Neil Colton Photographer: The Blog » Lifestyle, Travel & Fine Art Photography by Neil Colton

 

Lifestyle Photographyof a couple on the Georgetown Waterfront in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON DC LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY IN GEORGETOWN

The afternoon sun bathes the Georgetown waterfront in a warm golden glow on a cool, crisp afternoon in late November.

Add a beautiful couple and the work of a Washington, DC  lifestyle photographer turns to the task of creating compelling images. To create compelling lifestyle images, location matters. Fortunately, I work in Washington, DC, one of the most photogenic and photographer-friendly cities in the US. With its broad, well lit streets, low skyline and accessible architecture, this city never lacks for good locations.

For this session, I chose Georgetown. Located on the western edge of the city, bordered by the Potomac River and laced with style, light and texture, Georgetown is consistently one of my favorite places to work. I can shoot a dozen sessions there and create a different portfolio for each session, by simply walking a short distance. Depending on the look I’m interested in, Georgetown has many faces. Along the C&O Canal are the gritty remants of its industrail past. One block north, along Wisconsin Avenue, finds the energy of new architecture and the upscale urban life.  A few short minutes away from the city center is the elegance of the historic architecture of the residential areas surrounding the street life.

I met Amit & Veronique at Dean and DeLuca’s on a beautiful late fall day. With clear skies, crisp fall air, temperatures in the high 50s and just enough chill in the air to add a touch of red to the cheeks, the day was near perfect. We spent the next two hours strolling along the Georgetown waterfront, looking for the right light and the right spots to shoot. At the end of the day, we had a wonderful collection of photographs for this couple to add to their growing portfolio of lifestyle images.

A few of my favorites from the session with Amit & Veronique.

Candid portrait of a couple strolling along the Potomac River in Washington DC.
Candid portrait of a couple walking along the Georgetown waterfront in Washington DC.Lifestyle Photographyof a couple on the Georgetown Waterfront in Washington, DC.Portrait of Amit and Veronique strolling along the Georgetwon waterfront in Washington DC.Fine Art Portrait of Amit and Veronique on the Georgetown waterfront in Washington DC.Portrait of Veronique and Amit near the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, DC.Portrait of Amit near the Key Bridge in Washington, DC.Fine Art Black and white portrait of a couple on the Georgetown waterfront in Washington, DC.

 

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Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography: McKenna Farm

Lifestyle portait of Sarah and Joe at McKenna Farm

Just a brief trip north of Washington, DC lies the historic City of Frederick, MD.

From the City of Frederic website:

HIP & HISTORIC

Here, museums meet martini bars, scenic landscapes provide thrill seekers with adventure, and cutting edge cuisine is served up in Civil War-era buildings alongside unique specialty shops, galleries, museums, and theaters.

Located less than one hour from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Gettysburg, the city of Frederick, Maryland is surrounded by mountain views, wineries, orchards and vibrant Main Street communities. Visitors can hike on the Appalachian Trail, visit Maryland’s largest brewery, and tour a battlefield all in one day.

This is Frederick County, where hip meets historic every day.

It is there, in the rolling hills and lush countryside of Frederic County, MD that you will find McKenna Farm, the country home and rural retreat of Joe Mckenna and Sarah Brennan. My assignment was to create lifestyle and portrait photography content for the new McKenna Farms website.

About Sarah, Joe and McKenna Farms, in their own words:

Our Journey


“In every city dweller, there are dreams of an escape to the country. But what happens when a city couple from D.C. purchase a 220 year-old farm house to try and live out their “Downton Abbey” dreams?

Well……that’s where our story begins and we can assure you that the execution of that dream has been far more difficult than anticipated; and our confidence often outshines our abilities and resources at every turn. But we find opportunity in every crisis and we are slowly mastering our new domain. We hope you’ll settle in and follow our journey from the Capitol to the Country.

The beginning. Like most city couples, we wanted to be part of the farm-to-table movement, eat locally, support smart farming, reduce our impact on the earth, etc. However, our participation stopped at our local farmer’s market because we didn’t have the time or the know-how to bring the country into our city lives.

We toyed with the idea of buying a little country house for years and when we finally did it, we imagined great weekend escapes with afternoons of skeet shooting and evenings of dressing-for-dinner. To our surprise, we quickly replaced those activities with eight-hour days in the garden and enough manual labor to make even the biggest outdoor lovers shutter. Somehow, and to our great surprise, we both became slightly addicted to a simpler lifestyle and all of the amazing things we were learning.

We had no idea just how happy we would be playing in the dirt, learning to grow our own food, raising animals, and bringing an old house back to life.  This is our journey from Capitol to Country.”

Joe & Sarah


 

Portrait of Sarah in the garden at McKenna Farm
Lifetsyle Portrait of Joe building a stone wall at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of products at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of Joe at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of the garden at Mckenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah in the garden at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of products at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of a table setting at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography at Mckenna FarmJoe & Sarah at the main house at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah and Joe at McKenna Farm
Mckenna Farm Lifestyle Photography Sarah

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Washington DC Lifestyle Photography: Olga & Sergio

 

Colton-washington-dc-portrait-photographer-sergio-and-olga-georgetown

 

Lifetsyle photography has many different looks.

From golfers playing a challenging links course in northern Michigan to scenes of urban life in the newly gentrified sections of Washington, DC, it is a genre that defies a simple definition. Lifestyle photography had once been an important part of my work mix, but for the past few years I have been busy creating images for commercial and editorial clients.

So, when Olga called to arrange a ‘lifestyle session’, I was delighted

Working with clients who are not professionals, these sessions are a freewheeling, unscripted joy ride. With no director or creative consultant breathing down your neck, telling you what shot looks great, what angle to shoot and when to break for a hair and makeup ‘refresh’, these sessions are a delight.  I choose the time, the place and the images I want to create and with a skeleton script, we just roll.

Olga and Sergio are no ordinary couple. Either could find work in modeling, but together they make the work of photographing them like no work at all. As photographers often say when the subjects make their lives this simple, ‘the camera loves them’.

For their lifestyle session, I choose the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. Georgetown is that wonderful mix of historic and modern architecture, tony shops, bustling streets and an historic canal lined with former factories that hail from the industrial period, when Georgetown was a booming manufacturing center. Georgetown is one of the most popular spots in Washington. My biggest challenge,when shooting there, is isolating the subjects from the teeming crowds of tourists and residents that regularly fill the Georgetown streets and alleys.

Somehow, we did that. In the end, we came away with some excellent images of this fashionable couple.

All thanks to Olga and Sergio.

 

washingon dc portrait photography olga and sergio
washington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergiowashington dc portrait photography olga and sergio

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  • Anna - Neil, you’ve done a great job – the photos are absolutely amazing. You are a very talented photographer. I like the framing and the light, and the couple on the photos. Georgetown is definitely a very romantic place for a photo shoot.
    Anna

  • Kvetka - Wow… What a great photo session! I love to see a couple so relaxed on the photos and so in love with each other. Georgetown is very recognizable and such a great spot for photography and at the same time the photos look as if it belonged just to Olga and Sergio! The light and the texture of the old walls, the canal with the shadows on the water and the walking path under the bridges – all looks just remarkable…

  • Irina - Beautiful photo session of one of the most beautiful couples I know!

TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY: ARCADIA BLUFFS GOLF CLUB

Another offering in an occasional series about lifestyle and travel photography. This post features Arcadia Bluffs, one of the premier public links-style golf courses in the United States, rated the #3 course in the state of Michigan.

Portrait of a golfer at sunset putting as the sunsets on Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia MI.

 

 

Every photographer experiences a time of struggle, when the creative mojo disappears.

When my mojo went south, I went north. To recharge my creative batteries in beautiful northern Michigan.  Spending some quality time with friends and family was long overdue. After intense periods of work, with relentless deadlines and demanding clients, time away from the camera and clients was a well deserved and sorely needed. But how to get those creative juices flowing again?  Unlikely as it may seem, or perhaps to be expected, I got my creative mojo back during a round of golf on one of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses I have ever set foot upon.

A place called Arcadia Bluffs.

From Wikipedia:

Golf Digest selected Arcadia Bluffs as one of the 100 Greatest Golf Courses in the United States in 2005. The course was ranked #10 in America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses list and #56 in the 100 Greatest Golf Courses list. In addition to the Golf Digest ranking, Golfweek magazine ranked Arcadia Bluffs at #24 in their listing of  The 100 Best Courses in United States.”

I am convinced that in the heart of every amateur golfer lies a belief, however fantastic, that one day, in one place, all those hours, days and weeks spent in toil on the fairways will coalesce into a near perfect round.

On this day, in this place, for a few brief moments, that happened to me, at a place called Arcadia Bluffs.

Arcadia Bluffs is a links course, in the style of the early, and legendary, Irish and Scottish courses.  Carved into the bluffs on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is at once awe inspiring and intimidating.  At its highest point, the links are more than one hundred feet above Lake Michigan. The views from the elevated tee boxes are simply stunning. To simply play this course well is a true challenge for the average golfer. But add the pull of amazing vistas and a layout second to none and this becomes much more than a simple round of golf.

But I digress. On to the images of Arcadia Bluffs and that sublime late summer day once uopn a time.

 

Portrait of Arcadia Bluffs golf course with golfers in the distance along Lake Michigan
Portrait of a golfer as he tees of at Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia, Michigan.A gollfer tees of at Arcdia Bluffs Golf Coirse set against the brillaint summer Michigan sky.Silhouette portrait of a golfer teeing off toward Lake Michigan at Arcadia Bluffs in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course against a brilliant blue Lake Michigan.Still portrait of a golf ball on a green at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Candid portrait of a golfer putting at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of one of the majestic greens on the Arcadia Bluffs Glof Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of a lone golfer planning his approach shot on a fairway of the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan. bathed in late after Michigan summer sun.Portrait of a golfer driving his cart along the fairway as the sun sets on Lake Michigan at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Action portrait of a golfer powering his way out of a bunker on the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.
Candid portrait of a golfer chipping onto a green at the Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of a golfer chipping onto the green as the sun sets on Arcadia Bluffs golf course in Arcadia, MichiganSilhouette portrait of a golfer putting on the back nine of Arcsdia Bluffs with Lake Michigan in the background.Portrait of golfers on the tee at Arcadia Bluffs golf course, with Lake Michiga in the background.Portrait of the setting sun on Arcadia Bluffs Gof Course in Arcadia, Michigan.Portrait of the course at Arcadia Bluffs as the sun sets on Lake Michigan.Portrait of three golfers on the back nine of the course at Arcadia Bluffs.Night portrait of the clubhouse at Arcadia Bluffs, as viewed from the 18th fairway.

About the water color. Lake Michigan is blue like no blue I have ever seen.

That blue is real. I kid you not. I captured all images using the Neutral setting on my Nikon DSLRs, as I do for all images I capture. For you Nikon shooters that’s a setting below standard. By below, I mean less saturated than the standard settings. Nikon’s Standard setting ramps up the colors far too much for my liking. The colors in the Standard setting seem unnatural and over saturated to me, with too much pop. Almost cartoon like. So, I choose the Neutral setting and add color and saturation as needed, in post productiion. I actually had to ramp down (decrease) the colors in many of these shots, because they were so starong and powerful they seemed supernatural.

At one point, a local resident started to explain why the lake was so blue, but he lost me at kelp.

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The Lincoln Memorial by Neil Colton Photographer

 

Washington, DC Photography Tours

I am excited to announce that I am now offering private photography tours of the historic city of Washington, DC. With its broad, well lit streets, low skyline and classic monumental architecture, Washington is one of the most photogenic and photographer friendly cities in the world.

My goal is to provide intimate, informative and highly enjoyable photographic tours of this beautiful capital city of Washington, DC.  As a resident, and photographer, in the city of Washington for more than two decades, I have developed a very personal relationship with the city. I began my professional photography career as an architectural photographer here.  After working as a photojournalist, a travel photographer and a commercial photographer, I am eager to share my knowledge of photography, and this beautiful city, with others.

I work alongside you, sharing my technical and creative knowledge of photography and the history of the iconic sites of this incredibly photogenic city. I believe this hands-on approach is the most effective way to teach you the aspects of photography that cannot be learned online or in books. My workshops and tours are kept small and intimate to allow me to give you personal instruction and work with you directly throughout the day.

My photography tours focus on the historic and iconic sights of Washington, but I also offer tours of Georgetown, Adams Morgan, DuPont Circle, Capital Hill, the exciting new Southwest Waterfront and the new modern architecture that has been added to the urban landscpe here over the last 25 years. All workshops and photography tours are customized especially for you or your small group of up to 4 photographers.

I can guide you on a tour that I design or one that includes just the loactions you choose. Whatever you choose, at the end of the day you will have a stunning new portfolio of images of the city of Washington, DC and its people.

From a recent tour client:

“It was truly a great experience having you personally taking me around the city of Washington and teaching me excellent photography tips and insights from your considerable personal experience.”

Dr. Ian L.

Santa Monica, CA

For more Testimonials click here.

To arrange a custom tour, please contact me for availability and rates.

 

About Neil

Neil’s professional photography experience includes architectural photography, photojournalism, travel photography, event photography, commercial lifestyle photography, editorial photography and portrait photography. Neil has created content for clients such as AirBnb, 500px and Source Media, among others. He has photographed award winning architecture for several of Washington, DC’s leading architecture and design firms. Neil has also worked for international non-profit organizations, NGOs, newspapers and magazines, honing the art and craft of visual story telling. Today, Neil’s focus is on teaching and creating fine art images for exhibition and sale. Neil is a former Professional Member of the American Photographic Artists (APA) and The American Society of Media Photographers.

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