Category Archives: Grace Magazine

Cover Photo for Grace Magazine, by Seth Jacobson

As some of you know, I work for Grace Magazine creating portrait style covers for them as well as editorial features inside. Grace is getting a new look as well as an expanded mission. Asking the readers to “Read Deeper” check out the most recent cover I made, I love it, and hope you do to!

Here is a link to Grace’s homepage go check out some of the compelling stories Grace tells here!

Special thanks to Jeanne, Steve, and Mark at The Garde Arts Center for their help and kindness in creating this portrait!

Grace Magazine cover by Seth Jacobson

Editorial Photography: Seth Jacobson creates another Cover photo for Grace Magazine

Here I am lying down on the job again on the stage of the beautiful and historic Garde Arts Center

People often comment on the strange positions I put my body in while taking photos. For me it’s kind of and unconscious maneuvering. I just move my body until the composition looks correct through lens. After I’m done, if someone has snapped a photo of the moment, I am usually as surprised as everyone else at the way I look…

We were creating the next cover photo for Grace Magazine This one is going to be really FUN, can’t wait for it to go to print!

Seth Jacobson photographing the next cover for Grace Magazine

Seth Jacobson photographing the next cover for Grace Magazine

Why I don’t give my photos away for free. (A harsh lesson in the business side of photography)

*Edit #2*   So in less than 24 hours this story has been seen, commented on and shared by about 10,000 people. I received what seemed to be a genuine apology from the person that wrote me originally, and a personal apology from the owner of the magazine. I accepted both and felt like they meant it. I’m definitely not getting hired by them in the future… But even so, this seems to have made a small difference. Thank you all so much for the incredible support, kind words and for standing up for not only me but all artists. I believe this is an important issue that we need to stay vigilant about.

*Edit* I have gotten a ton of very supportive kind and thoughtful responses to this post. THANK YOU! As it turns out this is a universal experience for artists of all kinds… I have also had quite a few people asking me to publish the name, email address and publication that I am referring to. But I’m not going to do that, I don’t want to hurt the publication, or get anyone fired, I DO want to take this experience and use it to make a positive instead. Please share this blog post around on social media. I have already had many thousands of people see it. Wouldn’t it be something if this message could reach 150,000 people? This is the number that they were using to try to make me give up my work for free, in order to be exposed to… Let’s use the power of the internet to spread this message around. Maybe just maybe we can do it!

As a photographer I get TONS of requests for free work. It is an unfortunate part of doing what I do. Today after the 3rd email of its type this week (and its thursday),

I snapped…  It is SO HARD to be a small business owner. Some days it feels like I am floating in the sea by myself on a small life-raft constructed from only my ability to create nice photos.

I got approached by a large local magazine for free work, and according to their website, the publication goes out to 150,000 people a year. Now the back story here is that I already do work for a number of publications and they pay me well for my work. Here is a link to some of the covers I have made 

And for those of you that don’t already know, a magazine works like this:    They create interesting things for folks to look at and read, this is called “content” and then hopefully people will want to look at the magazine and read it. The tourism publication in question was asking for “content” from me. That means the actual magazine part, because without “content” all they have to print is Ads and who wants to read a magazine of only Ads?  Depending on how many people it gets distributed to the magazine then sells ad space with varying prices.  So in short they are willing to accept payment for the ad space but not pay the content creators of the substance for what the magazine actually is.

If you are a photographer and are reading this now, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t give away your photos for free. No one can eat “exposure” you can’t pay your rent with “exposure”  it undermines not only you, but the other professional photographers out there. They stated in an email to me that they have some “extraordinarily talented photographers who are willing to let us use their work for free” and when I said that I wouldn’t give them my photos for free, they responded like this.

“I will happily oblige your request to bow out.
And I will be sure to pass along this response to the other three art directors on our staff, not including myself, to let them know—paid or unpaid—your attitude does not warrant consideration for any future work here. They will be copied on this email.
Further more, if someone ever asks me for a reference of a local photographer—which surprise, surprise, happens in a small state with a burgeoning art community—who shoots anything related to people, landscapes, still-lifes, editorial, or any other form of photography, I’ll make sure to let them know the same. There’s your long e-mail explanation on how we do things here at this large organization.

Now to be clear, I understand when an organization like The Matty Fund or The Domestic Violence Resource Center, or The Jimmy Fund, or Camp Carefree, or Butler Hospital  come to me and ask for donations. I have, over the years donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of photography to these very organizations, and will continue to do so. But this organization in question is a for profit (and doing quite well I might add) business.

I will end by saying this. While I do get discouraged by interactions like this, I have had the opportunity to photograph thousands of grateful, kind and generous people who have kept me in business since 1999. THANK YOU to these folks. Tomorrow is another day.

Portraits, Weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s OH MY 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, here are just a small taste of the photos we created during 2013! Dig it!

Behind the Curtain/ Roller Derby Portrait for Grace Magazine

Here is a portrait I created for Grace Magazine of some of the shoreline Roller Derby girls for an article  about their organization.

The Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

The Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

This is a very complicated photo I pieced together from 3 separate images. I took all of the photos in the same session with all the participants on hand the whole time. But I simply didn’t have enough lights to adequately cover everyone in my composition. So what I did was place my camera on a tripod and move the lights around to where I needed them for each grouping and then blended it all together in Photoshop later on.

The Roller-rink was closed and quite dark (if you look in the back you can see the concession stand is closed and dark looking something I wish I had seen when I was shooting)

Here are 2 set up shots

_SAJ3821 _SAJ3819


Once I got my Composition figured out, what I needed to do was light each group but make it look like they were all lit the same way even thought they all had completely different lighting. I placed one of my lights right in the photo (top left hand corner) on purpose this gave the illusion of a unified lighting scheme. Your eye automatically wants to believe photos and this helps inform the lighting so you can believe what you are seeing.

behind the curtain with the shoreline roller derby by Seth Jacobson

behind the curtain with the shoreline roller derby by Seth Jacobson

You can see here I had 3 lights on this 1st photo. A 7′ reflective umbrella, a bare bulb light and on the right hand side in the back a gridded light just on the Ref. who was showing up too dark in test shots.

Behind the curtain with the Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

Behind the curtain with the Shoreline Roller Derby by Seth Jacobson

The Next photo was taken with a very similar lighting set up just moved closer toward these ladies the 7′ umbrella is off camera here but still in use and the gridded light was set behind them exactly to give a little back light in addition to the back light you can see on the top left.

Behind the curtain with The Shoreline Roller derby by Seth Jacobson

Behind the curtain with The Shoreline Roller derby by Seth Jacobson

The last photo was shot using 2 lights a smaller shoot through umbrella up and over the subjects the spot gridded light creating the shadow on the wall. With all the photos taken all I had to do was stitch them together in Photoshop Here is how it appeared in the magazine.

The Shoreline Roller Derby By Seth Jacobson for Grace Magazine

The Shoreline Roller Derby By Seth Jacobson for Grace Magazine




Behind the Curtain/ Grace Magazine Cover photo/ Portrait Photography

I photographed Daphne Martin for the cover of Grace Magazine. Daphne is a wonderful musician and song writer, and I met her in her home to photograph this portrait. The photo came together sort of organically after looking at the space and seeing the clothes she had picked out for the shoot. Being a big fan of thematic colors, when I saw the red hat, red dress and red walls, I immediately saw the photo in my head.

Here is our finished portrait

Daphne Martin, cover photo for Grace Magazine by Seth Jacobson

I created this portrait using 2 lights one up and camera left with a spot grid on the flash, creating a very harsh light that shone down mostly on her head and shoulders, and a Ring flash to fill in the shadows a little so the dark parts of the portrait weren’t SUPER dark. I positioned her just off the wall and the ring flash made a wonderful shadow all around her body which looks super cool too!

The technical info on the photo for those of you that are interested was

Nikon D700 ISO 100 F5.6 shutter 1/200th

Here are some set up shots to show you the scene I changed my lens to a wide lens which allows you to see the ring flash on the camera itself and the other photo you can see that there is an umbrella which I tried but ended up not using in the final shot.

Rhode Island Portrait Photographer Cover of Grace Magazine Behind the Curtain

I photographed Kelsey Kaiser for the Cover of Grace Magazine recently. Here is the cover image and inside spread as well

Grace Magazine Cover shot by Seth Jacobson

Photoshoot for Grace Magazine by Seth Jacobson

This was a fairly complicated photo to produce, with multiple conversations and meetings to discuss the photo with Kelsey and the folks that run the Gym where she practices. From the very 1st time I walked into the Gym which is located in New London CT I saw this image in my head. They have a large Flag on the wall next to the ring in the gym and I knew that was the shot. As some of you might know the only formal training I have in photography was from a class I took in highschool. I was lucky enough to have a great photography teacher that taught me some very important fundamentals for creating beautiful images. One of those lessons that Mr. Z imprinted on me was that a photo starts in your mind’s eye. If you can’t see the image before it’s created then how are you going to make it happen? That vision is very important to making beautiful photos but I am getting off topic here.

SO Here is a few photos showing the place and what it looked like with and without my lights

Grace magazine photoshoot behind the curtain

Grace Magazine photoshoot behind the curtain lighting set up

Grace Magazine photoshoot lighting set up behind the curtain

The main photo was taken on my Nikon D700 ISO 560 with a 50 mm lens set at F/5 and a shutter of 1/125th I wanted to get some of the ambient light of the gym to show up so that we could see the flag behind her but I wanted that to be a little dimmer than her. So I set my exposure for that background first and then added lights to create a dramatic feeling photo.   You can see I had a large Octabox set up high above Kelsey to drop that sweet soft light down on her this is the main light working on her. From behind her I set 2 lights at 45 degrees pointing at the camera crossing her on either side this light you can see on her shoulders and the side of her face. They were all triggered at the same time using Pocket wizards. Also I wiped her down with baby oil to give her skin a little extra shine. Now that it is over and done I am very proud of the portrait.

Here is the finished photo and another that I really liked that didn’t make the magazine

Cover photo for Grace Magazine June 2012 by Seth Jacobson

Boxing Portrait by Seth Jacobson

Behind the Curtain: Cover Photo for Grace Magazine of Theresa Ferryman

This was a fairly involved portrait to create with a many meetings/phone conversations/and text messaging to talk about the concept and feeling that we wanted to create and capture. We created this cover shot of Theresa in what is the oldest working court room in the United States. Below are some iPhone photos I took for reference in advance of the portrait as well as set up photos in process of creating the portrait.

lighting diagram for portrait of Theresa Ferryman

natural light

I wanted to have a very dark portrait but the room was filled with light so I set my camera to way underexpose the photo and added light to that dark exposure using my flashes.  The photo was shot with an 85mm lens ISO 100 shutter 1/200 Aperture 5.6 The main light on her face up and camera left I wanted to be kind of harsh and I wanted the light to be only on her not the back ground, so I put a spot grid on it. I didn’t want the shadows to be too dark though so I put a ring flash on my camera at a very low setting this just nudges the shadows up a little but doesn’t get rid of them all together. And the 3rd light I added was shot through a soft box with a strip modifier on it I used this modifier because I wanted the light coming from behind her to be soft and just kiss her cheek and hair.

Here is the final portrait

Cover portrait for Grace Magazine

Grace Magazine Cover Photo Theresa Ferryman

I am proud of this very special portrait that I created for Grace Magazine of Theresa Ferryman. I sat down with Theresa to talk with her and was immediately struck by her warmth and intelligence. I was also struck by the gravity of her job. Theresa is a Prosecutor for CT Superior Court and she particularly deals with child sex abuse cases and she is very good at what she does.  I knew that I wanted create a portrait that told a story about who is and what she does. I felt like the darkness of what she deals with everyday was in direct opposition to the lovely woman who I was getting to know. How to show both things in one portrait? What I settled on was a portrait in which she was lit in a very dark space, with the darkness being a metaphor for her work. I wanted the darkness to be all around her but to have her still feel friendly and thoughtful, but in charge, direct and unflinching.

What are your thoughts?

Grace Magazine Cover by Seth Jacobson Photography

Wedding Contest Winners at The Garde Theater, New London CT

Congratulations to Kristen and Jason who celebrated their marriage yesterday at The Garde Art Center in New London CT. I was honored to photograph this event that was a wedding give away put on by The Day Newspaper Grand prize was a complete wedding for Kristen and Jason and 50 guests, thrown by The Day! The wedding was held on Sunday, March 25.

It was quite a lovely day with a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work that all ended up  FABULOUS ! I am super happy to have been a part of this event that was donated my some very generous people!

Wedding photo at The Garde Theater New London

The prize package included:

* Hair and beauty for the bride provided by Bella vita Salon
* Ceremony and reception location provided by the Garde Arts Center
* Catering by Coastal Gourmet
* Photography by Seth Jacobson Photography
* Rings provided by Mallove’s Jewelers
* Entertainment by Pierce Productions
* Cake provided by You Take the Cake
* Linens and place settings provided by Arrow Party Rental
* Videography by Marsal Studios
* Dress provided by Pentangle Fashion Boutique
* Tuxedo by Colin’s Tux Shop

*Flowers by Adam’s Garden of Eden

Behind the Curtain Portrait at The Garde Theater of Jeanne Sigel

I photographed Jeanne Sigel at The Garde Theater in New London CT for Grace Magazine. After meeting with Jeanne and seeing this spectacular venue, the photo became clear in my mind. We needed to have this be not only a photograph of Jeanne, but a portrait of The Garde itself as well. After some test shots I realized that I needed to get up higher so that the photo had even edges and wasn’t so tilted up looking. I also wanted the photo to have the color more balanced as it was heavy on the orange and red tones, so working with the lighting designer at The Theater I had him put two blue spot lights right on Jeanne. This created almost a face as if Jeanne was looking at the Theater and the Theater was looking back at her. They had a lift there that I set up my tripod on and climbed a ladder to get up next to the camera (as there wasn’t enough room on the lift for me and the tripod) after composing the photo and getting my exposure correct (ISO 560, 20mm lens, 1.6 seconds shutter, and F9 aperture) I tripped the shutter using a cable release cord because the lift was very wobbly. Here is the final photo as it appeared in the magazine as well as some set up shots.

The Garde Theater New London CT

The Garde unfinished shot

Grace Magazine Cover Photo

I am extremely proud to show you my cover photo for the most recent Grace Magazine

The portrait is of Susette Tibus who is on the board of trustees for The Mystic Aquarium 

Susette Tibus by Seth Jacobson

Mystic Seaport photos for Grace Magazine

I am very proud to have photographed the cover of Grace magazine this month! Super cool! The cover photo is of Rhoda Hopkins Root volunteer coordinator at Mystic Seaport. Rhoda is a very dynamic and charming woman and I feel like we really nailed a wonderful portrait! Here is the cover


Rhoda Hopkins Root on the cover of Grace Magazine photo by Seth Jacobson

I also went back to the Seaport another day to photograph this magical place at dusk. They were extremely flexible with me and my ridiculous request to climb the mast of their biggest ship and photograph from the crow’s nest! This photo also is in the magazine. What a fun job I have to get to do stuff like this!

Mystic Seaport


Behind the curtain on “The Big Picture” Portrait for Grace Magazine

The "Big Picture" Portrait for Grace Magazine


I am very excited to announce a new portrait project. I have been hired by Grace Magazine to photograph women that are pushing creative boundaries and making a contribution in an artistic and humanitarian way to our world. Nancy Parent was the first subject in the series for the October/November 2011 issue of Grace magazine. I am very happy with the results.

Here is how I created the portrait for the folks that are interested in the geeky techy stuff… The photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and a 50 mm lens ISO 100, aperture 3.5, shutter speed 1/250th which is the fastest sync speed for speed-lights (of which I used two) I chose that exposure because it was just about a full stop under-exposed on the background making it a little darker than it would have been if  the landscape were the focus of the photo. This allowed her to really show up nicely and “really Pop” when lit properly. I triggered the lights with Pocket Wizards attached to the speed-lights and my camera, which make my lights fire at the same time as I push the shutter. You can see from my set-up photo that the main light is about 7 feet in the air and about 5 feet away from Nancy, just barely camera left. I put a diffusing dome right on the speed-light and then shot that through an umbrella which creates a very soft, sweet light shining down on her. The second light was positioned about 4 feet away from her, hard left, and I shot that through a spot grid to give a very specific focused light to define her and make her stand out more from the background. We got lucky with just the slightest breeze which blew her hair back and that is how we created this beautiful portrait!

To read more about Nancy and read the full article, visit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Here is the set up photo for Nancy’s portrait

Lighting Set up for Grace Magazine portrait session

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