Andrew (Drew) Le: Blog en-us (C) Andrew (Drew) Le (Andrew (Drew) Le) Fri, 27 Aug 2021 12:56:00 GMT Fri, 27 Aug 2021 12:56:00 GMT Andrew (Drew) Le: Blog 120 108 Portrait Session: Mario Meet Mario Buchanan, our beloved organist and music director at Christ Church Episcopal in Hudson, Ohio!

All photos were made on a Sony Alpha A1 camera & 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 16-35mm Sony GM lenses. Lighting by Godox AD200s and MagMod modifiers.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) Christ Church Episcopal church organist Godox headshots Hudson Hudson Ohio Photographer MagMod music director Ohio photography portraiture Sony Alpha Fri, 13 Aug 2021 01:52:58 GMT
Stay-in-Touch Session: Caitlin Here's another Stay-in-Touch Session I did while in Holland, Michigan this month.  Caitlin is a graduate of Black River Public School and is the sister of Emily from a couple of blog posts ago.  We started our session in Sanctuary Woods - one of my favorite places to shoot - but we were both eaten alive by mosquitos.  After snapping a few photos, Caitlin graciously agreed to transplant our session to nearby Macatawa Park - also one of my favorite places to shoot - where we were greeted by ferocious winds!

I love reconnecting with people to learn how they've grown and where life has taken them.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) holland Macatawa Park michigan photography portraiture Sanctuary Woods Senior Session Sony 50mm GM Sony A1 Sony Alpha Stay-in-Touch Session Mon, 02 Aug 2021 21:08:59 GMT
Stay-in-Touch Session: Mandie I captured Mandie's senior photos four years ago, and always love following up with my seniors to see where they've gone and how they've grown!  It was great to see Mandie's mom, too. :)

This entire session was shot with Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM & Sony 135mm f/1.8 GM lenses mounted to an A9II camera.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) holland michigan photography portraiture Prospect Park senior photos Sony 135mm GM Sony 50mm GM Sony A9II Sony Alpha Stay-in-Touch Session Wed, 28 Jul 2021 16:17:27 GMT
Senior Session: Emily Hi y'all, meet Emily! Black River Public School, Class of 2022. What a fun session on a perfectly beautiful Michigan morning.

This entire session was shot with the Sony 50mm f/1.2 GM lens mounted to a Sony Alpha One mirrorless camera body. Love it!


(Andrew (Drew) Le) 50mm gm black river public school class of 2022 holland michigan photography portraiture senior photos senior portraits senior session sony alpha sony alpha photography Thu, 22 Jul 2021 19:17:42 GMT
Marina and Family It’s always delightful and an honor to photograph for my former students. Marina was my piano student in my early days at Hope College. Marina and her husband Chris entrusted me with photographing their wedding and now their beautiful family. I feel like I am their kids’ grandphotographer!

(Andrew (Drew) Le) 50mm GM big red family photos family portraits family session holland hope college macatawa michigan photography Sony A1 Sony Alpha Thu, 22 Jul 2021 19:07:08 GMT
Jeanelle & Jimmy Jeanelle & Jimmy.

I met Jeanelle in Phoenix, Arizona in November of 2009 when I was soloist with the Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestra.  Jeanelle was a violinist in the orchestra at the time; thanks in part to social media, we managed to keep in touch over the years.  As luck would have it, I ended up moving to the Cleveland area where Jeanelle now resides.  It was such a delight to see her for the first time in twelve years, and to meet her brand-new fiancé Jimmy.  Naturally, I had to take their engagement photos!

(Andrew (Drew) Le) CIM Cleveland Cleveland Institute of Music Cleveland Museum of Art Engagement Ohio Severance Hall SonyAlpha University Circle Wade Lagoon Mon, 15 Mar 2021 01:44:44 GMT
My KSU Debut Faculty Recital Dear Friends:

In case you missed it, here is the video recording of my Kent State University debut faculty recital on October 18, 2020.

Many thanks to the amazing sound and video crew at the Kent State University School of Music!  They did a great job with this production!

Be well,


(Andrew (Drew) Le) debut faculty Kent State University KSU Recital School of Music video Tue, 27 Oct 2020 22:17:51 GMT
She Got The Goods On the last day of July, I had the immense privilege of photographing the Holland, Michigan wedding of two former students, Kristin Baron and Aaron Goodyke.  What a joyous day!  After delivering over 1,400 edited photos to them, I chose these favorites to share here.  

Wonderfully assisted by second photographer, Ruth Vanden Bos.  Entire wedding shot with Sony Alpha A9, A9 II, & RX1R II cameras, along with assorted Sony/Zeiss lenses.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) Holland Hope College alumni Michigan photography Second Reformed Church Sony Alpha photography Wedding West Michigan weddings Zeeland Sun, 23 Aug 2020 02:57:06 GMT
Introducing my new Sofa Series virtual concerts! I'm thrilled to announce my 2020-21 Sofa Series virtual concerts! Three online piano recitals, all performed from my living room through an innovative platform that specializes in stereo streaming and interactive features. All concerts will be on Sundays at 4:00PM Eastern Time.

--October 4, 2020: "Reinvented: Transcriptions for Solo Piano"
--January 10, 2021: "Vive la France!"
--May 23, 2021: "All-Schubert"

Tickets and details can be seen at

Andrew Le (Drew Le) performs on the Steinway Piano in the John and Dede Howard Recital Hall in the Jack H. Miller Center,

(Andrew (Drew) Le) concerts online Sofa Series virtual Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:37:44 GMT
Irish Tune from County Derry This is one of my most memorable performances, recorded in December of 2016. I had dedicated this performance to my students. If you have never heard this remarkable arrangement by Percy Grainger of Irish Tune from County Derry (also known as Londonderry Air), I urge you to have a listen!

If you may notice, I had the score on the piano in front of me. I had decided against playing from memory this time, even though memorization is a hallowed tradition of classical piano performance. Memorization can be a formidable obstacle for some students; I have had students give up hope of pursuing piano performance as a career path because of this. By having the score in front of me for this performance, I wanted to show my students that memorization is not always a necessary prerequisite, especially if it potentially gets in the way of an effective performance.

Of course, there are many advantages to playing from memory. Removing the score removes the barrier (perceived or otherwise) between the performer and his/her instrument. The performer can communicate more fully and fluidly. 

What do you think? Is memorization overrated? Would relaxing this hallowed tradition make piano playing accessible for more students? Please comment below and let me know what you think!

(Andrew (Drew) Le) Irish Tune from County Derry Londonderry Air memorization Percy Grainger performance piano Thu, 28 May 2020 14:02:05 GMT
Before & After #5 Happy Memorial Day, friends.

My last blog post (Before & After #4) brings up a couple of good questions: How far should one go with photomanipulation?  Does photomanipulation violate photographic integrity and sincerity?

Yes, and no. I believe that there needs to be a balance between sincerity and faithfulness to one's artistic vision.  One's sense of this balance comes from diligent study, constructive self-criticism, and abundant experience.  My original vision for the last Before & After was to convey the vastness of the land, and how little we truly are in this vastness.  The presence of too many people interfered with my vision; so, I shopped them out.  I was also in the early adolescent stages of discovering the power of Photoshop, and wanted to practice putting those newly-unearthed tools to work.  However, looking back at the photo and pondering my experience of being there, perhaps I went too far.  It's a little humorous, actually, now that I think about it.  But, humor is not the essential experience I wanted to recall upon making this photograph.

Which brings us to today's Before & After. In this photo, I wanted to capture the loneliness and isolation of COVID-19 quarantine.  My two children play well together (most of the time, anyway), but after many weeks of staying at home, indeed, they became restless and bored.  I also wanted to capture this frame in a way that would facilitate the memory of this house we live in, with all the details that can help reconstruct that memory.  I could have shopped out the grill on the deck, or that folding patio table which has remained closed ever since our cross-state move last year, but I didn't want to; I didn't find them distracting.  What I did find distracting, however - as silly as it may seem - was the brass plate in the middle of the sliding door.  The doggie bed in the lower right corner didn't bother me so much, and I would have left it there, but my adding vignetting in post-processing (to draw further attention to the children in the photo) made it disappear anyway.

Otherwise, all I did was crop the photo a bit tighter, straightened the horizon, and added some contrast to amplify the mood.

Camera settings: Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM lens @ 16mm & f/2.8, 1/250 second, ISO 1000.

Happy Shooting!

Before. After.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) COVID-19 isolation loneliness photomanipulation Sony Alpha Mon, 25 May 2020 16:00:47 GMT
Before & After #4 Before & After #4: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Michigan).


This photo is from 2016, when Matthew and Kate were practically still babies. We were traveling to northern lower Michigan with their cousins, and I was hoping that in mid-August we might possibly have the whole dune to ourselves. Yeah, right. :) So, when we got home, I decided to delete everyone except ourselves from the picture.  This is super duper easy peasy once you get the hang of using the right tools in Photoshop: the Clone Stamp Tool, the Healing Brush, and Content-Aware Fill were my primary tools.  Using these three methods, I strived to make it look as realistic as possible.  Once all extraneous humans were gone, I adjusted the color and shadow/highlight balance to taste.  Boom!  My hopes were realized and we had the whole dune to ourselves!


Camera settings: Sony A7 with Sony/Zeiss FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS lens @ 16mm & f/9, 1/320 second, ISO 100.


Happy Shooting!


Before. After.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) Clone Stamp Tool Content-Aware Fill family Healing Brush Tool michigan Northern Michigan roadtrip Sleeping Bear Dunes Sat, 23 May 2020 02:12:48 GMT
Before & After #3 Before & After #3.

This is definitely one of my all-time favorite family photos I've taken.  I exposed this shot for the highlights (the sky), knowing that the superduper sensor on my Sony mirrorless camera can dial up the shadows with minimal penalty.  All I did to the original file here was toy around with basic settings in Adobe Lightroom: White Balance, Highlights/Shadows, Hue-Saturation-Luminance, and Tone Curves.  That's it...I just moved the sliders around until the photo appeared to taste.  Boom!

Younger kids generally abhor posing for family photos, so I just let them run freely around the parents. :)

Camera settings: Sony A9, Sony/Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA lens @1.8, 1/6400 second, ISO 100.

Happy Shooting!

   Before. After.


(Andrew (Drew) Le) Family Family photos Lightroom Sony SonyAlpha Zeiss Mon, 18 May 2020 20:50:27 GMT
Before & After #2 Before & After #2.

Color is a wonderful element of photography, but sometimes it can detract from the essence of a photo. Matthew's shirt here has green sleeves, which is cute in real life, but since the eye is drawn to vivid colors, I found the green somewhat distracting. His facial expression is the heart of this photo -- bored, maybe ambivalent, no doubt the cumulative effects of quarantine -- with his sister giving a reassuring hug. I needed to ensure that this feeling would be communicated to the viewer, hence I converted it to monochrome.

Other than this, all I really did here was clone out the silvery outline of his zip-style pant pocket which I felt was a distracting element; lowered the highlights and raised the shadows just a notch to give it an aged, faded look; and finally, I burned out the upper left corner to mute the overbearing (and thereby distracting) highlights.

Like with my first Before & After example, I performed all edits within Adobe Lightroom Classic.

Camera settings: Sony A9 with Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E lens @ f/2.8, 1/160 second, ISO 1600.

Stay tuned for the next Before & After, coming shortly. Happy Shooting!

Before. After.

(Andrew (Drew) Le) Before&After Children Sony SonyAlpha Mon, 18 May 2020 03:21:13 GMT
Before & After #1 Before & After #1. Hi, and welcome to a new thing that I'm trying! I'm hoping to inspire y'all to snap some photos and try your hand at editing!

As you can see, the original SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) shot is pretty flat and dull, but has potential to become much better with a few easy adjustments. The Pros of this photo: strongly romantic moment; I love her windblown hair; nice and centered composition. Cons: the sky is totally blown out, obliterating the clouds; narrow color gamut; lack of contrast. 

The human eye is instinctively drawn to the lightest and warmest parts of an image. Since the brightness of the sky is super distracting, I dialed down the highlights in the sky using the Adjustment Brush, along with lowering the color temperature in the sky to help bring out the blues. I then used the Radial Filter to recover the shadows in her face, which helps to draw the viewer's attention first and foremost to their amazing kiss. I also added a touch of warmth with the White Balance Temperature dial, amplifying the effects of the Golden Hour. Finally, I cloned out (using the Spot Removal tool) a couple of distracting flare artifacts and a branch in the upper right corner, brightened her engagement ring a touch to give it some sparkle, and voila -- done! (All my adjustments were done in Adobe Lightroom Classic -- no need for Photoshop here.)

Camera and settings are as follows: Sony A9, Sigma 35mm f/1.2 @ f/1.2, 1/6400 second, ISO 100.

I hope this helps y'all. Happy Shooting!



(Andrew (Drew) Le) Before&After couples engagement Lightroom Sony SonyAlpha Mon, 18 May 2020 03:12:45 GMT