Pro Photographer Tricks Using Creative Accessories

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Having used a regular mirror and Prism a couple times, I always wondered how I could make it a little more creative to help bring the focus towards the subject. While on a trip to shoot a destination wedding, I had to pick up a pack of razors and stumbled upon mirrors that had holes in them for hanging in the shower. Boom, I immediately thought about how that’s what had been missing. Gave it a try at the destination wedding. No luck, just frustration. Then tried it a few more times and got it figured out, giving me the ability to do something much more unique than using just a mirror alone as you can see. You can purchase it here.

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With Our Brand New Life In Tow - Maternity Shoot

A couple months ago, a friend of mine who just also happens to be a past wedding client and photographer himself, Lance, reached out to me about a shoot idea he had been cooking up. Basically, he wanted to plan a creative shoot to capture a handful of maternity photos for him and his wife Lynne. They’re currently expecting their first child and I could tell right away that he had something pretty original in mind. The last shoot I had planned out with Lance was for his and Lynne’s first anniversary shoot a couple of years ago which also involved some pre-shoot planning.

Engagement Shoot in 2014

Wedding photo from 2015

Knowing that Lynne wouldn’t want a typical maternity shoot, I knew Lance wouldn’t be coming to me unless he had something pretty special in mind. Well, he did, and even though we both almost lost a few toes during the shoot, it came out exactly how he wanted. The shot below is from their first year anniversary shoot, but scroll down to read about the maternity shoot and the meaning behind it. I copied it directly out of his email to show you exactly how he explained his thought process and what he had envisioned for the final product. Of course, once I heard it… I loved it.

 
 First Year Anniversary Shoot in 2016

First Year Anniversary Shoot in 2016

 

So for a while Lynne and I have talked about having this shoot inspired by another song from another band we listen to. "Bayside" is the band and the song is titled "landing feet first". 

The lyrics from the verse we are referencing go as follows...

"I've considered what I'd be like 
if the ocean poured in from both of the coasts
And we set sail to find out
Just where our boat would go

But I don't think that I'd want to know
Cuz it would just make time
So I could see your smile
With our brand new life in tow"

Lance explaining how he envisioned the actual shoot going and the look he was interested in pulling off.

Lance;

The look I’m thinking of isn’t quite “fugitives on the run”, or “post apocalypse” or anything like that. Something with maybe a carney or great depression kind of feel to it. I'd like to pick up some old leather or worn cloth luggage or trunks off of Craigslist/Facebook marketplace for cheap. Have them placed out of focus either next to us, in front of us or the boat, etc that's maybe in frame but not the center of attention.

One shot I kind of rough sketched has me standing waist or mid thigh deep in the water with maybe grey wool pants, suspenders and a wrinkled white/white pinstriped dress shirt with the cuffs rolled  above the elbow holding on to the bow with one hand. The stern of the boat with maybe just alittle side showing is closer to camera than I with Lynne  either sitting across the stern or maybe even out of the boat, to the right, on land still, obviously pregnant. 

I'm attaching a picture of a really rough sketch. 

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On the day of the shoot, the temperature was in the mid 30’s, easily the coldest day in a long time. While Lance knew he was going to be going in the water, I don’t know why I thought that I was gonna be able to shoot this from standing on the dry land. Within 5 minutes of getting Lynne and the boat in the water, I was up to my knees in what felt like 20 degree river water with my jeans and work boots on. If there was any shoot that I wish I had brought someone along to take BTS shots it would have been this one. I had light stands in the water, braced against trees to keep the water current and wind from knocking them over. Plus, within about 20 minutes of shooting I had just about lost all feeling from my knees down. It was tough to complain though, as Lynne was in a dress being pulled around in a boat with nothing to block her from the elements.

We shot for about an hour before calling it quits, luckily timing the sun just right. I’m really happy with how these came out and I know it was what the two of them had in mind when they first presented the idea to me. While I took the photos, it was Lance and Lynne who brought this idea to life.

The entire shoot was shot with the Leica SL and 50mm f/1.4 Summilux or 75mm APO Summicron. While the sun was coming through pretty bright, I decided to use a couple of AD200’s on light stands in the water to add some fill light. We also lost the sun pretty quickly, so a few of the shots below don’t really have the sun backlighting them. Rather an AD200 with full CTO creating an almost identical look to that of the sun before it went down below the horizon.

The Gift - Behind The Scenes

Christmas is the time of year for friends and family to get together and enjoy one another's company. At the Pennsylvania Christmas & Gift Show, the Christmas spirit starts early. Held every year, it has become a tradition for many.

A handful of BTS shots that I took during the filming of this commercial for the Pennsylvania Christmas & Gift Show. It’s always interesting when you get the chance to see other creatives at work, especially in this kind of environment. Not only do you have the camera team, but the lighting crew, grips, the director, the actors and actresses, etc. Matt Mahoney, the talented cinematographer behind the camera, filming this entire commercial, is a good friend of mine. It was very cool getting to see him in his element, especially since we often have discussions on the creative similarities and differences between shooting video and stills. I can honestly say though, when it comes to the video side of things, it really is a whole other world than the photography one I’m so used to. While these BTS photos don’t do this talented crew much justice they do give a little behind scenes look into their world.

The majority of this was shot during the day with the windows blacked out, in a real home, not on a production set. All the photos are shot with the Leica SL or M10P.

Guest Appearance - Get In Focus

Guest appearance on the Jackie Stinsman hosted ‘Get In Focus’ RVN TV Series. This is the full video, from start to finish, just under 30 mins.


BREAKDOWN - 3 SEGMENTS

 

PART 1

  • The Start of Twisted Oaks Studio

  • THE ASSociate Program

This segment covers a little insight into how Twisted Oaks Studio started and how we quickly became successful as a multi-photographer studio.


PART 2

  • Wedding Albums (Vision Art)

Twisted Oaks is a product based wedding photography studio whose main focus is providing our clients with a beautiful, unique, and custom wedding album that they can't find anywhere else. This short segment is where I talk about just that.

PART 3

  • Why Leica?

  • Recent Work & How I Shot It

5 Unique & Incredible Wedding Photographers in Philly

Very honored to have Twisted Oaks Studio get named as one of the 5 most unique and incredible wedding photography studios in Philadelphia. I couldn’t be happier to see the studio really starting to be recognized over this past year. We are still only in our 3rd year as a multi-photographer studio under the name Twisted Oaks with an extremely talented team of associate photographers. I couldn’t be more proud of what my wife and I have built and the team that we have built around us. Click on the photo to see the article!