raleigh north carolina photographer

Ordinary People – Extraordinary Style | Raleigh North Carolina Photographer

Andrayah Ponce a talented hair-stylist, contacted me to shoot clients for Garnish Hair Studio in Raleigh, NC.  Andrayah and her colleagues wanted to capture images of their clients depicting them coiffed and representing their professions, while showcasing hairstyles worn by everyday people/professionals that mirrored street-styles, as opposed to the involved and artistic hair done for magazine and runway.

I know I’ve stated this before, but I feel like this shoot by far posed the biggest challenge for me to date – I know, until the next one comes along and I make the same statement.  So, what was challenging about this shoot you ask? Well, get into this - I had two locations to work with.  The first location Solas, was a three-story building with multiple shooting options and a three-hour time-allotment in which to capture images, with whom I thought at the time would be 10 subjects. The second location was a gym, which turned into a logistical workout because we had to move all our photography gear and crew to the new location.  Seven of the 10 subjects were present on the day of the shoot, allowing me to maximize the 3-hour window I had.

When you have a great location with multiple shooting options and 7 subjects, where do you begin?  Well, start somewhere, just pick a spot!  Generally that spot is dictated primarily by lighting, but in this case I planned on creating the light, so location guided me and then lighting.  I selected my first subject and started working the location, the light, and posing.  I got a little carried away with my first subject and veered off schedule a bit.  Each subject required a different shooting location and a different lighting setup, AND I’m allowing for approximately 10 minutes per subject to capture images; therefore, I had to figure out lighting and posing before I even took my first pictur.  This was a fast-paced photo shoot and very challenging from a lighting perspective.  

Fortunately, I work well under pressure – this photo shoot certainly put that to the test.  I was extremely humbled by this experience because it presented me with a solid base on what works and what doesn't with respect to a fast-paced, multi-subject photo shoot.  One other note worth mentioning, I have encountered stories from celebrity photographers who have about 5 minutes to work with multiple talent and I am convinced I now know what that type of high-energy environment feels like – with heightened expectations of flawless execution and delivery.  No pressure, no sweat. Right! Yep! Pressure and sweat will be present and on you through the very end and wrap-up of your shoot; just get in and hold on!

Acknowledgement to the following creatives for realizing the concept; I cannot reiterate enough the importance of a talented, multi-faceted, and supportive team as an essential aspect of a successful photo shoot:

Stylist:

  • The entire team at Garnish Studio did a great job with styling the hair for all the entrepreneurs. (Candice Motley, Tish Cotton, Christine Woods, Donyata Simpson and a big thank you Andrayah Ponce)
  • Amani Asad did a phenomenal job with make up on all the female entrepreneurs.  You can contact Amani for services at Makeup Artistry by Amani.
  • Cheneè Jones did an outstanding job with make up on all the male entrepreneurs.  You can contact Cheneè for services at Cheneè Jones Artistry.

My Direct Support Team:

  • Michael Richardson and James Burke - this was my first time working with both of them and it felt like we were working together for years.  They both did a great job with lighting, thank you both for all your assistance.
  • Anthony Coriale was behind the camera, he assisted our videographer, Wayne with capturing the wonderful BTS video coverage that will be available shortly, be on the lookout for that.
  • Wayne Wonder for capturing the BTS video, which will be published in the near future.
  • Nicole Sue aka Carlton Eliza Charles – whose burgeoning talents as stylist were evident with this shoot.  She did an amazing job styling all the entrepreneurs. 

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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.

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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Water Beauty | Cary, North Carolina Photographer

I learned a great deal during the execution of this photo shoot, but before I dive into those details let me explained the concept behind this session.  This shoot was simultaneously anxiety-inducing, and exciting.

Hairstylist, Sheereese Cromartie, contacted me and proposed an underwater photoshoot, to which I replied I had no experience doing and I quickly recommended another photographer.  I would rather recommend a fellow photographer than undertake a task I have no prior experience with.  I have completed numerous personal projects that are suited to, and augment my skill set.  Sheereese and I work very well together and we decided on a shoot that involved water, just not entirely underwater.

Once we agreed upon how we would utilize our chosen medium - water - I started a model call on Facebook; Leah Lewis one of the models answered the call.  I then reached out to Mara Virginia Wuliger our second model and she was interested and wanted to do the photoshoot.  Sheereese reviewed the models’ portfolios to ensure they had the look she was aiming for.  I then reached out to Amani Asad, a talented MUA I’ve worked with in the past and she gave me her availability for the photoshoot.

The team was now in place, so it was just a matter of us executing the vision and me capturing the images as envisioned.  On the day of the shoot, I inflated a kiddy-pool and filled it with water.  I asked Mara to get into the pool so I can test the lighting.  After I viewed the first shot, I modified my angle from the top to the side, and I was very happy with the composition but the lighting not so much; I tweaked the lighting until I had the desired result.  

When the models were ready with hair and make-up, I took some test shots in the pool; Sheereese who was the hairstylist on the shoot, reviewed the images to ensure we were on track to creating the images she envisioned.  With lighting and angles looking great in test shots, I continued with the creative process.

From a post production perspective, I believe this was the first time I was so hard on myself with respect to the final product.  I’ve never done this before, but I asked two of my trusted and very talented colleagues, Benjamin Scott and James Thomas, for their feedback on what they thought of my final edit.  They were very accommodating and provided valuable feedback; turns out, I really was viewing my images too critically, and with a couple minor tweaks, the final edits were awesome.

While I’m aware these types of images have been done before.  I’m a portrait photographer, this was my first foray into the arena of beauty photography, and I’m pleased with the end-result.  

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BTS (behind the scenes) VIDEO

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