So Much for Anonymity.

Whenever someone likes one of my posts, leaves a comment or decides to follow the blog, I receive an email notification from wordpress. Though this has become standard for some time. I admit enjoying the sense of anonymity that comes along with the comfort zone that accompanies the feeling that I can share a thought, opinion or experience with people I don’t really don’t know. untitled (38 of 49)So, imagine the surprise when I checked my email this morning only to find out that my Mother was following me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my mother and feel so lucky to have her in my life. That said, she does not and never has respected my rite to privacy and personal space. I have to admit, I had a lot of feelings regarding her visits and initial decision to click the follow button, including putting an end to the blog and refraining from continuing to post my darker, personal biography. In the end though, I’ve decided to stay the course and write whatever the fuck I want.

 

Ending the Year on a Positive

Below are a couple of  favorites from my final studio session of 2016. My two hour shoot with Angel was without a doubt, my favorite of the year. While Angel may be somewhat new to modeling, her beauty, grace and ability to change gears effortlessly should go a long way to insure her success. A second shoot is already in the works. One that we are both eager to bring to fruition. Stay tuned.

All the Right Ingredients

Having worked with Iya numerous times during my years of shooting in my cramped Hoboken home studio. I’ve been eager to have her over to the Loft to close out my new portfolio in a much more open and for lack of a better word, lofty space. Having someone who was both a friend and an experienced model at my disposal initially felt like a no brainer. However, her inquiry regarding my providing a makeup artist and/or stylist threw me in to panic mode. And while having one of the industries best makeup by stephanie perez living in the adjacent loft went a long way to ease my tensions. Trying to book her only days in advance  was a bit of a challenge. In the end, the m.u.a’s assistant Karen not only stepped in. She amazed. As beautiful as Iya looked walking through my door. *&^%$% had her looking like an absolute goddess. Going forward as a photographer, I hope to incorporate the use of a make up artist and stylist. Knowing that I have such fantastic options at arms reach is very reassuring.I highly recommend you take s look at Satephanie’s site. I assure you, you’ll be inspired.
07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4356Iya.jpg07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4610TeegaN07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4533Emily

Getting There

Last night I sat down with a friend and fellow photographer to navigate last week’s sessions and decide on which ones were best suited for social media. The two pictured below really put the hook in me. Not that they were the best or they fit a specific project or portfolio piece. What really caught my eye was that their close resemblance to the photographs and artists who first inspired my love and appreciation for art and photography. The basic lighting and concepts that seemed so out of reach back then.

In my recent months of shooting I’ve been urged to google images and visit sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to create look books.Forming ideas and creating templates for photo sessions have become blueprints for getting exactly what I need from each session, model and shoot. Telling a model in advance, “This is what I want to shoot.” or “Can we do this?” has been a great way to inspire both myself and the person I’m working with. In the end, it allcomes down to good communicstion, preparation and proper execution.

Adding to the Blueprint

In building a new portfolio I’ve been trying to show consistency in both my lighting and settings. The blueprint started with using a two light set up consisting of a beauty dish and a fill light fitted with a 72′ inch umbrella. As the sessions have progressed. I’ve tried to add a new element to each session. The project started using a seemless background for the majority of the session before quickly moving to a concrete column (L) that separates the kitchen from the living room. On to the foyer which features a giant black / chalkboard wall before finishing up with a few outdoor shots, typically on the roof. It’s a pattern that’s built from one shoot to the next. One that’s rendered improving results with each try. Today’s session with Kristina was more than I could ask for. Great looks, makeup, style and personality to match. On top of all the studio fun. She helped me overcome my fear of heights by simply showing her own.

Thursday Session with Nicole

It’s been over a week since I had the pleasure of working with Nicole and I’m still buzzing over what was one of the most positive experiences from start to finish. Prior to our session there were numerous emails exchanged regarding the overall look and feel I was looking for. During those brief exchanges we seemed to bond. Building a trust as well as an overall excitement regarding the session. There was an energetic, yet laid back nature to the two or three hours we spent shooting. The studios energy was kicked up a few levels as Kevin and eventually his wife Dawn worked as assisted in various capacities including lighting, style and wardrobe. As for Nicole. She was a total rock star from start to finish. Everything for her “Go For It” personality to her fiery red hair to her startling blue eyes. Made this particular shoot one to remember. Thanks to Nicole and the best neighbors a person could ask for.  The far left was shot on a seemless background using a beauty dish and a 72′ umbrella fill light.The center image on a floor to ceiling concrete pillar the same lighting. The far right image was taken on the roof using a white reflector.

Results from a not so Fun Shoot.

Results from Friday’s  grueling two and a half hour shoot. There was zero chemistry between myself and the model. No adherence to the sessions theme or goals. Just one angry looking model.

Consistency Counts

When I posted a shot of Friday’s session on Facebook over the weekend. It definitely turned a few heads. The attention was both positive and appreciated. It wasn’t until this morning that I was questioned about my decision to edit it. While I liked the original. I thought a ounce of editing would do it some good. Then came the critique about consistency and how, if something ain’t broke. Don’t go trying to fix it. It seemed harsh at the time, but when explained, it made a lot of sense. I had the perfect light and settings from start to finish. There was no explainable reason for the change, other than change. To close, I’m learning a lot and it’s not always easy getting over old habits. Learning that a critique is aimed to both help and improve one’s work. How, listening is often better than talking. Below Left is the original file. On the right, my retouch.

Learn as I go.

With the help of a good friend and fashion forward photographer. I’ve embarked on a new project that hopes to connect my rock and roll background with his years of experience in fashion photography. In the time II’ve spent learning from him. I’ve come to realize that I’m in the midst of starting over. In recent months I’ve invested in new new studio gear, software and as of yesterday. Purchased a new camera in the Canon 5D Mark III. Fridays session was shot tethered through Capture One and was shot entirely on a tripod. Shooting from the tripod allowed me to better communicate and interact with the model while spending less time fumbling with the camera. The choice more than quadrupled my production in half the time it would take otherwise. The path is set. Everything starts here.

Little Space, Big Space, Let Me In…

Spacious Accommodations
Spacious Accommodations

During an open studio tour this weekend. We had the chance to visit many of the varied creative spaces housed in Mana Contemporary. One particularly memorable exchange came during visit to Omorphy Photos. Just minutes before, I ran in to my neighbor and friend Kevin. During an exchange that lasted all but thirty seconds. His eyes widened as he said “Go upstairs to have your mind blown.              “Knowing full well our common interests in fashion and studio photography. I quickly made my way upstairs. As I entered the room my jaw began to drop as the drool rushed from the bottom of my gums to the tip of my lips. A deep, spacious studio with ceilings high enough to touch the Gods filled with a candy store of studio lights, equipment, backgrounds and enough inspiration to last two lifetimes. Against one of the walls, large prints displaying the results from that setup.           I sighed as I confessed how, while I always loved working with black seemless paper and muslins. I never had enough room to distance the subject far enough from the background to create the separation needed without compromising the space needed between myself and my subject. Lessons, that for me, came the hard way. His warm, engaging personality and the patience he displayed while listening to and even laughing during my rant. While the exchange gifted me with a lot of inspiration and creative energy. It wasn’t until I got home until I began to recall some of the times when I really got to test the limits and boundaries of the space my apartment / studio space offered.

When my wife and I originally moved to Hoboken.                     We quickly realized the limits of the space. Though a two bedroom. The awkward layout and the simple fact that we only had two small, badly designed closets made had me run out to the town’s Gothic Cabinet Craft and buy an armoire for the bedroom. For years that piece held my entire wardrobe as well as books, portfolios and many other odds and ends.

Okay, maybe not.
Okay, maybe not.

During one particular shoot I decided to test the limits of the space and replace all the junk with a beautiful woman. Short story long. That dingbat idea made me feel just a bit more grateful for the 12 x 12 space I was shooting in. Since then my wife and I have moved from our shoebox size 400 ft. apartment to a spacious 1,400 loft. In the end I am incredibly grateful for the change of scenery and space. And while our space has more than tripled. We have less than half of the furniture that once occupied that space.       Call it room to breathe.

http://omorphyphotos.format.com/about-omorphy

http://www.manafinearts.com/

http://www.manacontemporary.com/