about Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED "KJ BLOG"! I am so blessed to share such special moments of so many great couples that I consider my career as a professional wedding photographer so much more than a "job"...I truly enjoy the honor of capturing that once in a lifetime experience and the thrill and rush of sharing in the excitement, as well as capturing the romance of the day.

I hope to share a little bit of that joy and happiness with you here through my images taken with each couple. Of course, you can still view my website at www.kjimages.com to find out even more about me and my photography.



I made it to RIO!



Hey Everyone!  I made it to RIO with ALL my luggage and I have to say that this city is absolutely gorgeous! (Well in Copacabana anyway.)  Also, there are practically NO mosquitos that we have seen.(Not that I am complaining!)  The weather has been a heavenly 70-80ish almost 24 hours a day and so we are all mostly wearing regular shirts and shorts.

The one thing that is noticebly horrible is the traffic!!  Not only that, but the bus routes around here are pure insanity.  It really is a challenge getting to some of these venues, but the photos should stunning once the games actually begin!

Here are a couple pics of the Olympic "Fast" lanes which allow the media buses to bypass the normal mess of commuters...

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I am staying in Copacabana and I know everyone wants to know about the housing.  Well, I'm glad to report that our hotel is pretty nice!  Great wifi with electronic card readers, safe, minifridge,  hot showers, and a fantastic breakfast, etc... I'd say it's comparable to a nice dorm room...

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers

 

Today, we went to the Main Press Center in Barre to get our photography vests, get our cameras programmed to be used on our VLAN to get images out super fast.(More on that in a later blog), and have a USA Today photographer meeting to go over assigments, rules, etc...

Here is the view outside the window of our USA Today office as the media below goes through security to get into the Main Press Center.

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Here is Bob Rosato leading our photographer meeting...

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I know a lot of photographers will be reading this so I thought I would show you a behind the scenes look at the stash of camera bodies and lenses that Canon has to supply all of the Olympic photographers.  In fact, I think Canon brought over 70 folks to help distribute and clean equipment! (Thanks for the quick behind the scenes look Elizabeth!!)

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Since the games "officially" start with the opening ceremonies tomorrow night, tonight was  the last bit of free time that we will probably have for awhile so a few of us walked around Copacabana and grabbed dinner.  One thing I must say is that the food here is SO much better than Sochi!

Since we are actually in Brazil, we decided to go to an authentic Brazilian steakhouse named Churrascaria Palace and oh my word, it did not disappoint!  Even though I was pretty much stuffed from all of the meats, those of you that know me know that I would have to try the delicious Flan and it was as advertised!  This is also what it looks like when seven American photographers pay the bill together. :)

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas RangersWalking back to the hotel, we scouted out the Beach Volleyball venue as well as  took in some of the atmosphere.  There were a few pretty cool sand sculptures and we all decided to get a quick obligatory Olympic rings photo.(I'll have to get a much better one before I leave. :)

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I am super excited to be shooting the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night as well as the Road Cycling competition early the next day.  Look for my next update then!

 





I am headed to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games!



I am extremely honored and blessed to be headed to Rio to cover the 2016 Summer Olympic Games for USA Today!  I will be posting constant blog updates as well as fun behind the scenes stuff on Snapchat(soonerkj), Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so follow me @kevinjairaj  if you want to see the experience through my eyes.

I thought to get everyone ready for the games, I would post some of my photos and stories from the recent Olympic Media Summit held at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.  USA Today hired me to take some portraits of a few selected Olympians and we had a great time creating some fun images!  These are sometimes tough as we had a pretty small ballroom and I had to find a way to make 4 or 5 sets work in a small space.  A huge thanks to Christine Bentley, Rylee Gonsar, and Angie Walton for helping with setting everything up and taking a lot of the behind the scenes photos!

Another HUGE shoutout to the following companies for their wonderful support in making the shoots a success...

Profoto - There are no better lights in the industry in my opinion and Profoto is the only equipment I will ever use!  When you need color and light consistency, these guys are the best!  We used a cobination of D1 Airs wired units, B1 wireless units, and a ProB4 generator with 2 ProB heads.

Silverlake Backdrops - This is my new "goto" supplier of backdrops and floors as they simply have the best variety and the easy on and off velcro system on their colorsmacks are a lifesaver when you have to switch out backgrounds in a hurry!

Tether Tools - The tools they have allowed us a simple, portable, and convenient way to view all the images in real time on my laptop and I will not do another shoot like this without them!

As you can see, we pretty much packed the room with sets using just about every inch of space that we were given!  We were able to get the hotel to put down two dance floors like they do for wedding receptions so that it would be much easier for athletes to jump or put spikes on, etc... without sinking into the carpet.(Not to mention hotel ballroom carpets are usually the ugliest things anyway!)  It also helped when I wanted to put down any faux floors or special mylar(See below).

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As you guys know from my previous posts, I usually have anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes with these athletes so speed and adaptability are crucial. Here are a few of the photos that I liked as well as some behind the scenes...

SIMONE BILES - GYMNASTICS

I predict that Simone will pretty much become a household name and a HUGE superstar after these games! In fact, she might already be the best female gymnast in the history of the USA!  Unfortunately, I literally only had a couple of minutes with her as her schedule was insane, but we got some great photos!

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MISSY FRANKLIN - SWIMMING

As a 17 year old in her first Olympics in London, Missy won 5 Medals including 4 GOLD medals!   She is also the world record holder in the 200 meter backstroke.  I had Missy for about 5 minutes and she was wonderful and so much fun to work with!  In fact, I think she laughed throughout the whole shoot!!

We also had the athletes pick out props and do a "fun" shot for our instagram feed and this is what Missy picked...

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 Kim Rhode - Shooting

Kim is one of our most decorated Olympians as she has pretty much dominated the sport of shooting!  In fact, this will be Kim's 6th Olympic Games!!  She has won 5 total Olympic medals with 3 being GOLD including one at the last Olympics in London.  I first photographed Kim for the London games and we really hit it off.  We have been friends for awhile and so it was such a fun time getting to see Kim and her family again! I can't wait to see what she does in Rio!

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It has almost become tradition, but Kim always lets me take a fun photo with all of her Olympic medals and it never gets old!  In fact, I felt like Mr T with all her bling!

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ENGLISH GARDNER

What a cool name! English was awesome to photograph! She was up for any idea I had and we got some really cool stuff!  Look for her in the women's 100mm dash as she alreaday has the 7th fastest time in the world this year!

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ELENA DELLE DONNE and TAMIKA CATCHINGS

I had a chance to work with two of the BEST women's basketball players to ever play! Not only are Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings incredible baskeball players, but they are also very photogenic and a ton of fun to be around.(And also WAY taller than me.)   Look for them to lead Team USA to the gold medal in Rio!

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 MAGGIE STEFFENS - WATER POLO

  • Maggie is the captain of Team USA's water polo team and should lead them to teh gold medal if all goes well!  She was a ton of fun to shoot and has a wonderful personality to go along with her incredible athletic ability!  She's also super photogenic which made my job very easy! :)



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I mean she even plays air guitar in a tutu!

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  • GABBY DOUGLAS - GYMNASTICS

You guys may remember me photographing Gabby 4 years ago when she was a relatively unknown.  Well as you know, that all changed when she won the all-around gold medal in London!  I have stayed friends with her and her family and am thrilled to see her make it back for the RIO games!  I am looking forward to seeing her try to make some history!

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NATHAN ADRIAN - SWIMMING

I photographed Nathan before the London games and we simply hit it off during our photoshoot!  He is a multiple gold medalist and looks to get more in RIO!  I had a special water splashing shot that I thought Nathan would be perfect for and as usual, he delivered!!  Can't wait to see him swim in the Olympics!

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Andrea and John's Bella Donna and Stonebridge Ranch Wedding



A couple of weeks ago, my buddy Jeremy and I had the honor of capturing images for Andrea and John's wedding day. They are a wonderful couple and we absolutely loved their friends and family too! The ceremony took place at the stunning Bella Donna chapel with the reception at the beautiful Stonebridge Ranch Country Club! The staff at Stonebridge is the absolute best to work with and they made sure that the reception went off without a hitch! Congrats again Andrea and John! Here are some highlights from the day...

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Tami and Brian's Wedding at St Ann Catholic Parish in Coppell, Texas



Last week, Misty and I had the pleasure of covering Tami and Brian's wonderful wedding at St. Ann Catholic Parish in Coppell with the reception at Le Beaux Chateau in Flower Mound. The weather turned out amazing and both Tami and Brian looked stunning! It was a lot of fun hanging with their Aggie and Wolverine friends all day and the photos are simply gorgeous!! Here are some highlights...

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Gary and Jessica's Camp Loughridge Tulsa Wedding



Last week, Cassie, Heather, and I had the chance to drive up to Tulsa to photograph Gary and Jessica's wedding at the wonderful Camp Loughridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is also an honor when other photographers trust you enough to photograph their family's special days and this is the second wedding that the Box family (who I admire considerably as people, friends, and photographers) has asked me to do. We had an amazing time with everyone and captured some incredible photos! Here are some highlights...

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