Imagine Life Visual Artistry, LLC | Blog

Archie's Island Surprise Proposal

June 20, 2015  •  1 Comment

Have I told you all how much I LOVE shooting surprise proposals?  They are one of my favorite types of sessions.  This story should show you why:

 

     A few weeks back, Zach called me to inquire about shooting a proposal that he had planned to execute while he and  Ariel would be visiting the next weekend.  He wanted to do a sunset proposal on the beach during Memorial Day weekend.   As a photographer, I instantly thought, 'Oh boy, there will be so many people on the beach that weekend - how can we make this special moment more intimate?'

 

     This shoot was one of those special shoots where the stars just align to make it happen in the most perfect way possible, even if you weren't sure how everything would work.  As fate would have it, we had just recently purchased a boat the very same weekend Zach called me to set up the proposal.  The first place that popped into my head was Archie's Island.    Archie's Island is an intercoastal secret to locals and frequent visitors.  It is a tiny island known for having a private beach where the water is just deep enough that one can anchor a boat close to shore.  After talking to Zach we decided it would be perfect!

 

     He sent a few pictures of the setup he wanted and with the help of our mutual friend, we gathered the items for the setup and planned for their arrival the very next weekend. 

 

Their Story:    

     Ariel and Zach found each other through a twist of luck 3 years ago, as Ariel tells me.  "We both worked at the same hospital but didn't know it. We had a mutual friend  that worked at the hospital that introduced us at an event Zach was having at his house and we were inseparable after that day."   Ariel works at three major hospitals in Georgia as a Registered Respiratory Therapist.  Zach is the purchasing coordinator for a local rehab hospital.  

 

Ariel's favorite thing about Zach is that he is sweet and caring. He always puts her first and she will forever love him for this.  (She also loves that He has great hair!)
 

Zach's favorite thing about Ariel is that she would do anything for him and her love is so pure.
 

"We love each other so much. Our love is true."

_______________________________________________________________

 

     The day of the proposal we had planned every detail.  He would propose in the morning to avoid the summer storms that seemed to roll in every night around sunset.  I rode out and set everything up and hid in the bushes (which Ariel later said she had always wanted).  The story was that we were all going to breakfast together (we have mutual friends in the neighborhood, so thankfully it was believable). Of course we had to tell her it was a golf club and she had to dress up - Zach matched their outfits perfectly!  The Island, he told her, was famous for manatees! Zach said that she loved manatees and would definitely want to stop to see them.  

 

 

They walked to the point of the Island after getting off the boat and even though I was hiding, I could hear her gasp when she saw the rose petals lining the beach.  She froze and just started crying.  

Finally, she walked a little further and saw the setup, where he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.   It was so beautiful!

     She was absolutely glowing the rest of their time on the Island and on the boat ride back.  After our mini engagement session, she said that it was absolutely perfect. I'm so happy to have been a part of their special moment!  Her favorite part was "... the total surprise of it all.  I thought we were going to look at manatees and we walk around the island to see a beautiful set up of flowers and candles. He then got on one knee and asked "Will you spend the rest of your life with me." And then the tears came."

     Ariel said, " I was completely surprised. The morning of the proposal I was going to wear shorts and a polo shirt for our "boat ride" but Zach kept saying you should wear a pretty dress. So, I thought to myself is he proposing today? But the thought was automatically dismissed because I was like there is no way he's proposing and I'm just thinking crazy."

 

These two really are perfect for each other and I wish them the absolute best as they plan for their ceremony and as they get started on their life together!  You just don't find love like this everyday folks, which is why surprise proposals are my absolute favorite: it's such a privilege to be invited to be a part of such a unique representation of a couple's love for one another.

Congratulations to the future Mr. & Mrs. Snipes!

 

 

 

Creatively Yours, 

 

Amanda Pratt

AKPratt Photography

 

 


Let's Talk Panoramic Views

May 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

This week, I challenged myself to create panoramic images with Adobe Bridge & Photoshop CC.  Its as easy as pie in a box.  I know, the saying is easy as pie - but in my experience, baking a pie is NOT easy - Pie in a box, on the other hand...

 

Anyway, we finally bought a new boat and so we were out on the water all day.  It storms in Florida pretty much every afternoon during hurricane season, so I had plenty of great sky to photograph.  

 

Here are my final shots:

 

This shot was comprised of around 7 or 8 images stitched together

This shot was comprised of 20 images stitched together.  This took a LOT of extra work and hours of masking to make sure everything went well together.  Ill have to give it another run over tomorrow with fresh eyes, but this is pretty close to awesome.

 

The basic setup is this:

  • Take images so that they overlap by at least 1/3 of each image.  
  • When you get them on the computer, put all the images into their own folder and title it 'panorama' so you know which images you used (totally forgot to do this with the first image above :O )  
  • Next, Open the images in bridge and go to Tools > Photoshop > Photomerge.  
  • I always select the auto option, but you can play with the different merge options available for a different look.  
  • Photoshop will take a bit to merge the photos, depending on how many you have.  Once it is done you crop and voila! panoramic views!  
  • When it can't merge all the images, you might have to piece them all together like I did the photo above, but it is possible and achieves pretty sweet results. 

 

Try it! I'd love to see your panoramas.  Share in comments or comment with a link to your images and I will check them out! 

 

Creatively Yours,

 

Amanda Pratt

AKPratt Photography


Ebb and Flow

May 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

As an artist and one who draws from daily life to find inspiration, I find that creativity ebbs and flows like the tide. Something that inspires me today, might not seem all that spectacular tomorrow.  I might see something with an eye open to beauty and then, after a rough day, I might not be able to see beauty anywhere.  Perspective, attitude, place and time all play a role in how we view a subject or a place.  Sometimes we can plan for inspiration and other times it just knocks you back like a strong wind.  

 

Lately, my health has had a significant impact on productivity and inspiration.  Over the past two years, life has been a battle between the good days and the bad.  Pain, exhaustion, and emotional emptiness leave little left for inspiration let alone the energy to even get out of bed to find it.   A catch 22 at times, my creativity requires energy that I just don't have most days; yet pushing myself to go shoot, even while feeling terrible, has positive effects on how I feel.

 

Right now my tide is high, as medications start to kick in and my change in diet starts to prove beneficial.  I am taking every advantage of this renewed energy by planning as many shoots, workshops and photography opportunities as possible.  In my sea, the tide could drain away from shore with no warning, so I must really live in the moment.

 

This morning, I planned to wake up early to capture the sunrise near Tom Stuart Causeway, where sailboats anchor in the bay and herons fish near the shore.   I grabbed my trusty tripod, my 9 stop Hoya ND filter and my pancake lens and went on my way.  I never know what the sky will look like, only that the colors are brightest around 30 minutes before sunrise or after sunset.   My goal was to see how long of an exposure I could get as I am in the market for a new filter that will allow me to take even longer exposures.  

 

Here are the shots I got, final post processing done in Adobe Camera Raw & PS CC.

 

40mm

ISO 100

f22

40 second exposure

40mm

f22

ISO 100

41 second exposure

Anyone who knows me knows that the color Purple speaks volumes to me.  As irony would have it, purple is the color for Lupus awareness and May is Lupus awareness month.  I'm going to dedicate these images to all my Lupus Warriors out there who not only deal with Lupus, but many other overlapping autoimmune illnesses.  Click on the link to learn more and please, make time this month to get to #knowlupus so that we can have a future with #nolupus.

 

 

Creatively Yours,

 

Amanda Pratt


Digital VS Print - Let's Talk Wall Art

February 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I can remember when it became an option to purchase a CD of your images from the film you would drop off at your local pharmacy or convenient store.  At first, we didn't want to spend the money on a CD when we were getting the prints anyway.  We also didn't have a computer to even view them on until around 2000.  Then, it became the way to 'back up your pictures' in the case that you lost them or they were damaged over time.  Now, it seems, we choose digital negatives as the only way to preserve our memories.   Unfortunately, we never asked ourselves, "What do we do when we break or lose the CD or the files on it are corrupted?"  

 

When we received our processed film, we were also given the negatives of that film.  Meaning, if your pictures were ever damaged, the lab could go back and reprint them over and over again.  I can honestly say, that we still have negatives from the film that was developed from our childhood.  All these years later and we can still reprint the memories that we cherish even more now than we did then.   The CD's we purchased?  I don't have a single one of them.  A whole decade of my life is missing due to having images put on files on a CD.  At one point, they would give you the negatives with the CD and I'm sure THOSE are still in a box somewhere - but that CD is long gone.

 

 

As a photographer who received most of my technical knowledge through Black & White Film Photography, I processed my film and prints by hand.  I know what goes into creating an image and the amount of technical knowledge one had to have to really be creative with a print created from film.   Let me share with you some of my Black & While Film Works.  I have been reluctant to scan these as they are really, truly one-of-a-kind and there are no duplicates that are exactly the same as these images anywhere in my collection.

For this reason, I request that you please respect Copyright Laws and not save, copy or screen capture these images.

 

 

Even the slightest variation in exposure time could alter the outcome of a film print processed by hand.  In order to be consistent, we would write the processing details on the back of each print.

 

 

At a recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in San Jose, Cerf — one of the “fathers of the Internet” — warned that a second dark age may be looming in the horizon due to the fact that so much of our data these days is kept in digital formats.

 

“If we don’t find a solution our 21st Century will be an information black hole,” Cerf warned the audience. “We think about digitizing things because we think we will preserve them, but what we don’t understand is that unless we take other steps, those digital versions may not be any better, and may even be worse, than the artifacts that we digitized.”

 

You may think digital files are safe but they can suffer from what's referred to as 'file rot' (file corruption occurring at random due to errors in hard drives or network transfer).  Your digital files are safe on the Cloud right?  This can be a pricey option, and there’s no absolute guarantee these companies will still be around in the coming decades.

One of the best options you may have right now for ensuring the long term survival of important photos is to print them out physically (with materials designed for longevity) and to keep the prints in a safe place.

 

 

THE NEXT STEP...

 

The first step is understanding WHY printing is important, now let's talk about your options!

 

I offer a wide range of products - from 30 page albums to accordion booklets - to gift to friends & family or create your own portrait wall gallery.  

 

First, Let's talk Photographic Papers...

I typically print with these 3 archival papers.  Archival refers to paper that is made slightly alkaline or with a neutral pH so that it will not yellow and turn brittle with age.  The process for making this paper is more complex, resulting in a more expensive end product. 

 

 

Fuji Crystal Archive Professional Super Type PD Luster

The latest Fuji Crystal Archive Super Type PD, Professional Lustre finish paper, is the newest evolution to Fujifilm’s family of professional color papers. Improving on their renowned Crystal Archive Paper technologies, print output results in more vivid color reproduction, plus improved highlight detail. Paired with Fuji’s Digital RA Pro chemistry, The print lab I work with obtains the highest Dmax and incredibly brilliant whites; the result is a sharper, crisper image.

 

 

 

 

 

FujiCrystal Archive Pearl Paper

Developed exclusively for digital output, Pearl Paper yields high quality glossy digital prints with a distinctive pearl-like appearance, making it ideal for professional applications such as commercial, fashion and portrait photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuji Crystal Archive Professional Deep Matte Paper 
With a true matte finish, Fuji Deep Matte paper offers bright whites and wide color range with a smooth texture. It’s unique lusterless surface provides elegant color reproduction with subtlety and warmth. Great with soft, light images, skin tones, and black and whites. Due to it’s deeply matte finish, it is typically not recommended Fuji Deep Matte for images with dense shadows and rich blacks, although I usually break the rule on this.

 

 

 

 

Let's Talk Presentation...

 

 

Adhesive Mount Albums 

Details-

  • 5×5, 8×8, and 10×10
  • 20-30 pages
  • Black Onyx Silk
  • Fuji Luster Photographic paper
  • In-lab professional assembly
  • Black Executive Packaging

Why they're great - A professional and stylish way to display your images in a coffee table ready album.   Books have exactly 20 or 30 pages, depending on the size, and are bound with Black Onyx Silk.  All pages are thick and rigid with photographic prints mounted onto them.  These are a great way to get a majority of the images from your session and make great gifts for friends & family!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallery Wrapped Canvas

Details -

  • 400 GSM White Poly Canvas
  • 1.5″ Gallery Wrap Frames
  • Select from black paper backing with sawtooth hanger or open backing with hanging wire
  • Select from Many Different Gallery Sizes

Why it's Great -

Thoroughly experience their images with a gallery wrapped canvas! The gallery wrapped canvas I offer has superior color rendition, rich blacks and a smooth gloss finish. It is printed on the highest quality 400GSM white poly-cotton canvas to ensure that the saturation and sharpness is positively awe-inspiring. All of our canvas is printed and stretched right in the lab for impeccable quality assurance.

 

 

 

 

 

Mounting Options

The mounting options I offer are prepared using the latest in pressure sensitive adhesives, archival boards, and mounting equipment.  Professional technicians mount your prints on one of the widest varieties of substrates in the industry. 

Black & White Styrene
This unique material is exceptionally strong for its thin size. At approximately 3/32″ thick, it’s thin enough to fit into a frame, or stand alone without worry of warping or denting. Because of it’s solid-but-thin feel, the moment you have it into your hands, you’ll know that it’s a professional material. Available in both black and white and up to 30″x40″, styrene mounting is a great substrate for any print! All of the loose prints you purchase are mounted on styrene.

3/4″ Standouts
Standouts are sleek and elegant, but surprisingly simple. Intended to go right on to a wall without a frame, these lightweight boards have a heavy appearance, but are actually made of a lightweight, stiff foam core with a neutral colored panel backing. The sides of the boards are fully protected by black or white textured paneling, giving your mount a fully finished and sealed look. The back panels contain pre-drilled holes making them easy to hang on simple nails or screws. Make this your easiest and most cost effective way to turn your portraits into high-end wall art.

 

It's Time to Create Your Wall Gallery!

Now that you have selected your presentation, paper and mounting option, Lets put together a wall gallery designed custom to the walls in your home.  I offer many pre-designed options, or we can put together a gallery based on a gallery you already have designed for your wall! The sky is the limit with what we can do to display your finished pieces.

 

I hope this information helps you get an idea of the value and quality you are investing in when you choose AKPratt Photography for your portrait needs.  I can't wait to work with you and start designing a gallery just for you!

 

Creatively Yours, 

Amanda Pratt


The First Year of Life

January 11, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

It's Maddox Avery's (my nephew) 1st Birthday this week and as his first year of life comes to an end, I'd like to honor all of the cool things that happen to babies in their first year!  

From feeding to sleeping and soothing and pooing, babies and family are going through a lot in their first month.  By three months, baby can smile, raise their head and grab objects.  6 months brings rolling, laughing, babbling and sitting up and around 9 months they start to walk, feed themselves and formulate words.  Here is a full break down of all the amazing things baby learns in his or her first year:

 

   Baby Development: One to Three Months

During this first development stage, babies’ bodies and brains are learning to live in the outside world. Between birth and three months, your baby may start to:

 

  • Smile. Early on, it will be just to herself. But within three months, she’ll be smiling in response to your smiles and trying to get you to smile back at her.
  • Raise her head and chest when on her tummy.
  • Track objects with her eyes and gradually decrease eye crossing.
  • Open and shut her hands and bring hands to her mouth.
  • Grip objects in her hands.
  • Take swipes at or reach for dangling objects, though she usually won’t be able to get them yet.

 

   Baby Development: Four to Six Months

During these months, babies are really learning to reach out and manipulate the world around them. They’re mastering the use of those amazing tools, their hands. And they’re discovering their voices. From 4 to 6 months old, your baby will probably:

 

  • Roll over from front to back or back to front. Front-to-back usually comes first.
  • Babble, making sounds that can sound like real language.
  • Laugh.
  • Reach out for and grab objects (watch out for your hair), and manipulate toys and other objects with her hands.

Sit up with support and have great head control.

 

   Baby Development: Seven to Nine Months

During the second half of this year, your little one becomes a baby on the go. After learning that he can get somewhere by rolling over, he’ll spend the next few months figuring out how to move forward or backward. If you haven’t baby-proofed yet, better get on it!

 

  • During this time period, your baby may:
  • Start to crawl. This can include scooting (propelling around on his bottom) or “army crawling” (dragging himself on his tummy by arms and legs), as well as standard crawling on hands and knees. Some babies never crawl, moving directly to from scooting to walking.
  • Sit without support.
  • Respond to familiar words like his name. He may also respond to “No” by briefly stopping and looking at you, and may start babbling "Mama" and "Dada."
  • Clap and play games such as patty-cake and peekaboo.
  • Learn to pull up to a standing position.

 

 

   Baby Development: 10 to 12 Months

The last development stage in baby’s first year is quite a transition. She isn’t an infant anymore, and she might look and act more like a toddler. But she’s still a baby in many ways. She’s learning to:

 

  • Begin feeding herself. Babies at this developmental stage master the “pincer grasp“ -- meaning they can hold small objects such as O-shaped cereal between their thumb and forefinger.
  • Cruise, or move around the room on her feet while holding onto the furniture.
  • Say one or two words, and "Mama" and "Dada" become specific name for parents. The average is about three spoken words by the first birthday, but the range on this is enormous.
  • Point at objects she wants in order to get your attention.
  • Begin “pretend play” by copying you or using objects correctly, such as pretending to talk on the phone. 
  • Take her first steps. This usually happens right around one year, but it can vary greatly.



    Your Child’s Development -- Month by Month

    This table shows common developmental milestones that babies reach each month during their first year, in four major categories. Keep in mind that all babies are different and every baby grows at his own pace. There's no precise time that most of these skills first appear. If your child hasn’t reached a milestone by the month it is listed on this chart, it is usually a perfectly normal variation in child development. Watch for progress, not deadlines.

     

     

    Gross Motor

    Fine Motor

    Language/

    Cognitive

    Social

    1 month

    Moves head from side to side when on stomach

    Strong grip

    Stares at hands and fingers

    Tracks movement with eyes

    2 months

    Holds head and neck up briefly while on tummy

    Opens and closes hands

    Begins to play with fingers

    Smiles responsively

    3 months

    Reaches and grabs at objects

    Grips objects in hands

    Coos

    Imitates you when you stick out your tongue

    4 months

    Pushes up on arms when lying on tummy

    Grabs objects -- and gets them!

    Laughs out loud

    Enjoys play and may cry when playing stops

    5 months

    Begins to roll over in one or the other direction

    Is learning to transfer objects from one hand to the other

    Blows “raspberries” (spit bubbles)

    Reaches for mommy or daddy and cries if they’re out of sight

    6 months

    Rolls over both ways

    Uses hands to “rake” small objects

    Babbles

    Recognizes familiar faces --caregivers and friends as well as family

    7 months

    Moves around --is starting to crawl, scoot, or “army crawl”

    Is learning to use thumb and fingers

    Babbles in a more complex way

    Responds to other people’s expressions of emotion

    8 months

    Sits well without support

    Begins to clap hands

    Responds to familiar words, looks when you say his name

    Plays interactive games like peekaboo

    9 months

    May try to climb/crawl up stairs

    Uses the pincer grasp

    Learns object permanence -- that something exists even if he can’t see it

    Is at the height of stranger anxiety

    10 months

    Pulls up to stand

    Stacks and sorts toys

    Waves bye-bye and/or lifts up arms to communicate “up”

    Learns to understand cause and effect (“I cry, Mommy comes”)

    11 months

    Cruises, using furniture

    Turns pages while you read

    Says “mama” or “dada” for either parent

    Uses mealtime games (dropping spoon, pushing food away) to test your reaction; expresses food preferences

    12 months

    Stands unaided and may take first steps

    Helps while getting dressed (pushes hands into sleeves)

    Says an average of 2-3 words (often “mama” and “dada”)

    Plays imitative games such as pretending to use the phone

     

Congratulations Maddox, on all that you have accomplished this year! Auntie Loves you!

 

 

 

 

Creatively Yours,

 

Amanda Pratt

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