RTP

10 Minute Portraits | North Carolina Photographer

With a limited amount of time and no desirable location I setup Jay in front of my garage door to create the below portraits.   

With every photo shoot I have 4 things I check off in my head.  Lighting, posing, composition & expression.  The process is really quick because I have done it for so long.

1) Light -- I like to work quickly and efficiently, so my go to lighting source is natural light.  I look for the best source and quality of natural light.  If the natural light is terrible and I can't move my subject then I would introduce tools to help with the quality of the light on my subject.  Of course the tools used on every photo shoot does vary, it could be an artificial light aka strobe or speed light, a bed sheet to help diffuse the light, a video light etc. whatever it takes to get a great portrait.  That said, with these portraits I used all natural light.  

2) Posing -- giving my subject a reason to be wherever they are ensures my subject looks natural and comfortable.  In the case of Jay, he was in front of my garage door with a cool jacket, so I thought, what would I do in front of my garage door with a cool jacket and I believe the answer was just look cool.  The word "cool" could mean something different to everyone, this was my interpretation.

3) Composition -- knowing what to include and exclude in your portrait is critical to ensure your viewer is not distracted with other subjects that's not the main focus of the portrait.  Playing with angles, shapes etc helps to create an interesting composition that's pleasing to the viewer's eye.

4) Expression -- My last check mark is the mood and emotion of the portrait.  This last bit is the soul of the portrait it helps the viewer to connect with the subject.  Having the best lighting in the world, the best posing and a great composition means nothing; if there's no emotion, no spark and no mood in the portrait.  In these portraits I wanted to express how cool he was in this awesome jacket, so that's what I aimed for and hopefully achieved.

From a post processing perspective, when I was reviewing the images they all just screamed black and white to me.  Simple, no distractions and timeless.  Here's a secret, I love creating beautiful portraits but I hate post processing :-).

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See You Later | Cary North Carolina Photographer

Jessica is leaving town :-(, so this was our see you later photo shoot, not good bye.

Our first photo shoot was almost two years ago, well February 2015 will make two years.  When we first meet I was pleasantly surprised by her bubbly personality, which wasn't the only surprise.  It turns out she was also a dancer, which we quickly incorporated into the photo shoot, as you can see from the video.   Jessica, it was a pleasure to meet you and thank you for supporting me for the pass two years through all my crazy ideas.  Good luck with your future plans I am sure you will be very successful with whatever you choose to do.

With respect to the photoshoot, I primarily used one light source "the icelight" for the entire shoot.  I also incorporated some candle light to add a little mood.  For the full length shot I used one speed light and the icelight to help open the shadows.  The light is the most important element when creating an image so once I had the light right I then moved onto posing.

With posing, I generally pose my subject to fit the environment and once I have the pose right my focus shift to getting a great expression from my subjects.  My goal was to get something timeless and elegant.

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Evolving the Practice | North Carolina Photographer

If you followed my photography over the years, you may have noticed that objects are not often my subject matter.  I enjoy shooting people more than I do objects, however, as an artist, I do not welcome nor do I embrace placing limitations on my art/creations.  I continuously seek ways to augment and improve my skill-set; I still need to practice photographing things I wouldn’t normally shoot.  As a photographer, I believe I can find beauty/art in whatever is in front of my lens.

The first image below is simply a snapshot to display the scene, but I wanted to push myself to develop the scene; the additional 9 images show my vision as it evolved in this instance.

"Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known"
- Oscar Wilde

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Note: There was no photoshop manipulation, this was all done in camera.

Bridal Portraits @ Duke Gardens | Durham, North Carolina Photographer

There was a great deal of preparation associated with this photo shoot.  The goal was to help build the MUA's wedding portfolio.  On the day of the shoot, I had nine people depending on me to produce wonderful images --- before every shoot I experience a small dose of nerves --- I know what images I want to create but how will they actually turn-out always concerns me; simply put, I hope I don't suck :-).  The nervous excitement dissipates after I take the first image and I allow my creative process to take hold and do what it does; produce high-quality, artistic captures resulting in excellent, professional portraits.

When we arrived at Duke Gardens, I wasted no time; I almost immediately started shooting with Kelly Tada.  I captured some amazing images in the parking lot.  It was a small challenge working with three different "brides" back to back and I enjoyed every moment.

I want to thank the team whose hard work produced so many amazing images:

mua: Stephanie Sekhmina
hair sylist: Andrayah Poncè
crystal jewler: Emily French
wardrobe stylist: Tina B KonTroversi
designer: Sonique Stephen
model: Lindsey Carrier
model: Kelly Tada
model: La'Meshia Le
video assistant: Nika Austin
video assistant: Agnes Lichanska
assistant: John Austin

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO


MUA FACES BY E'TOSH | Columbia, South Carolina

Last weekend I had a photo shoot in Wilmington North Carolina, which was cancelled due to the weather.  So since my photo shoot plans were cancelled my wife and I decided to head down to Columbia, South Carolina for a weekend get away.  Since I had my gear in the back of the car, while en route we planned a quick photo shoot with MUA E'toshia owner/operator of Faces by ETOSH; E'Toshia reached out to Monica Conyers, who said yes and just like that we got a photo shoot together at the last minute.

E'toshia did a wonderful job with Monica's MUA and accommodated us at her home for the photo shoot.  While E'toshia was doing her thing I scoped out a few locations for the photo shoot and based on where the light was falling I decided to do the photo shoot in front of her garage door.  Crazy right, but the light was just right and I let the natural lighting dictate where I would shoot and I didn't care about the background.  However, to add some interest I asked E'Toshia if I could use a painting that was on her wall as the back drop and I think that addition came together pretty well.

I did record some BTS video but I left my BTS camera with the footage in Columbia and I am still trying to figure out if I should drive to pick it up or have it delivered.

Thank you Duane Herbert for the assistance with the shoot.  Also, thank you to my wife for assisting with the BTS video, although I forgot it.  Lastly, thank you E'Toshia and Monica for coming together at the last minute to pull this shoot off.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Wayne And Shereese Engagement Session | Durham, North Carolina

When another photographer hired me to cover his engagement, two things immediately happen: 1. Excitement that another photographer admired my work and commissioned me to capture his important moment 2. after the initial excitement, the nerves set in :-).

On the day of the shoot, my focus was with the couple and working with them to capture their interaction with each other while highlighting the expressions of love and exchanges of affection between them.  I never met Shereese or Wayne before, so it was my goal to build a rapport on the day of the shoot where they will be comfortable with me, because without that connection I wouldn't be able to memorialize their special moment.  Wayne is a very down to earth guy and surprisingly we shared a great deal in common.  We both have a Caribbean background, we both grew up in The Bronx, we both have a passion for creating art through photography and we both practically moved to North Carolina around the same time, but we never knew each other until now.  

Thank you Wayne and Shereese for allowing me to capture your engagement session. 

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Downtown Raleigh | North Carolina Photographer

I had a shoot planned for today but it got cancelled at the last minute, however I didn't want to waste the beautiful day so I took some quick snapshots of the downtown Raleigh area.  I generally don't photograph inanimate objects but I must say it was relaxing.

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Beauty Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina

On Saturday February 8th, I hosted a group of six great photographers at my home studio for a beauty workshop.  The workshop was very hands on, they got to construct the photo shoot from start to finish.  They worked with strobes, modifiers and models.   They pretty much put together every component required for this shoot, which I believe is the best way to learn.  We worked with 3 strobes and a speed light.  The modifiers were a combination of soft boxes, a beauty dish and bare bulbs. 

After the photo shoot, we grabbed some lunch and networked with each other.  We then quickly proceeded to post processing and I discussed my thought process when working with beauty images in photoshop. 

We had 3 incredible models Jessica, Claire and Julia, they all did a wonderful job working with 6 different photographers, well 7 if you count me :-).  Doing the heavy lifting, on the hair we had the wonderful Shereese Cromartie and on MUA we had the incredibly forgiving (inside joke about me) Deatrice Snuggs.  Without you ladies this day would not be possible and for that I thank you.

Overall this was an incredibly rewarding and successful workshop.  We were able to exchange a great deal of information and we made some wonderful connections.  I have learned a lot from this event and for that and many more I am grateful.

Below you will find one of the images from the workshop, I will be posting more on this blog post but I just wanted to get this post out to thank everyone for the awesome team work.

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Claire Daniella

Jessica Douglas

Julia Manchester

Dawn's Family Portraits | Apex, North Carolina

I really enjoy doing fun family portraits and Dawn's family was no exception, I had a blast.  Here's what Dawn and her family had to say.

"Ernesto is great to work with!  He arrived right on time and worked with me and my family to produce beautiful images.  He made everyone very comfortable and was quick and thorough.  He is personable and has a great eye - I would definitely hire again."

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Tornado Distraction | North Carolina Photographer

Today Wake County area in North Carolina was on a tornado warning and the message I got on my phone actually said "take shelter now", which was very scary and reminded me just how unprepared I am for such an event.  We had some heavy winds but thankfully the tornado did not hit our hometown in Cary.  Naturally after the warnings were over and I was trapped in the house I decided to grab my camera and test some lighting.

Here's the behind the scenes look at how I made this image.

TNTM end of year 2013 publication cover photo

One of my images made it onto the cover of TNTM (Talk Nerdy To Me) end of year 2013 publication.  Congratulations to Joy Anna who is featured on the covered, she did a great job.  Also thank you to Marsha Green for the awesome make up.

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Also if you want strong portraits similar to this cover image take advantage of my holiday promotion which is schedule to expire at the end of December 2013.  Click here for more details on this promotion.

Strong Portraits | Cary, North Carolina Photographer

I love creating strong, powerful and memorable portraits.  Click here for the holiday special.  

These images were shot and edited by me.

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Holiday Promotion | individual or family portraits

Holiday promotion, get beautiful family or individual portraits for the holiday season at a promotional rate. This promotion expires at the end of December 2013, but if you book now and you are unable to schedule a photoshoot between now and December 2013, we can schedule your session in 2014.  There's limited space, book your session now before time and space expires.

snake handler photoshoot | north carolina photographer

MUA Stephanie C contacted me to do a photo shoot including human and snake models -- immediately my interest was piqued!  

Stephanie contacted the models for the shoot and Eric Smith provided the serpent stars: Choke Norris (Colombian Redtail Boa)  and Uloopi (Ball Python).

The shoot took place on location in my home studio.

Models: Lista Duwyenie-Hodges, Rochelle Camacho, MUA Stephanie C, Choke Norris and Uloopi

Hair & MUA: Stephanie C

Fashion stylist: Polymoniker

Snake handler: Eric Smith

Jewelry: Emily French

BTS video: Jordano Rastelli

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

The Cary News October Publication | north carolina photographer

I am so honored Hamilton Scot Inn and our local newspaper The Cary News choose to use one of my image in the October 30th publication.  Please take a moment and read the article about Hamilton Scott Inn in The Cary News

Hamilton Scot Inn has the distinction of being the only bed and breakfast located in Cary, North Carolina.  I've used the quaint and eclectically appointed residence as the backdrop for a very successful Breakfast At Tiffany's themed engagement photo shoot in the past and recently had the pleasure of capturing images of an engagement party held at the Inn.  Inn keepers Eric Hoke and Sue Ferguson are always a delight to work with.

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Engagement Celebration @ Hamilton Scot Inn | North Carolina Photographer

I had the great pleasure of spending my Saturday afternoon covering this wonderful engagement celebration at Hamilton Scot Inn located in Cary, North Carolina.  

Special thank you to Sue Ferguson and Eric H. Hoke.

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cassie kozyrkov | north carolina photographer

As a photographer I am still growing and I suppose this growth process may never end.  I am a very analytical person so if someone asked me a few years ago if I would be doing portrait photography, the answer would have been a resounding "no!".  I honestly don't recall why I picked up a camera, I wish I had a cool story to tell you, but I don't.  What I can say is, as a child I used to draw and as I got older for some reason I lost that skill and perhaps that's why photography appealed to me.

I get inspiration mostly from movies but I'm also inspired by various images, shapes and textures. I try to convey what I see in my own images. With this photo shoot--as with many other shoots I do, I consulted with my wife on styling and wardrobe and she directed me to a fashion blog she frequents, where I found a black and white editorial.  I loved the simplicity and calmness of the shots and was inspired to create my own imagery depicting the laid-back but sharp images below.

Cassie Kozykrov who is featured in the images below like me is a very analytical person and I was very impressed with her smartness.  She studies statistics at NC State University Graduate School and she's a very impressive programer.  It was a pleasure working with her, she has a great personality and was willing to work hard to make this shoot a success, which was awesome.

Dawn Frischmann Losinger was our MUA for the day, she is always such a pleasure to work with.  Thank you so much for offering your talents on this photo shoot--both Cassie and I appreciate the great job you did.

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flashdance 2013 | north carolina photographer

As a teenager and I guess to some extent as an adult I wasn't and still am not very sociable.  I grew up with movies as my main source of entertainment, hence it became one of my main sources of inspiration.  Movies helps me with different lighting setups, story telling and it forces me to view an image in 390 degrees.

With Flashdance, I wanted to recreate that emotional feeling I had when I was first saw the movie with a modern twist, so I started planning for the photoshoot.  I ask my wife who helps style most of my photoshoots to gather the wardrobe.  Once I had the wardrobe I began my search for the right model and Jessica Delovely was perfectly suited to fit the roll of Alex.  Jessica is a talented dancer who does Zumba classes at the YMCA. 

On the day of the shoot Jessica showed up promptly at 10am and immediately got into character.  Once Jessica was on set I started setting up my lighting to ensure it evoke the mood I wanted to capture.  Needless to say, it took me a few to get the lighting to be just right for this shoot.  Once the lighting was dialed in we work on posing and below you will find the results of our team work. 

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