For the photo geeks out there, I used 3 speed lights: Two lights in front of them a 72″ Octa box on the right and a small 15″ umbrella on the left and a bare speed light up and behind them (notice the shadow on the ground) This was taken on a Nikon d600 camera ISO 500 with a 50 mm lens at F8 and a shutter of 1/200th of a second
Frank Zappa occupies a place that is singular and unique both in music and American culture in general. Whenever someone speaks so unabashedly from a place of freedom (as Frank did) it gives others the power to stand up and speak their truth as well. I am but one, in the crowded landscape of disenfranchised youth that discovered this incredible man, and found a bit of hope from the way he went about being unapologetically himself. Thank you for that gift Frank
I had the pleasure and honor of photographing the incredible Zappa Plays Zappa band at the historic Hampton Beach Casino Dweezil has done us all a huge favor by continuing to perform his father’s music live. A project he started about 10 years ago. I’ve seen every tour he has done so far and he continues to delight, inspire and surprise me. Special thanks to the incredible Kurt Morgan for bringing these photos to fruition. Kurt plays bass and sings with the ZPZ band. He was very generous with his time helping me to get connected with the group for this gig. The current tour is focused (for the 1st third of the show) on playing the entire One Size Fits All album. While wandering around the vast emptiness of the venue before the show with Kurt, we stumbled upon this Fat Maroonish Sofa, supported by boards of oak. We thought to ourselves, “Quite an attractive sofa, this sofa could be commercial” with a few margaritas and the right company…
Here are a quick set of portraits I created of Kurt before the show using the Fat Maroonish Sofa
Here are the photos of Sound Check before the show
The show that Zappa Plays Zappa puts on is second to none. I am continually blown away by the dedication to precision and accuracy all done with power and soul and tons of humor. Thanks Dweezil, Kurt, Ben, Chris, Sheila, and Ryan for a great show! Here are the photos
The Leftover Cuties are a breath of fresh air in the music scene. If you don’t know their music, it’s both old style and modern, very danceable but they aren’t a dance band, the music has depth and gravitas but is sometimes quirky and playful. I had the honor and pleasure of creating these portraits during their stay over in Rhode Island. The timing was good as it was Austin’s (the bass player) birthday! Yay!
You may be familiar with The Showtime television show called “The Big C” that the Cuties wrote and performed the theme song for.
Here are two other songs that moved me (both in different ways)
Dig the photos! I am very proud of them!
This is Chris Simpson, creative director at The Contemporary Theater Company This small theater has brought vitality, energy, and enthusiasm to the hundreds of shows they have created over the years. Just last year they found a home in Downtown Wakefield which immediately created a place for the community to not only be entertained, but call their own. I am proud to add Chris to the list of portraits in this series, and hope you like it as much as I do!
I had the pleasure of being the very 1st presenter in front of a sold out crowd at the very 1st Ignite Southern RI put on by The Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
This was an exciting and inspirational evening of speakers that was an honor to be a part of! Thank you to everyone that worked so hard to make it come together!
I co-hosted yet another “Light The Way” photographic workshop with my friend and fellow photographer Brad Smith this past weekend. This one took place at Manic Training Which by the way is an EXCELLENT place to workout!
We had a blast with lots of photos created and lots of learning happening I LOVE to teach what I love… I believe we had about 15 photographers in the room with 5 models and 2 hair and make up professionals. Thanks also to Trevor Holden and Matt Jacobsen for some behind the scenes photography and assistance in setting up and breaking down the piles of gear we brought with us, as well as taking some participants under their wing as needed.
Check out this really fun video we made of the event!
Thank you very much to Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design her hair styles keep getting better and better! Check out these ladies!
And Thank you to Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry Always does just the right amount of makeup so the ladies look their best!
Here are some photos that I created
A big THANK YOU to our Models who really stepped up to the plate!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photos I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photos in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing Bethany’s ability to transform herself as an actress. We chose 3 vastly different women from different time periods as our characters for this portrait rather than Bethany herself.. Going as far as to give them names, back stories and motivations for what was happening for them in these moments. I shot 3 photos with my camera on a Tripod to keep the same position and then photoshopped them all together later. We shot the Gibson Girl 1st (her name is Edith) here are some set up shots. The costumes, hair and make up were pretty extensive Than you Becky! We put a lot of time into making the details just right! Thank you to The beautiful Stadium Theater for letting us use their space to work in. Visit their website here and you can visit Bethany’s website here
Here is the photo we did of Bethany as the Gibson girl pre photoshop. You can see my Octabox in the photo which was later taken out in addition to this light I also had a light up the stairs camera left shining down. You can see that light on her face and arm. And one big 7′ umbrella camera left out of the frame feathered across her front to just fill in gently. You can see the 7′ umbrella in another frame below.
The next shot was our 50’s lady named Audrey here is a set up shot.
I used a very similar lighting set up for this lady as for the 1st shot. We had Becky stand in to give Bethany someone to interact with where our Edith character would have been standing. You can just barely see a light camera left if you look close. Also of note thank you to Faye for holding the christmas stuff out of my frame 🙂 we shot this just after Christmas so the place was decorated for the Holiday and we had to take it apart and put it all back together for our shot…
last we made the Courtney character shot. For this one I just used 2 lights on her right and left you can see both here if you look close on camera right you can just see my octabox our of frame.
This portrait was created as a part of a series of photo I am calling the Rhode Island Portrait Project. You can see some of the other photo in this project here
I created this portrait with the intention of showing off John Ford’s incredible physical presence mixed with the feeling of aspiration, determination, and hope. I wanted the focus to be entirely on John for this so I went with a studio background instead of working in the “real world” the setting for my camera were:
ISO 141 Shutter 1/160th aperture F 4.5 with 3 light sources shown here
I used a bare bulb flash no modifications set camera right about 1/32nd power results shown here
Then I added another bare bulb flash about 1/8th power pointed at John from the back and very much toward my camera this added some wonderful back light and beautiful lens flare shown here
I used an Octabox up and camera left about 1/8th power. After a little photoshopping (I cleaned up the background and made the portrait a little more punchy but that is it)
here is the final photo
Some other tricks we did:
Baby oil smeared all over John to give him a nice sheen, and I sprayed him down with water to make it look like he was sweating. Open the photo to see it at a proper size
and go check out his website
I had the pleasure of photographing Janek this week. during the session I learned that he is obsessed with magic and card tricks. So we changed gears from my original thought which was to photograph him with his beloved instrument and made a portrait with his cards. I felt like this was the stand out shot from all the photos we took because it not only looks visually amazing with the cards flying through the air but also speaks to how I feel about improvisation and art in general. There is an element of Magic to beautiful art. When you watch Janek play his bass or any amazing artist create improvisational art there is an element of “wow that can’t be true?” that happens for me. I feel like we captured that element in this portrait. Also I have always said that photography is lying with images which lines up nicely with the idea of the card playing charlatan image we made here.
Here are the rest of the portraits we made. Janek’s beautiful wife Bethany jumped in at the end for a few photos too. Thanks Bethany and Janek 🙂
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
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.
I am proud of this portrait of Ed Tarbox taken for The Rhode Island Portrait Project. I sat down with Ed to talk about creating this portrait and was struck right off the bat 1st by his genuine energy and friendliness and second by his true LOVE of cars. It became clear that I needed to photograph him with one of his personal cars. My 1st idea was to photograph him like a racer from the 30’s you know with the goggles and a scarf but after he showed me his vintage 1963 Corvette I knew we had a winner. The concept shifted and we started talking about James Dean and Marlon Brando from the late 50’s early 60’s and Wammo I could see it in my mind! I love it when that happens!
Here is the technical info on our portrait
Taken on a Nikon D700 ISO 800 as it was getting close to dark. 5 light sources if you include the ambient light from the sky (all shown below) the shutter was 1/60th at F4
I am very proud to announce the 2nd lighting workshop I am putting on with the talented Brad Smith! Here is the info on how to sign up if you want to take your photography to the next level. We will have models that will be done up professionally by the lovely and talented Lynda Williams of Formal Hair Design and make up by the beautiful Jennifer Hodge of Spectrum Make up Artistry
I photographed Kelsey Kaiser for the Cover of Grace Magazine recently. Here is the cover image and inside spread as well
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
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
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.
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
For the camera geeks, and photographers that want to take their images to the next level
This is how I created the portrait of Joan Dwyer from “All That Matters”
1st the concept: I sat down with Joan 2 times (with multiple phone calls and texts in between) and we chatted for about an hour each time about this portrait, this time is a very important part of my process. We talked about who she is as a person, a business woman, a mother, a friend ect… And I floated ideas for how to portray her in this portrait. One thing to note is that she was very nervous about being photographed as most people are (including myself) This time we spent together is so very important to making folks feel comfortable with the idea of being photographed. My idea was that I wanted to photograph her as a Goddess at rest. I wanted to tell the story of what I think All That Matters represents and what roll it plays in our community. She was very reluctant to be portrayed as a Goddess, because, understandably, she didn’t want to give the impression she thought of herself as high and mighty… But this is (as are all the Rhode Island Portrait Project series photographs) my conception of who she is. Who I think of her as, not who she thinks of herself as…
2nd the execution: We built this composition over time using different things that Joan had on hand at her place I wanted it to be symmetrical and balanced visually because Yoga is all about balance. I decided to light her with candles mostly, so I went to Job Lot and the dollar store and bought about 200 candles! We used every single one! I constructed the composition slowly, and when I had everything placed where I wanted it to go then I set the exposure for the room (see 4708) then I added the one speedlight shot through a softbox (see 4710) and last I lit the candles and made sure the light was right coming off them (see 4713) when I had everything set which took about 1.5 hours then we started taking photographs and pretty quickly we got the winner (see 4733)
Here is my exposure info: ISO 800 (thank you Nikon) Shutter 1/25th and F 4 on my 50mm lens
With a little photoshoping the portrait was complete! I removed the leg of my light stand and some debris in the back ground as well some optimizations of contrast ect…
Here is a backed up shot so you can see where my light was positioned
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.
lighting techniques and posing in a dynamic, hands-on workshop?
I photographed Katherine Quinn for the Rhode Island Portrait Project using a 70-200 mm VR Nikon lens on my D700 body set to ISO 800
I used 3 lights a 43″ Octabox set up and camera left about 5′ away from Katherine this was my main light, a smaller soft box set about 15′ back and camera right this light you can see on her neck and cheek. I wanted this light to be very subtle and barely show. And last I used a ring flash to fill in again in a very subtle way some of the shadows on her. The location we chose Fete club in Providence RI has this wonderful art piece which has a spot light on it, as well as having some purple lights on in the club which show as well. Here is a set up drawing for your dining and dancing pleasure
And also Thank you to Brad Smith for providing me with these set up shots!