• Archives
  • Aug20

    C1-2

    I shoot a lot of headshots. To some, it may seem like a pretty vanilla practice in the world of photography – A plain background and a simple shot of a face. To me, I think it’s one of the most intimately challenging things to do with a camera!

    The expression says it all. The reality is that they are reflecting the vibe you put out to them. You want them to forget about the camera and just be themselves, but I’m under no illusion that that’s consistently possible in a 15 minute session. Most of my headshots are for business people who don’t have 2 hours to nail their headshot perfectly. For most of my clients, it’s a very quick interaction. For that, I’ve got to influence them as positively as possible.

    doc1

    Injecting confidence into a subject is tough, especially if you have 10 of them to do in a day. I’m challenged with not only keeping my spirits up, but lifting theirs within minutes of meeting them. Shooting a lot of event portraits has really tuned my skills for this kind of scenario. Once I get a rhythm going, I know the sessions will be good.

    I’ve also put together a mental rolodex of lighting setups for various types of clients. the shot directly above was done with just the modeling lights and a very wide open aperture to give the portrait a shallow depth of field. This works well for some girls because of the extremely soft lighting. For guys, I like to have a sharp edge light on their cheeks like in this shot below:

    My favorite setup at the moment is to literally bathe my subjects in soft light from above and below. It’s what I used on the photo at the top of this post. It’s so flattering, and also quite forgiving as it fills in laugh lines and eyes so nicely. It makes post production a breeze! Here’s another shot with this lighting setup:

  • Aug19

    Kara & Bryan

    Posted in: Projects

    Kara & Bryan

    I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite shots from a recent engagement shoot I did in Charleston, SC.

    Kara & Bryan

    Kara & Bryan

    We managed to get quite a few looks in two locations, the Charleston Waterfront Park and then sunset shots such as the one below at Mount Pleasant’s Waterfront Park! What can I say, I like the waterfront parks 😉

    Kara & Bryan

    The couple was great and I hope they have an awesome life together!

  • Aug15

    Kelby Training Live-2

    I drove up to Charlotte, NC on Monday night and found myself in a Howard Johnson’s just outside of town. Sometime after 3:00 AM after watching 3 consecutive episodes of Breaking Bad on my iPad, I finally got to bed. I haven’t suffered from insomnia since I was a teenager, and boy was I unable to sleep. I knew I shouldn’t have taken a B12 supplement after dinner, but I didn’t want to get noddy during my drive after a long day of work. I can’t imagine having to suffer like that on a regular basis – its an absolute nightmare to me. Even more frightening was my alarm that went off seemingly instantly after I finally closed my eyes.

    Kelby Training Live-1.jpg

    If you have ever seen the opening scene to Office Space, that was how my 20 minute drive that lasted almost an hour was as I headed to Charlotte’s convention center from my hotel. Regardless, I made it to the seminar in good time and got a great seat right up front behind the projector. The day long class, which was created by Scott Kelby, was being taught by none other than RC Conception.

    RC did a fantastic job, teaching not only the material that Scott had put together, but also elaborating on it with his own insights and tricks. He’s an extremely approachable guy and it’s no wonder he is beloved by the photography community. He’s got a great sense of humor that never makes him look smarmy – he comes off as a guy you’d like to hang out with, which makes a day-long class on a piece of software much more manageable.

    The photo at the top of the post is one I snapped of the classroom seconds before the start – RC is in the back of the class standing and waiting to be formally introduced by the Kelby Training tour manager. The shot directly above is of yours truly with RC. I handed my camera to one of the attendees (wasn’t hard finding a willing photographer there).

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    After the seminar, I walked around the downtown area looking for a bite to eat and enjoying the architecture.

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    There was this one mirrored sculture on a corner that this exchange student was getting her photo taken of in front of by her host family. A couple of us photogs were patiently waiting for them to be done, when I realized they were never going to be done! I walked away and came back 15 minutes later and they were still there! Well, now she became my subject!

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    I asked her permission first, and then explained to her hosts that the shot I envision involving this interesting art piece is of the reflections themselves. I snapped a couple of shots like this:

    Charlotte-10

    It was a nice little release of creativity after absorbing so much photographic knowledge all day! If you’re able to make it to one of the Kelby Training Live events, please do so. They’re not expensive at all and are a great experience.

  • Aug10

    Cactus-1.jpg

    Last night as I was laying in bed, I had this thought in my head about losing touch with photography by getting wrapped up in one of the multitude of aspects surrounding this business. When I first realized that I love this stuff, I was like a teenager head-over-heels over his first real relationship. Those amazing and wondrous emotions in the beginning that consume you as you explore what it is about this person you’re obsessing over that makes your stomach ache at the mere thought of them. Then, the feelings mature and you become more functional and less passionate. Sometimes when the fog of love clears a bit, you find out that she really isn’t all that interesting to you anymore and then you move on.

    One of the greatest fears that plagued me when I decided to take the plunge and become a professional photographer was idea that I might find the work less than intriguing over time and become merely functional instead of inspired. Instead of searching for the light, I’d be searching for a compromise. Instead of creating, I’d be replicating. Instead of loving it, I’d be simply going through the motions.

    Cactus-1.jpg

    This morning as I walked down the steps of my front porch, something caught my eye. In the center of one of my wife’s little succulent plants that she’s been collecting for a project she’s working on was this giant water droplet. It caught the light and was glowing like a diamond. I was absolutely entranced by it and went back inside to grab my camera. Then I noticed how all of them were retaining water in a similar fashion.

    Succulent plants

    As I moved from plant to plant I realized that I was shooting for the love of it. I saw something interesting and captured it in a way that conveyed what I felt. Like an answer to a wish, I felt a calm come over me as I realized that I’m still in love.

  • Aug9

    Philbecks-14

    I was laying in the dirt for this shot, using my left leg to hold down some of the brush as I composed this shot. My wife Amy was on hand holding the light stand, and I think I may have disturbed an ant hill or two. The sun was falling so I had to be quick! Moments later, I hurried this family to the other side of the bridge into the tall grass.

    Philbecks-15

    The race was to get as many family shots off during the falling sun and to ultimately get this sunset silhouette of Allison & Eric:

    Philbecks-23

    My wife & I met the Philbecks a couple of years ago while we were on our first cruise. Like us, they were on their first cruise and they also got to leave their kids at home. Needless to say we hit it off! When Eric contacted me about shooting his family, I was more than happy to oblige.

    Philbecks-10

    It was interesting to get to meet their children, hopefully next time they make it down, they’ll get to meet our kids 😉

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    I was happy to give them a little personalized piece of Charleston to take home with them. Taking iconic photos in Charleston is almost cheating when it comes to location shots!

    Philbecks-2

  • Aug8

    Last night was the 29th annual National Night Out. It was also the first time the neighborhood I live in participated in it. I was on hand with my camera to capture some of the fun!


    Local businesses sponsored giveaways and provided some goodies, such as Rita’s, the local Italian Ice shop!

    When the sun went down, a giant inflatable movie screen went up and we watched a series of cartoons to keep the kiddies entertained. Our neighborhood watch did a fantastic job organizing this special event despite the dreary weather, but everyone had a great time. I hope they keep the tradition going! You can check out the rest of the photos on my community’s Facebook page.

  • Aug1

    Hatcher-Cole

    One of the most daunting jobs in photography is the large group portrait. Getting dozens of people positioned so that every person can see your lens is one thing, getting dozens of people that span multiple generations from older folks who can’t stand around waiting to young kids who can’t stand still for 20 seconds is enough to make the most seasoned pro sweat profusely.

    The Hatcher and Cole family reunion was held in Charleston this year at Sticky Fingers and I had the honor of capturing the event.

    Hatcher Cole Reunion-53

    There was plenty of food, and a live band had the room dancing.

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    Here’s a slideshow of the event. I had a blast sharing this night with this fun family. I’ve had Superstition stuck in my head all week long 😉