downton Raleigh

The Divine Feminine | Raleigh North Carolina Photographer

I was asked by Shannon Sharpe to attend her annual Summer photo shoot, not as a shooter, but as an event coordinator, to provide any needed assistance/tips as an experienced photographer on the day of the shoot.  The event was held at Common 414 downtown Raleigh.  I was not scheduled to shoot and this was not my concept, however, Carlton aka Nicole, who was a stylist that day, asked me to capture some images of her work; she wanted the two different photography styles to be captured for her port.  Since I had not planned on shooting at this event, my game plan was simply to use the available light around me.  I didn't use any off or on camera flash to capture these images.  The images of Ai were all created using the venues lights, and the images of Shelby were created using natural light.  

A little background on the theme which was conceptualized by Wesley Yuan Shang (the photographer Nicole styled the models for at the event) and Carlton Eliza Charles aka Nicole Sue:

Yoruba spiritual beliefs are held in parts of Nigeria and Benin, some of which were introduced to and remain a mainstay in some western cultures.  In Yoruba belief, God (Olodumare - the divine creator and supreme energy) has many faces or states of existence, resulting in a pantheon of entities/Orishas.  Among the pantheon of Yoruba Orishas (deities) are Oya and Oshun; they each embody one of the manifestations of God (Olodumare) and are aspects/representations of the divine feminine energies:

  • Oya - a rapid, transitional energy; goddess of winds, tempest, change, transformation, and renewal; she is a fierce warrior, protector of women, and guardian of the realms between life and death. She is the Orisha of rebirth and new life.
  • Oshun - a calming, love energy associated with sweet, fresh waters and rivers; she heals the sick, watches over and provides assistance to the disadvantaged.  She is a progenitor of song, music, dance, fertility, and prosperity.

Acknowledgement to the following creatives for realizing the concept:

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Paradigmatic Menswear - The Classic Man Editorial | Raleigh, North Carolina Photographer

The concept for this photo shoot is: the enduring paradigm and nuances of well-tailored men’s suiting, that distinctive and unrelenting model of the well-dressed gentleman; timelessly iconic and prolific, if you will - perennially contemporary, always fashionably relevant, and consistently classic, yet modern with clean, sharp lines and remarkable tailoring.

The goal of the creative director and wardrobe stylist - Nicole aka Carlton Eliza Charles - was to showcase men with unique features, well-groomed facial hair, suited up and looking dapper. Nicole’s extensive and consummate research led her to tailored men’s suiting; she then infused her own aesthetic to finesse the concept and implement the vision.  With her network connections and substantial budget, she was able to source a great shoot location, and provide high-quality items for the wardrobe options.

The venue was available for shooting for three hours, and we had three models to work with – small window of time, with the expectation of yielding great results.  Upon arrival at the shoot venue, I quickly determined what type of images I wanted to execute and where.  Initially, one image I knew I wanted to capture was a shot with one of the models walking into the venue; so, I setup my lights for that shot.  Once that image was created I pretty much knew where I wanted to go next, and the creativity kept flowing.  My main light for that shot and all the other subsequent images was my Westcott 43 inch Appollo Orb.  Generally, I try not to plan any poses, lighting, etc. before a shoot, because the environment most often impacts and guides my decision process.  Common 414 incorporates great ambient lighting in their decor, and I didn't want to dilute the ambiance so, with every image, it was important for me include what makes that environment so unique and special.  Although this was a very short photo shoot, we had a great deal of fun; everyone worked as a team and we executed perfectly.

Thank you, to the following individuals; I cannot reiterate enough the importance of a talented, multi-faceted, and supportive team as an essential aspect of a successful photo shoot:

  • Wayne Wonder for capturing the BTS video, which will be published in the near future.
  • Anthony Coriale and Najee Fevecque - were behind the camera, they assisted our videographer, Wayne with capturing the wonderful BTS video coverage that will be available shortly, be on the lookout for that.
  • Palani Mohan - who was super attentive to every detail, and was very hands-on with everything I needed to help create the images.  
  • Chenee Jones - this was my first time working with this very professional and knowledgeable MUA. She came prepared with a checklist of questions for the models, to allow her to gauge any allergies or skin issues she should be aware of prior to make-up application.  She laid down some subtle and impressive make-up applications.
  • DaNia Pebbles King - was the hair stylist on this shoot; I’ve worked with her before, she is always a pleasure to work with; very confident and talented.  She is always keen on team collaboration and input, to ensure the images match the concept/vision.
  • Nicole Sue aka Carlton Eliza Charles – whose burgeoning talents as creative director and stylist were evident with this shoot.  She did an amazing job; with her networking connections, and substantial budget, was able to source venue and wardrobe. 
  • Brian Whitley – first time model and really great at it.  He was generous enough to grant access to the venue for shooting.
  • Ravon Derelle Johnson – he has some modeling experience and is one of the most laid back, easy-going talents I’ve had the pleasure of working with.
  • Darius Ruffin – this was his first time in front the lens as a model and he was awesome.

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Mike & Susan Couple Portraits @ The Marriott | Raleigh Photographer

Coordinating this photo session was such a pleasure.  Susan has over 200 couture evening gowns so finding wardrobe was not an issue.  My only job on this photo session was to ensure I made the couple look their best.  Mike was very supportive of his wife and extremely patient.

We were able to obtain permission from the Marriott in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina to photograph in the lobby.  I have photographed in that lobby before, therefore I challenged myself to not repeat the same images.

Working with this couple was simply a breeze, thank you Mike and Susan for such an amazing photoshoot.

I also want to thank my team, they were vital and help made this shoot a success.

Videographer:

  • Wayne Wonder

Assistants:

  • Mario Guzmman
  • Thang Nguyen

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BEHIND THE SCENES TRAILER

 

FULL BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO OF

HOW TO POSE COUPLES

Photo Walk, Networking & Lunch

I had the pleasure of hosting a group of photographers for what was suppose to be a photo walk, but Orlando and Milica quickly changed that idea.  We had an amazing photoshoot in the warehouse district of downtown Raleigh.  Thank you Orlando and Milica for being so awesome and playing along with us.

The intent was to do a simple photo walk in downtown Raleigh and network with the photographers, models, mua and hair stylist in the photography group I run.  While that may have been my intent the art festival changed our plans.  Given that Orland is a local downtown Raleigh resident he knew how to get away from crowd. He suggested we go to the Warehouse District, which was definitely away from the action.  I have always heard of this area, but I have never explored it and or capture any images there.  This location was amazing and I will be going back to do another photo shoot I have planned for the end of the month.

After the photo shoot, we all went to a local restaurant in downtown Raleigh, where we sat, had lunch and got to know each other.  I really enjoyed this social gathering and getting to know the amazing folks in my group.  I look forward to doing more of these.

Orlando, a special thank you goes out to you for helping me figure out new tools that I can use for Instagram.  We old folks can use all the help we can get with this thing call social media, so thank you :-).

Models:

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Workshop | Night Portraits 2015 | North Carolina Photography

In this workshop we focused on using 3 light sources to create beautiful night portraits.

  1. On Camera Flash - This was our very first setup.  I demonstrated to the attendees how to effectively use this light source to create an image with depth and dimension.
  2. Constant Light - Our second setup.  This light source is very efficient, effective and fast.  On most photoshoots this is my go to light source.  It's very simple, what you see is what you get.
  3. Ambient Light - Our last setup.  This light source is very similar to constant light however; not all ambient light is good light and we focused on how to properly use this light source.

Thank you Alex for stepping in and being our subject for this workshop.  Below you will find a few images from the workshop.  Also, thank you to all the attendees of this workshop.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Award Winning Image 2015 | Ernesto Sue

Last year I proclaimed, "this is the first photo competition I have ever entered and wow! I won!”  Well, I must say, this, my second-time winning, has convinced me, I’m a bonafide photo-taker-outer.  Having pushed myself over the course of the year to augment knowledge and skill as a photographer, I’m pleased by the recognition bestowed upon me by my peers.  I have put a great deal of hard work into my craft and I will continue to do so because winning a competition does not mean it's the end of the learning journey, it's just the beginning.  I am determined as an artist to be the best that I can be.  So, while I acknowledge this win and I extend a “thank-you!” to Portrait Palooza for the opportunity to have been a part of this competition, I will not rest on my laurels at this junction in my career; instead I will continue to work toward curating my art-form.

While this year’s competition resulted in a draw, I am fine with that.

The rules for the competition were simple: every photographer had 10 minutes to shoot with a randomly chosen model.  There's no preparation, so when your name is called and you are paired with a model, it's go time and the clock starts ticking.  In the 10 minutes, each photographer had to capture three elements 1) the venue 2) the dress and 3) bouquet.  These three details were very important in this competition as the vendors/suppliers were judging the final images.  After the images were captured, we had 48 hours to submit two images to be judged; I submitted the below two, the first one is the winning image.

I couldn't have done this competition without assistance from Wesley Shang.  He arrived at the venue totally prepared to help me win this competition.  Not only did he come with the hunger to win, he came with suggestions and ideas, which were inspiring.  He so much wanted to be part of the process that I agreed to him editing the second image, albeit not the winning image, still Wesley did a phenomenal job with the re-touch.  If you are photographer, contact Wesley he's a very talented re-toucher.  Thank-you!, Wesley for the support.

Here are the vendors:
Venue - Marbles Kids Museum
Flowers by Floral Dimensions
Make Up by Ashley Bromirski - Radiant Beauty by Ashley
Hair by - Cheri Leathers of Hair by Cheri 
Jewelry  -  Sabika Jewelry Inc.- Sarah Butler, Sabika Director

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Workshop | Environmental Portraits | Raleigh, North Carolina

Everyday I am enjoying creating images on location.  I enjoy the challenge and I love the fact that I never know what type of image I will get because I use what's around me.  The below images were captured at a workshop I held on July 19th in downtown Raleigh North Carolina.  In this workshop we worked with natural and artificial light to help create images with our model Jessica.   

Adley, John & Jessica thank you for participating in my workshop, you all made it very fun and educational for me.

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Farrah Helen Beck | Raleigh North Carolina Photograher

Assistant: Sonja Swanson

Video Assistant: Agnes Lichanska

Model: Farrah Helen Beck

Hair & MUA: Deatrice Snuggs

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Street Photography | Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina

This is not my normal type of photography, but I have found as of late that on occasion it's relaxing and it inspires me to create new types of images.  In addition, it helps sharpen my eye as an photographer.

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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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