We had our pictures taken as a family a few weeks ago. We wanted to get a shoot in before Sarah went back to the University of Minnesota, so we managed to squeeze in an hour and a half shoot after the rain and before the sunset.
Brandon Brown of Roost Photography. We met Brandon about nine years ago and through a weird chain of events have become good friends with him and his family. He used to be the pastor at a local mega church and was almost exclusively responsible for shaping our kids' faith during those early years. His connection with not just our kids, but kids of all ages, was remarkable. One of the other gifts he had while at this church was photography. He did it in part for the ministry and partly just for the love of the craft.
Along the way, he left that church and along with starting a new church, Collective MKE, he started his own photography business. His intent all along was to become bi-vocational, in part to release the church from having to completely fund his salary. In just a few months time, his photography endeavor has taken off. He is shooting weddings, families, senior high school pictures, and more.
I attribute his success to one thing.
He is really good at what he does.
Now, Brandon had done Sarah's senior pictures and did an amazing job. We thought we'd let him do our family pictures too.
During the photo shoot, he made our whole family feel comfortable. When we felt awkward, he made a joke that would lighten our mood and make us laugh. During that natural laughter, he'd shoot away. Also throughout, he would encourage us with words like "I love it!" or "Perfect!" As a result, few of our pictures felt forced or unnatural.
If you know us as a family, you know that we are built around humor, wittiness and sarcasm. We can be serious, but more often the mood around the house is lighthearted with a fair amount of poking fun at one another. What Brandon managed to capture in most of those pictures is the essence of our family. In many of the pictures you can see the joy, happiness and love exuding from them. I look at them and I wonder how he did that.
I used to be into photography a bit myself when I was in college. I got a nice 35 mm camera and learned about film speed, F-Stop, aperture and all the rest. And while I enjoyed it as a hobby, I never quite got to the next level. I seriously believe that people with artistic minds can "see" things better than others. When I look at some of these pictures, I think back to how I would have shot it. And it would have been with everything centered, staged, and less than interesting. Kind of how I take pictures now, with my phone. My only criteria is don't cut off the subjects' heads.
My daughter is also very gifted with a camera, seeing things I don't see. My friend Ellen is also great at it. I am a firm believer when I say we all have gifts, each of them different and waiting to be tapped. After that, all it takes is hard work and critical feedback.
When I got the note last night saying the pictures were online to be viewed, I quickly took a look. I'd seen enough of Brandon's work to know they would be fantastic. And when I looked at them, a couple of times I started to tear up a bit. That often happens when I'm enjoying really good art, music, cinema, or reading, so I thought it was a good gauge of Roost Photography. I'm not saying this because he's a friend. I'm saying it because he's good.
Check him out sometime.