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Recently, I had the opportunity to take some new, promotional photos of my favorite rock band in Charlotte, Putney’s End. If you don’t know about Putney’s End., then you need to check them out! They are a 90’s and modern rock cover band here in Charlotte, NC. A while back, I took a few photos of them and wrote a blog post about my experience (check the blog post out). I must confess that I think it would be pretty cool to be in a rock band (I may be a little envious).
I don’t want to brag, but I grew up in the 90’s! I had a mullet that could compete with anybody. Heck…..I’m musically stuck in the 90’s today! Enough about me……So, I feel like I know a thing or two about 90’s rock bands. That’s my weak attempt at humor! Anyway, I knew the location for the shoot. We had a very cool wall with lots of texture for the background. I knew that our goal was to get one landscape (horizontal) photo and one portrait (vertical) photo. In thinking about a shoot for a rock band like Putney’s End, I envisioined lighting similar to the photos you see for athletes. I wanted a camera angle that created “larger than life” subjects. Also, I wanted to emulate the lighting you see for athletes that involves strong rim lighting (back lighting). With these concepts in mind, the textured wall would be the perfect backdrop for our shots!
Well, I ruined the mood of the shoot right when I got to the set (like always)! I tried to break the ice by telling the band members that I played a “mean tambourine”. Like most of my encounters, the next 5 minutes involved awkward pauses, etc. I should have thought the joke through……You cannot recover from the “mean tambourine”!
My lighting setup involved one flash unit (no diffuser) lighting the background (the textured wall). I had 2 separate flash guns (no diffuser) positioned behind the band members acting as my rim lighting (backlighting). Lastly, I had a beauty dish (with flash gun inserted) acting as my key light (no diffusion sock). Here’s a photo demonstrating the lighting setup:
Early into the shoot, I focused on the landscape (horizontal) capture. I adjusted my lighting setup until I got a base photo. Here’s a good example of the horizontal photo SOOC (straight out of camera):
From there, I knew the only thing missing was the best angle of attack. Again, I want these guys to look “larger than life”. This is Putney’s End for crying out loud! So, I dropped the angle of my camera and shot on an ascending angle. In other words, I captured them on an “upshoot”. In my opinion, the resulting photo captures the band at the best angle possible!
Lastly, I did some work in Photoshop to increase the texture in the wall. I also added a slight “cross-processed” effect to the overall image. Then, I cropped the flash units out of the scene. The final photo is exactly what I envisioned!
Moving to the portrait (vertical) shot, we changed things up a little bit. I thought it would be neat to “gel” the flash unit lighting the background wall in hopes of changing the color of the wall. So, we put a dark blue gel on that flash gun and operated from there. Here’s a base photo from that setup:
From there, we did a little Photoshop work to darken the shadows to hide the light stand at the bottom of the photo. We increased the texture in the wall and really increased the “deep” blue color. The resulting photo captures the right idea.
In the end, I had a blast with Putney’s End. I even hung around to hear them play a few songs after the photo shoot! In some kind of weird way, I felt like I was in a rock band that night! I even went home immediately and dusted off my tambourine…….
I cannot describe it, but I have always marvelled at my son sleeping. It’s hard to explain! But, he is so peaceful when he sleeps. I follow many photographers on social media, and some of them speak about photographing their kids while they are sleeping. It’s the perfect time to capture some great shots!
I have tried this before! When my son was a couple of months old, I captured a nice profile shot…..
I wanted to capture another shot of my son sleeping. So around 16 months of age, I waited for the perfect opportunity. My son was knocked out! So, I grabbed my camera! At this point, I was not worried so much about lighting. I kept my flash on camera and focused more on composition. At this stage, my goal was to capture a shot of my son sleeping that would be interesting. I “worked” the composition! And about 75 frames later, I feel like I captured a pretty neat photo. Now…..I’m not the biggest fan of a matte finish, but I really think it helped to soften the final photo.
I love the final photo! I like the composition! I feel like it really tells a story of a little boy sleeping. In the end, that’s what I wanted to accomplish! And, I had fun shooting some photos and my boy didn’t even know it…….
Recently, I wrote a blog article about an inspiration maternity photo shoot. Please, do not miss it! Read it and enjoy the story! It’s one of the most inspirational stories you will ever read…….
Hop on over to 7 x 5.
Click this link: Inspirational Maternity Photo Shoot.
My son is turning 1 year old! Wow…..where has the time gone? As a Charlotte portrait photographer, I was wondering what I could do to celebrate the occasion. Well, I wanted to take a 1-year portrait of my son. I follow many Charlotte NC Family Photographers, Charlotte NC Photographers, etc. I always enjoy sharing my thoughts, visions, etc. as a photographer.
I had a vision for the portrait. Since my son’s birthday is in Spring, I wanted something outdoors (green grass, etc). I envisioned a warm, colorful portrait with saturated colors. I wanted something playful! For lighting, I wanted something warm, but fairly soft (almost like the sun was the source). Lastly, I also wanted to slightly underexpose the background to make the subject the center of attention.
With all of that vision, I ended up with this…….
All kidding aside, we have a shady spot in our backyard that lends itself to outdoor portraits. Our final shot was actually taken at noon (that’s hard to image because midday light is usually unflattering). With babies and toddlers, my biggest concerns are focus and shutter speed to capture the shot. In regards to focus, this occasion usually lends itself to continuous-servo and dynamic area AF modes (on my Nikon D700). In a nutshell, you basically focus on a subject and that focus point will move with the subject as the subject moves. That ensures that you get a sharp focus on the subject. To freeze the action with shutter speed, I dial my shutter speed to the highest sync speed which is 1/320 of a second.
Lastly, I consider the angle of the shot when taking photos of babies/toddlers. I don’t worry about composition as much as the angle. For my taste, I like to be close to eye level with the subject. Sometimes, I like to shoot down on the subject, etc. But, the majority of my portraits include an angle close to eye level. I don’t worry as much about composition because the subject is constantly moving and it is difficult to be meticulous about composition.
With those thoughts in mind, my wife helped as my assistant. In regards to lighting, I used my Westcott 43″ Apollo Orb as a key light at a 45 degree angle (camera left). I also used a bare flash gun right beside me (on axis with the photographer) with an umbrella as a fill light. For some reason, my son was very cranky that day! Out of approximately 75 frames, we only got 1 frame that I liked. Here is the photo SOOC (straight out of camera).
With toddlers/babies, there is not much time to play around with camera settings, tweaking lighting, etc. So, this SOOC (straight out of camera) image will have to suffice! I accomplished the basic ideas with this photo. First of all, my son is in focus! Also, I like the fact that my son has highlights on one side of his face and has a “shadow side” to the other side. I also like the fact that the background is somewhat underexposed (darker) in relation to the subject. With that said, the highlights are a little harsh (blown out highlights).
So, I worked on the image in post-production. I toned down the highlights, saturated the colors, and sharpened the eyes a bit. Here is the final portrait below:
That’s my son’s portrait.
In the end, this Charlotte portrait photographer had fun working on it! I am very proud of my son’s 1-year old portrait and I think I accomplished the goals in my original vision.
Heck…..I was so proud that I ordered a big canvas of the photo! I’m gonna hang it on the wall for all to see! Maybe I created a tradition of birthday portraits for years to come…….
Most of all, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to capture my son’s 1-year portrait! More than anything, it means the world to me as a photographer. When I look at this image (canvas) on my wall, I will appreciate the fact that I was the one behind the camera! That’s the icing on the cake (1-year birthday cake if you will)……
If you liked the photos in this post, please check out my portfolio.
As a Charlotte photographer, I like to share my thoughts on my favorite images from the year. The first image was from a Disney inspired shoot early in 2013. We used a one-light setup with a beauty dish. We positioned the beauty dish camera left (up above about 45 degrees left of subject) and pointed it down. I really enjoy the Rembrandt lighting on the subject’s face. If you look closely, you can see the triangle of light under the subjects’ left eye which is the hallmark of Rembrandt lighting. If I had it to do over again, I would probably try to control some of the shadows on the left side of the subject’s nose. Overall, I like the lighting in this photo most of all. Some Charlotte photographers would not light a woman with Rembrandt lighting, but I like it in this instance!
My next image was part of a shoot with the Charlotte rock band, Putney’s End. The thought was to capture a cover shot for the band. We used the walls of a basement for the backdrop. I used a one-light setup with a beauty dish. I wanted to keep a lot of the shadows to add depth to the shot. During post-production, I enhanced some of the imperfections in the wall (background). If I had to do one thing over, I might try to gel a speedlight pointed towards the wall to produce a background with a cool blue color, etc??? Regardless, the result is kind of a cool, edgy shot that I feel goes well with a rock band!
My third image is from my wife’s maternity photo shoot. Needless to say, it’s very special, near and dear to me, etc. We did the shoot in a very open field. So, I tried to incorporate the concept of a sun-drenched image. I instructed my wife to look down at her belly in deep thought. She’s thinking, contemplating, etc. Then, I used two bare speedlights. I pointed one speedlight at her face/chest and one speedlight at her belly. In the resulting image, we got some sunflare (which is actually what I wanted for this shot). The final image is strong and I think it captures the essence of an expecting mother1
My next photo is probably the most special to me! It’s a photo of my son in his crib. I had an idea of getting a profile shot in his crib. So, I mounted a speedlight with a snoot high above him. The snoot is a device that focuses the light on a small portion of the photo. I love the snoot lighting and the shadows in the background. I also think the leading lines of the crib sheet work well in this shot. From a composition standpoint, I can remember changing my angles over and over until I got the right photo! In regards to composition, I think this is one of my strongest images of 2013!
As a Charlotte photographer, I wrote about this next photo in our Uptown Girl photo shoot. I was trying to go for a high-fashion look. I used a clamshell technique with a beauty dish overhead and a silver reflector underneath. The resulting photo is somewhat an example of a high-key shot that I was looking for!
The last shot is from our most recent engagement shoot in Vidalia, GA. I tried to incorporate the blue sky, pond in the background, etc. into a sunset photo. I think the resulting photo is romantic, fitting for an engagement photo, etc. It may not be the strongest composition, but this may be the best exposure, color, and lighting example of the year!
And there you have it! These photos are the best for this Charlotte photographer in 2013!
Let me know what you think!
As a Charlotte portrait photographer, I try to write a few posts that are more about life (and have a photography tie-in at the end) than photography.
I know what you are probably thinking. There are a lot of possible jokes with this blog title! I was actually sitting at my computer laughing like Beavis and Butt-Head while writing it! I want to channel my Larry the Cable Guy and say, “I don’t care who you are. That’s funny right there.”
But, it’s not what you think. I did have a special moment with my urologist. Let me explain.
For those people that know me, they probably know that I am not only a Charlotte portrait photographer. I am also a cancer survivor.
I had testicular cancer 8 years ago. I wrote a previous blog post about my experience and how cancer changed my outlook on life. That’s not the main focus of my blog post. The focus is what happened after my cancer.
You see…….My cancer produced another shocker. I will never forget my urologist informing me 8 years ago in that office! He said it in such a matter-of-fact manner. “You will never have kids.” I don’t want to exaggerate, but that was a dramatic moment in my life! I felt empty inside! I felt like someone punched me in the stomach! That moment along with the cancer was probably the lowest point in my life!
If you fast forward in the story, you would discover through lab tests, etc, that I can have kids. It took some time after my cancer, but I am actually a “normal” man in every way. My urologist was stunned, dumbfounded, etc and could not offer an explanation!
This brings me to my most recent visit with my urologist. It has been a while and he did not know about the birth of my son. My visit with him was pretty cool! It was actually surreal! It’s difficult to put it into words! We actually chuckled and talked philosophically about life’s ups and downs, how we couldn’t believe the twists and turns in my life, etc. I regret the fact that I got somewhat choked up during the visit. I didn’t want to be overly dramatic, but this was also a dramatic life event. In that room (just he and I), I wanted to show gratitude. First and foremost, he helped in saving my life! But almost more importantly, he helped in creating another life.
So, where’s the photography tie-in? By showing my urologist photos of my son, I feel like he knew my son then and there. It’s almost like he knows my son without even meeting him! In a way, being a Charlotte portrait photographer helped me tell my son’s story.
I think that’s a pretty neat story. I take away the powerful sense of life really being a roller coaster. That metaphor fits so well! Life is a roller coaster! It’s a roller coaster without any steering! You cannot control the roller coaster (no matter how hard you try). You are along for the ride. It’s o.k to grieve when times are tough. But, it’s also o.k. to celebrate during the good times……..
Please check out my portfolio.
As a Charlotte photographer, I like to blog (sometimes) about my recent photo shoots.
For my most recent shoot, I took photos of a recently engaged couple. My wife and I traveled to south Georgia for this special occasion. We had a great time and I feel like I learn and grow with each session!
For this shoot, I wanted to showcase my most recent purchase of a Westcott 43″ Apollo Orb light modifier. So, we choose a scenic spot in the country for the shoot. Starting off, we went into the woods for a “woodsy feel”. For the first photos, I used a clamshell lighting technique with a beauty dish overhead and a silver reflector underneath as a fill light to balance out shadows, etc. I really enjoy the dramatic lighting of the subject with her fiance slightly underexposed in the background!
Next, I pulled out my new Westcott 43″ Apollo Orb light modifier. I happened to notice that sunset was not too far away. The sun was falling and creating a scenic reflection on a nearby creek.
As a Charlotte photographer, I have become more accustomed to noticing my surroundings, playing off those surroundings, etc.
Next, I wanted to create a little drama by creating eye contact with one subject (and have the other subject looking off in the distance). If you notice it in some engagement photos, one person looks at the camera while the other person looks away. I have to admit that I am a huge fan of this technique! So, we took a few photos using this concept and the resulting black and white is one of my favorites!
At this point, the sun was getting pretty low and sunset was upon us. I knew from the start that I wanted to take the last photos (at dusk) near the water. At our location , there was a scenic pond that would make for a beautiful background. So, we tried to harness the beauty of the pond and incorporate that into the sunset photos!
In the end, I am proud of our most recent engagement session (as a Charlotte photographer) in Georgia. I wanted to create somewhat romantic photos with bold edits (bold color edits, etc in Photoshop). Recently, I have become a fan of more simple edits with rich, bold colors (similar to what I see from other photographers, Charlotte Wedding Photographers, etc). I think we accomplished that. Congratulations to the engaged couple! We had a blast in Georgia!………
If you liked this post, please check out my portfolio.
I’m a Charlotte photographer and I learned a valuable lesson early on! Share and display your work!
That sounds fairly obvious, but you would be surprised to know that many Charlotte photographers (Party Photographers in Charlotte NC, Photographers Charlotte NC, Charlotte Wedding Photographers) get lost in cyberspace, uploading photos to social media, etc. We forget the power of the print, canvas, framed print, etc!
Before you know it, you wonder what your work would look like in real life, etc!
I learned this lesson early on! I decided that this photographer would always display his work.
So, I have displayed prints/frames throughout my house. I wanted to share an experience that illustrates the power of displaying your work.
I created some framed prints to go in my son’s room. I rotate the photos from time to time, but I always make sure they show a progression of his growth, etc. At the time of writing this blog post, my son is around 7 months old. Every night when my wife and I take my son upstairs to bed, I look at those photos of him on the wall. As a Charlotte photographer, I am so proud of my work! These might not be the best photos in the world, but they are mine! I created each one and they hold a special place in my heart. When we read a book to my son before bed and try to get him to unwind, I pay more attention to the photos on the wall. My wife looks at me and wonders what I am looking at. I am thrilled to see my creations on the wall!
With that said, I will continue to look for ways to display my work throughout my house (as a Charlotte photographer). I need to remember that images are best displayed in real life instead of cyberspace uploading, social media, etc.
If you liked this post, please check out my portfolio.
I didn’t wake up one day and want to become a Charlotte portrait photographer.
It kinda happened over time. In looking at possible topics for my blog, I thought it might be fun to give a little insight into the process and why I gravitate towards photography. I don’t have one singular moment! I read about a lot of photographers, Charlotte NC Photographers, etc. Many photographers talk about their first camera given to them when they were kids, etc. My experience is a little different. I always liked photography growing up. But, I didn’t plunge into it.
My experience started around 2011 when I got married. Prior to my ceremony, I wanted to invest in a solid DSLR camera. My wife and I had a destination wedding and I figured I could add to the photos that we purchased through the resort. That kinda spurred my fascination with photography and I was very intrigued from that point forward.
At that point, I plunged into photography. I read all the time, bought more and more equipment, etc. It really has been a great experience for me! My wedding sort of spurred me on and got the ball rolling.
But, I wondered why I wanted to learn and pursue photography as a Charlotte portrait photographer.
If I give it some thought, the biggest factor is that photography is an escape for me! I think I enjoy it because it is an escape from all of the pressures and stress of the world. I can jump into photography and become a Charlotte portrait photographer without any concerns! I am fortunate because photography is not my main source of income. I can be selective in what I shoot. I don’t have to spend hours upon hours editing hundreds of photos. I can pretty much do what I want in that regard. I think that also keeps it fresh, simple, somewhat wholesome, etc.
As much as I can (now having to juggle a baby, full-time job, etc), I am going to hold on to that feeling that I get when I escape into photography! It’s a good escape from life. Let’s face it! Life can become daunting sometimes and everybody needs an escape every once in a while……
If you liked this post, please check out my portfolio.
I thought I would write a short blog post about my son turning 6 months old! Wow!!!!! It has been a surreal journey! When I really think about it, I almost have to pinch myself. I cannot believe that I am a father and I have a beautiful son! My wife has done an amazing job caring for him, etc. I cannot thank her enough for the job she has done…….
With that said, this 6-month journey has been everything that I imagined! In some ways, it has been a roller coaster! There have been many ups and downs. From conception where I dealt with the prospects of not having a child, to delivery, etc. Every day has been an adventure!
But, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have spent the last 6 months watching a mini-miracle. I don’t want to be too dramatic, but Davis is a mini-miracle (in every way)! Sometimes when I come home late at night (from work) and feed him in his room, I marvel at him! I kiss his little forehead and I am truly humbled! How in the world could I be the father to such an amazing little boy???? I don’t know, but I will definitely take it!
I am humbled and blessed at life itself. I truly love Davis and cannot wait to spend more time with him (as he is growing, etc). The first 6 months has been a roller coaster ride and I cannot wait to see what the next 6 months has in store…..Please take a look at a little slideshow (put to music) of Davis and his first 6 months.
If you liked this post, please check out my portfolio.