Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Trash The Dress -John Michael Cooper Workshop - Memphis - Michael Allen Photography

In July I had a great opportunity to attend an advanced workshop by the world famous John Michael Cooper, along with 15 or so professional photographers from across the country. John Michael Cooper is known for starting the "Trash The Dress" craze that is sweeping the world.
He and his wife Dalisa came to Memphis on their recent nationwide tour to teach a workshop about their photography style, business workflow, and a little creative session for all of the participants. John's website is and he is a great guy, very wide open about teaching his profession, and not quite as wild as his photography may imply. My friend Jake Morrow hosted the class, and there were a wide range of photographers in the workshop for the day. Everything I show in my photographs here on the blog are shots of John Michael at work, showing and teaching his style, camera techniques, and creative ideas for models and concepts for each session. The "Trash The Dress" concept is basically a style of photography where the bride and groom are photographed after the wedding, and not as concerned about keeping that beautiful white dress so perfectly clean. Not every dress is totally trashed, but the locations where the photos are taken are very unusual and very artistic. In fact, John Michael taught his concept was mainly a publicity stunt to drive his business, it took off and the rest is history. Some of the photos I shot here show John Michael at work with several models, and one part of the concept session was a tribute to Malcom X. I hope you enjoy seeing some photos of the workshop. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ginny Owens - Bebo Norman Concert - Michael Allen Photography - Memphis

Here are a few shots I took for the Hope Summer Concert Series a few weeks back. One of my favorite recording artists is Ginny Owens. I've worked with her a year or two ago, and she is amazing. Not only is she very funny, she is very down to earth and friendly. At the concert, she was playing the grand piano in the 5000 seat concert arena, she has a very soulful, soft way of playing, here I am firing away with my Canon 5d, which is not a very quiet camera, I hoped that the shutter noise would not be too much of a distraction. I asked her later in the green room if she was able to hear my camera, she laughingly said yes, but she did not mind. She will be coming through Memphis this year to record her new album, and I hope to work with her in the studio. Another amazing artist is Bebo Norman, I hope you enjoy a few of the photos from the concert that I shot. There will be more posted on the Hope Concert Series website if you want to see more.

The Red One Camera - On Location Shoot - Hope Production Crew

This Sunday I had a lot of fun working on the set of a local production company in Memphis for an inspirational documentary segment for my great friend Brian Albrecht at Hope Studios. The team was comprised of myself, Jerit Abart, Brian Albrecht, Andy Dean (who owns The Red One)
Shannon (our talent for the lemonade making segment), and several other guys from local studios in Memphis. I've been a videographer for many years, mainly on high end productions, and love to work on certain projects as they come up. For this project, I worked in a couple of roles as key grip, and audio engineer for the production. I was very interested in working on this project with Andy, who has the new Red One very high end
production Cinema camera. This camera has incredible capacity, utilizing a full frame 35mm sensor, shoots in RAW, and is essentially the next generation of digital film camera, surpassing most any camera in the world. I recommend going to The Red One website for more technical info at if you are interested in film production, video production, or professional still cameras, as it's
pretty amazing. Andy also has a full production truck with all the pro gear, a full kit of Zeiss lenses, and state of the art digital capture essentials. Here are a few stills i shot of the morning segment of the crew at work. We had a blast, and worked all day indoors, out in the rain, after the rain stopped, we got to enjoy some Memphis humidity, and then some scorching rays of sun in the afternoon, all in true hollywood production fashion. I'll try to set up a link on my blog when the piece is finished for you to see.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Southern Bride Magazine-Kids Shoot-cupcakes and candy - Michael Allen Photography

Back in the spring I had the opportunity to shoot a special feature for Southern Bride Magazine. Most photographers don't want to tackle 9 models at once, yet alone 9 child models, but I love photographing children. I also had lots of help, so we kept the kids pretty busy, without a lot of downtime. You have to work fast, because kids will loose their attention span quickly. You want to keep the activities simple, and have things that they really enjoy. If they stop to play, then it's all over, you have to keep the activities well organized, and make sure to supervise the entire party all the time. This kids party was a true fairytale, complete with magic tricks, flying doves, lot's of special tricks, balloons, candy, and incredible clothes for the kids wardrobe. I love photographing kids, they have a way of being themselves, and once they are used to the camera, they get quite comfortable with the surroundings, making it a great opportunity to catch them having fun. We had an early morning call time for the shoot, around 8 am. I must admit, I'm not a morning person, but it's better than a 4 am call time! Be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine at your local newsstand or bookstore. For this shoot I used my Canon 5d, a canon 580 flash, and bounced off my California Sunbounce 6 foot reflector. The room also had overhead skylights, so the light was good. I wanted to achieve a very natural look, and still have an editorial look as well. I used both the 70-200 Canon and the 24-105 Canon "L" lenses throughout the morning. The kids were a blast! I had lots of help from the entire team, the mom's, the editorial staff, the vendors. I think the candy table kept the kids interest the most, and the Magician had his hat full of tricks too. Special thanks to the editors & staff at Southern Bride, Alyssa and Sherra, and Kim. We had candy furnished by Dinsthul's Fine Candies, Angela with Southern Event Planners arranged all the displays, Mr Nick provided the magical distractions, Clothes by Halo Hattie, and hair styles by Julie Beck and Janice Allen at Eston. Cupcakes by La Baguette, Shoes by Baby Deer, Dresses by Strasburg Children, addition clothes by Bella Bliss. And, of course, all our wonderful little models!