Seeking senior spokesmodels!



While I love any opportunity to photograph anything, whether it is a landscape, bride, infant, tree or even a beer bottle, some of the most fun sessions have been high school seniors. One of my objectives this year is to do more work making seniors look ‘hip.’ (is ‘hip’ the right word for seniors??? could it be ‘rad’ or ‘smokin?’ It seems like ‘off the hook’ is sooooo 90s)

Scroll down for more info.






One of the programs I’m working on is having what you might call a ‘spokesmodel.’ Since my photography business has grown almost exclusively through word-of-mouth, I think it is only appropriate that I find a few qualified seniors to give a free session in return for referrals. I’m putting together an awesome incentive program and there is nothing I like better than a win-win arrangement.

I am looking for 2 guys and 2 girls. If you know of any seniors who would like details on how to get a FREE session contact me immediately at 602-254-1711 or by email at harley@harleybonham.com. Some of the incentives are free albums, both hard- and soft-cover. It is not unlikely that a few lucky seniors could get as much as 800.00 worth of FREE stuff to show off to all their friends!







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Finally found time for another post!

I didn’t realize that starting a blog would be such a commitment! I’ve always got new images to post but November, December and most of January have been absolutely swamped. We just went to New Orleans and Missiissippi for a little R&R. Mom and Dad live across the way in Mississippi and we finally got to put work aside.

We visited an old plantation and I thought it was a perfect setting for Reagan’s 9-month portrait. This chair had perfect accent colors to match her dress. Julie is off-camera making sure she doesn’t fall over while my mom and dad are on the left and right acting as human light stands while I shoot.




The plantation had peacocks all over the place; I wish they would have opened up their feathers for me. Here they are lined up on a fence; perfect photo op.


They kept looking back and forth at each other making noises; probably some form of morning chitchat: “Mornin’ Bob.” “Mornin’ Steve.” “How’s the family?”

Biloxi has an old lighthouse my mom wanted a picture of; we got there about 3 minutes before the sun went down so I had to shoot quickly.
Biloxi and Gulfport have definitely bounced back after Katrina although there are still quite a few empty lots. (see my very first blog post, Dec 07)



I just bought a new lens called a Lensbaby. It tilts to create a surreal blur except where I want to focus. Very artsy. Here are some shots from the Biloxi coast and around the French Qtr. in New Orleans.





Finally, the highlight of the trip was seeing about 12 of my images displayed on Canal Street! One of my photo clients, Specialty Graphic and Imaging Association, asked me if I would donate images to The Canal Street Initiative that they sponsor. Since a lot of the windows are still covered with plywood, SGIA prints large images and covers them up. Mine were displayed at the corner of Canal and Rampart; that was a very proud moment!




Very cool catering event

I recently was able to shoot an event for Heidi’s Events and Catering. Heidi is probably one of the top caterers in town and I met some really cool vendors. In particular was Kevin Kossman who owns Piece of Cake Desserts. I tried the two samples he had and was blown away; I get a kick out of meeting other great wedding vendors so I can recommend them to the brides I shoot for. It also doesn’t hurt that Kevin is an avid golfer like me. Well, I used to be an avid golfer until little Reagan came along. Now I just play St. Andrews in my head while changing diapers 🙂 At least I never slice anymore.



Newborn shoot!

These are some of my favorites from a shoot for Mike, Shandi and their newborn, Zayden. I brought my lights and black backdrop to their house in Ahwatukee and got some really nice images. I added a charcoal sketch effect to one image and the composite was fun to put together.




Reagan at 3 months!

Julie and I shot this session Saturday night around 9pm; Reagan was squealing away like an angel and really seemed to be having a good time! The last picture is one that I converted to a charcoal sketch in Photoshop.





More Reagan, Julie and Me

We shot these back on Mother’s Day!
Reagan was oblivious, of course, but daddy took very good care of mommy.
What mom wouldn’t love a gift card for a day at the spa?

I really wanted to shoot some dramatic shots of my two girls. I’m designing a photo book of Reagan’s first few weeks for my Mom’s birthday and these were the last shots I needed to complete the series. This is the same type of book I create for my portrait clients but it’s even more fun when it’s your own!
I decided to keep it simple and just use my 2 Nikon flash units; one through a white diffusion umbrella and the other with a mini-softbox as an accent light. We were amazed at the results; I converted them to b/w using Adobe Lightroom.

Here is Julie and Reagan on the couch lit only by the umbrella from the right and slightly behind. I thought about setting up a reflector to bounce light back from the front but we usually have a very small window of cooperation from the little princess.

Here are two that I really love! This one is the dramatic look I was going for; umbrella about 24 inches away on the left and the other light above and behind on the right. I love the dramatic shadows and you can still see the detail in them.

Right after that shot Reagan got fussy again; we’ve learned to bounce her up and down for about 30 seconds then we have about 10 seconds to get the shot. Julie is sitting on a chair in our dining rooom and I’m shooting from the kitchen; I took this shot when she brought Reagan over for more bouncy-bouncy from daddy (yes, I said bouncy-bouncy.) Julie calls me the “baby whisperer” because, apparently, Reagan likes my bouncing better because she almost always calms down; I never would have envisioned that two years ago! Anyway, the lights were in the same spot and we loved that bright, blown-out background effect; she’s also lit from the front by the kithcen light.

Ten little piggies! I can’t believe I’m actually talking like this; somebody shoot me! 🙂

Finally it’s my turn to be in some shots. Julie is a natural with the camera; she doesn’t quite know how the equipment works yet but she’s got an eye for design and fashion. One day I’ll give her some basic lessons and she’ll probably surpass my skills in a hurry.

These are my favorite shots to date. In fact, the flash units were off and we’re lit only by the dining room lights; I added a little b/w effect in Photoshop and I think we have a winner!



Back to the lighting as before; Julie chose a great moment to capture this one.

Daddy’s little angel!

4th of July party in Oak Creek Canyon

On Saturday Julie, Reagan and I drove up to the canyon to join my guitar player, Al, for a two-band jam in a neighborhood near the top of the canyon. His brother has a cabin in Pine Flats and the neighbors throw a huge party every year. Al’s brother has a band called Young Country and we didn’t really have a name so we went with The Dagwoods. We figured out our set list on the fly and did some classic rock and r&b tunes while they did country and some rock, too. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a 4th of July. I decided to leave the camera in the car but one of Al’s friends had just bought a Nikon D300 just like mine and didn’t know how to use it. I couldn’t resist and showed her a few cool features like how it shoots so well without flash; I took these just using stage lights. Sure was a lot of blue!




After that I showed her how to “drag the shutter.” It’s a cool trick using the flash with a camera setting called “rear curtain sync.” I set the camera to manual on a 1 full second shutter speed which will make a really blurry image. Then the flash fires just before the shutter closes which lights the subject and “freezes” them so they are sharper among these blurry lines. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t; takes some practice to get the technique right. I forgot to show her double exposures but I’ll show some in the next blog from my Las Vegas job I’m on.




Heaven on Earth!

Once I was done shooting for the PTA convention it was vacation time! We hung around San Diego’s Gaslamp District for most of Tuesday. The next day we drove north to Temecula and wine country; it was awesome! We visited more wineries than we can remember and brought home 7 bottles of reds and whites; I think I’m turning into a wine snob! That wouldn’t be a stretch because I’m already beer snob 🙂

First stop was Hart Winery; their Sauvignon Blanc was fantastic so we brought home a bottle. This is Bandit, their mascot.

I’ve never seen the bottling process before, either.



After visiting a few others we stopped at South Coast Winery and Spa and found they had one room left so we took it. Turned out they upgraded us to a suite but at the discounted rate. Our patio was surrounded by grape vines; it was the most amazing place we’ve ever stayed in.

We brought home 3 bottles of their wine; the Zinfandel was the best I’ve ever had.



Flowers were everywhere and their vineyard was huge. I would give anything to shoot a wedding here.






Busy three months!!!

I’ve finally gotten enough time to back off and breathe a little bit. April, May and June were busier than I could have imagined with weddings, my first bridal expo, portrait sessions, charity photo sessions and corporate events; often for several days in a row. Add all of that to being a new dad and you get a significant lack of sleep! It’s time to catch up the blog so I’m going to try and get several posts up in the next few days.

Julie, Reagan and I just returned from San Diego where I shot for the National PTA again; this is my third year in a row working for them at their national convention and it is one of my favorite event jobs I’ve ever had (last year was St. Louis.) We had a few very well-known speakers this year, too. Carol Channing was hysterical and had everyone rolling on the floor.

Later I was assigned to shoot Dr. Maya Angelou being interviewed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta for CNN’s new broadcast later that morning. After that they both gave very inspiring keynote speeches during the convention.



My favorite part is where the kids perform. PTA has a big contest every year for kids to submit music, dance, literature, art etc and the winners are showcased at the convention. I was totally blown away at the talent these kids have; especially at a young age.



I really love working with this group; their commitment to helping kids is contagious.




The best part was being able to bring Julie and Reagan along!

Next, we’re off to wine country in Temecula for a few days!

More baby photography!

Julie had her first Mother’s Day!
Reagan was oblivious, of course, but daddy took very good care of mommy.
What mom wouldn’t love a gift card for a day at the spa?

Last night, though, I really wanted to shoot some dramatic shots of my two girls. I’m designing a photo book of Reagan’s first few weeks for my Mom’s birthday and these were the last shots I needed to complete the series. This is the same type of book I create for my portrait clients but it’s even more fun when it’s your own!
I decided to keep it simple and just use my 2 Nikon flash units; one through a white diffusion umbrella and the other with a mini-softbox as an accent light. We were amazed at the results; I converted them to b/w using Adobe Lightroom.

Here is Julie and Reagan on the couch lit only by the umbrella from the right and slightly behind. I thought about setting up a reflector to bounce light back from the front but we usually have a very small window of cooperation from the little princess.

Here are two that I really love! This one is the dramatic look I was going for; umbrella about 24 inches away on the left and the other light above and behind on the right. I love the dramatic shadows and you can still see the detail in them.

Right after that shot Reagan got fussy again; we’ve learned to bounce her up and down for about 30 seconds then we have about 10 seconds to get the shot. Julie is sitting on a chair in our dining rooom and I’m shooting from the kitchen; I took this shot when she brought Reagan over for more bouncy-bouncy from daddy (yes, I said bouncy-bouncy.) Julie calls me the “baby whisperer” because, apparently, Reagan likes my bouncing better because she almost always calms down; I never would have envisioned that two years ago! Anyway, the lights were in the same spot and we loved that bright, blown-out background effect; she’s also lit from the front by the kithcen light.

Ten little piggies! I can’t believe I’m actually talking like this; somebody shoot me! 🙂

Finally it’s my turn to be in some shots. Julie is a natural with the camera; she doesn’t quite know how the equipment works yet but she’s got an eye for design and fashion. One day I’ll give her some basic lessons and she’ll probably surpass my skills in a hurry.

These are my favorite shots to date. In fact, the flash units were off and we’re lit only by the dining room lights; I added a little b/w effect in Photoshop and I think we have a winner!



Back to the lighting as before; Julie chose a great moment to capture this one.

Daddy’s little angel!

Trying out the new camera gear in Flagstaff

On Wednesday afternoon I took Rico for a walk around downtown Flag while Julie took a nap with Reagan; I needed sleep, too, but really wanted to play with my new lens. I just bought Nikon’s 70-200mm f 2.8 and was blown away. I played photojournalist and just captured a few shots of daily life around downtown. The lens focused super fast on these people playing hacky sack.



The afternoon lighting was perfect and the lens really captured the detail on this little dachsund, too. Black dogs don’t usually photograph very well but the D300 and new lens really nailed it.

Later, while Julie got ready for dinner I walked around at dusk to see how good the D300 would perform hand-held in low light; I was blown away by these shots of the Monte Vista where we were staying. This lens was the 17-55 f2.8; over the last several months I’ve really seen the value in spending the money on high-end lenses. The difference in image quality as well as shooting options is unbelievable. I’m able to get shots I could never get before.


Just before I met Julie for sushi I waited at the train station for this shot; now I’m using the tripod. I wanted to wait for the Amtrak but it was an hour away and we were hungry!

Cool night shots on the way back to the hotel; all handheld.