Recent Work

Stacey Randol – Fragile Forest

Posted on May 31, 2012

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stacey a couple times before, so I was excited when she contacted me to work on the cover art and promo images for her new single, “Fragile Forest” (available now on her site).

The concept she had for the cover art was based on a multiple exposure technique, where two separate images are basically taken and combined into one. The result is a very dreamy and surreal effect. We played around with a few different ideas and finally landed on something we could both agree on.

We had just the right amount of daylight left to hop into the woods for the final shot.

Check out “Fragile Forest,” as well as the rest of Stacey’s music on her website, StaceyRandol.com.

Future Rockers – The Gilliam Brothers

Posted on July 26, 2011

I always love catching up with old friends, especially when I have the opportunity to photograph them and their families.

Arlo and I used to be in a rock band together many years ago; back when we were both single with no children. The band ultimately dissolved but some years later I reconnected with Arlo through Facebook. He contacted me to work on some photos of he and his two boys. Since I have two boys of my own, I was thrilled to be able to work with them.

Arlo was looking for some simple but unique family shots that he could hang up in his living room. We had originally planned to do both indoor and outdoor photos, but due to time constraints and weather we were only able to work on the indoor photos.

The boys were wild and it took some work to get them to sit still long enough to get a few shots. We got enough to work with and had a great time in the process. It was good to reconnect with Arlo and meet his little boys.

Check out Arlo’s Facebook Fan Page.

Snap and Spin – Hunting for Pictures

Posted on June 24, 2011

I thought it was cool that RC Concepcion wrote a similar post to this over on Scott Kelby’s blog, Fishing for Pictures.

Lately I have been taking some time in the afternoon to ride my bike around town hunting for interesting photos. While I consider myself more of a portrait photographer, I am wanting to spend a little more time working on street and landscape photography. I also wanted to challenge myself during the times of the day when the sunlight was harsh and see what I could do with it.

 

I consider this an exercise in seeing. I wanted to work on composition and finding shots that I’d normally walk past without noticing. I am drawn to textures and lines, stuff that I could use as backgrounds or in composites. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve gotten some exercise out of it as well.

 

I always like to find a fun and clever way to describe a project that I’m working on. Snap and Spin and Photobiking are probably the closest I’ve come. Unfortunately, I’m inherently drawn to cheesy descriptions.

Here’s one last shot of when I went down to check out the Grilled Cheeserie being featured on the Food Network.

Top 5 Photographic Regrets and How to Avoid Them

Posted on June 15, 2011

I recently read the sobering article by Bonnie Ware, Regrets of the Dying. Bonnie, who spent a lot of time with dying patients, noticed some recurring themes in their regrets. She compiled a list of the top 5 regrets that people had.

After reading Bonnie’s article, I started thinking about how this list applied to my life. Not only on a personal level as a father, husband and son, but also how it might apply to me as a photographer. If this can help me improve elements in my personal life, how can this help me improve elements in my photography?

It brought me to this question: If I was on my deathbed right now, what would be my 5 biggest photographic regrets?

5. I wish I hadn’t focused on gear so much
I’m a huge gearhead. I keep my Amazon and B&H wishlists stocked with items that I hope to one day own. I’m always enthralled hearing and reading about what camera or lens another photographer is using, or what brand of lighting equipment they have. It sometimes gets to the point where I’m spending more time looking at gear than actually out using the gear that I already have.

I can’t say that gear isn’t important. But what is more important is your actual practice. Your vision. Your experience. Your creative mind and your technical mind working together to get the desired result. Cameras are just tools. Lenses are just tools. Don’t get so wrapped up in that hot new flash modifier that it interferes with your ability to create your art.

4. I wish I hadn’t compared myself to others so much
The internet gives us great access to others with similar interests, and the photography community is no exception. There are a lot of incredible photographers out there taking amazing shots. It’s hard not to compare yourself and your work to what others have done.

This type of thinking is rarely productive; it can leave you intimidated and frustrated, and worst of all it can impede you from doing more work. Everyone has a different form of expression and style. Look to others for inspiration and motivation, and then use that to boost your own work.

3. I wish I had seized more opportunities when they happened
I’ve passed by interesting people on the street. I’ve seen amazing sunsets. I’ve seen beautiful scenery. In many cases such as these, I wanted to take the opportunity to make a photo. But I put it off. I was too busy or too distracted with something else at the time so I just let it go and convinced myself I’d get the shot the next time it happens. But there is no next time. I don’t see those exact same people, or the exact same sunsets, and the scenery is never exactly as it was the one time I saw it perfectly.

Seize the opportunities when they happen. They will be gone later. And unless you are extremely lucky you won’t get them back.

2. I wish I had spent more time refining my own style instead of emulating others
When I was first getting started in photography, I spent a lot of time mimicking others; from their subject matter, composition, lighting style, and so on. And while this may be important when learning new techniques and processes, it’s more important to work on developing your own style and expressing your own vision.

I agree with the belief that the people in our lives have a profound effect on us and help make us who we are. I think this is also true with art. The art you see and study helps you define your own style and the art that you create. If you see a style or technique that you like, study it. Figure out how they did it. Master the technique, then try to figure out how, or even if, this fits into your own style. Then move on.

1. I wish I had the guts to try doing photography full time
This is something I’ve struggled with for quite a while. I don’t have a very entrepreneurial spirit. I’m not sure I could grow a photography business to sustain a steady income, especially in a very saturated industry. I count myself very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy that offers security for me and my family. Being a father of 2 adds even more weight to this.

While it would be irrational for me to leave my day job to pursue photography full time, I do think that would be my biggest photographic regret if I was dying right now. It’s a tough step to take, especially when you have mouths to feed other than your own. Of all the regrets on the top 5 list, this one is the hardest to overcome. I can’t offer any advice on this one, but would love to hear from others who have taken this step or are considering taking it.

How about you?
How does this compare to your top 5 regrets?

Lauren Linton – Fashion and Swords

Posted on June 7, 2011

Lauren Linton Draws Her SwordWhat happens when you give a beautiful, well-dressed model a sword? You get an intense, mysterious look with a touch of fashion!

These photos are from a recent shoot for an upcoming CD release by a local production music house. The style of music on the CD is inspired by the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. I wanted to avoid the obvious yellow track suit with quarts of blood stains. I was drawn more to the imagery of Uma Thurman as “the bride.” Instead of aiming for a bridal look, we went with a more vintage wardrobe.

Lauren has a youthful, delicate look that provides a strong contrast to the look and to the aggressive content of the photos.

Lauren Linton Lauren Linton Lauren Linton

Just to have a different look, we stepped outside to do some shots. While not on the shot list for this project, it never hurts to have a different option. Again, I liked how her red hair played with the background.

Lauren Linton Lauren Linton

I had a great creative team for this shoot. Thanks to all for your hard work!

Model: Lauren Linton
Hair Stylist: Amanda Davis
Makeup Artist: Stacey Tackett
Wardrobe Stylist: Ciciley Hoffman

Jace – 9 Months

Posted on May 25, 2011

I had a great session with 9 month old Jace. We had originally planned to do the shoot outdoors, but it was overcast and rainy on this day, so we started off indoors against a white background.

It was chilly outside, but we had a break from the rain long enough to run outside and get some quick shots in the yard of a nearby house.

Thanks again to Josh and Annette for bringing Jace by. Check out the full gallery of Jace’s shoot.

Smyrna Dental Group

Posted on May 18, 2011

My local dentist at Smyrna Dental Group asked me to help out with some photos of their staff and building. After discussing their needs, we got a shot list together that consisted of headshots of each employee, a group photo, and then a shot of the outside of the building.

I planned to do the shots with the employees on a separate day than the shot of the building. Since it’s just a strip mall-type building, I wanted to make the photo of the building a little more interesting. I used an iPhone app to determine the location of the sun and saw that it was going to be just behind the building at sunset. Perfect. That’d give me a very colorful sky and I wouldn’t have a harsh shadow on the front of the building. Plus, the building has a cool lamppost out front that I was hoping would kick on right at sunset. Fortunately, it did just that!

I took a few bracketed exposures as the sun was setting and then combined them with some HDR processing. I’m very careful with HDR as I’m not a huge fan of it, but I thought it would give the photo a more colorful and lively look.

For the employee headshots, we planned to do the shots on the day that the office was closed so that we wouldn’t be interfering with patients and appointments. I headed down in the morning and setup a gray muslin background with a three light setup. I fired a Paul Buff Einstein through the giant Octabox as my main light. I had another Einstein unit firing through a small stripbox for a hair/separation light. Lastly, I had an Alien Bees B800 with a grid spot firing into the background to give me a nice circular flare. Here are a few samples of what we ended up with.

For the group shot, we worked for a bit to get a nice line-up. I know this is small business and I know that these people are really close, so I wanted the group shot to have a close family feel. After a few tries we finally got something everyone was happy with.

I worked awhile longer on a few accent shots for their upcoming website. Before I tore down the setup, I took one final shot of a few of my friends there. A couple of the folks had already left, so I just worked with the ones that were still there.

If you live in or around Smyrna, check out Smyrna Dental Group. They are great folks and do excellent work.

Check out Smyrna Dental Group on Facebook.

Fitness Photos with Rachael Todd – Miss Florida 2009

Posted on May 2, 2011

It’s not everyday that you get to work with someone who earned the rank of Miss Florida, but I had the recent pleasure of collaborating with Rachael Todd, who you might know as Miss Florida 2009.

I approached Rachael with the idea to do a sports-style fitness shoot where she would be hitting and kicking at splashes of water. She’s got great muscle tone that I thought would be perfect for this project. Fortunately, she was interested in the idea and agreed to work with me.

I wanted to find an interesting makeup artist to help with the look I was going for in these shots. I was lucky enough to get a chance to work with Canada-based artist Britt Havens. It just so happened that she was going to be traveling to Nashville at the time we were looking to this shoot. Perfect timing!

   

We first worked on a series of kicks and hits. Rachael was incredible at this and Britt was able to help us achieve an intense, sweaty look. After their hard work, I felt like my job was easy!

       

My lighting setup was 2 Elinchrom strobes on either side firing through medium softboxes. An Alien Bees unit (limited edition Flame Orange B800) with a beauty dish was up high filling in the shadows in the front and about a stop down from the side lights. This gave us a hard and intense look that really made Rachael’s muscle tone just pop!

   

After I was sure that we’d gotten the shots I was needing, we just played around with some different poses, moving the lights and composition around a bit.

I was very happy with the final images we ended up with and ended up scoring the look I needed for the ad I was working on. Thanks again to Rachael and Britt for their excellent work. Be sure to check them out!

Model: Rachael Todd
Makeup/Hair: Britt Havens

Music Photo Session with Trent Jeffcoat

Posted on April 12, 2011

Ask Trent Jeffcoat to define his music and he’ll reply, “Traditional Country Music with an Edge.” This Nashville-based singer/songwriter takes his well-grounded Country roots and turns it up a bit.

Trent and I were introduced through a mutual friend and I was excited to work with him on some photos for his website and music promotional materials. I didn’t want to stick Trent in a barn or a field like you would expect for a Country artist. I wanted to add a little bit of that edge that his music has.

We made our way over to Marathon Village in downtown Nashville. I just love the gritty and dirty textures and I thought it’d work well for Trent.

I’d hoped to do some more work outdoors, but the rainy day wasn’t cooperating with us. We focused on some shots in the old factory as well as against a backdrop.

We were both very happy with the shots. Be sure to check out Trent’s music if you’re wanting to sample a slightly differently flavor of traditional Country.

Visit TrentJeffcoat.com.

60 Minutes with Stacey Randol

Posted on March 24, 2011

I was lucky enough to get a chance to work with the lovely singer/songwriter Stacey Randol again today. We did a quick 60-minute session in a little shopping area off of Edgehill Ave. in Nashville.

My main intention for this shoot was to just do a quick walkaround the area and try to find some fun and interesting photos. I traveled light; just a Canon 430ex and an umbrella on a small lightstand. One VolumePills of Stacey’s kindergarten friends, Brittney Elise, was kind enough to assist me with this.

      

We only explored a small part of the area that we were in, but I was happy with the shots we ended up with. Stacey’s one regret was that she forgot to bring her Ukulele!

      

Check out more of Stacey and her music below:

http://www.youtube.com/staceysounds
http://www.myspace.com/staceyrandol
http://kaleid-oh-scope.tumblr.com/ – A very cool fashion/photo blog!

Allie and Lucy

Posted on March 21, 2011

Allie and Lucy dropped by for some more photos. This time they brought along their little friend, a solid black toy poodle named Izabell.

This shoot was in January a couple of days after it snowed. I had in mind that I wanted to do a shot where the girls were working a lemonade stand in the middle of a snowy winter, so this was working out good. Unfortunately, the snow was almost all gone by the time we got started, but there was enough for effect.

We started off indoors to get a few basic shots against a background so that we weren’t being constantly pressured by the cold weather. I remembered that these girls just love to dance, so we got some great shots of them boogin’ down. We soon moved outside for the lemonade stand shots.

I was trying out an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra unit for this session. It was nice, light, and portable, but not enough power when we moved outdoors. I’m going to have to try a different setup, but for what it was it was a great little unit.

Thanks to Allie, Lucy, and Izabell for begin such great sports. And also thanks to Megan Schmidt for assisting!

Katie – 3 Months

Posted on May 17, 2010

Here we have precious little Katie. We had a fun little session and Katie made herself right at home in front of the camera.

   

Check out the Full Gallery Here.

College Basketball Player

Posted on June 30, 2009

Here are some of my favorite shots from my session with a 6’7″ college basketball player.

I met up with my client at Sevier Park. We did a few formal portraits and then got down to business with the sportier looks. I had a great time with them and I think the photos turned out great.

      

Lawson – 1 Year

Posted on March 30, 2009

Here are some of my favorite shots from my session with Lawson, Kim, and Jay.

         

Morgan – 1 Year

Posted on March 22, 2009

Heather and Bryan brought Morgan by for her 1 year photos, as well as some Easter-themed shots. Here are a few of my favorites from the session.

Most of the sessions I’ve had with Morgan have been indoors, so we headed outside for this one. I had a strobe and an umbrella ready in case we needed it, but the natural light was perfect so we just rode with that.

         

Check out the full gallery below.

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