There are photograph opportunities in everything in life even when we aren’t looking. This shot was captured while I was doing a sibling session out in the country. I wasn’t looking for it but came across it while photographing the kids in front of a flower bed. It was fun to step outside of what I’m used to shooting and capture something different. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune
Charla DePoppe fixes the hat of her youngest child, Grace, while her oldest child, River, yells. River was only being silly, but when I opened this photo on my computer I thought it told the tale of all those superhero moms out there. This photo taught me that I shouldn’t ever stop shooting even when the subject stops posing.
Before I go out shooting I usually do a web search and see what photos have already been taken. It helps me understand what could work, what won’t work and usually sparks an idea for me to try. I’ve seen a lot of photos where it’s a close up of a football player’s face in a helmet. I’m no football player, but I changed it up and put my face in the helmet to capture this one. I’d say it was worth it.
Weddings always seem like fairy tales. I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding of a childhood friend at Good Earth Village in Spring Valley last fall. As much as it’s nice to have those formal photos of the bride and groom looking straight at the camera, the love between them is seen so much more when they are focusing on each other. Making your subjects interact brings out true emotion and is what takes a photograph to the next level.
This photo is one of my favorites I’ve shot for the Tribune. I walked around this plane a couple times looking for just the right angle. Flexibility and an open mind is really important while shooting. At first when the people walked into my shot of this rare plane, I was frustrated. Once I saw the potential that I had with them in it, though, I felt like I struck gold. Silhouettes are my new favorite thing to shoot, and I was really excited to be able to incorporate them into a newspaper photo.
Swimming photos can be tricky to shoot. The swimmers only come up for air so often and water is usually splashing all over so it’s hard to get the camera to focus. This is one of my favorite sport shots not only because my patience and persistence paid off, but also because it captures the swimmer breaking the surface of the water, and the image is crisp.
Baby portraits are something that I would like to perfect. They are so wiggly and never stay where I put them, though. This shot is a favorite of mine because I learned that keeping mommy and daddy close by is the key to a happy baby and great photos. Once Haydyn was in her daddy’s arms she quit crying and actually opened her eyes.
Lighting is key when it comes to photography. Whether it be flash photography or natural light photography, there are so many details to pay attention to. I really like this image because the natural light outside of the building makes it seem less like a posed photo and more like a found photo.
Posing subjects can be frustrating. I never know where to put someone’s hands or how to make it different than what I’ve already shot. This photograph is a favorite of mine because it allowed me to incorporate the guitar without taking away from the senior’s face. Being the person behind the camera, it’s important to try new poses even if the subject feels unsure about it. You can see the bigger picture that they can’t.
There are photograph opportunities in everything in life even when we aren’t looking. This shot was captured while I was doing a sibling session out in the country. I wasn’t looking for it but came across it while photographing the kids in front of a flower bed. It was fun to step outside of what I’m used to shooting and capture something different.
I love the lines and details in this photo. Lines help our eyes move through a photo. And, by getting real close to my subject and keeping my shutter speed somewhat high, I was able to capture the details of these students welding.
Photography is my passion, and it has always been that way. I am fortunate to do it for the Albert Lea Tribune and its magazine, Albert Lea, but also as a hobby on the side. To capture nature or people in a photograph and evoke emotion from an audience is rewarding.
Whether it be a story assignment or a high school senior, I enjoy trying to find the unique angle. I’m not scared to crouch, climb or get a little dirty to get just the right shot. I’ve dodged flying baseballs and hockey pucks, been splashed with water and wandered around in a cow pasture. I have lain and kneeled on countless floors for the perfect shot.
Besides finding just the right angle, I’ve discovered getting to know the subject is what makes a photo powerful. That’s the purpose of a photo, right? To tell a story. So the next time you’re shooting, don’t be shy. Find out about your subject before you start and let those details shine through in your work.
The photos I’m sharing with you today were taken for the newspaper and some in my personal business, Bragen Rights Photography. Some are my favorite portraits I’ve shot in the last year, but there are also shots from interesting angles or something I’ve captured along the way. They all aim to tell a story without words.