My young friend Clayton had an important milestone today. It was his first communion.


He had been preparing for this for months, even years. His mother told me he was excited for this big day, but apparently not too nervous to wink at his family as he passed them in the processional.


Their church is beautiful, but the things that make it most beautiful also make it more challenging to photograph well.

Soaring ceilings, stained glass, and gleaming, polished surfaces everywhere look beautiful to the eye, but are difficult to capture in pictures. I brought extra lighting equipment to help out, and fortunately, Clay’s father and uncle were willing to be pressed into service. It took more effort and complexity, but we were rewarded with being able to see Clay’s face clearly while being able to retain detail in those lovely windows.


Of course, without the extra lighting, we still were able to capture some lovely images.


After leaving the church, we stopped at a nearby park to get some more pictures with the family. It was a beautiful spring day with blooming trees and a bright sky. As with the church, however, the clear sky was easier to appreciate with the eyes than with the camera. Direct, overhead lighting, with harsh shadows on the face, is typically not a good way to make people look their best.

Fortunately, Clay’s uncle was still available to help with additional lighting when Clay’s dad and brother were called upon to provide additional manly attitude in the photo.


Of course, we weren’t going to let my star lighting assistant hide behind the reflector forever. Clay obviously looks up to his uncle and godfather.


Naturally, we also had to get the rest of the family beauties their time in front of the camera as well, whether they liked it or not.

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Congratulations, Clay! I hope you finally got a chance to eat that yummy cake!