Portrait of Kevin

Priestly Portrait

Here’s a shot for recent portrait shot. The end use of this portrait shot was for a website “About Us” page. Kevin was recently ordained and interning at an Anglican Church is Orange County [Holy Trinity Anglican Church]

The morning started off foggy and dark but 40 minutes after arrival the sun broke free.  I put Kevin in open shade and set a speedlight off about 45 degrees with a diffuser to ensure we had a decent catch-light.

It was a easy shot, which made Kevin extremely happy.  He was still have nightmares from a “long” engagement shoot that he’s still not over.  ha ha ha

Photograph could get an Australian real estate agent $22K in fines

Real estate photography might seem straightforward, but the reality is it’s just as challenging as any other genre. After all, it’s about what you should keep in the image and what you should take out.

How far is too far though? That’s what a few would-be home buyers are asking in regards to the photo you see above.

What’s wrong with it, you ask? Technically speaking, nothing. But when compared to the view you actually see when standing in front of the house, what the above image shows appears to be the Photoshop job of the century. But, in reality, it’s nothing more than clever composition and camera placement.

As you can see from the Google Street View image below, there is a giant, not-so-visually-appealing water tower behind the house. A water tower that is not in the slightest bit present in the image shared on the home’s listing. [read more]

Boy and His Dogs

A Boy And His Dogs

It’s never easy seeing your kids sick, even if it’s just a cold.  You try and comfort them as much as possible but no one can do it as well as a pet, or so it seems.

When you’re not feeling well there’s nothing like falling asleep with unconditional love.

This is an example of a photo that lends itself much better in black and white rather than color.


There are too many shades of the same color and different colors.  It got too busy.  With the shot in black and white the emotion of the photo pops better.

Experiment a bit with your photos.  See what your favorite photo will look like in color and black and white.

– Joe Randeen (Lessons)

Rainy Morning at School

You Must Have A Really Nice Camera

Professional photographers often talk about a regular, back-handed compliment given to them. It’s given to them by well-meaning admirers of one of their photographs or their work.

“You must have a really nice camera.”

Good, or professional, equipment does make ones work/art more convenient or even easier to create but, the camera is just a tool – like a brush to a painter, a pan to a chef, or a guitar to a guitarist.

After a fine meal would you compliment the chef by stating, “you must have some really nice cookware”? Granted, they may have but a professional chef could make magic with a tin can if need be.

My point is, don’t focus on the equipment, rather, focus on the artist behind the equipment.

Again, there’s no disputing that good equipment does make a difference. As photographers, knowing what our cameras are capable of and how to use them is invaluable. This is one of the key items I teach in my classes (photography lessons).Kodak Instamatic

As you can see in the photo above, which I think is fairly nice photo, it was taken with a phone. It’s not what I shoot with in professional settings but, the best camera you can have is the one that you have with you at that very moment. The focus is on the capture, not the equipment.

My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic 110, with flash cubes. It took terrible pictures, quality wise, but it trained my eye. I had to have a good eye in order to make a terrible camera take good pictures.

Next time you see a nice photo, compliment the photographer not the camera.

Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

Black and White or Color

Black and White or Color?

After you take a photograph you many find yourself faced with the following question: black and white or color? Each type can create a completely different emotion or convey a differnt message to the viewer.

A couple of weeks ago I took the following photograph of a young boy in front of a brick wall with a painted sign on it.  It’s a nice photograph, warm, conveying some attitude on part of the boy despite the fact that the sign next to him states, “drop on it.”

Drop On In Color

The sign on the wall looked much more vintage that what this “color” photograph could convey.  Plus, this boy is wearing crocks with blue socks and a modern t-shirt.  I wanted a more vintage feel so I converted it to black and white. What do you think?

Drop On In - black and white

Albeit, the photo doesn’t look totally vintage, but it does certainly convey a different message and emotion from that of the color version. It takes the focus away from the blue socks and crocks and brings the majority of focus back to his face and the message, “drop on in.”

Color vs Black and White

Here’s another example: a wedding party in front of a graffiti wall.  Do you see how “different” the emotion that each version conveys?

Challenge: Take a look at your photographs and see what they would look like in a black and white version.  You may like it better.

Joe Randeen
3 Penguins Photography

Photographing Children

Expressions of Kids

Capturing Real Life

I just love the expressions of kids.  At some point in a persons life, they start growing shy of the camera.  Not of their own camera obviously, because selfies are a must in most peoples lives.  But, when they see a DSLR pointed in their direction, they turn, shout “NO” and/or run away. But not kids.

In fact, sometimes it’s hard to have them play down the cameras presence.  Who cares though.  If you can capture some shots of realism – let them run the show.

It Don't Fit

Photographers are taught and strongly encouraged to get the eyes in the shot.  Albeit very true and important, sometimes you can’t and shouldn’t.  This girl is so focused on getting the food on her fork.  If I had called out her name she would have looked up and it would have been a nice shot, but I much prefer this.

Kids Portrait

In this shot, the eyes are necessary.  She’s inviting us in to her world, which currently consists of this wonderful dessert that she may or may not share with us.  Her eyes, along with her smile, tell such a wonderful story.


This photo is a mixture of posed and spontaneity. I gathered the kids but they all made up their individual minds on how they wanted to be shot.  Take a look at the redhead in the left lower corner versus the blond girl next to her.  How about the young man in the back?  Everyone is in their own little world, telling their own story.

Kids Running

From a technical standpoint, this shot is awful.  It’s over-exposed and under-exposed.  If this was entered into a contest it would get thrown out immediately.  Who cares.  I love it.  It shows the joy of these kids running, playing and having fun.  In such a case, the rules get thrown out.

the look

Again, in this shot, the eyes are essential – the girls’ that is – not her dads.  I’m sure that her eyes speak something different to me, since I was in the moment with her, than they do to others who look at this picture. Regardless, they are telling a story.

Kids at Play Run, Run, Run

I love these two pictures because, as a parent, there are NO electronic devices.  It’s kids running, playing, having fun, the way I did growing up – the way kids should have fun.

Cooper's Eyes

This may look posed to some, but I saw this young man sitting on a bench just trying his all to keep warm.

As a photographer, my preferred way to approach a shoot with children is to let them play, have fun with them and allow them to be themselves.  That is one of the reasons that most shoots will take a couple of hours, at least.  I often hear from parents, “my kids won’t last that long.”  If we are trying to pose them the entire time that is probably true.  Instead, let’s get together and play – the time will fly by and we will come out of it with some fantastic memories, in pictures.

Joe Randeen

Bands of Santiago Sharks Concert Photo

Event Photography for Programs

Event Photography

I had the pleasure of photographing the Bands and Color Guard for Santiago High School for two seasons now.  This year I was asked to design the programs for the Band Concerts. My experience in event photography came in handy.  Most of the photographs needed to be taken in low-light situations, both indoor and outdoors.

I love photographing events such as concerts, dance and theater performances, especially with kids and young adults because these photographs will become mementos for them and their children.

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These two initial programs needed both color and black and white photographs.  I wanted individual shots or the musicians as well as group shots.  At the time, most of the photographs I had shot were those of the marching band season, yet both programs where concerts.  That forced me to ‘fake’ some of them.  That is, I shot rehearsal, and close ups to give the sense of concert shots.  After the first event I increased the number of shots I could draw from.

At the time of posting this, there was a gallery of photos to draw from. (Depending on when you read this the gallery may no longer be available).

There is also an event page at EVENTS as well as at 500px.

Pop-Up Flash Help – Puffer

Puffer by Gary FongDuring this holiday season you will, undoubtedly, be taking a lot of family photos indoors. Your trusty DSLR will notice that there isn’t enough light in the room and active the little pop-up flash. You snap the photo and look at the small screen on the back of the camera. WOW – IS THAT BRIGHT.

The light is bright, unflattering and looks nothing like the moment in time you were hoping to capture.

If you have no access to a better flash, an off camera flash you’re stuck with that horrid little beast of a pop-flash.  UNLESS…

Gary Fong invented this little gadget that goes a long way to help your flash photography.  Granted, it doesn’t replace a better flash but it does make the most of your pop-up flash.

Check it out for yourself on Amazon.

Gary Fong Puffer Pop Up flash Diffuser for DSLR’s CANON / NIKON / OLYMPUS / PENTAX (excluding Canon T4i)

Perfect Smile or Perfect Moment?

Family Portraits - Cousins

Stealing Grapes

Perfect smile or perfect moment? I’m not your classic portrait photographer in that I would much rather capture the real moment, which tells a much more interesting story than the perfectly posed photo.  Don’t get me wrong, there are situations where a perfectly posed photo is called for but for most family portraits – real trumps perfect pose.

The picture on the right is of cousin sitting on front steps.  I had the posed up, smiling – everything was looking good.  I brought the camera down from my face and said we were going to take a short break.  That’s when the magic starting happening.

The sharing of grapes, actually – the girl was stealing some, was the money shot.

What started off good ended up GREAT!


Patel Rohan

The above photo was shot by my fellow photographer (and daughter) Sydni.  This young man waiting for his time with the family, for their portrait session. He’s an incredibly patient and kind young man but you can tell he’s nearing the end of his energy.


This young man was far too tired to deal with a photographer. Dad stepped up, put him in his lap and we were able to capture a moment in time that a posed photo could not afford us.


Just a few minutes ago these two men became ‘family’ as there kids just got hitched.  They were so happy so posing them would not have been a huge problem.  Probably would have got a really nice shot but I think this picture, more candid, tells a but better story.

As a photographer, spending time with those I shoot is the best part and it’s during those times where the best photos are captured.

Let’s spend some time together!