In my 5th year photographing the amazing Chewbacchus parade, I don’t think I have seen this many people in the parade and along the parade route. I can only expect that they broke records in krewe attendance and parade watchers. The streets of the Marigny and especially Frenchmen St. were packed 5 and 6 rows deep with people gawking at the sci-fi themed parade. I slimmed down my gear for this parade and only brought my Canon G7x - and here are a few of my favorite shots.
Traveling in 2019 can be stressful, even if it’s for a well needed vacation. Traveling with your entire photo studio for work can be down right catastrophic if you don’t prepare and think ahead. I hope my recent international headshot photo shoot can help you learn some tips on how to travel with your photography equipment in a safe and inexpensive way.
How to properly travel with your gear can be tricky, so how do you fly with all that photo gear?
I recently had the pleasure of traveling again to photograph a long time client’s conference. In my third year of this relationship me and my team have photographed their conferences in New Orleans, LA, Austin, Texas, and most recently San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each conference is a 4-5 day conference and event documentary job while shooting multiple days of business headshots that range from 40 – 200 people.
Being able to execute the convention and photography duties in New Orleans was easy since that is where my business is based. I was able to have my studio open and ingesting each days shots to send out daily edits to the company marketing team, as well as being able to load in and setup the conference head shot station with ease.
Traveling to Austin for the 5 day conference was a bit tougher, but with the proper resources I was able to make it very easy for my photography workflow. I brought with with me only my Paul C. Buff Alien Bees, pocket wizard remotes, and cables. Since Austin is a bustling creative capital city, I rented light stands, sand bags, and a full studio background kit with a grey seamless roll. I rented the gear from a local rental house and they were able to deliver and pickup the gear to the hotel we were shooting at.
If you are traveling for a photoshoot and can expense local gear rental to your client, I would highly suggest that. Considering that local rental rates for limited gear can sometimes be equal to the cost of an oversize and overweight checked gig bag! Either way, you will pay for the gear, so why not reduce the wear and tear on your own gear (and your back!) and rent photography grip gear in the city you are shooting.
Headshots are easy at my studio but knowing how to properly pack for travel is a whole other deal!
Most recently my client brought their conference to the amazing city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was very excited at the opportunity to photograph Puerto Rico as I had never been before. Puerto Rico is such a beautiful island and the people are hospitable and kind. I was looking forward to the “day of service” the conference attendees would do in the rural beach community of Yabucoa. Yabucoa is still recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Hurricane Maria is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect the island and was the deadliest storm of 2017.
After searching for a few photography rental studios in San Juan and coming up short,, I realized that my options were to rent from a local photographer or bring my own. Trusting my instincts and ready for a challenge I decided to figure out how to travel with my studio lighting kit and be ready for headshots and conference documentary in another country.
How do I know what gear to check and what photography gear to carry on the airline?
It is wise to check with your airline about their size and weight restrictions on checked bags. I was in the clear to pack my entire travel photo studio into a secure hard case Pelican Case. (more on that later)
I always carry on my camera bodies, lenses, batteries, memory cards (in a hard case), portable hard drives and laptop. I am currently using and loving my camera bag from ONA with it’s ability to hold 2 Canon Mark IV’s, 70-200 2.8, 16-35mm 2.8, 24-70mm 2.8, my 15” MacBook Air, and other related gar. The bag fits nicely in my overhead or under my feet while flying.
A few weeks before my trip I went on Amazon.com and bought 3 studio light stands where the legs collapsed up, thus reducing their size to fit exactly in the Pelican Case. I also purchased a foldable light grey backdrop disc and stand that also fit into the Pelican Case with ease. I cut out snug spaces in the foam inserts of the case to fit: 3 Einstein strobes, cables, extra strobe bulbs, transmitters and backup batteries for all. Remember when you arrive at your final destination any oversized cases will be waiting for you at the oversize counter and not the general baggage carousel.
Knowing that my entire studio could fit in one case was awesome! I was ready to fly, but was I protected?
Photographing and travelling domestically is easy right? But when do I get travel insurance and when do I know I am protected? Travel insurance is a must have for most travelers. From cancelled flight reimbursement to general liability insurance you can get what you need to feel protected. Lucky for me I was flying and shooting in a U.S. Territory so my existing health insurance as well as my business insurance package would carry over to any incident incurred while on my shoot in Puerto Rico. Before travelling out of the country for your next photo shoot I suggest contacting your issuing insurance agent to ask them of any coverage you may need.
Proper preparation before my international photo shoot was vital in the planning phase of my trip. By visualizing what I needed for my headshots and my day to day shooting, I was able to plan, pack, and travel with a good feeling.
I hope this information on how to pack for your next international photography assignment was helpful and if it was, please share this blog post!
3 - Light Stands
Foldable Background and Stand
3 – Paul C Buff Einstein strobes
Cybersense and remotes
Empty Grip Bags (sandbags)
I had a client recently want some photos we took that spanned an entire decade. How do I locate photographs I did that aren’t currently connected to my computer? This question and more are answered as we deep dive into HARD DRIVE TRUTHS.
Ok, I am kidding a little but this is a real situation that is happening now and I thought I would make a video to share with you. Enjoy!
You’ve seen those amazing landscape photographs of someone you are following on instagram and you can’t get that starburst your of your head. How do you get the sun to starburst and make it look like a star?
Sun starburst techniques are very easy!
To achieve a proper sun star burst photography effect you need to stop down your aperture to at least 16 or lower. Setting your aperture to f22 would be an ideas pace to start. Since the unencumbered (nothing blocking it) bright sun is what you want to affect, you probably have a bright sunny day to work with so shooting at f22 will allow your shutter to be safe to shoot at around 1/320 or 1/125. I know this because I am basing this exposure on the Sunny 16 Rule. Don’t know what the Sunny 16 Rule is? Well head to this quick link to find out!
2018 was a very special year in photography for me. As my business grew so did the new experiences both up and down. Every photo shoot I did this year was met with a new outlook as I challenged myself to find the good in each moment and learn from each experience. I met countless realtors, lawyers, artists, business owners, families, models, and entrepreneurs. My goal this year was to be able to grow my business and studio on Magazine Street and at the same time, keep my creative impulses satiated and continue to make new artistic collaborations. At the same time my New Orleans photography workshop offerings continued to fill and bring in new curious minds wanting to know how to photograph their world with creative confidence. I am grateful for all those who have helped me keep my businesses going as a photographer, teacher, and consultant. I want to thank all of my family, friends, and assistants for supporting me on long days on the job, out of town, and on the hustle. These photos are for you. Enjoy my favorite people, places, and moments of 2018.
Storytelling 2018: A year of portraits in New Orleans
Focus on the eyes and you can see the soul…I feel that capturing the best version of someone can’t be done without some background knowledge of who they are, what their dreams are, and what they want to achieve. Any portrait I do involves some homework to produce an image that works for my client and that I feel proud out.
Selling the Brand 2018: A year of Commercial Photography in New Orleans
“Using photography to help a brand sell a product or service”. That's how I like to define commercial and brand photography. I have enjoyed meeting so many driven and inspired business owners while helping them create their visual identity. Here are some of my favorite commercial photo shoots from 2018.
Singing for your Supper 2018: Music and Festival photography
I was truly blessed to be able to be around such amazing music, musicians, and culture bearers in 2018. As my business steered towards headshots and branding, I never lost the focus and connections that got me to where I am today. Being able to photograph Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest and continue to be involved in the creative energy of New Orleans humbles me to the bone.
Year of the New Orleans Headshot 2018: Face is the place!
Since opening my headshot studio at 4514 Magazine Street in New Orleans I haven’t spent this much time uptown since I lived on Jefferson in 2003! I love making the commute to work and meet the movers, shakers, and creators of this city!
These are a few of my favorite things 2018: Behind the Scenes!
As much as the portraits and branding have kept me busy this year, I still have time to photograph the things I love. My family, nature, and those random moments are always in my sight as I try to keep the balance between work and life. Here’s to pursuing YOUR dreams and making what you love be what you do in 2019!
Want to know how you can take relaxed natural light family holiday portraits this season?
So I know the situation you are in. It’s the holidays, it’s stressful, you are busy, but you have this rare moment when your entire family is not only in the same state…they are all at the same house! I’ll try to make this easy for you wether you are in the bayou, the park, or even your New Orleans uptown backyard - YOU can make a great family portrait with any camera. But let’s at least make it interesting!
Once you practice thinking beyond the cliché, ideas flow. And you can capture great fall family pictures with any camera. Could be even your smartphone or iPhone. Here are some tips for taking awesome family photos this season.
How to use natural light for family photos
The weather changes during fall, so does the sunlight. To make the most of natural light in your fall family photos, consider heading outside with your family during the golden hour, which is the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. The soft, warm tones of golden light make any subject look more fascinating.
But even if you’re shooting in the middle of the day, the low winter sun is always nice, just find a shady area to place your subjects. As I always say - you will get the BEST RESULTS by making sure your subject is in the same light as your background. This helps avoid any harsh shadows on them due to the direct sun. You can also shoot on a cloudy day, but don’t forget to set the camera’s white balance right; otherwise it might show a slightly bluish color tone ( you can always readjust in post later, especially if you shoot RAW)
Need some Expert HELP? My 2019 Photography Workshop Calendar is OUT - CLICK HERE
During the autumn season, the sun shines at a low angle and creates long, deep shadows in the afternoon. One good idea would be to include those shadows in your frame in order to capture the essence of the season.
So if we are thinking out of the box, a good idea would be using the bright sunlight as a strong backlight. Place your subjects with the sun behind them and use a reflector to bounce back fill lights onto their face. For the lack of a proper reflector, you can use a large white paper or Polystyrene plate. Or if you don’t have that just go for it and make sure you have the shutter on continuous and high speed!
Best tips for photographing outdoors
If you’re shooting on a sunny day, setting the exposure right could be a challenge. This is where you can use the Sunny 16 rule, which suggests setting the aperture at f/16 and then setting the shutter speed reciprocal to your ISO value.
Check out my very 1st blog post for how to do the Sunny 16 Rule! CLICK HERE
For instance, set your aperture at f/16. Now if ISO is 200, your shutter speed should be 1/200 seconds. If ISO is 100, shutter speed will be 1/100 seconds.
When taking solo shots or close-ups, you should consider using a long lens (100mm or above) to help add a nice bokeh effect to your photos. (like the photo of Millie above) If you’re taking a long shot of your family, however, use a slightly shorter focal length lens (70mm or below). Also, consider including some elements of the nature (such as, leaves or branches of a tree) in the foreground to add depth to your fall family pictures.
Best tips for capturing fall colors in family pictures
First things first, choose the right location for your fall family photos. It could be your local park, a pumpkin patch, a farm house or a countryside trail, but make sure the place has abundance of reds, yellows and oranges for colorful fall photography.
Using a longer focal-length lens is always a good way to isolate the stunning fall colors in your photograph. You can also use the sunlight to your advantage. For instance, take a close shot of a backlit leaf to make the colors look more vivid. Even when you’re taking a wide landscape shot, consider using the sun as your backlight to help capture the beautiful fall foliage colors.
Another good idea would be adjusting the camera’s color saturation setting to a slightly higher level, so that you get more intense colors. Alternatively, it is possible to increase color saturation or adjust colors during your photo editing phase.
The colors of autumn vary depending on when you’re shooting. Ideally, you should shoot at different times of a day to capture the many different colors of the season.
Choosing what colors your family members should wear is also important. Ideally, try wearing complementary colors. For instance, a blue dress looks stunning against the orange and red fall foliage.
Finally, experiment with the camera angle. Get low or shoot from a high angle to make the fall colors come alive in your frame. Also combining this technique with “same light on subject and background” can give you great even results like this portrait of the Krieg family at New Orleans Museum of Art
As always…have fun and shoot for the wall! Keep in touch with you family photo session photography and comment on this post!
I don’t’ do as much editorial photography these days as it’s not as much on my radar as it used to be. My world is full of commercial and brand story telling which is half real and half created to sell a product or service. Editorial photography tells the real story, no bells or whistles. I was honored to work on a project with the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ 64 Parishes magazine that reported on a story I had no idea existed. The camera has introduced me to people and stories I would have otherwise never been involved in, and this instance is no different. I hope you visit the site to read more!
READ STORY HERE - https://64parishes.org/nurturing-the-lower-9
Ding. Ding. Dong. Tis the season to start thinking about your goals for next year. I am not talking about New Year’s Resolutions about eating better or exercising more. I want to talk about your photography goals for 2019. Are you ready for some REAL TALK? Then read on…
if you are ready you can just CLICK HERE - 2019 Photography Workshops
Do you want to learn to photograph better?
Do you want to learn how to see like the camera and react to the world around you with lightning precision of creativity, balance, and insight? Learning to be a better photographer takes time, practice, and a sincere dedication in your life to WANT to see your world in a different way. If this sounds like you, then keep reading.
I have been actively teaching photographers for over 16 years and that time has given me so many tools to help YOU be a better photographer. I am not here to teach you tips or tricks. I am not here to teach you what you can learn online. I am here to look you in the eye and find out what it is that makes your photography mind tick, tick, tick and learn! My courses are geared to turning your view of the world from a curious observer to a participating director, filled with apertures and focal lengths options for EVERY situation.
Do you want to learn how to photography portraits? Do you want to learn how to photograph second lines, live music, even Mardi Gras? You have come to the right place. Go ahead…make your resolution…
If you know me, I have never been one to photograph many kids, babies, or even teens. But after having a child of my own I have really enjoyed documenting my daughter’s personality through her experiences at learning and loving life. Parents often ask me, “how can I photograph my kids in a more creative and fun way”?
Interested in learning more about my child portrait services?
I don’t think there is an easy answer to photographing kids as they are all different and require a different approach to getting them to be their best selves when the camera is up and ready. I made this blog post to help you with photographing your kids in time for the upcoming holidays. I hope this will help you capture their natural beauty and adventurous spirit at the house and at your next family gathering!
Before you capture a photo, capture a child’s heart
One common mistake people make when photographing kids is trying too hard to make things happen as planned. For instance, trying to make them smile when they don’t want to, or trying to direct the shoot too much. I feel it just doesn’t work that way for kids. Instead, aim for fun times; and good photos will just happen. Speak to them in their language and spark their imagination at all times keeping them interested in the process. Most professional photographers swear by one simple thumb rule; Before you capture kids’ photos, capture their heart. PERIOD. This might mean asking some questions about their day, what foods they like, or even if they like cameras (see?) before you even touch the camera, or starting a conversation about their hobbies. The idea is to make them feel at ease before you get started. That way, you have a better chance of getting their attention during the shoot. Preparation for photographing children should start weeks in advance. But what should you be doing during that phase? Here are some tips and ideas.
Choosing the right location for your child’s photoshoot
When choosing a location for your kids or teens’ portrait session, consider a few questions. Maybe you have a favorite spot in mind or a location that speaks to you on an emotional level. That’s great, but what about consulting with the parents to find out if there is a place that they kid has a connection to where they feel comfortable and even playful? Try photographing at their favorite park or playground with the caveat that after the shoot they get playtime?
How is the lighting condition? – Just choosing a brightly-lit location is not enough. You need a place with enough open shades, so you can avoid shooting in the direct sun. As we know already direct sunlight creates harsh shadows – not good for children portraits unless you are shooting in full sun as a side light or diffusing it with a 5 in 1 reflector. Alternatively, shoot in the magic hour, which is an hour or so after the sunrise or an hour before the sunset.
Ask yourself, does the location offer visual variety? Choosing the right background will help make your kid portraits look more vivid and lively. Choose a location that offers enough visual variety. For instance, try going to an area near you where there are brightly colored houses, manicured fences with ivy and oak trees to accompany the composition to direct the viewer’s eyes towards the subject, while also adding more depth to your photo.
Choosing what to wear to the photoshoot is important!
Before you can decide what to wear, you need to know what not to wear. There is no set rule, but I like to tell parents to avoid busy prints and patterns as they do not translate well on camera. Bright colors are great but make sure you avoid harsh colors like neon, black, deep red and deep green as they could reflect onto your kids’ skin to make them look unnatural. It is also a good idea to avoid distracting logos and slogan shirts. If you’re photographing kids in natural light, avoid white shirts as they make it more difficult to set exposure if you are using auto.
Point being: the focus should be on your kids rather than on their outfits. If you’re still not sure what to wear, here are some good examples.
· Light blue overalls with matching headbands
· Seersuckers in pastel colors for your teens
· Double denim for your teen boys
· Basic neutrals or soft floral dresses for babies
Another important thing is that your kids’ outfits should be comfortable to wear and easy to maintain. Never let them wear hard-to-pull-on tights on a photo shoot. You cannot expect a happy mood from someone in physical discomfort, right?
Lighting large groups with strobes!
I have had this continuing portrait client for a few years now, photographing a very large group outside with multiple strobes. Paul B. Habans in New Orleans is the most laid back teachers I have ever met and they make a complex lighting scheme very easy and fun. It’s always different how to light for large groups and how to mix natural light and strobes, but once you do it for the same client in the same place, it gets easy!
Product photography in the studio!
When life gives you beans you do a photoshoot! Really on top of your game? You TIMELAPSE! I had 20+ bags of beans to shoot in my studio on Magazine Street in New Orleans so why not timelapse the process. You can see more about how I lit the beans and how I created a custom photoshoot workflow for this by SUBSCRIBING to my Youtube channel - GO HERE
Uptown New Orleans Headshot Video
I am very blessed to work with so many New Orleans artists who not only excel at their craft but offer their gifts. I have been working with Nick Pino of Dumbsmart Industries for the last 2 years to help create my marketing videos and I am very proud of our latest collaboration for my New Orleans headshot business. We filmed my clients both in my studio on Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans and on location to show viewers a small glimpse into my brand. Please share this post if you like, it would mean alot to me!
…the good thing about shooting street photography in New Orleans is that you never really lose the laser focus - you just have to hear the right trumpet lick (bah da da dah!!) and you fall in line…just like the band.”
I drove hurriedly through the uptown New Orleans side streets to get to the Lyons Center, worried and wondering. Wondering if I had all the gear I needed. Did I have film, my polaroid back, my lights, were my batteries charged, and was I going to get there on time? Worried that what if my lack of street shooting in the recent years would render my eye rusty and my vision slow to capture the right angles of the 90th year of marching of the Prince of Wales SAPC? No pressure, yeah right!
Remembering to “TAKE MY OWN DAMN ADVICE” I made a checklist, and kept it simple: two lenses, one light, Hasselblad and a Canon and one bag to hold them all. Kind of like the Lord of the Rings for photography…ok nerd alert…I digress…
I was grateful to be able to do portraits of the members in the gym before they exited to the streets, where I got an amazing behind the scenes look at this amazing group. Seeing what they see from the inside, side, and back of the line - the faces and phones held erect in joy and rapid fire digital snaps…
About ten years ago I stopped the mad hustle to shoot EVERY second line and parade and focused my view and story on The Prince of Wales. I became good friends with two members and I felt I could do more for them and their crew in the long run by giving them my full attention. In the last few years after my business picked up and my daughter was born, I was going out shooting less on the streets so I had reason on this day to be a little apprehensive. But for me, the good thing about shooting street photography in New Orleans is that you never lose the laser focus - you just have to hear the right trumpet lick (bah da da dah!!) and you fall in line, just like the band and everyone else.
I saw the usual suspects, characters, hanger ons, and my photographer crew - tried and true. Mastro, Eric Waters, Pableaux, Judy Cooper, Buddah and many others. It felt good - and I am so honored to bring you these photos of the 90th Marching of the Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club from New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, October 14th 2018.
All Images ©Zack Smith Photography and may not be used or shared without permission, doing so is stealing and that’s not right. Please share this gallery and If you are in one of these photos, I am happy to send them you - email or call! -504-251-7745 - email@example.com
This one-of-a-kind night and art photography course can only take place one time of year: The Arts Council of New Orleans’ Luna Fete: a celebration of art, light, and technology.
Join me as I guide you through the artistically illuminated night sky of Fulton Street and Lafayette Square, as we photograph the light based projection mapping and intricate digital sculptures made by artists around the country.
I have photographed this amazing night of lights in New Orleans, and I have actually led a free photo walk when the event was new. The high quality and interaction of art has come so far in the last few years and I can’t wait to photograph it with you!
You can visit the workshop page and signup here!
Want to know how I take great vacation and travel photos?
Well my first piece of advice is: don't wait until the sun sets over Lake Michigan during your first time to Chicago to get that great family shot! Practice at home, shoot every day, and SHOOT FOR THE WALL! While you are practicing, if you are in the New Orleans area - take my photography workshops and photography classes! You can always visit my web page and see what I am offering by clicking HERE and signing up for my mailing list by clicking at the bottom of this below. But first let's get to the lesson...
Aside from packing enough clothes, shoes, and diapers (yes diapers) on your holiday travel trip, photography is always a big part of any vacation or trip. What camera should you pack? How many lenses should you bring? What will TSA let you travel with? Travel logistics non-withstanding, how can you make those travel photos stand out? Well, you don’t have to be the next Lee Friedlander to capture compelling and beautiful travel or vacation photos. In fact, you don’t even need an expensive DSLR, let alone lug around a heavy tripod, lenses, filters and flashes.
All you need is a decent camera or even your Smartphone or iPhone. This lesson is made to help you take great vacation and travel photographs using the camera you have.
Vacation photography is all about capturing the right moments and telling a story in every shot. If you don’t have an eye for good photos, more expensive tools aren’t the solution. For me I really enjoy keeping it simple. For this recent trip to Chicago with my family I only brought my Canon 50mm 1.2 lens with me. One set of eyes ( i mean, focal length...) allowed me to walk closer to my subject and find the right angle. When I bring a zoom lens with me, I am tempted to use the zoom instead of getting closer to the action.
Follow these Tips for Better travel and Vacation Photos!
My mantra has always been "Shoot For The Wall" which in a nutshell means - shoot with intention and purpose so that your images are good enough to print on the wall. No matter if you don't have a wall to print on, the most important thing to remember here is to shoot with intention. and know the WHY of every photograph. You can really shoot with intention with any camera. Here are some simple steps i've put together for you!
Shoot in good light – If you are taking landscape photos, the best time to shoot would be during the sunrise and sunset and keep your back to the sun. I would also suggest that you plan your shooting on a cloudy day. The idea is to avoid the direct sun shining into the camera or phone so get up a little early or stay out a little longer! Soft natural light makes any subject look more interesting so the magic hour or diffused light is best!
Capture feelings – Good photgraphs capture a moment, but great photographs portray an emotion. Instead of telling your family to stop and pose for the camera, allow them to move freely so you can capture a real moment. I know this is easier said than done while chasing kids, changing your settings and trying to have a good time. The more you do this, the better you will get at it! I promise! Creating great photography habits you can always have with you.
Choose the right background – Most people don’t understand this, but backgrounds can make or break photograph. Once you have your subject identified, it's time to concentrate on making sure the background is not distracting. Try and take your time and don’t just place your subject anywhere. The background should complement the subject versus overshadowing it. Your eyes should always land on your subject and not get pulled to the background. Same with foregrounds! If you allow a small foreground element into your frame – like a tree or a flower – it helps add more depth to the scene but make sure it doesn't take away!
Create Space and Get Abstract! – If you are following my advice you are going to take some great vacation and travel photographs. What happens when you've mastered the art of travel photography and you have dozens of magic moments of your family, and the food, and the mountains and you just...want...something....different! Think outside of the box and look for patterns at the brunch restaurant, focus close on rain drops on the hotel window (every vacation has a rain day right? Order in!), and create some space!
Ok, so my #1 advice for how to take great vacation and travel photography?
Practice Practice Practice! Don't wait until the sun sets over Lake Michigan during your first time to Chicago to get that great family shot! Practice at home, shoot every day, and SHOOT FOR THE WALL! If you are in the New Orleans area - take my photography workshops! You can always visit my web page and see what I am offering by clicking HERE and signing up for my mailing list by clicking below!! Please share this post!!!
In New Orleans it is truly evident that so many life passions and careers are influenced and inspired by the power and talent of one man: Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. If you don't know what I am talking about, listen to Louis more than you are now or come down during Satchmo Fest during the first weekend of August. Every panel talk, solo, and song is in some way inspired by and driven with the spirit of Satchmo.
I feel that is why this small New Orleans music festival that is put on by French Quarter Festivals Inc. sets the stage for some of the most passioned playing you'll ever see in this city. French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, and all the other "fests" are a great way to see some of the best New Orleans and Louisiana music in the world in one place. But no other festival comes close to creating a community mindset and mood such as Satchmo Fest. Just think about it. Your artistic goal is to invoke and thank the spirit and talent of a man so influential to the world of jazz as Louis Armstrong...you KNOW the music will be unique, powerful, and moving. I hope these photos do it justice....
Please spread this gallery around so all can enjoy! Tag and Share with your friends!I know I am missing some names so if you see someone not credited LET ME KNOW! I am sending the gallery out to the musicians I know that are featured but please post-away! I am so forever grateful for the opportunity to create and document the heart of such a wonderful city, much less be trusted to show the spirit of SATCHMO Fest. This gallery features in order: Edna Karr Band, Matt Rhody, Charlie Halloran, Doyle Cooper, AJ Gaulton (drying out SATCHMO), Yoshio Toyama, The Big Cheezy, Plum St. Snowballs, James Williams (band), Brice Miller of Mohogany Brass Band, Yolanda Windsay, Fans of Sacthmo Fest, Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony, Torrence Taylor w/ Joe Lastie's, Will Smith, Joe Lastie, Peter Harris, Calvin Johnson, AJ Gaulton (smoking), Cory Henry, TBC Brass Band, Hassan "Too" Goffner, Cedric Wiley, Oswald Jones, aka Boe Monkey, Bday Boy Jon Gross, Cinnamon Black and Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Shannon of TBC Brass Band, Sudan Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Undefeated Divas and Gents SAPC, Big 6 and TBC Brass Band, Shotgun Jazz Band, Storyville Stompers, Robin Barnes, Irma Thomas, Jeremy Davenport with Nicholas Payton, Trumpet Mafia, Donald Harrison Jr., Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown with son, Ashlin Parker.
For me, creativity begins with experimentation and overcoming fear.
There was a time when I was first starting out as a photographer where nothing made sense. The apertures, shutter speeds and ISO's where lost on me as well as the dollars spent experimenting with countless rolls of film.
As a 5th year senior at LSU I was eager to finish my degree in Journalism so I could hit the road and let the camera be my guide. In the meantime I had to learn this device, so I converted my bathroom into a darkroom and began experimenting with Rodinal, Kodak Developer, and any black and white chemicals I could get my hands on. In the beginning, it was all about making mistakes and learning.
Especially when I was just learning how to develop my styles as a portrait photographer, I still had to mess up, experiment, and learn. In my early days I photographed my friends, strangers, and those around me. Funny how 20 years go by and that has not changed at all...
Even though the stakes are higher as professional, I can't lose sight of the need to make mistakes, push my boundaries and learn.
Just because I have a studio now, know my gear, and enjoy all types of clients, it doesn't mean I can rest on my laurels. I have to continually be learning, experimenting and growing as a photographer. So just like before, I still have to learn and grow from the community around me.
My friend Debbie Davis can sing. Damn she’s got pipes like I’ve never heard and she commands a stage like no one else. Debbie came by the studio a few weeks ago for some portraits and allowed me to experiment with light and backgrounds and I am very grateful for the opportunity to have a friend that trusts in my vision.
.As an artist at any stage we need our friends and collaborators to help push us to new levels. When I was first starting out learning the ropes as a photographer I needed those friends daily in order to get comfortable with my craft. 20 years after picking up a camera, I still need that support to learn. Thank you Debbie and countless others who have allows me to stumble, capture and learn right in front of you.
Surrounded by the riches of scene and comforted by the periphery of environment we are spoiled photographers in New Orleans. Walk anywhere with a shallow depth of field mind and keen eye for focus and you will find an abundance of your best photographs yet to be taken. Bring a pen or bring a pad, you're gonna be jotting down intersections, street names, and GPS coordinates until you run out of room or time. There are so many. Too many.
I have a few images to share from a recent fashion branding shoot with Canal Place in New Orleans where I got to work with some top tier talent in front and behind the camera. Over an 8 hour period we shuffled our crew to 5 locations and created some of my favorite location portraits yet. I brought with me my trusty Paul C. Buff Alien Bees mostly for their light weight and ease of "run and gun" mode. I was using a single softbox and reflector on most images and balancing the sun with my Variable Neutral Density Filter set. As you can see I am not a big fan of "LOOK AT MY STROBES" when I shoot portraits. I think using a subtle lighting approach to environmental portraits for branding is the key to make the clients product shine and the city do it's thing. Here are a few I can share, but first the credits:
Client: Canal Place
Design Agency: Deep Fried Advertising
Talent Agency: FiftyTwo45 / Talent: Tyla, David, and Megan
Talent Agency: ATA / Talent: Caleb
Sylist: Andi Eaton / Hair: Emily Cambre / MUA: Artistry By Camille
Assistants: Sarrah Danziger, Bruce France, Matthew Seymour
See how the client uses the images on it's website...canalplacestyle.com
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I wanted to use this blog entry as a follow up to my Product Photography Facebook LIVE Tutorial that aired on June 6th. If you missed it you can CLICK HERE to view the video and see the gear list, then come back here to see the final images! I partnered with hat maker Colby Hebert to photograph a collection of his new line of hat wear. This collection of one-of-a-kind hats we photographed at my studio needed to be shot a specific way so that the composition, lighting, and editing all fit the same aesthetic. I based my lighting scheme on a few photos he showed me from a recent ad campaign that he liked.
Creating the Photographic Dream and Managing Client Expectations: A Dance Worth Learning
This style of product photography gave the hats a uniform look and could easily be integrated into his social media advertising and website. Any time I meet with a client to talk on any type of shoot, especially product photography, it is so important to understand their goals and creative ideas. Lucky for me, Colby had a very specific look in mind and I could replicate that at my studio...right next door!
Product Photography Lighting in the Studio!
To give Colby the look he desired, I chose to go with a large octabank softbox and a grid with my trusty Einstein 640 from Paul C. Buff. I like this particular light because of the consistent color and light. Now this might not make a difference to me as much in some shoots where I am shooting all day on location, changing sets and lights. But when you are photographing in a studio with a set background, props, and products from the same line or company - you need to have your most important variables on LOCKDOWN! Having a consistent light power and color output from your head every time will ensure that Hat #1 looks just the same as Hat #100 - and when your client wants to roll through the images on social media one after another (as expressed by mine) this is very important.
I also had a White Lightning 800 head with a smaller strip softbox that was about 45º to the back left of the hat for some light fill on the brim, and I was not lighting my slate grey background so the hats would just pop naturally. My camera was secure to my tripod and I was tethered to view on my monitor to my left.
There was a time where I'd say "NO WAY" on a photoshoot to my clients. Now, I say "HELL YES"
Having a monitor to view your images in front of your client has been a game changer for me. As I alluded to in the live video I really don't mind clients looking over my shoulder on a shoot. I always take time to explain to them the detailed editing and color correcting that takes place after and showing them as we shoot ensures that we got the shot. When I was less confident with my editing skills I was very reluctant to show anyone what I was getting since there would be considerable amounts of editing...or "saving" the shot. The more confident I became in my photography and in the communication with the client, the better aligned we were on the expectations. I wasn't born technically confident of my gear, this comes with time, patience, and alot of practice.
I hope you enjoy a few of the hats above - you can see more on Colby's Instagram Account. After the shoot I wanted to get a few images of the production side of Colby's operation, where he works and what it looks like. We also got some great portraits. Here are some of my favorite.
If you are looking to tell the story of your business, Email me now!
Wether your business revolves around services or products, there is a uniqueness we can capture with well informed and creative photography! That uniqueness is YOU and I am am all ears!
I continue to count the blessings that shine on my life since I have moved my studio to Magazine Street. It has been a rewarding experience being able to do business headshots in New Orleans for so many entrepreneurs, business owners, attorneys, and realtors while getting to hear their stories and learn about their profession. One of those other blessings is meeting the talented and hard working hat maker Colby Hebert from New Iberia. Meeting that guy and hearing that accent I knew the block would be c'est bon.Read More
Why Use Lightroom and Photoshop to Improve Your Editing and Workflow? Here's Why!
We spend so much time on our intuitive creative eye to capture our best photographic moments. In order to be the best photographs we can be, we need to take seriously our post production workflow with whatever applications we use. At this point in my career I am loving my Lightroom and Photoshop combination.
Photography editing used to be very difficult. Ask me, I know! I remember buying and downloading Photoshop 1 and each following app to help push pixels around. Do you remember that? The process was slow, your tools were limited, and the interface was truly old school! Now, powerful photo editing capabilities are available at the tip of our fingers from our phone to our desktops and laptops. Editing is useful and very much needed to help adjust the tone and color correct, as well as crop and straighten photos.
Lightroom and Photoshop are both Adobe programs that allow you to manipulate a photo and improve it. In this blog post, I will share a little about each program and why they are great to use and I will talk a little bit about metadata and why it is important!
Why Is Adobe Lightroom Important for Photographers?
There are a few reasons why Lightroom is important for photographers. To begin, it is important to know the primary purpose of Lightroom. The program is a photo processor and image organizer that allows a photographer to view, organize and retouch a large number of digital images...sometimes all at once in batch processing!
One very good thing about Lightroom is that it is very easy to use. You don’t have to learn a whole lot of tips and tricks to use it properly. Here are a few of the things you can do with your photos in Lightroom:
· Import your photos into Lightroom: This process is basic. Just tell Lightroom where it can find your photos and allow it to import them. You can do this with individual photo files or with a large batch of photos.
· Make basic adjustments: Use Lightroom to touch up the color and tone of your photo. You can also crop or straighten your photo and correct perspectives and lens distortions. If you’ve ever edited photos at a Kodak kiosk inside of a drug store, you’ll find that many of the capabilities are the same.
· Isolate and edit certain areas of your photo: You can use a brush tool to go over areas that need specific color adjustments, need to look sharper or blurrier, and more.
· Group your photos with keywords: Keywords are photographer-added tags that describe the contents of a photo. After you group your photo, you can export your file. When the keyword you've added to your photo is searched on any application that supports XMP metadata, it will come up as a search hit. So i'll tell you a little bit about metadata later. Lightroom keywords are very important! Not only can they help you find photos you’ve saved, it is a great tool for organizing your images in based on theme, location, and any other metric that you deem important to the subject! These are just a few of the many things Lightroom has to offer photographers.
Why Is Photoshop Important for Photographers?
Photoshop is an extremely powerful application that can handle pretty much any kind of editing you need to do. This program does take a bit longer to learn, but you will be able to do so much more, as far as editing goes, with it. I usually make the statement: Lightroom is for heaving lifting editing, and Photoshop is for your razor sharp fine tuning. Here are a few of the program’s capabilities:
· Basic photo editing: Much like Lightroom, you can use Photoshop to touch up the colors and tones in your images. You can also crop and straighten your images as well.
· Beyond basic photo editing: This is where Lightroom and Photoshop diverge. In Photoshop, you can alter images by changing the colors within the image, modifying its size and scale, cut out the background of an image using layers and so much more. The capabilities that Photoshop offers are usually harnessed by graphic designers to make stunning works of art. I enjoy being about to select certain images and differentiate them based on an instrument, color of clothes, and being able to separate food, portraits, and panoramic views at a festival!
· Save in several different formats: You can save photos you edit in Photoshop in different file formats that will work best for your project. Some websites only accept JPEG or PNG images, while some people may want an EPS or TIF file. PSD files aren’t great for uploading outside of Adobe-friendly programs, but the great thing about them is that they open up in the program and you could continue editing where you left off instead of starting from scratch with an original image. As you can see, Photoshop has a lot to offer any photographer. Now, how to choose?
Why Not Choose Both Lightroom and Photoshop?
Lightroom and Photoshop are both awesome programs. You can easily use them both in tandem and are available in a VERY affordable subscription package from Adobe using the Creative Cloud. I think it's only around $11 a month! But if you are looking to choose, here are some things to think about:
· What editing capabilities do you need? If you’re looking for editing basics like the ability to crop, straighten, and adjust the tone or color of a photo, Lightroom is a great option for you. However, if you want to further manipulate and enhance your photos, Photoshop offers what Lightroom does and then some.
· What type of photography are you doing? A lot of the answer from the previous question may help you answer this one too. If you’re mainly taking photos for assignments or freelance, and have the need to create proofing galleries, separate categories and more, Lightroom may be the best option for you. If you want to get a little more in depth with the editing process, Photoshop may be best for you. Most people who use Photoshop are creative photographers who use the program to enhance their photos for creative purposes.
· What do you have time to learn? Everyone is busy these days. If you don’t have a lot of time to learn a program, Lightroom is going to be the easiest to master. If you have some time, Photoshop is better...maybe even both! You get to use tools that you don’t normally find in other editing programs. These tools take time to learn and understand. If you have the time and patience, Photoshop is best for you.
· Do you need workflow solutions? If you’re looking for an end-to-end workflow solution (which many photographers need), Lightroom is superior to Photoshop. In the program, you can important, edit, organize, share, and even print your photos. Photoshop allows a photographer to edit photos individually, but organizing them just isn’t the same outside of Lightroom. Lightroom uses those keywords I was talking about earlier
What Is Metadata And Why Is It Important For Photographers?
So, what is metadata? Metadata is, get this, a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In the case of photographers, metadata is data that is used to describe and give information about photos. Lightroom, as previously mentioned, allows a photographer to assign keywords to an image. The keywords are transformed into metadata that effectively tags the photo. The photographer can then search for the keyword and find what they are looking for easily.
Sorting photos with the use of metadata saves photographers a lot of time and can improve their workflow. Here is an example. If you’re a wedding photographer, you can attach a keyword to the photos of each wedding you do. You can choose, let’s say, the couple’s shared last name as the keyword. Now, when a photographer is ready, he can pull up the photo using the keyword search without any problem.
A photographer can also organize pictures they take at a zoo by using a special keyword. This keyword could be the name of the zoo or maybe something special to the photographer. Something the photographer wouldn’t forget.
The great thing about the metadata produced in Lightroom is that it is compatible with several other pieces of software. Some of the software it works with includes Photoshop, ACDSee Pro 10, Daminion 4.6, DigiKam 5.0, ExifTool 10.46, FotoStation 8, Image Relay 5.0, Portfolio 2.5.3, WPMeta 1.3, and so many more.
It is obvious that both of these Adobe photo editing programs are top notch in their own respects. Lightroom is great for photographers who are working professionally. Many of them barely touch Photoshop because they can do all of their editing, organizing, sharing, and printing in Lightroom. Photoshop, however, is great for the creative photographer and graphic designer. If you’re still unsure which of these programs may be best for you, Adobe makes it easy. The company is currently offering a “photography” package. This is an annual plan that you can pay for monthly. Get this: for only $9.99 a month, you can have access to Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, giving you the essentials you need to organize, edit, share, and print your photos on your desktop and mobile devices. If you want access to only Photoshop, you’ll have to pay about $20 a month. For more information on these packages, visit Adobe.com.
I hope you learned something valuable about Lightroom and Photoshop here on my blog today! If you want to REALLY get down and learn with me in person, take my JUST SHOOT RAW: Lightroom and Photoshop course in New Orleans! GO HERE!