Physical Therapy

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Physical Therapy

This photograph was part of a facilities brochure for a local hospital.  The aim was to show that they had a complete physical therapy department and of the four photographs that we did, I picked this one to post here because I really liked the lighting.

To prepare for the photo shoot, I did a walk-through with the marketing director of the hospital a few days prior. We planned the different photographs and I made notes on what equipment would be needed for each shot.

This photograph is taken inside a spacious room with walls filled with large windows in one side. On our first try, the photograph is very different from what we see physically, so our challenge was to get the camera to record what we our eyes see.

To do this, I used two 4ft x 6ft softboxes positioned side by side just out of sight on camera right. On the left, I bounced two parabolic lightheads into the ceiling to give a gentle overall fill light. The rest was working with the models to get the expressions and body positions we wanted.

To allow instant feedback, all of the sessions were done by having the camera tethered to a 17″ MacBook Pro computer. This way the marketing director could tell instantly if each photograph is just the way she wanted them.

Check out more of my commercial photography on my website!

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Cabinet

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Cabinet

This was a really fun project. A company in Mexico City hired me to photograph their complete line of bathroom vanities. They were all made from solid wood with marble tops and were extremely heavy. They were brought to the studio on a big semi-truck, then we used a forklift to get them off the truck and into the studio. Once in the studio it took 3 people to move them around and position them for the photograph.

They were all photographed using a Sinar P2 – 4X5 view camera on Fuji transparency film.

The neat thing here is that there was no retouching on the images except to put in a faux glass mirror on each piece. Because of the large size and weight of each mirror, they weren’t shipped with the vanities for the photo shoot. All the lighting effects were accomplished using different light shapers and different power settings on each light head.

I love having a variety of things to photograph from pure art to a wide array of products, as well as architecture. I remember back when I was first starting out I developed quite a large following of high school seniors, who wanted their me to take their senior year portraits. After the 2nd year of of photographing high school seniors it had become routine and a little less creatively challenging.

Nowadays, with the advent of digital, it’s hard to get bored since there’s literally no end to the creativity we can apply to each image. I still, however, like to have a variety of things to photograph.

I was just interviewed by Nigel Merrick for his series of pod casts on the business of photography. If you would like to tune in here is the link.

 

Fajitas

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Fajitas

When you live and work in a small town you have to have a lot of skills. Unlike a big city where you can specialize, in a small town you have to be able to photograph many different subjects.

Here in South Texas, one of the favorite foods is Fajitas, both chicken and beef. If you haven’t ever had any you don’t know what you’re missing. They are fantastic.

When creating a photograph of food for advertising you need to be able to make the end image look so good that the viewer can smell the aroma and taste the wonderful flavor.

Special cooking techniques are employed by a “food Stylist” to make the dish look so appetizing. Then, the photographer uses camera angle, composition, and lighting to finish it off. A common misconception among lay people is that substitutes are used for the real thing. This is not true FDA laws prohibit this practice. Whatever is being sold must be the real thing in the photograph.

Many times I see TV commercials for restaurants and photographs of the dishes they offer that obviously haven’t been professionally presented. I wonder how much these unappetizing images are costing in missed sales. The next time you need a photograph of food to promote your business, do yourself a huge favor. Don’t send an employee out with their iPhone or hire your brother-in-law who just got a new digi-matic camera. Hire someone who has a track record of knowing how to make mouth-watering photographs of food.

Hmmmm – I think I’ll have some for lunch.

Fliers

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Fliers

Brownsville, TX is home to a branch of the Confederate Air Force. Every year they host a wonderful airshow featuring the old fighting planes of yesteryear up to the newest of present day.

I love airplanes and the guys and gals who fly them.

I wanted to create a poster that would evoke the glory of the good ol’ days. These pilots were loved the idea. We pulled out these two old fighters and this vintage Jeep, the guys got dressed in their flight suits and voilà: an artistic poster that conjures up the glory days of military flight was born.

Shrimp

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I love shrimp, and shrimping is an immense industry here on the Gulf of Mexico.

I was hired by a local shrimping company to create a photograph of their product that would help them get it on the shelves of HEB, a very large grocery store chain throughout Texas. We had to make it mouthwatering. A real shrimp boat was photographed as it was returning from its patrol, which meant getting up at 3am, getting myself and my two assistant  out to the Gulf where we then had to carry our equipment about 3/8 of a mile out on a wall made of broken boulders into the Gulf. All this just to have the proper position to catch the boat with the sun rising. I had communication with the boat captain via walkie-talkie. I only had one chance to get this right as it costs too much and would takes too long for the boat to turn around and come back again.

The next phase of creating this image was in the studio. This was the fun part: I had lots of fresh shrimp to munch on while setting up the shot. Our fantastic food stylist prepared the shrimp for photography which considerably different from cooking up a bunch of shrimp for the dinner table. She used all kinds of special tricks to make it look mouth watering.

The last phase was completed on my computer. A composite was created to make the shrimp look as though it had been prepared right on the dock, guaranteeing maximum freshness.

It was a lot of work, but worth it in the end: the photograph was a success. The price the shrimping company paid to have me produce the photo was small compared to the return they ultimately reaped from their investment. A small investment such as this one can help a small company get big business, and subsequently grow.

I can’t help but think about restaurants and other food producers who just take a picture with a digital camera and put it in front of the public, and I wonder how much business the poor quality of these images cost them in the long run.

Aramture

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ARMATURE

This is a huge armature that was featured in an annual report for National Electric Coil. It was located in a room only two feet wider on each side than the armature. The challenge here was twofold: to show its size and light it properly.

To properly illustrate its sheer size I asked a to stand at the far end: it truly demonstrated the scale. To light it properly I placed one large electric flash unit on each side of the armature which pointed at a huge white reflector that I brought in especially for this purpose. The resulting light was very soft, and did a perfect job of not only lighting the armature but also the workman.

This photograph is a good example of why hiring a photographer with a digital camera, proper lighting equipment and a thorough knowledge of how to use it is always the better choice.

To see more photos check out my Architectural Photography site.

Allergy Season

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I was hired by a health magazine to illustrate the cover of their edition on allergies. I got to work with a beautiful young model who had a wonderful personality, and lots of spirit. Unfortunately, our view of her beauty was supremely impeded by the surgical mask she wore and the sunflowers in the field she was standing in.

It was another early morning, but the wonderful shots we got made it worth the early wake up call. The allergy issue wound up being a big success.

This photograph looks simple but in my many years of creating advertising images, fine art, and architectural images I’ve learned that if you want a great image you’re going to have to put in a lot of work. This particular photograph required a rather lengthy location scouting process: finding the field of sunflowers, followed by a day of testing to determine the best time for the shot. Also, quite a bit of auxiliary lighting equipment was used to balance the sunlight and make everything look great.

It is so important for clients to look at portfolios and have in-depth conversations about a photographer’s capabilities before hiring him/her. Today the tendency is for a photographer to show up with a camera and one lens and wing it. 99% of the time that just won’t cut it.