A whole slew of awesomeoness!
- my time & professional-grade gear (see gear list)
- V’s time, be it second shooting or assisting
- pre-shoot phone calls or emails to figure out how we’ll approach the shoot. First and foremost, I aim to please, and managing expectations and reviewing your vision will help me deliver work that makes you happy. How are we going to tackle your story?
- high resolution images for you to keep, print, share, post, etc
- retouching/processing/’photoshopping’ of all images delivered
- a print release so you can print these babies at the lab of your choice
- a narrative blog post about my experience working with you — easy & fun to share with family & friends!
- print consultations — while I have no print purchase minimum and do not require you to print through me, I’m happy to take print orders OR suggest neat ways for you to share your new photo collection!
For lifetstyle sessions (including family shoots, maternity sessions, bridals, Save the Date & engagement photos, newborn photos, senior portraits, etc), I love to see people sporting bold colors or shades of the same color. One family I photographed all wore shades of blue, from navy to sky. Dad & sons wore blue checkered & gingham button-down shirts and Mom & daughter sported scarves in varying shades of blue. It’s all about textures, layers, and accessories.
Or each member of the family could don a piece of clothing or accessory of the same color. The family in the photo below each wore red, white, and black. The daughter wore a black & white checkered dress with red tights, mom wore a white hat, black boots, and red sweater (and a killer red lipstick), the son wore a white shirt and black sweater & scarf, and the (white) puppy wore a red bow. Accents, like the daughter’s red bow in her hair & the son’s colorful fur hat & the mom’s black-and-white plaid scarf, helped everything *pop*. Again, textures, layers, and accessories really polish the look.
One choice that doesn’t set me on fire is everyone wearing the same thing, particularly everyone wearing white shirts. Just my two cents.
For headshots, I recommend a nice, clean, unwrinkled shirt — no busy patterns or words or bulk to distract from your face. For ladies: button-down, v-neck, scoop neck — really, anything that’s not too low cut and not sleeveless/strappy. Jewelry is lovely but, again, nothing distracting. For men: again, nothing sleeveless, please!
Above all, you should feel comfortable because that’s when you’ll look your best. Please feel free to bring a few options, too, if you’re uncertain.
a :: yes, yes, and yes. You can book your session here.
Sometimes the best facial expressions are buried among a lot of unflattering shots, and I want to be sure I catch you at your best. I edit out photos that are repeats, missed focus, oddly composed, or, in general, just not imagery I want to put the Carla Boecklin Photography stamp on; and then I meticulously retouch & process each image so it reflects my best work. I want you to see your finest shots as much as you want to see your finest shots so, for that reason, I do not deliver any RAW files and I only deliver the images I’ve processed & retouched.
I started with a big ol’ Canon EOS-1D (like, a 2004 model or something), a gift from my ex-boss Paul Nicklen, and two used lenses (a 20mm and a 70-300mm) courtesy of my brother Jeff (to whom I’m forever indebted for getting me started). The lenses were totally standard series and the camera body had a bunch of water damage from Paul’s underwater work, but they offered the best training wheels ever. MAN when you learn on standard gear and then upgrade to the Big Boy stuff, it’s as though a whole new world opens up for you!
These days, I shoot with loads of fabulous equipment:
- Canon bodies (Mark IV, Mark III, Mark II)
- Canon L Series lenses (14mm, 24mm, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 70-200mm)
- Canon speedlites (600ex-rt)
- Canon 35mm film camera (EOS-1V)
- Contax 645 medium format film camera
- Zeiss 80mm lens
- Holdfast MoneyMaker harnesses
- Lumedyne Tinycycler battery pack
- Cheetah Lithium battery packs
- Ona bags
- Westcott Ice Lights
- FotodioX Flapjack
- Lo &Sons Backpack
- Pelican cases
- Paul Buff Alien Bees (800 & 1600) and Ringflash
- Paul Buff softboxes
- Paul Buff Vagabond
- Cowboy Studio constant lights
- Apple computers (desktop, laptops)
- a hodge-podge of reflectors, umbrellas, stands, clips, sync chords, backdrops, and props
- Victor. He’s my assistant, second-shooter, technical advisor, and creative director. He’s also a goofball, and sometimes I think he has more fun on shoots than anyone else. Anyway, I’ve found that having another set of eyes behind the lens is invaluable.
If you check out social media, you’ll see that I publish usually monthly (if I’m lucky, several times a month). But, why publish?
Firstly, I have an academic background, so I was weaned on the concept of ‘publish or perish.’ The experience of putting my work in front of an audience (both my editors and the publication’s readers) gratifies me, particularly if the subject of the work is something I’m eager to share.
Publishing is also an excellent way to network, collaborate, and market your work. Some of my features are the result of working a wedding with an incredible team, and when I’m able to get the event published, it’s a means of celebrating the work of all the talented vendors that came together for the Day’s production. And when couples come across my imagery in these publications, they may see something in my photos that they’d like for their own day, be it the photography or the work of the other vendors.
Sometimes client work gets featured in a publication through no effort of my own, and that’s just plain fun. I love getting a call from a friend that saw one of my images in USA Today or the Huffington Post because the feature or interview is regarding a client for whom I’ve photographed — and my photos were used in the article.
Lastly… pitching my work & having it find a public home is a huge challenge, and I love me a challenge. Or, maybe I just like to see my name in print . Please read my blog post Dark Beauty Magazine featuring one of my images in order to learn more about my publishing practices!
I first fell in love with photography when I saw the work of Herb Ritts — I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know his name. His portraits of celebrities enraptured me. Like, wide-eyed, mouth-agape rapture. I’ve visually roamed his work (I have physical books of his images, and I also google him every now & again) literally thousands of times and I never tire of it. I still dream of being able to capture people the way he does — black & white film, timeless, often ironic, unabashedly intuitive, meaningful — while also having people use words like “fun” “genuine” “spontaneity” “trust” and “genius” in the same sentence as your name :).
My years assisting National Geographic photojournalist Paul Nicklen were incredibly formative on so.many.levels. Paul was the first person to make me truly consider everything that goes into being a full-time, for-real photographer. It’s easy to look at a single photo and assume, ‘I could do that.’ Realistically, though, to be consistently good, there are dozens of factors that help create quality photography (I touch on this topic briefly here).
Paul was also influential in helping me hone my professional future. Through him I learned I didn’t want to be a photojournalist, as I’d once thought. While I love telling stories through my images, I’d never want to give up the post-processing that, I think, gives my work a fine art touch, and photojournalist images (such as those featured in National Geographic or other prominent journalist publications) need to be published as-shot, as true-to-life as possible.
Lastly, with Paul, I got a taste of the Big Leagues without having earned a spot myself. I experienced a lifestyle full of people & events & places that 99.9% of photographers — 99.9% of the entire population! — never get to relish. I remember the first time I emailed with a Pulitzer Prize-winning colleague of Paul’s. AMAZING. Or when I watched Paul rehearse at TED2011 – before Bobby McFerrin but after the TED2011 Prize winner – and later went to an after-party that makes the Oscars look like a study group session. And those are just a couple examples. C r a z y, I tellya.
As far as finding inspiration, I think it behooves a photographer to roam the galleries of others, although I wrote about how hard it can be for me to look through other people’s work in this blog post. That post also mentions Melissa Jill, a wedding photographer out of Phoenix, AZ, that unknowingly mentored me for about a year through her wildly informative blog. Her candid discussion of photography technicalities, gear, style, and business practices shaped the way I started in the industry, and I’m genuinely grateful to her for being so refreshingly honest about her work.
And, lastly, Zack Arias’ blog, which is now a tremendously successful book, reads like emails with an old friend. I simply cherish his advice and perspective, and his material is my only Must Read suggestion for new and experienced photographers alike.