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THE LIGHTSHOP

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South Jersey wedding photographer Jay Cassario blog. Writer for SLR Lounge and Shotkit.com. 

THE LIGHTSHOP

Jay Cassario

I figured I would start 2013 off with a bang, so here it is....The Lightshop. The Lightshop is a project that has been in the works for a while now, and I couldn't be more excited to officially be going LIVE with it now. I teamed up with my good friends Ray Hennessy and Jack Fusco to create this site and we've been piecing it together for a few months now. Its still missing a few pieces, but it definitely has enough to get started. 

The address is www.mylightshop.com, and it is a site for photographers, from photographers, with the main focus towards LIGHT. Light is the magic ingredient that makes photography possible, without it there is no such thing as a photograph. It also the ingredient that is that hardest to understand, and the more you know about light and how to use it, the better photographer you will be. 

The Lightshop will be a learning environment for photographers of all skill levels, and although it's main focus will be put on LIGHT and its relationship to photography, it will also be so much more than that. It will be a place to learn not only from other photographers, but about them, through interviews. A place to learn about new gear which we will review, in a more hands-on fashion then with numbers and line-graphs. A place to learn about big announcements and events that are taking place around the world in photography. We plan on growing and changing as we learn more about what are readers want from us, so we will be accepting feedback from everyone and trying to help other photographers learn the best we can. 

I personally made LIGHT my main focus when I decided to start taking photography seriously a couple years ago. As the son of a wedding photographer, and a bodybuilder, I had been on the other end of a camera more then most photographers, but it taught me more than most would imagine. As I began to help the professional photographers taking my photos during magazine shoots set their lighting equipment up to give the best results, I should have realized that I would become a professional photographer one day. I just never did, until a little less than a year ago when I started Cass Imaging. I am blessed to be able to do what I love everyday, but I was only able to do that once I really understood both natural and artificial lighting. Now I can use light, make light, move light, and hide light whenever I need to in order to give the customer the image that they are looking for. 

I asked Jack Fusco to be part of this project because he is a night photographer and has earned himself a pretty good reputation for knowing how to create images in the pitch black, and make them good enough for a number of well known magazines and websites including National Geographic. He knows how to capture stars as they move across the sky, as well as capture images of the Milky Way when the light pollution is at its worst, and can't be seen by the natural eye. Living in New Jersey the light is never good for a night photographer, but Jack has learned ways to capture the stars when other photographers wouldn't even pull their camera out. I am still learning new things from my friend Jack, so who better to ask for this project. 

I then asked Ray Hennessy, a good friend who excels in both nature photography as well as portrait work, but earns a living as a wedding photographer. Ray has built a very successful wedding photography business, KGM Expressions, from the ground up along with his wife Kim. As a wedding photographer, and one who does it full time, knowing how use light is as important as knowing how to turn your camera on. Knowing how to use natural light as well as artificial light is a must for Ray, and being as good as he is with it has given him the chance to do what he loves as a full time job. When Ray isnt off shooting a wedding somewhere, or an engagement session, his real passion is getting outside and photographing birds but will gladly photograph anything that he sees. 

The Lightshop will use interviews to let its viewers learn directly from some of the best in the game. It will give them a chance to get a glimpse into the life of other photographers and see what projects they are currently working on, what obstacles they may be running into, and most importantly...how they use light in their photography. Every photographer uses light in a different way, and it will be so cool to hear directly from some of our favorite photographers how they use it. 

The Lightshop will also be a place for new up and coming photographers to showcase their work. We will be asking photographers from across the globe to help us with keeping this site as active as possible, submitting tutorials of their own. When we find a photographer that really grabs our attention, we will give them the chance to not only show off some of their work, but tell us a little about their art. We will also using Flickr to allow viewers to post their work in The Lightshop group where we will choose some of the best images to post on the site. 

The Lightshop will also have some gear reviews for those photographers that like to keep up with the latest and greatest equipment out there. We wont be able to keep up with all the new equipment, but we will test and review the equipment that we are just as excited to see as you are but may not have access to or be able to afford just yet. Our reviews will be packed full of sample shots and will have more hands-on info than graphs and charts, so if you prefer a nice line graph showing you how good a lens is rather than an image made by it...you wont like these. 

We are currently waiting on our first interview to get back to us, and have a few other articles in the works, but we wanted to start sharing what we already have up. Let me know what you think of the site, as well as any ideas you may have. If you would like to share something, whether it be your photos or an article you've written, please join our Flickr group or go to the Meet The Writers section on the website. 

We don't know what to expect from this project but we are excited to see how it goes and the response we get. Please help us spread the word and get people interested in photography to go to The Lightshop at www.mylightshop.com!