Porschia: Westin Fashion


Porschia and I met up this morning at the Westin in the Domain to kick off her official modeling career. Our goal was to work through 3 great outfits and to provide a variety of looks and lighting to start off her portfolio with a diversity of looks and styles. We started off with a gridded and snooted speedlight with a full CTO gel on the speedlight to match the warm tones of the Wine Cellar room. The first outfit and textures called for restricted, harsh lighting to help create the mood. While still in the Cellar we also used our Orbis Ring Flash to create a hard fashion light in a closeup portrait.

For our first outfit and location change we went with a “Porschia is Donald Trump” attitude. I lit this differently than any photo I have done. The hair light is behind Porschia and a bit high. The light itself is a fotodiox daylight balanced video light aiming toward her right ear. The key light is a speedlight bounced into the silver side of circular reflector to mimic the sheen and specularity of the fabric to Porschia’s left. I think it has an interesting feel to the light. Going to work this that setup again to see how far we can push that technique.

The fourth photograph was also special because we used the giant window light as a scrim. No flashes! Very rare, but when the light is good the light is very good. Porschia looks like she has been doing this all her life, but no, just the first time!

And lastly we come to my favorite photograph of the day, #5. To me, it should be on a billboard or movie poster, just a great moment with super cool lighting mix of ambient and another 1/2 CTO gelled flash in a Westcott Apollo Orb. The best part is the yellow light behind is the background that the Westin staff check in guests at. We had just a tiny sliver of working area to photograph in and Porschia just nails the Hollywood feel. And that’s how we ended the day.

Which one is yall’s favorite?





Creative Session: Camryn is “Soaked”


After a teaser picture from this series generated some excitement on our Facebook page, I decided to make a blog post detailing how and why we made this set of imagery. Let me get the fact out of the way that our model for the day, Camryn Little, brought an intensity and imperviousness to the cold water, wind and wet concrete while we were shooting that allowed any of these photographs to have. Thank you for your talent and professionalism Camryn!

The question for the day then is why make this series of photographs. First, it is a technical challenge to expand my abilities as a photographer. These shots were staged in a controlled wet environment where I can safely and quickly gain specific knowledge in how to light and expose in a wet situation in the future. My hope is that in the future I will be ready with my underwater housings to produce these type of photos in “the wild”, but seeing as how I live in the desert climate of North Austin the chance to practice is slim. And believe me, I am constantly checking the weather forecast for daytime rain storms to photograph in nature with models on standby. The main technical challenge is how to make a dramatic portrait with raindrops/water hose producing wetness that destroys electricity powered devices, namely cameras and flashes. We overcame this by shooting on my backporch with flashes in waterproof otterboxes and our big light far enough away to be out of the “thunderstorm”.


The second reason is the one I find more interesting, the reason to make images like these is because they get in my head and I can’t shoot anything else until I purge them from my system. Ideas for my creative shoots infect my brain like a fever and can even cloud my vision of other projects until they are photographed and edited. On shoot day the camera feels lighter, the lights seem brighter and nothing will get in my way. The whole reason I picked up a camera in the first place was to tell dramatic stories and share them with my friends. Creative shoots like “Soaked” are the natural adult extension of my barely post adolescent impulses. Why do you pick up a camera?


The last reason is produce new work and expand on past work. I have photographed couples, models and sea monsters underwater but this seemed more intense and edgy in a way. The technical skills gained in shooting underwater helped me immensely in this project. There are also strains of my recent restricted light work at play here. The water and tight lighting merged into a new category for myself that I am hoping to continue to push forward with in between the client work that we have on deck for this spring. I am looking forward to an upcoming couple underwater session that pushes my engagement session portfolio in new directions as well.

For those wanting the full tech specs of these images. LP 160 with a “Just Blue” gel to camera left and above with a ziploc bag cover at 1/1 or 1/2 power. Another LP 160 at 1/2 power in an otterbox on the floor pointing up towards the models chin to open up the shadows a bit with a 1/2 CTO warming gel. The main light is an Einstein 640 with a sport reflector and 15 degree grid at 1/4 power. My exposure was something like f/18 at 1/320th at iso 100 with a 70-200 f4L lens. Let me know if there are questions I can answer.

Thanks again to Camryn for getting Soaked! and to my assistant Austin for manning the water hose/collander/twilight cup station.


Kinetic Romance: Wedding Style Shoot


I want to start by talking about our design theme: Kinetic Romance. We wanted to design a style shoot that showcased what a Texas Elegant wedding could be beyond mason jars and burlap. We felt that martini glasses, bauhaus design elements, and a splash of James Bond debonair cool can become elements that you will see in the future of Texas Weddings. As you look through the photographs, notice the bold, dramatic color pairings: Red, Black and Yellow, like a Texas coral snake. Also notice the squared bouquet, I have never seen that before. One last thing to notice is the super cool Photo Wall with cutouts for couples to get photographed in with monogrammed initials and details such as the wedding invitation. How awesome is that! Let me now go into throwing out heaping praise on people and give a backstory into how this shoot came about.

The Kinetic artwork that led to this whole shoot

The Kinetic artwork that led to this whole shoot

I have been waiting to share the photographs from this shoot since the moment I pressed the shutter. We made these photographs for the just released issue of Bliss Bridal Magazine to showcase new ideas and talents in the Central Texas area. The whole genesis of the shoot started from a kinetic sculpture on the grounds of TerrAdorna in Manor, Texas. This whirling, twirling metallic peice of shiny moving art got our heads around the theme of Kinetic Romance. The decisions that followed were based upon and inspired by the artwork. Dory, owner and operator of TerrAdorna, had an idea for a jumping groom to seated bride photograph featuring the artwork and we went off and running from there.

Details Everywhere! Slinky's, Martini Menu's, Red, Black!

Details Everywhere! Slinky’s, Martini Menu’s, Red, Black!

Elegant Photo Wall!

Elegant Photo Wall!

To complete the vision we brought in Michelle from Here to Help event planning and worked with Maddie from Bliss. Michelle took our notion and got the caterer, rentals and all the super details to mesh together in completing our vision. Michelle did great work in listening to our intent and turning it into a reality. One of her decisions was to bring in Robin from Gilded Petals . I was apprehensive at first but I had no reason to nervous, because Robin took it to the next level. One of my ideas was a square bouquet, and no one had really seen one before until Robin debuted her red and yellow square masterpiece, I had to stop myself from taking pictures of it all day. Thanks for your work Robin!


We had two great models to work with that day as well, Jenny Lynn Larsen as our bride and Michael Steven Vail as our groom. Michael was kind enough to jump onto the rock island about 20 times in dress shoes and look cool doing it, no easy task. Jenny Lynn just waltzed around looking stunning all day, also no easy task. Jenny Lynn and I have worked together on at least ten projects so to have her there was a nice bedrock to our photographs. We more or less knew what to expect from each other. Michael was new to me, but it won’t be the last time we work together.

The grounds of TerrAdorna

The grounds of TerrAdorna

Long Exposure, Mercedes, Gorgeous Bride, yeah what else do you need?

Long Exposure, Mercedes, Gorgeous Bride, yeah what else do you need?

Another guy that needs a big shoutout is Matthew from Illussions. He came up with these super cool bright red race-car thrones for our couple to sit on during their long-exposure shots. He also setup a red-chaired lounge for our couple sit and stare and each other on. Furniture pieces like these really pull the shoot together. Also, on the guy list is my assistant Austin, who braved strong winds on a tall ladder while holding an octobox and for being the source behind the cool long exposure shots as well.

The Romance part of the Kinetic Roman shoot

The Romance part of the Kinetic Roman shoot

Finishing up, I am so overwhelmed with all the people who put in a bunch of hours to get this project off the ground. Thanks to all the vendors who stepped up to the challenge of creating something new! Big thanks to the Bliss Bridal Magazine family for supporting our vision and having such great vendors to work with. For all my brides out there, go check out their magazine and all the hard work they do in bringing you the freshest wedding ideas in Austin.

Ivy Underwater, More Learning – Pflugerville, Texas

Superhero Boxing Ivy Underwater

More learning from the underwater shooting! Such a difficult process to get the images that I want. Thanks to Ivy K! for coming out and helping me out underwater, she did wonderful bringing golf clubs and pink hand wraps. My niece helped out by standing on my shoulders to keep me submerged, need to pick up a weight belt. This discussion will get a little technical going forward, but more pictures too!
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Georgetown Seniors – Chelsey H – Part Two

Chelsey and I met up again at Ramaker Stables in Leader, Texas. We had about an hour to knock out some different looks and get a 17 hand horse named Bentley involved. No problem.

We started in the Small Barn, not as new as the Big Barn, but more colorful and possessing more character. I was thinking something along the lines of images out of Dover Saddlery, but prettier.

Tried working with some backlit/Ezybox combo’s, but they weren’t working for me. Ended up with an over/under lighting scheme to bring some beauty and contrast to Chelsey.

Over Under Contrast

This image has a Lastolie 24 inch Ezybox (my favorite) on top, with a big reversible umbrella on the bottom, both are off to one side slightly.

Remember in part one, when I said there were no clouds. That changed for the better.

The barn was fun, but then the sky did me a favor and went wild with clouds and color. Let’s ditch inside the barn and go crazy with the sky’s.

Fun with Skies

What is more fun that a senior and great skies? A senior, her horse and great skies!

Bentley and Chelsey

Thanks again to Chelsey for being a wonderful model.

See all of the images here