How to Create a Silhouette Photo in the Studio

  I had an interesting and unusual assignment of creating a silhouette photo for a string quintet. Silhouette photography is beautiful, but it requires planning. I have seen photographers do a few silhouette shots of their clients if they’re doing a photoshoot and the sun is setting. There is usually a short window of time while the sun is setting to get that perfect silhouette look.   Since I knew it would be virtually impossible to have 5 people available on the same day and time for a photoshoot, I decided that I would have to re-create the silhouette look in the studio. The process turned out to be much easier than I had thought it would be, but there are some factors to consider before you plan your shoot.   Background and Composition Before I contacted any of the musicians, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted the final product to look. The client wanted the photograph to be artistic and fit the personality of the quintet. Because I was working with 5 people, I needed to know ahead of time, how I wanted to position them. I also looked for possible backgrounds, so I could make […]

Wanderlust

Before I became a photographer, I thought I wanted to be a full-time writer. In 2012, I graduated from California College of the Arts with a Masters in Creative Writing. I do love to write, but I found it could be very lonely work.   After I wrote my first novel, I decided I needed to take a break. During this break is when I started interviewing and photographing people with tattoos. I loved combining my passion for writing with photography because it gave me the best of both worlds. I’m an introvert, so I don’t necessarily hate sitting in a room by myself for hours working. However, I like how photography allows me to collaborate with other people. Plus, the process of photography is generally much faster than writing. For example, I spent three years writing my novel, whereas I could photograph and interview someone and see the results within a few hours.   Patience is indeed a virtue when you’re an artist, but sometimes it’s nice (and perhaps necessary) to see something to completion. It makes you feel like you’re moving forward in life. I still love writing fiction, but these days I’m more focussed on photojournalism.   […]

Concert Photography: A Study of White Balance

I really love going to concerts. Besides the fact that I’m a musician and I’m completely obsessed with music, I love the raw energy I feel from a rock concert. Anything can happen, and usually, it does. However, sometimes the elements that attract me most to concerts, are the things that are hardest for me to capture in photography. For example, many bands use dramatic lighting, where the entire stage is saturated with red or blue lighting. I tend to get blown out colors in my photos, like someone dropped blue or red ink all over the image. The saturation is out of control. Post processing has usually mitigated the damage, but I haven’t always been able to get the clarity that I look for in my photography. Up until recently, I’ve always set my WHITE BALANCE to auto because I never knew what kind of lighting I was going to get. For the most part my images came out well, or, I was able to correct the color balance in post. However, at the Red & Adelita’s Way concert at the Marquee theater this summer, I noticed my photos were not coming out the way I wanted. I ran […]

Tattle Tales: Session Two

I met music producer Larry Elyea when I joined his fiance’s all girl rock band The Heathers. Larry is the owner of Mind’s Eye Digital Recording Studio, and his work is well known throughout the valley. He has worked with local Phoenix musicians as well as major label artists like Five Finger Death Punch and Corey Taylor from Slipknot. While I was in The Heathers, I didn’t really have a chance get to know Larry, but the few times that I saw him, I always noticed the vibrant ink on his right arm. So naturally when I decided to do this project, I thought Larry’s portrait would be an awesome addition. During the session, Larry told me the story of how he found out he had a Staph infection. One of the tattoos was not healing properly. He eventually got extremely sick and that’s when they diagnosed him. As it turned out, his house had previously suffered severe roof damage. As a result, his house was riddled with black mold, which was compromising his immune system and thus, preventing his tattoos from healing properly. Fortunately, he fully recovered from the infection and is no longer enduring a house filled with […]

Concert Photography

Last week I had my first assignment for Cryptic Rock Magazine. While I have photographed many concerts, this was actually my first time taking pictures at the Marquee Theater. Even though I ran into some challenges with low lighting and color saturation, I really enjoyed taking photos at this venue. The biggest reason was that there was an area gated off just for the photographers and security. I have an expensive camera, and my biggest fear when I photograph rock concerts is that my equipment will get trashed or damaged from the mosh pit. When I’m photographing I have a tendency to be so focused on what is in my view finder that I’ll be completely oblivious to my surroundings. For each band, I had three songs to get all my photos, which proved to be enough time. In addition to taking photos my job also included writing a review for Red’s “Beauty and Rage” tour. You can check out my article and photos by clicking the link below. The above photos are of a local band called While She Waits. http://crypticrock.com/red-take-breath-away-marquee-theatre-tempe-az-6-4-5-w-adelitas-way-bad-seed-rising-mcclinton/

ELEMENT A440 DOMINATE AT THEIR TOUR KICKOFF

This week I’m doing something a little different. Last Friday I had the opportunity to photograph Element A440. So today I’m  giving you a concert review for one of Phoenix’s recognized industrial metal bands. Element has been around the Phoenix music scene for several years, demonstrating a level of tenacity that would make most bands blush. I have seen a couple of their shows over the last four years, and, every time I see them, they somehow manage to push themselves musically and theatrically. When you see an Element show, you’re not just going to see a band. They pull you into their world; a world that is dark, sexy, and very bloody. Light-hearted Vaudeville-like acts added humor to an otherwise intense set. Where other bands have failed to intersperse such acts into their sets, these additional performers kept their acts short and sweet. The momentum continued with Halo’s screaming vocals and emotionally-packed lyrics, while his band mates, Graven, Animal, and Kat, captivated the audience with their playing as well as with their body language and spewing of fake blood. One of Element’s strength is their ability to connect with their audience. Halo was always near the edge of the […]

Let There Be Light (or not)

Last week I photographed Recoil and the LA based band Spence at the Rogue Bar in Scottsdale, AZ. For 90% of the show, the stage was completely illuminated with either all blue or all red lighting, making my subjects resemble blueberries or raspberries. This can be very frustrating because, without enough light, my camera can’t take a picture. Even when I bump up the ISO, drop the shutter speed (I don’t like to go below 150 because there’s too much movement), and increase the aperture, it sometimes still not enough. I refuse to use flash because it distracts performers, and I feel that as a photographer, my goal is to capture the moment, not disrupt it. For this particular show, my only recourse was to move around until my camera registered that there was enough light to capture an image. On the bright side, I did manage to get quite a few photos, but many were too blurry, slightly noisy, and completely washed in blue or red hues. I did my best to repair the images in Lightroom, but I wouldn’t call these my best photos. Even though I enjoy photographing musicians, the primary reason that I keep putting myself […]

Concert Photography

One of my favorite things to do is to photograph musicians. In addition to wanting to show my support for local bands, I like to challenge myself with my photography. Concerts always prove to be an interesting experience. I never know what to expect with the musicians, the venue, or the crowd (particularly at metal shows). It’s practice in learning to adapt to any situation. These two shots are David and Christian from Sectas who performed at Joe’s Grotto.