pictures

Easter Sunday // Family Time & Portraits of the Kiddos

I really enjoyed this years Easter Sunday gathering: my mom-in-laws ham was SO GOOD, the weather was beautiful, and we had a Lamb Cake - yes, a Lamb Cake. It's not a REAL lamb, but it was a real good cake (there's a pic down below). It actually looked more like a cat than a lamb. I'm just sayin'. The family met up at my brother-in-laws house over in Flossmoor, IL. He and his wife recently purchased a really nice place over there. The house was packed and all of our kids made sure that there was not a silent moment all evening long. Seeing the kids dressed up in their Sunday's best was so cool - the girls looked so beautiful in their dresses and the boys were so handsome in their dress pants and shirts. They were all so endearing.

Here are a few pics from the day. I love the portraits of the kids. I had been looking forward to taking these photos all week long:

p3 lightbox gal placeholder Easter Sunday // Family Time & Portraits of the Kiddos

My many thanks to my family for making Easter so much fun. It was kind of a quick evening, but it was a much needed one.

Kid Portraits Set-Up

  • Nikon D90 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Nikon SB-800 fitted with an umbrella - Thank you Gary for helping me out
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS3 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: I had pre-visualized where I would be taking the portraits of the kids. I had thought it through and knew what I wanted. But then came the rain. It forced me to rethink my plans and I had to make some quick decisions. I really liked the trees in the background and I figured they would make for a nice background.

    My Little Ballerina! Chicago Toddler Portraits

    My daughter is a part of every photo shoot that I do. She is a) either entertainment for the models, b) a testing "assistant" while I adjust my lights, or c) just a innocent bystander while I shoot. Whatever she is, I am glad that she is there to watch me work. These portraits came after my model was done with her Dramatic Portraits. Jocelyn came in with her tutu ready to be photographed, and I am not to shy away from a portrait session opportunity. Plus, I love photographing children, especially when it is my kid.

    Here are a few of my favorites from Jocelyn's impromptu portrait session:

    [gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D90 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Alien Bee 400 strobe with 22" Beauty Dish
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White seamless for backdrop
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: Be ready for impromptu shoots. I was getting ready to pack up my gear when Jocelyn came in dancing and wanting to be photographed. I was tired and ready to stop, but I could not pass up taking a few frames of what I knew would be a memorable portrait session with my daughter.

    Sam the Handsome! Huntley Baby Portraits

    I love baby Sam for many reasons. One is that he is just so darn cute (his head makes a perfect circle)! Another reason is that he was such a pleasure to photograph (I love baby photos). He also has this very cool and calming attitude about him that makes him even more lovable. But the main reason I love him is that he is my nephew, my youngest baby nephew. I love photographing my family, even if it means traveling to Huntley, Orland Park, or Merrionette Park. I do my best and make sure that my nieces and nephews are photographed because they will never look the same. They grow up so darn fast. Here are a few of my favorite Sam portraits:

    [gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0
  • Nikon SB-800 fitted with an umbrella for background
  • Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White sheet for backdrop
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS3 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: Always be careful when shooting babies. I always have the parent sit right next to the child as I photograph them. The final image you see is a composite of 2 images. The one with the baby originally had the mother right next to him. Then I photographed the background without the baby and then combined them in Photoshop.

    My 2009 Highlights - Whoa, What A Year!

    Moving At The Speed of Light

    Well 2009 is just about done. Can you believe I just said that?! This year flew by at the speed of light, maybe even quicker. There was a lot of stuff going on, a lot of stuff was experienced and a lot of growth occurred this year. Overall I am very glad that this year is over. That sounded very negative... but I assure you it is not. It has been one of the most humbling and amazing years of my short life. But I am looking forward to the new year and to the new decade.

    Year-End Review for 2009

    I love reading "top" lists and year-end reviews. They are a quick read into someones life, a quick glimpse into who someone is. They can be funny and quite shocking at times, but always revealing. So here goes my "top" list for 2009 - goodbye crazy decade!

    Top Movie - Revolutionary Road: Awesome acting, very deep issues and a realistic story. Leo and Kate are awesome!

    Top Song: - All The Things That I Have Done - The Killers: I know this is an older tune, but I just came to know it this year.

    Best Concert - U2 at Soldiers Field. You can see more pics on my Facebook album: U2 360 Tour

    Top Book - How To Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie: An oldie but absolute classic. A must read if you interact with humans.

    Most Read Photo Blogs - Zack Arias: Atlanta based editorial music photographer that ROCKS! - Digital Pro Talk with David Ziser: Great blog on business and shooting. - Jasmine Star: Fabulous wedding photographer whose blog is a breathe of fresh air. She keeps it real. - Joe McNally: Awesome lighting guru that started my LOVE for off camera flash.

    Most Read Non-Photo Blogs - engadget.com - This blog keeps my inner geek informed on all things technical and gadgets. - smashingmagazine.com - THE best blog for design, dev, and free stuff. A must if you are a visual creative. - Seth Godin: A great blog for marketing, branding, and just all around great advice.

    My Favorite Blog Reader - Google Reader: Simple, amazing and oh so easy to use!

    Favorite New Restaurant - Big Bowl: Amazing food at non-scary prices. Try their passion fruit ginger ale. My many thanks to my sis-in-law for recommending this place.

    Favorite App - Things: An easy and powerful Get-Things-Done app for the Mac and iPhone or iTouch. Now I wish I had an iPhone so I could sink it with my MacBook...

    Favorite Wedding Photos [gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

    Favorite Wedding Venue - University Club Chicago -Β Here is an image from the beautiful top level dining hall. You can see a few more from a previous post here. University Club Chicago Photos

    Favorite Family Photo- Hamilton Family Portrait at The Garfield Park Conservatory

    Chicago Family portraits pics photos

    Favorite Portrait Photo of My Daughter- My Daughters Cute Froggy Boots Children's Cute Photos

    Favorite Model Photos Chicago Editorial Photos

    Editorial Model Photography Favorite Personal Works- 2009 Polar Plunge Chicago Polar Plunge 2009

    Favorite Personal Works - "Tree By The Lake" (inspiration for my logo) Chicago Fine Art Photos

    Favorite Face Melting Solo - Tom Morello with The Boss on "Ghost of Tom Joad"

    Best Investment (monetary and emotional) - Dane Sanders Roadshop Workshop Dane Sanders Workshop This was an amazing workshop taught by an amazing person, Dane Sanders. I learned more about myself in this short 3 day workshop than I have in any other workshop I have EVER attended. Do yourself a huge favor and attend his workshop if you can make it. Just do it!

    And In The End... of the year So there you have it. A few of my favorite things for 2009. I am looking forward to next year and I have a lot of ideas that I want to put into practice, some good ole' life changing ideas. I hope you have a great year and I look forward to blogging more and putting more of me into these pages. My most sincere Thank You to all that read this blog. Here's to a great New Year celebration!!!

    Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: I am turning 30 this year. It is time to dream it all up for a new decade. I am looking forward to y 30's.

    Happy Holidays From The Rascon Family

    Chicago Illinois Child Photography

    Happy holidays guys! I know we are all getting ready to celebrate with friends and family, so thanks for stopping by my blog. What are some things you are all doing for the holidays?

    I am look forward to a few things like hanging out with my family and watching some movies. I am just about done with my Family DVD slide-show I do every year. So I am pretty darn excited about finishing that and giving it to my family on Christmas. I also just got a Play Station 3, so there will be some HD viewing this holiday season at my house.

    I hope that you all have a fun time and make some amazing memories over the next week. Peace and see you soon!

    Here are a few outtakes from the shoot:

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 (I love this lens)
  • Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White sweep with 2 lights pointed to it
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS3 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: I am a big fan of holiday music. I especially like KT Tunstall's Christmas CD. Check it out!

    Family Portrait Fun - The Espinoza Family

    I LOVE it when families make the time to take portraits. I guess I feel that way because my family never made the time to do so. I cannot look back at a time when my family was together and when my siblings and I were younger. That's kind of a bummer. As a parent I now understand how it can be difficult, and even frustrating, to make the time and get everyone ready to go out and take family pictures. But family portraits are important to our lives, they are an important part in our histories. Think about this: never again will this couple (whose photos you are about to see) look the same, nor will their children. Their likeness have been captured in time. They can look at these photos later in their lives and reminisce about how young everyone was and how beautiful they all looked. That is pretty cool and almost magical.

    Here are a few of my favorites from this session:

    [gallery columns="1" size="large"]

    My HUGE thanks to the Espinoza family for coming in all the way from Rogers Park. They looked great and were so much fun to spend time with. Their little ones are SO cute! You guys rock!

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 (I love this lens)
  • Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White sweep with 2 lights pointed to it
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
  • A lot of energy to keep up with the 2 kiddos :)
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: Make sure that only one parent is communicating with the kids during the session, or even just your assistant. Having both parents talk and make noises can be too much, both for the kids and for the photographer :)

    Hattie the Cuttie - Chicago Baby Portraits

    I was really pumped for this baby portrait session. You see, my wife and I are great friends with Hattie's parents. I have photographed their little Henry before. We were so excited to hear the news when they told us they were pregnant! My wife and I were both like "No way! Congrats! I hope you guys have a girl!" Well, I wanted them to have a baby girl. They already had a boy, so a girl would bring balance to their family :)

    Here are a few of my favorite portraits of the new born shoot:

    [gallery columns="1" orderby="title" size="large"]

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White sweep with natural light
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: The power of the strobe was beginning to make little Hattie fidget, so I decided to only use the modeling lamp of the strobe to get a handful of images. I switched to my 50mm f/1.4 lens and went to town :)

    Cute Sibling Portraits - Chicago Family Portraits

    Jennifer and Vanessa were high school friends. I photographed Vanessa's wedding earlier this year. Jennifer saw Vanessa's wedding photos and really liked them. So she emailed me wanting some family photos and set up a family portrait session. I love how these connections are made. Okay, that was a really quick intro on how I came to meet Jennifer and her family. They are a really warm and loving family from Downers Grove with two amazingly beautiful children. The little girl and her baby brother both made my job pretty easy as they smiled and allowed me to take their portraits. Having a 2 year old has helped so much in preparing for kid portraits. You have to be quick and ready for anything that they throw your way.

    I really love photographing families out in different outdoor environments. But there is something very special about going into the families home and photographing them in their home environment. Here are a handful of my favorite photos from this family shoot:

    [gallery columns="1" orderby="title" size="large"]

    My many thanks to Jennifer and her family for having me photograph them. It is such a privilege to meet new families and for them to allow me into their lives. I hope to see them again soon.

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 36" silver reflector for natural light portraits
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: Have a plan A, B, and C when photographing young children. You just never know which plan will work best.

    My Wedding Day Memories - A Very Short 8 Years

    Today marks the date of my 8th wedding anniversary. I almost cannot believe I just said that... 8th wedding anniversary. Wow, how quickly 8 years can go by without even knowing it. Will you join me as I travel down Memory Lane for a moment? It feels like Christina and I were just married a few years back, certainly not 8 years ago. We dated for about 3.5 years and we knew each other about 2 years prior to our courtship. I am really an awful mathematician (my older brother took all of the math genes), but if you add up all of those years they equal 13.5 years that I have known my wife. That is both a wild and amazing thought, and a very cool one as well.

    We are high school sweethearts. We went to all of our proms together. She knew me when I had long hair ( I was trying to be Bono a la The Joshua Tree years). She has been with me through all of the disappointing jobs and through all of the fun jobs. And of course she is with me now as we raise our daughter. As I readied the images I am about to share I realized just how much history we have between us. We are both still very young and I hope that we continue to add to our memories. And I look forward to our love growing and maturing.

    [gallery columns="1" orderby="title" size="large"]

    Looking through our wedding photos was such an AMAZING experience. Seriously. Seeing those familiar faces on those 4x6 prints was like stepping into a time machine. Of course now that I am a wedding photographer I see these photos in a different light than I did when we first received them 8 years ago. Certainly I can look at the technical quality of these images and judge them and think about what I would have done differently to achieve a better exposure or pose. I could point out certain things I am not crazy about. Others might see them and find some flaw.

    But the thing is that these are MY WEDDING photos and I love them.

    I look at them and remember. I look at them and see family and friends I no longer see. I look at them and see a very young and naive version of myself and of my wife. I look at them and see just how gorgeous my wife looked. I look at them and see my mom and dad in the same room (they are divorced). I look at them and remember my wedding day. I sure hope that my wedding couples look at the photos I have created for them and remember and love their wedding day memories. Thanks for sharing this special day with me!

    Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: I wonder what wedding photographer I would hire were I to get married today? David Ziser, Jasmine Star, or Mike Colon? Hey, it's nice to dream!

    Hi-Key Little Beauty - Chicago Child Portraits

    Is there anything more cute and amazing than seeing a baby smile? I don't think there is. I became really interested in baby portraits the second I knew my wife and I were going to have our daughter. Since then I have had the privilege to have taken so many of my families, friends, and clients baby photos. I have traveled to Wicker Park, Downers Grove, Orland Park, and other places and into peoples houses and lives. So my many thanks to you all! Here are a handful of images from one of my latest baby portrait sessions. This cute little baby girl is probably one of the best babies I have photographed in recent memory. I don't recall her crying at all, or even fusing. We wanted to do her first year pictures and some Christmas pictures, but that might have been too aggressive of a plan. We ended up breaking up the portrait session into 2 sessions. Her parents were so cool about doing so and brought her over the following week. It was a bit of a challenge to select the images to post just because she had such a great smile most of the time.

    [gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Alien Bee strobes - 2 on the background and 1 on my model. Note: the background was about 10 feet away from my model. Any closer and the light reflecting from the white seamless would enter the lens and create some contrast issues.
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • White Seamless background
  • Small white table for baby to sit on. Her father was just behind her.
  • Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    By The Way: Shooting hi-key images is so much tougher than you think!