Graduating Senior portrait session

On Tuesday I met Linsey and her dad for her senior session; she was a little nervious in front of the camera at first but warmed up quickly. I find that I like to do the generic shots first before getting to the creative stuff; that gets the subject used to being photographed and they loosen up a little. I rarely use the initial shots but they are a great warm-up. Playing music they like helps a lot, too…John Mayer is almost always a good choice! I’m learning some of his songs for my music gigs.

I have been studying a lot lately to learn more about lighting and portrait techniques and it really paid off today. I almost always try to work with natural light first and then add flash only if needed. Most of these were shot with only sunlight and a reflector.

This was the last shot of the session and I love how it turned out. I suggested that she bring along something unique to her to use as a prop. As it turns out, she loves to work with stained glass. I had her dad hold the piece behind her and I zoomed in tight; I put the sun behind her and held the reflector with one hand while shooting with my right…a little awkward but, hey, whatever it takes to get the shot!


Danielle and Michael’s Wedding Day

This was the most fun I’ve ever had shooting a wedding; I also provided DJ services and had an assistant handle music during the times I was shooting important parts. The wireless lapel mic comes in very handy when I’m announcing their grand entrance AND shooting it at the same time. They got married on Feb. 29; does that mean they only have an anniversary every 4 years?

New Camera!!!

I picked the new Nikon D300 yesterday and brought it along for some test shots on our hike through Papago park. I LOVE what I’m seeing so far; one of its great features is the ability to produce sharp, vivid images in low light situations without looking grainy or noisy. I shot all of these through my 80-400 lens at 6400 ISO around 5:30 on an overcast day and the picture quality is incredible; no noise anywhere! I have 9 weddings coming up and can’t wait to bring it along with my D200. Wait until you see the sunset below!

The overcast day would up creating an amazing sunset; when I was shooting slide film I didn’t think digital would ever equal the color saturation that the film gave me. That is no longer the case. These images are unedited; exactly as the camera captured them. I think I shot these at ISO 400 or 800. Wow!

Rico, the tormented chihuahua

Poor Rico…apparently too many cats in our neighborhood run wild and walk along the walls around our yard. Rico HATES it and freaks out when he sees them. He even barks when they are nowhere to be found; the poor guy is obsessed. He sits and looks out the windows just waiting for his opportunity to pounce.

He is a great subject for photographs, though, and I made a Valentine’s day card for Julie using one of his pictures.

After I made that I found another cute picture of him lying on the floor where the sun comes through and I was wondering what he might be thinking about……my apologies to any cat lovers out there; these are HIS thoughts, not mine!
click on the pic to enlarge.

Maternity Shoot

Introducing my beautiful wife, Julie; we are expecting our first child in early April. I recently studied some new lighting methods and she is such a cooperative, supportive and easy subject to photograph. I used natural window light with one strobe on low power through a softbox behind her; the softbox created a nice rim light on her left arm which created some separation from the background. I also applied some neat photoshop effects to some of these.

The on-camera timer comes in handy.

Silhouette, window light only

The rest we shot in another room without using the strobe. This is window light only with a reflector out of the frame on the left to kick some light back for a little bit of fill; I just love this look!

We’re going to try this again in another month and compare the difference!

Ali and Jay engagement shoot

I’m shooting Ali and Jay’s wedding on May 10 and they wanted a good portrait for their announcements. We shot this on Sunday before the Super Bowl. We had an overcast day which provided some nice lighting but I also used a White Lightning strobe with a 3ftx4ft soft box for the main light. I just picked up a portable power supply so I can shoot on location without electricity nearby; it came in very handy and I can power several lights with it
After we were done I packed up my gear and noticed they had a flat tire; good thing I had a working jack in my car. I’ve just added Roadside Rescue to my list of services!

More kids!

Monday was another photo shoot for Kiera and Marco Reckling; this time we got an early start in the morning. I first photographed Kiera when she was nine days old; she’s about 8 weeks now. I had such a blast; I can’t wait to have one of my own!

I’ve learned that you don’t really want to set a time limit when photographing children; just be flexible and take advantage of the opportunities as they come up.

I was in the kitchen when I noticed the morning sun streaming onto the patio. I brought Katherine and Marco out and used a reflector to bounce the sunlight back onto them; I love the way the sun provides the backlighting.

Rock Star Photo Shoot

My cousin, Robert “Mudd” Mazzullo, is an amazing guitar builder. He has built me 4 bass guitars and they are beautiful works of art and sound better than anything I’ve ever played. His wife, Rachel, is a cellist and he has built her an electric and acoustic cello along with several other guitars and instruments. This year he decided to start marketing his work so here are some promo shots I did for ad pieces and the upcoming NAMM show (Nat. Assoc. of Music Merchants.)
Presenting Mudd Guitars

This is Ginger; amazingly photogenic and graceful.

This is Michael Thomas; he is the most hi-profile player and has played with Guns n Roses, Bang Tango and quite a few other heavy rock bands.

Fun Convention Shoot!

I just spent a couple of days working for the Sports Turf Manager’s Association. I shoot for a lot of trade show and event clients and I’m always amazed at what I learn about different industries. These members are in charge of maintaining sports playing surfaces of all kinds and it gets pretty involved.

Their founder is referred to as the “Sod God.” You might not know George Toma but you know his work; he maintains the playing field for a little event called the Super Bowl (all 42 of them!) They also call him the “Marquis de Sod.” That must be a challenging job; I can’t even mow grass in a straight line.

Their keynote speaker was pretty amazing with his ESP skills. He had four random members come up with details about a particular car of their choice, then he pulled a sealed envelope from his pocket on which he apparently had written those exact details on his flight to Phoenix that morning! He pulled off some amazing stuff!

Kate and Jeff’s wedding

They chose an incredible location for their wedding. This was in a friend’s back yard in Paradise Valley and the setting was perfect in the late afternoon. We did most of the portrait shooting before the wedding so they wouldn’t have to wait too long to hit the reception.

I loved the interior staircase for the portrait session; I was able to shoot this using natural light only then I converted some of the images to black and white. I love that classic look of an old-school black and white portrait.

Phoenix Children’s Chorus photo shoot

A couple of weeks ago I shot the annual group portraits for the PCC; getting 200 kids to stand still is a huge undertaking. Even harder is getting all their eyes open in the same shot. Good thing I have Photoshop!

During some of the breaks the directors loosen up and have some fun.

Now…….jazz-hands everyone!

Happy New Year

A couple of months ago I DJ’d a wedding at the Cedars in N. Phoenix; the manager asked if I was free for New Year’s Eve to DJ for a huge party they were having. Nice change of pace from performing and singing all night; had a blast and they were a really fun group. Of course, I had to play photojournalist, too.