photography

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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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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Harper Bazaar UK March 2015 Publication

First of all I want to say congratulation to Vesela Zarankova who is an amazing fashion designer I had the pleasure of working with in March of 2014, please check out the blog posting for all the images from that shoot.  Vesela was featured in the March 2015 Harper Bazaar UK publication and they choose to include one of the images from our shoot together.

Being published in such a well established magazine is no small effort and I am extremely humble about this wonderful news.  So what does this mean for me? It means that I acknowledge this recognition, but I also understand my work is not done.  I have to continue to push myself to improve my skills and knowledge as an artist.

So I will close with how I started this blog, congratulations once again Vesela Zarankova you certainly deserve it.  Also, I have to say congratulations to Maemae Renfrow who was the model in the image.

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The Secret To Creating A Dramatic Image | North Carolina Photographer

"...I really like your work maybe you can give me some tips to make a more dramatic picture".  

So the above question was posted on the video below from one of my YouTube subscribers.

What makes a dramatic picture? Images can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer.  Some would argue that it's the awesome lighting, colors, subject position, composition etc. that gives an image the WOW factor.  Well, for me a dramatic image is simply the emotional connection I get when viewing an image.

Now I did provide what I believe was a practical answer to his question (see comments under the video for the answer), but after a few days of thinking about it, I figured maybe there's a simpler answer.  A great image is not created because you simply point your camera and take a picture, it takes patience, experience and knowledge.  Of course, you also need practice, understand how to manipulate light, and knowing how to use your gear, etc. However, if you don't start the creative process, you will never get that dramatic image.

For each photo shoot I do, I simply pick a location, it may not be the most desirable location, but ultimately the quality of the light guides me to that specific spot and then I start creating images.  I work with my subjects to try and pull out their personality and incorporate that into the image.  Will those be the most dramatic images?  Maybe, but once the creative process begins my percentage of getting that one dramatic image (hopefully more) increases greatly.  

There it is, that's my advise on creating a dramatic image.  Do not be intimidated or overwhelmed by the thoughts behind your creative process, just start!

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Exposure / Lighting Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina Photographer

I had the pleasure of hosting some wonderful photographers and our model Carrie for my 2014 Exposure / lighting workshop.  It was sunny, then cloudy and finally rainy.  We did not backdown from any of our weather challenges, we had a great deal of fun and I hope they walked away with some new techniques to apply to their own craft. 

I did a lot of talking and not so much shooting, so below you will find the only two images I captured.

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Natural Light Workshop 2014 | Cary North Carolina Photographer

On May 17th, I held a natural light workshop in Cary, North Carolina.  The workshop was done between 2pm and 4pm, which is not the most ideal situation to create images.  However, I knew with the right poses and specific directions we would create some amazing images.  Agnes, Nika and Jim were the 3 photographers who attended my workshop, I hope you all learned something new, thank you for attending.

The models that attended my workshop were Jessica Delovely who I have worked with in the pass and Seema Lateef Aziz.  Jessica had to leave early, so I didn't capture as much images I wanted to of her, which is why Seema dominates the below.  In addition to modeling Seema did the hair and make up.  Seema was a trooper and was very easy to work.

If you are interested in attending one of my workshops, please contact me.

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Vesela Zarankova 2014 Fashion Collection | Cary, NC

I was extremely honored when clothing designer Vesela Zarankova asked me to produce images for her 2014 fashion collection.  The images will be used on the web store for Nineteenth Amendment when they launch in May 2014 and on her website.   Vesela's collection is classic and very elegant, it looked absolutely amazing on the model.  During the consultation she wanted a clean and classic look, as the focus was on the clothes.

On the day of the photo shoot I had so much fun working with Vesela and the very talented model Maemae Renfrow, they both made the experience seamless and wonderful.

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Award Winning Image 2014 | Ernesto Sue

On the morning of Tuesday March 23rd on my Facebook news feed I notice an event about a wedding photo competition by The Wedding Portrait Society title "Portrait Palooza 2014" in downtown Raleigh, which was happening on the same evening.  Typically I would ignore photo competitions because in my view the deck could be stacked against the competitors, but this particular event peaked my interest.  In most photo competitions one would submit an image that was previously made for a specific category which is fine.  However, if one had enough time, resources and outside help anyone can or should be able to create a great image.  I believe that are artist / photographer should be able to compete in the same fashion as athletes where everyone has the same time, resources and restrictions.  So as I investigated the "Portrait Palooza 2014" competition a little more I found that it was exactly what I thought a photo competition should be.

The rules were simple, every photographer will get 10 mins to shoot a random model.  There's no preparation, so when your name is called and you are paired with a random model it's go time and the clock starts ticking.  In the 10 mins the vendors wanted us to capture 3 things 1) the venue 2) the dress and 3) bouquet.  These 3 peaces of information were very important in this competition as the vendors were judging the images.  After the images were taken, we had 48 hours to submit two images to be judged.

I really didn't have any preparation for this competition, I signed up the morning of the event and in the evening of the event as I sat in the holding area before my name was called I had a few minutes to think about what I wanted to do and all that I keep thinking about was speed.  Thinking about composition and posing was pointless because I had no idea who I was shooting and where I would shoot.  So when my name was called I hit the floor because I wanted to capture the venue's beautiful ceiling as it was the first thing I saw when I entered the venue.  Then I thought about the dress and bouquet.  I used the icelight because using constant light in 10 mins is the best solution to increase speed.  After I had those 3 things lined up, then I thought about posing the model and composition.  When I took my first image I knew had something but I didn't like the expression on the model's face but I really didn't have much time to correct it as I had to keep going just in case I was wrong.

It turned I was wrong and the first image I snapped was the winning image.  This was my first photo competition I ever entered and this was probably a fluke that I won, but I am pretty honored that the judges loved the image enough to vote for it, so thank you very much, it means a great deal to me.  Here's what the judges had to say.

"Wow! What an attention grabbing photo! So many great things going on.. using the lights to frame the composition, great moment, technically well executed. I would like a little more refinement on the light position so you get more light onto the shadow side of her face but well done. "

Location - Babylon Restaraunt
Dresses - Formalwear Outlet
Flowers - Ninth St Flowers
Model - Katie McGhee
MUA & Hair - Brandice Farrar

Award Winning Image 2014



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.

Impromptu Beauty Shoot | Raleigh NC Photographer

My friend Shereese Cromartie is a talented hair stylist, whose bragging rights include New York Fashion Week.  When she contacted me to do an impromptu beauty shoot, I was immediately interested.  I've worked with Shereese in the past and knew the quality of work she produces --- she creates some amazing styles.

Shereese was in town on business and decided to maximize her travel time by quickly organizing a photo shoot focused on soft, natural looking beauty shots.  I put the word out for models and MUA and received responses from two beauties, Jessica De lovely, recently featured in BeautyBliss magazine and Kaley Morrison, who walked the runway in Redress Raleigh fashion show; no MUA were available on short notice, so the models did their own make-up.

Below are images from the shoot.

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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.

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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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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