Cookies, Cakes and Photos, Oh My…

I’ve been doing a lot more product photography for small business catalogs, websites and marketing over the last six months. I think this might be a good sign for the national economy, or at least for the Texas economy. If more small and medium sized businesses are willing to invest in updating, upgrading and growing their retail footprint, there must be brighter skies ahead!
The latest shoot I did was for a cookie and cake company. You can see a few of the day’s shots below. The art director went with a flowery summer theme, which I thought was fun and different for a cookie company…

Anthropologie scores!!!

I just got the new Anthropologie catalog in the mail yesterday, and it’s pretty nice. If you are looking for some photo inspiration, you should pick it up. I’ve always been hesitant of their imagery (and disgusted by their sister store Urban Outfitters‘ sorry attempt at edgy catalog images), but the current issue really hits the mark!
Sure, they still have some consistency problems from page to page and image to image, and a few shots feel like a high school intern shot them; but, I’m finding a ton of great stuff to look at overall. I especially love the cover and the last several pages of housewares set in chalkboard rooms with hand drawn props… very clever, Anthropologie!!!

Video from the ASMP event…

Thanks to Profoto USA and Bolt Productions in Dallas, TX, I had a great time taking photos and capturing some video of the ASMP and IABC networking event and live photo shoot demo night. You can see some video of the evening right here:

The Profoto ASMP event was a blast!!!

The June ASMP Dallas networking event was a huge success, thanks to Profoto, Bolt Productions and the Dallas chapter of the IABC. More than just our regular happy hour event, The ASMP Dallas June event was jam-packed with fun, food, friends and free shooting!
Profoto sponsored an evening hosted at Bolt Productions – a local studio and equipment rental facility. Profoto provided some good food and drinks, along with a bunch of new lighting and camera gear for us to test out live. Thanks to the Clutts Agency, we also had some great male models available as our subjects. Oh, and some belly dancers were on the other set… I forget where they came from, though. You can see some of the images that I took during the evening…

I used my Lens Baby brand lens on a couple of the images just to play around a bit. I thought it might give me something a bit different. You can tell which shots are the Lens Baby shots, because they go soft and blurry around the edges. It’s a nice effect, but it’s not the easiest lens to shoot with. But man, those new Profoto packs were a dream! I love my Profoto gear, but the newest stuff is even faster and more powerful.
Of course, I didn’t spend the whole evening shooting. I did plenty of mingling and networking, too. ASMP asked the IABC to have a co-networking event, which meant there were a lot of potential clients to talk with. And, there were a ton of other photographers milling about, checking out the Profoto stuff. I wound up chatting with a ton of old friends and a few new shooters that I’d never met before. Between the shooting, the chatting and the eating/drinking, I just about wore myself out! It was a blast!!!
I’m really glad that I attended the event. I got a chance to try out some cool new Profoto and Mamiya gear, talk with some fellow ASMP members, network with some IABC members and see the new Bolt Productions location! It was a good night.

Photogs on Bravo…

I haven’t watched it yet, but there’s supposedly a reality show following two fashion photographers that just premiered on Bravo. It’s called Double Exposure, and I think the series premiere was last night. I’ll check out an episode or two, hoping that it’s a worthwhile show:

The sample sneak peek that I watched on the Bravo website isn’t too promising, but I’ll hold final judgement on Double Exposure until I’ve seen a full two episodes.

A little tip when buying your C-Stands…

Tip for the day:

If you are buying a C-Stand, don’t try to save a few bucks and get the cheaper model that doesn’t have a removable turtle base. You will find they are so much more convenient to move, transport and store if you can remove the top from the base – especially if you have a small or midsize car!

It was a music week…

I wound up shooting a few musicians this week, and would’ve shot another – if he wouldn’t have cancelled his show on Friday. First up was the double billed Jill Scott and Maxwell concert at American Airlines Center. It was a good show, though all the media photographers were forced to shoot from way back during Jill’s set. I’d shot Jill a few years back, but had never seen Maxwell live before. He was good, like a modern day mixture of Ray Charles and James Brown. My favorite shots of him were when he was connecting with the audience – like the one below when he asks them to sing along.

I was also supposed to shoot 50 Cent this last Friday. It sounded like an easy shoot. However, it got even easier when he cancelled the show. At the time, I thought my Friday night was wrapping up. Then I received a last-minute call from Quick. They wanted to know if I would shoot Pitbull at the Palladium Ballroom. You can see one of the pics used online here: and I’m sure a couple more will wind up running in the next printed issue, hitting stands soon.
Next up (unless another concert comes across my lap in the next few days) will be a studio shoot with Dallas, Texas band Black Tie Dynasty for a feature story in The News. That should be a fun shoot! I’ve shot them twice before, and they are real nice guys. I’ll post a link or copy of that story when it runs…

Canon backup camera?!?

When you aren’t holding your SLR or medium format camera in your hand, do you have a backup camera nearby? When I am not working, sometimes I head out on errands or personal trips without a camera. Because of this, I wind up missing some shots that I would love to have. Sure, I have the iPhone camera, but that won’t do much better than snapping a nice pic for my facebook page or the family blog. I don’t carry the family point and shoot with me, because (even though it takes nice snapshot style pics) it just doesn’t have the quality that my Canon 5DmkII does.

Well, a lot of pro photogs I know like to carry the Canon Powershot G11 with them at all times. It is as close to a “real” camera that you can get, with the exception of a couple Leica pocket cameras on the market for insane prices… The G11 offers RAW shooting, great color depth and a very respectable 10 megapixel sensor. Sure, it’s just a little too big to fit in a shirt pocket, but a purse, fanny pack or cargo pants pocket wouldn’t mind holding this little gem.
So, do you carry a camera everywhere? If so, what model do you carry with you?

Some recent cover photos…

I thought I’d share a couple recent covers that I shot for Quick. They both had to be fun, sumer type photos to go along with the party themes of the feature stories. However, I didn’t want them to look exactly the same, so I used a very simple technique to change the background.
Even though both were shot on the exact same red seamless in my studio, I pumped up the power on a single light behind the model on the “Cake in a Glass” cover. This made it appear to be pink in the middle and slowly fall off to a light red around the edges. Using a modest power setting on my main subject light, the main to background ratio helps keep the background looking bright and sunny.
The “Happy Hour” story needed a more sexy, nightlife feel to it. To achieve this, I simply bounced two lights (one from each side of the background) towards the middle. This created a very mild bright spot in the center, but it quickly fades to a darker, richer red. Metering for a powerful main light on the subjects, I am able to really bring out the true red color in the seamless. The ratio from main to background power favors the subject, making the background appear darker and more bold.
So, there you go… two different looks and feels on two different covers, but shot on the exact same background! It just takes a little different light setup, and you are good to go!