jersey city

"My two Favorites Lenses"

“Great imagery resides in glass not the body” In my honest opinion, The Canon 70-200mm IS f/2.8L II USM is arguably one of Canon’s flagship lenses. The sheer quality you get in build quality, image quality, and performance is second to none. Whenever I am shooting any beauty or editorial looks this is lens is mounted on my camera 90% of the time. What I enjoy most about the 70-200mm is its versatility you get so much in this one package, exceptional image quality, great range, image stabilization, and weather sealing. I previously owned the 1st version and quickly upgraded when the 2nd vision released. The difference I noticed between the two models, the 2nd is slightly larger, the focusing rings are buttery smooth, focusing is quicker and overall sharper. The 1st version cost me roughly $1,500 and the 2nd came in at $2,000 that is steal considering its initial release the lens debuted roughly at $2,400 I dropped the funds and never look back. I can go on about reasons why I love this particular lens, but here is what I dislike about it, this lens is super heavy coming at (2.9lb) this lens is nothing to play with. Paired with a full frame camera battery grip with 2 batteries you are looking at approximately (9lb). Can you imagine being on a long days shoot with this thing hanging from your neck? Fortunately, when I am using this lens it is primarily stationed on a tripod. Being that it is so long and heavy it can be a bit cumbersome. I am also worried about keeping it protected There is no way you can be incognito with this considering the dimension on are 8 x 15 x 8, without the lens hood. Anytime I pull out this baby out it is an instant attention grabber. You will most definitely attract a host of onlookers and occasionally they will come up to inquire about it. 

I can not say that this is Sigma’s flagship lens, however this is by far my absolute favorite. I owned 4 different types of the “50mm” it was actually the 2nd lens I’ve ever owned. Coined the “Nifty Fifty” because of its versatility you are bound to produce great imagery with this lens. In, April 11, 2014, when this lens first released It had been totally redesigned and re-engineered to set a new standard for Sigma’s Art line. It literally changed the landscape of the 50mm everywhere. Prior to the release, I have only used Canon lenses. I’ve been utterly impressed with this lens the moment I laid hands on it. It actually lived up to the hype, It is a remarkable piece of glass and a jewel of a lens. This is all you need if you are into everyday shooting. Aside from it being a wonderful piece of glass, the overall aesthetics this lens produces is simply breathtaking. It is super sharp even at f1.4, fast at focusing, it’s bokelicious, and performs exceptionally well in low light.  Paired with a full-frame body and ND filter you have yourself a nice piece of photographing machinery. The street value on this lens is between $750-$800 I was lucky enough to get it for a flat rate of $700. Being that it was redesigned this is not your typical 50mm, the dimension is much larger, weighing in at (1.80 lb), (3.35″) in diameter,  (3.94″) in length, and 77mm filter thread. Translation, this baby is no joke because it is not designed like your conventional 50mm but with all the great stuff to be mentioned there is one minor thing I dislike about the lens, It does not have any weather sealing, Sigma what's up with that? 

Enclosing, I am not here to state which lens is better or which lens I prefer over the other, I just enjoy using the two lenses primarily because of their versatility. You can do so much with just these two lenses for an example,  playing with bokeh and depth of field or zooming in close to a subject without being super close to them. As mentioned in the first paragraph, the 70-200mm is mounted on my camera 90% of the time. Now when it comes to everyday photography or videography this is where the Sigma 50mm shines, it handles well in low light and I admire the contrast and color rendition it produces. In comparison, the 50mm is half the price, size, weight, a 3rd of the length and it is also easier to handle in between shoots. On the other hand, the 70-200mm offers features such as, two mode Image Stabilization, this is where the actual lens compensates for movement to keep the image stable.  Let’s not forget about the range, and nicely compressed images it creates. Both of these lenses produce aesthetically pleasing imagery and performs exceptionally well in their respected fields. In regards to the price tag, sure you can complain about the prices on these lenses with the 70-200mm coming at $1800 and 50mm at $800, a consumer or semi-pro 50mm usually runs about $350. My outlook on things is this, it’s an investment. Smart buyers will always purchase an inexpensive body and go all out on the glass. Keep in mind great imagery resides in glass, not the body. Good lenses will last you a lifetime, and if they are well kept retain their resale value.  

A note I will never forget!!

Professor Kim is one of the many professors, educators who have encouraged and inspired me along my journey. I am truly humbled by her greatness, she is someone who is so kind, genuine, pure, and out of this world intelligent. I was recently digging through some old folders and found my journal here is a note she wrote to me in 2006, still to this day her words resonates with me. Being encouraged by someone whom you admire is a gift, thank you professor Kim for believing in me!!



"Photography Business Pointers"

This is just a brief introduction addressing a few questions that I am often asked. I don't have all the answers and I am quite ok with that, what I do know is the knowledge I have acquired over the 8 years of shooting I want to share it! So let's jump into it, how many of you out there like photography, how many of you love photography? Photography comes seemingly easy, think about how inexpensive it is to go out and buy an entry level DSLR. Now that you have your new camera it is off to the races right? Well for some this maybe true however, it is one facet to get into photography and another to actually sustain it. I've learned this along my journey, speaking of journeys check out my blog post “The Journey” 

There is a lot of administrative work that goes into photography, there is what I consider to be an "80/20" rule here is a simple break down, 80% goes into managing what is you do if for example marketing, attracting clients, social media presence, email engagement, retouching, producing and selling products, there is a considerable amount of time that will be divided among these sectors. The other 20% goes into shooting. I know its sounds depressing especially for someone who loves to shoot. But if you really want to get a hand on things you need to understand and adopt this Concept. 

Photography is a vast market when I mean vast it’s big, here are a few categories.

  • Advertising

  • Commercial  

  • Directing

  • Lighting

  • Retouching

  • Editorial

  • Wedding

  • Portraiture

  • Sports

  • Landscape

  • Interior Design

  • Product

Identify what is appealing to you, where do you fall in line? Becoming familiar with the fundamentals is highly critical to your development. When you build on shaky grounds you are very likely to fall, when your foundation is strong you are able to withstand those challenging times. I want to share a few pointers!

  • Remind yourself of the "80/20" rule, and do not forget it. 

  • Invest more time and financing into studying & research.

  • Legal/Documentations- model releases, agreements, contracts.

  • Liability/protection- cover your clients & gear.

  • Accounting/Management- smart investing, keep track of billing & what you spend.

  • Diligence/Patients- consistently work on being the the best at what you do, keep in mind being great takes time.

  • Mastering- your style & workflow.

  • Anticipation- apart of being a great photographer is anticipating things that can potentially go wrong.

If you plan on turning your passion into a career I think a great starting place will be to:

1.Be passionate: When your passionate about something you are good at, it makes it that much more desirable to do.

2.Hone in on your niche: What is it that you do best?

3.Define who you are as a photographer: Establishment (be known for something)

5.Get familiar with your market: know who is doing what.

6.Build your network and use it: Always refer to the people who you can rely on and trust to give you honest feedback. Engage with your community (Your network is your net-worth)

7. Learn from the masters: I can not emphasize this enough!

Books I would strongly consider reading:

  • “ASMP Professional Business Practices in Photography”

  • “The Photographer’s Guide to Negotiating”

  • “The Photographer’s Survival Guide”

  • “The Digital Photography Book”

  • “The Moment it Clicks”

  • “Sketching Light”

  • “Creative 52”

There are a ton photography related books out there believe me some are captivating on the contrary, some are not the most exciting but you will ultimately gain a wealth of knowledge resulting in you being a well rounded photographer. If you can effectively manage to do these things I think you are on the right path. I hope this post serve as a reference point and a source of inspiration to make your passion consistent to what you want it to be.

If you find this material useful please share it with your family and friends, this helps us all out a great deal. God Bless and Good Luck!! 



"I did not choose Art, it chose me"

For as long as I can remember I was always drawing, but I did not realize my ability until the death of my father in 1995; I was 9 years of age at the time. My life took a turn for the absolute worst, things became very gloomy followed by 2 years of depression looking for an outlet I turned to art! Drawing not only served as an escape, I was able to express those emotions I struggle to hard to control and dealt with. Free time in school became drawing time. My teachers realize my artistic inclination, and immediately pushed me into gifted and talented classes; this is where my talents were harnessed and developed. 

By 1999, 4 years later things picked up and really took off for me! The year 2000 was a new start.  I was accepted to a Visual & Performing Arts High School, this is when I really immersed myself into art. I studied an array of mediums and engaged in much intense training. By 2003, I found my niche, painting was my passion. I  went on to win many awards, In 2004 I received my most prestige accolade "The Governor's Gold Key Award for Scholastic Art and Writing” This was presented to me by the New Jersey Governor.

The V.P.A taught me so much; I learned some of my most valuable lessons there! I’ve learned the importance of discipline, and how to channel my creativity through art, also that I can make it as an artist! Those life essentials carried throughout my career as an artist, and here I am now! Spiritually I know I was guided to this path. I find ironic to say this but, in hindsight I feel like my father's death was a gift to me, because that pain I felt call forth my potential. I had to turn my pain into passion, he lives through my work! 

"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!!!!! 


What Should I Buy!!!???????

Curious on what to buy? I was once in your shoes in search of what to buy I nearly reviewed and investigated many items when it comes down to photography. Along my journey I own, have owned, reviewed or used the items referenced in this post. Time after time, I get asked for recommendations and suggestions on what gear to buy, so I hope this hits the spot for some of you. As a disclaimer I am far from an expert and I am not super "techy", although I may not know all of the specifications of each product, what I can attribute is that they work incredibly well.

Personally, I love the Canon DSLR and Elinchrom system, but I am not at all bias to any particular brand I use what is comfortable and what works for me. I will suggest staying away from buying photography gear that states "Bundle Package" only invest in them if you seek the help of a professional or if you are fully knowledgeable on all of the products listed in its description. The majority of the times they throw in all these really cheap items that you will almost never use or will eventually end up replacing. I want you all to make the best investment you possibly can. Spending the money right the first time around will prevent you from spending it later, so do not be afraid to make the investment. If you are in the market of purchasing any type of gear, here are a few of my recommendations. These items address my over all things to look for when buying gear. These are the 3 essential elements for me when making my investment!!!! 

Affordable- It must be in my budget otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford it! Quality, has to be the best in its class for the price point. How Much are you willing to invest? 

Durability- The life and longevity is highly important because this determines how long you are able to hold onto your gear. Aside from some minor things most of my gear has lasted for 5 years plus. Can your gear take a licking and keep on ticking?

PortabilityFor me, this is highly essential because I love to shoot on location and I want to be light and nimble as possible. I had my days where I would lug all this crazy gear and let me tell you it wasn't fun. Yeah having a ton of gear on a location looks awesome but it can become a hassle when it is time to put it all away. Do you prefer a light travel or a heavy one?

Please note this is not the end all be all list, it is simply what I would recommend to people seeking to purchase or upgrade their gear. If you guys out there have any personal recommendations that you feel people can benefit from please email them to me so that I could add them to the list,!!!!   



5DSR $3,700

5DMKIV $3,400

5DMKIII $2,500

5DMKII $2,000-$950Used

6D $1400


7DMKII $1,700

80D $1,600

70D $950



Canon 70-200mmIS F/2.8 USMII $2,100

Canon 70-200mmIS F/2.8 USMI $1350

Canon 70-300mm $639

Canon 24-70mm2.8 USMII $1,900

Canon 24-70mm F/2.8 EF-L $1,000

Canon 24-105mm $1,000

SIgma 24-105mm F/4 Art DG OS HSM $900

Canon 28-135mm $380


Canon 135mm EF F/2L $1,000

Rokinon 135mm F2.0 ED UMC $550

Canon 85mm F/1.2 II USM $2,000

Canon 85mm F/1.8 $350

Rokinon 85 F/1.4 $270

Canon 50mm F/1.2L $1,500

Sigma 50mm F/1.4Art $950

Canon 50mm F/1.4 $330

Canon 50mm F/1.8 II $125

Sigma 35mm F/1.4Art DG HSM

Sigma 24mm F/1.4Art DG HSM $700


Elinchrom BRX 500 $695

Einstein E640 $499

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4 $407

Neewer 600w Dual Power AC/DC $330

AlienBees B800 $280

AlienBees B400 $225

Fotodiox Pro M400A $200


Canon 600EX-RT $500

Canon 430EX II Price Varies

Yongnuo YN568 EX II $104

Yongnuo YN560 III $66


PocketWizard Pluss III Transceiver (2) $289

Yongnuo YN622C ETTL Transceiver (2) $79

Yongnuo RF-603 II Transceiver (2) $32



28" Beauty Dish white interior+Grid $172 Without Grid $108

22" Beauty Dish white interior $90

Circular Umbrella style

EZ-Pro Octa 5' $97

EZ- Pro Octa 36in $82

Pro Parabolic Umbrella 16-rib 72in White interior $80

Neewer 43in 5 in 1 Collapsible Disk Reflector $18


WestScott 2334 28in Medium Apollo $136

EZ-Pro Strip Box 12x56in $87

EZ-Pro Softbox 32x48in $82



Heavy Duty

Avenger C-Stand A2033LKIT $225

Matthews 40" C-Stand $206

Kupo 40" C-Stand Turtle Base Kit $200

CowBoyStudio C-Stand $152

Linco Deluxe Heavy Duty Boom Stand $78

PBL Pro Heavy Duty SC Stand 10' set of 2 $72

Linco Pro Heavy Duty 8' set of 2 with Carrying Case $61


Gitzo G2220 Explorer 3 $350

Manfrotto MK190XPro3-BH3+ Q90 Ballhead $300

Vanguard Abeo Plus 323AB + BBH-200 Ballhead $297

Manfrotto MT055Pro3 055 $240

Mactrem Q666C Carbon Fiber Tripod+Monopod+Ballhead $160

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AT $150

Koolehaoda B-Q666c Carbon Firber Tripod+Monopod+Ballhead $149

Sirui T005KX 52in+C10x Ballhead $136

Neewer Carbon Fiber Lightweight Portable 66in+Ballhead $99

Induro Alloy 8M AT-013 $96


Full Size

Really Right Stuff BH55 $550

Acra-Swiss Mono Ball Z1 SP $389

Manfrotto MH0550-Q2 055 $200

Sirui K-40x 54mm $165


Sirui K20x 38mm $129  

Sirui K10x 33mm $118

Giottos MH1000-652 $95

Manfrotto 496RC2 $90

Fancierstudio 6664H $39

Xcsource BH $36


Wacom Intuos Pro Medium $350

Wacom Intuos5 Medium $350

Wacom Intuos4 Medium $225

Wacome Intuos Pen&Touch Medium CTH680 $200

Huion H610Pro $77

MonoPrice MP1060 HA60 $56

Camera Bags

Check out camera bags from the following companies

Case Logic  




Think Tank






Photoshoot With DJ Mavric #BeardGang

In December 2014, I did this awesome shoot with a good friend and model Dj Mavric. The weather was increasingly getting cold, luckily the day we scheduled to shoot It was super sunny and semi-warm, In New Jersey to have 43-degree weather in December is not common trust me!! Anywho, we originally scheduled to do a studio session however, because the weather was so awesome I suggested to split the session and do some location and studio. I already had the location in mind, interestingly enough I always wanted to shoot in this particular area it was something about the all the trash and grunge that really attracted me. I believed it would serve as a great setting, and it most certainly did. When I pitched the idea to Dj Mavric he was down and so was I. Below is a short clip and some images from the session.

I shot this on the iPhone6 days prior to the shoot. 

I shot this on the iPhone6 days prior to the shoot. 

You wouldn't believe we shot this right behind a gas station 

You wouldn't believe we shot this right behind a gas station 

This is a BTS shot in studio. 

This is a BTS shot in studio.