Photography by Steve O'Donnell » Clermont and Orlando award winning professional wedding, portrait, senior and family photographer serving central FL

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Category Archives: Year in Review

At the end of 2012 I blogged my favorite images from that year with a short description as to why they made the cut.  It was a fun look back for me to see how my photography evolved throughout the year and I thought it would be a good idea for every year.  Well, a few weeks ago I started combing through the thousands of images I had taken in 2013….(yes thousands)….and I was a little surprised how nothing really stood out as the best.  Maybe I had become desensitized  from the initial impact they originally had when they first came off the memory cards or maybe I had just become bored with them after looking at them over time?  What ever the reason was I was miffed by it.  I shared my thoughts with a friend and fellow photographer and was reminded at the fact “we as photographers are our own worst critics” and we will often loose ourselves and find fault in the smallest of details.  I often feel my best images are the ones I take for me, the candid moments from home….or the random shoots I do with my kids where I can take my time and plan things out and work around problematic shooting conditions.  So naturally I looked to my personal images first and this is where the feeling started to hit me.  My fellow photography friend reminded me of the images I took of my clients…the ones who hired me for my photography.  Know what, he was right.  I shook off the feeling and took another look thinking back from where I started out….to where the year took me.  Being proud of the work I did for clients isn’t a bad thing.  Being proud of my client work is a good thing….a really good thing!

If there are any “take away’s” looking back over 2013 I think it’s safe to say I’m a people photographer.  I love photographing people.  I love working with people, capturing their candid moments, their memories, the look in their eyes, and the way they smile.  My main mission for 2013 was to become very comfortable using flash photography and boy did I do a lot of flash photography.  The best light isn’t always available.  Sure, nothing beats that natural light golden hour.  But, a clients time and my time is very important….and I can’t expect clients to reschedule a shoot just because the best light isn’t available.  I also can’t expect every wedding to be graced with the perfect light and weather conditions.  If the best natural light wasn’t available I set out to be certain that I could produce light that was pleasing and unique.

The following are my favorites from 2013.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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Yeah yea, I know….I’m a little late with this.  I’ve been a busy dude lately and finally got a chance to pick a few.  You may or may not be aware that photographers prefer to show only their best work, after all….it makes us look awesome.  This post is not about that.  It’s not featuring my best photographs, but as the title of this post says, they are some of my favorite photos from 2012.  Some are from hired shoots, many are of my own family.  Some are completely posed, some are very candid moments, and some are just random test shots trying new photography techniques.  Many are plainly memories preserved in two dimensional form that I will surely hold near and dear to my heart for various reasons.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

#1.  All eyes are usually focused on the bride at weddings and I often joke with my wedding clients that the groom is just ” a well dressed prop ” for the day.  This image I captured has never stopped making me laugh.  I have no idea what is going through his mind, but I’ll leave it up to everyone else to ponder his moment.

2.  After being married for 25 years they decided to do it all over again and renew their wedding vows.  True love!

3. Reversed lens macro shot, a technique where you disconnect the lens from the camera body, flip it backwards and hand hold the lens which acts much like viewing things through a magnifying glass.  It’s not very easy to hand hold the lens to the camera body and take a shot a the same time…..plus the area that is in focus is very thin, so the slightest movement and your subject is out of focus.  This little snail is about the size of your pinky nail.

4.   The Ponce inlet light house.  My wife likes to take little local day trips to go check out different sights and attractions.  She often sells me on her idea with “it will be a great photo opportunity”.

5.  My step daughter, known affectionately as “CL”, is often a willing participant ( with eye rolls and shrugs ) when I need a stand in subject to do photography tests.  This is just one shot that was just for testing out some new lighting equipment.

6.  Another test shot featuring CL.  Had I known it was going to turn out this cool I probably would have opted for a fancier wardrobe choice, but I still love it.

7.  My daughter “lil C”.  This was a test shot to test a crude method of bouncing flash light around and I love the way it turned out.  She’s good at following posing direction for roughly 5 minutes, so photo testing with her is a very quick and short process.

8.  CL against a beautiful summer sunset.  I love doing these types of shots!

9.  My wife.  Another test shot….hence the crappy neighborhood backdrop.  It’s hard to believe by looking at her today that 17 months ago she died for a full 30 minutes isn’t it?  That story can be found here.

10.  I am so grateful that I could capture the next shot.  My little girl’s first real roller coaster ride!  You have no idea how hard it was to get a shot like this while riding a roller coaster.

11.  The nest image is from a high school senior session I did earlier in the year.  Someone commented that it looks like it belongs in a magazine advertisement.  I consider that a huge compliment, but I just liked the way it turned out.

12.  I picked the next image because of how natural and “in-love” these two are.  I’m the lucky guy who gets to document their wedding day next month!

13.  From a wedding I photographed early in the year.  It rained on wedding day, but it stopped just in time for the ceremony to take place.  While waiting for the rain to stop I decided to make the best of the situation and take some detail shots and took advantage of the puddle at my feet.  I actually laid down in the puddle just to get the reflections.   It’s only water…..it will dry!

14. Another from a 2012 wedding.  Sometimes weddings get a little off schedule and before you know it the sun sets and there just isn’t enough natural light to be had.  2012 was a year of exploring flash photography in a more creative way….and it paid off big time.

15.  My wife has amazing super powers!  Again, testing some flash photography and some levitation photo trickery.  My neighbors probably think I’m nuts.

16.  My daughter “Lil C” was dying to walk our dog.  What we were concerned about was the dog seeing the neighbors stray cat ( who loves to get into our garage and mark it’s territory….thanks for that, love the smell ) and taking my daughter for a drag.  So, little by little we let her walk the dog to one house up the street, then two, then three.  Well, she dropped the leash and the dog was like “later Lil C…..I’m outta here”!

17.  Bride and groom wedding formal from my last wedding of 2012.  I was so happy I got this shot and it’s a huge favorite of mine I’m very proud of.

18.  One of my last shots for 2012 of a return client.  Pretty location, pretty light, pretty subject, fun image.

19.  “Lil C” enjoying a ice-cream treat at a local arts festival.  Think back to how happy you were when you were a little kid, and you asked your parents if you could have ice-cream because you saw a stand or shop as you were passing by, and your parents said yes.  Do you remember how happy you were?  That’s why this next shot is a favorite.

20.  Another childhood memory….playing in the leaves.  I think this is another favorite memory of mine….and I’m glad I could capture it for my daughter.

21.  The next shot is a pretty common shot to do with one subject and I really like doing these shots, but I had never seen it done with two girls at the same time.  So, while on vacation CL and her friend agreed to go for it.  It’s not easy very easy to pull this shot off while you are in the water with your camera gear.