female model

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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One-On-One Workshop With Terry Witherspoon | Cary, NC Photographer

This one-on-one workshop was with Terry Witherspoon. Terry found me while doing a YouTube search about lighting and he came across the latest video posted on our YouTube channel - "Edgy Fashion Photoshoot Using All Natural Light."  

During our conversation, he explained that he found the educational content of our videos extremely helpful, so he subscribed to our channel and began consuming the other 35 plus videos available on our YouTube channel. Once he was done viewing the contents of those videos, he realized I was local and he reached out to me for a one-on-one workshop.

Here's what Terry had to say about his experience with our one-on-one workshop:

"I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. The one on one aspect is really what initially drew me to this. All of my questions were answered thoroughly, and then applied hands on. To me, that was invaluable. I have been practicing the techniques you taught me, and have already seen a dramatic improvement in my photographs. I can't begin to thank you enough!!"

Every one on one workshop is customized to each attendee and their specific requirements.  There’s absolutely no value to the attendees to teach about a subject they have no interest in learning, so I always determine their specific concerns in an effort to address those areas directly.  In Terry's case he wanted more information on the following:

  • Composition - articulating a vision and creating beautiful images.
  • Lighting - he experienced a level of difficulty getting the correct exposure; he shot aperture priority most of the time.
  • Camera settings - gaining a better understanding of his equipment and how the functions and settings affected, or are best suited for various lighting conditions.
  • Start-up/Growing a business - my thoughts on next-step; he expressed an interest in starting his own photography business at some point in the future, and asked me to share some tips from my experiences.

In addition, we discussed how to pose a subject, as well as the differences between directing someone and posing them.  We went over various lighting techniques using natural light, artificial light, and flash.  I also shared my opinions on why location is not the most important element of a successful shoot; the key components being: quality of available light and subject.

Jessica Perry was our model for the workshop.  A total professional and extremely patient with us while I focused on educating Terry and ensuring he received what he needed to maximize his experience during his time in the workshop.  This was Jessica's first photoshoot and I have to say, she did an awesome job.

In conclusion, I want to say thank you, Terry, for booking a one on one workshop with me. Based on his feedback, he got all his questions answered and more importantly he continued to practice what he learned.  I’d also want to thank the following individuals; a supportive team is an essential aspect of a successful workshop: Palani Mohan and Anthony Coriale for providing assistance with this workshop.  Nicole Sue aka Carlton Eliza Charles for styling, and assisting Jessica with organizing the wardrobe she had.  Wayne Wonder for capturing the BTS video, which will be published in the near future.

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.

If you like what you see, please share with your friends and family.  Also, please click the heart button and/or post some feedback below.

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