Carmen Maria - JetSet Magazine contestant

June 02, 2016  •  1 Comment

I had several shoots so far with Carmen Maria and she is delightful to work with.  One occurred in the Winter and the in the Spring of 2016.  I Then, had to the pleasure to photograph her in a Chicago Fashion show with an up and coming clothing designer.   Click to vote for her here: https://www.jetsetmag.com/model-search/vote/carmen-hackett

 

 

It is always hard to know what to expect during a shoot with a new model.  I always try my best to match my lighting with their facial features and do my best when it comes to coaching with posing.  I have been shooting models and helping them with posing for a very long time and a lot of times many of them have difficulties with posing when it comes to full body shots. Carmen demonstrated none of these issues.  Not only did she know exactly what to do to create appealing lines, she was excellent with little things that some people forget, like fingers and hand placement.

 

 

​Along with her modeling top-notch modeling skills, she has a Bachelors degree from U of M in Biology (very smart), has an outstanding attitude, a hard worker and all around great personality. If you do vote, take the time to vote for Carmen for the Jetset Magazine cover model.  -Quinn  Vote here: https://www.jetsetmag.com/model-search/vote/carmen-hackett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cowgirl shoot with Samantha Skowronek

July 22, 2015  •  3 Comments

Cowgirl Shoot with Samantha Skowronek
 

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It was beautiful out yesterday, perfect for a photo-shoot, slight cloud coverage, a nice breeze and a beautiful person and model to shoot with.  I arrived a little early at the Cummings Center as I have only been there once before to shoot a charity event and really did not have a lot of time to explore the entire facility.  The main goal was create a semi-realistic cowgirl shoot, using natural light in combination with a strobe. The main shooting area we choose was a beautiful barn with multiple horse stalls.
 

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Samantha arrived right on time as she always does, ready to go in her cowgirl attire.  She is a real professional, very smart, sweet and master of posing.  She makes it obvious  why she is currently Miss Oakland County and now in the running for Miss Michigan.  She was wearing a white tank top, shorts and brown boots.  I supplied a whip and cowboy hat.
 

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We started the shoot inside the barn where the lighting was better as it was all open and allowed to small beams of light as a hair light when needed.  The wood was very rustic looking which created the perfect balance for the modern cowgirl. 
 

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We then moved outside where a wooden horse fence ran perpendicular to the horse barn.  The wood was faded and looked very interesting.  I had Samantha sit about ten feet down from where I was shooting to help blur focus in front of her and behind as I shoot down the fence line.
 

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Samantha then mentioned we shoot against a red gate to create some more contrast between the white tank top she was wearing and the fence and it worked out wonderfully.  The sun was peeking in and out of the clouds so we had to choose our shots to keep the harsh light off her face.  Once we completed shooting in that area we moved to the side of the horse building, into the shade and got some amazing shots of her sitting.
 

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We then moved back into the barn where I got some shots with some beautiful lens flare.  I know a lot of photographers try to avoid lens flare but in some scenes it just looks right. Also, we got some beautiful headshots at the same location.
 

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We were thinking about calling it a wrap at that point as I am sure we were both exhausted from the heat and the workday.  Instead, we pressed onto the gated entrance to the trailhead, where little glimmers of light peeking through the trees provide some great lighting effects.
 

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To wrap it up, it was a fantastic shoot and I couldn’t have asked for a better day or person to shoot with.  The equipment used was a Sony Alpha a77 with a 70-200mm lens, Nikon d750 with a 50mm Lens, phottix flash triggers, Alien Bees B400 and AB Beauty dish.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


Shooting a wedding using the Nikon D750,”My Thoughts.”

July 06, 2015  •  6 Comments

Shooting a wedding using the Nikon D750,”My Thoughts.”

This is not going to be an article full techno jargon about all the ins and outs of the Nikon D750 but more of an article of my experience of a user of this great little camera.  Some people have called this the poor man’s version of the Nikon D4s but there is nothing poor about this little beast.  It produced wonderful colors and skin tones and showed little signs of grain, even up to ISO 8000. 

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To be honest, I have been a Minolta/Sony shooter forever, starting with the Minolta 330si rz and more recently the sony a550, 77, a6000 and A99.  I must say when compared to all those camera the Nikon D750 outclasses them in terms of image quality at higher ISO and focus speed.   I rarely got a blurred photo using the 3d tracking and the Nikkor VRII 70-200 2.8 lens. 

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My Fashion type of style usually calls for lighting the reception area and church, when possible and for that I use a White Lightning Strobe in many different positions depending on the structure and color of the interior and the D750 performed very well. 

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I will not completely switch from Sony and intend on still using their mirror less systems but I will continue to build my Nikon bodies and lens collections alongside my Sony’s.  Both DSLRs and Mirrorless serve different purposes, for me, at the moment.


The Thrilla at the Villa MS Charity Event

June 27, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I recently had the opportunity to photograph a Benefit for MS organized by Tony Rubino at Villa Penna Restaurant & Banquets.  I was invited there by Joesph Donofrio of Impact Fight League to cover the fights, charity giveaways and the many other exciting happenings. 
 


 


 


 

As soon as you walked in the door there was wall to wall sports memorabilia being auctioned from baseball to basketball items, to photographs to player’s jerseys. 
 

 

When you walked from the lobby area into the Hall you could see the IFL cage in the middle of the banquet surrounded by tables filled by generous people taking time to have some fun and give to a great cause.
 


 


 


 

 

The whole event went smoothly and without a hitch.  In between the great fights which were  organized by Mr. Donofrio, there was plenty of giveaways and raffles for the gracious guests. 
 


 


 

 

The energy was fantastic and I would love to cover another charity event like this again! 
 


Professional Photography - A Few Tips

April 02, 2015  •  1 Comment

Being a professional photographer is more than just holding a camera in your hand, snapping a bunch of photos, looking for the good one and running it through post processing software. It takes an artist, years of practice; honing your skills in lighting techniques, posing and learning the ins and outs of how your gear works. There is also insurance, forms and becoming a legit business involved in order to protect your business and clients. Some would think you can go buy the most expensive camera and lens combination, put it on the auto setting you can take great pictures every time you push the shutter button, but this is far from the truth.

Bad lighting is nearly impossible to fix in post. You would think you can just open it in Photoshop, select an area and bring up the exposure of that area. Yes, this can be done in some cases, but it won’t look like a pro photograph. You need to have lighting correct when you snap your shot. Learn how to use a light meter, learn correct strobe placement for a certain look, determine whether soft or hard lighting fits the situation and the subject , decide on how many light sources and what light modifiers to use in a particular situation. A lot of inexperienced photographers will pick up a canon DSLR, put it in aperture priority mode, lock on the subject and blow out the background every time on bright days. Why, maybe, they want look or don’t understand exposure. Bottom line is knowing how to light a subject is very important and in most cases won’t be correctable in Photoshop. You need to learn the correct lighting for the situation, how to meter correctly and adjust your camera settings accordingly.

The subject’s expression is a very important component of a great photograph and is just as important as getting the lighting right. You cannot have a dull expression and make a great photograph, even with great lighting. Eyes are important as they unlock the soul of a subject. Minute changes in facial expressions create an entirely different mood and photograph. This goes the same for slight changes in hand placement, torso and legs. You must learn how to tell a story without words and that is not an easy task, especially for those subjects who have been in front of a camera before in a professional shoot situation. Without establishing a connection to your subject, you cannot get a realistic expression. So being able to read the mood of your subject and atmosphere of a situation is also very important part of being a professional photographer. I consider this one of the main components next to lighting because without establishing a connection, you cannot achieve a true expression and a truly great photograph.

Any camera from a cell phone camera to a $49,000 Hasselblad is capable of taking great photographs as long as you know how to use your equipment and learn the craft of photography and it is a craft that takes time to develop. So take the time to develop your skills, buy the equipment that suits your needs, not what people tell you need. I shoot Sony because it suits my needs and I was a Minolta shooter pre digital days and have many Minolta lenses that fit the Sony A-Mount System. I am now slowly moving over to the more compact Sony FE and E-Mount systems because I like the lighter weight and adaptability. Any camera in which you can control the ISO, Aperture, shutter speed and has hot shoe is all you really need, unless you are shooting in very low natural light situations or action sports. Learn the craft and don’t worry about your gear. Gear does not make a great photograph, the photographer and subject do.

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