interest. (Yes, even my imagination is well-composed! I’m a photographer, afterall. :p) once I had a visual impression of the quote, I set about bringing that image to life.

I admit, this is not the first time I have created a photo inspired by a quote. It started as a personal journey, which I then opened up to friends. I began making quotagraphs of words that were meaningful to the people that touched my life. It was a nice gift, but also, a way to flex my creative muscles.

I recently talked to my friend Nick at Nick Exposed about my quote images, with the intention of sharing some inspiration. The conversation rapidly turned into a plan – we want to share the creativity with both our fellow photographers, but also, with you…the people who support, encourage and inspire me.

So, Nick and I have planned a creative quotography adventure and you are all invited. You do need a camera of some sort, and more importantly…the desire to learn, to grow and to have fun making art with other creatives. If you think you’d like to join the party, leave a comment below, send me an email at seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com or find me on Facebook…and make sure to like my page while you’re there!

As always, thank you for your support! It gives me faith that this bridge will take me where I want to be. 🙂