Honing In

The past couple of years has been a whirlwind of learning for me while pressing that little button. I think I am close to developing  a consistent style, but am still searching for that consistent look to my images. The last couple of months I have been narrowing down that look a bit trying to hone in to something concrete. I think I do not shoot enough in the studio yet to really dig into something viable, being only part time, but I have created many images I am proud of.

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We are mainly talking about people here. People in my studio. My nature images are beautiful, I think, but not my forte. They come from an allure of being smitten by what mother nature presents to us. Soulful and heartfelt. Though now whenever I feel the follicles raise, I make sure and capture something I can use with my portrait work as well. I suck at making selections, but I love blending textures and overlays. This I am sure will lead to composites sooner than later. Growing in to that one slowly but surely. Love Joel Grimes, and I have been following Renee Robyn lately. She is the definition of cool.

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I love the music images, but we are so dependent of the venue for usable light, I throw away more than I keep. For the record I think flash in rude in this scenario. Yes, sometimes, when allowed, it is necessary. But then you lose what you see. I have not used flash at a gig in forever, but when I did, or when I will, I utilize a rogue grid to maintain as much ambient feel as possible.  Defined direction of light. And while this is for a different post, the majority of the time, gear does matter!

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I love head shots for the purity of the image. There are many definitions about what a head shot is and how it looks and I have seen images that have been called head shots but I call a portrait. It’s all in the application of the image I suppose. I am a disciple of the Peter Hurley style of head shot. Pure, head and shoulders, simple background. All about the expression. And in this age of social imaging, having a good head shot is so important. Yup, I still need one too.

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And usually at the end of a session, before we go, things get a little unpredictable

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The journey will continue. I will continue to grow, everyday is a learning experience which is embraced and cherished. There are a few people who are on my radar, some visions I need to fulfill and I am expanding into a few different arenas. I think 2016 is going to be a fantastic year.

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for stopping by, till next time!

A New Year, A New You

Here we are already three weeks in to the new year, so why does it feel like yesterday and why do the days go by so fast. Yeah I know, why ask why. Just take it and run with it and try and keep up.  One thing I always keep up with is watching “my” dancers grow. I refer to them as my dancers mainly because they are in front of my lens for the better part of five months out of the year. I am like a proud father watching the maturation process take place throughout their years on the dance team.

Kelsey is one of the girls who has grown into not only a gorgeous and artistic dancer but has blossomed into a beautiful woman as well. She came in over the holiday season to update her head shots and capture a few portraits.

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I was excited that she understood the need for a good head shot as they can be applied to so many outlets now. Social media is ripe with selfies and if you are creating a presence or portraying your personal brand the ole selfie is not the way to go. I think the one outlet that I am amazed at is LinkedIn. Holy mackerel, why do people do that to themselves? Do your self justice and have a photo that represents you. Granted my profile photo is not that great either but I just can not get my wife to press that button for me…Selfie with tools…

Back to Kelsey. I finally secured a couple of the modifiers I have been pining for and what a difference. I shoot in a somewhat confined space and I feel a medium softbox is a bit large for my purposes when it comes to head shots. A couple of strip lights do the job quite nicely.

After we had secured our head shots she sat for a few different portrait looks. One with a bit of a fine art feel to it.

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And one that truly shows her spunk

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And I think this one may be my favorite of the bunch

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To Kelsey and the rest of my dancers best of luck in the coming months and to those of you who need to update your presence, get in touch with me and lets make the world a more attractive place.

Thanks for stopping by!

Phil

Why don’t they smile?

I was recently asked why in many of my photographs my subjects are not smiling. “They are all so serious looking”. Composing myself after laughing so hard, I proceeded to explain the look that those particular pictures were conveying. Each person has a specific look they are seeking to achieve, maybe it is dramatic or serious, or beauty, or sneaky and mischievous! They understood my explanation and then we followed up by viewing some head shots and beauty shots by very a few highly successful photographers.

This comment did have lasting repercussions for me as I began worrying people would think that is all I sought during a session. Currently it is easier for me to coach a subject into a beautiful look that does not have a smile than to elicit a natural reaction of a smile that is submissible. I also happen to like the non smiling beauty look very much. And they do not really look serious, they just are not smiling…..

So, to quell my worries and insecurities and to show that we do have fun during a session I give you smiles!

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Sooner or later I will release a post that includes all the goofy faces we go through during a session. Still building that catalog, as I get more actors and actresses in the studio the goofiness will become even goofier!  Put them in character and let them roll…

Thanks for stopping by!, Till next time…

Representing…..You!

“They all look the same”. I heard a person at the conference I attended say this to his friend as we were walking by Peter Hurley’s workshop. Slowing down and turning ever so slightly to this gentleman I responded, “Totally different, each picture is totally different from the other”. He turned away, I kept walking and wondered how can someone be so close minded as to not appreciate the subtleties the human face has to offer.

I have been pursuing the art of head shot photography for about six months now which just happens to be half of the twelve months since I began pursuing serious photography. The subtleties are the exact reason I have chosen head shots to be my main point of focus…. The difference between a bad shot and a good shot, even a good shot and a great shot can literally be a matter of millimeters of facial movement. Nailing this expression is a joy to behold. Reviewing the expressions can also be cause for a good laugh as well. It is like one of those books where if you turn the pages fast the story plays out before your eyes.

Using my wife as an example, these shots are taken within a nineteen second time period. I think that having a family member in front of your camera is much more difficult than a client when you are trying to pull out an expression. My wife was much more cooperative than my young teenage daughter though, I really thought it would be the other way around. Still, they seem to put a force field of no emotion up in front of the camera that is exceedingly difficult to crack.

I have no recollection of what I was saying during this time frame, all is I know is that whatever it was some of it worked, and some did not. I was probably making a fool of myself. She despises the camera and both of them are very good at avoiding it. And they keep their mouth forced shut!  But this was an actual request which I was very happy to fulfill.

In position and ready to go, trying for the serious look, ha! Little did she know. Notice mouth curled down, eyes flat. Not happy at all to be doing this. I think I was working her prior to this series, the picture before this was 45 seconds prior. Trying to get rid of this look.

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Whatever I said in the three second period here I will never know. But a step forward, mouth curled up, though still a bit tense, little rise in the cheeks, eyes still flat

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Working the eyes, a little too much, mouth still tense, overcompensating from direction. Looks like I did not even develop this one

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A little smooth talking and suddenly the eyes taking shape, she’s still holding back on me though

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Gotcha! And there she is, Genuine and happy, head forward,chin and jaw visible

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Probably should have went with it some more, but praise is good. I think in this case it was congratulations, I knew you could do it. Eyes and mouth slightly dropped, head coming up, back to far.

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Head shots are a representation of you. The purist form of representation available. Just you, your eyes, your mouth, your hair, your chin, your head. A tremendous story is told by this simple yet entirely complex form of photography. How you see yourself or how someone might see you, what you are saying to the world.

A job you seek as a performing artist or a business owner seeking new clients may depend upon your look and I am confident and pleased that I know this look and how to pull it out of you.Many people are incorporating head shots in their social media profiles as well. Now if I could just have the patience to get a selfie.

So I will continue to hone my craft and continue to help get people auditions just based on their head shots. I will be partaking in one of Mr. Hurley’s workshops in a few months to really ramp things up. It is a very satisfying feeling to have, to know that you have helped someone work towards their goal. And that is what life is about, recognizing the subtleties, the little changes and how they can have such a huge effect on an outcome.

Naturally my wife does not like how she looks in her pictures, and of course being a good husband I disagree with her and think otherwise….as do all of her friends and family.

To see some of my head shots just go here. I am still building my portfolio so if you reside in Central NJ and have a goal you need to reach just give me a shout!

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…