Coeur d'Alene Photographer

Favorite 100 Portraits of 2016

A difficult but rewarding task

It is that time of the year where I have a fun but almost overwhelming task.  It is the time that I go through all of my finished images of the last 365 days and narrow them down to my favorite 100. This starts out feeling like a daunting task and I experience sorrow as I have to eliminate images that I love.  Sorrow, however, is always overcome by joy as I get to be reminded again of some of the fun moments spent with my clients.  I relive the excitement of being able to show an athlete the back of the camera when we nailed the perfect sports action portrait.  I have the opportunity to experience again the awe of one of those amazing inland northwest sunsets.

Yes, it is a big and difficult job but it is always worth it!  I will say a bit more about the past year further on, but for those of you that are just here to see the photos I won’t keep you any longer!

Partnership with Interfit Photographic

One of the big changes in 2016 was a new partnership with Interfit Photographic. As a sponsored pro I made the switch to using the new S1 strobe and have been very pleased with it’s performance.  A large majority of the images that you see in the above video were taken using these lights.  I hope you would agree that these tools did their job well. One of the best parts of working with Interfit is that I am able to offer the photographers that follow my page a 10% discount on all their products.  If you want to know more about this check out this page: http://jasonduchowphotography.com/interfit-sponsored-pro-interfit-s1-discount-code/

Past Favorite 100 entries

This favorite 100 portraits post is something I have done at the end/beginning of each year for the last couple of years. For those interested in seeing my favorite portraits of years past you can check out those entries here:

2015 100 Favorites Portraits

2014 100 Favorite Portraits

Having such great clients is what makes all of these images possible.  I want to once again thank all of my clients!

 

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)

Gymnastics Photo Shoot with the Interfit S1

Julie, one of my Senior Models, is a flyer for the Coeur d’Alene High School Cheer-leading team.  After learning of her years of training in gymnastics I knew I had to talk her into doing a gymnastics photo shoot, it was not a hard sell!  For a few months now I have been testing out equipment from Interfit Photographic, I have pretended to patiently wait for the brand new Interfit S1 to be available for testing.  Now after chomping at the bit for months I finally had two units in my possession and this shoot would be a great way to test them out.

(To find out more about why I was testing this gear check out this blog post)

Julie talked to her gym, Avant Coeur Gynmastics, and we found a time that we could use the gym without getting in anyone’s way.  My main goal with this shoot was to capture Julie in action. Since the vault is her favorite event that is where we decided to start.  I set up five lights, the two Interfit S1 strobes were set up as my main lights,  Camera left I had one with a 47″ gridded Octa, camera right was a 35″ gridded octa.   For my rim lights I used two Einsteins with 7″ reflectors and 30 degree grids and to light the gym I used an 11″ reflector with a blue gel.  Because of all of the equipment in the gym there were many limitations to where we could place our lights I found what I thought was our best option and we shot some wide angle from right under the vault first and then a longer focal length from a distance.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 002

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 003

Here is behind the scenes video I put together showing the capturing of the first image:

Next we moved on to get some photos of her on the floor.  For these shots I used the two S1’s with the standard reflectors and 30 degree grids pointing straight at her front and back.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 004

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 005

After the floor we were starting to run out of time so we started to move more quickly, first setting the high bar.  This time it was two S1 units with the same octa boxes and the two Einsteins with reflectors and 30 degree grids for rim lighting.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 006

Then the uneven bars, finding a good safe angle with good angles for the light was hard so I went with the a high angle.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 007

I know the classic chalk photo is common, but it would not be a complete test of the new light without it.  For these we used a 47″ gridded octa camera left as the main and a standard reflector with 30 degree grid for the rim light camera right.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 008

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 009

We concluded in the gym with some still portraits.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 010

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 011

After we were done at the gym we had time to do a quite outdoor shoot.  Since it was February in North Idaho I had hoped for some snow for our outdoor time, but that was not happening.  Without snow most places around here are not very pretty, the grass is brown the trees are barren and it is chilly.  After trying to find a place that would work we defaulted to what I knew would do the trick, sunset portraits next to Lake Coeur d’Alene.   It was very chilly so my goal was to work quickly, get some good photos for Julie, test the High Speed Sync (HSS) and call it good.  We started out with some portraits with the standard sync speed.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 012

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 013

Then we switched up to HSS.  All in all I found the color accuracy of the lights to be consistent, I did see that when we changed from standard sync to High Speed Sync the color between the two settings was slightly different but I the color in my shots was consistent in each mode.  It was just when you compared the standard to the HSS that I notice the slight difference.

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 014

Interfit S1 Gynmastics Shoot 015

After this first round of portraits with the Interfit S1 I am very pleased with the performance of the light.  I really love the simplicity of set up and the fact that I no longer need to deal with cables and external batteries.  After this test I was convinced that this light would be a great fit for my workflow and that I could comfortably make the switch from my PCB lights to the S1.  The hard part has been waiting for the weather to get better so I can get out and shoot more outdoor portraits, thankfully the weather is turning and the outdoor portrait season is right around the corner!

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)

 

hammer action portrait

Senior Portraits with Joselynn – Central Valley High

I was very excited to work with Central Valley Senior Joselynn for her senior portraits because of something we have in common.  Joseylnn is a stand out Track and Field athlete with a passion for the throwing events (Shot Put, Discus and the Hammer).  When I was a freshman in High School I was introduced to the throwing events and fell in love with them so when Joseylnn applied to be a Senior Model and shared her interests with me I knew I had to work with her!    We started out with a studio session where the main focus was to get some images highlighting the throwing events, especially her favorite event the Hammer.

Hammer Thrower Senior PortraitHammer Thrower Senior Portrait discus thrower senior portrait Track and Field senior portrait Track and Field senior portrait

During out outdoor session we started out at the Central Valley Track and Field complex with our main goal being to get a great action portrait of Joselynn throwing the hammer.   Yes, it did make me a little nervous having that 8 pound ball flung around near my lights and camera but mostly I put my faith and trust in Joselynn’s skill and abilities and she did not disappoint!

Hammer Thrower action portrait track and field senior portrait

Joselynn has seen a photo I did of a past senior in a tunnel with some dramatic lighting and wanted to get a similar photo in that location with her Letterman Jacket, I was happy to oblige.  This tunnel is very narrow, this makes the lighting very tricky but without the lights this tunnel would not be a very interesting location so it is well worth the contortions that we have to do to make it work.

athlete senior portrait in a tunnel

For the rest of our session we headed off to Farragut State Park and the Marina in Hope, Idaho.

senior portrait with the lake in the distance senior portrait senior portrait with her dog senior portrait at the hope marina senior portrait at the hope marina natural light senior portrait senior portrait with dramatic light along a rock wall naturla light senior portrait senior portrait at the lake sunset senior portrait with her dog sunset silhouette portrait with her dog

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)

Senior Portraits with Cody

Cody was one of my Class of 2016 Senior Models from Sandpoint High School, she is an extremely talented softball player.  One of the things that always stood out to me was Cody’s dimples, but as we started working together I realized she does not have dimples . . . . she has a single dimple on her right cheek.  We worked together on three different occasions, first we had a studio session which was followed a couple of days later by a fun road trip session.  We worked together a third time when I needed to test out some equipment that I received from Interfit Photoraphic, those photos will be posted on the blog later.  To start out, here are a few from our studio session.

studio senior portrait Softball studio senior portrait Softball studio senior portrait

To start off our outdoor session we were at the Sandpoint High School Softball Field.

Softball senior portrait softball senior portrait

After the softball field we loaded up in the car and took a road trip to Montana.  The final destination was the Ross Creek Cedars and along the way we kept our eye out for some interesting spots.  We found a great spot along side the highway with a nice patch of lupines.

senior portrait among the lupins

A little further down the road we found a great spot along side the river.  There was a thunderstorm moving in quickly so we hustled to get the light set up and it was certainly worth it, the look of the rain falling in the distance made one of my favorite landscape portraits of the 2015 portrait season.

senior portrait with dramatic clouds and rain in the distance

The rain came down very hard, but thankfully it did not last long.  We continued down the road and endured some light sprinkles to get some photos at this location.

road trip senior portrait in Montana

When we got to the Ross Creek Cedars it had started to rain again.  We covered my strobe with some plastic to protect it from the water and thankfully the thick trees helped with the light rainfall.  With the overcast conditions the area was fairly dark but we were still able to manage to get a handful of good shots.

Senior Portrait taken at Ross Creek Cedars  Portrait taken at Ross Creek Cedars  Portrait taken at Ross Creek Cedars

As we left the Cedars the combination of the sun peeking through the overcast sky and some low level clouds in the distance made for a very cool scene.  The only angle we could get at it included a guard rail along the road, but we made use of it and captured the scene.

 Portrait taken near Ross Creek Cedars Portrait taken near Ross Creek Cedars

We debated about where to go to try to capture the sunset, in the end we decided to back track the same way we came and as luck would have it the best spot we found was the same spot on the Clark Fork River that we had been when we had the thunderstorm roll in.

Sunset Senior Portrait taken along the Clark Fork River in Montana

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)
Sunset senior portrait

Senior Portraits with Andra

Andra was my Class of 2016 Senior Model from Post Falls High School.  For her portrait session we started out with some time in the Studio, she is a setter for the Post Falls Volleyball team so we spend a lot of our studio time working on some sports themed photos for her.

Studio portrait by Jason Duchow Photography
Volleyball studio portrait with Jason Duchow Photography Volleyball studio portrait with Jason Duchow Photography Volleyball studio portrait with Jason Duchow Photography Volleyball studio portrait with Jason Duchow Photography

After the studio we explored some areas in Eastern Washington.  At the next location we started out with some natural light portraits and then we pulled out the strobe so we could capture all of the vibrant colors of the spring grass, deep blue sky and the great cloud formations.  You can see by the vibrant colors we are able to capture why I love working with my senior models during the spring, you don’t get these same colors in July and August!

Natural light portrait Spring senior portrait with vibrant colors Spring senior portrait with vibrant colors

After a while we moved on to the greenbluff area just north of Spokane.

Spring senior portrait with vibrant colors Spring senior portrait with vibrant colors Natural light senior portrait senior portrait with a barn in the distance senior portrait with a barn in the disctance

We finished up with some shots around sunset time.

sunset senior portait sunset senior portait sunset senior portait sunset senior portait sunset senior portait

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)

Favorite 100 Portraits of 2015

Every year at the end of December I have the extremely difficult job of going through all of the photos I have taken for the past 12 months and picking out my favorite 100 portraits.  With such great, talented and creative clients this is a job I mostly look forward to, but with a hind of dread as I know will have to eliminate from contention many portraits that I really love.  I readily admit that I do have an biased connection to some of the photos that I choose as I know the challenges that went into making them.  It may be that someone else might choose a very different top 100 list, but then it would not be MY favorites 100 portraits of the year.  With the number of jobs and clients I have every year narrowing this list down to 100 unfortunately means that not every one of my clients or subjects makes this end of the year video, I wish they all could be here but then I would have to have a top 200 or 300 portraits video and that would double the play time of the video and with attention spans what they are these days keeping things shorter is often sweeter!

One of the photos featured in this video was selected by Senior Style Guide to make their yearly Hot 100 issue featuring the best senior photo artists in the country, I am humbled and honored to have been selected for this honor a second year in a row.  You can check out the winning entry on this blog post.  I think that is enough words, now on with the show!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my video. If you want to see my selections from last year you can check out my Favorite 100 Portraits of 2014 here.

2015 Senior Style Guide Hot 100

Hot 100 WinnerEvery year the the folks at Senior Style Guide put on the Hot 100 photo contest.  This contest consists of 10 categories with 10 winning images selected from each category and the goal is to feature the very best of senior portraiture.  This year 6,315 images were submitted from some of the best portrait artists around the globe and I am so pleased to announce that one of my submissions made the cut!  It is truly an honor to have been selected for a second straight year.  Last year my photo of Preston Cole was selected in the “Urban” category, you can find the blog post about that contest and how that image was made here.

Now, without further adieu I am glad to reveal that my sunset image of Class of 2016 Lake City High School Senior Grant Wade was selected in the “Off Camera Flash” category.  Here is the final image:

strobist sunset "sunset portrait" senior portrait" "off camera flash"

Here is what the photo looks like straight out of the camera:

strobist sunset "sunset portrait" senior portrait" "off camera flash"

This image was made using four different strobes.  The main light was camera right with a 47″ gridded octabox set to a position to give a Rembrandt style lighting pattern.  The remaining three lights were used to light Grant’s Jeep which he restored himself by the way!  I used two strobes with strip boxes camera right and camera left to light the front and sides of the jeep.  Then as I always like to do when I photograph seniors with their automobiles I added a strobe to the inside of the jeep with a colored gel.  Blue seemed appropriate as it would be a complimentary color, matches Grant’s shirt and also is one of his school colors.  This image was captured with a Canon 1DX and 17-40 f4.0 lense set to 1/200 at f5.6 and ISO 100.  Here is a behind the scenes look:

"Behind the scenes" "sunset portrait" strobistI want to thank Vickie Black, the crew at Senior Style Guide and the judges for the opportunity, I am truly honored and grateful!  Now it’s time to get ready to make another run at it with the Class of 2017!

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.  Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work for www.idahosports.com, The Coeur d’Alene Press, The Bonner County Daily Bee, Priest River Times, Newport Miner, Living Local and a handful of other newspapers and publications.

 

Destination Senior Portraits with Lacie

My third and final Destination Senior Portrait session with my Class of 2016 Senior Models was with Lacie in the Astoria area.  I have visited and driven through Astoria on many occasions and every I would dream of doing some Senior Portraits in many of the locations I would see.  Finally my dream cam true!  We started out at the Astoria Column, we had some fun throwing small wooden planes sold in the gift shop from the top of the tower and then made use of the awesome view to get the bridge and mountains as a backdrop.

Senior Portrait taken at the Astoria Column overlooking the river and bridge Senior portrait taken at the Astoria column overlooking the mountains

We pondered the idea of going to the famed house where they filmed the movie Goonies, but we decided against it and instead explored the surrounding residential areas and found a nice shaded spot for some natural light portraits.

Natural light urban portrait taken in Astoria Oregon Natural light urban portrait taken in Astoria Oregon Natural light urban portrait taken in Astoria Oregon Natural light urban portrait taken in Astoria Oregon

Next we visited a pier along the river, there were some great buildings on the pier where we could shoot inside and out.

Destination senior Portrait taken in Astoria Orego Destination senior Portrait taken in Astoria OregoDestination senior Portrait taken in Astoria Orego Destination senior Portrait taken in Astoria Orego Destination senior Portrait taken in Astoria Orego Destination senior Portrait taken in Astoria Orego

Next we worked out way down the river and found a couple spots with boats, pilons and an old moss covered dock ruins.

Senior portrait taken near the harbor in Astoria Natural light portrait taken in Astoria Senior portrait taken near the harbor in Astoria Senior portrait taken near the harbor in Astoria Senior portrait taken near the harbor in Astoria Senior portrait taken near the harbor in Astoria

We concluded out day at the wreck of the Peter Iredale.  This boat ran ashore on October 25, 1906 and has been steadily decaying ever since.  The hope was for a vibrant sunset as a backdrop for the portraits but the clouds in the distance had other ideas.  So, rather than depend on the weather we added out own vibrant colors to the scene by putting a red gelled strobe inside of the wreckage.  This is something I had done previously when shooting a landscape photo of the wreckage and always thought it would be fun to add a High School Senior into the mix.  Here is the end result.

Senior portraits taken at the wreck of the Peter Iredale Senior portraits taken at the wreck of the Peter Iredale

Destination Senior Portraits with Sky

The second of my three Destination Senior Portrait sessions with Class of 2016 Senior Models was with Sky.  My base of operations for my three scheduled days was Seaside Oregon, for Sky’s senior portraits we traveled south to see what we could find.  As can be expected on the Oregon Coast in the spring we had it’s fair share of of rain, but we had enough breaks in the downfall to get some great photos.  The first place we stopped was just past Canon Beach and it featured some great rock formations and a very cool waterfall with a shallow enough stream for some rain boot stomping!

rainy day portrait with a red umbrella and rain bootsstomping in the stream with red rain boots

Next in our exploring we found a great dense forest spot with a lot of moss covered trees and a nice hint of sunlight peaking through for a rim light on some natural light portraits.

natural light portrait in the forest

We continued down the coast and found a great turnout overlooking the ocean, the town of Manzanita and it featured some great dramatic clouds.

portrait overlooking the Oregon coast

Next we did some urban style portraits in the small town of Wheeler, Oregon.

small ocean town urban portrait small ocean town urban portrait

In the Rockaway Beach area we braved a few raindrops to get this portrait.

Rockaway Beach Senior Portrait

The tide was out so we were able to get some fun portraits on some rock formations just before Garibaldi.

oregon coast dramatic sky

We finished up our time in the town of Garibaldi.  There is a great public pier there that I have been dying to do portraits on for years, I tried one time before on a trip with friends but the rain hindered that effort.

Oregon Coast Destination Senior Portraits with Sky009 portrait on an ocean pier

After the pier the plan was to do some photos in another spot for sunset, but it started raining pretty hard so we stuck around Garibaldi to see if the rain would stop.   Thankfully it stopped just long enough for us to catch a little bit of the sunset peaking through the clouds.

ocean sunset senior portrait

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work.  Jason is also a Sponsored Pro for Interfit Photographic (http://interfitphotographic.com/)

Faith – Destination Senior Portraits

I have long wanted to do some portraits on the Oregon Coast and finally this year during spring break I had the opportunity to do some destination senior sessions with three of my Class of 2016 Senior Models.  My first session was with Faith, an upcoming senior from Lakeland High School.  I have had my eye on faith as a senior model since the basketball season of her freshman year.  Faith is one of the friendliest people I have ever met, every time I would be at a Lakeland basketball game she would seemingly go out of her way to make sure to say hi and give me a huge smile.  Not only was she engaging in person but she was also always very active with the content I would post on social media, this of coruse is very helpful when you want people to see your photos online!  Finally, after three years of waiting I was able to invite her to be a part of my team of senior models and she agreed without hesitation!

We started out our session at Ecola State Park located between Seaside and Cannon Beach.  Before we could make it to the beach we had to stop and get a few shots in moss covered trees.

Senior Portrait Senior Portrait

 

Then onward to the beach.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-3 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-4 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-5

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-6

After spending some time on the water we headed back to Seaside to grab some lunch.  After lunch we visited a location that I knew would be perfect for some photos with Faith, the Seaside Carousel Mall.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-7

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-9 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-8

 

On the previous photos I used a fast shutter speed so that everything was crisp and sharp, but I also wanted to do some photos where you had the sense of the motion of the carosel so I used a technique called “Panning”.  For this technique you have to use a slow shutter speed and move the camera along with the motion of your subject.  This technique is often used with car and bicycle racing but I wanted to employ it here for a portrait.  The goal is to get motion blur on most of the objects in the photo while still having your main subject be relatively sharp, here is one of my favorite takes using this method.

 

Panning to show movement

 

We finished up in the mall with a few still portraits and a some laughs.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-11

 

After the Mall we walked around Seaside a bit and found a few spots around town.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-16 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-15 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-14 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-13 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-12

With evening approaching we headed back to Ecola State Park to get the beginning of sunset.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-18 sunset portrait

Then, for our final photos of the day we found ourselves at Cannon Beach.

20150331 Destination senior session with faith-19 20150331 Destination senior session with faith-20sunset portrait

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to spend the day with Faith we had a great time and we ended up with some fun and beautiful images and hopefully some great memories as well!

 

Jason Duchow Photography is located in Oldtown, Idaho and does on location portraiture throughout Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.   Jason specializes in environmental portrait photography often with the use of  dramatic lighting techniques and is also known for his freelance sports photography work for www.idahosports.com, The Coeur d’Alene Press, The Bonner County Daily Bee, Priest River Times, Newport Miner, Living Local and a handful of other newspapers and publications.