Ordinary People – Extraordinary Style | Raleigh North Carolina Photographer

Andrayah Ponce a talented hair-stylist, contacted me to shoot clients for Garnish Hair Studio in Raleigh, NC.  Andrayah and her colleagues wanted to capture images of their clients depicting them coiffed and representing their professions, while showcasing hairstyles worn by everyday people/professionals that mirrored street-styles, as opposed to the involved and artistic hair done for magazine and runway.

I know I’ve stated this before, but I feel like this shoot by far posed the biggest challenge for me to date – I know, until the next one comes along and I make the same statement.  So, what was challenging about this shoot you ask? Well, get into this - I had two locations to work with.  The first location Solas, was a three-story building with multiple shooting options and a three-hour time-allotment in which to capture images, with whom I thought at the time would be 10 subjects. The second location was a gym, which turned into a logistical workout because we had to move all our photography gear and crew to the new location.  Seven of the 10 subjects were present on the day of the shoot, allowing me to maximize the 3-hour window I had.

When you have a great location with multiple shooting options and 7 subjects, where do you begin?  Well, start somewhere, just pick a spot!  Generally that spot is dictated primarily by lighting, but in this case I planned on creating the light, so location guided me and then lighting.  I selected my first subject and started working the location, the light, and posing.  I got a little carried away with my first subject and veered off schedule a bit.  Each subject required a different shooting location and a different lighting setup, AND I’m allowing for approximately 10 minutes per subject to capture images; therefore, I had to figure out lighting and posing before I even took my first pictur.  This was a fast-paced photo shoot and very challenging from a lighting perspective.  

Fortunately, I work well under pressure – this photo shoot certainly put that to the test.  I was extremely humbled by this experience because it presented me with a solid base on what works and what doesn't with respect to a fast-paced, multi-subject photo shoot.  One other note worth mentioning, I have encountered stories from celebrity photographers who have about 5 minutes to work with multiple talent and I am convinced I now know what that type of high-energy environment feels like – with heightened expectations of flawless execution and delivery.  No pressure, no sweat. Right! Yep! Pressure and sweat will be present and on you through the very end and wrap-up of your shoot; just get in and hold on!

Acknowledgement to the following creatives for realizing the concept; I cannot reiterate enough the importance of a talented, multi-faceted, and supportive team as an essential aspect of a successful photo shoot:


  • The entire team at Garnish Studio did a great job with styling the hair for all the entrepreneurs. (Candice Motley, Tish Cotton, Christine Woods, Donyata Simpson and a big thank you Andrayah Ponce)
  • Amani Asad did a phenomenal job with make up on all the female entrepreneurs.  You can contact Amani for services at Makeup Artistry by Amani.
  • Cheneè Jones did an outstanding job with make up on all the male entrepreneurs.  You can contact Cheneè for services at Cheneè Jones Artistry.

My Direct Support Team:

  • Michael Richardson and James Burke - this was my first time working with both of them and it felt like we were working together for years.  They both did a great job with lighting, thank you both for all your assistance.
  • Anthony Coriale was behind the camera, he assisted our videographer, Wayne with capturing the wonderful BTS video coverage that will be available shortly, be on the lookout for that.
  • Wayne Wonder for capturing the BTS video, which will be published in the near future.
  • Nicole Sue aka Carlton Eliza Charles – whose burgeoning talents as stylist were evident with this shoot.  She did an amazing job styling all the entrepreneurs. 

If you want to attend one of my workshops, please become a member of my meetup group and RSVP for any workshop that you are interested in.

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Edgy Fashion | Raleigh North Carolina Photographer

So, here’s a photo shoot where I was tossed a few curve balls and how I was able to address and navigate each one.

First let me thank the incredible team that made this photoshoot happen.

Demetra was our hair stylist and wardrobe stylist on this shoot. If you ever have the pleasure of making her acquaintance, you will quickly realize there’s never a dull moment with her; she keeps the energy high and is acutely tuned in and anticipates the needs of her team members.

Shannon Sharpe was the make up artist on this shoot.  She is always affable, wearing a smile, easy to work with, and willing to do what it takes to complete the vision.

Vivian Powers Ramge, and Miguel Angel were the models.  This was my first time working with both Vivian and Miguel; they were both professional and attentive.  They never complained about poses, and trusted my directives.  Miguel was very dedicated; he got separated from our little photoshoot team motorcade as we made our way to the venue.  Instead of giving up and leaving us, he parked his car and was picked up by Vivian’s mother at an agreed upon meeting spot.  We were able to complete the shoot without losing anyone and compromising the vision - with one exception, Shannon our MUA; sadly she didn’t make it to the “other side” with us. Twelve-gun-salute for Shannon.  Until we meet again, my friend.

Wayne and Najee, they are the permanent team, but they do deserve credit as well.  Wayne did a really great job with capturing behind the scenes video. Najee was an incredible assistant with lighting and video.

Let’s get into this shoot.  Initially, the idea for this shoot was parkour with fashion.  However, the parkour model was unable to participate.  Given that I had all the resources lined up I decided to change the theme of the shoot; the new concept became: an edgy fashion shoot.  With the new concept, I needed a new male model and Miguel stepped-in and was a welcome addition.

Downtown Raleigh - our venue on the day of the shoot - was also hosting Iron-Man Raleigh, as a result, downtown was completely blocked off.  More on that later.  After we navigated - thank you, Demetra - the Iron-Man Raleigh event with all the resulting road-closures and detours; we were faced with yet another challenge, my original location had construction work going on.  So, once again, I had to come up with yet another location that would work well for the team, all while communicating with and corralling the remaining team members who didn’t make it to the original location, and getting everyone to the new location to start shooting.  Whew!  Stay with me.  The new location from a lighting perspective was not ideal for me, but I decided to play the hand I was dealt.  I ended up working with direct harsh sunlight, which would have been a problem for me if I had never worked with direct sunlight before.  Understanding posing and the light, helped me navigate this not so ideal situation.

If you want to attend one of my workshops, please become a member of my meetup group and RSVP for any workshop that you are interested in.

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Preview of BTS Video

Full BTS Video

Drive | north carolina photographer

This was by far the most difficult shoot I have attempted -- I am sure there will more difficult shoots in the future but for now this was mine.  I get inspired by movies, the movie that inspired this shoot was Drive.  When I saw Drive, I just knew I wanted to try and reproduce some of the same beautiful lighting from that movie.  The lighting was the most difficult and yet the most rewarding because I learned some new techniques.

The right model was a bit hard to find, but eventually I found Alexander Veach.  I talked to Alexander about my concept and he immediately was on-board; We actually met about two weeks ago at a Meet-up group I organize with various photography workshops.

On the day of the shoot I had no idea what direction I was going in and what the images were going to be.  We had to deal with a few challenges; we came up with some clever solutions and given that Alexander is an engineer he was responsible for most of the remedies.  In lieu of a behind the scenes video, I'll just say one solution involved a plastic bag and an electrical cord.

Fashion stylist: Polymoniker

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BeautyBliss Magazine Fall Publication | North Carolina Photographer

I am so honored to have 3 of my images featured in the fall publication of BeautyBliss Magazine.   I couldn't have done it without the hard work of an incredible team Caleb Provan, Jessica Delovely, Toulope Morayo, April Whitley and my wife for styling these photoshoots, congratulations.

Please share, like and grab a copy of the fall BeautyBliss publication.