Featured Image of the Week | 10/30/2015


“Shenandoah Sunrise”

For this weeks Featured Image of the Week I went with an image from a recent visit to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This is a sunrise shot I captured a few weeks ago and, even though I’ve featured images like this in the past, getting back to the mountains was like visiting a close friend I haven’t seen in years…

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Black Senior Portrait Background


For this blog post I’ll be sharing my technique for getting a busy background to look like a Black Portrait Background (similar to what you’d find in a photography studio). The final image was achieved with four flashes and camera settings that helped me to take the background right out of my final shot (without using Photoshop).

I was on a photography assignment in Michigan when I received a call to see if I was available for a senior portrait shoot in the area. It turns out Nichole already had a senior portrait session but she was really unhappy with the entire experience. It turns out Nichole was a beautiful girl and her bad experience was completely the fault of her previous photographer. I quickly said “yes” but because of the time of year we couldn’t go out to a nice location for her shoot. I love a challenge and this was sure to be fun. We created a bunch of images I really loved right in her living room. We started our shoot by simulating a black background.

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In the Portrait Studio with Syd


Recently I had a chance to photograph Syd in my portrait studio. With a majority of my portrait work happening away from my studio I thought this was a great opportunity to share some of my thoughts, some behind the scenes shots of my gear and how I like to set things up.

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Extending Focus Depth with Photoshop


Today I want to share a trick I use for Extending Focus Depth with Photoshop. It turns out there’s a feature in Photoshop that makes this super easy. I use this technique for lots of different situations but for this article I’ll talk about how it helps me when I’m shooting macro with a long lens. Continue reading

My Mobile Photography Studio


For this blog entry I’ll share some behind the scenes shots of my Mobile Photography Studio setup along with a few images from my photo session with one-year-old Brody.

A big part of my business involves creating portraits on location. Most of the time that means being in scenic locations like lakes and parks. Other times it’s an assignment where I’m photographing an office staff in their place of business. But sometimes I’ll get a call that requires a studio environment set up in a remote location. My photo session with Brody was a perfect opportunity to create a full studio environment in the clients home.

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Photographing Home Interiors


For the last two weeks I’ve been Photographing Home Interiors for a Michigan based audio/video company that specializes in super custom design, engineering and installation. My primary job has been to travel to numerous homes and capture how they are able to integrate their systems into the unique lifestyles of their clients. For this blog post I’ll be sharing some of the images and giving a few thoughts about this kind of photography.

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Photographing Liquor Bottles | Behind the Scenes of a Product Shoot


For this blog entry I want to talk about Photographing Liquor Bottles and give a look Behind the Scenes of a Product Shoot. After my recent trip to Kentucky I wanted to take some pictures of some special bottles of bourbon I received at the Maker’s Mark distillery. The bourbon inside the bottles was aged in a barrel that had my name on it (along with names of some other really cool Maker’s Mark Ambassadors). I was surprised to learn that I’d be putting custom labels on the bottles before I dipping them into the signature red wax to seal them. I’ll be sharing my experience at the distillery in a future blog post.

For this blog post I’ll be sharing my techniques for setting up and lighting a product in my studio. It may seem simple but when the goal is to create a specific look for your final shot it can get super complicated really fast. For the shot above I used a total of 5 flashes (three groups each set to different power levels).

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Flash Grids | A Must Have Accessory for Controlling Your Light


Today I want to talk about Flash Grids and why they are a must have accessory for controlling your light. Getting the most from your flash involves taking control. It’s important to place your flash where it will create the best illumination and shadows. On my hot-shoe flash I almost always keep a Sto-fen difusser attached to help soften and scatter the light for more pleasing results. Another great accessory I use often is a flag (also called a bounce card, flash bender or 80-20). People who follow me on this blog also know that I’m a huge user of colored gels to create unique looks or to match my flash with the available light. But another way to take control of your flash is to use an accessory called a grid. In this blog I’ll talk about the hot-shoe flash grid system I use.

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Photography From a Moving Car


Some of my favorite shots over the years have involved movement. I started shooting movement when I worked at Ford Design and I continue to explore new ways to capture a feeling of movement in a still image.

On my last trip into the Shenandoah Mountains to photograph the fall colors I decided to capture some shots of the colored leaves from my car (while driving 30 mph on Skyline Drive). For this blog entry I’ll share some of my current techniques to capture these kinds of shots in camera.

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Late Night in the Mountains


After two early mornings and one late night shooting the stars in the Shenandoah Mountains I’ve captured some shots that are among my favorites. My longest shutter speed exceeded 20 minutes of exposure time (the above shot is just over 18 minutes) and the best images were captured after 1:30am on a Sunday night. This kind of shooting requires serious camera technique since I’m sharing the shots pretty much out-of-camera (meaning they’re not getting much attention in Photoshop).

The Sunday night I ventured into the Shenandoah Mountains was the third trip I took and I was there only to shoot the stars. I wasn’t worried about the sun coming up before I was done and I wanted to see if any differences existed between shooting in the the early morning (starting at 4:30am) and shooting in the late night (starting at about 10:30pm). It turns out there are huge differences between the two times and those differences will be the subject of the blog entry. Along the way I’ll also talk a bit about the settings I used to get my favorite star trail shot to date.

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