Lean IX

.Lean IX

Documenting a company and their journey can be a daunting task. Key words “can be”. But they do not have to be. When approaching me to cover Lean IX’s NYC leg of their 4 leg tour, I immediately go to work. You have to know your client, what they stand for, and what they may be expecting from you. This is how I approach all clients. it is vital in figuring out the how of what your client will want from you. How means everything. Likewise, knowing how means you are aware of the steps that lead to the end goal. For Lean IX, this is documentation of a huge undertaking.

The Issue

Most events like this always take place inside a hotel or some large hall. The biggest issue with these is color correction. Any photographer knows that covering content that involves florescent bulbs will require a bit of white balancing. In this particular instance, I am responsible for covering two floors worth of content with 3 different styled areas of lighting. I adjust for every specific area, but in most instances, allowing an auto white balance would be key. Most people who work in editorial/photojournalism or event photography are aware how tedious it can be to do things without any auto assist. Everything moves very fast, but I love keeping a consistency with my work where if at most, I can adjust one image and apply the changes across the board.

End of The Day

With all things done, my duty is to supply the company with mid day images as promotion to virtual attendees, while a post day submission is another requirement. However, I am supplying the full gamut of images The company will utilize these for additional marketing. It’s a great thing to get used to as it helps you speed up your production process. All in all it was a great day.

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Nay Marie of Adorned in Taji

NayMarie of Adorned in Taji

Shooting with Nay Marie of Adorned in Taji never disappoints. The style and energy she brings to a session is always perfect. Every now and again we have a sit down to create a new set of headshots and portraits for her. The reason we do this is that her looks and branding changes frequently enough that we need to keep things fresh. Noone likes an image that represents an old version of themselves they no longer connect to.

Freedom of Choice

When working with Nay Marie of Adorned in Taji, there are only ever two requirements. 1. We have to make sure that they are a visual representation of her essence/personality. 2. The jewelry she makes has to be a highlight of some magnitude within the images. You will see that Nay wears a very beautiful set of complementary adornments. They connect in multiple places but always bring a beautiful aesthetic to the images. What we do is develop creative headshots that will allow the use of hands and movement within the images. The lack of movement would otherwise place this in a more standard headshot zone, which is not Nay Marie. Because of this, I have full freedom of choice to direct and capture how I see fit.

Nay Marie To Scale

The last important factor is making sure that Nay’s Crown aka her Hair, is shown just as prominent as her adornments. In this session we are working with her FroHawk which stands very high and very expressive. It is something you cannot hide, nor should you want to. Just note, if ever capturing someone with a lot of hair that is or starts vertically, this will place the facial plane a little lower in the composition. Understanding this and executing a balance is very important as can be seen in our final images.

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Standard Headshots

Standard Headshots

Usually when you think standard headshots, you think plain white background, basic smile and predictable pose. If you do things long enough you will quickly learn that not every rule is the rule and or things do change as time moves on. When originally taking shots, one or two lights is fine and you can grab the shots that you want, but now things are done with an understanding of the purpose of use and person behind the camera. Headshots have become more like a resume where there are numerous types, but they are now set to appeal to very specific job applications. Actors, models, corporate, etc. can all look wildly different both inside and outside of their respective fields depending on the person in front of the camera.

Why Standard?

Saying standard is more of a buzzword. We all hate generalizations. This is no different. In this particular set of images, it shows a contrast to some of our others by  taking a look at both the background and the catchlight in the eyes. This image uses the Hurley Method which has a triangle setup using 3 led panels. This may not be a standard visual when looking into the eyes, but one of the benefits of this setup is the lack of cameraman reflection. Usually when capturing you will stand, to some extent, in front of your subject and snap a picture. Depending on your light alignment, you will find your reflection in the pupil. The Hurley Method actually creates a window that blacks out the shooter in the middle.

So Not Standard?

No, not standard. There is no such thing anymore. You will find that each sets of photographers that lead the field in photography have various rules they adhere to. None of these rules are particularly the same, even down to the crop. What this means is that the end product should always reflect the person and the field it applies to.

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Caleb Headshots

Caleb Headshots

One of the benefits of attending various conferences is that you connect with models and other creatives. It just so happened that this particular person was a reconnect from a previous era of me doing behind the scenes work in dance. I became connected with quite a few people and these Caleb Headshots were no different. Caleb actually found himself as one of the models used for the B&H Depth of Field event. This event is earlier in the year at the New Yorker Hotel. Under 208 Management Caleb would work various locations within the space posing for various photography.

Headshots

You can choose quite a number of ways to shoot headshots. Despite what people may say, there isn’t one right way to do it. Despite there not being one right way, there is still a standard to meet for quality. In general one should always choose a full on or 3/4 pose for your subjects. Always find their good side and cater to that. If the person needs to be slimmed down a bit, always turn their face/body away from the camera so as to cause a foreshortening affect.

Lighting

In most instances headshots are taken on some form of white background; however, there are some of us that like to spice things up and change the atmosphere. Depending on the field in which my clients are, the background will switch. For these shots you will notice that the background is black. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s a preference. The only issue that can arise is that this particular backdrop blends to easy with his clothing. When you have situations like that you have to position your lights in such a way that it will cover the areas that may be a problem. This in particular was a one light setup. Using a beauty dish and eyelighter reflector in a clamshell manner, we were able to illuminate both Caleb’s face, edge of his hair, and clothes. Particularly important since, as you can see, everything is black.

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Affiliated Advisors

Affiliated Advisors

Something that you always expect is the standard headshot whenever you’re in the middle of a corporate session. These shots are pretty standard; however, the approach can be wildly different between photographers. Not every white backdrop shot is created equal. There are so many factors that go into creating a headshot. You have to take into account factors such as company brand, personality of the individual, and lighting factors to complement the subject. Again, not an easy task. You will find that shooting on a white backdrop seems basic. This is not the case with Affiliated Advisors.

Things to consider

When shooting on a white background/backdrop you have to understand how those colors will affect your subject with the lighting you’re using. Let me elaborate. In some instances I love to capture a headshot and create separation by having a strobe or constant light bouncing off of the background. It pulls the subject away and at the same time keeps their hair from blending into the backdrop. Where you may not have this problem is with a white background. There is however a little white balance concept and the concept of 18% gray (which photographers will understand). You have to know how to get your whites to appear white and I like to give a little assistance by still bouncing lighting.

The problem

The big issue with bouncing backdrop lighting is that if the backdrop is a lighter color, it will reflect back and can spill over onto your subject. These are things you absolutely have to consider. In this particular scenario I wanted to provide a soft team look. All of those in the shoot were women who weren’t exactly in the same location and Kim, the organizer, felt it was a great time to pull them together for individual and team headshots. Everything went great and we couldn’t have been happier. Notice the non standard team shot that was a winner in my book.

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Kleiner Perkins

Kleiner Perkins

Business events are always important to the company and Kleiner Perkins’ is no different. During the event series, I am responsible for capturing 3 days worth of events at roughly 1-2 hours in length. Each of the events is a bit different from the last. Our first event is a small mixer in a private room of an event space for younger partners. The second event is a private catered dinner in an upscale loft/kitchen for the more seasoned partners. And for the final event, we find ourselves at a rooftop bar for a late afternoon to early evening large mixer with fireside chats.

Day 1 – Influencer/Social Partners

This was a rather light event, where we just wanted to get a mix of location shots and just people interacting with each other. Candid shots are the name of the game in situations like this. These are shots that tell a story of building blocks and growth. The youthfulness of this day expresses forward momentum and fun.

Day 2 – Seasoned Partners.

This is the most intimate portion of the event series. During this time I watch as there is a premium experiencing being curated. As a result of this special attention, there is a specific focus on the more mature partners working with the company. This portion consists of a beautiful loft space for private engagements, an all-star team of chefs, and very in-tune staff. The setting is mixer. The lighting is a dim-lit orange. In most instances I am not fond of changing the color of the lighting in post because it ruins the mood and ambience. Some photographers will immediate daylight balance to have brighter shots, but I want you to feel as if you were there. The mood is a must.

Day 3 – Young Mixer

In conclusion, this final day consists of a large group of the younger partners and fireside chats. The goal is to network, develop relationships, and build knowledge on successful business working and investment. The group is a lively and fun bunch. Candid shots and constant rotation are the name of the game here. Luckily for me I had previously worked an event at this location. As a result I can capture shots with even greater accuracy.

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Hannah Headshots

Hannah Headshots

One of the most intricate journeys you can embark on is that of headshot work. And, if you want to step the difficult level up even further, you can make things increasingly harder by working with children. Now, children are very temperamental so you have to be wary with how you approach things. I always suggest that you get to know the child with some conversation and then build out a comfortable rapport. That is how I produce these Hannah Headshots.

Conversation

When speaking to children, we have to remember that we were one at some point in our lives. Adults forget children are the same at their core, and as a result, we must find a common ground interest. In this particular session, I ask Hannah of some of her favorite shows. The first show she uttered was “Buffy”. Turns out her Father would watch the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” series and they, Hannah and her sister, would watch it with him. And with that, I find my common ground.

Instructing

Now that I have my common ground I am able to utilize characters and information from the show to have her mimic. Mimicry allows for a wide range of emotions, which can be crucial in acting and showing the breadth of your capability. Hannah was so good that even her younger sister was ready to show what she could do. With Hannah, I would say, give me your favorite character from the series and emulate them, she would then in turn show me anger, rage, confusion, happiness, etc. Even not referencing the show “Buffy”, I was able to tap into general emotions. Asking a question like, let’s pretend you wanted a gift all year long and christmas finally comes and you DON’T get this gift… show me that emotion or if you DID get the gift, show me that too.

As you can see, she nails every single shot.

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Le Reussi NYFW

Le Reussi NYFW

The Le Reussi NYFW show takes a three-tiered spin on the typical fashion show. During the showcase, models will traverse a 3 level runway at “Wolf & Badger” in Manhattan. Hand selected to capture the event, I was stationed at the upper level of the show. The upper level is Wolf & Badger’s jewelry showroom, which has two large jewelry cases.

The walk is on the lower level of the location, where the clothing and dressing rooms are. I am taking spot photography as the models approach the lower stairwell. At the top of the stairwell I am taking another set of images of the models. This is the main showroom floor level. They will finally arrive at the upper level location and circle both cases, stopping in between for me to capture shots of them.

Setup

Le Reussi ran very smoothly. Candid shots and portfolio/sales shots are most important when capturing images like this. This is to make sure that the designer has images for promotion as well as marketing. Your typical runway is a straight shot from one end of the room to the other, however, in this instance the approach is a little different.

Due to the non linear path each model takes, I stand perpendicular to them in between the jewelry cases. I set up two wirelessly triggered speedlights on the cases and bounce them off the ceiling in order to capture an even lighting on the subjects while minimizing the harsh lights emanating from the jewelry cases and ceiling lights. Each model takes a short stop when crossing the aisle which I stood in and then poses for 2+ images showcasing the Le Reussi line.

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TajiMag x AFROPUNK 2023

TajiMag x AFROPUNK 2023

An amazing experience. There isn’t much I can’t say about TajiMag x AFROPUNK 2023. This is an event that encompasses a lot of history and creativity. Some in attendance may be unaware of the roots of AFROPUNK and how it affects all of what they see today, but in spite of that, the spirit of the event shines through. At this year’s event I represent TajiMag and cover everything exciting about the event.

As images progress through the slides you will see a varied set of looks and energy. Some subtle, some exciting, but all energy. The crowds who come to AFROPUNK are there to see who has the most amazing look as well as take part in the great stage performances on display.

If you aren’t familiar already, TajiMag is a Black Culture Publication. Run by NayMarie, she insists on making sure we see a light hearted and beautiful display of Black people.

2 Day Event

At the TajiMag x AFROPUNK 2023 setup, my goal was to bounce between the 3 major areas of vendor and stages 1 & 2. If you attend the event you understand that the distance between each area isn’t small. The festival accommodates a large number of people as attendees as well as performers and vendors. Because of this large amount of people there is a great deal of space that is used to make sure everyone can mix and mingle comfortably.

Installations, aerialists, stilt walkers, and more walk the grounds interacting and posing with the passerbys. In addition to this, there is a large number of those in attendance who come dressed for the event to be photographed and potentially be included in various publications and have their images shared across multiple platforms.

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NayMarie

NayMarie of Adorned in Taji Cinematic Headshot Session

Dramatic Headshots are kind of my thing. I love nothing more than to tap into a dark and moody headshot. I prefer minimal lighting and just glints and hints of reflection off the edges of the subject. Sometimes catching a bit of catch light in the eyes. This was my primary aim for this shoot. In this particular instance, NayMarie wore her adornments to the shoot. Due to the adornments, I was able to get a great deal of reflectivity from the strobes used. This gave a little pop of highlight in just the right areas. The focus is primarily on the thought process more than anything. What is going on in her mind? Using hand gestures and varied posing I am able to convey a variety of thought processes all revolving around being pensive.

What were your intentions with these photos?

This was a very fun project. Outside of my normal use of colors, I chose to move towards more of a muted tone almost teetering on the edge of full monochromatic or dichromatic. Normally when considering subjects they will often have an employer or agent which they are under. This limits the amount of creativity which you can pour into some projects; however, when someone works for themselves it presents a whole new set of options. Because Nay works for herself, I was given free reign over how to approach. I wanted something mysterious and “cinematic”. I utilized side and overhead strip box lighting to nail down precise rim lights. Illuminating the background while rim lighting was necessary to create an almost silhouetted separation from subject to background. Everything came together just as intended.

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Crowned Royal

Crowned Royal

This product shoot gave focus to the development of an Adorned in Taji Crown. Who better to where and represent this than Honey! We love Honey. She always executes flawlessly. So in this particular shoot the goal focuses on showcasing a “Crowned Royal”. By doing this, we are able to isolate the adornment/jewelry itself and showcase how it can enhance your looks. Normally when shooting, the first thing we decide on is the color we will use in conjunction with the product. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a magenta backdrop available. This posed a fun problem solving scenario. What does one do when the backdrop they desire isn’t readily available to them? Well, you have a couple of options.

You can choose an alternate background color and change that color in post. Keep in mind if you choose this as your option you have to be sure the color contrasts with the outfit of the person and their skin tone to make post selections simple and clean. Also, be sure that you don’t use black or white to do this due to how they outline the subject in frame and the way shadows and highlights affect both of those colors. The second option, the one which I actively choose, is to use any available rgb leds to color the background of a similar color. In this instance I used magenta leds (gel lighting on strobes works as well), to color shift a brown backdrop I have. The results were just what we were looking for.

Motions

Now, more often than not, I find myself utilizing Honey because her ability to emote and pose is very good. You will find a few models who are very in tune with their body positioning, facial expressions, and emotions. This is a gem in a sea of models. The ability to flow and emote provides many options to convey the feeling you would receive from wearing the product being shown. The other secret sauce is having a makeup artist who understands color theory just as well as the photographer. This will go well when ironing out details to match the overall scene and theme as can be seen with the makeup Brush Queen applied.

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Mwanga x Adorned In Taji x AFROPUNK

Mwanga x Adorned In Taji x AFROPUNK

The release is real. It takes time to cook up the perfect storm and Mwanga x Adorned In Taji x AFROPUNK doesn’t disappoint. So what exactly does that mean? Well I will tell you. It’s more like a combination of two things. Certified Crystal and Chakra Healer Nay Marie, owner of Adorned In Taji, takes to the heart of AFROPUNK and creates a beautiful impromptu release event. Mwanga is the name of the full couture gold cowrie Adorned In Taji dress. All made at the hands and mind of Nay Marie.

Cowrie?

Yes, you can hear perfectly clear. It is a 100% hand made cowrie dress. Not one part of the labor went unattended by hand customization. The beauty of it all is that I had the pleasure of watching this item come to life. It isn’t every day that you get to sit next to a designer with a concept and watch them bring it to life by hand. As an Illustrator, Designer, and Photographer, I can greatly appreciate the level of dedication and craftmanship that goes into an undertaking such as this.

How did it go?

Well, no-one has any idea when things like this happen. All with intention. Not surprisingly this event proved to be exactly the same. During the turn of the afternoon to evening, our model “Z” arrived and joined us in the vendor area at the Adorned In Taji booth. Being careful, Nay and I slowly fit Z with the dress. It has wait to it and a $7k price tag, so handling with care is a given. Once we have the outfit on Z we take directly to my setup of a single light setup. The setup was designed to illuminate Z who is now shrouded in darkness due to the time. This light isolates the subject by keeping a relatively small light area. Due to the depth behind Z we are able to ensure that most background elements are dark and then further isolate in post.

The final product is an amazing display of beauty. To sum up, it is something we are all very proud of.

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Rayven the Phoenix – Magazine Cover Shoot

Rayven the Phoenix Magazine Cover Shoot for Taji Mag. A fiery phoenix lifestyle shoot based heavily on color, movement, mood, and texture.

If most people can’t tell by now, which I’m hoping everyone does, I love a great deal of fog. This particular shoot aimed to provide a double sense of motion through the contrasting movement of the fog and the model Rayven. I rely on speaking with models first. This allows me to get an understanding of the type of person that they are. Rayven seemed very familiar to me and I soon found out that her astrological sign was the same as mine. This is something that was once rare, but is becoming more and more of a regular occurrence during shoots.

There were a few things that had to be taken into consideration for this shoot. Normally when combining light and led you have to worry about intensity of the led; however, when you find yourself in the realm of mixed colors, there is a certain sensitivity that matching light can either drown out or completely eliminate. You have to be absolutely perfect in understanding constant light and led mixtures.

Rayven the Phoenix Magazine Cover Shoot – How things turned out:

Rayven was an absolute blast to work with. In the shoot she really took matters into her own hands with posing and expressing herself through constant movement. A lot of her posing focused on the juxtaposition of hands and facial expressions. During the shoot we made sure to capture a lot of varying poses; however, the most important aspect was making sure to have multiple focal length poses to play with perspective. One particular shot had such a profound background element effect that we chose to leave the images of the led and strip boxes included for atmosphere. Overall the magazine cover shoot turned out amazing!

Want to see more? Check out our previous shoot featuring leds here: Red Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior 2

4 Esta Coes Mag

4 Esta Coes Mag

Brazilian Mag 4 Esta Coes contacted me to create a shoot, tasking me to capture Ieda Favo. Ieda is a Brazilian Ambassador, social worker, and model as well as providing creative direction for a 2 part editorial shoot with several looks. This shoot took place over the course of 2 different session days. One day was a full on studio shoot while the other was a session shot completely on location in 4 different areas.

Day 1 – In Studio

So often I find myself shooting a variety of cultures; however, this time was quite a bit different. Ieda had only just come to the country and not too long prior and was just getting the hang of English. Her managing partner Marcio who was with her, didn’t speak English at all. This caused a slight language barrier that made me commit to making sure we both felt at ease and respected. After being briefed on the details of what they were looking for in the mag, I was given free creative control, to which I reached out to my team to jump in and get involved. NayMarie of Adorned in Taji for adorments and jewelry, Debra Harebey for Hair and Coco for Makeup. Wardrobe, styling, and location were all up to my discretion and so I handled this on my own.

Soon after, we had a call and I chose a beautifully sunlit and plant-filled studio in order to capture our first set of shots. I also made a decision to utilize 2 outfits and twists for the hair style of the model Ieda. I requested custom pieces from Adorned in Taji and very simple makeup to complement outfits and skintones from Coco. Each was a great marriage of effort on our ends as can be seen by the final product, but we needed more for our second shoot day. I used my desire to capture Ieda against every element possible…. windows, table, plants, and muti colored backdrop piping.

Day 2 – On Location

In this second 4 Esta Coes Mag Editorial Shoot things were a bit longer. So long in fact, that my strobe ran out of power during the 3rd section of the shoot. This presented no problem, seeing as the entire day, overcast skies graced our presence. The request was to capture our main shots to showcase NYC, to which we decided on a subway platform. We would have utilized a subway car at first but the timing and location would have made this difficult. School would have been getting out around that time.

Our second location was under the platform in the street to give a nice trailing depth of field using lines. Our third location was a pathway between buildings and our final was a large state park with beautiful greenery. We used a combination of outfits which I selected from Brazilian Closet in order to pull each of these looks together. All in all everyone was extremely happy.

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Shades of Beauty

Shades of Beauty

There’s a bit of mystery in the art of Black and White Photography. You cannot shoot black and white shades of beauty the same way you would color. It is important to know the art of determining values. Intensity is the name of the game. How can you increase the intensity of your values in your image? If intensity is the name of the game, then the game master is contrast. To what extremes would you like your rations of black, white, and in between.

Dee

Dee is a great model to work with. She provides a good deal of dimension in both facial expression and form. The strongest suit is her preparation and listening skills when it comes to critical instructions. There are times when only subtle changes are necessary and that can be pretty dauting if you aren’t a model with experience. Some models will overcompensate subtle movements with very large shifts, but Dee nailed these.

Levels

When shooting brown skin tones it is important to understand that values will be have much differently. Although it should be common knowledge, you would be surprised at how many people are unaware as to how lighting effects darker/richer skin tones. The most important thing is to govern how much pigment the skin holds. The more pigment, the more you will want to paint lighting to the skin as opposed to simply illuminating the subject. I use the word painting because it is the best way to describe how intentional you must be with your light placement, intentionally drawing the eye to the form without just blanketly lighting the scene. Knowing where to contour the clavicle, shoulders, cheekbones and nose bridge is highly important. I utilize this time to make sure to capture a series of 9 varying degrees of shades in Black and White.

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Whisper High Key Portrait

Whisper High Key Portrait

Not in the literal sense. I do know that as I develop my works I have words that slowly ease their way through my mind. I am always indulging in all of my senses in order to find the most appropriate names. Whisper feels right. This goes in line with the quality of the session. The Whisper High Key Portrait intent was to produce a noticeably tint-based portrait session with Adorned In Taji and Honey. Something that is akin to traditional portraiture but leans into the flat commercial look with a bit of depth that rounds out using saturation and the contrasting skin tone.

Why High Key?

Well, when most of your hangs/leans heavy towards one end of the spectrum, you challenge yourself to step outside your box. That is what I am doing with “Whisper”. The name describes the soft, powdery feel of a whisper… the gentle gust of wind when starting a whisper. Beautiful, delicate, and very intentional. Everything I create is with intention. This could very well be the Virgo Photographer in me, but who knows. All I do know is that I wanted to switch to a prime only shoot.

Why Prime Only?

Most of my work requires me to pull in my use of my 24-70 2.8 or my 70-200 2.8. This can be a bit limiting if you become dependent on zooming. I find comfort in certain primes and how they work. So for this, I choose to utilize my 105mc 2.8. This is an absolutely stellar option for portraits and headshots. I knew the quality I would want, this lens will handle with little to no problems. And it does not disappoint. One of the things you learn along the way is that when working with people you have built a relationship with, you will end up with some of the most amazing work you’ve created. As a result, this was that.

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Blue Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior Jamie

Blue lifestyle photography shoot with Adorned in Taji Goddess Behavior model Jamie. A blue-themed lifestyle photoshoot covering newer product pieces from the Adorned in Taji jewelry line. View the photo reel here: Instagram

In this particular session we decided to deviate from the normal romantic colors. We implement a scheme that contrasts the normal reds, magentas, oranges, and yellows. Blue brings about a very conscience set of decision making. It substitutes as a representation of sadness or various medical practices. Contrarily, there are other instances where blue can represent life and peace. We brought these very things out of the image by presenting the color so as not to overwhelm the composition nor the subject. In lifestyle photography you want to ensure that all elements are believable with a natural or candid aspect to them. We combine looks directly focused on the camera and those looking away. This provides a feeling of catching the model in a moment.

Just like our previous shoots, flagging the light and focusing the strobe allowed us a look that swallows any spillage of light. This show we can maintain the quality of our blue lifestyle photography.

We used both strobe and constant led lighting. The trick is positioning and powering the strobe in such a way that it does not overpower your constant lighting. Images from these sets are based more on the mood that the photo exhibits based on colors, so any loss of such would be a huge detraction from the message being delivered. Using a set of gobos, some of the earlier images in the set were taken to give a window-blind effect. These also lends to the dramatic aspect that we were looking to capture in the images. Although light is important, balancing the lighting, color, and the proper amount of shadow is crucial.

Want to see more? Check out our previous shoot here: Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior 3

Magenta Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior Naomi

Magenta lifestyle photography shoot with Adorned in Taji Goddess Behavior model Naomi. A magenta-themed lifestyle photoshoot covering newer product pieces from the Adorned in Taji jewelry line. View the photo reel here: Instagram

In this third session we decided to color shift while maintaining a romantic color scheme. We utilize colors based around the range of magenta hues. Although not as intense as red, magenta allows for a similar romantic feel and magenta encompasses a regal nature. The team used shots with an extreme contrast. Our fog machine was turned on intermittently to add texture. Looks were more static and focused on hand positioning with facial expression as an after thought; this allowed for the theme and colors to speak to the message.

Similar to our previous shoot, there is a need to flag and block a certain amount of light from reaching the subject. This coupled with the beauty dish with a grid, we focused the beam of light to only hit certain segments of the model and isolate her from the rest of the scene. This created the vinette feel we were looking for. The only additional element was that of adding texture to the scene.

We used both strobe and constant led lighting for the magenta lifestyle photography, but the trick is positioning and powering the strobe in such a way that it does not overpower your constant lighting. Images from these sets are heavily based on texture. The reflection of fog, material of dress, and styling of hair builds the desired look.  Although light is important, balancing the lighting, color, and the proper amount of shadow is crucial. This becomes even more important when the lighting you choose matches either wardrobe or model.

Want to see more? Check out our previous shoot here: Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior 2

Red Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior Honey

Red lifestyle photography shoot with Adorned in Taji Goddess Behavior model Honey. A red-themed lifestyle photoshoot covering newer product pieces from the Adorned in Taji jewelry line. View the photo reel here: Instagram

In this initial indoor photoshoot we set out to evoke an emotion of romance. We utilize standard red hues coupled with gold. Although gold is a very similar color to the skintone of the model, it enhances highlights and reflects off the jewelry for a more heated and reflective look. The image essence was that of bronze statue. Our fog machine was turned on intermittently to add texture. Due to our model being a dancer, we focused more on gestures and emotion through movement.

In this styling of photography you must be cognizant of light direction and spillage. You want to keep focus on the subject without being overwhelming with the amount of light you use. My desire was not to showcase the full body by using shadows in a vignette manor. I own two large v-flats which I use to isolate the subject while flagging the lgiht and only using a beauty dish combined with leds to focus the color and exposure hitting her.

We used both strobe and constant led lighting for our red lifestyle photography, but the trick is positioning and powering the strobe in such a way that it does not overpower your constant lighting. Images from these sets are heavily based on posing. The specificity of the model’s head, hands, and torso were crucial in pulling off theses shots.  Although light is important, balancing the lighting, color, and the proper amount of shadow is vital. This becomes even more important when the model is in constant motion.

Want to see more? Check out our previous shoot here: Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior 1

Taji Mag Volume 29 – Water

Taji Mag Volume 29 – Water

One of the most amazing displays of colors play I was able to produce in a single session. The theme basis is water, if that weren’t already painfully obvious; but what may not be obvious is the fact that this elemental shoot contains 3 very distinct looks. Usually Taji Mag makes sure to have a specific theme per quarterly publication. I was contacted to create a cover concept that would coincide with the theme. To say I was overly excited would be an understatement. As per usual we had to call on Honey for this shoot and we were none disappointed.

Water is the giver and bringer of life and in this particular session we wanted to display this in multiple ways. The first item up was to be able to identify what would be the most explicit way to do this and then, what would be the most indirect way to express it. Our first go to for the explicit direction was to use an inflatable pool, fill it with a certain amount of water and lay Honey in it. We did this but ran into the problem of head positioning.

We needed to elevate her head so that it was the focus of these set of images. To do so, we propped her head up with a dark blue towel that was placed in the water. This towel then blended in with her dark hair. Though the initial shots were looking great, I wanted to add a bit more to the texture of the image. There were not enough reflections or ripples to give off the appearance of water. It was time to bring out the gobo. I used abstract shapes and the strobe to cast what would appear to be various light reflections onto the subject and the water. This made for a much more believably digestible scene.

Out of the water

Once we finished “pool side”, we set up a wet look in order to continue alluding to water. Using this, I wanted to create a more sensual look. I took to the gobos and leds as a combination to achieve this. Using deep purples and magentas I was able to use gobos to break up the light and shadow in scenes. This combined with the wavy look provided a very sensual and romantic feel that I loved.

For the final set of shots I wanted to try green. I am not a fan of the color green by any means but decided to challenge myself. What happens in the moments after changing the leds to green color combination, is nothing short of amazing. The green by itself lent to the visual of a sea green; however, when I shot with my gobo, due to the nature of the lighting and where I was using it, it reacted in a very iridescent rainbow way. The light became a beautiful complementary and non-linear color strip over the eyes.

These colors, combined with the wet look, and the chosen gobo lighting presented us with a sea creature vibe that we were extremely satisfied with. One of the images in the last set became our choice for Taji Mag Volume 29 – Water cover!

Want to see more work like this? Check out my Portraits
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On Location Lifestyle Shoot – Goddess Behavior H&N

On location lifestyle shoot with Adorned in Taji Goddess Behavior models Honey and Nay. A natured-themed lifestyle photoshoot covering newer product pieces from the Adorned in Taji jewelry line. View the photo reel here: Instagram

In this first session we juxtaposed the models with a beautiful open environment while using breathtaking landscapes and were able to showcase a more powerful shoot, one where everyone seems connected to the very earth they stand on and the sky above them. Shots were taken from a lower to upper perspective and incorporated exaggerated posing. This enhanced and strengthened the presence of each model. All images were enhanced with an octobox to contribute to the available sunlight and pull the models off of the background. Looks were completely focused on body positioning and facial expressions.

Capturing the on location lifestyle shoot:

During this shoot, we had to fight against the wind as well as the brightness of the sun. This particular location has a trifecta of adversity and considerations. We are fighting against the winds generated by the nearby parkway, the water of the ocean, and the airport which is less than 3 miles away. We found a way to make use of these to further strengthen the shoot. Look closely and you can see how the wind plays to our advantage in the loose fabric and clothing worn by the models. This added to the very organic and flowing feel of the images. Luckily for us, the weather was beautiful.

We used only an accompanying octobox for this on location lifestyle shoot in order to to enhance each image. The plane on which the sky and earth met allowed us to separate foreground and background. The neutral color of the pathway contrasted perfectly to the strong golds of the models’ skin and jewelry.  This perfect marriage between the grass, path, and sky allowed for a very intriguing set of images and memorable shoot.

Want to see more? Check out the next shoot here: Lifestyle Photography – Goddess Behavior 2

Ieda x Daniel

Ieda x Daniel

This shoot took a different approach than normal. In most instances of my shooting, I will rely on an individual subject or if there are multiples, they are both woman and woman. In this particular scenario I utilized the talents of Ieda Favo and Daniel Jones. Daniel introduced the team to Ieda who was fairly new to the country. Coming from Brazil, she had not been here too long, but was pursuing her career in modeling. Little did we know that she would become an almost honorary member to our creative family.

Thanks again for that introduction Daniel! Needless to say, the shoot ran very smoothly. Because we had previously worked with Daniel on a cover shoot, it made it very simple to approach this with a level of familiarity. Due to Ms. Favo finding it easy to transition into our shoot, it made the entire day a seamless turn of events. For the majority of our session, we shot the two of them separately, playing around with varying colors and intensity. Ieda was very open to using various space for jumping and motion and we captured a few deep perspective shots with Daniel for variety.

Selections

For the Ieda x Daniel selection process we made it a point to focus on the mood. Our colors and lighting choices tell a story. A story in which two creative individuals within the love of their careers, would find one another. Each following shot was one meant to focus on the interacting facial expressions and protective nature of the relationship. The initial blue/red/orange tones were meant to give way to Ieda’s passion. Daniel’s deep green and purple tones were there to express strength and intensity in a mellow way. As a result, each of these elements came together perfectly.

Want to see more of my work? Check out my Portraits
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The Wind Element Series

The Wind Element Series

This particular session was under the creative direction of Coco aka “Brush Queen”. Normally the makeup artist for our shoots, Coco also steps in front of the camera when she is inspired to do so. This was both one of our smoothest and seemingly most powerful shoots. The location was absolutely gorgeous and it was our first time shooting there. Despite being a large public state park, we found that it is also eerily quiet, but peacefully so. You could hear the wind as it gently passed through the area. The shoot itself comes across as pretty straightforward… drop in location, find lighting and setting, and shoot. And although this was our first time here, we decided to gamble and even step into the taller grass areas to get some exceptional depth of field shots.

The Goal

The wind element series is similar to our previous three shoots. This session was to focus purely on what the element of wind may look like in physical form. Due to the overcast sky, the available light kept itself pretty hidden. The positive is that any photographer knows that an overcast day will provide you with a great soft lighting for your subject. Seeing as our theme was wind, many shots were composed to showcase the blowing of the grass/wheat with the flow of the dress and jewelry/adornments. The other intention was to juxtapose Coco in the white outfit with the darker ground and the lighter-gray cloudy sky. Using wider angle lenses allowed for me to play with perspective and draw the viewer in with a bit more depth. It was an amazing shoot that would eventually inspire us to utilize this location more often.

Instagram and websites below
Photography: Will Focus @theonewillfocus3
www.theonewillfocus.com

Adornments/Crown: Adorned in Taji @adornedintaji
www.adornedintaji.com

Creative Dir/Modeling: Queen Reinvented @queen_reinvented

Outfit: EveRRythingRRouge @everrythingrrouge
www.everrythingrrouge.com

Want to see more of my work? Check out my Portraits
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The Water Element Series

The Water Element Series

This particular session was under the creative direction of Coco aka “Brush Queen”. Normally the makeup artist for our shoots, Coco also steps in front of the camera when she is inspired to do so. This shoot showed us how difficult and unforgiving some of our locations can be. The location was roughly 1 hour away from New York where we set out to find a specific waterfall which we would shoot at. We soon found ourselves faced with large crowds, a trickling waterfall, and a dress that would take on tons of water. To get most shots Coco would sit in the water, but it presented an issue as the dress became weighted due to soaking up so much water. The other complication were the small fish that found themselves jumping into the dress.

The Vision

The water element series is similar only in elemental theme to our 2 prior shoots. We chose to take an approach that would focus on the form and depth of field of each photo. Because the waterfall wasn’t too large, we had to make it seem a bit more intimidating in our close up shots. Keeping these shots a secret until release was difficult. Unlike our previous shoot, here we needed to hide Coco while she modeled from the tons of foot traffic that pulled out phones to get a picture. There was a group who had a similar desire to use the location before us. They were very open to others taking pictures, which made it a bit difficult to stop them when it was our turn. We were able to get the shots we needed while at the same time keeping everyone happy.

Instagram and websites below
Photography: Will Focus @theonewillfocus
www.theonewillfocus.com

Adornments/Crown: Adorned in Taji @adornedintaji
www.adornedintaji.com

Creative Dir/Modeling: Queen Reinvented @queen_reinvented

Outfit: EveRRythingRRouge @everrythingrrouge
www.everrythingrrouge.com

Want to see more of my work? Check out my Portraits
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The Earth Element Series

The Earth Element Series

This particular session was under the creative direction of Coco aka “Brush Queen”. Normally the makeup artist for our shoots, Coco also steps in front of the camera to showcase her skills. This was a balance of appreciation for nature and running from insects. The weather that day was super hot, in spite of this we were able to find crossing trees that helped mitigate that heat. Although we were able to survive the heat, the insects were none too happy to have us invade their space. They were very vocal about it. Despite this, we shot quickly and flawlessly and were able to get out prior to the thunderstorm that came 5 minutes after shoot close.

The Picks

The earth element series was slightly more perplexing due to the inability to see your exact locations. We found ourselves walking uphill and around winding paths to both find locations that were isolated and would provide great open space to use. Our chosen spot became a side path about 400 meters up the hill and to the side. Once up this hill there we found a side path marked by a large fallen tree stump and a small natural step formation. To our surprise, following our path discovery, this formation led to a beautiful clearing with a smaller path that was away from everyone, almost as if noone knew it existed. Our secondary spot consists of the main path which goes unused. Unfrequented by anyone the entire time, we were allowed a freedom of selection and pacing that would’ve otherwise proven difficult with such narrow paths.

Instagram and websites below
Photography: Will Focus @theonewillfocus
www.theonewillfocus.com

Adornments/Crown: Adorned in Taji @adornedintaji
www.adornedintaji.com

Creative Dir/Modeling: Queen Reinvented @queen_reinvented

Outfit: EveRRythingRRouge @everrythingrrouge
www.everrythingrrouge.com

Want to see more of my work? Check out my Portraits
Follow me here for more of my content and stories: Instagram

The Fire Element Series

The Fire Element Series

First up on our journey of creative exploration is the fire element series. This particular series came as a very specific desire from our makeup artist Coco to tap back into her Creative Director roots. Utilizing some connections and inspiration which she found, Coco took to gathering all the items needed to create her vision. As per usual, Adorned In Taji joined us for this venture. We each have a very healthy working relationship and collaborate on projects often. For this we wanted to tap into the very spiritual and often wild aspect of the fire element.

Light it up!

During our setup, we chose a location that was flame retardant because an intention was to light a large amount of fabric on fire. As can be seen in some of the images, the draping and height of the fire rose to roughly 20ft tall. Contrarily, the other elements included in the shoot were a bit more subdued and intentional. You will see a blade, cowrie and copper, as well as intentionally lined candles. Each of these elements served to add to the mystery and spirituality of the visual sequence.

Our shoot turned out to be more of a test of patience during set up due to the 100 candles used. Timing and setting these was crucial so as not to have any burn out too quickly. The shot list was very simple, but I wanted to utilize gobos to add an extra focus to the face in a few frames. This was achieved by utilizing the strip gobo to light across the eyes of the subject. Check out our next project “The Earth Element Series” and watch our theme shift and progression.

Want to see more of my work? Click here: Portraits
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Yaz

A shoot that keeps you on your toes

The Yaz lifestyle product shoot was meant to be a bit unconventional due to the lifestyle nature. A shoot that would highlight both products and style required a headshot and portrait session rolled into one. Yaz is a wonderful model. She embodies the products given to her. Though this was a very smooth shoot, the original location was closed on that day. This resulted in us searching for an impromptu location before the sun set. Lucky for us a location away from most foot traffic is just a short stop away. Due to the colder weather, we didn’t have many people notice us outside of my softbox on my stand. The only visibility came from those traveling by on the bus.

Colorful Yaz lifestyle product shoot!

Once we figured location out, it was simply a matter of composition. My desire here is to shoot near foliage that contains several colors. To both contrast the coat and match the earth tones of the jewelry being she will wear, the foliage is a perfect choice. The sun was quickly setting and though it would normally have not been a problem, it was setting in the area to our rear which had several tall trees. This meant that our available light would only be there for the next 10 minutes or so. Knowing this, moving wasn’t much of an option. We went into express mode but were able to pull off several angles and compositions that would work towards and against the light. Luckily for us, I did also have my strobe, which would take a great deal of pressure off of needing all natural light.

For more direct samples, be sure to check out my: Headshots & Portraits

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Sesa Headshots

Sesa Headshots

Some of my favorite projects revolve around something some would consider the most simple of subjects. Headshots. I absolutely love headshots and it’s not because of what you may think. See, there’s a hidden difficulty that most people don’t expect when it comes to headshots. Think about it. We are mostly spoon fed selfies and brief moments; however, most people don’t sit and plan how to approach a selfie. In it’s base form, that’s what a headshot is.

A headshot typically purports to showcase the personality of the individual or at least their presentability/marketability. Who can say this is right or wrong? The fact of the matter is that in most situations personalities are as varied as the number of granules of sand in the dessert. In this particular session, I was tasked with taking images of Sesa and presenting them in roughly 3 varying format types. Here is how I approach these Sesa headshots.

Format 1

This format was the simplest. Straight forward, basic features, general lighting for passport usage

Format 2

In this format, I set to showcase a profile to deliver to the barber so they had an image representing the work they completed.

Format 3

My favorite format is the last one. In this format, I get to portray the subject in a more dramatic light. Something akin to mystery, but still evoking a sense of power. For this, I chose to work heavily with a single key light and very very soft overhead hairlighting. As you look through the images you will see how the variations begin to show themselves. This is the format being displayed in this images.

So why headshots?

This brings me to my reasoning for loving headshots. In the headshot world, you are focusing on the most intricate part of the human body. This part has so many moving parts that it makes it crucial to nail things in a pleasing aesthetic or the whole image is ruined. Because most people don’t understand their own body, they often see themselves in a way that most others may not. It is then the job of the photographer to bring that to light while staying aware of the commercial problems the photo must solve.

Want to see more of my work? Check out my Headshots
Check out more of content and updates here: Instagram

Rasmus Headshots

Rasmus Headshots

Having reached out to me for the purpose of creating a series of headshots for modeling, Rasmus and I had a very good session. The session was created to focus on modeling. There was not a ton to go off of because this started out as a whim of sorts. Rasmus being new to New York was advised by a friend to pursue a career in modeling. Not being too familiar with how the industry operates as a whole, we spoke about various necessities that all models must have within their portfolio. Our first point of interest was the tried and true headshot.

How did things go?

During our session we worked with 2 separate outfits, plain shirts, one black and one white. This was to allow a varying contrast against his skin tone. As we got more and more familiar with one another I slowly was able to tap into his comfort. Production became a breeze after this. I then decided that we would work on various angles, positioning focusing on shoulder placement and head tilt, as well as varying eye intensity.

The intention was to create a series of headshots that wouldn’t cater too tightly to one specific genre. Seeing as Rasmus was knew to the modeling scene, we both had no idea where he may want to take things. Up to me to make an executive decision, I chose to approach from a standpoint of tiptoeing the creative line. I provided a variety of images that would be good enough to utilize for print, runway, and commercial.

As stated many times before, lighting is a key factor in the message headshots could convey. Because this wasn’t a sure thing in terms of direction, I chose to manipulate background and light source in order to optimize variety for Rasmus.

Want to see more work? Check out my Headshots
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Roberta Headshots

Roberta Headshots

In this session I approach Roberta Headshots and the final result is a bit different than my studio setup. A great deal of my headshots are taken in studio. With that being said, it is a bit easier to control the overall look and lighting on my subject. Some may argue that it is more difficult, but I am beyond comfortable with various studio lighting setups. The problem is that when you have an on-location shoot like we did for this, you have to consider your area very carefully.

What about the area?

Well, let’s think about it. What is the most unpredictable thing about being outside? The weather. Noone truly knows what you’re going to get, so in instances of on-location shoots you have to think on your feet. Roberta’s brief needed her in a peaceful setting because of her profession. Her image will need to bring a sense of comfort to her clients as she is a therapist in the wholistic sphere. I like to pack a battery powered strobe with me in these scenarios so that I can control my lighting on my subject. This particular day was sunny off and on, mostly overcast, but often times with the sun peaking out. Overcast is light the sky’s biggest softbox so it’s great, but when the sun peaks out, you will have a problem to solve.

What’s the problem?

Well, sun can be very harsh. You have to make sure it is even and not casting unwanted shadows, if any at all. When the sun casts shadows, you will have to consider fall off and location of the light source. This day the sun was moving light through the clouds in not so intuitive ways. I chose to dial the ambient out for the Roberta Headshots and rely on my strobe only. This helped create the perfect scenario to manipulate light in the way I would in studio, but with one source only. This was the end result.

Want to see more of my work? Click here: Headshots
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Kevin Headshots

Kevin Headshots

Ahhhh, the Kevin Headshots set was a fun one to experiment with. I am most often chosen by women to develop creative concepts for with regards to their headshots. This came as a pleasant surprise. See, Kevin is a model. Kevin also has a very distinct look and as such, needed a bit of a different aesthetic. Although clean, his aesthetic would need to approach his personality from multiple angles. I took it upon myself to capture Kevin against a red backdrop to compliment his skin tone. This is not a normally shooting scenario for me as I usually use fabric and neutral or more subtle tones. Typically this goes against most headshot guidelines, but you must first know the rules in order to break them right?

Comfortability

Because he views photos similar to me, Kevin chose to throw his own flair into the mix, and presents more natural posing. The poses and facial expressions are all from his personal decisions during the session. I will always let the model lead if they are comfortable with their posing, unless it is detrimental to their shot purpose. If I notice that it is not working as designed, I will change the direction of our shoot and correct accordingly.

Variation

It is often very difficult to get a smile out of men. Usually we are not the instant smiling type. If we do smile quickly, you have to capture it before it disappears because there will be a weird after expression that begins to form. If you know a photographer who takes too long to capture a shot, check out the expressions of those in the picture and you will notice a few faces led astray. Luckily, Kevin is a natural. He provided many variations including a smile, which some found to be his most endearing shot.

Want to see more of my work? Check out my: Headshots
Keep up with my content and updates here: Instagram

Group Session #1

Group Session #1

In our group session #1 we are going to take a look at the process by which I amass and execute corporate headshot sessions. This particular 2 part segment will touch on special circumstance corporate headshots. Normally when shooting corporate headshots you are looking at a certain level of uniformity. This uniformity is in regards to office culture. Most people have a specific look and adhere to a certain dress code. As a result of this, we find a consistency in look. A subconscious understanding of what is to be expected. However, in this instance, we find ourselves at a “We Work” location, which presents itself a new set of variables.

We Work

Well, our first touch point is “What is ‘We Work’?” I think this, albeit seemingly obvious, is something quite a few people are not familiar with. Let me explain. In the world of corporate america, small businesses exist in large numbers. The question begs, what do you do when you need meeting and productivity space but you are an individual or very small team? Well remote could be an option, but you may not want clients in your home. Also, home could be a bit noisier than you anticipate. Well that’s where “We Work” comes into play. You can rent office space, be listed on the community business board, and have clients visit you in a more professional setting.

The Problem and Execution

Well, like the aforementioned stated, most corporate sessions have a uniformity. This is not expected in “We-Work” sessions. In these sessions, you will find a variety of companies with various cultures and looks. One company may sell an energy drink, while the other works out smart contracts. The range is very broad, so it is up to me in this situation to bring a lighting setup that would compliment anyone no matter the business. I also must be able to adjust on the fly based on a variety of unknowns. These can be skin tone, company type, height, and timing errors (since everyone isn’t of the same company, this can be common). Luckily, I am a professional and here is what we produced.

Want to see more of my headshot work? Click here: Headshots
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Group Session #2

Group Session #2

In our group session #2 we are going to take a look at the same process as our group session #1 headshots. This particular 2 part segment touches on special circumstance corporate headshots. Normally when shooting corporate headshots you are looking at a certain level of uniformity. This uniformity is in regards to office culture. Most people have a specific look and adhere to a certain dress code. As a result of this, we find a consistency in look. A subconscious understanding of what is to be expected. However, in this instance, we find ourselves at a “We Work” location, which presents itself a new set of variables.

We Work

Well, our first touch point is “What is ‘We Work’?” I think this, albeit seemingly obvious, is something quite a few people are not familiar with. Let me explain. In the world of corporate america, small businesses exist in large numbers. The question begs, what do you do when you need meeting and productivity space but you are an individual or very small team? Well remote could be an option, but you may not want clients in your home. Also, home could be a bit noisier than you anticipate. Well that’s where “We Work” comes into play. You can rent office space, be listed on the community business board, and have clients visit you in a more professional setting.

The Problem and Execution

Well, like the aforementioned stated, most corporate sessions have a uniformity. This is not expected in “We-Work” sessions. In these sessions, you will find a variety of companies with various cultures and looks. One company may sell an energy drink, while the other works out smart contracts. The range is very broad, so it is up to me in this situation to bring a lighting setup that would compliment anyone no matter the business. I also must be able to adjust on the fly based on a variety of unknowns. These can be skin tone, company type, height, and timing errors (since everyone isn’t of the same company, this can be common). Luckily, I am a professional and here is what we produced.

Want to see more of my headshot work? Click here: Headshots
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Uniquely Wired M

Uniquely Wired M

Uniquely Wired M is an amazing copper jeweler previously based out of Brooklyn, NY. Right before the pandemic she decided to relocate to Las Vegas with her Husband. During the time out there, they became pregnant with twins and wanted to capture a shoot that would focus on their love and her products/persona at the same time. Loving what you do for a living is imperative when including it in your day to day expression. This is exactly what Mshari (the “M” in her company title) does on a regular basis. Joining us on this excursion is the lovely NayMarie of Adorned in Taji, utilizing her work to embellish the images as well.

Location

When arriving for the shoot, Mshari and her husband had a set idea for location in the Caleco Hills. I had never been to this location, so this was going to require on the scene scouting. Mshari knew she would be wearing two distinctly different outfits as well as including one of her creations in one of the shot list sets. The drive to the location was about 20 minutes away and up a large winding hill. When there we were close to a cliff’s edge, where I ran ahead to scout out a secluded area. This particular location was rife with tourists so planning smart was crucial.

Decisions

After scouting for a short bit of time, I landed upon a rock formation that looked to have formed an archway, hidden just away from the foot traffic. In this archway we captured the first look with a very colorful tone. This area has great lighting due to the present shade. Our second set of shots would be a sepia tone set in the same outfit but in the open area against the backdrop with her prop. The prop was a copper wired cowrie umbrella. Following these shots, we would end with a swap into Black outfits that would present a more luxurious feel. These commercial-style shots focus on embrace. The final product is very satisfying.

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Michelle & Twins

Maternity shoot, right before a cold front and snowfall, captured by a beautiful dam.

Cyberpunk 2021

Cyberpunk 2021

Cyberpunk 2021 is a project of love. Although it can be unhealthy, I am obsessed with futurism and most things technological. I look to often produce works that settle on a society or state of people that seem a bit surreal and out of our reach. Around this same time, CDPR (CD Project Red) was releasing their heavily anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 title. This was everything I loved in gaming format. As such, I took it upon myself to create an inspired shoot that would both reflect on futurism tied into a “Purge” theme.

Elements

Deciding on what to use as elements is a pretty straightforward action. Despite going out to pick masks, props, and location, one other element would majorly effect our end result. My biggest choice was to shoot on location at night. Consequently, nighttime is not the choice for most people. It severely limits both visibility and light spread. Light spread, ambient specifically, will always be of assistance to any shoot taken on location. If there is too much light, then there is an easy way to dial that down. Shooting at night presents the opposite difficulty. If there is not enough light, how do we make more and still present the mood of the image.

Final

In order to present the final images in the proper light, I use mood, contrast, and delirium as a theme. This is intentionally done. The production took a few hours and three locations to complete. To work with this, I use LED’s with an enclosed tunnel, street lights with strobes, and a slightly higher ISO than normal. Props are a gun and mask (replicas from the game “Overwatch”), sword (Sasuke Uchiha’s from the anime “Naruto”), and an additional mask with makeup underneath.

Want to see more of my work? Check some out here: Portraits
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MzLadyLox

MzLadyLox

MzLadyLox is an amazing Atlanta-based loctician. She specializes specifically in creative and beautiful loc’d hairstyles. As a form of lifestyle photography, shots were requested, catching her in a more natural element. How can you capture someone, maintain their personality, and do it within the confines of an airbnb? The answer is simple… you call me.

The Set Up

During her visit to NY, MzLadyLox requested a shoot within her Airbnb. Her time would be limited, so the only location to get this done was a smaller, yet beautiful, Airbnb. Without any natural lighting and using ambient and practical lights, I was able to create a pleasant lighting scenario where posing and positioning would give a sense of her personality.

The first set of shots convey a sense of relaxation and comfort, while also still keeping a prominent focus on her signature “Red Locs”. The bed – full on and the edge of, a chair, and various close ups would be the focusing point of the shoot. This would allow enough variety to separate the shots into what would appear to be sections, while maintaining a synergy with the other shots.

In addition to the hair and the location itself being prominent factors, another factor is a primary focus in these images. Her jewelry. In her shots you will see a large amount of copper jewelry. These cover her hands and arms. You will also notice them in her hair (adding a bit of flare and contrast to her vibrant locs). This setup allowed for a more dramatic appeal when capturing images. Knowing how to pose and situate opposite our main light sources made for a few dramatic and stunning lifestyle-product similar shots.

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Sadia’s Graduate Portrait

Shots captured directly before the graduation ceremony after a light rainfall. Additional images were decided upon as well as a short slow motion video.

Nkiru

Nkiru came to capture some professional headshots for her upcoming NYU Graduation

A Cultural Fusion

A Cultural Fusion

Diana’s Day took place on July 3rd and was a cultural fusion. The wedding, set in the backyard of their home, welcomed a small group of close family and friends for a cultural union. Well, you see, both of the families have very distinct cultures. The initial request came from Diana looking for a Photographer with vibrant colors in their portfolio. I fit the bill for this perfectly. My styling is based on a light an airy feel, while maintaining a very distinct level of color vibrancy.

Something that I feel most Photographers should ask when working with a client is their do’s and don’ts. Often times you will find that there are even the smallest requirements on a client’s wedding day that require close attention. I was sure to find out details regarding timing, must have shots, and those to avoid. A simple question regarding needs can go a long way to making a client happy.

The Day Of

On the day of the wedding I first started by taking a quick look around the home and the backyard. This would help me understand both my line of site and any paths people would take. I then take into consideration the static elements that need to be captured. Getting items like the dress, rings, and more are very important to capture first. This takes them out of play for the remainder so that you can have all of your flat lays and more done.

The ceremony, as you see in the images, went through several steps to honor their respective cultures. You will notice varying traditions of knot tying, floral garlands, to the fire offerings. If you have the opportunity to attend this type of wedding ceremony I would highly suggest doing so. To finish things off, the family changed into garden party outfits for a Luau. This was the time when dancing and music was heavily played to celebrate and wind down. The images add a beautiful contrast between one another.

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Shubaum and Purnita

Shubaum and Purnita

The wedding of Shubaum and Purnita took place during the height of covid. This required what would soon become the norm in wedding photography. Because this is an Indian wedding, and we are in the height of covid, the ceremony had a remote option. Connecting back with family in India was vital to the families involved. Everything is very tight and discreet. The initial ceremony was held at a smaller temple and then taken to a larger after to capture some images.

Timing

During the shoot the timing of everything started a bit later in the afternoon. Me an my trusty 24-70 made sure we were on the job. I was able to capture shots in the initial temple which was well lit and then step outside into the beginnings of the sun setting. The sun set in just the perfect spot for us to capture an intimate moment during a kiss. The temple had a beautiful overcast due to where the sun began setting.

As the day goes on we find ourselves inside a larger temple. The beautiful craftsmanship shows in the images. This allows for great composition and color. This particular temple is now complete on both the interior and exterior. The men and women had to change and enter from their respective sides of the area. The floors contain an extremely reflective material to bounce the ceiling lights. This added another layer of texture to the temple.

The End

To close things out, we captured quite a few shots focused on religious practice. This then took us to the outside of the temple again where the sun had set and the temple floor lights illuminated everything. A beautiful scene.

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The Danielsons

The Danielsons

Not every wedding takes place in the most obvious locations; this held true with The Danielsons and their wedding. One of the most difficult decisions to make when considering your wedding is the venue. A lot of people choose churches and religious institutions. This instance we find ourselves in The Conrad Hotel in Manhattan. Not something that I expect ordinarily, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Location

In the hotel itself, the wedding takes place on the 43rd floor. The difference between this hotel and others was the door and numbers at the end. I was not familiar with the hotel layout, so some things were strange to me at the time. On arrival to the floor, I search for the specific door number, but find it grouped with two others. This was due to the final door being a suite that contains three separate rooms.

On the inside and to the right most room, there is a beautiful glass atrium that holds the ceremony. The ceremony was a traditional African American ceremony which included elements of sand pouring and jumping of the broom. The challenge of this particular shoot is that the size of the room is about 10×10. This makes things especially difficult when the distance between the furthest person and the couple is about 3 feet.

Post Ceremony

Following the events of the wedding, we all take a trip across the street from the hotel to a 2nd floor restaurant. Afterwards, the restaurant was able to seat all of the guests with room to spare. The best part of it all was the lighting provided in the location that gave a very warm and intimate celebratory feel.

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The Ledouxs

The Ledouxs

The Ledouxs show that the wedding day is always a task to make sure the everything is perfectly aligned. Despite having captured quite a few weddings in my years of photography, clients never cease to amaze me on unique locations. For this particular wedding we travel to “Plan Bee Brewery”. If you cannot tell by the name, the location is a Brewery; however, it has a ton of nature and animals around. I had the pleasure of capturing a few unique shots on the day of. My only instructions were to capture the candid moments. I approach this in my documentary style with a bit of a light and airy feel.

The Location

On the way up I took note that the location wasn’t really accessible for viewing on google maps. When you arrive, there is a side road off of the main road that leads to an entryway with signs. This will tell you how to enter the Brewery, which at first glance just looks to be a large plot of land. When you enter, you notice that you are on the very top of a hill that looks down into a lower valley area covered by beautiful trees and brush. After a bit more inspection, I came across a pen with roosters and another with a male and female goat. A very beautiful break from the norm.

The Event

With the sun high in the sky, the wedding starts off with a few pictures. Both parties prepare for the wedding in separate cabin areas. The focal point for the Bride was a gift to her father in the form of a tie with special words on it. Despite being just east of the parking lot, the ceremony has a HUGE scenic view of the land. Beautiful summer chairs and smiling faces littered the area.

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Darnyells Wedding

Darnyells Wedding

During the height of covid there were a great deal of people who wanted to get married and this is where Darnyells Wedding springs from. Most people during that time period chose to move forward with minimal preparations or wait until restrictions would lift. My job is to capture images that would be able to disguise the time period from where the pictures come from. Making sure that I captured shots focused on love and not the time period was crucial.

How?

In order to get the shots I needed, I had to suggest somewhere that would give the appearance of an intentional getaway. I chose a location that you normally must get a permit to use roughly 6 months to 1 year in advance. Although this wedding is in fall, the overall setup of the garden was perfect to throw off time assumptions. This particular garden has a huge selection of areas to shoot. A love tower/gazebo, huge garden with colosseum seating, and waterfalls/river view. In taking a look around, the pillars, open garden, and archways would be the best for photos.

The Spots

As said earlier, there were quite a few spots to choose from. There unfortunately was a problem of construction happening at the time we shot. This limits us to the main garden. I made a decision to capture shots in the pillared gazebo, stairs, and open garden. Although family attended the wedding, my goal was to capture the couple. Timing was very important in this shoot. As a result of the timing limitation, I took great consideration for specific shots. The family got all of their shots first and then we followed with the newlyweds.

I like to shoot natural and less posed. In most shots during our session I was sure to capture candid loving moments. Often time if you aren’t doing this you end up with overly rigid and unnatural and unfun images.

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Surprise

How it Started

The surprise came during the warmer weather once there was a break in quarantine. This particular session was for an engagement. The engagement takes place at Asbury Park. Asbury is a location in New Jersey right by the water. There is a boardwalk, shops, a beach with rocks and waterfront view, as well as many landmarks. This makes it a particularly huge congregation area for couples and families.

Shocking

In this particular instance, Paul was planning for this to be a surprise. The plan? To have Michelle join him at Asbury Park and have pictures taken next to a purchased Christmas tree. This would be the best excuse because of the approaching holiday season. Paul placed the small tree in the sand and underneath the base setting material were the words “Will you marry me?” My goal was only to get various pictures of them with the beautiful views and then wait for the special moment.

Problems Arise

Almost immediately as we stepped away from the tree, others appeared thinking the Paul’s surprise was for all. They began taking pictures by it not realizing the purpose. Paul naturally became flustered and after seeing this, but without speaking, I signaled for us to head back. When we got there we let one other couple get pics before telling them it was his display and not the park’s.

How it Ended

Paul immediately prepped for proposal. While doing so he slowly rotated to grab her hand and talk to her. He found himself on one knee, with ring, revealing the wording and a new fiance. Everything went beautifully. We followed it all up with landmark pictures that celebrate the area’s meaning to them.

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Waterfront Surprise

Location

With the waterfront surprise we find a few things. When thinking of locations that matter to those getting engaged, it all comes down to sentimental value. In this session I was hired to capture a proposal just on the border of the river. On the New Jersey side overlooking Manhattan. Garrett didn’t want to give anything away so he set things up as unexpected as possible. The goal was to have dinner prior to the proposal and walk to the area near the water. This would give enough time to throw off suspicion.

The Timing

Although we had a pretty straightforward plan, there were a few deviations. The weather showed that it would soon storm. On top of that, there was a bit of a delay at the restaurant which caused a shift in schedule. Anyone who is aware of engagements, they have to go off regardless of any hitches. I patiently waited and pretended to be a random photographer at the river railing. This preplan would let Garrett venture towards me without having to call me if he sees my equipment.

The Waterfront Surprise

In true timing, Garrett let me know when he was on his way. I took that time to tell him of my precise location and how to find me. As he approached, I had my assistant tell me as we were mock shooting. This let me navigate her away as well as wait for him to take her place. Everything went really quick and as soon as it happened, the camera captured the moments you see here. Despite the slight rain that began, we were able to capture some beautiful nighttime proposal shots. The best thing about these shots are the small nyc city lights in the background.

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Backyard Surprise

Backyard Surprise

A backyard surprise proposal is surely not what you anticipate on a general Saturday. The couple, going about their normal routine, would have to make a few pit stops before the big event. I was reached out to by Andrew, the brother of the soon to be fiancé and proposer. He wanted someone who could be inconspicuous, patient and precise. Because of how I capture images, my style of shooting was preferential. I took the time to have a walk through of the backyard and interior of the home. As the couple enters through the backyard gate to the banner, balloons, and flower petals, it is at that time the proposal takes place.

Setup

The main focus was to ensure that I could not be detected. Despite the backyard being rather open, I found a nice little spot that was out of their field of view. As they enter the backyard, I begin taking images of the couple from behind their outdoor dining table and next to the air vent. Using my camera on silent mode, with my 70-200mm lens, I am able to zoom in close without interfering. As this all happens, I plant my action camera, which is highly inconspicuous, on the table to capture footage. I am actually next to the AC unit while all of this happens, which keeps things quiet on my end, allowing me to stay unnoticed until he gets on bended knee. When the bend happens, I exit the hidden area and openly get some shots to capture the moment in action.

Finishing

After the highly anticipated, “Yes!”, we walk inside so we can get a couple of shots, but unbeknownst to her, the entire family was waiting downstairs to congratulate them. Heading through the kitchen and into the den below, their family members meet them with a huge “Surprise!”. I made sure to gather some candid hugs and interactions while also a group shot of the entire family to commemorate.

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Meta

Meta

We are all now aware that “Facebook” has changed their name to “Meta”. Luckily for me, I was able to get an inside look into just how they cater to the small businesses that are investing advertising dollars into them. Evidently, this particular event focuses on small businesses and companies looking for social media marketing tips. I was requested to capture small businesses in real-time interacting at Meta headquarters in NYC. Keeping all of these things in mind, I set out to tell a story about interaction and the family-style environment you experience at Meta. It’s always a pressure no pressure situation when you know the content will also be for internal and external marketing.

The Shots

Subsequently, to begin the day, I made sure to capture the team ready at the Meta support desk. This is where they give all technical assistance in a one on one basis. I float around during the course of events, keeping mind of the scheduling while capturing both the facilities and interactions. Some of the most prominent aspects of the event are the large ted-like talks and the content creation areas. In the creation areas, you have several soft-boxes, constant lighting, as well as duo-boards so that you can place product photography in front of. They offered the use of a gimbal that assists with video content creation and stabilization on your phone. You can see the interactions between Meta team members and how they set the small businesses up for various content areas.

Speakers discussed ads, leads, and more in their participation talks. These talks allow those in attendance to engage with expert Meta marketing staff to understand the ins and outs of creating successful campaigns. They also explain various future trajectories and align the business owners with those paths for their personal brands.

Closing

Lastly, I must say that the event was great. All in all, I took a good amount of facility and interaction images and enjoyed the knowledge.

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Mastry

MASTRY

Ever so often I am contacted to cover events of various company gatherings. These events can be full corporate headshot events, mixers, or full company interactions. In this particular instance, an event company in California asks me to cover an event for their client. This particular company named MASTRY would need several hours of event photography documenting their investor meeting. This isn’t your typical investor style meeting, seeing as this was more casual and built like mixer. The goal for me is to capture all of these individuals who will be in attendance from various areas, all interacting with one another.

The Run of Show

On the day of, I made sure to approach things in my normal timeline and aesthetic. I arrive a little early to capture the venue shots while no-one has yet arrived. Following my venue and still shots, I capture smaller talks between the early guest arrivals. Normally at the beginning of events you will be able to grab more intimate shots. The people who come in earlier usually have small one on one conversation that can display very genuine emotions. This is what I look to capture. Once inside I was told there would only be one major event that would happen and that I would just need to be prepared to capture it. This particular event in reference is a quick photo op in front of the step and repeat as the founders talk to the room. This is an event that happens later in the evening.

When I capture event of this nature I always have a wider lens for securing shots of the entire room/event. Contrarily, I use a telephoto lens to ensure I can get intimate images of conversations without intruding. Being able to stand 10-20 feet away from my subject and capture them unknowingly always makes for a more genuine image.

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BAM Dance Africa

BAM Dance Africa

During the spring season I was hired to cover the various dance classes offered by BAM Dance Africa. The experience is one I think all should take part in. The event covers multiple classes for 3 different types of students. Our first class coverage deals with a mixture of ages and more so for dance introduction. The second class is set up for some of the more seasoned dancers. This class approaches fluidity and movement geared towards a slightly older crowd. The final class was clearly the “Pro” class, for those who take classes more consistently and have a great deal of experience.

The Timing

Although what may seem to be lengthy time, each class is roughly 1 hour in length. For anyone who has been privy to taking dance classes, you know this is the normal. Within these classes, instructors are very clear and concise. Due to the amount of time that each class requires, the instructors make sure their teachings are as succinct as possible. To keep things rolling smoothly, there is no room to stop photography and ask questions nor directions once it has begun. The key to capturing classes like this is making sure that you become familiar with the sequence of movements. There are always key moments when extensions and jumps will come into play. It is at these times you should prep to capture very expressive images. Although not all images need be this way, it is good to show the energy of a class.

Mood

Despite an event such as this being one that is full of movement, I made sure to take into account the still moments. These moments are crucial in storytelling and building. There will always be moments of pause, where someone is breathing, stretching, and meditating in preparation. Regardless of what you may capture, these are the vital components of storytelling, which I made sure to capture along with the anticipated action shots.

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IILBD 2022

International I Love Braids Day (IILBD 2022)

The second year celebrating the Brooklyn Born event in Newark New Jersey. IILBD celebrates braids as a staple in the African American community. For those of you who do not know, the Brooklyn holiday belongs to none other than Debra Harebey. She is a master pioneer for nu-locs. The name has been coopted many times, but there is only one originator of this. Not familiar with the style? If you’ve ever seen the character “Maxine Shaw”, played by Erica Alexander on “Living Single”, her hairstyle was created by Debra Harebey.

This particular festival is a commemoration of braids and the pride and confidence they bring to the Black community. Each year, vendors and models gather at a specific location to celebrate this. During this time, they have various showcases from stylists, designers, and even stilt-walker performances. It is a constant reminder to enjoy and celebrate braid culture. Debra has created strides in braid styling and hair styling in general.

This year, the event once again takes place in Newark, New Jersey. Beautiful skies draped over the even,  unloading amazing sunlight; however, I must take the time to compensate for this level of sunlight. It is crucial, but the light itself would ensure that all colors would be very vibrant.

Braids and Fashion

For the main portion of the event, we find ourselves witnessing live braiding with the incorporation of various elements. Additionally, one of the biggest focal points of this is the yarn which Debra Harebey uses. She incorporates this into her styling of braids. This is where the term “Nu-Locs” came from. Images show the amount of love and care that goes into braids from those who make their living off of it. IILBD 2022, just like all other years, is an exploration of love for braided hairstyles.

If you would like to see more event work coverage, check here: Events
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IILBD2021

IILBD2021

The first year celebrating the Brooklyn Born event in Newark New Jersey. IILBD2021 celebrates braids as a strong staple in the African American community. For those of you who do not know, the Brooklyn holiday belongs to none other than Debra Harebey. She is a master pioneer for nu-locs. The name has been coopted many times, but there is only one originator of this. Not familiar with the style? If you’ve ever seen the character “Maxine Shaw”, played by Erica Alexander on “Living Single”, her hairstyle was created by Debra Harebey.

This particular festival is a commemoration of braids and the pride and confidence they bring to the Black community. Each year, vendors and models gather at a specific location to celebrate this. During this time, they have various showcases from stylists, designers, and even stilt-walker performances. It is a constant reminder to enjoy and celebrate braid culture. Debra has created strides in braid styling and hair styling in general.

This year, the event takes a switch from the bustling Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn and heads over to Newark, New Jersey.

Braids and Fashion

For the main portion of the event, we find ourselves witnessing live braiding with the incorporation of various elements. Additionally, one of the biggest focal points of this is the yarn which Debra Harebey uses. She incorporates this into her styling of braids. This is where the term “Nu-Locs” came from. Images show the amount of love and care that goes into braids from those who make their living off of it. IILBD 2021, just like all other years, is an exploration of love for braided hairstyles.

If you would like to see more event work coverage, check here: Events
To stay up to date on all of my content, check me out on Instagram

 

LocFest

LocFest

I present to you, another one of Brooklyn’s amazing festivals, LocFest. This festival is one that focuses on natural hair and the celebration of it, but in the form of locs. Locs are a cultural tradition and practice amongst the African Diaspora. Their styles are varied almost as much as the very people who don them. This particular celebration focuses on the loc culture and how it brings those within the diaspora together.

Location

As all festivals seem to do, LocFest takes place in Commodore Barry Park. This park is huge in terms of size, but for this event, only one section was used. This section consists of a variety of vendors located in a long row, with a clear green field behind them for those to sit on while watching performances and discussions on the center stage. The layout is very easy to navigate. I found myself looking to capture candid sales moments as well as on stage energy.

Primary Events

Discussion panels tackling the subject of hair car and its importance, multiple fashions shows, and dance performances are a big part of the festival. In order to gain the full experience you must both listen and take in the visuals that accompany the moment. There are a great deal of unique concepts shown during LocFest. This helps maintain a level of excitement throughout the event. Taking into consideration my images, you will notice how many unique people and looks I capture. The event ran through until the evening time as the sun completely sets. None of this slowed down the momentum of the event. It would seem that this only helped fuel the excitement of the attendees.

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Baby Shower

Devin’s Baby Shower would prove to be a very pleasing photographic experience. On the day of the session I began by taking a look around the event. The shower itself was held in the back yard of the family.

Set It Off

Set it Off is a comedic series which took place at Bedford Manner in Brooklyn NY. The event was specifically designed to provide comedians a location to regain their spark following a long pandemic isolation that didn’t allow them to exercise their talents in person.

PCC

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Kanda

Kanda is a short version of the word Wakanda and a play on the popular “Puma” brand. The design was created to generate attention and sales alongside the development and release of The Black Panther movie. The image was to appeal to a sporty and more modern fashionable design via layout. Transforming the Puma into TChalla, while converting the normal Puma words into Kanda. Sweatshirts and t-shirts were made available in a flock print for texture and variety.

Wholistik LP

The Wholistik Living Project is a small scale brand design project. The company focuses on health and wellness as it pertains to individual and partnered connections. The direction was minimal but only required a vision that incorporated the tenets of the company. The symbol/mark that was decided on was to represent, infinity, rebirth (cycle of life and death) as well as the sun and the moon. Being a Black Owned Company consideration of the actual physical presentation of the mark was made in order to create symbolism similar to adinkras found in various African cultures.

ZYC

ZYC is a fashion company acronym for Zeldin Yohannes Christian. The client request was to develop an image that could be used in repetition to create a pattern similar to other designers of high end fashion apparel and accessories. What the end result became was a monogram that incorporated the 3 initials into one strong brand mark.

 

Jonovia

A simple mark that was to represent water, life, and the aquarius constellation. The goal was to create a very elegant mark that is based on clean, thin lines, almost representative of very rigid stained glass work. To drive home the commission, I applied the mark to various print collateral to showcase the design.

Uburu

Uburu is a culmination of various familial elements to create a family crest. Leo’s Lion, Afrofuturism elements to represent both my style and the goddess Virgo, while incorporating a Bull’s septum piercing for Taurus, and the horns of Capricorn. The elements are full representation of the individual strengths of each family member’s zodiac as well as achieving a look of royalty and value due to the gold and metallic look. The imagery was displayed on mockup of a bottle to showcase application.

The Protector Series

Originally started as a four part illustrative series, The Protector Series ended up with a total of 3 fully finished Afrofuturist busts. The intention was to create spiritually aligned pieces that would also stand as protection pieces. Each piece here has been printed and were each blessed prior to being sold. Each name, similar to many of my other pieces found in my store, is a term in Swahili. By researching each name you will find out their specific protective purposes.

Fraiche Chef

I was commissioned by a client to create a mark that would inspire their current associate to begin the efforts of their business branding. The logotype turned out to be a combination of organic hand written lettering to represent the signature style of the business, while using both the “F” in Fraiche and “f” in Chef, to create imagery representative of the restaurant/food service industry. The larger “F” is a two fold representation of both a Chef’s hat and a Chef’s collar, while the lowercase “f” represents a knife. The project was fun and to showcase the final product, I utilized the mark on an oil casing which added a level of quality to the presentation.

BlkAlchemy

BlkAlchemy’s brand identity is that of a Black Artist Collective. The focus is to drive attention towards overlooked talent within the art world. BlkAlchemy’s goal is to provide inspiration, while simultaneously creating opportunities for Black Artists. The logo and branding is a signature style for applying to the collective works created within the group as well as future marketing material. The wording uses concepts revolving around penmanship and calligraphy. I took to creating something that would flow while also utilizing an arcing design to remain dynamic. This approach lends itself to a certain dynamic energy.

Black Phoenix / EFit Brand

EFit Brand is a fitness brand by Black Phoenix. In a 2 part brand request, I developed an iconographic focused symbol set. While the first image is that of a phoenix, it sits as representing a rebirth through training. The phoenix has a flame at its base representing the hard work needed to push forward. The slogan is “forged in fire”. Black Phoenix is the personal brand, but Efit is the company and apparel brand. Efit shows the Phoenix flame as a revised stand alone symbol. This symbol strategy simultaneously competes with other various apparel and fitness brands.

Taji Mag

Taji Mag, is a Black Beauty and Culture publication. Taji focuses on positive mobility in order to represent progression within the diasporic community. This project covered execution of a combination of Modern and Tribal elements. As a result, the elements would lend themselves to a great title representation.

Branding Collateral

A series of branding print collateral mockups to showcase what can be achieved with proper branding direction and a clean and concise aesthetic.

Each item was a specific commissioned logotype/mark set that was used to showcase uniformity in presentation across various brand types.

Promotional Ads

Promotional Ads

Advertisements ranging in development for various promotional purposes. Promos include Music, Dance, PC Repair, Conceptual, Photography, and more.

Rise of Ultron

Rise of Ultron

Poster Art developed in light of the upcoming 2nd Avengers Movie “Age of Ultron” based on the Graphic Novel/Comic. A speed paint was developed to accompany the work so that process steps can be seen as well.

Green Kill Zone

Green Kill Zone

Green Kill Zone was developed as a themed 90’s video game character piece. The story is that Eggman/Robotnik convinces Starfox, Sparkster, Pikachu, and Zero to kill Sonic for some reason unbeknownst to us. The piece is built on vantage points and perspective, mixed with quite a bit of foreshortening.

The Last Dragon

The Last Dragon

This project began as a coordinated effort and sponsorship where 5thGM developed advertising and marketing collateral for the 30th Anniversary Celebration of “The Last Dragon”. This screening will take place on November 8th 2014. It is an extraordinary huge event hosted by the Urban Action Showcase and Expo, dedicated to improved exposure and celebration of minorities in the action genre. This encompasses film, comics, animation, etc, for both male and female. This will be updated with more material as the date approaches and will conclude in a full set of marketing and advertising material created for the event. Enjoy!

Akuma Waveform (Evil Intent)

This project was set out with the intention of a study in contour and maintaining form while suggesting both waveform and frequency via lines that appear elevated from the page. A speed paint was developed to showcase the development process. Poster print available at KMA Store. Iphone and Pillowcase options available at Society6.

 

Better in Black

Better in Black

A series of logotype, iconography, and monogram work done for various clients, based solely off of a monochromatic black and white color palette.

Gnosis

Gnosis

Gnosis is a vector illustration art piece developed for the 14th Intrinsic Nature Experiment. The image represents a forgotten age of enlightenment. Poster print available via KMA Store. Tote available at Society6.

 

Ravenwood

Ravenwood

Ravenwood was a creative storyline and visual concept created for Hair Stylist Egypt Buck. Full creative control was given to convey a concept that would build a fantasy world and background story, allowing the sculpting and development of hairstyles to be the centerpiece. As a RAW Artist Egypt Buck ran against several other competitors and wanted to have his work stand apart and “steal the show” and as a result, Ravenwood was born. Ravenwood was a concept revolving around an “Aviary” world where darkness was in fact their life source… until they were confronted by “light”, eminating from 3 birds unfamiliar to their world, which soon began to cause decay and threaten everything in the world around them. Components: 1. 10’x8′ backdrop of Ravenwood Illustrated Dark Forest Scene 2. Hand Painted Custom Tree and Roots with flexible rooting to protrude and give eerie feel (painted with acrylic) 3. Ravenwood hand-drawn and painted typography for floor scene 4. 4 Backdrop Poles and holding clamps 5. Draping sky canopy (died with blue striations) 6. Custom Printed Ravenwood Character Illustrations (Digital Watercolor) 7. Logo representing the Ravenwood Brand You can view this content via the video below as well as the corresponding images:

Now and Forever

Now and Forever

Now and Forever was a special request piece that was to represent the personality of fiances; Fashion Designer and Stylist Vel-j-re aka Bunnie (Velarie Reddick) and Choreographer/Dancer Salahudin Nemley. The purpose was to combine Bunnie’s love for… well a Bunnie character, as well as Salah’s love for Super Heroes. The finished piece was developed in vector format as a custom Comic Book Cover representing their slated date of union as well as representing how their life starts at issue 1.

Crimson Viper

Crimson Viper

An illustration of one of Street Fighter’s famed female characters, C. Viper (Crimson Viper). Developed as poster art to be sold via KMA Store shop section (Items will be available soon).
The illustrations were created with a monotone and color variation depending on visual preference. 100% vector artwork .
More illustrations in this series coming soon! Stay tuned for a new upcoming crossover piece!

LAST-ART

LAST-ART

“LAST-ART” was a commissioned life-size poster illustration designed as a promotional piece for Lady Jenn Bocian’s upcoming “LAST” music video. “LAST” is an all female cast music video, which is loosely based on the artistic direction of the 300 films where our hero Jenn Bocian does battle with an evil queen for the hand of her “male”. An interestingly fun role reversal. The artwork was designed to represent the aforementioned concept in general terms and developed in 100% vector. A speedpaint displaying a portion of the work done can be found below.

Be sure to check out other content I have made via my shop: KMA Store

 

Game Day

Game Day

Commissioned project: Shirt Illustration/Artwork representing one black and one white female quarterback. Goal was to maintain image of quarterbacks, sex appeal, while still being athletic/muscular.
A speed paint video was done to accompany the artwork done for commission.
Be sure to check out other content I have made via my shop: KMA Store

 

In Your Dreams Bub

In Your Dreams Bub

A crossover piece developed for KMA store in poster print. Features Logan (aka Wolverine) and Krueger (aka Freddy). The claw wielding adamantium infused Weapons X project vs the knife-wielding, child-killing, supernatural-psycopath!

100% vector work with no raster effects. More content soon to come!

Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider

Example piece used to teach my students in skillshare about basic steps used in order to create a vector character illustration. Class named: Rock out with Adobe Illustrator! Skills for the emerging Artist. (create an awesome vector character illustration).

Creating Character Art in Adobe Illustrator

KMA FanBoy Series

KMA FanBoy Series

The FanBoy series is the new name for the previous “Art Series” over at KMA Store (HeyKMA). The change should be rolling around spring 2014, but here are some of the original additions to the series. These items primarily represent the video game or comic book industry with a creative spin on it. Apparel available via KMA Store.

 

The Sarcasm Series

The Sarcasm Series

An illustrated series of sarcastic and insulting tees from the 5thGMStore 2012 line.

The Limited

The Limited

Themed shirts for the 5thGMStore LTD Series

This series was developed with the purpose of centrally focused imagery based around a theme.

1. JungleBook: Revolving around the dangers of the jungle.
2. Warfare: Revolving around the focus of war through a stylistic approach.
3. Knightfire: A dragon and knight, medievil illustrated depiction.

KMA FanBoy Chaser Collective

KMA FanBoy Chaser Collective

The Chaser Collective was a spin off of the KMA logo “Chase”. Each image is a variation of the logo in fully rendered and minimally rendered format. Developed for DTG print on clothing, Apparel is available for purchase via KMA Store.

Sharp Reality

Sharp Reality

Collaborative Gallery Showing between NayMarie Photography and 5thGM (Illustration).

Approached by Wolf Juice Shop to create a gallery of artwork to display in store, 5thGM (myself) approached NayMarie Photography and asked her to join me on a collaborative effort. The work presented was a mix of both photography and illustration dubbed “Sharp Reality”. A total of 7 pieces were created… 3 Photography based, 3 Illustrated pieces, and 1 combination Photography and Illustration piece. The Character was created around the Model “Asia Diamond” and is modeled to be an expression of aggression, sensuality, and beauty. The illustrated portions are individually titled “Crescendo, Decrescendo, and Staccato” and the final combination piece is entitled “Syncopation”. Each piece represents a different illustrative styling, inspired by eastern and western comics/animation.

The pieces were printed at sizes 20×30 (for the photography prints) and 24×36 (for the illustrated and combined piece).
Prints may be purchased via KMA Store

The Dubstep Series

The Dubstep Series

A trifecta of Dubstep inspired artwork

I decided to free design a few posters and restrict my creative inspiration to only that of Dubstep music. The three pieces which follow are a series and a result of that development.

Wolf Juice

Wolf Juice

A screen print designed illustration set based on the idea of ravenous natural instincts for sale in the Wolf Juice Brick and Mortar and Online Shops as well as accompanying Smoking Products line logo.

Creature Capture

Creature Capture

The 5thGMStore Models.

Created to rock a various set of the 5thGMStore tshirt prints found in the “Sarcasm Series”. @5thGMStore
Developed to provide a unique take on models as opposed to the traditional photo models. Vector illustration was used to replace the “typical” model.
The project was a culmination of 10 weekly releases. Each release was accompanied by a character profile and leading to the final $500 contest soon to hit the store’s site. You can also stay up to date via fb: 5thGMStore

Deep Vector

Deep Vector

A series of various vector illustration commissions with different styling and themes.

The Good Villain

The Good Villain

The Good Villain Wallpaper Series

This project was commissioned by a high level choreographer and dancer for the purposes of promoting both his new business development and an incentive for new site members.

Victoria’s Secret: IPEX

Victoria's Secret: IPEX

Campaign developed for print and web to showcase the weightless IPEX across Web, Billboard, and Magazine.

Self-Actualization

Self-Actualization

Who: http://NayMarie.com [Photography Side] – http://www.behance.net/iamnaymarie
What: 3-set digital/print ad campaign
Purpose: To showcase NayMarie Photography’s ability to bring to light the person in front of the camera in different personalities.

About NayMarie Photography
NayMarie is a professional Photographer & Retoucher based in Brooklyn, New York, specializing in creative and extreme concepts with experience in all forms of photography and image editing. Nay’s self-taught approach to photography and retouching quickly caught the attention of her clients via her vibrant photographs. Her passion for photography has attracted Nay to all different genres scaling from Products to Infants to Fashion. Most photographers feel as if they have to choose one genre and stick to it, but Nay believes her love for being behind the camera should have no bounds. Every photograph that comes across nay’s desk is treated as Captured Art. “Captured Art” is just that… captured art. Being innately an artist, I approach every photoshoot and every retouching project creatively. My goal is always to give my clients photos that they will be proud to have publicly displayed. -NayMarie Whether the project is for promotion, publication, advertisement, or simply personal gratification, the destination of NayMarie’s photo journey is always Captured Art. View her blog for more insight into the inner workings of NayMarie! http://www.NayMarie.com/photography/captured-art “Captured Art”

Playful Faces

Playful Faces

A full rebranding and building of the Playful Faces Face and Body Painting image. A dichotomy of two target markets and campaigns developed to attract both.

The full development of Playful Faces web and print presence is developed by 5thGM. View their website here: http://PlayfulFaces.com

UDL

UDL

A series of Advertisements completed for the Branding of the UDL (Urban Dance League *originally “Look Who Came to Dance”*) a competitive sports league for hip hop dancers. A development of a unique logo was necessary to stand against those found in other competitive sports entertainment.

Webwork

Web

Various websites developed over time for a series of clients. Each client listed deals in a specific niche within their respective industries.

Time Travel Muziq

Time Travel Muziq

A 3D rendered and animated video intro developed with the theme of a never ending spiral that is also a record player becoming overpowered, exploding, and then imploding. Based on original Time Travel Muziq logo development.

 

Circuit of Change

Circuit of Change

A 3D rendered and animated video intro developed for Circuit of Change based on their current logo. Design was commissioned with the purpose to show interconnectivity of the CoC community.

 

Ladies Get Down

Ladies Get Down

A music video reel compiled for Robin Dunn’s “Ladies Get Down” which showcases various resume/reel works from the participating choreographers being celebrated.

 

Saint Delivery

Saint Delivery

A 3D rendered and animated cube designed to represent the Cooper Union Cube in Manhattan as a part of an associative identity for a boutique food delivery company.

TUMT

TUMT

An animated intro developed for TUMT NYC.
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