My 20 Favorite Images from 2014

2014 was a great year! I got to work with a ton of great clients, travel to new places and experiment with new photographic techniques. Here are the stories behind my favorite images from last year.

Church of Daniel’s Band Pine River Branch – Midland, Michigan

This first image was shot for the Church of Daniel’s Band’s new website Thomas Kinkade’s paintings were a big influence on my twilight architecture work. I always try to create contrast by waiting till later in the evening when the ambient light is darker and bluer. I also used my Alienbee strobe to light up the cross and front of the church giving it more shape and dimension.

Sadie the Cat – Lake Isabella, Michigan

I love cats! They’re one of my favorite subjects to photograph. This adorable cat, Sadie, belongs to my friend and amazing still life photographer Kaitlyn from Kaitlyn Maxine Photo. This was shot with one of Kaitlyn’s Calumet lights with a small softbox to camera right.

Jason and Rachael Engagement Session – Grand Haven, Michigan

Another great session from early in the year was with Jason and Rachael on Lake Michigan. We had a gorgeous sunset and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun couple to photograph! Another thing that made the session awesome is afterwards we had deep-fried pickles. If you’ve never had deep-fried pickles you’re truly missing out. Deep-fried pickles are awesome.

Sean and Jess Couples Portrait – Cincinnati, Ohio and Newport, Kentucky

After being inside for most of the winter due to the polar vortex and record low temperatures here in the mitten I took a trip to Ohio and Kentucky to visit my college friends Sean and Jess. They took me to this awesome location in Cincinnati. I love using symmetry and framing in my work. I had shot similar images with arches like these during college but they didn’t go over well with the teachers and panelists because the subjects were too small. Ever since graduating from Hallmark Institute of Photography I had wanted to re-do my arch shots from college. This was my redeeming arch shot. It was shot with natural light.

Later that day we headed to Newport, Kentucky where I shot this portrait of Jess. It was very windy as you can tell. I had Sean hold my Alienbee to camera right with an umbrella to light Jess.

Bean and Rocio Couples Portrait – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Bean and Rocio were the winners of my 2014 Valentine’s Day Couples Portrait Giveaway. When we meet for our pre-session consultation we planned out a handful of conceptual shots, this being one of them. When Rocio was in Spain Bean wrote her everyday. These are the letters he wrote to Rocio. This is a composite of multiple images of us dropping the letters combined with the image of them sitting on the bench. Rocio really loves winnie the pooh hence his inclusion.

Raven Personal Work – Clare, Michigan

In the late spring I got to shoot some personal work with the amazing model Raven. We shot at several locations near my home outside of Clare, Michigan. In 2014 I set out to shoot more images using only natural light and these were two of my favorites.

iPhone Landscape – Clare, Michigan

In the summer I started trying to go for a walk everyday. On those walks I usually found things to shoot with my iPhone. My iPhoneography series has bought back that spontaneity and discovery to photography that I loved when I had first started. This image was taken during the golden hour near my home with my iPhone 5s and edited using vsco.

Jason and Rachael’s Wedding – Clare, Michigan

In late July I got to shoot Jason and Rachael’s wedding. The day went great and it was one of the best and most fun weddings I’ve ever photographed! Expression is one of the most important parts of a successful portrait hence why these two images are some of my favorites from 2014.

Dylan Personal Work – Mount Pleasant, Michigan

The fall of 2014 was super busy between senior portraits, automotive shoots, and wedding retouching. Still I found the time to shoot some personal work with my friend Dylan. Both of these images were shot at Nelson Park in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, one of my favorite locations for portrait sessions.

McGuire Chevrolet – Clare, Michigan

I was commissioned by McGuire Chevrolet in Clare to shoot automotive images for their 2015 Calendar. Being primarily a portrait photographer this was a bit out of my comfort zone but I was able to get a ton of great portfolio images out of it and had a great time shooting these cool cars.

Cassi Personal Work – Clare, Michigan

Shortly before Halloween one of my favorite models, Cassi, messaged me to see if I would be interested in shooting with some new props she had. I figured this would the perfect timing to shoot some darker conceptual work for Halloween.

iPhone Landscape – Clare, Michigan

The last image is from a walk in early November. I shot this around noon with my iPhone5s using the Contrast by Hornbeck app and editing was done using Mextures. It has never been in Photoshop.

As explained in my last blog post I was sick during most of December and January and wasn’t able to shoot. I can’t wait to start shooting again in 2015! I have several projects and opportunities I can’t wait to share with everyone! To stay up to date with my latest photos, blog posts, and industry news follow me on my various social media pages shown at the bottom left hand corner of your screen.

Ryan Watkins Photography is Still Open/Social Media and Blogging Hiatus Explained

Hi everyone!

Just to clear up any confusion Ryan Watkins Photography is still open and won’t be closing anytime soon.

My month long hiatus from blogging and social media was due to me being sick with pertussis or whooping cough. I haven’t been contagious for a quite some time and now have recovered enough to start being productive again.

Also any time I’ve referred to my slow season or off-season I’m just referring to the winter when I have less clients compared to summer and especially fall.

Lastly if you haven’t checked out the galleries on in a while they now have a new design and are now mobile friendly!