Monthly Archives: July 2011

When I saw that the SOPHA aka The Studio for Photographic Arts was having a field trip shooting the night time lights of downtown Manchester, I signed up pretty much immediately after I saw the post on Facebook. This is something I always want to do, but would never do alone as a female toting around expensive camera equipment late at night. However, in the safety of a group I was so there!  I was the only chick in this class that night….. hey! More women need to sign up!!

I’m so fascinated by the nightlife of the city but I am tragically limited by my lifestyle: with two little kids I can’t even remember the last time I went out much after dark since before they were born.  And this class went until midnight……. really??  I wondered if I could even stay awake that long.  It was a HOT and sultry July night in a heat wave…… it would have easily rivaled New Orleans on a night like that.  I took 249 photos with only a handful of keepers, but it was very exciting to think outside my box of daytime natural light portrait photography and do something completely different.  My tripod pissed me off, as usual…….. but that is nothing new as I hate that thing. I love it, and I hate it.

As a disclaimer, any cool shots I got that night were probably 25% trial and error, and 75% luck. This was way out of my comfort zone, but with the guidance of our teachers Marty and Bud, they easily gave me some starting points for exposure and I was quickly able to whip out some usable photos after not much time.  Streaks! Blurs! Ambiance! Really cool stuff. I love how this expanded my knowledge of available light photography.


This photo below? Totally speaks to me. It appeals to my obsession with restaurants, and color, and lifestyle photography. It’s just a perfect diptych to me.  A little bit messy, and off the cuff, but beautiful in its capture of a moment and an evening.

Funny thing…. the purple in the above photo on the left is ME. I was wearing a white shirt, and I was reflecting the purple lights from waaaaaay across the street of the nail salon. It was incredible how it was the only purple light on the whole street and yet it was showing up everywhere. Those purple lights were reflecting off of every surface all up and down Elm St. Awesomely tacky.

This next one kills me. Apparently my camera doesn’t do so well with red (such a shame, really….) but GREEN!  Yes!!!

So this one…. not sure what the Oxygen Bar is or why it was closed on a bustling Saturday night….. but I loved the mad scientist look to it.

Maybe the most important thing I learned (and this is totally embarrassing, but completely illustrates the fact that I am pretty much -sadly- NEVER out after dark taking photos) is that my camera has a little display illumination light on it!!!  Our group leader Marty showed it to me. I was SO mortified to realize that I didn’t know it existed. And although I’m such a stickler for reading my camera’s manual and memorizing it, this is one thing that completely missed me in all the years that I’ve had my camera. Ooops. But then again, hey. Apparently I’ve never needed to use it. 😉

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I recently had the pleasure of shooting some updated photos for the Black Forest Cafe. This time, it wasn’t new seasonal menu items, it was actually photos of the interior of the restaurant featuring their function room space, and the new Wifi Spot. I have to give big kudos to the owner Martha and the function manager, Dean, for being so prepared and organized. Martha had a wonderful idea to stage the room in several different scenarios/seasonal looks so that I could shoot some photos for them to use throughout the year. I call this AWESOME PLANNING and effective time management. They had different colored napkins and table accessories all laid out and ready to go, ready to be switched out in a matter of minutes as I shot the different table looks. In a few quick seamless transitions, they rocked out a Christmas look, a baby shower look, a business luncheon look, a normal multi-purpose look, a breakfast buffet, and even after all that we squeezed in some shots of the WiFi Spot, the dining room, and marketplace. Whew!

I love efficiency, and I’m always so pleased when good planning pays off with great productivity.  I know these photos will suit them well over the next few months and into the future as they’re able to provide potential customers across the country with images of their function space, to give an idea of the beautiful work that they do, tailored to any holiday or occasion.

Below we have the main dining room, the function space in Christmas settings, and the Wifi Spot (which I fully intend to enjoy someday quietly with my iPhone and a scone, and a piece of pie, a cupcake ….and maybe a cookie too if it’s been a particularly rough day.)

Small businesses, do you need some fabulous new and updated photos for your website?  Keep in mind I’m still running a great deal on a mini commercial photo package.

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  • Derek - Looking great!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Swan - Erika! these are beautiful! you know, i have eaten so much of their food but have never been through the doors! people always bring it to me hehe it is so nice inside though! i agree, super planning on their part with all the different ‘costume’ changes. i LOVE the green room and the setups they did! such fun colors. i would totally have a function here. their food is amazingly yummy 🙂 great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kind Words | Client Testimonial » Erika Follansbee Photography - […] provided many photographs of our baked goods and menu items. In addition, she has taken shots of our interior spaces for our website, and lately taken a great photo of one of our owners. All of her photos are wonderfully lit and […]ReplyCancel