Wow, it’s been wayyy too long since I updated last, hopefully there won’t be anymore of that for a while I’ve been terribly busy this past month.
To kick off this blog post, here’s a commercial shoot I did for the San Francisco local non-profit GLIDE promoting their annual fund raiser Springlicious:
This is my 2nd year in a row working with GLIDE and it’s always a lot of fun. The models are all drag queens/kings and the shoots are always a blast. An extra bonus is I always get a couple VIP tickets to the fundraiser which includes free food and drinks as well as a drag show. Waaaaayyyyy too much fun for a Saturday night.
Here’s a little BTS video that they used to promote the event:
In other news, the “Portraits of the 99%” project is still going strong and recently received a 500.00 grant to help out with the mounting of images. I’ve got a dozen or so ready to show and I’m in talks with a few galleries and collectors about doing a show soon including the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the financial district. Also, this guy won me an Outsanding Documentary photography award. Very exciting!
And speaking of which, you all should know that IndieGoGo has been integral in getting this project funded and they recently asked me if I would be an ambassador for them! Of course I humbly accepted so if you go to an IndieGoGo meetup in San Francisco expect to see me there as a speaker. And as an added bonus, they want to furnish their office with a few of my Occupy Portraits.
I’m working on a number of things over the next few months so stay tuned, I promise to update more often.
So my new website has recently launched and I was very happy with it. The only thing I needed to do was to get an image for the landing page, it allowed for one horizontal photo to the be the main image. I went into my hard drive to search for a recent image that would work. What I found was rather shocking.
I have almost NO horizontal images. I always knew that I liked shooting things vertically, there’s just something very formal about it. But this came as a huge shock to me and I knew I needed to do something about it. I started to set up shoots that were designed to be shot horizontally. I had to completely change the way I think about design, composition and even lighting. At first it was really hard, and I was very frustrated and even bored with shooting in this format. But after the first portrait sitting (Which was the hardest) I started to get a groove on. It felt good, I was mixing things up, changing how I work. Since there was no pressure from a client or a deadline (Besides one set by myself to have images for the new website done) it was very liberating. Keeping things fresh with yourself and your work is very important, it really opened my eyes.
When you’re getting ready for a shoot it’s very important to stay very organized. You probably have a lot of equipment that needs to be looked after and kept in one place, and it can be difficult to keep track of everything.
Before any shoot I make up a check-list in word or office that itemizes every piece of equipment that I will be bringing along on the shoot. It lists everything from cameras and lenses to clamps and gaffers tape. Then I have at least 4 other columns where I go through the check list and each point it travels. A check for loading up before the shoot, a check for arriving on location, a check for the end of the day and a check for unloading back at my studio. This will save your little pieces of equipment and save you some money in replacing those little pieces in case you leave them at your shoot location.
The following example is a check list for a video I’m shooting this month for a local healthcare organization:
This is just the first page, as the second page lists all of my cables that are required as well as flags and other misc grip gear. Your check list will probably go through a few drafts, so don’t make it the night before the shoot. Carry around a little notebook with you not only to write down ideas but to remind yourself of items that need to be added to your list. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Last weekend I shot a small campaign for Glide, a local non-profit that provides healthcare and other services for the homeless and needy. The campaign was for the Pride Team for an event that will be raising funds for the organization. The event was a Drag show, so the assignment was to take studio portraits of the performers. We took individual portraits, pairs of portraits and a group portrait. The group portrait has become sort of the center of attention for the campaign, but the individual portraits will be used during the event itself.
Anyway I had a blast working in the studio with the client, an art director and a crew of stylists and one thing I decided to do independently was shoot some behind the scenes footage with my trusty SONY NEX3, nothing too crazy but I wanted to document the shoot. I put together a 2 1/2 minute behind the scenes video and posted it to my vimeo, and within hours I got a flurry of emails from the client, the art director and a number of other people at Glide. They wanted to license the video for the event and for their website, and I was more than happy to comply with this.
Even if you don’t have a lot of fancy gear or don’t necessarily have a lot of experience shooting video, do it anyway. It’s a great way to learn, and you might make some money in the process. It’s simple at first, grab a friend and have them film some stuff around the set and then put a few clips together and you just might get a nice source of extra revenue.
The following portraits were shot with a very specific concept in mind: How we look, act and emote when we are under the influence of alcohol. I brought some friends into a photo studio and took their portraits on a plain white backdrop. Then over the course of about 30 minutes to an hour, I gave them all in the area of 8 to 9 shots of rum. Needless to say, they were all pretty loose when they sat down for the second portrait. The results were exactly what I was going for, and the models had a great time as well. I’ll be continuing this series, and I don’t think I’ll have any problems finding volunteers for it. Who doesn’t love free booze?
Be sure to check out the Behind the scenes video after the pictures!
Josh and I have known each other for nearly 20 years. We met during a 4-H meeting, which we found boring at that age and decided to draw and color in the back of the room.
I wouldn’t call Josh a social butterfly or a party goer or shy. He is a social person for sure, but behind the hundreds of tagged photos on Facebook of parties and flamboyant drinking outings is an intensely private person who is intelligent, curious and compassionate. He is not a model. I knew this as I brought him in to the studio. He’s used to having his photo taken with a PBR in his hand in a crowd. I wanted that context completely removed, so the photo was all about him, at a much more personal level. I knew he would be awkward but I wanted that discomfort of the situation, because I knew his trust for me would show through. No person is prepared for the intimacy of a studio portrait, especially one as minimal as this.
I’ve been blabbing so much this month about portfolios and and travel that I’ve momentarily forgotten what I started it for in the first place: Sharing photos. Here’s a look at some of the work I’ve been doing recently: