“Before & After”

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A lot of times I get the question from clients or in meetings with potential clients “do you use photoshop to enhance your photos”. The other question I also get  for instance goes something like this “is there any chance you can photoshop so and so object out of a shot” say for example, telephone poles or electrical outlets. What I tell my clients and is also my philosophy that goes back to my days of shooting with film, is that I do everything possible I can on location be it interiors or exteriors to get the shot perfect before I push the button on the camera (or in this day and age the button on  my laptop). Or better put, my crew and I are not lazy nor do I like to kick back and be the photographer that tells his clients that “I’ll just fix it in photo shop back in the studio”. The last thing I want to do is spend more time in a dark room in front of the computer when I can be outside hanging with the kids. That’s all fine and dandy but there are times where I rely heavily on the tool of photoshop and tell my clients that it is part of my services.

Farm2I was hired by the architectural firm Coover/Clark based in Denver to photograph the New Readiness Center for the Army National Guard in New Mexico. After shooting the interiors of the complex the day before I returned the next morning to shoot the exterior at Dawn. The direction and quality of like was just beautiful for the front of the building. The only thing that bothered me was the huge shadow running across the pavement and grass. The shadow was being created by the plane you see in the below image. So as to not make a longer story any longer, I photoshopped the shadow out back in that dark room in my studio.

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The plane  in the above image was casting a shadow across the front pavement and grass on the above shot.

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This project was shot in Bel Air California for my good client R.T.A Construction.

Same deal here. I had to rely on photo shop to take out the car on the left and all of the riffraff in the foreground. You are probably asking “why didn’t you just move the car”, and that’s a great question. We had no idea whose it was. I would have loved to have actually moved back farther than where I was standing so I could include more space around the house, but it was a construction site where I had the camera positioned and I couldn’t move back and further because of construction equipment.

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One should keep in mind that both of these scenarios above took about an hour each to get just right. It should also be noted that pictures taken with a digital camera don’t just pop out of the camera looking perfect. As in the old days of the traditional darkroom photography there is a lot of nuances to make a beautiful image, and this is what a professional photographer can bring to the table. OK, enough of being in a dark room and in front of this computer. I’m going outside to hang with the kids!

“Trailblazers”

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I am  thrilled and very proud to have a project I shot for Studio William Hefner showcased in the recent issue of C “California Style Magazine”. I am also very flattered to have been  included in the magazines contributor section as well. It’s an honor to be associated with such a classy and stylish magazine and be among other contributors of the magazine who are also at the top of their game……

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“SmartWool Photo Shoot Steamboat Springs”

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I had  the pleasure a few weeks ago of  photographing the SmartWool  headquarters (that’s  right the sock company) in Steamboat Springs for my good client OZ Architecture.

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I also had the pleasure to work with and have on site the lead Designer of the project Christy Headlee from OZ. As I have mentioned in past posts it’s a huge plus  having the client on site to help facilitate, style and share their vision of the project and how they would like to see  the project  captured through the lens of my camera.

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As in all shoots it seems that time is of the essence and having Christy on site was a huge help. We had a ton of ground to cover and unbeknownst to  the viewer the installation was literally going on around us. The grand opening of the project was the following night so it was a scramble to say the least to photograph around the installation process.

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Our persistence prevailed though and we were able to produce the shoot under our deadline without a hitch. Besides the images seen here we shot an additional half a dozen images before the sun went down. As always team work and pre-planning paid a huge roll in our success.

As a side note, a few days after the shoot a package arrived in my mail box with that’s right you guessed it a bundle of socks for moi (it just so happens that SmartWool socks are the only socks I wear). Being one who detests shopping for himself this was a real treat and a great gesture of kindness from my client and SmartWool. I just wish I could wear flip flops right now and not socks and shoes. Will summer ever arrive!

“Sympathetic Addition”

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Now that the new website is completed and behind us I am now hoping to be able to get back to the Blog on a more frequent basis. What better way to jump back into it than with a post on a recent feature of ours that is once again in Mountain Living Magazine ( March/April 2013). The Magazine hired me a few months back to photograph a home located in Telluride Colorado (one of my favorite mountain towns to work in. If you haven’t been there make sure to stop in at “Baked In Telluride” for a coffee and one of their killer donuts that are hot out of the oven at 5am).

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The home was designed by Eric Cummings Architect and the Interior Design was by Catherine Hobbs of Studio Frank based in Telluride. We worked closely with Catherine and her assistant who both styled each shot for us throughout the day. Eric was also a huge help on the shoot when an extra pair of hands were needed. As I always say collaboration is a huge key in any photo shoot and success lies in all of the parties working together with one vision for the final outcome. The final images are a testament to this philosophy and I believe reflect the vision of all who participated in the overall success of this shoot.

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Now all I need is another excuse to make it back to Telluride and “Baked in Telluride” for another one of those killer donuts!

“New Web Site”

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Well its a new year and as they say “out with the old, and in with the new”. That being said I am very proud to announce the rolling out of a brand new website for James Ray Spahn Photographer. The site has been under construction for  a little over a month and to say the least  has been a labor of love. I am very proud of the final product and believe visitors will be as well with the addition of the new interface that streamlines the viewing of each portfolio for the particular monitor the viewer maybe using. There are new categories  to help interpret our process as well as a few of our success stories describing what  separates us apart in such a demanding field. I would like to think those of you who contributed to the text and copy on the site as well as the clients whose projects are showcased within the sights pages. Without all of you I would not be where I am today as well as the level of success you have helped me achieve over the years. I look forward to the opportunity of working with all of you in 2013!

Happy New Year and as always, thanks for the work!

James Ray Spahn

“First post of 2013”

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What a great way to start off my first post of 2013  by highlighting Mountain Living Magazines’s first issue of the New Year that showcases an image I shot for the magazine while on assignment for them. The home was shot specifically for Mountain Living last winter in Aspen and was yet another jewel of a home by Charles Cunniffe Architect. As usual with ML I worked alongside Art Director Loneta Showell who is the stylist extraordinaire. Rebecca Richardson Marketing Director for Charles Cunniffe was also on hand to help with access and to lend a hand where needed. It’s always a treat to work with both of these ladies. The entire home can be viewed on the inside of the magazine.

Happy New Year!

“Mountain Living Magazine Dream Spaces”

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I was in an airport book store a few weeks back and picked up the  latest issue of Mountain Living Magazine and began flipping through it and came across their section “Dream Spaces” which included a two page spread of a home I shot last winter for Charles Cunniffe Architect over is Aspen. Charles Cunniffe also was awarded the honor of “Home of the Year” in the same issue.

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Cunniffe also ran a full-page ad in the same issue featuring the same house as in the “Dream Spaces” section my images were showcased in (above image top left corner  is not mine). It was great to see the exterior of the house highlighted, even more enjoyable was viewing it inside a heated building. Hard to imagine, but when I shot this exterior it was close to ten below and not a very enjoyable enviroment………you gotta love winter shoots!