Archive for 'people'

Jul 24, 2014

I was talking with a friend about books.

We were talking about how some authors choose to write just one book at a time on one subject with one set of characters.  These books they write, they are not connected by a familiar setting or theme.  But, they have the style of the author that is threaded throughout all the books.  Usually, if you like one book then it is safe to predict you will like another.

reading by allison jacobs

Then you have authors who choose, for various reasons I am sure, to write books in a series.  My friend was lamenting that maybe they feel they have spent so much time and thought and energy developing a particular world that they can’t possibly share it all in *just* one book.  But, it feels sort of deceptive somehow to know that you are expected to read the set in its entirety.  Some people can stop after book 1 or book 2.  Others feel this push to read the whole set just to learn what happens with the characters.

reading by allison jacobs

I have always loved books.  I have loved them for as long as I can remember.  If I was given a choice between books and television usually books would win.  The power of a story that can sweep you up and away into another world is a unique power.

Pull back of person reading a book, maybe in the trees.

Sometimes I see glimpses of my life in the books I read.  I see myself in the characters.  I find myself asking, what would I do if faced with that same challenge. I wonder if the characters in the stories are stronger and braver than the average person and if that is part of what draws us in as readers.

reading by allison jacobs

There are books that have universal appeal and there are books with a much more narrow audience.  Just like with art and photography.  I like contemplating the factors that make one book or one image more universal.  Does that wider span of appreciation make it a better work of art?  I don’t think so.

More random thoughts on books coming soon.  Just because I couldn’t get them all into this one post!


In 2013, I joined up with a talented group of photographers to shoot a new portrait based theme each month.  We came up with some challenging themes which helped me learn & grow.  I am over the moon to be able to go through another year with this group. 

We are starting off 2014, with the theme Reflective Portraits.  Love this.  January is usually a time for reflection so this theme fits right in with what most of us are doing.  My first instinct is to talk about how all photography is reflective of the photographer.  Even when we are not literally in the frame, photographers as artists put our hearts into our work.  The way I view my world shines through in my photography.  So, whether there is a literal reflection in the image or not, there is still a piece of me.  But, I did challenge myself this month to get an actual reflection too.  I have seen this done beautifully in mirrors, in buildings, in eyes but since I spend so much time around the water that was my obvious go to place for a reflective portrait. 

This year I spent New Year’s Eve with one of my best friends.  I began 2014 on a plane to Mexico in the early hours of January 1st.  We were headed with a group of friends to a beach vacation to celebrate her 40 years of life.  Something about this led me to quite a bit more reflection than I am typically inclined at this time of the year.  For me, not only was this a celebration of 40 years, but I think some reflection was due to the 26 years we have spent being friends. 

This girl is someone who is a lifelong friend.

She is loyal.  This is a girl who will stand by her friends.

She is funny, and smart, and sassy. 

There is something to be said for getting to 40.  And being healthy.  And being happy in your circumstances.  And being surrounded by people you love.

sunset from the plane | Project 365 | Allison Jacobs Photography

sand in Mexico | Project 365 | Allison Jacobs Photography

reflections on the beach| Project 365 | Allison Jacobs Photography

Amber Norris Photography | Hattiesburg MS Newborn and Child Photographer is the next photographer in our group so be sure you click through to her blog and follow the circle back here to see what everyone is reflecting on this month. 

One of my goals for 2013 was to improve on my portrait photography. I was so blessed to be a part of this talented group of photographers with the same focus. Each month we picked a challenge for our portrait post then linked our blogs to make a circle. It is always so fun to see how different photographers interpret the same theme and I was inspired each month when I visited all the blogs. 

We covered themes like Through the Doorway Portrait, Faceless Portrait, Bokeh Portrait, Creative Location Portrait, Black & White Portrait, Backlighting Portrait, Garage Lighting Portrait, Environmental Portrait, Window Light Portrait , Framed Portraits, and Out of Focus.  The idea was to choose themes that might push us just outside of our comfort zones since that is the place where we can grow as photographers.  I will admit that many of these months had me struggling to be creative and shoot in different places or ways than what are typical for me.  The opportunity to learn with this group of photographers who have become friends is something that I never took for granted. 

Be sure to click the link see the work of my dear friend Laura Veno, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas photographer her portraits never cease to leave me feeling inspired to pick up my camera and shoot.

Portraits12 year in review by allison jacobs photography

Thousand Steps Beach Laguna by Allison Jacobs Photography

It has been years since I bowled. But after thinking about local fun things to do on one of our days off this past week, I decided bowling would be it! I threw thoughts of mixed lighting and harsh colors out the window & set out to document our fun. The most surprising part? Our scores were all really close. Looks like I need to brush up on my bowling skills.

bowling lifestyle storytelling photography via allison jacobs

Recently I bought a few rolls of film, loaded up three different cameras and started shooting.  I wrote up a few of the lessons from shooting film I learned along the way for Click It Up a Notch.  If you have been considering getting back to shooting film or trying it for the first time I also link up to a few resources that I found helpful. 

Shooting-Film_allisonjacobs7_900px Shooting-Film_allisonjacobs9_900pxShooting-Film_allisonjacobs6_900px


Here we are again, ready for another round with the Project 12 Portraits group {I can’t believe that nine months has gone by posting with this incredible group of photographers}.  We started off picking some goals for shooting from Chris Orwig’s book People Pictures: : 30 Exercises for Creating Authentic Photographs.

Since January, we have veered from the exercises in the book some and done a few of our own.  This month we focused on faceless portraits.  For me, this meant that I needed to be able to tell the story of a person without being able to show their face and their eyes.  There is usually something about the eyes that will draw me into a portrait.  I figured if I was going to get creative with story telling (or try really hard to get creative anyway) then I would throw on the Lensbaby Spark and head to the beach.  Here is my story told through images.  Without any faces.  Well almost without faces, I did manage to get one side portrait in there at the bottom.  It just fit too well to leave it out. 

And, since this is a group project, make sure to visit my friend Krista Keller, Danville, CA child, senior & family photographer to see what she created for this month’s challenge!

Laguna Beach, California with the Lensbaby Spark via Allison Jacobs Photography

The challenge this month for my Project 12 Portraits group was to shoot a portrait with bokeh.  

Seemed easy enough.

Until I found myself at the park with my photographer friend Kimberly Skeen {who was kind enough to not only let me borrow her kid to photograph but also let me borrow her Canon 5d Mark III camera body}, and the light was fading fast into a nice grayish marine layer of fog.  We still had fun and I think I captured enough bokeh to count for the challenge.  Plus I was reminded how nice summer evenings can feel in southern California.

Shooting this way will really help separate your subject from the background so the focus is all on the person.  For the May Project 12 Portrait challenge and June Project 12 Portrait challenge I found some perfect light shining through the trees that created bokeh behind the subject even though that wasn’t the focus for those months.

Back to the camera…um, hello new love. Seriously. That camera is amazing.

I kind of wish I hadn’t had that chance to fall in love.

Kind of but not really. Here are a few portraits which I think pretty much look like all boy.  I mean, an airplane AND a stick?  Total boy.  And what a cute boy he is.  Just look at that sweet face.



Be sure to follow the circle over to my talented friend, Laura Veno Photography,  Dallas/ Fort Worth children’s photographer to see what kind of bokeh she has created in her Project 12 Portraits this month.  I know you won’t want to miss this circle.

This month my Project 12 Portraits group focused on creating portraits using a “creative location” then showing a pullback.  I guess when we discussed and voted on themes back in January, this may have sounded like a nice challenge.  But, sitting here at the start of summer, I felt stumped for how to pull this off in an impressive way.  So instead of trying to impress the 2 people who read my blog, I thought that I would just shoot one evening in the backyard during one of my favorite times of day since sometimes, just sometimes, I get lucky with some magical light.

I love this time.  Sitting on the porch, watching the birds, relaxing with my kid and just being.  We had just picked up a $0.99 refill for the $1 bubble blower and had plenty of time to kill.  I grabbed the camera as my son tried to make and catch the biggest bubbles possible.

When he would catch a bubble, he would get my attention so I could snap a shot.  But, this time I had stepped inside the house for something so while he stood showing me the bubble there was the mesh door between us.  I shot anyway.  Straight through the mesh.  I figured, hey why not?  The image below is the result of that one click.  Through the mesh.  Does the backyard and shooting through a mesh screen door count as a “creative location”?  Maybe not, but some days you just have to go with what you have.  Is this a traditional portrait?  Nope, but as a mom it speaks to me about where we are right now at this part of childhood which is something I need to get better about documenting.


Below is a pull back shot of my backyard.  This is what was behind my son.  I guess I should have shot the mesh screen door but since I figured all of us have seen a screen door that I would show you the yard instead.  See that little patch of light?  Love this time of day.  Even when I am just in my own backyard.


If you want to see more of our projects you can look back at January {window/low light portraits}, February {environmental/narrative portraits}, March {portraits framed}, April {garage light portraits}, May {backlighting and sun flare}, and June {black and white portraits} here.  Then be sure to follow the blog circle through to see if the others in my group found more inspiring creative locations than I did starting with my friend, Kimberly Skeen, Orange County children and family photographer.

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