Central Illinois Original Music | Springfield Band Mr. Opporknockity

Springfield-based band Mr. Opporknockity holds a special place in my heart, as my friend Ann and I have followed them for many years.  At their show in April, Ann and I got to take a fun trip down memory lane as it was Mr. O's 21st anniversary and we reminisced about all the times and places we'd previously seen them live.  It started in Jacksonville on the campus of Illinois College where our fandom first began.  We also saw them at the Illinois State Fair, the Alamo, Vinegar Hill Mall, Marly's Pub, CO Daniel's in Champaign, (I'm sure I'm forgetting some) and now we've seen them at the Curve twice, with one more show coming up in August!  You should definitely make plans to see them on August 10 in Springfield!  And hey, if you want a little taste of their sound, you can find them on iTunes, Amazon, & Spotify!

Senior Concept Shoot | Make Small Town Life Beautiful

Part 2 of my concept shoot with Carlee was two-fold "Make Mason City look beautiful" with a bit of "ugly places, pretty faces" inspiration.  I think there is a definite charm of an old small town with old dilapidated buildings like this abandoned warehouse, along with beautifully restored buildings.  A couple of key people in the town have made an effort to keep some original structures as they were originally built and restored their facades to preserve a piece of the town's history.

I may be in the minority here, but I see beauty in this old, ugly white building.  I've driven by it for years (decades, really), and recently started wanting to shoot there. Carlee and her mom Brenda new exactly the place I was talking about when I first mentioned it.  We also chatted about her actual senior session we're planning for the fall, and she first said she thought she wanted all nature/park type photos, but I think I may have her convinced to add in a bit of grunge too! ;)  We'll also be doing some volleyball photos in the Illini Central gym, so I cannot WAIT for that!

And without further ado, I give you Mason City in all her glory, along with a member of the Class of 2019 Miss Carlee!  (OMG -- I just realized that means I graduated 19 years ago -- ack!)

Senior Concept Shoot | Light Control + Fog

This shoot was in the works for a while and started as a lighting formula in my head and was a culmination of a lot of things -- inspiration from lights at church and concerts, my drive to use my MagMod equipment more, and my desire to exhibit complete light control.  

The model part was easy -- Carlee is the younger sister of former senior client Grant, who I still see every now and then at State Farm Center as a grad assistant for men's basketball.  I also photographed the whole family last year, so we have a history!  Carlee offered to model for a concept shoot, so I signed her on as one of my senior models.  She'll be a #classof2019 senior, and she gets credit for any referrals she sends my way! ;)

The hard part was finding the location. Carlee lives about an hour and a half from me back in my hometown of Mason City, so I wanted to make it convenient for her, but I also thought some sort of stage might work for my vision. I had my DJ friend Ryan Reid from Crash Events hunt around Champaign for some possible venues, but it was Ebertfest weekend and everyone was booked solid.  So, instead I asked my dad to borrow his garage.  It actually worked out really great!  I brought my black seamless paper with me, along with my backdrop stands and every light stand I had. I also borrowed a couple extra speedlights and another stand from some friends (thanks Kristin & Suzy!), a couple extra MagMod pieces from another friend (thanks Jenine!), and a fog machine from another (thanks Val!).

And OH MY GOODNESS, you guys.  These came out exactly as I was hoping!!  The fog gave the colored lights something to "cling" to, the colors are so vivid, and Carlee looked stunning in her floral prom dress.  Plus her hair and makeup were on point!  I am super thrilled with this shoot and so happy to present these on my blog.  I can't wait for my next opportunity to do a shoot like this and am looking for the perfect client to fit the bill.  Is that you??  Email me and let's chat!