natural light

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.

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One-On-One Workshop With Mario Guzman

In this one-on-one workshop with Mario Guzman, I explored 4 different lighting techniques:

  1. I used the sun as the hair light and the reflector as the main light 
  2. I used the sun as the main light and the reflector as fill 
  3. I used the omega reflector as our main light and the speed-light as the hair light 
  4. I used the flash as the main light and the ambient light as fill.

For more on these techniques and other educational/useful tips, you may view my YouTube channel.  Mastering these techniques requires repetition and proper application.  That's right!  Practice.  If you don't intend to put in the hours it takes to enhance your technique and augment your skill-level, you may as well not invest any finances in attending workshops; without thorough investment and dedication, you will not gain any additional knowledge or get any better at your chosen craft.  With the advent of smart-phones, and the smorgasbord of social media, it has become commonplace for some individuals to be easily convinced that they are photographers.  So, what makes you a "professional photographer"?  Better than the millions of "photographers" out there?  It's certainly not the camera or all the gear you have or even knowing lighting.  What gives you the edge and finesse, is your hours of work and mastery of all the techniques that encompass being brilliant at your craft.

While I am not a master photographer, I take pride in the earnest I apply to curate my craft and the work I put in.  In these one-on-one workshops, it's my goal to inspire attendees, show them techniques that I have learned overtime, which have worked for me, and instruct them on posing techniques that will bring out the best in their subjects. 

Thank you to Milica Guceva and Quionna Byrant for being our wonderful models for this workshop.  I also want thank Thang Ryan Le for assisting me on this workshop.  Big thank you to Wayne Myers for BTS video.  Lastly, thank you Mario Guzman for attending, I hope you were able to walk away with some valuable information that you can apply on your future photo shoots.

Here's what Mario had to say about the One On One Workshop:

"Being in this workshop with Ernesto was a great experience. Ernesto took the time to teach skills like using sunlight to illuminate the hair using a reflector as the main light. As a beginner in portrait photography, I thought that sunlight is used as the main light. Seeing the results of the techniques that Ernesto taught me I realized how great it is to manipulate light. Also learned how to use the sun as the main light and reflector as fill light. Ernesto is a great photographer and teacher of photography. I participated in some workshops with him and it's always a great experience."

One last point, light is light, you can create great images with just a camera and any beautiful quality of light, so don't get caught up with expensive lighting equipment.  In this workshop, you will notice I didn't use any expensive strobes; I used the sun, a reflector, and a single speed-light.

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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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

FIRST VLOG 001 - Finding Inspiration

Finding inspiration for me as an artist sometimes could come from anything interesting, a dream, watching a movie, viewing a painting, viewing random images on 500px or simply going out and forcing myself to photograph subjects I don't normally enjoy capturing.

In this VLOG I went out and capture some random images in my favorite park. I wanted to scratch that creative itch. There's no rhyme or reason to these images, which was the point. I was seeking and hoping that by capturing something different will spark my next wonderful idea. Look, these images will not win any awards, in my opinion, but that wasn't the point.

One correction, I mentioned in the video I have been shooting for 3 years, it's more like 4 years going on 5, but hey, who's counting :-).

I hope you enjoy the VLOG, if you did, give it a thumbs up or more importantly give me some feedback / suggestions on how I can improve, it is my first VLOG :-). Also, drop a comment about what inspires you.

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They call me MISTER Parker! | North Carolina Photographer

I almost always implement and execute a shoot focusing on three main objectives: The first -- and this is a very important step in my process -- is to  find good available light and if there's none, I create my own using artificial lighting.  Next (second step) is to assess how the light is falling on my subject.  My third step, is to pay attention to the location.  While some tend to obsess over location, for me the location is not something I care about; lighting is more salient to my desired end-result and ensuring a great portrait.

When I have checked off my three main objectives, I then begin to work with my subject to figure out which angles and poses work best for capturing strong, impactful, and flattering portraits.

My subject for this shoot was Orlando Parker Jr.  He impressed me with his easy-going, effortless demeanor.  Just below that calm surface is a man who as Nicole exclaimed, "gives good face!" Nicole, my wardrobe stylist on this shoot said he had the intensity of actor Sidney Poitier, timeless, classic and contemporary all at once.  This was not Orlando's first time being in front of the camera; he easily followed through on direction and did what was required, allowing me to capture the amazingly striking images below.

The shoot was inspired by a movie starring Sidney Poitier released in 1970 titled "They call me MISTER Tibbs!".

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Carolina Style Magazine Winter Book Publication | North Carolina Photographer

I started out 2014 not actively seeking to be published, so I was extremely honored and surprised when Carolina Style Magazine reached out in November of 2014 and ask me to be part of their limited table top book publication title "The Winter Book".  At the time I had another photo shoot lined up but it didn't fit the theme that they wanted which was Raleigh Street Style, so I quickly had to change the photo shoot and the players to accommodate the theme.  In addition to the Raleigh Street Style featured in the book I was also asked to do a second photo shoot for the owners of Raleigh Denim Workshop which was also included in the book, I will be releasing those images on another blog post, so stay tuned for that.

I reached out to Shannon Sharpe at Conversionz Makeup Studio, Nicollette Grenier for the female model, Caleb Provan for the male model,  Tina B KonTroversai for styling, Nicole Sue who was the Creative Director and the key person that helped provide the vision for this shoot.  To help complete the team Wayne Myers was also behind the camera capturing the awesome footage in the below Behind The Scenes video.  Lastly, assisting with lighting, gear etc James Thomas and David Spector generously step up to the plate to offer some incredible help on set.  Without this awesome team this shoot would not have happen in the short space of time it needed to happen, so for that I am very grateful to everyone that participated.

I mentioned the "The Winter Book" on another blog, so I will be repeating myself a little bit.  The Winter Book was put together for fashion collectors.  The book has over 200 pages of striking visual fashion editorials from Charlotte, Charleston, the Raleigh / Triangle area and New York City.  This is a limited edition book so it's poised to be a fashion collector's item.

Thank you to Carolina Style Magazine for considering me to be part of this awesome publication and thank you to the great team who helped made it happen.


Carolina Style Magazine Key handles are:

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

Vision | North Carolina Photographer

Sometimes vision or the lack of it makes an interesting subject.

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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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Sonia | North Carolina Photographer

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BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO