Personal Work

Carnival by Blake McCollum

I have been wanting to try photographing a few new things to expand my portfolio a bit and learn something new. One of these new styles I have been wanting to attempt and learn more about is high fashion. I believe any photographer should take a break for a few days and just do something new, learn something, make a few mistakes, but mainly just have a good time behind the camera; in essence I guess I am "recharging my batteries". 

This past weekend, the 37th Annual Railroad Festival was underway in my hometown, and ever since I was a kid there has been a carnival that came to town with it. I will admit in my younger days it was all about arm band day and any ride that I wasn't tall enough to ride, but for the past few years I have thought that carnival style would make for a fun series of portraits.  I finally made that happen with an amazing team (check them out below). 

Hair: Lindsey Johnson
Makeup: Katie Leach 
Clothing: L.A. Green  
Assistant: Joyce Li
Models: Janna and Kelbey

This entire series was photographed on a fully functioning and crowded carnival. We got a few awkward looks and stares and even a few people asking for photos with my models but was an overall great time. Thanks to the Amory Railroad Festival for getting it cleared for me to shoot as well as L.A. Green for the styling. 

Camera: Canon 5d III 
              Canon 85mm 1.2L 
Flash: 1 Alienbee 400
          Cybersync reciever/trasmitter 
          47" Octobox
          Vegabond Mini Power

For those of you wondering how these images were lit, it was pretty easy! I used 1 
Alienbee 400 with a 47" Octobox (double diffused). The flash was always to camera left/right depending on the image and with varying distances but always above their eye line. I tried often to get a nice colored rim light on my models that was naturally put off by the carnival itself. (you can see this best on the last group in the series) The entire evening was powered off one charge of the Vegavond Mini Lithium (love that thing). Photographed on a Canon 5d iii with a Canon 85mm 1.2. Camera settings varied quite a bit depending on where we were located in the carnival with some locations being lit drastically different. The one thing that stayed consistent was the extremely low aperture (1.2-2.8). For those that are move of a visual type learner there is a diagram below. 

Photo courtesy of to Mr.  StrangeBrew Coffee  himself. Glad Ms. Brew and himself were able to come hang out and experience the festival as well. (check out their page as well)

Photo courtesy of to Mr. StrangeBrew Coffee himself. Glad Ms. Brew and himself were able to come hang out and experience the festival as well. (check out their page as well)

Down At The Water's Edge by Blake McCollum

I have always wanted to build and style my own wedding session and I finally got the chance to!

This series is the combination work of quite a few awesome people but I wanted to share with you what inspired, molded, and made this happen the way it did. Being from the south I have always grown up outdoors, on the water, around a pond, and just the stereotypical Mississippi we all know and some of you have heard of! But I have always loved it. I've had an image of a bride standing in a flower covered canoe for literally years but finding a fearless bride to do that isn't the easiest thing in the world. We had a few road bumps along the way. The actual scheduled day to shoot was a 100 percent chance of rain (it was accurate) and also a last minute location change, but it turned out to be a great but slightly cold day. So glad I was able to finally, after years of envisioning this, have it come together better than I had ever thought it could. 

As far as the amazing people involved on this session.... On my route to and from college there was a guy (at the time I didn't know him) who built hand made canoes in his driveway/garage. I have eyed these things for years! But never took the time to stop and just chat. Finally I did and met Davis, told him my idea and the ball began to roll (BTW he builds and sells them... they are amazing). I then met an incredibly nice lady, Elizabeth, at Uptown Lily Flowers in Louisville, MS. I told her, in my extremely non educated flower vocabulary, what I was going for along with the help of Joyce Li's Pinterest board, Elizabeth took what we wanted and went so far beyond. An absolute grand slam. I stuck with my forever great makeup team of Neely and Katie who you have seen doing all my makeup for years now along with Lindsey doing hair (sorry we were over an hour late for our hair appointment Lindsey). "The Bride and Groom" from Columbus were nice enough to supply our dress and tux as always (love that place). All these people are linked at the bottom, go give them all some love!

Hope you enjoy.

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Snow day in Mississippi by Blake McCollum

Just in case you missed it..... it snowed almost 9 inches this past week..... IN MISSISSIPPI!?!?! It feels just as weird to type that as it does to read that. For some of you that don't venture much to the south, Mississippi isn't known for it's gnarly powder and ski slopes. So to say the least this was a crazy change of scenery and climate for a few days. 

The photographer in me had to ignore every single person in Mississippi saying "STAY OFF THE ROADS" and get out and take a few photos of the snow. It's beautiful no doubt, but no fun to drive in. Lots of slipping, sliding, getting stuck, spinning, and a bit of drifting later Joyce Li and myself made it back to the studio safely, soaking wet but memory cards full of a beautiful day in Amory, Mississippi.  Joyce will be posting her own blog of some of her photos as well on her blog soon you can check it out HERE!

Also if you are a fellow Amorian and take a liking to some of these images, I will be selling prints at the Art and Music Festival in the Frisco park on March 28th! Come get you one!

My partner in crime. 

My partner in crime. 

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To be a photographer I honestly hate being in front of the camera. I can count on one hand how many times I have willingly posed for photos. Joyce however has her ways and talked me into it. Made me feel like a proud teacher when she turned out this image.  

Photo Credit: Joyce Li

Photo Credit: Joyce Li

Amory Humane Society Fundraiser by Blake McCollum

I did something out of the norm for me and my style of shooting this past holiday season...... and loved it! For those of you who do not know me, I have always been an animal rights supporter and always tried to do my part to help support the local Amory Humane Society. I was asked to do "Pet's Pictures with Santa" as a fundraiser (the session fee was a donation of any kind to the shelter) and decided to dive in head first not knowing what to expect. I have personally never done any pictures with Santa.... or multiple animals....  so there was an extremely large learning curve for me. It was a great day (minus the rain) with a great turnout. Thank you to all that came to see Santa and help a great cause. Glad I could be a part of this event (be on the look out for it again next year!)

Thanks to Joyce Li for the video and Sheila Johnston of the Amory Animal Hospital for all the animal handling expertise throughout the day. 

Thanks to you all we raised a total of  8 bags of dog and puppy food totaling 105 pounds, 5 bags of cat and kitten food totaling 36 pounds, 30 pounds of cat litter, 3 rolls of garbage bags, 6 bottles of Dawn, 7 blankets, 8 rawhide bones, 5 leashes, 2 tie out cables, 6 bags of treats, bundles of towels, latex gloves, 2 bottles of laundry soap, 1 bottle floor cleaner. Along with another $300 to be donated along with the supplies.