James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions: Blog https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog en-us Copyright (C) 2008-2021, James Adams (James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:27:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:27:00 GMT https://www.exclusive-productions.com/img/s/v-12/u628709020-o771101917-50.jpg James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions: Blog https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog 120 80 Happy Holidays! Don't forget to preserve those moments https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2011/12/happy-holidays-dont-forget-to-preserve Christmas morning. When there are children in the house, there are few moments more special than watching the chaos ensue from the mad rush to find out what Santa brought, and what other presents there are to be had.

Congratulations to those of you celebrating your first Christmas with your first child. You have, at most, two more calm Christmas mornings left before you have your own house of chaos. The frenzy starts to kick in with the 4-5 year olds. At that age, they know about Santa Claus, they know what's supposed to be in store for them, and they have very high expectations. Even if you manage to get them to sleep at a reasonable time, they will arise at a totally unreasonable time, full of energy, and expect you to be energetic too.

A couple of hours into the fracas, it will dawn on you that you should be taking pictures of the kids enjoying these moments. These are prime family photo opportunities. Take full advantage of them. Make sure your camera is at hand when they start opening presents. Forget your cell phone camera. We're talking real cameras for these photos. I don't care how many megapixels your cell phone is capable of, or how convenient it is. Your phone is no match for your camera when it comes to image quality.


You want to use your camera because you will want to print these and send them to relatives, especially those that older ones that could care less about technology. Most of them still want an actual photograph. You'll also want to use some of these images for your holiday cards next year. Let's also not forget the pleasure and satisfaction you'll get from showing these images to your teenage or college child's friends when they get much older.

Whatever the reason or eventual use, these are cherished moments in your family's history. They will be treasured for years to come.

Happy Holidays!!
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2011/12/happy-holidays-dont-forget-to-preserve Sun, 25 Dec 2011 00:18:00 GMT
Wrap-up from WPPI https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/3/wrap-up-from-wppi It's all over. The vendors have packed up their booths. The Master Classes and Platform Classes are over. A week of learning, exploring, discovering and revitalizing for the practitioners of the the personal side of the photograpy industry. This conference is focused on wedding and portrait photographers. We are the ones that capture your personal moments. We are in some form or another your personal historians. 

Over the course of the week masters of the craft shared some of their secrets, motivation, techniques, and style. The challenge for the attendees is now to go home, review what they have learned and use that to create their own personal style. It is that last piece that distinguishes those of us from the rest.

One theme emerged as a constant thread. Digital cameras have given everyone the ability to take pictures. The average person does not hire a photographer to take pictures. Unfortunately, a great many "photographers" simply do just that; take pictures. A true photographer is supposed to create art. The creation of art is what we must return to. In order to do that, we must return to the fundamentals. We must turn off some of the automation that has made us lazy and go back to creating images that do not require massive amounts of tinkering in Photoshop.

We also must present  these works of art to our clients is something with lot more longevity than a plastic disc. We must create images, wall art, and books that can be passed along to generations of families to share in the memorable moments of our lives.

In short, we have to return to being the professionals clients turn to when they want something special. Something more than a picture taken by Uncle Harry who has a big camera that can be printed at Walgreens or posted on Facebook.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/3/wrap-up-from-wppi Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:50:00 GMT
Where have all the pohtographers gone https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/3/where-have-all-pohtographers-gone Catching up with your local photographer may be a little difficult over the next few days. Most of us have descended on Las Vegas and it's not for a wild getaway either. The Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) is holding it's annual conference.

This is a chance for us to network, share ideas, learn new techniques, find out about the latest gear and services, and basically OD on information on all things photographic. Yes, we all come back with new products and services. Yes, we will start introducing them to you. Yes, when you see them the grass will be greener, and the sky will be bluer.

In reality, we will have more ideas and products to artistically preserve and archive images that represent the most precious moments in your life. Without revealing too many insider secrets, I hope to bring you a glimpse of some of those things. Stay tuned.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/3/where-have-all-pohtographers-gone Sun, 07 Mar 2010 12:37:00 GMT
For the really important photos https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/1/for-really-important-photos Some, alright most, of our significant family photo moments these days involve our grandson, Jaiden. This past weekend was one of those moments; his first haircut. Where this isn't normally an issue for baby girls, the boys are usually introduced to a barber somewhere between a year to 2 years old. Trust me, they don't particularly like it.


Jaiden held up to this stranger, messing with his hair for what had to feel to him like forever, pretty well. Yes, he cried as he sat on his mother's lap, but calmed down when I came in. Yes, I have a way with him, he said, no the least bit proudly..... Actually, it was the fascination with the camera and the pictures being taken. I can tell he is determined to get his hands on one of our Nikons one of these days. My oldest son did that at around 19 months, but that is another story, for another time.

For this occasion in particular, there must be two of people present. One to hold the child, the other to grab the photos. My daughter thought she was going to be able to do it all herself. She also thought Jaiden was going to sit politely in the chair while all this strange activity went on. Now I have a flip video camera that takes high resolution stills, but, these are not just casual images that may just go up on the web or in emails. For us, these images deserve the same quality we deliver to clients.We are our own clients for any images we take of the family. Almost anything we capture might end up as a print, on a calendar, in a book, a framed wall collage, or even a full-size wall image. We shoot on the highest resolution available on our cameras. That way, when we edit, we have the most image data possible, and the full range of sizes available. The images go through the same workflow, backups and archival steps as client images. We want these photos available so that Jaiden's grandchildren can print them. Sure, the technology will change several times before that could happen, but at least they can convert the highest quality image we can make with our current technology.

You can do the same thing by following a few simple steps:
  1. Set the camera for the highest resolution setting it has. Sure, that will take less images per media card. The solution for that problem is to buy more cards, so you can take more photos. Memory cards are at bargain prices compared to just 1 year ago.
  2. Download these images to your computer at your earliest opportunity. Don't just leave them on the card, in the camera. Should you have the misfortune to lose the camera or corrupt the media in the camera, you could lose those moments forever.
  3. Make a backup copy of the images on your computer. Store a copy of them in another directory. Files or directories get corrupted, discs fail, things happen, bad things. External drives have become very inexpensive. Buying one to hold just your images is wonderfull protection against a hard drive crash on your computer.
  4. Make an archive copy of the images. Copy the files of the images you want to make sure you preserve to CDs. DVDs are okay, but try to find archival quality DVDs. Those discs are gold on both sides and will last far longer than those found at your average office supply.
  5. Make prints of the images, maybe even books. Printed photos last for generations; technology doesn't. You don't anything to enjoy a photo album other than a lap and some time.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/1/for-really-important-photos Mon, 11 Jan 2010 21:39:00 GMT
Happy New Year and Welcome to 2010 https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/1/happy-new-year-and-welcome-to-2010 Welcome to 2010. Some of you will be putting some new numbers on the census forms that are coming out shortly. At least a dozen of my own friends, family and clients have welcomed new babies this year. For those families that welcomed their first child, a new digital camera was a very popular gift. I'm sure they plan to put that camera to good use capturing many, many precious moments and memories. Now is also the time to plan how you intend to preserve those images.


There are so many possibilities in this new age of digital media. The exciting part is the array of options for printing. Greeting cards have been available for years. That has expanded into note cards, movie marquee style posters, wall size prints and so on. T-shirts, photo plates and coffee mugs are just a sampling of what could be your own family line of "logo-ware". Admittedly, a lot of that stuff is over the top. Here's a couple ideas that aren't.


How about documenting your child's first year in a set of 12 images, one for each month. These can be framed in a large collage. They could also be used to print your own 2011 calendar. Want more images in a single collection? Layout and print a book of your favorite images of your child, family, or anything, for that matter. I strongly suggest a book of images from your child's first year. There are so many experiences and so much change in that first year, you'll be going back to these images for many years to come.

Shooting images you plan to print will likely require some changes to the settings on the camera. The majority of people will set up their camera so the storage device holds the maximum number of images. This setting is also the one with the least amount of resolution and will severely limit your printing options. When the intent is to eventually print your images, you should set the camera for the highest quality resolution you can. This will result in fewer images per card, but much higher quality images.

Making the books is very simple. Almost all the online photo sharing sites offer sort of book printing option with their lab services and there is a wealth of software available to help with layouts. Once you make your first one, you'll be doing many more. Don't stop with just the baby. These press printed photo books are quickly becoming the new "family photo album". The advantage to these is, relatives can't make off with the only remaining photo of Uncle Oliver that 9 of your other relatives claim belongs to them.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2010/1/happy-new-year-and-welcome-to-2010 Sun, 03 Jan 2010 21:26:00 GMT
Krystle and Freddy - Classic High School Sweethearts https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/9/krystle-and-freddy-classic-high-school There is something unmistakably special about a wedding where the couple has been together since high school. Krystle and Freddy’s wedding was one of those occasions. Surrounded by family and long-time friends, the couple’s ceremony was held close to where the two of them grew up. The Hawaiian theme was complemented by a fortunate break in the weather, making it a very comfortable day for all.

Following a simple, elegant ceremony at Central Peninsula Church, the festivities moved to the Foster City Recreation Center, located on the shoreline of one of the many canals that thread through the city. Classmates and friends did a fantastic job of decorating the spacious hall, and the backdrop of the shoreline was spectacular.

We went to a lighting technique that used much more indirect lighting, giving most of the images a much softer look. The engagement session we did earlier in the year paid big dividends with a much more relaxed groom in front of the camera as Freddy played into Krystle’s playful, mischievous side. The resulting images were outstanding. We’re still working on the Animoto slide show for the day.

We’re also checking out a new online proofing site. So far, I really like what I see from Collages.net. The display for viewers in the webshow is quite an improvement over our previous site. The sample site isn’t available there yet. Meanwhile, check out a small collection from the day at our Image Gallery.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/9/krystle-and-freddy-classic-high-school Tue, 01 Sep 2009 19:40:00 GMT
A new name, but not really https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/7/new-name-but-not-really
You'll notice new images on the banner. You'll also notice the not so subtle name change. To some degree, it reflects a return to the original name I used for this venture when I began a long time ago. It also makes it easier for friends and associates to find my work, when they can't think of the umbrella company name, Exclusive Productions.

The production company still exists as an umbrella for all the activities. However, the photography is a personal expression of my artistic view. It's time to go back to branding it that way. Anyway, whether it's Exclusive Productions or James Adams Photography, it's still me, with the same standards of quality and service.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/7/new-name-but-not-really Tue, 14 Jul 2009 20:28:00 GMT
Catching up....... https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/5/catching-up Wow. It's been far too long since I updated the blog. We've been watching our grandson Jaiden grow, while working on some new things and preparing to start the art show season. I attended my first WPPI convention and came back with a lot of new product offering ideas, all of which are ready to go. All our clients from the past year will be receiving pilot samples as we fold the new stuff into the portfolio.

My first, wedding album supplier is located right here in Hayward, California. I've purchased the traditional leather-bound albums with the preset inserts, frames, and mats from them since the late 1970's. I paid a visit to their shop a couple months ago to look for some custom sized frames and discovered they had expanded their services to include printing and book binding.

We just got our sample album back from them and were completely blown away. They offer a wide variety of sizes and cover options, outstanding print quality, quick turnaround, and best of all, they're just 10 minutes from our studio! For wedding albums up to 60 pages they are now our primary supplier for wedding albums, and our first choice for large prints, including canvas. Did I mention their price point beats all of our other suppliers, allowing us to offer a superior product at a lower cost that we can pass along to our customers?

We finally have a DVD slideshow offering that we're happy with and feel will be appeal to clients. We're using Animoto to produce these very innovative presentations that may be emailed, posted on websites, rendered onto DVD, or downloaded to mobile devices. These look absolutely fantastic. I'll be sharing some of those here soon.

That's it for now. Watch this space for some new posts with a lot more detail on what we're up to.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/5/catching-up Sun, 17 May 2009 08:29:00 GMT
Engagement Photo Sessions https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/engagement-photo-sessions Of all the services we offer, the one least used is our Engagement Photo sessions. Like a number of other photographers in the area, we offer these to any couple considering hiring us to cover their wedding. In our case, it comes with no cost, and is available (currently) whether or not you book us for the wedding. The couple is not obligated to make any purchases from the session. Personally, I believe the value in this proposition is lost on most young couples.

There are a couple of reasons for offering this as a service. None of the reasons has anything to do with selling more prints. The obvious one is the likelihood the couple will retain us after seeing our work. Another is the chance for us to try new techniques and approaches under realistic scenarios, where the results are non-critical. For couples that have already booked our services, this gives us a chance to get the couple used to working with us. We learn more about their personalities and their reactions to each other. An added benefit is a more relaxed couple in front of the camera on their wedding day.

For the couple, there are tremendous benefits from taking advantage of these services. This is a great opportunity to “try before you buy”. You get answers to any questions about a particular photographer’s personality, style, professionalism, etc., over the course of a 1-2 hour session. Before you see what the photographer’s work looks like, you’ll have a good idea if you can work with this person over the course of one of the most stressful days of your life. You also get the chance to practice being in front of the camera for an extended period. You can try different looks and different poses. You get to see just how creative you can be, all while learning how to be comfortable in the presence of the camera.

Naturally, this intent is more than a practice run. The session you have with the photographer you ultimately hire will provide additional images for your families, and your wedding album. Both sets of parents and grandparents will want images of you before you truly set out to begin life as a new family-to-be. You will also likely want “before” images. Even if you don’t make prints to frame, these images make a wonderful addition to your wedding album.

Pay attention to the no-cost engagement photo offers, but only if they come with no purchase obligation. They aren’t exactly free, as the photographer retains the right to use any images from the session for promotional purposes. If you’re not comfortable with that, then don’t take the offer. If you are, then take advantage of the offer, and the situation. Give the photographer and their talents a test run. Give yourself a test run in front of the camera. If you do nothing else, have fun.

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/engagement-photo-sessions Tue, 31 Mar 2009 21:38:00 GMT
Photography Shopping - Price is important, but...... https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/photography-shopping-price-is-important

Photography is not something one shops for on a regular basis. However, the approach should be as any other major purchase. A typical approach is to set the dollar amount you’re willing to spend. As a starting point, no one would find fault with that logic. If your only criteria is price, you’re going to be at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiations. Price is a very important concern, but you need to understand what’s included for that price. Let’s look at a different example.

You’re buying a car. Your budget is $1500. You walk into a used car dealer and tell the salesperson “I want to buy a car”. You’re likely to get one of two responses. The first is ”How much do you want to spend?” This is a test. It’s not a test to see how much money you have. The answer will tell the salesperson you either know what you want, or haven’t a clue. If you answer with the dollar amount without any additional information , the salesperson is likely to point out the car in that price range that provides them the most profit.

If, on the other hand, you walk into that same dealer and say, “I’m looking for a 2-door compact sedan, something that gets at least 20mpg, with less than 30,000 miles, similar to a [fill in name brand here], that is less than four years old”, you’re going to have a very different conversation. You don’t even have to mention your budget. You can go from dealer to dealer, asking the same question, and effectively price shop with confidence. The difference? In the first example, you give the salesperson the opportunity to sell you something that’s to their advantage. In the second example, you dictate the terms, based on what you want. You are now in a position to basing your price comparisons on similar products.

If you shop on price alone, you have no way to do effective comparisons. A $1500 wedding package will be very different from photographer to photographer. Services will be different. Print and album options will be different. Comparing two packages of equal prices is like comparing apples to coffee pots. What will be common are packages that are the most profitable to the photographer. At best, they are the studios guess at what you might want.

Starting your price negotiations by explaining to the photographer, or any other wedding vendor, exactly what you’re looking for makes it a lot easier for the vendor. We instantly know we need to focus on providing you what you want, as opposed to convincing you to buy something. Take control of your photography consultations by being specific.

Your wedding day is supposed to be all about you. The couple getting married is supposed to get what they want, the way they want it, based on their budget. We as photographers are supposed to serve you, and give you what you want. To do that, we have to know what that is. You tell the caterer, florist, wedding coordinator, bridal gown maker, decorator, etc., how you want things, down to the placement of the napkins on the dinner tables. Why not do that with the photography?

Decide in advance how much of your day you want captured in pictures. That will determine how much coverage you need. Decide how many locations you want to have pictures taken: bride dressing, groom dressing, portraits, ceremony, reception, etc. Do you want an album? If so, what size and how many pages? How many prints do you really need? What size? This minimizes the chances of paying for extra prints you have no use for. Put the answers to those questions into a list and give that to every photographer you contact. When you do, and you get prices based on your list, you will be making comparisons on equal packages, and easily see what is or is not a good deal.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/photography-shopping-price-is-important Sun, 15 Mar 2009 13:51:00 GMT
How much photography coverage do you really need? https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/how-much-photography-to-you-really-need In the days of capturing weddings on film, both the wedding couple and the photographer were well aware there were a limited number of frames that would be shot. The focus at the time was on the ceremony, the reception, and a few formal portraits. Finding a photographer that would shoot candid shots was a bonus. There were, and still are, approximately 18 images that capture the essence of a wedding. Extra shots meant extra cost. The bride and groom had to be conscious that they were going to be expected to pay for any shots over and above what was previously agreed upon.

For the photographer, to shot extra frames meant to incur processing and printing costs on the speculation that someone was going to buy them. Frequently they would not. Back then, one of my typical packages contained 12 8x10 images and 48 5x5 images, all assembled in a leather bound album. To get down to those 60 images, I would shoot no more than 84 images, which amounted to two additional rolls of film. Those of us that were very accurate with metering and composition were rewarded for our efficiency with lower costs. Those that weren’t were penalized.

In this day of digital, we can shoot to our heart’s content, without any additional hard costs. I say hard costs, because the more images that are shot, the more images there are to edit. With the popularity of the photojournalistic style of wedding coverage, each of us now captures 10-15 times the number of images we used to shoot. I attended a seminar recently given by a photographer that captures a staggering 5,000 images per wedding. Naturally, only a fraction of those images are actually presented to the bride and groom. What does this all means to you, the wedding couple?

Your wedding coverage options are now wide open. If you cannot find a photographer that covers the entire day, my suggestion is to go for as much coverage as you can afford. Of course, you’re not going to have all of that printed. However, if you’re goal is to tell the story of the day, that implies the entire day has been covered. If the all-day coverage is not an affordable option, your work is cut out for you in deciding what to have covered. What will help is very careful planning on how you lay out your day.

The ceremony, reception, and portraits are a must. Special activities and cultural traditions are likely to have equal priority. Where it starts to get dicey is the pictures of the bride and groom getting ready and covering all of the reception. If you can’t cover it all, you’ll to Here’s some planning tips you can use to optimize the coverage you have.

  • You can save precious time by selecting shooting locations other than the ceremony and reception sites that are either very close to, or along travel routes between, those two locations.
  • Carefully planning the timeline will help to, but be careful. Don’t plan the timeline so tight that something has to be sacrificed if one of your activities is delayed.
  • Take your formal portraits before the ceremony. If the entire wedding party knows they have to be ready to take pictures before the wedding starts, the chances of the ceremony starting late are minimized.
  • If one of your goals is to have formal family portraits, let everyone in the family know about it, in advance. Let them know when and where the photos will be taken. Make this point repeatedly. This is not their wedding. They are going to forget and wander off to do other things. Your coordinator can be a big help with this.
  • Immediately following the ceremony, things are the most chaotic. If you plan on using the alter area, plan to have the church cleared as quickly as possible, except for family. Work out a shot plan with the photographer so they can shoot this sequence quickly and efficiently.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. They all revolve around a central theme; planning. Good planning solves many problems, and makes for better pictures.

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/how-much-photography-to-you-really-need Sun, 08 Mar 2009 19:33:00 GMT
Planning your day. Don’t forget the pictures. https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/planning-your-day-dont-forget-pictures The one thing you always seem to run out of, or short on, is time. Time is also the most overlooked requirement to getting those once-in-a-lifetime special portraits of the bride and groom. All the beautifully captured special portraits of the bride and groom in private moments take some time to set up and capture. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does require some.

Planning a very tight timeline for your wedding day may prove to be very stressful. Something always runs counter to your plan as causes a delay. Under normal circumstances, several things go wrong, each one causing small amounts of time to be lost from your plan. The little delays add up, and before you know it, you’ve lost an hour, or more. In worst-case scenarios, enough time is lost to cause you to cut out parts of your planned activities. Guess which is the first one scratched, the photo session.

With everything else about a wedding so meticulously planned, photo planning is frequently left out. That’s not because couples don’t think about it. In most cases, the photographer is contacted after most of the timeline for the day is already set. Photographers will make suggestions, but we’re not about to have you reshuffle your arrangements. Instead, we try to work within your timeline to make sure we can meet your needs.

So, that begs the question; how do you plan for your wedding day photo session? The easiest way is to put it on your agenda for the day. Somewhere on your wedding day plan, between “have breakfast” (this should be there too, trust me) and “leave reception” should be an item for “bride and groom pictures”. That way you’re thinking about it. You can plan the time and the location. You can make sure it fits in somewhere. You can also work around everything else that’s involved with that. This gives an opportunity to have a conversation with the photographer to review your locations to see if one of those will work. On the other hand, you can plan to use a specific location. The photographer will give you an idea of approximately how much time they will need, or you can let them know how much time they have.

This level of planning has a profound impact on your images. Planning allows you to relax. If you are relaxed, your photos will look like you’re relaxed. When photos have to be rushed, they look like it, especially portraits. Those of you in the midst of planning your wedding day, pull out that plan and see if you’ve at least considered your pictures. Next time, I’ll share some ideas on how to make those plans fit in comfortably.

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/3/planning-your-day-dont-forget-pictures Mon, 02 Mar 2009 22:23:00 GMT
Relaxed, Recharged, and Ready to Go! https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/2/relaxed-recharged-and-ready-to-go
The extended holiday break is over. Our last stretch of time off for a while was our annual trip to Cambria. We always go down for our anniversary weekend (our 17th this year) and spend a few days in what we refer to as “our” house. This three-bedroom house, directly across the street from the Santa Rosa Creek outlet to the Pacific Ocean on San Simeon Beach is too much house for the two of us, but we rent it anyway. We’ve been staying there for years and have become quite attached to it. This year we filled a little more of it as we took our daughter and grandson with us, along with Perry and Della, our six-month old Shih-Tzu puppies.

Normally, we visit quite a few of our favorite wineries in nearby Paso Robles. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend you check it out. Email me for a list of wineries to visit. This year, we only went to one, and that was because we had pre-ordered from this winery and had them hold it for pickup. Otherwise, we just took the time to relax, unwind, and recharge. The baby enjoyed being in a different environment and gazed in amazement at the beach and ocean. Perry and Della got spoiled by the long walks along the beach, and all the attention they got from showing off their cuteness. I got in some shooting, of course, and will get around to posting something on the gallery later this week.

This annual getaway is part of an annual ritual where we take some time thinking about the things we want to do in the upcoming year. These are tough economic times for businesses and customers. Toward the end of last year, we witnessed first-hand significant changes in wedding couples expectations of what they could do. I’ve already heard of couples opting to cut out photography altogether. That’s a pretty harsh step to take, considering the longest lasting tangible memory of your wedding day is your pictures.

One thing we won’t be doing is cutting back on our services. We tell wedding stories. To do that, we have to capture the entire story, not just a few hours. We also won’t be raising prices. Too many couples can’t afford that. We will, however, offer more choices; more albums, more print options, cards, notepads, DVD storybooks, and a bunch of other exciting options. I just got back from the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention with loads of ideas and product offerings. More choices gives you more options. Knowing that we captured everything lets you hold onto the ability to get the album you dreamed of having, even if you have to wait a year to get it.

For Cassandra and I, it’s about the story. We’re waiting to tell yours.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2009/2/relaxed-recharged-and-ready-to-go Mon, 23 Feb 2009 21:42:00 GMT
Angel and Terrence Thompson - Wedding, Family Style https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/11/angel-and-terrence-thompson-wedding


Back in the day, the members of the church would host a reception following the wedding ceremony to allow everyone the chance to congratulate the newly wedded couple. They weren’t elaborate affairs, a few decorations, a cake and some punch. These were the days of the “receiving line”. The entire wedding party would line up at the entrance of the hall, with the bride and groom at the end of the line. The guests would pass down the line, meeting the members of the wedding party. The bride and groom would get to personally greet and thank everyone for coming. The high point was the cutting of the cake. The more fancy weddings included a meal, but this was not common.


Angel and Terrence’s day reflected this long lost tradition while keeping up with the present. They followed the reception at the church with the currently customary private reception at the Wedgewood Banquet Center. This is a wonderfully traditional young couple with deep spiritual and family roots. I have to also say it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a couple so relaxed from the rehearsal, all the way through the reception. They had a lot of help putting it all together. Not only were Angel and Terrence having a wedding, the whole church was having a wedding. That’s how it used to be. A sign of how traditions run deep at Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, neither Cassandra or I are accustomed to being referred to by Mr. and Mrs. Not just by the youth of the church, but my many of the members. We refuse to believe it’s because we’re getting that old.

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/11/angel-and-terrence-thompson-wedding Fri, 28 Nov 2008 20:09:00 GMT
My favorite photo weekend is coming https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/9/my-favorite-photo-weekend-is-coming The third weekend in September is always blocked on our calendar. That's when we make the second of our two annual Jazz pilgrimages. This one is to the longest continuously running jazz festival in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival, Presented by Verizon. This is truly a destination for serious jazz fans. As Branford Marsalis put it, "this is one of the few festivals left in this country where there is more real jazz, than non-jazz".

As I frequently do throughout the year, I perform double-duty as photographer and writer, as I cover the festival for Cityflight.com. This is my 14th year as a jazz photojournalist, and the 12th time I've covered the festival. Cassandra and I are devoted fans of this music, and being able to cover it in this fashion is a dream assignment. Cassandra gets to enjoy the music in the main arena, while I juggle a stiff shooting schedule that has me trying to cover the 6 main venues on the fairgrounds. It takes a little planning, but more than that, it takes discipline to not stay too long enjoying one artist, while another one is starting to hit on another stage. Yes, I do get to enjoy the music, and over the years, we've heard some truly remarkable performances, and I've gotten some tremendous shots. If you've wandered through the gallery, you may have seen some of them. If not, please take a look in the Live Performance section.

This year, I plan to update my Jazzology blog daily from the festival. The main piece at Cifyflight will be there a week or two after I get back. You notice I said plan. With nonstop shooting days that run from 4:30pm - midnight on Friday, and 11:00am until midnight Saturday and Sunday, that's gonna be a stretch. Let's see how I do.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/9/my-favorite-photo-weekend-is-coming Thu, 11 Sep 2008 21:19:00 GMT
New generations inspire change in older ones https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/8/new-generations-inspire-older-ones-to Jaiden (pronounced JAY-den).

Jaiden is a very energetic young man, with a lot of high expectations, and limitless opportunities. I met him very early on the morning of August 30th. It was 1:18am, to be exact. That was the time that Jaiden Elijah Kidd, my first grandchild, said hello to the world. Both Jaiden and his mother are just now going to sleep, spending their first night at home. Us grandparents are trying to get our sleep back to normal cycles while figuring out what we want to be called. Neither of us is thrilled with "Grandma and Grandpa". No matter, we figure we have some time before he starts talking.

I managed to maintain enough composure to photograph most of the adventure. I couldn't have it be said that out of two photographers, neither was able to pull it together and get some meaningful photos. Besides, my gift to my daughter and Jaiden will be a book of those moments leading up to, and following, that first shared experience for the two of them. For me, it was thrilling to capture it all, and even more thrilling, seeing what I had captured. The experience has given me a perspective I feel very eager to develop further; not just with Jaiden, but with other families with infant children as well.

Where this will lead, I honestly don't know. It could become a part of our general practice and service offering, or it could be a service provided to only one client; Jaiden. Only time will tell. I know this much, capturing those priceless moments, and raw emotions, is as important and exciting as any wedding we've ever shot.

As far as the book goes, it will no doubt be the first of many. as Cassandra and I plan to take an "old school" approach to the capture of these memories, and put them in a medium that is not subject to disc failures, viruses, hard drive crashes, or obsolete technology. With a book, all you need to enjoy it is decent eyesight, a lap, and some time. Jaiden's photos online
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/8/new-generations-inspire-older-ones-to Sun, 31 Aug 2008 21:53:00 GMT
Michelle and Jourdan Chauss https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/8/michelle-and-jourdan-chauss For many couples, the “big wedding” isn’t something they start out with. They make the conscious decision to forego the formal ceremony and reception and decide to do something on a much smaller scale. Other times, the actual act of getting married is a spontaneous event. Some of these couples later decide to go ahead and have the big event with a formal renewal of their vows.


Such was the case for Michelle and Jourdan. These two surprised their friends during a trip to Lake Tahoe, and slipped away to one of the convenient wedding chapels in the area. Neither had really wanted to have the full-blown ceremony and reception. They later changed their minds and opted to do it all over again; this time, with family and friends in attendance.


They found a small chapel that’s attached to the larger sanctuary or St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Concord. This was just the perfect size for the 60-80 guests they expected. Behind the church has an incredible rose garden that we used for the bridal portraits and most of the family pictures. The skylights and high windows of the chapel offered a very soft, natural light environment. The tight booking schedule for the chapel imposed some time constraints, but we were able to gets a number of great shots in the gardens. (Wedding Album Design Link)


We shot the bridal party and pre-ceremony shots of the family in the gardens before the ceremony. Another one of those times when wished I had brought walkie-talkies to coordinate moving the bride/bridesmaids and groom/groomsmen around without the bride and groom seeing each other. Logistics aside, this was a fantastic location to shoot in.


The reception location was in a small park in Danville. A part of the facilities is a ranch-style house that is available to rent. Behind the house is a large open area, ringed by trees. The shade from those trees turned a 95-degree day into a nice 80-degree setting that was warm, but very comfortable. A gazebo standing in the middle of a grassy field was one of two portrait locations we used. The other was an iron and wood bridge that spanned the creek bed that flowed behind the open yard. The bright, midday, open sun around the gazebo was particularly challenging to work with, but the near-sunset lighting for the second location was fantastic. The complete album pre-design is located here.


Jourdan, a former chef, prepared the food for the wedding banquet. Without exaggeration, I have to admit that was the best wedding dinner I’ve had in my 30+ years of covering weddings. We came away with more than a couple recipes.


With all this, you wouldn’t think of this as anything but a wedding and reception. This had all the nervousness, excitement, emotions, and tears you would expect. The families, some from as far away as Florida, had a wonderful time together, and celebrated the day like it was the first day of Michelle and Jourdan’s married life. In some ways, it was.

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/8/michelle-and-jourdan-chauss Sun, 10 Aug 2008 13:00:00 GMT
Dawana Jones and Marvin Sadler https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/7/dawana-jones-and-marvin-sadler

A “destination” wedding can be local. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, any wine country wedding becomes a destination for many of the guests. We just photographed the wedding of a long-time friend’s daughter at the Martinelli Event Center, in the middle of the Livermore Valley. For those that only know of Napa and Sonoma as the California wine country, the truth is, some of the first grapes planted in California were planted in the Livermore Valley in the late 1700’s. The Livermore Valley lies about 25 miles east of Oakland, just south of the busy 580 freeway. The one comment heard most often during the day was, “I didn’t know all this was out here”, coming from the many long-time Bay Area residents.

This July 4th afternoon was blessed with a bit of relief from the smoke from the many wildfires nearby that had blanketed most of the state for the last few weeks. The sea breeze from the bay cleared out enough of the smoke and haze to make it a beautiful day. The temperature was mild for July in Livermore. Instead of the more typical 95+ degrees, we had a pleasant 85 degrees with a comfortable breeze that made it feel even cooler.


Dawana and Marvin have dated for a long, long time, and their relationship has endured separations while they attended college. As a result, this was a gathering of relatives and good friends from all over the country. The couple themselves was returning home for the ceremony, having recently settled in to live in Portland, Oregon.


The Martinelli Event Center is located in the center of the wine country. Events are managed by Garré Winery, located just a quarter mile away. The adobe styled center, sitting in the middle of a vineyard, has many great scenic backdrops. The opportunities for great photos are almost endless, and we tried to use as many as we could in the short time we were there.


Marvin and Dawana opted to take most of their more posed pictures before the ceremony. With all of the wedding party getting dressed at the facility, and no travel time between venues, this made for a very calm and relaxed atmosphere for everyone. Pictures of the complete wedding party and the bride and groom’s photo sessions were the only formal shooting to be done after the ceremony. Organizing the flow this way allowed the couple to enjoy more of there brief visit with family and friends, without interruption from us. At the same time, we got many great shots of those interactions. (Collage link)


The ceremony area on the open lawn presented it’s usual challenges, but the warm glow of the late afternoon sun blended perfectly with the vineyard scenery. There were fantastic open shade areas that provided some of the most interesting shots of the day. With an unusual amount of free time in our shooting routine, we were able to try out a few new toys. Some yielded glamorous results, some not so glamorous.


We also worked with a great DJ for the event. I DJ’d weddings and events for a very long time and have been disappointed with the quality of the younger DJ’s I’ve seen lately. There is a huge difference between a party DJ and a wedding DJ. Voice quality and the ability to make clear, crisp announcements are very important. Professionalism is critical in coordinating the activities of a reception. I took pride in the attention to detail my longtime DJ partner and I took when handling weddings. Tony Sparks of Close Cut Productions is the only DJ I’ve come across lately that works in the style I used to. His coordination with everyone associated with making the reception flow smoothly is superb. For San Francisco Bay Area couples looking for a wedding DJ, check him out at www.closecutproductions.com.


For us, we have a short break in our schedule. We’ll still be busy preparing for the arrival of our first grandchild in September. We’re just hoping he doesn’t decide to arrive the weekend we’re shooting the Monterey Jazz Festival!

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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/7/dawana-jones-and-marvin-sadler Mon, 21 Jul 2008 09:52:00 GMT
Emily and Eric, May 17, 2008 https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/5/emily-and-eric-may-17-2008 We're just back from covering Emily and Eric's wedding. I love weddings on the beach. There's something very special about a marriage ceremony in that setting. It doesn't matter if it's a large, formal affair, or just the bride, the groom, a minister or officiant, and two witnesses; it's still a wonderful moment. Although they can be a challenge to photograph, after adjusting for the elements and the harsh lighting angles, there are some great photos to be made. (Collage link)

Emily and Eric chose the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz to be the backdrop for their ceremony. If you've never been there, this is a great alternative way to spend a relaxing day at the beach, without the craziness of the Boardwalk. The beach is located about 2 miles north of the Boardwalk. The park even arranges to hold an area for couples wanting to have ceremonies there.

The couple had about 100 or so family and guests on hand to share the surroundings, and these special moments. This was a rare opportunity for the Emily and her siblings to get photos with their Grandmother, who was on hand for the festivities. For May, the weather was especially cooperative. It was a crystal clear day, with the temperature around 85 degrees. Needless to say, it was much hotter elsewhere in the Bay Area, so the beach was an especially popular destination.

The couple chose to take their portraits before the ceremony. With such an open setting, preventing Eric from seeing Emily before the ceremony was a particular challenge. However, this was a moment Emily definitely wanted captured. We managed pulled it off by having Eric on the beach looking out at the ocean, while Emily came down the pathway leading from the picnic area. On cue, we had Eric turn around to get his first look at his bride-to-be in her wedding gown. That evolved into the first of many emotional moments throughout the day.

From the beach, we moved to David's Restaurant and Banquet Center in Santa Clara. This is a great facility, located at the golf course, right across the street from Great America. The staff is great, as is the food. Gene and her crew did an excellent job. The DJ, Rob from Elite Entertainment, invited all the married couples to the dance floor for a special dance. We all knew who the most recent married couple was, but Rob started weeding out the couples to find the one married the longest. Turns out the marriage longevity prize went to a couple that has been married an astonishing 57 years!

For Eric and Emily, it's off to a honeymoon in Cozumel. For Cassandra and I, it's digging in and editing the images. come back Thursday for the link to their Wedding Album Preview.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/5/emily-and-eric-may-17-2008 Sun, 18 May 2008 17:30:00 GMT
Pacific Orchid Exposition - A still-life fiesta https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/3/pacific-orchid-exposition-still-life
Like most photographers, there is almost no end to the types of things or events I photograph. When I’m not working with people, I like to experiment with macro, or extreme close-up photography. Flowers happen to be a particular favorite of both Cassandra and I, but we rarely have an opportunity where we do it together.
A few weeks ago we had one of those rare opportunities as we took in the Pacific Orchid Exposition in San Francisco.

This was the first time either of us had attended the three-day event. The variety of orchids on display was incredible. The colors and types ran from the ordinary to the exotic. Hybrids and crossbreeds were featured alongside traditional orchid strains from orchid growers from all over the state. The massive Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason was filled with the delicate flowers, all in bloom. Those that were so inclined could also take the experience home with them as 2/3rds of the space was dedicated to orchid sales.

Of course, we took lots of pictures. We weren’t alone as local photogs maneuvered their tripods around the hundreds of attendees to get shots they weren’t likely to set up on their own. In fact, everyone with a digital camera brought them out to take home souvenir images from the event. Even with automated flash on a point-and-shoot digital, excellent images were just the click of a shutter away.

Of course, the preferred method is to use ambient light. Fortunately, we were there on a sunny afternoon and the high windows let in plenty of light. Some of the exhibitors enhanced their displays with a variety of different types of floodlights. Without going into a lot of technical details, some of the lights enhanced images; some did not. In any case, I’m sure everyone came away with some good pictures.

We shot mostly natural light close-ups. I brought along a small “sun gun” light to fill in some of the shadow details, and in some cases, create some special effects. Most of the exhibits placed the flowers at leas a couple feet away from each other, and mostly against a black background. In almost no time at all, we came away with over 300 images. You can check out some of them at our online gallery: exclusivephotos.smugmug.com. Some will show up in our Fine Art Greeting Card line, Polyrhythmic Expressions. Perhaps I’ll make a book from these and some of the other flower images I’ve taken over the years.

Looking for a great subject to practice your own photographic skills? You can’t beat flowers for still life images. You can try a lot of different ideas and techniques, and will very likely have some great results.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/3/pacific-orchid-exposition-still-life Thu, 13 Mar 2008 22:03:00 GMT
New year, new site, new gallery, new stuff. https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/2/new-year-new-site-new-gallery-new-stuff Wow. I never meant to take so long to update this page. The blog debuted just before the holidays. Right after that, I went to work on preparing for this year's wedding season. Somewhere in the middle of that exercise, I started remodeling the website to provide more detail and pricing on my service offering, and to make some improvements to the gallery.

Fast forward two months and now all that work is done. I'm really excited about my new logo, printed advertising, the website changes, and the new gallery layout. For wedding services, it's now easy to find complete information on our wedding offering, directly from the website. Individual images, and samples of two-page album spreads can be viewed in the gallery section. The booking tools allow a prospective client to check what days we have available, and to contact me directly to set up a consultation. I want to provide as much information as I can, to help couples understand, completely, what we have to offer. The images galleries will be updated periodically to reflect our latest events. Of course, this is the place you can read about it first. I'll also be adding a FAQ based on real questions I receive from clients.

The wedding images is just one of two galleries. The other (see the link in the sidebar) is a much larger gallery that covers a variety of subjects. What's posted there now is just the beginning. I have a large collection of photos of legendary jazz musicians in action on stage. Over the coming weeks, these images will make their way to the gallery. This is also my stock photo gallery. Most of the images are available for purchase as fine art prints. They can also be licensed for personal or commercial use (most musician images excluded). I couldn't be more excited about building up this portion of the gallery.

I can also get back to providing you with updates on the latest techniques, tools, and trends in this rapidly evolving world of photography. Some of them are already on display in the new gallery. Check it out when you get a chance. I'd love to get your feedback.
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2008/2/new-year-new-site-new-gallery-new-stuff Thu, 28 Feb 2008 19:00:00 GMT
First frame - Welcome https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2007/12/first-frame-welcome This is James Adams, owner of Exclusive Productions, and welcome to my blog. This is my running journal of my photo excursions and activities. Photography has been a passion of mine for over 30 years. During that time, I've covered a wide range of photographic styles and disciplines. Along the way I've captured quite a few images that are now part of my traveling photographic art shows. Some of the more recent images are available online in my gallery.

The focus of much of my work now is split between live jazz concert photojournalism and wedding photography. My jazz beat includes San Francisco Bay Area clubs like Yoshi's, the San Francisco Blues Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Through 10+ years of coverage, I have photos ranging from legends to the rising stars of the music.

I started with wedding photography the same way many wedding photographers did, by shooting a friend's wedding as a wedding gift. Way back then, I used what later became known as a "photojournalistic" style, capturing the 'story' of the day, and laying it out in the couple's wedding album. I won't say I was ahead of my time, but I always felt the bride and groom should see, in their pictures, the wedding from the eyes of their guests. Likewise, the guests could see some of the more precious moments that happened around them.

Anyway, that's a brief introduction, and a very high level overview of what we do.The we, by the way, is my wife Cassandra and I. She is a painter, fine art photographer, and portrait specialist. She also backs me up as the second photographer on wedding coverate. This blog is our vehicle to bring you up to date on the latest developments in the ever changing world of wedding coverages and service offerings. I'll also keep you up to date on our latest projects. Come back and see us often.

James
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(James Adams Photography / Exclusive Productions) https://www.exclusive-productions.com/blog/2007/12/first-frame-welcome Sun, 23 Dec 2007 22:13:00 GMT