Friday, November 8, 2013

Alice and the Guks

After visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo this spring,  Alice 's favorite animal is the penguin.   She couldn't actually say penguin so she calls them Guks.  Her mother sewed a cute Halloween costume for her so that she could be a Guk too.  After seeing the costume, I decided that I needed a photo with her in a snowy background. 

My first idea was to use a studio shot with a white muslin background and with sheets of cotton on the floor.   My second idea was to take a photo outside in the snow.  My third idea was to put Alice in the snow with lots of other penguins. 

Penguins live in Antarctica.  Last year Sports Illustrated flew models to Antarctica for their swimsuit issue.  It was a very harsh environment for models and photographers.  In addition, Alice doesn't have a passport.  Antarctica wasn't going to be possible.

I used Google to see if any other photographers had taken photos of a children with real penguins.  Apparently no one else has been able to take a child to Antarctica either. 

I decided to create my own image as a composite.  I would merge a photo of Alice with a background photo of penguins. 

Since I didn't have a photo of penguins for a background, I needed to find one taken by another photographer and get permission to use it.  I was able to find a great free photo on  I took the photo of Alice in the studio using a green background.  I used software to erase the background and replace the green with the penguin background. 

I created two versions of the photo.  In the first version Alice is the same size as the other penguins.  In the second, Alice is larger.   I hope that Alice enjoys looking at herself with the Guks.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Signature Edit

Recently I've noticed several photographers discussing their "Signature Edits".  The definition varies but basically these are photos that incorporate advanced editing and printing techniques.  During the process they go from being "Ordinary Photos" to "Fine Art".

My definition of  a "Signature Edit" is an image that I'm proud to sign.  It's an image that I can look at repeatably over the years and continue to appreciate. 

Jeff and Mary posed on the shore of Lake Tahoe the night before their wedding.  I felt that this image had the potential to show the depth of their love in a beautiful setting.  I enhanced the color, added blur and grain and removed distractions.  The final result will look great in a large canvas wrap print.

It would be ideal for a Signature Edit" to begin with a perfect image file.  This one didn't.  We were on a public beach and were nearly out of light.  I was attempting to stay out of the way of my photographer friend Paul who was setting up his lights to practice lighting portraits at sunset.  I was using available light and took this photo during a peak moment of interaction between Jeff and Mary.

Photoshop cannot fix everything.  Mary and Jeff are an attractive couple.  Lake Tahoe is a beautiful setting.  Sunset is a great time of day for photography.   My camera was ready for the photo and I caught it at exactly  the correct time.  I had the darkroom skills to previsualize the final image and Photoshop helped me make the final edits.

Wedding photographers are a dime a dozen today.  Everyone with a digital camera and Photoshop tries to convince their friends that they have everything it takes to photograph a wedding.  You will not find anyone who says that their work is awful or that they charge too much.

If I needed to choose a wedding photographer, I would pay particular attention to the work that they consider to be their best - their "Signature Edits".  I would look for their images from weddings in venues within my intended price range. I would find out if the same person who took the samples will actually photograph the wedding. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dan and Becky's Wedding as-viewed-by-Kurth

Dan and Becky were married on July 5th at the beautiful Belle Terre Vineyard and Reception Hall.   The beautiful outdoor "Heaven's Gate" setting was enhanced by the late afternoon sun.

The entry to the reception hall features a pair of antique Italian church doors.

The venue is beautiful.  I was especially impressed with the way the management made sure that every detail was perfect. 

The interior closely resembles some of the most beautiful locations in Italy. 

 I sometimes find it to be a challenge to find suitable backgrounds but Belle Terre is a photographers dream.

Becky didn't want Dan to see her dress before the ceremony but that didn't keep them completely apart. 

Italian cities are known for their fountains.  Belle Terre has beautiful fountains too.

 Becky stands at the base of the staircase.

Alice in Wonderland as-viewed-by-Kurth

Eighteen month Alice had a tea party with her Wonderland friends today.  She enjoyed pouring tea for everyone.  She served three kinds of cake.

I really enjoyed this session.  I was able to photograph Alice at play without asking her to modify any of her normal behavior.  As a result, Alice was relaxed and "into the moment".

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Josh and Lauren as Viewed by Kurth

Lauren and Josh are a couple in love.  They will be able to look back at this photo taken during their engagement session and instantly relive the moment.  

Lauren is a fan of the Twilight Saga series of romance fantasy films.  I created this movie poster in the Twilight style for them for display at their reception and later in their home. 

Allen Kurth Photography as viewed by Kurth

 Incredible people invite me and my camera to the most precious moments of their lives.  I create images that capture the color,  their expressions and their excitement from my artistic point of view.  From time to time, I'm able to share a few of those moments in this blog. 

Photography is my passion and my best is still to come.  Watch for new images as-viewed-by-Kurth.