Location Portraits 2023

One of my great pleasures in photography is making portraits on location. It combines all the technical with all the personal: Getting a little glimpse and someone’s personality, in physical context. 

They take a little longer than regular headshots on seamless, but tell a completely different story. Consider them for your next branding update! See more location portraits here.

Editorial on a Big Day

March 5 with the first day of vaccine availability for agricultural workers, and JBS Foods in Greeley has 3500 of them under their roof! How to handle that many vaccinations? Do them in-house.

With military precision, JBS managed to bring the vaccinations to their employees at work. The plant was closed, they got a paid day off, were given a specific time for their first shot. Reps and nurses from Kaiser, HealthOne, Centura and others were on-hand to administer.

It was great working alongside my old colleague videographer Brook Aitken to capture stills of employees, healthcare workers, and even The Governor all being conducted with such care and precision.

Do You See What I See?

Why, why, WHY do we sometimes see different things on our monitors? Occasionally I hear about image brightness or color. Surprisingly though, not too often. When I edit an image, do you see it the same way I did? Depends.

Computer monitors, like almost anything else in the world of tech (thermostats, tire inflators, your Subaru’s speedometer), need to be calibrated to be consistent. What does that mean? Calibration means setting up a device to a specific set of standards. If both our monitors are calibrated, they should match in brightness, color, and contrast.

Note: Out of the box, and adjusted to your visual preference, your monitor is NOT calibrated. Calibration makes it accurate, but not necessarily pretty. How I calibrate my monitors:

Using a specific hardware device and software package (this requires specialized external hardware), I plug this little puck in and stick it to the face of the monitor. I then allow the software to access color settings, and let it rip.

The next few minutes are interesting: The screen goes black, bright white, a hundred shades of gray, and cycles through multiple colors both bright and pastel. The process takes a few minutes. The result? They call it: White Point to 6500K (D65), White level to 120 cd/m2 and Gamma to 2.2 – recommended settings for editing photographs.

If you’re in marketing or communications, or are in the business of reviewing graphics and photography, you need to calibrate your monitors! Ask a photo or graphics vendor what to buy to do it yourself, or ask your IT department to do it for you. Happy editing!

Is Your Photographer Insured?

You make sure the gardener, cable guy, plumber, and roofer are insured, right? Often trade licensing carries a liability insurance requirement, but photography does not. You should still require it.

Liability means that if the photographer, or any other contractor working on your property, breaks something or hurts someone, they will be responsible for it, not you or your company. Altitude Arts carries $2 million in liability, plus other additional coverage.

Here’s a standard “Acord” certificate. Once you confirm that your photographer is insured, it’s your option to request an insurance certificate, or proof that you (your company is mentioned specifically) are covered. There may be small fee.

Not sure? Ask HR. The answer will be an unequivocal yes! Read a short column by Gordon Rudd, CISSP (a risk expert) here. And call me with questions!

Outdoor Business Portraits

Well, this has been an interesting year. And the business portrait train did not stop, it merely sat in the station for a couple months. But it’s chugging along again, and safely.

One of my clients has me come to their various offices (dozens around the Denver metro area) to do head-and-shoulders “headshots” of their new employees. We’ve always done these in an office setting: Behind them you see a bit of out-of-focus window or plant. Something architectural, maybe a bit of color.

Well, for absolute safety, and because the weather has been delightful this summer, we’ve moved outside.

As you can see, we’ve been able to maintain the look and feel of the in-office shots. Now, taking simple headshots like this outdoors isn’t for the faint of heart. Denver sunshine is brutal, and controlling it calls for a whole separate class of equipment preparedness.

So, if you’re considering outdoor business portraits, you have two months to schedule! Do it today! See more location portraits here .

Gotcha Covered: How Altitude Arts Backs Up Our Work

Stop worrying.

That’s my gig. Nobody thinks more about lost files more than me. And that should give you peace of mind! That and the fact that Altitude Arts’s backup system is battle-tested.

Here’s why your files are safe: Every shoot, as it’s put onto my editing computer, immediately starts backing itself up both locally and in the cloud. Just copying the files onto my machine puts them in five—FIVE—places:

  • Two cards in the camera
  • My editing machine
  • My local backup drive
  • My cloud backup (Backblaze)

And after that, they get manually dragged, when editing is complete, to another cloud backup, Amazon Web Services. So, six copies total. If something terrible happens, we can probably get our hands on at least one.

Just last month, I was asked by a client for a shoot from 2001. That’s right, twenty years ago. I had it. I unarchived it (sometimes unarchiving carries a small fee, just FYI), reprocessed it, and delivered it the next day. Boom!

And guess what? This complimentary redundancy is included in the price of every single shoot. However, if you want guaranteed backup, covered by an actual insurance policy, that’s extra. Please inquire .

Perfect Practice III

This week, I had the pleasure of working with the hippest doctor’s office I’ve ever seen, Hälsa Dental in Wheat Ridge. Hälsa means health in Swedish, the heritage of its founder Lauren Peterson, DMD. How hip are they? They have their own Spotify playlist.

Megan Kack, DDS, and Lauren Peterson, DMD.

The challenge was to add to their website’s already excellent photography with updated portraits, a team shot, and some more details of the office.

Dr. Kack uses the practice’s Cerec system, which makes tooth replacements in just a few minutes.

The office is filled with floor-to-ceiling windows, colorful Swedish furniture, and the nicest folks you’ll ever meet. Which makes it great for the comfort of its patients and photographers alike. Till din hälsa!

Von’s Vision

The great Bronco Von Miller stopped by 34 Left studios the other day, to tape a PSA about Glaucoma. Sponsored by Allergan, who make powerful Glaucoma medication, the future Hall-of-Famer hit his marks, nailed his lines, and spent the last half hour with me shooting stills.

The video is about knowing the risks of Glaucoma, and seeking treatment if you think you or someone in your family may be affected. The New York production company, MultiVu, built a beautiful bright white set, propped with everything from ophthalmologist’s equipment to football equipment.

Director Jillian Breslin and cinematographer Adam Kolodny ride the dolly.

Take the quiz! It’s an important topic, and you may save somebody’s vision! Makeup and wardrobe by Cory Bryant and Mary Ann Hogan.

Back on the Road

Meet Scott. Scott’s a bicycling nut, and rides daily to his software engineering job. Well, on one particular commute, he was involved in a rather nasty meeting with a very large car. He ended up at my client’s hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, who patched him up and started him on his year-long journey of recovery.


Although he doesn’t remember much of his time there, he and the folks at Good Sam have stayed in touch. Some months ago he was able to go back and meet his caregivers— again! His story was so interesting that it was decided to feature him in their publication, Good Health. Above is his cover photo.


Making a compelling and technically sound cover photo in bright Colorado sun has its challenges. We wanted to not only brighten him with (portable, battery-powered) portrait light, but to keep the background soft. Some of our specialized lighting equipment made this complicated wish list a reality, and the story turned out great.

And yes, he’s riding again : )