2018 Henry County Humane Society-Kewanee model call! (all spots filled)

All spots are filled right now.  Just taking names for alternate list.  Thank you everyone for all of your interest!

It's that time of year again time to start shooting for the HCHS-K fundraiser calendar.  We have already booked 7 spots but we still need to fill 5 more.  Like in the past it is $75.00 to purchase a month in the calendar and you will receive a calendar when they are printed.  The $75.00 goes to help cover the cost of printing the calendar and as I have in the past I will donate my time for the photo shoots and calendar layout to help keep the costs low so that the shelter can maximize how much money they raise off of this fundraiser.  

All sessions will be shot on location and more than likely will have to be on a Saturday or Sunday.  After your session you will be given the opportunity to purchase  the edited photos from your session but you are not required to and if I know me I probably won't follow up with you to see if you would like to so make sure to mention it at some point during our interactions.  

Last year the calendar raised close to $4000 for the animals at the shelter and is one of the bigger fundraisers done through the year.  

If you are interested in a spot please e-mail me at john@johnwangelinphotography.com with your name, type of pet, pets name and phone number.  You can also message me on Facebook but that tends to have problems at times so your message could get lost.  If we run out of spots I will put you on a list in case someone drops out.  

Please do not contact the shelter about a spot for the calendar!  It causes confusion and someone will get left out.  


2017 52 Weeks of Pete! Part 1| Pet photography

Well it’s a new year so a new 52-week project is started.  This year it’s my dog Pete!  I was torn on whether to use Pete or his sister, Scout since she has participated in a project yet.  After a lot of consideration, I went with Pete.  Pete is 13 years old and we have had him since he was 8 weeks.  Pete is my first dog I’ve had as an adult and we have been through a lot together.  From hiding him in my apartment where I wasn’t suppose to have dogs to him being diagnosed with Addison’s Disease, there’s no doubt that Pete belongs with us. 

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52 weeks of Alfie Part 3|Pet Photography



Now that I’m 5 weeks into my next 52-week project with Pete, I realized I didn’t complete a final blog about my last project with Alfie.  I’ll be honest and say the last few weeks his photos were rushed and nothing special, which happens in a long-term project like this. Then add in cold weather, holidays and other distractions and watch things get a little boring.  We actually had 53 weeks this year so Alfie got an extra week tagged on.



In week 47 we find Alfie in bed getting ready for a Nap Club.  On Sunday’s, Alfie and I have Nap Club so that I can get some sleep before going into work at night.  The weekend is when Alfie gets a chance to sleep in the bed with me and he really loves it.  For such a high-energy dog, he really knows how to nap.



Week 49-We had SNOW!!  This was one of the very few times this year that we had snow.  As you can tell, Alfie was digging it.  I’m not a huge fan of snow but it can make for some great photos.



Week 50-The snow is gone.  This one’s pretty boring: just Alfie watching over the yard.  I’m sure he’s looking for a squirrel.



Week 52-Alfie and Miles are out enjoying what little snow we had gotten.  I really like this action shot of them playing and it helps that Alfie looks freaked out. 



Week 53-Happy New Year!  For some reason this photo went to explore on Flickr and I don’t know why.  I did this really quick and I didn’t put a lot of effort into it.  It is kind of funny but definitely not a portfolio photo.


I really enjoyed using Alfie for my 2016 52-week project.  These projects help me carve out 1-on-1 time with a dog and get a little closer to them.  Alfie is such a good dog with a lot of personality and a real presence in front of the camera.  These projects are good for me. They make sure I am out on a regular basis shooting and keeping my skills fresh.  My plan is to do a photo book of his photos from this project so that I have a physical product from our work.  A photo isn’t a photo until it’s a print.

Next up for my 2017 52-week project is Pete.  If I was fair, it would have been Scout this year because she hasn’t done one yet. But since I make the rules, it’s Pete’s turn again.  Since he’s 13 years old, I felt it was more important to make Pete my subject.


You can find the part 1 here and part 2 here of my 52 weeks of Alfie. 





Family session-Graham/Hudson-LeClaire, Iowa





I thought I’d share a little bit of a recent family photo session with you.  I got a message from Kristy asking if I was available for a family photo.  I was a little surprised because the winter months aren’t that popular.  Well, as you know, winter has kind of forgotten to show up most of the season and it was a pretty good day in January for photos. 


I feel I need to give a little back story. Back in the Spring of 2014, I stopped by Kristy’s shop and she asked if I would be interested in photographing her wedding, which caught me off guard.  She had she seen that I had attended WPPI (a wedding-centric trade show) and thought I may be looking to expand my business that way.  I think I even said “no” at first but then back peddled into a “maybe.”  I gave it a week and then decided to do it. It went well and I was very happy how things turned out. But if you ask my wife she will tell you that I texted her that day and said, “No more weddings!”  That was my insecurity talking. After seeing the images, I was happy and felt like I didn’t blow it.



Flash forward a couple years and Kristy and Roger welcome a beautiful baby girl into their lives. Kristy asked again if I would be interested in doing newborn photos.  There are a lot of different ways photographers photograph newborns. We talked and they wanted something more natural in their home.  I was good with that because I don’t have the baby props, special blankets, antique furniture, or sometimes even a spaceship that I’ve seen others use.  Brinley is such a happy little girl so she made it easy on us. However, she does like to put her hand in front of her mouth.  No problem. We can work with that!  I was very happy they contacted me to do Brinley’s photos because, in a way, this photo shoot completes the wedding photos.  Wedding photography documents the start of the couples’ life together and the photographer is kind of the director/producer/camera man/grip/editor. To be called back for a sequel is a big honor.  Many, many years from now Brinley maybe showing her children mom and dad’s wedding album and her baby pictures so that they can see where it started. 



Ok I’m getting a little windy!  Let’s talk about the recent shoot.  They wanted to get a nice photo of all of them looking at the camera standing in front of the fireplace(This is paraphrased from the questionnaire I sent out). I don’t like using a tripod. I have one and it’s good, but I like to be free with my camera. However, with a larger group shot with kids I knew I should use it in case. I just might have had to swap a head out with photo editing software because someone wasn’t looking when everyone else was.  As luck would have it, I didn’t need to do that but using the tripod still helped me with keeping lines straight especially with the fireplace brick.  The lighting was simple: just an Alien Bee and hotshoe flash with a white umbrella for fill. 


Everyone did great. Even Brinley was smiling at the camera in the end. 

bw family-1.jpg


I did a few photos of the grandkids with the grand parents and then with their parents and some of just the kids.  I was able to get a few good photos of Brinley. Man, she has a lot of different expressions. She’s hilarious. 

grandkids grand parents-1.jpg


After a while, the guys got tired of me so the ladies and I headed out side for some “Just-the-girls” shots.  I took this great one of all the girls and I really liked it.  It was a little chilly so Dad (Roger) was standing inside holding Brinley until it was time for the photo.  After that was done we decided to take a few photos of Kodie.



Kodie made my day.  She was dancing and jumping around like kids do, but in an authentic way. I think if I weren’t there she would have been doing it anyway.  So, I snapped a few shots of her jumping and wow!  I hit it just right.  I was really excited about it. I thought it was a cool photo and I felt like it was a true representation of her personality.  She has so much hair and the way it arched was awesome.  Then we grabbed a couple of quick portraits and, once again, those were great.  I think Kodie is one of those people who can’t have any bad pictures taken and probably never will.  You know those people; we all want to be them.



I like doing family photo shoots. The bigger the better. Sometimes it’s just for the fact that you have more ingredients to work with to bake up something nice.  I’m strongly considering doing family Documentary Sessions.  If you’ve read this far, let me know if you’re interested in something like that.  I will try and work in something special. These will be on a first come, first serve basis, so don’t wait too long if you are interested. 






NADAC agility trials Davenport, Iowa|December 30-January 1st





Recently I had a client suggest to me that I should consider going to agility contests and doing photographs of the dogs competing.  I thought “that’s a great idea” and I had done it in the past but it had been a couple years and I just needed someone to remind me of it.  So I headed online to do a little research and find out when the next event in our area would be.  Luck would have it there was one over New Years weekend at the Quad City Dog Center in Davenport Iowa.  My biggest concern with doing something like this is getting good quality images and with my past experience I know that getting good quality images of dogs moving fast indoors with poor lighting is hard.  My god is it hard.  I decided that I would rent a lens to try and help me with this task a Nikon 70-200 2.8 and paired it with my D600.  The D600 isn’t the best sports camera but it works ok.  With trying to get action shots in poor lighting you end up taking a lot of photos and most of them suck but I think I came out with some decent ones.



The first events were held on Friday December 30th and those started at 6pm.  Doing this event my plan was to go home that night and edit the photos then send them off to be printed so that I would have prints the next day for the contestants to purchase.  I knew Friday was going to be a late night but I figured I could suck it up buttercup and power through.  After a couple hours of shooting I realized I had over 2000 photos and that would take awhile to download to my computer then upload them for printing.  So I decided to leave before the event was over that night.  Also I knew that if I stayed I would just be taking the same photos over so I wasn’t that concerned about missing something.   By time I got the photos downloaded and sent offto print it was 2 am and I needed to be in Davenport at 9 am.  I ended up getting about 2 ½ hours of sleep.  But we made it and had photos to sell that morning.  My wife Alysia was a huge help by working the table and answering questions.  We had a lot of interest in the photos and everyone seemed happy that we had prints to sell at the event so they didn’t have to wait.



Saturday was a full day with many events.  I don’t really know what all the different events are but Saturday had more jumping in it that Friday did.  The jumping shots are always fun but extremely difficult to get.  Some of these dogs are moving like lightning and many of them have dark faces without much detail in their eyes so grabbing focus is tough.  The reason it’s so hard to get photos of black dogs is because black absorbs light as where the lighter colors reflect it.  I have no problem getting good photos of black dogs during normal photo shoots but in a situation like this I have no control over lighting.  I can’t use a flash during competition so I’m at the mercy ofwhatever lighting is available. 



Sunday was the last day of competition and it felt like the people were warming up to us.  My wife had talked to a few of the people and it turned out that there have been other photographers there in the past and some of them took orders for prints but never fulfilled the orders, so they took the money and ran.  Doing an event like this is a grind and if your not prepared for that your going to fail.  There’s a lot of being kneeled down which is why I need to remember to bring my knee pads next time.  The biggest challenge to an event like this is dealing with all of the photos and editing them.  On the second day I slowed my shooting down and tried to only take photos I thought would be good and people would want but still I ended up with 1500 or so that day.  I’ll probably change my workflow a bit to see if I can speed up the culling process my thought is I will use PhotoMechanic to cull the photos down to the keepers and then use my normal Lightroom processing to edit them. 


On Sunday a couple of the competitors won an award.  I can’t remember what the award is called but it is an achievement award based on many past competitions.  I know they were pretty happy to win them and from what I understand it takes awhile.  I wish I had known they were going to receive them after  whichever run gave them enough points to win because I would have liked to be in a better position to get a reaction photo.  But lesson learned I will try and pay closer attention to that next time.



My plan is to try and make this a regular thing I do.  I really enjoy watching the dogs compete and it seems like a nice community of dog people.  I have a few things I want to try for next time including renting a longer lens for tighter shots and a different camera that is more capable at shooting indoor sports.  I have a pretty high standard for what my photos should look like but in a situation like this I have to know that the quality I expect is going to be hard to achieve because I have little control over what happens.  I do like having prints the next day to sell and will continue to do that but people can also order photos through my site after the event too.  I also want to learn more about the sport knowing what your photographing is a huge help.  Thank you to everyone who supported us and hope to see you soon.  Don’t forget I am available for private photo sessions. 






Talking Pictures Podcast; Talking Calendars and the New Year.



Recently, on the Talking Pictures podcast, I was interviewed about the 2017 Kewanee Animal Shelter calendar.  In 2015, the Dispatch-Argus photo staff at started a podcast about the photojournalism industry, their daily assignments and just a little bit of everything to do with photography.  I was really excited about a local podcast about photography so I started listening from the first episode. I really love listening to podcasts because I like listening to people talk. I was a big talk radio fan but that is almost exclusively political and typically puts me in a bad mood.  Now, with podcasting, anyone can do a podcast and the range of topics is unlimited.


The “ring leader” of the podcast is Todd Mizener, photo editor at the Dispatch-Argus, and the co-host is Todd Welvaert, a photojournalist who recently retired from the Dispatch-Argusto pursue his own freelance career with a focus on wedding photography. You can find his website here .  If not out on assignment, Meg McLaughlin, a photojournalist with the Dispatch-Argus, is also on the show.  They all have busy schedules so the frequency of the podcast seems to be whenever they have a chance to do one and I would say it’s about once a month. 


As a fan of the podcast, I have interacted with them on Twitter, typically just  ReTweeting their episodes or letting them know I enjoyed an episode.  Through those interactions I’ve shared some of my work. They learned about the calendar project and asked me to come on and talk about it.  With a couple of photography industry veterans asking me questions, I was a little nervous.  I was very nervous during the pre-interview and know I said ummm a lot. I think I pulled it together once the main show was recording. I was really thrown by wearing the headphones and listening to my own voice through those. I don’t know why, but that messed with me for a little bit.  For me, listening to their podcast I forget they are journalist and not just photographers. I was reminded that they know what they’re doing in an interview situation. They asked great questions and kept the conversation flowing. My biggest concern was they would ask me something I couldn’t . They were great and their professionalism made me look better, I think.  It also helps that they love dogs! 


One thing I realized is that I need to interact with other photographers in person, I feel it makes us better. I also realized that we all have so much in common.  We got into a little discussion about LightRoom  and I was a little relieved at realizing I’m not the only person who doesn’t use it to its full ability.  Photographers need each other. We need to learn from each other and help make each other better.  We need to get out of the mindset that every photographer is our competition. Yes, in some ways they are. If you’re doing good work that will show and you will get clients who share the same vision for their photos as you do. With the New Year approaching, I realize the need to get out and do more networking with other photographers instead of just being stuck in my own isolated world.  In 2017 I’m going to try and make a point to get out and talk with other photographers, maybe collaborate on a project or just have a drink and debate such things as sensor sizes.






2017 Kewanee Animal Shelter Calendar

It’s fall so that means it’s fundraiser calendar time!  From spring to summer I shoot the photos for the Kewanee Animal Shelter’s calendar.  This is my 4th calendar that I have done by myself and the 5th one that I’ve worked on. 

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Google's new PhotoScan app and what I think.

Recently I found a great new app for scanning old printed photographs.  Have you ever gone to take a picture of an old photo to share on Facebook or just to have a digital copy of it?  Then you realize there is a bad glare on it or it’s too dark well Google’s new app Photo Scan might be a solution for you.  I happened across a story about this app and thought I would give it a try, turns out it works pretty well. 


If you’ve made this far in the blog post well you're in luck because I used the app to take some photos of some old photos of me and my family.  So lets start the fun and I will give you my opinions on the app and how the photos came out.


kid basket green yellow

First up is me playing in a couple of cloths baskets, funny thing is I remember playing in the baskets when I was a kid.  I think I was about 3 years old when this was taken so it would have been about 1982.  That makes this print about 34 years old and it has held up pretty good; and the app worked real well for this photo.  There are no glares on the photo and the colors reproduced very well.  The biggest tip I can give for using this app is to take the photo in a dimmer area and not under direct light; the app uses the flash to light the photo and it does a lot better than I thought it would. 


The app is pretty simple to use, just center the photo in the frame and move your phone to line up the 4 circles.  The app takes 4 photos of your photo than stiches it together to make a glare free picture.


My next photo I used was me when I was about 5…I think, honestly most of the photos have dates on them but I’m sitting on the couch and don’t feel like getting up and looking at them so I will just guess.  As you can see this photo does have a slight glare on it and this is because I took the photo in my kitchen underneath the light.  I thought taking the photo under light would be better but turns out that just hurts the quality.


This photo of my brother turned out pretty well.  He was probably 1 or 2 in this photo and I’m sure he’s real happy that I’m sharing this.  This one was also taken in a little dimmer light so there was no glare on it.


How about this Polaroid of my dad holding me when I was a newborn?   The reproduction came out great! 

polaroid dad baby


The problem I’ve found with the app is if a photo is already not exposed right like this photo where our shirts are a little blown out when you use the app it uses your flash which will make things like blown highlights (over exposed areas) a little worse because your shinning a light on it.  I haven’t tried scanning a photo while it’s still in the frame but I’m sure there would be a pretty bad glare on it because of the glass.

bride groom fall


In all I think this app is pretty great as long as you use it properly.  Be sure to not use it under direct light and you will be ok; as you play with it you will find out what the best lighting conditions are to get a great reproduction.  PhotoScan is perfect to use while visiting family because you can save some of your old family photos without having to go to a lot of trouble setting up a scanner but still being able to get copies of grandma’s old photos that you want to make sure stay around for a long time. 


PhotoScan is a solution for digitizing small numbers of photos in my opinion but if you are serious about digitizing a large number of photos you may want to consider a scanning service such as ScanMyPhotos.com.  If you have hundreds or thousands of photos you want to digitize the PhotoScan app is going to take a long time to do because it takes 4 photos of each picture so you would have a considerable amount of time invested into a large number of photos.  But if you do it yourself you can also insure that nothing will happen to the photos unlike if you ship them off somewhere so keep that in mind too.  I’ve never used ScanMyPhotos.com personally so this is not an endorsement just one service that I know about please do your own research when deciding on a scanning service; personally if I had a large number of photos to scan I would try and stay local because I would be very nervous shipping priceless irreplaceable memories.  A camera store like Camera Corner would be a good place to check out or any place that still has a photo lab.



I hope you enjoyed this review and find some use in it.  Here are a few more old photos I scanned with PhotoScan.

 Me and my brother matt.

Me and my brother matt.

 Pete when he was just 4 years old.

Pete when he was just 4 years old.

 Me and my late brother Jarrett.  Miss you buddy.

Me and my late brother Jarrett.  Miss you buddy.