home setup

BTS "Behind The Scenes"

Here is a view into my world when I am working guys. Any questions in regards to gear, locations, talent, etc.. please feel free to ask!!!! 

 Shoot with Serius Jones 

Shoot with Serius Jones 

IMG_1586.JPG
IMG_1716.JPG
IMG_1719.JPG
IMG_2257.JPG
IMG_2259.JPG
IMG_2264.JPG
IMG_2265.JPG
IMG_2270.JPG
IMG_2310.JPG
IMG_2311.JPG
IMG_2313.JPG
IMG_3580.JPG
IMG_3579.JPG
IMG_3584.JPG
IMG_3585.JPG
IMG_3592.JPG
IMG_3595.JPG
IMG_3600.JPG
IMG_5972.JPG
Its me!.jpg
38611_141189012579435_6409283_n.jpg
38638_141189165912753_3811206_n.jpg
38787_141189195912750_3368088_n.jpg
38868_141189255912744_7778001_n.jpg
image (5).jpeg
image (11).jpeg
image (14).jpeg
image (13).jpeg
_MG_0471.JPG
_MG_0883.JPG
_MG_1273.JPG
photo (9).JPG
_MG_0302-2.jpg
_MG_0276-2.jpg
_MG_0275-2.jpg
_MG_0295-2.jpg
_MG_0271-2.jpg
IMG_3856 (2).JPG
IMG_3857.JPG
IMG_3855.JPG
IMG_3812.JPG
image.jpg
image (17).jpeg
 BenroS4

BenroS4

 BenroS4 Monopod, OptekaCXS-25 Rod System. Gini Rig Follow Focus. 

BenroS4 Monopod, OptekaCXS-25 Rod System. Gini Rig Follow Focus. 

IMG_4844.JPG
IMG_5497.jpg
IMG_4581.JPG
IMG_5215.JPG
IMG_5216.JPG
IMG_5490.JPG
IMG_5536.JPG
IMG_5541.JPG
IMG_5517.JPG
 A little outdoor "BTS" on an engagement shoot. 

A little outdoor "BTS" on an engagement shoot. 

 A little outdoor "BTS" on an engagement shoot. 

A little outdoor "BTS" on an engagement shoot. 

 Here is one of the finalized images. 

Here is one of the finalized images. 

 A little outdoor Fall action!! 

A little outdoor Fall action!! 

 A little outdoor Fall action!!

A little outdoor Fall action!!

 Here is one of the finalized images from the shoot. This shot was taken on the back porch in the models back yard.

Here is one of the finalized images from the shoot. This shot was taken on the back porch in the models back yard.

 On the set of a family shoot. 

On the set of a family shoot. 

IMG_4135.JPG
IMG_4136.JPG
 Final Product, Model: Sallie.

Final Product, Model: Sallie.

 BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

 BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

 BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"

 BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"  Check me out people : )

BTS. "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes PT3"  Check me out people : )

 Double Deuces!!!!

Double Deuces!!!!

 Portrait session with one of my best friends for his book cover. 

Portrait session with one of my best friends for his book cover. 

 You may see my brother in a lot of my "BTS" material, hes my right hand lol. Setting up for the intro video of "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes"

You may see my brother in a lot of my "BTS" material, hes my right hand lol. Setting up for the intro video of "How to achieve amazing catch lights in the eyes"

IMG_5005.JPG
 Thanks bro!!

Thanks bro!!

 My brother sitting in for me to adjust my lighting.

My brother sitting in for me to adjust my lighting.

 Doing some voice over for my video, I had to bring my little audio setup to work, too anxious to finish : )   I had my little note card ready to go along with my ZoomH4N, Rode Video Mic Pro, and some Apple headphones for monitoring. 

Doing some voice over for my video, I had to bring my little audio setup to work, too anxious to finish : )   I had my little note card ready to go along with my ZoomH4N, Rode Video Mic Pro, and some Apple headphones for monitoring. 

 A little BTS and finished product, Shot in Hoboken, New Jersey.

A little BTS and finished product, Shot in Hoboken, New Jersey.

 A little BTS and finished product, Shot in Newark New Jersey.

A little BTS and finished product, Shot in Newark New Jersey.

 Fun shoot with my girl Sofia, we go wayyyy back!! 

Fun shoot with my girl Sofia, we go wayyyy back!! 

 My babies.

My babies.

 Here they go again I love my Ootas, I am a sucker for circular catchlights.

Here they go again I love my Ootas, I am a sucker for circular catchlights.

 On the set of a really big shoot : )

On the set of a really big shoot : )

 "The Hallway Shoot" video on my Youtube go check it out people. 

"The Hallway Shoot" video on my Youtube go check it out people. 

 The "V" shape setup

The "V" shape setup

 Shooting with my man Jordan. 

Shooting with my man Jordan. 

 A and I made some dope art this day.

A and I made some dope art this day.

 This was a long but fun shoot : )

This was a long but fun shoot : )

 I build my sets piece by piece. 

I build my sets piece by piece. 

 Look at the cool set up we have going on!! 

Look at the cool set up we have going on!! 

 Tas getting ready for some work. 

Tas getting ready for some work. 

 Final Product, Model: Tas Aleeah.

Final Product, Model: Tas Aleeah.

 I love this print and it looks like she does too!! : )

I love this print and it looks like she does too!! : )

 Another portrait session with my friend Regina. 

Another portrait session with my friend Regina. 

 Mola Setti VS the Beauty Dish

Mola Setti VS the Beauty Dish

 Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

 Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

 Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

Photo courtesy of my good friend Noel Clark. 

 Final Product, Model: Tas Aleeah.  

Final Product, Model: Tas Aleeah.  

 Getting ready for the shoot, using some A clamps to hold down the balloons. 

Getting ready for the shoot, using some A clamps to hold down the balloons. 

 Promo images for singer and songwriter Queenella.

Promo images for singer and songwriter Queenella.

 Final Product, Big Shout out to RnB artist Queenella!

Final Product, Big Shout out to RnB artist Queenella!

 This is a flower halo I designed. 

This is a flower halo I designed. 

Source: BTS Behind The Scenes

"Shards of Glass"

"Shards of Glass" post coming soon!!!! If you want to read the story and see more images from this amazing shoot please stay tuned. While you are waiting, please feel free to tell me what you liked most  about the "Shards of Glass" video?  Also tell me what inspires you comment below!!!!!!!!

To Be Continued......... #SOG

          How this all came together was simply magical. I have come to the realization it was on God's time, and it is my belief everything perfectly aligned so that this project could happen. A year ago I set out on a quest to creativity combine my "Art" with my “Photography” Initially, I had no direction but I knew I wanted to make something great. The more I pondered the more the visions started to manifest themselves. I started to scribble down little ideas as they came to me, then suddenly my attention shifted to creating a painting. I grabbed up a 30x48in sized canvas of old B&W abstract painting that I disliked and begun to work. It bothered me to even look at that painting, I was so eager to paint over I just threw anything on the canvas and of course that did not work either because I ultimately painted over that as well lol. So after two failed attempts, It was time to go back to the drawing board, the premise of this project was to be expressive and experimental at articulating my story so I wanted to create a mixed media abstract piece that would reflect that. In retrospect, looking back it is my interpretation the primary reason why those other painting I attempted to do on the same exact canvas did not work because the actual art was waiting to be used for something very special to come.

          I have never previously worked with glass, yet I sought it to be the appropriate medium for this piece. It was time to gather some bottles. I found it to be the most accessible ironically I kept coming across "Green" bottles. Boom there was the color scheme, green was also ideal because it is the color of the heart chakra, and it is said to be the color of balance harmony, and growth. Those were the exact qualities I was in search of in my life. I told myself I would take my time and I did just that tediously tinkering every rotating piece of glass. Weeks and weeks went by of me working and curiously scouring the streets for the green jewel. At least that is what I considered them to be mere trash became my treasure, it was such a vital element for the painting. I am sure my friends, family, and on lookers all thought I was going crazy picking up glass from the ground and putting it into my pocket, none the less the craziness served its purpose. Not that I used them all but I guesstimate I collected over 100 bottles for this piece all varying in size and shades of green. After I felt I had an abundance of glass it was time to break bread or glass I should say! The project was gradually coming together but I still had a long journey a head of me.

          It was time search for the jewelry that was a journey in itself. I would come across pieces I thought looked cool but it didn't strike me, and I wanted something that was striking. I visited many customs jewelry stores in the Chelsea area of Manhattan and to no avail. I took the initiative to make the jewelry myself, with that trusty ole bucket of glass and few pieces I somehow managed to gather POOF!!! like a magician waving his wand over a black upside down top hat the jewelry magically appeared. I was pretty satisfied how it turned out, it contained many layers and full of different textures much like the painting. At this point in the project I was feeling very confident because things were coming along smoothly. Being pleased with the progression of the many phases this project undertook, it was time to move on to the next stage, “The Model” And just when I thought things were going to be a walk in the park it all came to a screeching halt! I have to be quite honest this is where I became discourage, If you could see my face it was screaming the word “Nooooooooo” it bothered me because I was so emotionally invested. Instead of going in a dark corner in sobbing over my frustrations, I made a conscious decision to literally put my best foot forward, put my emotions aside and reluctantly work on other projects while I waited I often remind myself that this had to get done.  

          Although I encountered many discouraging setbacks along my journey I remained persistent. Foiled by my failed attempts I reached out to my trusty and most amazing MUA Ariel to give me a hand at casting a model she knew exactly what I was looking for so she was more than eager to assist. Weeks went by and to my surprise she came up empty handed as well. I started to question myself, “What is going on, what am I doing wrong” It felt as if the only people invested in this project was Ariel and myself, no one gave “SOG” a chance, but I believed in it. I could have easily reached out to a modeling agency but I wanted this to be authentic, I was in search of a connection. Moving forward, I can vividly remember being on Instagram one day posting pictures, I noticed this particular user liking a lot of my photos it caught my attention and I wanted to investigate. Immediately upon skimming through her feed, I excitedly blurted out “She’s the girl” At that very moment I intuitively knew I was looking at my muse for the project, she ideally fit every criteria. I tell you this girl was gifted wrapped and handed to me from the universe. The only thing that stood between us was a simple direct message, and boy I was not trying hesitate! I sent her a message that basically said “I would love to make some magic with you, she replied “I love your work, let’s do it”

          I am thinking to myself no way, this is a joke, is she serious, is she going to flake like all of the previous models!!!???? These were some of the many fears that stalked my mind upon conversing with her via Instagram. In the weeks following we communicated more and more through email. Although she showed some interest I still did not feel fully secure on the deal, all that change the moment I sent the Photo Treatment of the shoot to her, that changed everything! After reading the treatment not only did she have a new appreciation for “SOG” it resonated with her so much she felt compelled to participate. I want to add that I am not a believer in coincidence, this is just a term we use to describe the strange occurrences. Ironically, she revealed to me that her dad passed on in 2010, my dad passed in 1995, 15 years prior to her tragic experience, she also told me of a poem she wrote 5 years prior to “SOG” titled “Stained Glass” I do not know if you guys see it, but there was definitely a connection there. She believed in me, and in my vision, she handed over her trust and I can not thank her enough. During the shoot I can recall on a few occasions Noel state "Everything happens on God's time" there was a quiescence in those words that perpetuated in my head.

          In closing,  this photo shoot wildly exceeded any and all expectation I had. I am truly humbled by this entire experience, all of the disappointments, mishaps, what seemed to be failures, were all in preparation for what was to come. All of the indifferent things that took place meant absolutely nothing in comparison to the day of this shoot, it was nothing short of utter bless. I am proof that through undoubtedly believing, hard work, and just being plan old persistent you can reap the fruits of your labor and man did I reap them abundantly!!!!! 

NoelClarkIMG_8278.jpg
NoelClarkIMG_8415.jpg

"The Beauty Dish"

The Beauty Dish is one of the most versatile and essential lighting modifiers in my little arsenal. Using the "BD" has dramatically improved the quality of my images, It is used on 95% of my shoots. I acquired the Beauty Dish in 2011 after my good friend John David Pittman, who is an amazing and talented photographer http://johndavidpittman.com/ ,highly recommended I immediately get one.  I was in limbo on making the investment so I called him up. He said to me, "Dude, don't think about it, just buy the 22" Beauty Dish...I promise you will not regret it!" I came to realization he was telling me to get one for some really beneficial reasons. I have to secretly admit I was not sold on it initially, I guess that can be contributed to my previous lack of knowledge on how to use it. I actually tucked it away for some time while I educated myself on its uses and functionalities. It was now time to experiment and put it to the test.

I had an up coming on location shoot I was preparing for and as I was loading my gear something just clicked. I scraped all of the soft boxes I packed and brought along a single Gridded Beauty Dish accompanied with a battery powered 600w Bowens strobe. My goodness, I was simply marveled at the quality of light I was able to produce with it. Not only did I have enough light to over power the sun, I had the perfect tool for sculpting it. I quickly caught on and now I'm using the "BD" on almost every shoot both on location and studio.

Mixed lighting became a thing of mine. Playing around with the "BD" I would mix and combine ambient, gelled, bare bulb, diffused, and gridded light to shape my subjects. I Once used only the modeling light from the "BD" at it's lowest power, to produce a dramatically lit low key image. Literally over night It became one of my "go to" lighting modifiers. The "BD" is infamously used throughout the fashion and beauty industry, hence the word "Beauty Dish." Some of the world's leading professional photographers such as Scott Kelby, Lindsay Adler, Joey L., Jeremy Cowart, Joel Grimes, and many more use the "BD" to create some absolutely stunning work. Your very own Kurt Von http://kurtvon.com/ ,founder of the "Light Shapers" website and fellow photographer also uses the Beauty Dish.

The "Beauty Dish" can be summarized as to providing 3 type of light sources:

1.Bare Bulb- Which is very intense, punchy, and dramatic

2.Diffusion Sock - Produces very soft flattering yet sculpted light

3. Gridded- The grid can be wrapped up as being very controlled and tightly focused light that ultimately has a fast fall off with little to no spill

Here are a some images I produce with the beauty dish:

 Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

 Model: Dalilah. 

Model: Dalilah. 

 Model: Teriana.

Model: Teriana.

 Model: Latrice. 

Model: Latrice. 

 Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

 Model: Amarie. S.

Model: Amarie. S.

 Model: Casey. S.

Model: Casey. S.

 Model: Angie. T.

Model: Angie. T.

 Model: Eliza. L. 

Model: Eliza. L. 

 Rapper: Serious Jones 

Rapper: Serious Jones 

 Selfie lol 

Selfie lol 

Here are some great "BTS" videos using the Beauty Dish

Lindsay Adler 

http://www.lindsayadlerphotography.com

 

Andrea Belluso

http://www.belluso.com/

 

Now understand that I am not at all trying to advertise a product, or force anyone to go run out and purchase one, however if you are in the real estate of portrait and beauty photography I recommend taking the dive. I just wanted to share my experience and info on one of my favorite modifiers. Photographers who already own a Beauty Dish will concur with it's wonders. Hope you guys enjoyed!!!