Pictures of people. Some are posed. Some are not. Some are formal. Others are far from it. Family members, friends, and relative strangers who have stood in front of my camera, and allowed me to capture a moment.

Vintage 50s Photoshoot

When I headed off to Greenville, SC to participate in this year’s Create Photography Retreat a couple of weeks ago, I had landscapes on the brain. In addition to teaching a couple of landscape composition courses, I was looking forward to fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway, waterfalls, and learning some new techniques for nighttime landscape photography. The last thing I expected was getting a chance to participate in a vintage 50’s photoshoot, complete with a classic Chevy! As I have mentioned in the past, the Create Photography Retreat offers a lot of shooting opportunities. And there is something […]

autumn family portrait

What to Wear for Family Pictures

So you’ve cleared your calendar, made an appointment, and are ready to finally get a picture that will look better hanging on your wall than that cell phone picture a stranger shot for you on vacation last year. Good for you! Now you’re stuck at the next big question, what to wear for your family pictures. Relax, it’s not that hard to come up with some ideas that are simple, stylish and won’t look out of date by next year. Knowing what to wear will make the day more comfortable for you, and easier on your photographer. After all, both […]

Period Portraiture Event

2020 will be a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. Fires, storms, the pandemic, searing reminders of inequality, the subsequent protests and riots, which only highlight the deep political divide that is tugging at the edges of the fabric of our country. No matter where you are on the political spectrum, this year has been disheartening in many ways. For many, the pandemic has had the most personal and immediate impact. Navigating the minefield that is a Zoom conference, figuring out how to entertain (or teach) your child at home, dealing with the loss of a job, or […]

Branding for living history

Branding for Living History

Most of the time, commercial portraits mean one of two things: a headshot, or some sort of environmental portrait. Headshots are simple: Head and shoulders, usually in front of a nondescript background. (Or that bright white that seemed so popular with web designers a couple of years ago.) Environmental portraits are more fun. You’ve seen a thousand of them. That lawyer, leaning on his desk with his arms crossed, legal books in the background. The smiling real estate agent standing in front of the house with the “Sold” sign. Or the barista, receptionist, or machinist, pausing their work long enough […]

Top Ten of 2019

Believe it or not, the second decade of the 21st century is about to come to a close. But before I can attack the ’20’s, I need to take a minute to reflect back over the past year. Part of the process, as it has been for a number of years, is to choose my Top Ten Images of the Year. To be clear, this is an exercise that benefits no one other than me. In fact, in past years as I have asked others to participate in the process I came to realize that all of us have our […]

Revolutionary War Reenactment

The Battle of Charlotte – 2019

I have enjoyed shooting the Battle of Huck’s Defeat at Historic Brattonsville for the past two years. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to put some other reenactments on my calendar over the next few months. As luck would have it, my first stop was less than an hour from home, at Historic Latta Plantation in Charlotte. Every year they host the reenactment of the Battle of Charlotte, which occurred a few miles away, in what is now “Uptown Charlotte”, on September 26, 1780. I’ll leave the details and significance of the original battle to those who […]

2018 Top Ten Photos

It’s taken long enough. This should have been done at least a month ago, but it has been a difficult process. I have worked through all of the images that I took last year and finally compiled my list of my 2018 Top Ten photos. Honestly, this is far more important to me, than it is to you. I recognize that. But it is a necessary experiment, I believe, in order for me to continually work at improving my work. The Process The process of choosing the top ten for 2018 wasn’t difficult because I am such a masterful photographer, […]

Robert Clay Photography Family Pictures

Family Picture Time

I remember as a kid, dressing up for family pictures, going to a studio (or Sears) and being told to lower my chin, tilt my head and place my hand somewhere. Then, once I had assumed this unnatural posture, I was to remain perfectly still. And smile. And relax. And wait until my brothers and parents all cooperated in the same way. Getting 5 chins in just the right place can be a challenge. Family pictures, I think, should represent the family. As they are. I know that most Moms don’t want to hear that. Most Moms want family pictures […]

Blacksmiths at Historic Brattonsville

Environmental Portrait

So the 52 week photo challenge that I began as one of this year’s goals has proven to be… um… challenging. It’s not that the assignments are too difficult. It’s the time thing. You would think that with seven days in the week that there would be plenty of time to conceive of an idea, plan it and then execute it. Especially something as interesting as an environmental portrait. That has not proven to be the case. But that was part of the reason for taking on the challenge. I know I need to spend more time with my camera […]