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

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WASHINGTON, DC PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS

Award winning photographer Neil Colton leads private photography tours in the historic Capital City of Washington, DC. These personal tours are designed for individual photographers and groups of up to four. The focus is on travel photography, lifestyle photography and photojournalism, capturing images of the iconic, historic sites of this beautiful city and learning to tell the story of your visit with compelling photographic essays.

With its broad well lit streets, low skyline and easy access to monuments, memorials and museums, Washington, DC is one of the most photogenic and photographer-friendly cities in the world.

Tours are 4 hours long and open to any level of photographer. Tours can include:

  • The Icons of Washington, including the White House, The Lincoln Memorial, The Jefferson Memorial and other iconic sites on The National Mall
  • Capitol Hill
  • DuPont Circle
  • Georgetown
  • Adams Morgan
  • Your Custom Itinerary

Neil will lead you to the best places in Washington to create compelling pictures of this historic Capital City.  He will also lead you to sites that are off the beaten path, where tourists and visitors rarely go. As a longtime resident and former lead instructor for one of Washington’s most popular photography tour companies, Neil knows the city well.

Unlike fast-paced, heavily scripted tours, your itinerary is flexible and can be changed on the fly. Throughout the day, Neil works alongside you, at your pace and without pressure, to make sure you see the city as you want to see it and that you capture wonderful images of the city of Washington, DC.

About Neil

Neil began his photography career as an architectural photographer, creating images of award winning projects for architects and design firms. He has worked as a photojournalist, a commercial lifestyle photographer and as a contract photographer for a media company in New York, creating portraits of CEOs and CFOs in the financial world. His travel photography has been featured in regional publications and travel magazines. His commercial clients have included ad agencies representing Airbnb, American Express, AT&T and Anheuser Busch. His documentary portraits of The People of Haiti were used as the stage backdrop for high profile benefit concerts in the US, following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Haiti in 2010. They have also been used by several international non-profit organizations and NGOs for worldwide promotional campaigns.

His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Professional Photographer, Elan’ Magazine and Hilton Head Magazine, among others.

Rates

  • For solo photographers, the rate is $325.
  • For 2 photographers, the rate is $285 per photographer.
  • For groups of 3- 4 photographers, the tour rate is $275 per photographer.

To schedule a private photography tour or workshop, or for more information, contact Neil by email here.

Testimonials

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

Dr. Ian L., Santa Monica, CA


I was heading to Europe, ready to take great pictures of the cities and sights in England, Spain, France and Italy. My new camera was all that I expected, but my pictures were not. They were more like snapshots: flat and boring. A friend recommended that I take a travel photography workshop with Neil before the trip. I am so glad that I did! In a few short hours Neil showed me how to compose a photograph and ‘see’ the picture, before I snapped the shutter. He also showed me how ‘tell a story’ with my pictures. Working with Neil has given me the confidence to take on Europe with my camera!

I can’t wait for the plane to take off!

Steven S., Bethesda, MD


I have taken many workshops and tours, but Neil’s private tour in DC has been the best of them all. I learned more in 3 hours with Neil than I did in the 3 years I have owned my DSLR. His instruction is clear and simple and he takes the time to work with you individually. I definitely recommend Neil to anyone who wants to improve their photography and create great images.

Linda C., Washington, DC

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Washington DC Portrait Photography: Portrait of An Artist

Olga Bauer is a talented Washington, DC mixed media artist, specializing in abstract art. She is also a friend and a wonderful subject for portrait photography. Olga and I met a few years ago, when I photographed her and her family on a warm sunny day in May. We enjoyed that session so much that we decided to meet again in the fall and create a series of portraits of Olga alone.

For this session, I chose a location along the Potomac River, just north and west of the city. Bordered by a broad walking trail cut through a deep dense forest, the location was perfect for the day. We met there on a bright cool morning in November. The fall colors were stunning and so was Olga, as we spent the next few hours searching for the best locations to create a series of portraits for Olga’s personal portfolio.

Olga is not only a very talented artist, but she is also a wonderful model, with qualities of elegance, poise, beauty and patience that are admired and appreciated by this portrait photographer. Shooting in the studio allows control of every aspect of a portrait session. From the ambient temperature in the room to the color and quality of thelight, the photographer is in complete charge. No guesswork there.

Move outdoors and that all changes, dramatically.

Everything becomes a challenge and that continues through the session. From choosing the best locations to managing pink cheeks to harnessing (or avoiding) the power and beauty of a brilliant sun, creating portraits on location requires a patient (and adventurous) model and an experienced photographer. On this day, Olga brought the patience and adventurous spirit and I brought the camera, along with a bit of experience.

Many thanks to Olga for a wonderful session and to helping me create some great portraits of her!

To see Olga’s artwork, please visit www.olgabauer.art

Thanks for checking out Washington DC Portrait Photography: Portrait of An Artist!

 

 

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TRAVEL & FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY: ARCADIA BLUFFS GOLF CLUB

This post features Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course, one of the premier public links-style golf courses in the United States. Rated the #3 course in Michigan, the #13 public course in the United States and the #68 course (public or private) in the country, Arcadia Bluffs is one awesome track.

Contact Neil for details about purchasing Fine Art Prints from this series available in the Arcadia Bluffs Collection here.

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 their creative mojo disappears.

When my mojo went south, I went north. To recharge my creative batteries in northern Michigan. Spending quality time with friends and family was long overdue. After a long, intense period of work, with relentless deadlines, endless editing and demanding clients, time away from camera, computer and clients was sorely needed.

But how to get those creative juices flowing again?

The solution?

Go north, young man. To the links in a place called Arcadia and a golf course like no other. I rediscovered my love for photography 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.”

To the course.

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

On this day, in that place, for a few brief moments, that happened to me. At  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 play this course well is a true challenge for the average golfer. But add the pull of breath taking vistas, and a dramatic course design, and this becomes much more than  simply a round of golf.

Now, to images of Arcadia Bluffs and that sublime late summer day, once upon 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 you see in these images is real. Almost too real. I captured these images using the Neutral color setting on my Nikon DSLR pro body. You Nikon shooters will know that Neutral is the setting below the standard or ‘normal’ setting. SOOTC, Nikon’s Standard setting ramps up the colors far too much for my liking, so I choose Neutral as my starting point, then add color and saturation as needed. I actually had to ramp down (reduce) the color intensity in many of these shots, even at Neutral, because they were so strong that they seemed supernatural.

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Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography
Canidid portarit of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple kissing in a Washington DC art gallery.POrtrait of a couple kissing on an escalator in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in Washington DC.Washington, DC Lifestyle PhotographyPortrait of a couple in a museum on the National Mall in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on a balcoony during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple at an art gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple kissing in an art gallery in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple on the National Mall in Washington DC.

 Here’s a flashback to one of my favorite sessions, combining architectue, portrait and lifestyle photography. Polar Vortex?  No problem.

Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography

The high temperature in Washington, DC may climb to a sizzling 30 degrees today.

Add winds gusting to 25mph and the real feel is near zero. For the residents of the city of Washington, this will be one very cold day.

Washington is a beautiful city for location photography, but when the temperatures drop and the winds start coursing through the National Mall, the location of first choice is not outdoors. Our original plan was to shoot on the National Mall, using the iconic sites and monumental architecture of Washington as a backdrop. But with high winds and brutally low temperatures, it was no place for an outdoor session, unless pink cheeks are your thing.

So indoors we went, to one of my favorite places – the East Wing of The National Gallery of Art.

I began my professional photography career photographing architecture. Those who know me well, know that I love combining images of people with the built environment. The contrast, context and the energy the city brings to my work are now an integral element of my photographic style. Architecture complements the visual story and provides a compositional anchor to build upon.

Back to the story.

From the moment I first became aware of his work, I have been an ardent admirer of architect I.M. Pei. He has the unique ability to create architecture that is at once outside the box, by design, but somehow finds a way to blend into, and enhance, its surroundings. The East Wing of The National Gallery of Art is a perfect example of this – an ultra modern structure woven into the fabric of the traditional monumental architecture that is Washington, DC. The East Wing is one of the first examples of iconic modern architecture in this city and it has held up very well, even as the number of award winning modern structures in the city has slowly increased. Pei’s interior design and the beautiful natural light of the East Wing made this a perfect setting to capture images of Jake and Sarah.

Fortunately, January is not high season for tourism in Washington, DC, so we had the unusual experience of being nearly alone in this beautiful museum. This session turned out to be one of my favorites. A delightful couple and award winning modern architecture. A wonderful combination for any photographer.

I hope you enjoyed Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography of Sarah & Jake. To see more of my work, visit my site here

 

 

Canidid portarit of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.
Portrait of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.POrtrait of a couple kissing in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple kissing in the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple in a gallery in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in a Washington DC gallery.POrtrait of a couple kissing on an escalator in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple kissing inside a sculpture at a Wasgington DC gallery.
Candid portrait of a couple talking on a balcoony during an engagement session in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator in a museum in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple talking on a pedestrian bridge in a Washington DC museum.Portrait of a couple in a museum on the National Mall in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple riding an escalator in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a couple on an escalator during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple during an engagement session in Washington DC.Portrait of a couple at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.Candid portrait of a girl kssing her fiancePortrait of a couple on the National Mall in Washington DC

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lifestyle portrait of a couple wearing shades near dupont circle in washington dc

Washington, DC Lifestyle Photography: Daniel & Kristy

 

To some, things just come naturally.

Like being comfortable in front of the camera on a swelering hot day in Washington, DC. The brutal DC summer heat has arrived and the high temperatures this week are hovering at100 degrees. Add drenching high humidity and, well, you get the picture. It’s the reason air conditioning was invented.  For this session I’m in lightweight shorts and a Dri-Fit top, carrying the lightest camera bag I own, packed with the absolute minimum of gear. And still I feel the weight and force of this oppressive heat and matching humidity, like I’m in a perpetual sauna.

This is one session I won’t soon forget.

Why shoot in weather like this, right? Good question! We had planned for cooler times, but between Kristy’s travel schedule, Daniel’s work schedule and my jam-packed in-season bookings calendar, we just couldn’t get it done. But the window of time to shoot this session is closing quickly, so here we are on a blistering late summer afternoon in downtown Washington, DC, doing a lifestyle session for this remarkable couple.  ‘Remarkable’ may be an understatement. ‘Superheroes of the Summer Heat‘ may be a better description of these folks. Marvel should sign this couple to a conract!

Daniel & Kristy are in full dress-up mode. And they look amazing!

I feel like I’m dropping weight standing still.  Danile and Kristy look as fresh and as ready as if we were doing a studio session. Note to self. This couple would make great politicians, in case anyone asks, never breaking a sweat under pressure or cruel heat. Shooting a couple like this makes my job almost easy. Almost. There is still work to be done, but when it’s fun and the folks you’re working with are calm and cool it’s not really work at all, except for wiping the occasional foggy lens and keeping yourself and your gear dry.

So, even in 104 degree weather, this was fun. A very special thanks to my creative director for this session ~ Daniel, of Daniel and Kristy. Like I said, he’s a natural.

Thanks for checking out Washington, DC Lifetsyle Photography: Daniel & Kristy. To schedule your own lifetsyle session in Washington (or anywhere) contact me for my rates and availablity. To see more of my work, vist my site here.

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