Rooftop Portraits in Kolkatta, India

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While in India this past winter I talked my cousin into doing a little modeling for for a few portraits. We spent a few hours in the morning one Sunday on the rooftop of our family home in Kolkatta, India. This rooftop is a temporary respite in the chaotic nature of the city. Many kids grow up with the rooftops of these buildings as their playground, I remember having sleepovers under the stars and flying kites from the roofs of this city. I wanted the photos to capture this relaxed, comfortable nature of the roof.

Scanning by Nimble Lab DC

Lifestyle Photography Session At Home

Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-6

Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-1Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-2Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-3Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-4Family Portrait session washington DC film Contax 645 Kodak Portra Lifestyle-5

There’s nothing I love more than people in their natural setting. It helps when the people are interior designers, and really pretty (Hi Abby!) This was my first session shooting film and I tested out Kodak Portra 400 and 800. Both were WAY too yellow and had to be majorly tweaked in Post-production. I even shot a whole roll of 800 thinking it was 400… and probably overexposing a ton. Fortunately with film, this is not a death sentence. I shot digital also, but ultimately I ended up LOVING all the film shots and not including any digital ones in this blog post. I mean, look at that first image where momma and baby are glowing, I just could not get that effect from my digital shots, even at the same angle. Shot on the Contax645 with the Carl Zeiss 80mm f2 lens. Scanned by Nimble labs.

Why I’m shooting film


(Image shot on a Contax 645 f2 with Fuji Pro400H film)

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I’ve been a little busy with a few changes. The website and logo got a makeover to reflect a more elegant and timeless brand. But the biggest change is that I have added shooting medium-format film to my workflow. I caught the film bug while I was a Jose Villa Workshop in Mexico this past November (More on that coming later!) And I’m loving being part of the film community. One may wonder why I want to switch to film when there is so much technology out there, and it is relatively easy to edit photos to look like film.

1.  The first reason is that I hate editing digital images. I love brainstorming, planning and shooting, but to spend 50-60 hours of my life trying to make digital images look like film? Nah…

2. The second, most important one is that I feel like shooting film makes me a much better photographer. I take my time, set up the shot and make sure that everything is absolutely perfect in the frame. There is no “I’ll Photoshop it out later” mentality. It has made me slow down and really compose my shots. Also, film is pretty expensive, so I have to ask myself if it’s worth the cost to click that shutter.

3. The third reason is the dynamic range achieved by film. With the medium format cameras it’s possible to keep a lot of information in highlights that would be lost in a digital file. The result is this amazing luminescence in film that is pretty addictive and hard to ignore.

Obviously this is all my personal preference, and it’s possibly to achieve all of this with different tools. But I’ve been asked “Why Film” many times lately, and I’ve narrowed it down to this. I’m happy to share my film journey on my blog because I’m pretty excited about it!

Nadia & Joe at Decanter St. Regis DC

I’ve decided that black-tie events are my favorite, completely based on this wedding. The bride, Nadia, is stunning on a regular basis so we all knew that her wedding was going to be spectacular. The location, a few blocks away from the White House in the prettiest hotel in all of DC, set the tone for the evening. All the guests were dressed in their formal-best, and a few touches of peonies and personal elements made this wedding sensational!