Bus and Ida May

Posted by John Keatley / Filed under Personal Work

Buster Brown

Ida May

Bus By The Barn

Bus and Ida May are good family friends of ours, and they live on a farm near Seattle.  Their farm used to be even larger than it is now, but there is now a major highway, several off ramps, businesses and condos where the cows used to graze.  Every summer for the past several years, my wife Nichelle and I have enjoyed homemade desserts with them on their back porch made from ingredients picked just several yards away.  After spending time with them one evening, I felt compelled to photograph them.  To make things as comfortable as possible, I set up in their back yard, while friends and family came over for dinner.  A good  amount of my studio work is actually done on location like this.  Not necessarily on a farm, but in a place that my subject feels most comfortable.  In this case, it was a farm.  Not to mention, I would choose to work outside on a warm summer evening instead of in a studio any time given the choice.

I have a photography show opening in a few weeks, and the headshots of Bus and Ida May will be two of the 12 or so images on display.  I will have more information about the show shortly, and after I wrap up a few large projects, I will be able to get back to a more regular blog schedule.  Thanks for taking a look, and I hope you are enjoying what is left of summer.


Those are just wonderful. I hope your show is in Seattle so I can drive up from Portland to see it.

posted by John Keel on 09.12.09 at 2:13 am

wow… just… wow!

posted by Nicole Friesen on 09.12.09 at 3:24 am

John, how do we find out about the show? Do you have a mailing list? Would love to attend. -Kirk

posted by Kirk on 09.12.09 at 7:33 am

The show will be Thursday October 1st, and it will be at Publicis in Seattle. I will let you know the time when I find out, and I will make an announcement with all of the details.
Thanks Kirk.

posted by John Keatley on 09.12.09 at 8:28 am

Thanks John Keel. Yes, the show will be in Seattle. I just replied to Kirk (above) with some of the details.

posted by John Keatley on 09.12.09 at 8:29 am

Very intimate shots and great style! Well done!

Hey, is there a book you’d recommend to anyone interested in developing this kind of portraits?

Thanks a lot!

posted by Levy on 09.14.09 at 1:15 pm

Amazing work, John. I am a fan/student of your work. One question, out of curiosity how much ‘post-processing’ (photoshop) do you do on these portraits? To be sure, I am not asking ‘critically’, just wondering if you try to get most of your vision in shutter-time or in mouse-time.

posted by Ernest Y. Koe on 09.22.09 at 8:20 am

@ Ernest
Thanks so much Ernert! I always try to be as perfect in camera as possible. I am pretty picky and pay a lot of attention to detail when I am shooting. I also do a fair amount of post work on my images. Not necessarily to fix something, but to get the color, contrast, and feel of the image that I want. The nature of digital photography is RAW images tend to be flat, and require some work.

posted by John Keatley on 09.22.09 at 11:53 am

Love the catch light in Ida’s eyes. Can you share some information about the lighting setup used in these photos?

posted by canon5dshooter on 09.29.09 at 6:42 pm

Hi John,
I’m a starting photographer and found your site through the strobist site.
I’d *love* to hear how you pulled these shots off? They’ve got a great, extraordinary touch to them.
How did you light them and what else did you do to get this style?
Thanks a lot in advance!


posted by Joost on 09.30.09 at 3:53 pm

Beautiful portraits! I really like the environmental portrait of the man, but I love those backgrounds you created on the first two portraits.

posted by John A. on 10.07.09 at 6:51 pm

Hello John!
For the headshots, what did you use for background? Do you use a collapsible muslin, or just a wall? In the case of a wall, do you usually light it with a coloured gel?
Superb shots!

posted by Levy Carneiro Jr. on 06.04.10 at 5:10 pm

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