jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-4

Mamiy645af | 80mm F/2.8 lens | Kodak Portra 800 | Scanned by PhotoVision

PRESS PLAY FOR MUSIC

I recently attended the gorgeous Forage + Fern workshop hosted by Magnolia Rouge. This lifestyle session is dripping in Pacific Northwest beauty – it was really fun to be able to celebrate the natural part of the world I love so much.

When attending a workshop, with such amazing photoshoots prepared for us – it’s tempting to click away and become obsessed with trying to get the shots you want for your portfolio. This time around, I wanted to focus on learning and perfecting my use of the Kodak Portra 800 film stock. The pacific northwest has deep shadows, yellowy greens and it can sometimes be tricky to find the right film stock to achieve the pastel tones I love…paired with a contrasty pop that I crave. Portra 800 has really solved my issue, along with metering a very specific way, every time. I know everybody loves the other two stocks (Kodak 400 and Fuji 400H) — and I do use them still — but I don’t enjoy pushing film (makes me nervous) and Portra 800 just gives me the wow factor I want every time. So if it ain’t broke…(boy does it hurt the bank though). I’m excited to say that most of these images needed zero editing or adjustments, thanks to the system I’m developing with my amazing lab, PhotoVision.

I didn’t come away with a gazillion images, but the ones that I took I made count. I did not give myself any permission to hit the shutter unless I was fully satisfied (which makes going through images later so much more satisfying). This also allowed me to ask more questions, observe our teachers and fellow attendees in action, as well as exercise a sense of restraint that I believe is helping me become the kind of photographer I want to be. I have a long journey ahead of me, but I feel I’m finally finding the direction I want to go.

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-2

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-26

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-31

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-16

fish2

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-7

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-30

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-5

fish

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-3

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-12

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-32

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-10

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-11

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-2

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-25

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-23

jenni_kupelian_lifestyle_fishing-15

I met many amazing people and received the encouragement I so needed. It has been a difficult year personally for me…and that tends to trickle into your professional life if you are a creative. It was a wonderful feeling to explore Galiano, have some travel time alone and enjoy the lavish but cozy Bodega Ridge resort. It was a trip I won’t soon forget.

All images taken at the Forage + Fern Workshop in Galiano Island, British Columbia.

Creative direction | Magnolia Rouge 
Photography Tutor | Brumley & Wells
Hair & make-up | Jess Wilcox
Model | Maja Rohling
Photo Lab | PhotoVision
1787_07-2048x2731

Mamiya 645AF   |   Fuji400H   |   80mm F/2.8 Lens   |   Scans by PhotoVision

On this gray and rainy day here in Portland, I came across one of my very first experiences with film, shot in Nice, France on a gorgeous winter day. You’d never know it was winter from the photos though, with the golden light and crisp blues of the ocean. I adore this breezy palette and the quiet moment it represents for my husband and I. We had been wandering in the city, not sure exactly where to go and feeling a little homesick, and the marital stresses of traveling. So my husband just suggested we go down on the beach and throw rocks…act like kids…forget our frustrations. So we did. I took out my lightly used new film camera (now my beloved Mamiya) and shot away while Ken (my husband) goofed around by the shore. These images continue to be some of my favorite as the light represents my brand of photography so well and the spirit behind them exactly what I hope to evoke when I shoot weddings. This was also my first experience with Fuji400H, which performs so beautifully- particularly in warm, golden light (in my opinion). It was a first glimpse into my new film journey, that is continuing to develop (no pun intended, but it’s a pretty good pun).

1787_14-2048x2731

1787_09

1787_03

1787_08

1787_05

1787_06

1787_12

1787_16

1787_10

I hope the blue water brings you a boost in the midst of the gray (if you are in Portland that is). Thanks, once again, for reading!

JKupelian_desert1

Sometimes I see something so beautiful that it haunts me. My husband and I were traveling in Bend, Oregon when we drove by Smith Rock State Park…and I was astonished at how other worldly the landscape was. I just knew I had to photograph something, anything, in the midst of the gorgeous scenery.

As we drove home that day, I started sketching out ideas for a styled bridal shoot…one that evoked romance and a wild, windblown nature that matched the beauty of the area.

PRESS PLAY FOR MUSIC

FILM :  Mamiya 645 AF  |  80mm F/2.8 Lens  |  Fuji 400H Film  |  Scans by PhotoVision

DIGITAL: Canon 5d Mark III  |  50mm F/1.8 Lens  | Mastin Labs Fuji Preset

JKupelian_desert11
JKupelian_desert5

I’ve taken part in quite a few styled shoots both as the photographer and in other roles, but every attempt fell short of what I really wanted to accomplish. In the past I had a tendency to over style, or try and fit too many elements into one look. Maybe the biggest mistake I made was trying to build a whole shoot off of something pretty I’d seen while coveting another photographers work, and I always rushed through things. Thus, I usually ended up with imagery that felt disjointed and lacked attention to important details. Styled shoots are a lot of work… so to be less than pleased with the images is very disappointing, particularly when the blog rejections start piling up.

JKupelian_desert37
JKupelian_desert32
JKupelian_desert25
JKupelian_desert12
JKupelian_desert38

START WHERE YOU ARE. USE WHAT YOU HAVE. DO WHAT YOU CAN. -Arthur Ashe

This time, I let my ideas sink in for a few months while I slowly contacted vendors. I only took on as many details as I could truly handle on my own without a team (no tablescapes, cakes, invitations or large floral garlands to speak of). I kept it simple and used what I had. I cut myself some slack, moving slowly while I considered my options. Most of all, I decided to shoot for myself…and not worry about blog submissions until the images were finished.

I’m learning not to expect perfection from myself…and this shoot is no exception. It’s not perfect. And yet, these are some of the best images I’ve created and I’m very proud of them.

JKupelian_desert13
JKupelian_desert10
JKupelian_desert7
JKupelian_desert9
JKupelian_desert8
JKupelian_desert31
JKupelian_desert60
JKupelian_desert14
JKupelian_desert17
JKupelian_desert51
JKupelian_desert57
JKupelian_desert29
JKupelian_desert33
JKupelian_desert28
JKupelian_desert19
JKupelian_desert2
JKupelian_desert22

The Pacific Northwest fell victim to a really terrible wild fire season this year…at its worst, some very brave fire fighters even lost their lives in Washington. As we shot at Smith Rock, lingering smoke from fires burning many miles away hovered over the terrain, like an eerie fog…creating a filtered pastel color in the sky that I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to photograph again. As the evening progressed, we felt grateful for all the people keeping us safe from the fires burning far away…we were filled with gratitude. Everything felt a little somber as the sun set, but it was beautiful despite.

The gorgeous Fine Art Wedding Blog (and one my favorites), Wedding Sparrow, is featuring the full gallery of film images from this shoot TODAY! That’s the particularly fanciful thing about the folks at Wedding Sparrow, they only feature film images, which is rather lovely. I’ve featured a fuller range of images that includes digital as well (since I’m always trying to master hybrid shooting), and it adds a little variety too! Thanks for stopping by…

SPECIAL THANKS:

Ken Kupelian – My husband and gracious assistant during this shoot

Montana Ocampo – Model

Swoon Floral – Floral Design

Kate Tuma – Hair + Make Up

Sara Seven Via The Dress Theory – Gown

Melinda Rose Design – Headpiece + Veil

 

 

 

2484_01

PRESS PLAY FOR MUSIC

Mamiya 645 AF   |   80mm F/2.8 Lens   |   Fuji400H Film   |  Scans by Photovision

Fall is full of nostalgia for me. I don’t know what is about the smokiness in the air, the fog, leaves scattering across my yard, hot coffee in the morning and layering up for the day — but I adore it. It is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year.

For the last two consecutive Octobers, I’ve been lucky enough to visit my good friend Natalie and her husband Casey in Exira, Iowa. Natalie is a talented artist and creates stunning work over at Minted. I always love photographing their family life (they welcomed little Navine into their lives last December) and the nooks and crannies of their lovely home. While we didn’t have time for family portraits this time around, I couldn’t let my film camera go to waste so I walked around their property and shot some snapshots from their life…and the images turned out to be quite a homage to fall.

2484_03

2484_09

2484_02

2484_10

2485_05

2484_24

2485_08

2484_21

2485_03

2485_06

2484_11

2484_20

2484_04

2485_15

2485_11

2485_09

2484_07

2485_16

2485_13

2485_01

The last image is my favorite because I love how the grasshopper is peeking over the leaf at me, a really sweet moment captured (and not easy to manually focus on either, so I’m amazed it turned out!). This image reminds me so much of the tone of Natalie’s Artwork – the whimsy and cheekiness of it paired with classic, careful attention to detail.

Visiting my friends in Iowa is always such a restful, life-giving experience that I’m grateful for. I can’t think of a better way to spend a few Octobers days.

1795_02

PRESS PLAY FOR MUSIC

My husband and I had the complete treasure of an opportunity to stop in Iceland on our way home from Europe last winter. Last night I found myself tossing and turning, restless and wanting to take photographs. My second best option was browsing old ones and during that time I came across a set of film scans — photographs I had written off as “not good enough”, and vaulted.

And here we find ourselves in a little Iceland story. We only had a couple days to take in the terrain, and upon arrival we were hit with a massive storm in 70mph winds. I had become sick on the plane and was in pretty bad shape. When we met our Airbnb host she walked us up a spiral staircase to a cozy shelter from the storm, with a view of the ocean and fresh bread and eggs on the table. It was the perfect equation for some rest and recovery.

1792_11

 

If you’ve never visited Iceland, you must make it over there sometime (preferably in summer, not in winter like us! Unless that’s how you roll). It’s a bit of a “moon-like” feel when you step off the plane. It’s vast and rugged and dormant but violent. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. But just as desolate as it appears, it’s lush with green and wildlife and sparkling with life. It’s people are friendly (and so are it’s ponies) and you really feel like you are at the mercy of nature. Which is a humbling and good place to be.

Mamiya 645 AF  |  80mm F/2.8 Lens  |  Fuji400H Film   |   Scans by Photovision

1794_12
1792_04
1790_07
1792_03
1794_10
1790_16
1795_10
1792_02
1795_01
1794_03
1792_10
1792_13
1790_13
1792_07
1794_04
1791_10
1790_11
1790_03
1792_06
1794_09

I tend to be a perfectionist about anything I do, particularly in the creative realm. I don’t like sharing photos unless they are flawless. And even then I never accomplish that. I just didn’t quite expose these images brightly enough and they feel a little shaky due to the intense storm that was engulfing me while I shot them.

I’m slowly learning to embrace and celebrate my flaws. It’s sounds so cliche…so “after school special”. However, it’s been completely essential for me to heal the deep wounds of self hatred and impossible standards I placed on my shoulders for years. It’s become apparent that I cannot love people well or even run a business well with out imposing grace towards myself.

So today I want to celebrate these not quite perfect film images. I can see the beauty in the moody darkness of them now, in the muddy grain that I’m not always drawn to (but am loving lately)…these photographs represent our arrival to Iceland so completely. A dark, violent terrain set against the peace and calm of ponies and hot tea. I guess the images are growing on me. Not EVERYTHING can be light and bright and covered in flowers. There is also a certain Icelandic pony (see above) who is getting a lot of love over at my Minted Print Shop, if you want to take a look!

Thanks for reading the wee story. I’m thankful.