Paul and Kelly by Justin Fritts

So Paul and Kelly needed some photos taken to celebrate their engagement.  They picked out a place down by the Platte River in Denver.  It was a great location for photos, cityscapes, railroad tracks, the river, bridges, some green grass still, lots of areas to play with.  Paul is in to photography himself and lately has been enjoying vintage cameras.  Because of this I decided to play with some colorization on a few of the photos.

Marguerite - All white background photos by Justin Fritts

Marguerite was a referral to me from Ryan Brandle over at She needed a headshot with a white background for her site that is currently under development.  This one was a new one by me and given that I do nearly all available light photography or single flash (Speedlite) photography I knew this would be a challenge.  An exciting challenge though. Marguerite headshot

I ended up with a few reflections on the cheeks and on the glasses but the diffusion of the umbrellas went a long way to helping this.  If you'd like to read more about getting the shot please continue after the break.

I looked on the Internet high and low for help getting these white background photos.  I couldn't find much and what I could find was way more complex than my budget and space constraints would allow.  So...

First I went to my local camera store and bought some continuous lights.  Two reflectors with 250W bulbs, light stands and umbrellas.  This little setup only set me back $100, I figured with those two and the flash I'd be good.  That was until the light bulb in one burnt out 30 minutes in to playing around with the lights.  The next day I went and bought two bulbs, $7 a piece and went home to play some more.  Well, another one went out pretty much immediately.  This wouldn't do so I turned to craigslist.

After two days of browsing craigslist and diamond in the rough showed up (well at least a cubic zirconia).  A pair of Promaster strobes with stands and umbrellas.  This set new runs $300-350 from what I could tell and I picked it up for $100.  Not an amazing setup but a functional one.  I must say, plug in, studioesque strobes are awesome.

After playing around (with a Halloween skull on a barstool as my stand in) I found that placing the strobes with white shoot-through umbrellas at a 20-30 degree angle in front of the person gave some good light, it didn't make the features completely flat.  Now I just needed a background.  Simple as simple could be I bought the cheapest plain white queen sized sheet at Target and tacked it into the wall.  Now I just needed to light up the background.

I used my Speedlite (Canon 580 EX II) with a remote trigger on a tripod for this.  I put the tripod down low and lowered the wide angle flash diffuser.  I have some of the cheapest remote triggers you can buy from although I've seen similar ones on Amazon now and am thinking of increasing my collection.   Luckily for me the strobes I bought have a photo sensitive light trigger so me remotely triggering the Speedlite also triggered the strobes.

I sat on a stool about 10 feet away with my 5Dm2 and my 70-200 2.8 IS L.  I had my ISO down at 250 and the flashes all at 1/8.  I hope this all makes sense, if it doesn't I can give more info or some illustrations.  Please feel free to tell me.

Mallory and Doug's Engagement by Justin Fritts

Mallory and Doug came to me wanting some engagement photos done.  They had planned on having her uncle take them who was a career photographer but just decided to hang up his gear a few months ago leaving them without a photographer.  I was told that they were both un-photogenic and didn't have more than a handful of photos together without them looking goofy.  I don't believe either one of those statements :)  Mallory wanted to find somewhere that there was an old small schoolhouse or church.  Although there might be some cool decaying structures on the outskirts of town I couldn't find many resources but I did find out that the oldest operating church in Denver was located right down the street on the DU Campus.  The Evans Memorial Chapel was originally built in the late 1800's in downtown Denver but then disassembled and then reassembled in the 1960's on the DU Campus.  Although we used the church for the beginning of the shoot we found out that there were plenty of beautiful areas within a short walk from the chapel. I really enjoyed working with Doug and Mallory, we tried some more fun stuff and they were okay with my more hands-off photography.  I like to observe and take photos of people just being themselves and I think it worked well.  Congratulations to them, they will be getting married soon in Sacramento, best wishes to them both.

The couple by a reflecting pool with the sun setting behind them

More photos after the break...

Posed outside of the oldest operating church in Denver

On the stairs

Doug and Mallory by large wooden doors

Doug and Mallory walking into the sunset

42Below World Cup Denver Competition by Justin Fritts

So out for happy hour I met a guy (his name was Justin too) who represents several brands including 42Below vodka. We got to talking and he started about an upcoming event he had, the Denver 42Below Cocktail World Cup 2010. A local band the Swayback would be performing and about 15 local bartenders would be mixing their own unique cocktails for a panel of judges to review. The top two winners would then get to go to the nationals in New York City. The top 2-3 winners there go to compete at the World Cup in New Zealand. Anyway, just so happens that no photographer had been booked for the event. I pulled up on the iPhone and gave him a business card.  A few days later I had officially booked the event. Justin wanted photos of everything, the decorations, the promo girls, the bartenders, the judges, the cocktails, everything.  It was going to be a long night. The event went off without a hitch though although it did run a little long.

I carried two bodies, my 5DmkII, 40D, 24-70mm 2.8 L, 70-200mm 2.8 IS L, 50mm 1.8 and my 580EX II as my extra light and a monopod.

Photo of a 42Below bottle with someones bartender kit with 42Below in lights on the wall behind.

More photos and final thoughts after the fold…





Tiki glasses and flowers were in favor

A true 42Below cocktail, sprinkled on top was cinnamon and nutmeg over a stencil.

Hosea Rosenberg, Top Chef Season 5 Winner, and other judges ask questions of one of the competitors.

The Winner of the Denver competition

The top three of the Denver competition. Center, Right, will be going to compete in New York.

More photos from the event