Jacobin Photography: Blog https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Jacobin Photography laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:05:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:05:00 GMT https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-12/u339731315-o333043656-50.jpg Jacobin Photography: Blog https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog 79 120 Professional Author Headshots https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/professional-author-headshots Science fiction author Kevin J. AndersonSuperstars Writing Seminar 2017

For two years now I have had the honor to attend the Superstars Writing Seminar held in Colorado Springs, CO as the event photographer.  However, in addition to shooting the seminar I also offer free author headshots to the attendees.

While I was there this year I was asked for my thoughts on the do's and don'ts of professional author photos by Kobo Writing Life's Mark Leslie Lefebvre.

You can hear our conversation here.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) author head shot author head shots author headshots author photos book jacket headshots denver headshots denver photographer denver portraits headshots jacobin photography kobo kobo writing life photography portraits professional author headshots writer headshots https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/professional-author-headshots Wed, 15 Feb 2017 23:37:24 GMT
Here's how my photo shoots work https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/heres-how-my-photo-shoots-work I like to think that my photo shoots are fairly straightforward, easy, and fun affairs.  However, I recently had an experience that taught me how stressful a photo shoot can be, even when you know exactly how they work.

I have an image that will be featured in the January/February issue of Colorado Life Magazine.  The magazine kindly offers a 200-word profile of their contributors and they also like to include an image of the photographer.  The format of my current headshots didn't work for the magazine layout so they scheduled a quick shoot with me in order to get a few more options for the publication.  The way their photo editor and photographer, Joshua Hardin, runs his headshot shoots is very similar to the way I run mine offering me a unique opportunity to evaluate the service I offer from the customer's perspective.

Now I spend most of my time behind the camera.  It's been quite a while since I've been in front of the lens.  Sitting for the photos reminded me how nerve-wracking being imaged can be so I wanted to explain what a photo shoot with me is actually like and the steps I take to make my clients more comfortable throughout the process.

Step 1: Ask questions

I don't even take my camera out of the bag until I have had a conversation with my client about what their expectations are.  Sometimes the client and I have had an opportunity to chat prior to the shoot.  If that's the case I reiterate that their needs have not changed since the last time we spoke.  In many cases it's been several weeks since the last I communicated with them in depth and there have been several clients who have found out just prior to the shoot that they need additional images in a different style for another use. 

If the client and I have not had a chance to communicate much prior to the shoot I run through a very simple list of questions with them to make sure I deliver the product that they need.  Since I primarily shoot headshots my questions are typically professionally oriented and look like this:

What will these images be used for?

What industry do you work in or are you trying to enter?

Do you have a company or website color scheme that you are trying to match?

Is there anything that you self-conscious of when you look at images of yourself?

The conversation usually takes about five minutes after which I take the camera out of the bag and begin to go over "the rules" while I check my settings.

Step 2: The rules

I don't want to overwhelm my clients by giving them a lot to remember right off the top so the rules tend to be extremely simple.  I let my clients know that I need them to have good posture throughout the process and that standing up straight is the most important thing they can do to help me.  Then I run them through the three different facial expressions that I image taking the first set of pictures as I describe them.

Alisha was very good at making all three of the expressions.  This mother of three wanted to be able to set her own schedule in order to spend as much time with her children as possible so she just recently entered into real estate.  We worked together earlier this week to create headshots for her marketing material.  She will be my example client throughout this blog.

Mime Face

1.  Mime face - I have yet to discover why I began calling this expression mime face but it usually gets a smile.  I describe this as resting face with a slight upturn at the corners of the lips just so that my clients don't look angry.

Half smile

2.  Half smile - I describe this one as a big closed mouth smile.

Smile with teeth

3.  Megawatt smile - This one is the biggest, toothiest grin I get can out of my clients.

Step 3: Assessing the first set of images

I always take the first set of images dead on to the camera in order to get the classic headshot look.  After I'm done with the first three I show the client the images on the back of my camera explaining beforehand that typically one of the expressions will look more like them than the others.

When I'm showing them the images I ask them to look specifically at hair, clothing, and make-up if applicable to make sure that everything is straight and styled the way they want it to be.  I also ask them to assess their expression and let me know which one is their favorite so that we can focus on that expression throughout the rest of the shoot.

Step 4: The turn

After we've looked at the first set of images and fixed any hair or clothing issues I return to shooting and begin focusing on my posing.  I explain that I will be having the client turn both directions because everyone has a favorite side of their face and I want to make sure that I am able to present them with both options when I send them their finalized images.

Step 5: Moving

While I have an indoor mobile studio set-up I can construct specifically for headshots I actually prefer to shoot outdoors because of the variety of backgrounds that are available to me.  I like to provide my clients with options so I typically shoot in shopping centers because they contain various backdrops in a concentrated area.  Once the client and I have finished with the complete first set of images I let them know that we'll be moving to another location and doing the exact same thing over and over again for the entirety of the shoot.

Returning to the shoot with Alisha I mentioned earlier - we walked roughly a square block and had several different options for her photographs.


Had we ranged slightly further we could have found a few more spots but Alisha was happy with the variety of images I was able to take in such a small area.

Step 5:  Releases & payment

Before I leave a shoot I ALWAYS have a client sign my release.  I explain it in plain language and give them an opportunity to read the written text while I put away the camera and explain my delivery process.

Unless we have prearranged payment I also double check and find out what method the client would like to use to pay and if they need a receipt, W-9, or other additional paperwork from me.

And that's my process.  I am constantly evaluating and looking for ways to improve in order to provide the best service to my clients.  The opportunity to be on the other side of the camera was invaluable but ultimately didn't cause me to change what I do. I am confident in my own process, the product it helps me create, and the feeling my clients walk away with.


laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) colorado headshots colorado photographer denver headshots denver photographer denver portraits freelance photographer headshot session headshots how to run photo shoot jacobin photography photo photo news photographs photography photography news photoshoot portraits real estate headshots running a photo shoot thumbtack https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/1/heres-how-my-photo-shoots-work Tue, 19 Jan 2016 04:42:47 GMT
You’re only crazy if you don’t get the shot https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/you-re-only-crazy-if-you-don-t-get-the-shot I began my photography adventure with wildlife.  Five years ago I went on a walk and I just happened to take a point and shoot camera with me.  The rest is history.

When I’m shooting wildlife I primarily focus on birds.  I love the challenge they present as subjects.  Wildlife in general is difficult to photograph but to me birds are a little bit harder yet because it is so easy for them to leave an area.  Once they’re gone sometimes they return and other times it may be years before I see another example of that particular animal.

Because of the inherent difficulty in capturing the subjects and the relative rarity of some of them I feel wildlife photographers in general are willing to go to great lengths to get their shots.  I realized this personally last week.

I spent ten minutes sitting downwind of a VERY dead fish, using a tree as a blind, trying to capture the image I wanted of a Blue Teal.  I didn’t get it.  The animal did not move the direction I anticipated and by the time I was able to readjust it was too late.

Missing my opportunity made me a bit introspective.  I realized you only look crazy if you don’t get your shot.  Walking away with the image you wanted, no matter how uncomfortable, dangerous, or stupid what you had to do to get it was, makes you a photographer.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) bird photographer birds denver photographer jacobin photography photographs photography wildlife wildlife photography https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/you-re-only-crazy-if-you-don-t-get-the-shot Wed, 29 Apr 2015 17:09:58 GMT
Sexual harassment and photography... https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/sexual-harassment-and-photography There's been a great deal written about how the media portrays women in photographs.  There has been a great deal said about how they are objectified and oversexualized.  There are a large number of people who object to the editing done to the photographs for various reasons.  There are a great many voices who loudly cry out that this is contributing to the moral destruction of our society or the degradation of our body image as women.


There has been a great deal less said about the sexual harassment of photographers and their subjects and I've heard no public outcry when it does happen.  Well, it happened to me and one of my clients and the degradation I felt, and I believe she felt, had nothing to do with the photos I was taking.


Let me start by saying that I am sad I even have to write this post.   This is not a topic I ever wanted to have to address from a photography standpoint but sadly, I do.


I was out shooting headshots with a client about a month ago.  She was a stunningly beautiful young relator who needed photographs for her business cards.  We were standing on a public street and she was wearing business attire which fully and appropriately covered her. 


A group of men walked by as we were working and began catcalling and making remarks such as, "Smile for me baby!"


We smiled at each other, ignored the remarks, and continued working as the men moved on.  However it made both of us uncomfortable.


I want to say right here and right now that if this situation happened today I would handle it differently.  I have been personally sexually harassed multiple times on a public street.  I was there shooting photographs and was both sexually harassed because I'm a woman and because I was a woman holding a camera.


None of the incidents I personally experienced were what I would classify as a severe case of sexual harassment.  They were mild.  They were annoying.  They were a tad bit upsetting.  And the truth is none of them should have happened but I shrugged them off and continued shooting because they weren't severe.  It wasn't until someone harassed my client that I realized exactly how not okay incidents like these are and how wrong it is to simply shrug them off.


If the incident happened today I would have said something to the men.  Something as simple as, "You can see we're working here. Please, move on." and then I would have taken my client to another location immediately even if the men were continuing to walk away.


Anyone can be sexually harassed walking down a public street.  It happens all the time.  The thing that is most upsetting to me is that it seems to happen far more when I have a camera in my hands.  It upsets me that the tool I love so much seems to open the door for people to say something inappropriate no only to me but to my clients.


Will I be taking future clients back to that location?  No, no I will not be.  Male or female I will never return there for the purpose of photos.  Am I choosing my locations more carefully? You’d better believe it.  Will I stay silent if it ever happens again?  No, as both a woman and a photographer, no I will not.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) Thumbtack colorado photographer denver photographer denver portraits harassment headshots jacobin photography photo photographs photography portraits sexual street https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/sexual-harassment-and-photography Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:49:41 GMT
I'm not pretty... https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/im-not-pretty "I'm not pretty."  That's what my client yesterday tried to tell me. 

Yeah, no.  Those are not words I accept.  Those are not words I'm going to allow to be spoken in my presence.  Sorry not sorry.  I don't want to hear it.

I understand that we all have things we are self-conscious about.  We stare at our own faces longer than any other in our lifetime.  There are going to be things we don't like. 

In a photography context I am happy to deal with those things.  I can pose you in such a way as to minimize your nose, or only photograph you showing so much tooth, or Photoshop out blemishes.  I am happy to do those things if you want me to but don't sit there and tell me you're not pretty.


I don't care how much you hate to be photographed or how unphotogenic you feel - that does not make you ugly.  I don't care if you don't feel that you fit the classic definition of beauty - that does not make you ugly.  I don't care if you've broken your nose six times and you're missing some teeth - that does not make you ugly.

There is beauty in your soul and it is MY JOB to find it and share it with the rest of the world.  I love this job more than any other job I've ever had.  It has completely changed the way I look at the entire world.

When I look at you I am not judging you.  I am not critiquing you.  I am not picking you apart.  I am looking for the things about you that sing to me.  I am asking myself what makes you stunning.  I am looking for your beauty - not your perceived flaws.

And I will tell you a secret about those flaws you THINK you have.  Other people don't see them the way you do.  In fact most people don’t see them at all.

So stop.  Stop hiding.  Stop being hard on yourself.  And please, please, please don't ever tell me you're not pretty.

I will be forced to use my camera to disprove that statement.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) denver photographer denver portraits family photographs jacobin photography photographs photography portraits https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/im-not-pretty Tue, 14 Apr 2015 23:27:05 GMT
Seeing the Front Range https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/seeing-the-front-range I feel incredibly lucky to be able to sit here and tell you I’m a professional photographer.  I have the best job in the world.

Yesterday I was in Northern Colorado on a shoot that involved vintage typewriters and beautiful journals full of handwritten notes.   


Isn't her handwriting just stunning?

Tomorrow morning I will be in Boulder, CO helping a gentleman with a growing business in the energy sector put his best foot forward through his social media and marketing photographs.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be on the south end of the Denver metro area helping another client with their headshots.

I get to travel the length and breadth of Colorado’s Front Range doing something I love in the place that I want to live.  I have amazing clients that share their stories with me and let me photograph them in the process.  And I get to be outside in the glorious spring weather while doing all of it.

I am so thankful for all that I have and the opportunity to do what I love.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) Lauren Lang denver photographer denver portraits family photographs jacobin photography photographs photography portraits https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/seeing-the-front-range Tue, 07 Apr 2015 16:46:29 GMT
Media training for video marketing... https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/media-training-for-video-marketing The name of my business is Jacobin Photography.  However, before I became a full time still photographer I was a professional videographer/video editor for ten years.  But just because I've turned to photography doesn't mean I've forgotten my roots.

At the bottom of the post I'm going to share a video I recently made for author Josh Vogt.  Josh is a freelance writer and author.  His debut novel Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes is being released in May.  I worked with Josh earlier this year media training him so that he would be comfortable creating his own videos for his YouTube Channel. 

So what does that look like?  I basically distilled ten years of knowledge gained through trial and error, watching other professionals epic fails, and observing the strategies that were successful into a two page "media plan" customized to him.

Here's the document I created for him:

Josh Vogt – Media Extraordinaire

Media Training Plan

The first step to being successful in media is to have personality.  Without personality all the subsequent training I can provide will be absolutely useless.  So let’s pause for a moment and talk about what having personality LOOKS like.

Having personality on video is about being more than who you are.  This is easier than it sounds because video in general adds a larger than life aspect to any subject.  However, in order to be truly successful at being more than yourself you need to project an image of the person you want to be seen as.  More often than not that persona is going to be the expert.  Everything you say and do on tape needs to reflect your expert status. 

So let’s talk specifically about what currently adds to and detracts from your expert image.


  • Well spoken

  • Coherent

  • Snarky


  • Intelligent

  • Quiet

We’ll work through these more specifically as we continue through the rest of the training.  I simply want you to keep them in the back of your mind as we move forward into some general video dos and don’ts. 

Sometimes personality can negatively impact a video product.  For example, thick accents or annoying speaking habits can draw attention away from the message.  While these can’t always be controlled or changed there are some general bad habits that many people have that I’d like to address. 

When on video DO NOT:

  • Talk with your hands

  • Begin a sentence with “Um”, “Hmmm”, “That’s a good question”, etc.

  • Begin your answer with the words “Yes” or “No”

  • Go off on a tangent

  • Interrupt the person asking the question

You DO however want to:

  • Smile, A LOT

  • Speak slowly

  • Speak clearly

  • Speak concisely

  • Speak conversationally

  • Use the language of the question when answering

If you need a second to collect your thoughts, take one or two deep breaths before you begin speaking.  While this will feel like an awkward pause to you it looks natural on camera.

So now, take a deep breath or two and let’s practice.  I want to start by playing to one of your strengths, specifically, your ability to be snarky…

Exercise 1: I am going to hand you a random nearby object.  I want you to look directly into the camera and sell it to me.  Take as much or as little time as you need to get me to buy this product.  The only limitation I’m placing on you is that you have to be a snarky salesman.

Okay, hopefully that was sufficiently awkward.  Now that we’ve focused on bringing out a specific strength let’s look at how we can get a combination of them on video.  Remember your dos and don’ts going into this exercise.

Exercise 2a:  It’s time for lights, camera, action.  I am going to hit the record button on the camera now and I want you to introduce yourself.  Take as long as you need, and say whatever you’d like.

This exercise is twofold for a reason.  We’re addressing one of the most important dos and don’ts on your list in this second part.  This time – I’ve written you a script for the introduction.  And yes, you are stuck reading my version which I am refusing to provide to you until we’re ready to use it because I don’t want you to practice it beforehand.  I want you to see how difficult it can be to remain conversational when reading something off a screen.

Exercise 2b: Script redacted

Okay cool – so now we have two versions of the same video that should allow us to compare and contrast answers to the question, “Who is Josh Vogt?”

This brings us to our next topic: how to stay on topic.  There are a million different ways to approach every subject.  This isn’t math so I’m not going to tell you that there’s one answer.  There isn’t.  However, for media training purposes there is a specific technique I’d like you to practice.

We’re going to take short detour from the realm of video into the world of Public Relations.

The PR technique I want you to focus on right now is developing talking points.  You need to have some idea of what your talking points are for every single event you anticipate media attention of any kind at.  This will allow you to tightly control your message and return any and all irrelevant questions back to what YOU want to be talking about.

Exercise 3: We’ve been at this for a bit now and I think it’s time for a distraction.  Below you will find three talking points I have identified for a subject you should be very familiar with.  I’m going to conduct an interview with you regarding this subject – sort of.  Good luck.

  • Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes release
  • The book is based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

  • The main character is a dwarf

Sweet.  I have a feeling I just had some fun at your expense (or at least that’s my evil plan) so I’m just going to go ahead and apologize in advance.  I’m going to give you a break from listening to my voice for just a second to make up for it.

Well, actually, we’re going to take a thirty second break because the next media related item we need to discuss is timing.  This next exercise is designed to show you exactly how long thirty seconds can seem.

Exercise 4: Sit and stare at each other silently for thirty seconds.

Okay great, so now you’ve lived every television producer and anchor’s worst nightmare.  Now that you know how long thirty seconds is let’s move on to the next exercise.

Exercise 5:  Talk for thirty seconds about any subject you’d like to discuss.  Stop when you believe you’ve reached the designated amount of time.

Alright, time to assess how you did.  Depending on the results we may or may not need exercise six, but I’m putting it in here just in case.

Exercise 6:  Begin speaking about any subject.  You are once again trying to speak for as close to thirty seconds as possible – however this time – I will stop you when you reach time.

So why have you just wasted a minute and a half of your life alternately staring awkwardly at something in my basement or talking about I don’t even know what?  Because thirty seconds is timeframe that video deals in frequently and one you should be very familiar with.

However, the average human response time to a question is much longer than the thirty seconds I just gave you.  It’s much closer to if not slightly longer than a minute.  Is this a problem?  Depends on who you’re talking to – which brings us to our next topic.

Traditional broadcast media does not use minute long SOTs.  They are looking for something much much shorter – which is what I want you to be able to provide through the previous exercise.

However, you’re not always going to be talking to traditional media.

Whenever you’re approached by someone who wants to record you need to know:

  • Who am I talking to?

  • What is your story/angle?

  • How will I be used?

  • When can I see it?

  • Where can I see it?

  • Can I link to it?

Remember – ultimately you are in control of every interaction with media.  The camera can only record what you say.  The person that learns how to pull video out of their butt is going to be a multi-trillionaire.  Until that day however, if you carefully control your image and your message you have the power.

This document was sent to Josh ahead of time.  We then met and proceeded to work through the exercises listed here.  I provided additional live feedback on his performance as we worked.

However - we still needed a focus and Josh gave me one though the specific problem he wanted his YouTube Channel to solve for him as outlined here:


Media Sheet: Josh Vogt

Josh’s Problem: Author Josh Vogt currently has little to no online media presence and is looking to build one before the release of his first novel, Forge of Ashes, in order to help promote both him and the book.

Because, as an author, he is a relatively new voice he is currently something of an unknown quantity.  While well known to others within the industry due to his appearance at numerous cons and participation in the panels at those events, he has yet to establish a broad-spectrum national identity outside of his group of peers.

Video Goals:

  • Self-promotion of the release of Forge of Ashes

  • Creation of a visually identifiable persona

  • Establishment of an identity or professional persona that serves as an accurate reflection of the in-person experience (aka “Come see me at cons because I’m just that awesome!”)

  • Creation of a product that allows fans who cannot meet Josh in person to get to know him

  • Curation of a fan base in order to create a larger market for future releases

So who is this enigma? – Josh Vogt is a freelance writer and author working in the tie-in fiction, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi generas.

And what problem does Josh Vogt solve for me, the reader? – The central purpose of all marketing it to identify a problem and present a product based solution.  Buy this and your issue will have resolution!

However, when the product you’re hawking is a person the marketing becomes slightly more complex.  Establishment of a personal brand is essential.  But Josh doesn’t have one…yet.

So we’re going to go from general to specific.

What problem does reading a story solve for me, the consumer?

Stories ENTERTAIN.  Stories envelope the reader in another world allowing them temporary escape from their own lives.

Stories CONNECT.  The oral history of storytelling is as old as humanity itself.  While the written word is newer it serves the same basic purpose: it gives humans a meaningful way to connect with the past and the individuals who existed in that time.  While fictional work identifies less with this specific purpose it remains character driven.  It gives the reader identifiable individuals from which they can draw inspiration.

Reading stories KILLS TIME.  Boredom is one of life’s unavoidable nuisances.  Hobbies of all forms, including reading, help the reader fill otherwise empty hours of the day.

Reading makes people APPEAR MORE INTELLIGENT.  Again, not a particularly glamorous aspect of the hobby but it’s true.  Readers want to present a certain persona and having read the latest, greatest best seller helps many people maintain the façade of intelligence.

Stories GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT.  This is different than connection in that it is less about readers connecting to the work than it is about helping them connect to one another.  Stories give people something to discuss.  They create a sense of community amongst individuals who have nothing to do with the creation of the actual work.

Well look at that.  Josh is an author.  So now we have five central problems he can solve on video.

  1. How is Josh Vogt going to entertain me?
  2. How is Josh Vogt going to help me connect?
  3. How is Josh Vogt going to help me kill time?
  4. How is Josh Vogt going to help me appear more intelligent?
  5. What is Josh Vogt going to give me to talk about?

His unique way of answering these questions will become his brand for video purposes and will allow his audience to get to know him as a person while giving them something to become a fan of.

The questions I asked Josh throughout the process became the content I used to create a sample video for him demonstrating one technique he could employ when he began making his own videos.

You can see the results here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0KPQeSdx0w

You can see the videos Josh has since made here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvF-8wAprHfDR6udgN_d-4w

And by all means please check out his novel Forge of Ashes which is available on Amazon as a pre-order now.  He just recently revealed the finalized cover art which you can see here: http://jrvogt.com/cover-reveal-pathfinder-tales-forge-ashes/







laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) Thumbtack YouTube marketing branding branding through video colorado photographer denver headshots denver photographer denver portraits family photographs freelance photographer how to make your own YouTube channel how to make your own video how to start a YouTube channel how to video jacobin photography marketing through video media training photographs photography portraits professional video editor tips and tricks video training for video video video and photography video branding video editor video marketing video marketing tips and tricks video training videographer videographer and photographer https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/media-training-for-video-marketing Sat, 04 Apr 2015 04:26:36 GMT
King of the Mountain https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/king-of-the-mountain

The magazine I am submitting wildlife photographs to likes to publish little stories to go along with some of their images.  They want the photographer to descibe the circumstances that led them to the capture.  I wrote a story describing my trip to Mt. Evans in which I took this photo of a Mountain Goat.  I decided as long as I had it written I would go ahead and share it with you.

King of the Mountain

I have followed the winding road to the top of Mt. Evans near Idaho Springs, CO many times.  It is the highest paved road in North America and as you drive and drive and drive up the scenic byway, past the tree line, and continue by Summit Lake several more miles to the parking lot at the very top you get a sense of just how high 14,130 feet above sea level really is.  At that elevation there is snow nearly year round and the wind blows icy cold even in July.


Simply walking is a struggle for many of the tourists that make the arduous journey to the top.  They pant for air, desperately seeking oxygen in an environment that has none to offer.  The locals are more used to the elevation though it is extreme even for those who live near the Rocky Mountains.  However, it does not stop those who love a challenge.  Red faced road bikers desperately guzzling water litter the parking lot, having triumphantly made summited the mountain.  They will have bragging rights for years to come.


And observing it all is the only creature who seems unfazed by the conditions.  His silent laughter echoes through the hills.  Silly humans, he seems to say, watch me.  And with hooves that can only be described as dancing over the rocks the Mountain Goat begins to climb.  Effortlessly he scales the side of the mountain finding crevices and clefts in the rock invisible to all but the cloves of his hooves.


Watching, it is impossible to deny the grace and beauty in even the smallest among them.  The females jealously guard the young as they alternate between languid grazing and frantic playing on the side of a small grassy slope.  It is the male that watches us watching them from his perch atop the mountain.  He wears an almost perpetual smile, secure in his position as king of the mountain.


I am happy to be one of his subjects and have him as one of mine as I raise the camera and press the shutter.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) King of the mountain Mt. Evans colorado denver photographer goat jacobin photography mount evans mountain goat nature nature photographer nature photography photographs photography portraits rocky mountains wildlife wildlife photographer wildlife photographer colorado wildlife photography wildlife photography colorado https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/king-of-the-mountain Tue, 31 Mar 2015 14:27:45 GMT
"Smolder! Now!" https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/-smolder-now This is a blog post I've wanted to write for a long time. I have been looking for a way to address the concept of owning your sexuality ever since I overheard a conversation between two former coworkers several months back.

In that conversation the female coworker I was standing next to was trying to describe what makes someone sexy. For all intents and purposes she described confidence, but the 19 year old boy she was speaking to didn't understand that concept. "But I've had sex!" is all he could say.

So why bring any of this up at all? Well, because my young coworker isn't the only one that gets confused. Recently I've been presented with several opportunities to photograph individuals who wanted to appear sexy in their pictures but didn't quite know how to get there.

Sensuality can be a difficult concept to translate into a visual medium when you are the visual. It's easy to talk about why a movie star or a musician is hot. It's easy to find things about them that are attractive. But when you have to take a good hard look at yourself and do the same thing - most people have trouble overcoming their insecurity and it shows in the pictures. So I wanted to talk about the people that I have photographed that were either effortless sexy or able to start smoldering on command.

The biggest difference I see between them and the people that struggle to take a sexy picture is that effortlessly sexy people believe they are attractive. It doesn't matter whether it's true or not. The simple fact that they believe it gives them confidence - which is sexy on everyone.

The effortless sexy people know how to think sensual thoughts. I'm one of the rare individuals that doesn’t believe eyes are the window to the soul. I can tell a lot more about what someone is thinking or feeling based on what their mouth is doing. The one exception is when people are thinking sensual thoughts. I don't know where these individuals go to start smoldering like that - it's obviously a private place - but wherever it is it does something for them and you can see it in their eyes. There is a wantonness that is palpable in their pupils. It doesn't matter who they're really thinking about, everyone that sees that photograph believes it's them because of the way the subject is looking out at you.

Finally, effortlessly sexy people own their sexuality. I discussed confidence previously but what I want to talk about here is a little bit more than that. The people I've seen that are most successful at projecting sensuality acknowledge that their sexuality is a part of who they are. They accept it and are completely comfortable as sexual beings. I'm not saying that you have to be in this place to take an attractive picture - you don't - but it helps.

The other thing that helps is to think about what sexy looks like to you. I've had to spend a great deal of time doing this lately and I'll tell you right now it's difficult. I've never before stopped to consider what specific body language screams, "Sexy!" Is it the girl playing with her hair? Is it the way dudes stand? Is it the facial expression? If you want to have sensual pictures taken - stop for a second and consider what sensuality physically looks like.

That way the next time you need to smolder on command - it won't be a sweat.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) denver photographer denver portraits how to look more attractive in photographs how to look sexy in photographs how to look sexy in pictures how to take sensual photographs jacobin photography owning your sexuality photographs photography sensual photographs sensuality sexy sexy photograph sexy photography https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/-smolder-now Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:21:09 GMT
The day I became a storyteller... https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/the-day-i-became-a-storyteller This past month I launched Jacobin Photography. It is the realization of a dream I have held since I was 15 years old. At that tender age it was called Jacobin Productions because it was a video production company but regardless, my dream has had a name for many years.

Prior to the launch I was discussing logistics with a friend. He turned to me and asked, "Why should I hire you? What will Jacobin Photography deliver that is special?" I had no way to answer him.

The truth is there are a million very talented photographers out there who create amazing images. I wasn't sure how I would differentiate myself in this field.

So I turned to a good friend and fellow photographer, a women who had recently hired me to shoot her daughter's wedding. "Why me? Why did you hire me?" I asked her. "Because you are a storyteller." she answered me.

I lost it right then, sitting in the middle of her kitchen. I started crying among the remnants of bacon and French toast. In that one short sentence she had so eloquently named everything I am that I was moved to tears.

In my heart and soul, at the very core of my being, I tell stories. It is my life's purpose. It is my calling. It is my passion. It is the one thing I love above all else.

I started when I was four years old dictating my first short story to my mother because I was so young I didn't yet know how to write. My tale brought her to tears and I've been making people cry ever since. However that story, or any of the subsequent ones I told, didn't make me a storyteller. Listening to someone else's tragedy did.

In 2007 I was the chief video editor at KOAT Action 7 News in Albuquerque, NM. Albuquerque is a rough town and there are stories I told there that will never willingly pass my lips again. The one I am about to share I have not repeated often but in my entire career it is without question the most powerful.

I was sitting in my edit bay when a reporter came in and handed me a tape a script, as had happened countless times before. Looking over the script I immediately noted it was about a child...and that the child was no longer with us. I popped in the tape and began to edit the story...and edit the story...and finally I had to cease editing and simply start watching.

On that tape was a mother, young, beautiful, intelligent, well-spoken, and tragically ignorant. Her newborn, dead, from SIDS. In the interview she described putting the child in the crib. She described laying the baby on its stomach. And then she described coming in the following morning to find the child had died.

My breathe catches at the memory.

I can't remember her name but for as long as I live I will never forget her face. I will never forget the depth of the pain etched in that woman's eyes. But to her eternal and everlasting credit she spoke through it. She sat there in obvious agony, publicly living every mother's worst nightmare and greatest fear, and begged other parents not to make her mistake. She looked straight into that camera through her guilt, and her shame, and her grief and never once let her voice waiver. I don't know how. I don't know where a human being finds that reservoir of strength, but it was the bravest single act I have ever witnessed.

And then the interview was over. Just before they turned off the camera they caught the moment that completely broke me. She reached for her mother, who was sitting just off screen, and began weeping openly and unabashedly.

And I wept with her. I wept for her loss. I wept for her pain. I went out of a desire to comfort her knowing that I could not. But most of all I wept because she had agreed to go through hell with such poise and grace.

In that moment, in the seconds before the tape cut to black, she made me what I am. Before I put that tape in my deck my biggest concern was airing stories that were technically accurate and factually correct and getting them on TV in time. After watching her I realized that while those things were important, what I wanted more than anything was to honor her gift. To send her message out in way that did justice to what the telling cost her.

She changed me so completely with that one interview that I have never been able to look at people the same way again. When I have a camera in my hands, either still or video, I am not looking for your flaws. I am not looking at your insecurities. I am not seeing you the way you see you. I am looking at how brave you are. I am looking at how beautiful you are. I am looking for the pieces of your soul; the innocence, the youth, the mischief, all of the qualities that make you who you are.

I am trying to find them and I am trying to help you share them because at the core of my being I am the storyteller...and I can't do anything less.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) 303 303 photography KOAT SIDS chief video editor denver photographer denver portraits family photographs jacobin photography journalism photographs photography storyteller video video editor https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/the-day-i-became-a-storyteller Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:04:29 GMT
Marketing Yourself through Video https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/marketing-yourself-through-video So you want to make a video. Whether you’re trying to fund your next project through crowdsourcing or you’re simply looking to sell potential clients on the value of your latest release, there are several things you can do to make your video more successful.

Reaching an audience through video is a drastically different process than reaching those same individuals through the written word because people interact with video differently than printed media. The biggest mistake I see people make is treating the two mediums as if they are same.

To be successful in video you need to start thinking in terms of a visual medium. These tips are designed to help you shift to that mind-set. This is by no means a conclusive list, however it should assist you in identifying the things you need to take into consideration before you begin production.

1. Start your video by telling your audience why they should watch.

Most people’s first inclination is to introduce themselves. That’s fine, however video is not like meeting someone in person. The communication is going one way. There is no compelling reason for a person to stay and get to know you and no social taboo if that person just ups and clicks away from your video if they aren’t interested in what you’re trying to tell them. Your introduction needs to be very short. You need to get to the benefit the audience will receive from watching your video within two sentences. The first two lines of any script should go something like this: “Hi my name is ____________ _______________. Today I will be [insert verb here] you about [insert noun here].” That’s it. Then launch into your pitch.

2. In a visual medium you need to have something visually interesting happening in order to keep your audience.

The easiest video to make is one in which a person sits and talks to the camera. This is called the talking head. Unfortunately, analytics show talking head videos are often the least effective. Why? Because the audience stops watching. Your video is competing for your audience’s attention with millions of other videos featuring cute cats, stupid people, and the Harlem Shake Ice Bucket Challenge viral video of the day. If you do not SHOW your audience something that visually interests or entertains them you will begin to lose viewers within TEN SECONDS. After your introduction you need to move to the most visually arresting imagery you have. If you don’t yet have anything you can show on video for your particular project, move to the most interesting information. The maximum amount of time you ever want to sit and simply talk to your audience on camera is about forty seconds, and that’s pushing it. You need to keep interspersing interesting visuals throughout your video in order to keep people from getting bored and clicking away from it.

3. Keep it short.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world you’re going to find enough visuals to keep your audience watching throughout your entire video. It’s not going to be as difficult as it sounds if you keep your video short. The sweet spot for marketing and promotional videos is between thirty and ninety seconds. Making a video shorter than thirty seconds can make it difficult to get all of the necessary information in and anything over ninety seconds begins to lose viewers exponentially.

4. Don’t write a novel, write a script.

The biggest difference between print media and video that people fail to understand is that in video-land you have ONE chance to reach your audience. If they watch your video and fail to understand what you’re trying to tell them the chances that they will go back and re-watch it are very slim. You need to write clearly, concisely, and conversationally. The average television news script is written between a third and seventh grade reading level, depending on the complexity of the topic. Broadcast producers and writers are not attempting to write down to their audience, they simply understand that they have an average of twenty seconds to get the audience to understand complex stories. Extraneous information needs to be left out of their scripts, and yours. Writing your script with this in mind will also help you keep your video to the thirty to ninety second timeframe I mentioned previously. However, video timing is one of the most difficult things to learn because you need to read your script more slowly than you normally speak. The average professional newscaster reads between fourteen and seventeen words a minute to ensure the audience has time to hear and process what they are saying. While you don’t need to be that precise to convey your message, if you are struggling with a script that is too long take a stopwatch and time yourself reading at a pace that is slightly slower than your normal speaking voice. Then edit the script down accordingly.

5. Call your viewers to action frequently.

Even following all of the tips I have outlined here exactly you will inevitably lose viewers throughout the course of your video. For that reason you need to call your viewers to action frequently. A call to action is exactly what it sounds like, it’s telling the viewer what you want them to do. Listen to any radio or television commercial. There is an average of seven calls to action in a thirty second spot. While you don’t necessarily need to have that many, you need to make sure your viewer knows what you want and what they need to do and you need to repeat it often.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) Youtube Youtube trips and tricks denver photographer digital marketing jacobin photography market marketing marketing digital marketing tips photographs photography video video marketing video tips video tips and tricks viral video youtube success https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/marketing-yourself-through-video Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:44:29 GMT
Media and You: The very blunt guide to getting the most out of visual media https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/media-and-you-the-very-blunt-guide-to-getting-the-most-out-of-visual-media In today’s society visual media is omnipresent. Whether you’re dealing with video, photography, or both, there is one thing you need to remember: YOU, and you alone, control the quality of the experience you will have when you interact with these mediums and the professionals that work in them. While the technical aspect of having your image recorded will often be outside of your control, the way you present yourself and allow yourself to be documented is up to you. With that in mind, here is a list of tips designed to help you have a genuinely positive interaction with any form of visual media.

Remember, professionals are there to make you look good.

The number one problem professionals working in any visual medium run into are clients who don’t want to be there because they hate how they look in photographs or sound on video. These clients forget that the professional is there to help them put their best foot forward. A true professional WILL NOT present a product that shows you in a poor light because it will reflect poorly on them and their business.

Accept guidance.

If there is an aspect of your performance or image that is not working for the medium the professional will offer you guidance. Please listen and understand, this is not criticism. The way photography and video work is inherently unnatural. People do not naturally stand very still and smile or speak into a video camera lens while purposely ignoring the person standing behind it. Yet in many instances this may be what you are required to do to in order to get the end result you want. Any feedback the professional is providing is designed to help make that inherently unnatural action easier for you.

Project the image you want.

If you are trying to tell your audience that you were tired, crabby, nervous, or upset at the time of your shoot, show up feeling that way. If that’s not the message you’re looking to send through your media you need to show up well rested and with a positive attitude. Also, everyone gets nervous. That’s fine; professionals are used to it and have strategies in place to deal with nerves. However, if you have something going on that is more serious than nervousness the professional will have to work that much harder to ensure those emotions are not visible in your product and that you come across to your audience the way you want to. It is much easier for a professional to create the image you want if you show up projecting it.

Pay attention to your physical comfort.

If you know you start to get crabby when your blood sugar gets low around lunch time, make sure you bring a snack. If your feet start to hurt if you wear certain shoes, wear comfortable footwear. If you get cold easily, dress appropriately. Simple forethought regarding your own physical comfort will make a world of difference in your experience and your product. If you feel uncomfortable you probably look uncomfortable, and that will translate into your images or your video. Professionals will attempt to adjust the conditions they have control over, to make the situation better for you, but there is only so much they can do. The majority of your physical comfort is going to be up to you and most people don’t want to leave their audience wondering why they look like they would rather be having a root canal than shooting a video or sitting for photographs, even if it’s true.

Communicate your plan.

In many instances, the professional you’ll be working with is someone that doesn’t know you and doesn’t know your business. They may not have a solid understanding of the function you want the media they are creating to perform or the various ways you intend to use it when it’s finished. The earlier you communicate your purpose and your expectations to them the better your product will turn out. Having this conversation right before you sit down to shoot is too late. At that point, you get what you get because the professional may or may not be prepared with the equipment or personnel necessary to capture what you want.

Leave the technical aspects to the professional.

Finally, there is one thing that will annoy your photographer or videographer faster than anything: being told how to do their job. When videographers and photographers shoot, they aren’t seeing the raw media that you are generating. They are visualizing a final product that has been professionally edited, retouched, or otherwise adjusted to achieve the desired result. They are working in such a way as to reach that conclusion, and no one appreciates being told their method won’t get them there. If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to chime in. Most professionals want to make the client happy and are willing to do some extra work to make that happen. However, making your photographer or videographer feel as if they are simply there to press a shutter or a record button because you need to be in front of the camera and can’t do it yourself doesn’t endear you to them.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) denver photographer denver portraits family photographs family portraits get the most out of media jacobin photography media photographs photography portraits professional photographer tips for woking with video professionals tips for working with professional photographers video video professional videography https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/media-and-you-the-very-blunt-guide-to-getting-the-most-out-of-visual-media Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:11:40 GMT
How to Look Like a Million Bucks in Photographs https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/how-to-look-like-a-million-bucks-in-photographs So you want to look like a million bucks in your pictures? No, you don’t have to find a way to become two dimensional and green. Believe it or not there are some very simple tricks you can employ to look better in any photograph. Whether you want to shine in your family portrait or stand out with your professional headshot, you can if:

You smile. I’m talking about finding your inner Julia Roberts and letting her off the leash. Photographers LOVE genuine expressions and there is nothing more rewarding than getting a real smile out of a subject. So the next time you have a camera pointed in your direction, think of a memory that makes you really happy or a joke that you can’t stop laughing at. Do whatever it takes to get that smile from your mouth all the way into your eyes.

You look natural. There are a million ways to pose for a picture from serious to silly, but it can be hard to know what direction to go when the shutter starts snapping. I like to give my clients the “rules” ahead of time. So what are the rules?

  • Males make triangles. That means I have them stand up straight, square their shoulders, and put their hands somewhere near their waist usually in their pockets or belt loops. Hands can be the most difficult body part to figure out what to do with as a subject, so if you aren’t getting the direction you need from your photographer, simply do what you would normally do with them.
  • Women make circles. While triangles are generally considered a harder and more masculine look circles are considered the softer and thus a more feminine look. So now you’re trying to contort yourself into a circular position. You can stop. By saying make circles I mean that women have a bend to their limbs and their hands. You’re looking for a sense of softness and delicacy along with flow. If you’re having trouble creating that look, try making a circle in front of yourself with your arms and then simply relax. You’ve got it.
  • Couples, families, and friends make connections. The most awkward photos in the world are the pictures I see where the entire family is standing next to one another with their arms straight at their sides staring into the camera. Nothing about that photograph captures a sense of family, friendship, or love. The next time you actually want to look like you like one another, touch. Make a physical connection with the person you’re posing with. Put an arm around their waist or a hand on their shoulder. Get close! This creates a sense of connection that translates into beautiful group photographs.

You wear a flattering color. The color that is most flattering on you is going to depend on your skin pigmentation, hair color, and eye color. It’s going to be different for everyone. If you aren’t sure what color you look best in or simply need a guaranteed way to look flawless, wear jewel-tone colors. I’m talking about colors like apple red, eggplant purple, hunter green, and sapphire blue. These all have a high color saturation level that flatter every hair and skin tone.

You avoid bright white and jet black. Bright white tops wash many people out and while they can be exceptionally flattering on some individuals, the color doesn’t work for everyone. Gauge carefully. While white stands out black fades away and can disappear into darker backgrounds, making you look like a floating head. Don’t be a floating head. Gauge the amount of black you wear carefully and consider combining it with another color.

You ditch the accessories. Large, bold pieces of jewelry and sunglasses take attention away from your face, which as a photographer is what I want to be focusing on! I will ask you to remove sunglasses every time. Small accessories such as wedding bands or delicate jewelry don’t cause me alarm. Other accessories, such as glasses, may be necessary. As a photographer I recommend subjects pose for a few photos with glasses on and a few without them so that you have more options.

laurenalang@yahoo.com (Jacobin Photography) denver photographer denver portraits family photographs family portraits jacobin photography look good in photographs look good in pictures look your best in photographs photographs photography portraits portraits in denver tips for looking your best in photographs https://jacobinphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/how-to-look-like-a-million-bucks-in-photographs Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:24:32 GMT