52 Week Project: Number 24: GoPro

This weekend was incredible. Myself and a couple of good friends headed to the river.  I have always gone to the beach so this was a first time staying at the river. Right when we got to the river there was a beautiful sunset. I kept yelling at Dylan to hurry up or we are going to miss it. I could't wait to break out the new GoPro that I just got that day. We quickly hurried to the edge of the water and just made it before the sun went down. I think all of us grabbed a selfie right when we got down to the water.  

Now this week self portrait was photographed with the GoPro. Since it doesn't have a way to fire strobes or even use it manual mode. It automatically picks the the shutter speed. That was my one concern was it didn't have manual mode. Normally i would expose for the sky then add the necessary light. But in the end I'm glad to experiment with some new equipment.

Below are some images from this weekend: (Yes most are selfies

52 Week Project: Number 23


Alright so this week I did not prewrite my blog like I normally do on Monday. I was working on a special project which I can not wait to share with everyone. This week I am writing this blog on my phone on the way to a funeral (my great uncle just passed on Thursday). I do like the fact I can blog right on my iPhone. When I go on a trip it makes it so I can stay connected with everyone.

So this week was a little different for me. While I was at the beach last weekend I had an idea for a portrait. The idea was for me to hold up a sign that says "free kisses" and see everyone's reaction. I was going to do that after the pier portrait but since I loved how the portrait went I decided not to do it. I'll save that one for a later week. 

Setting up for this portrait was pretty easy. I had my partner in crime Jordan wright the words on the carboard. (You wouldn't be able to read my hand wrighting).  After we headed to the street in front of the studio. I had to be careful about where I put the light since I didn't want to blind any drivers. The light was to the left side of the camera with my travel softbox. I really like the fact that I now have a travel kit. I do need to upgrade the flash and the transmitters but hey I get what I need with the equipment I have. This week I went back to the good ol Fuji. I do like this camera way more then my DSLR (I know I keep saying this, buy one and you will see). 

Well that's it for this week. As always let me know what you think of the portrait. 


Monochromatic Monday: 1

For some reason I love doing personal series. No idea why I do so many at one time. I guess its to keep me busy. Anyway to kill the Monday blues I wanted to start a new series called Monochromatic Mondays. I will post about a portrait or something cool I have done over the weekend. How can you be a part of this series? Message me

Over the weekend when I was doing my Self portrait project. A good friend of mine Dylan wanted to come check out the studio I work at. So of course I made him pose for me. And just like that Monochromatic Mondays were born. 

52 Week Project: Number 22: Relax

Relax. How come some people do not do this from time to time? I personally need to relax every now and then. This weekend myself and four other friends headed to the beach. I have been crazy busy at the studio preparing for seniors to come in. I needed to get out and relax for a weekend. I did take my camera out to the beach but did not take any photos. Why did I do this? I wanted to relax and not have to worry about going through so many photos to edit. I don't know how the moms at the beach go through so many and decide which is the best ones. Yes I did say moms but I'm sure there are some dads out there that will whip the camera out. Anyway, I wanted to just hang out on the beach and get sun burned like everyone else. I did get in the water but with it being so cold I just wanted to tan. I did whip my camera out for this portrait though. 

On to this weeks portrait. We sat by the Virginia Beach Pier and right when I saw it I knew what this weeks self portrait was going to be. I wanted to use symmetry of the pier so I set up the portrait before I whipped out the travel kit. I had my partner in crime Jordan hold the light up so the water wouldn't touch the stand and then my other friend Orie snap several portraits just to make sure I got what I wanted. We wanted to make it quick since we knew people were going to be there. Below is the lighting diagram for it. I used a small octobox not a shoot though umbrella but you get the idea. The rest of the portrait was edited in post.

Well what I learned from this weekend is that going back to work is not fun but this weekend was worth it. 


52 Week Project: Number 21: Happy 21st Birthday

Happy birthday. Well it's not my birthday but it's Jordan and I 21st self portrait. This time I wanted it to celebrate it with a "birthday party" theme. So I went to walmart and got the supplies. I found these awesome light up balloons. I knew right when I got them I was going to do something sweet. 

Anyway onto how I got the portrait. I decided to photograph it normally at a 60th of a second to see what I would get. The portrait was really dark. I wanted to expose for the balloons. So I grabbed my sweet awesome tripod. A long exposure is the only way I could do it so I didn't have to boost the ISO to 6400. I did bump the ISO to 1600 and do an exposure of 2.5 seconds. Originally the photo was suppose to be like this.

I really didn't like how it turned out. Jordan gave me the idea of sitting on the couch instead of standing. 


It didn't feel like a party so I asked my friends Jordan and Orie to jump in. After fooling around for about 30 minutes. We finally came up with a portrait that would work. Onto lighting, I used a new one and a half foot softbox for a Canon or Nikon flash not a strobe. When i was looking at getting a new softbox I was trying to think of something that would make me faster and I wouldn't have to lug around a huge strobe. I do like using it for one reason, it's easy. It makes doing quick on the spot on location portraits very easy. 

I would like to give a big thank you to Jordan, Orie, Erika and Lexie for helping me in creating this weeks portrait.  

Yeah didn't really turn out right but hey I like it. I don't like the couches bar going though my head but it works. 


52 Week Project: Number 20

20 weeks into this project. What this means is Jordan and I have had 20 portraits. It's pretty crazy. We both have learned a lot. Trying all kinds of techniques that we learn.

Anyway on to this week self portrait. Not much to say about this one. I used a basic three lighting set up. I wanted to keep it simple. I decided to use the X100s again. Instead of using it at 1000th like last week I used it at 500th at f/8. I really love this camera. The color out of the camera is awesome. The sharpness on point. 

Anyway onto the lighting setup. I used a soft box off to the left of me. Also there is a hair light right above me. Last there is a accent light behind me. Below is the lighting set up.

That's it for this week. Sorry for the short post.


52 Week Project: Number 19: Why the X100s is the best

This week I have decided to change it up this week. For one I'm posting on a Monday. Second I decided to explain why I like the Fuji x100s. When I first thought of what I was doing this week I thought back to the air field that Greg Heisler and David Turner took us to back in Hallmark days. They thought us to use the sun as a hair light and bump the power of the strobe to its maximum power.

Now lets get onto why the x100s is the best. With the Optical View Finder and Electrical View Finder built in to the camera. The camera is a digital rangefinder. These are called a "rangefinder" cameras because they focus using a dual-image rangefinding device. You turn a ring, and when two superimposed images line up, you're in perfect focus. With a rangefinder camera, you never look through the lens. You focus and compose through a window on the top right, just like on a disposable camera. The rangefinder looks out of the little window on the left. It triangulates as you turn the focus ring, bringing two images into correlation at perfect focus. 

The second reason I love this camera is for the leaf shutter compared to the normal DSLR shutter. A leaf shutter is is a type of camera shutter consisting of a mechanism with one or more pivoting metal leaves which normally does not allow light through the lens onto the film, but which when triggered opens the shutter by moving the leaves to uncover the lens for the required time to make an exposure, then shuts. Which means you can capture a portrait at 1000th of a second instead of the normal 200th on a normal DSLR.  

The image was shot with a x100s at 1000th of a second.    

The image was shot with a x100s at 1000th of a second.    

This image was shot with a 5d mark ii at 200th of a second.

This image was shot with a 5d mark ii at 200th of a second.

As you can tell in the two images above that the Fuji is darker then the Canon. The shutter speed effect the background of a image not the strobe power. Before I use a strobe I always take a photo of what the background is going to be by turning off the strobe and seeming how dark the background is going to look like before turning on the strobe. 


Why I quit calling myself a Photographer

 The three words I hate telling someone is, I'm a photographer.

I am not a photographer, I'm an artist. I create beautiful works of art to hang on walls for a lifetime. Are you wondering why I do not call myself a photographer? For one reason, anyone can say they are a photographer. With the turn of the century and digital making everything so much easier. Especially with today's cameras. All you have to do is push a button and the camera does the rest. Back in film days you have to worry about f-stops and shutter speed with strobes and know what you are doing lighting wise. Even Cell Phones can take a decent picture. 

Whenever I hear what a client is asking for, I write down the first thing that pops into my head. I always try to visualized the final product first. I love when my thoughts come to life in the final product. 

Am I an artist today? Did I do 100% and then 10% more? Did I strive to do better then what I was thinking. If something isn't coming out how I hoped, it is okay. I take a step back and think about what I am trying to accomplish. Sometimes I get discourage at my work because some other artist is a better then me. In the end I will always do my best and then some.

I have visions all the time while I walk down the street or drive in my car. I look at something and say to myself "How can I make that art?" The way I see light is different then most. The way I see light is when I look at a person next to a lamp or a window I always want to tell them to turn their nose a little bit to make a portrait with my eyes. I am always watching where light is coming from and how I can warp it in my mind. I was taught to look at details and not the subject first.

Light is so key with portraits. If you look at 16th century paintings of you can see that the main light is coming from one direction and not multiple. I strive to be like Leonardo, Donatello, and Rafael with my work or then ninja turtles. I want people to say "I want to hang that piece of art in my home forever." That is what I will strive to do and will always try to do. 

In conclusion I am an artist that uses a camera instead of a paint brush. Are you an artist or someone with a fancy camera?


52 Week Project: Number 18

So as some of you might know, my camera broke (sad face). I should be receiving it today, hopefully.

Anyway onto week number 18. I decided to bust out the good ol Fuji x100s for this one. I'm just going to say this. I FREAKIN LOVE THIS CAMERA. Why have I not been using this camera all along?! With the built in neutral density filter and a leaf shutter so I can shoot at 500th of a second with strobes. Yes the sky is the limit with this camera. I do need to pick up the wide angle attachment for this camera. Would be sweet to have. 

I keep forgetting that I have it with me. Now I have an eye-fi card and can view my images on my Ipad. Oh well, I will be using that camera just a little bit more and might start a personal digital film series.

So with this image I wanted to go for a more film look. Something a 1970s camera would have. I also wanted to keep it simple. With one light and one camera. I think I accomplished just that.


XL102 Chili Cook Off

Above is some previews from the show (yes there is a selfie). You can see the rest here.

So last weekend I attended the XL102 Chili Cook off out at RIR. I showed up late to the show due to me working in the studio (Yes studio work comes first). Anyway while I was at the show my camera decided to break. I started to freak out. I quickly got on the internet on my phone to try and figure out the problem. I did everything I could but no luck. I gave up and decided to shoot the rest of the show with my Fuji X100s (thank god I had it). I normally have that camera as a back up just in case something like this happens. I really liked shooting with that camera but there are limitations like, it's a fixed 35mm lens. On my 5d I shoot with both my 17 and 70-200 (both amazing glass). 

So to my this quick story short always have a back up plan. Second I might start using the Fuji as a main for some things. I can't wait to see what comes of it.


52 Week Project: Number 17

Coffee. Where is the coffee. I need coffee....

Sleep, what is that. In the last week I have a little to no sleep each night. I've been working really hard keeping track of all the clients at the studio. As well as making sure all the prints have been ordered and the spreads have been made. As you can tell I have little to no free time to sleep.

Anyway lets get down to business. This weekend has been the worst. (sad face) MY CAMERA STOPPED WORKING!! Yes, I said it my camera has maybe snapped her last photo. I am sening it to cannon this week to see whats wrong with it. Hopefully it's nothing big.

This week I had to use my back up camera the awesome heavy duty 1ds mark ii. The thing is a beast when it comes to portraits. 

Shooting in complete black is interesting non the less. I would not recommend it. 

Well thats it for this week. I really do need to learn how to blog. I feel like I am rambling on and on. 


52 Week Project: Number 16

A lot has happened in the least week. I recently upgraded my hard drive in my mac to a solid state. Why did I decide to do this? Well for one solid state makes your computer so so much faster and smoother. 

Anyway on to week number 16. This week Jordan and I went to a abandoned factory outside of Richmond. I already had an idea in mind already before the shoot. I haven't used gels in a while. I set up two lights. One for the main and a second to make the sun. I really liked how the final product came out. Let me know what you think.


52 Week Project: number 15

Keep it simple stupid. Yes I just said that. For the past 2 weeks I have been doing nothing but sit in front of a computer and edit nothing but a composite for hours. Sometimes until 2 am. I need my sleep. Keep it simple stupid is something I saw somewhere or made it up in my head. You don't need to get but so crazy with your shoots to get a great image. Just come up with a simple idea and execute it.  I see so many images that look like it took hours to achieve. Sorry for the rant but for me I'm going to keep it simple.

Just keep it simple.

Now time to talk about the image. Week number 15 of 52. Yeah i'm running out of ideas in my head. Kinda need to get the creative juices flowing and come up with a awesome image. 

For this image I didn't want any blacks and whites. I wanted to keep it a low contrast. I had to check the histogram a billion times to make sure I had no blacks/whites. I felt like I accomplished this. For lighing I just use a simple 2 light setup with the octobank in front with a rim light in the back. 

Just simple and to the point.


52 Week Project: Number 14

Coming into our 14th we Jordan I have decided to just continue to do our composites. I really like week number 12 self portrait so I decided just to continue doing that pattern. I've always love the way it came out with The mirror and me coming out of it. 

I might actually continue doing this as a personal series. Unfortunately that the problem with it is it takes for ever to edit but I just love the outcome of everything that I do. I'm sorry that this blog post is really short but with all that with everything going on at work with Easter coming up and having to prepare for that. Anyway here is the image. 

I'm writing this on my phone and testing out to see the image quality is going to be the same. I do apologize that the image quality is not as good as what I would do on a regular computer if it is bad I will change it as soon as possible. 



52 Week Project: Number 13

Warm weather finally hit Virginia the other day and now it back to cold. (sad face) Anyway with the weather warming up here Jordan and I can finally go outside. We were both busy on Monday that we didn't have time to do a portrait outside. (again sad face) 

Well onto this weeks self portrait. This weeks self portrait, is one I have had in my head for the last couple of weeks. It involves fire and a whole lot of post. I really should be screen recording my edits, Its crazy the before and after on both. Anyway since this week is lucky number 13, I wanted to go for a more evil portrait. Well not really evil but more on the dark side. So i came up with this portrait.

For the last couple of weeks I have been watching nothing but retouching videos about composites and how to really tweak your work to get it just right. I'll post some of my favorites on a different day. For now just enjoy the photo and if you enjoy the photo please comment and let me know what you think as well as give me some ideas you would like to see in the future.



52 Week Project: Number 12

Snow snow go away. Sorry I'm just really tired off all this snow. The weather yet again has been crazy. I believe it hit 70 on Saturday and on Sunday it snowed. We went another week without going outside. 

For the past couple of weeks I have sat down and watched nothing but retouching videos. Does it seem boring? Ehh kinda, but I still like watching them from time to time. I found so many tutorials on how to do fantasy composites as well as regular ones. 

This week I decided to try my luck with adding myself into a composite. While at Jordan's house this weekend, he mentioned using a mirror for his own portrait. Which got the ball rolling for me. I was reminded of a photo about a guy floating out of a softbox. I decided to roll with that with a mirror. 

Like any composite you need to come up with the background before starting the rest of the image. So Jordan and I ventured out into the snow to find a background for my image.

We eventually found a nice open snowy field to would look perfect as the background. after taking several exposures and different angles. I finally found one I liked. Now that I had the background I needed the rest of the image.

We first photographed the mirror with different angles, exposures and heights. After I wanted to have me stepping out of the mirror then I saw something on the wall, a lantern. I picked up the lantern and leaned over to act like I am exploring.

To get everything I wanted in the image took over 4 hours in retouching. And man was it worth it.



52 Week Project: Number 10

Snow, Snow and more snow. Why won't it go away. Yesterday in the great state of Va it snowed. A lot. I'm not saying I hate snow but it gets annoying from time to time. 

Anyway this week since it was snowing Jordan and I headed out in the snow! When we reached Richmond the snow turned into a blizzard. So this week I decided to do a composite of 2 images. one of the snow and one of me in the studio. This is how it turned out.