raleigh

Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk | Raleigh, NC Photographer

Scott Kelby is a well know photographer and educator; every year he have a worldwide photo walk.  A photo walk is simply a gathering of photographers who walk a specific route and during that walk capture images along the way.  Below you can find some of the images I captured during the photo walk.

It's always awesome to get out and do a photo walk with your photographer colleagues.  A photo walk is not just about taking photos.  During the photo walk we share technique, stories, network and put names to faces.  During our photo walk we had to deal with rain however; the rain did not fall until we were completely done, which was perfect timing.  That said, I still got sick, but it's all good.

I want to give a big thank you to David Spector who was the leader and organizer of the Raleigh, North Carolina Scott Kelby's photo walk, he did a fantastic job.

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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Edgy Fashion | Raleigh North Carolina Photographer

So, here’s a photo shoot where I was tossed a few curve balls and how I was able to address and navigate each one.

First let me thank the incredible team that made this photoshoot happen.

Demetra was our hair stylist and wardrobe stylist on this shoot. If you ever have the pleasure of making her acquaintance, you will quickly realize there’s never a dull moment with her; she keeps the energy high and is acutely tuned in and anticipates the needs of her team members.

Shannon Sharpe was the make up artist on this shoot.  She is always affable, wearing a smile, easy to work with, and willing to do what it takes to complete the vision.

Vivian Powers Ramge, and Miguel Angel were the models.  This was my first time working with both Vivian and Miguel; they were both professional and attentive.  They never complained about poses, and trusted my directives.  Miguel was very dedicated; he got separated from our little photoshoot team motorcade as we made our way to the venue.  Instead of giving up and leaving us, he parked his car and was picked up by Vivian’s mother at an agreed upon meeting spot.  We were able to complete the shoot without losing anyone and compromising the vision - with one exception, Shannon our MUA; sadly she didn’t make it to the “other side” with us. Twelve-gun-salute for Shannon.  Until we meet again, my friend.

Wayne and Najee, they are the permanent team, but they do deserve credit as well.  Wayne did a really great job with capturing behind the scenes video. Najee was an incredible assistant with lighting and video.

Let’s get into this shoot.  Initially, the idea for this shoot was parkour with fashion.  However, the parkour model was unable to participate.  Given that I had all the resources lined up I decided to change the theme of the shoot; the new concept became: an edgy fashion shoot.  With the new concept, I needed a new male model and Miguel stepped-in and was a welcome addition.

Downtown Raleigh - our venue on the day of the shoot - was also hosting Iron-Man Raleigh, as a result, downtown was completely blocked off.  More on that later.  After we navigated - thank you, Demetra - the Iron-Man Raleigh event with all the resulting road-closures and detours; we were faced with yet another challenge, my original location had construction work going on.  So, once again, I had to come up with yet another location that would work well for the team, all while communicating with and corralling the remaining team members who didn’t make it to the original location, and getting everyone to the new location to start shooting.  Whew!  Stay with me.  The new location from a lighting perspective was not ideal for me, but I decided to play the hand I was dealt.  I ended up working with direct harsh sunlight, which would have been a problem for me if I had never worked with direct sunlight before.  Understanding posing and the light, helped me navigate this not so ideal situation.

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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Preview of BTS Video

Full BTS Video

Contempo-Retro: Pinup 2.0

Nicole Dodson contacted me in December 2014; she expressed interest in doing a pinup photoshoot.

I never did a pinup shoot before, so I researched some concepts on 500px.com, which was not very helpful. I searched for ideas on the Internet, but it wasn't until my creative director, Nicole Sue showed me images of contemporary pinup model Dita Von Teese, and old Hollywood images of starlet Cyd Charisse, was I able to jump-start the concept. The decision was made to do a mash-up imagery of vintage and contemporary pinup styles. The end-results were brilliant, beautiful portraits!

Inspired by those images, I started organizing a talented team to assist with executing and realizing the concept.  It can be difficult at times to convey to others what your expectations are without using tangibles and visual aids; especially when utilizing electronic communications such as email and Facebook messages, things can quickly get lost in translation.  I adhere to having a vision that I can thoroughly articulate and present to others thereby minimizing any occurrences for confusion.

The team consisted of Shannon Sharpe who did an amazing job with the MUA and was our generous host for this photoshoot.  Andrayah Ponce did an outstanding job with the evolving hair styles.   Wesley Yuan Shang and James Thomas, two very talented photographers in their own right provided assistance with this shoot.  Wayne Wonder, also an amazing photographer, was the videographer who captured all the footage to help viewers understand how the creative process unfolds behind-the-scenes on the day of the shoot. Nicole Sue was the stylist and creative director for this shoot; her vision for this high-fashion, contemporary spin on pinup was key to implementation and final execution of the concept.

My process for this shoot was the same as with my other shoots.  I had an amazing location but I focused on finding good quality ambient light, because although I had all my strobes, I really didn't want to anchor myself down with lights.  My primary tools for this shoot were ambient light, the IceLight, a video light and one speed light (no modifiers).  All the model’s poses were my idea and they were all organic; perhaps I could have come in with predefined poses but given I had not met with Nicole prior to the day of the shoot, and I did not use the location before, I had no idea what poses would have worked.  Nicole did a great job!  She went with all my suggestions, which was great for me because if you don't have a willing subject the images will show it.  She put all her trust in me and the team to produce high quality images which will be proud additions to our respective portfolios.

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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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3 Min Portrait Holiday Edition | North Carolina Photographer

Last night I went to the preview event of Carolina Style Magazine first table top publication, The Winter Book at Moon Lola in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I had an amazing time and most importantly made some wonderful connections.  So what's this publication about and why did I attend the event?  

Well first the publication, The Winter Book was put together for fashion collectors.  The book will have 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.  As of today, I was informed the book is completely sold out, which is insane and it speaks to the incredible support Carolina Style Magazine has and to the amazing content this book contains.

Now, why did I attend this event?  So these types of events are great for networking and meeting colleagues in the area and beyond.  However, what I am most excited about is that I had the pleasure and honor of having a few of my images being published in this book.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to share the amazing images from the two photo shoots I did for the book until I am given the green light, I know, it hurts me too :-(.

So after the event I wanted to do a quick photo shoot in front of the christmas tree in downtown Raleigh.  There was no game plan, it was just something I wanted to get out of my system.  I didn't know if the images would be good or bad, I just wanted to do it.  Nicolette Grenier who is an amazing model was at the event along with James Thomas or should I say Dr. Thomas who is an awesome photographer, they both agreed to indulge me in this crazy unplanned shoot in the cold weather.  When we got to the tree I ask James to hold the light and I quickly setup Nicolette how I wanted her to be posed.  I took my first image at 9:30pm and I took my last image at 9:33pm, hence the 3 min portrait title.

I want to thank The Carolina Style Magazine for including me and my wonderful team to be in this book.  I also want to thank Nicolette Grenier and James Thomas for braving the cold weather to indulge me with this quick and crazy shoot.  Below you will find the images from the photo shoot and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did when we were creating them.  Please stay tuned for new and I hope amazing things in 2015.  Happy holidays and happy new year to all.

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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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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.

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

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


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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Jay Goku James | Parkour Instructor | North Carolina Photographer

Jay James runs along walls, and flies through the air, taking Martial arts and Parkour skills to a new level in his training as well as in various classes and demonstrations! The emblem of his training team ‘Rahyz’ is a symbol of Determination. Jay is a professional Parkour athlete and instructor who teaches weekly Parkour classes, does Private Lessons, and organizes Live Performances around the Cary and Raleigh area in North Carolina!

Look for his videos on YouTube and Contact him through Facebook or email me at rahyz1@gmail.com

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BTS (Behind The Scenes) Video