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

Acadia Family Adventures 2018

I started vacationing up in Maine, right outside of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, ever since I think I was able to drive. A good friend and his family have a house on a lake up in Ellsworth and once they offered the house to us once, it became a family tradition. I started dating my wife Sandi when I was 19 and I took her up with me a year after we started dating. We traveled up there just about every year after, skipping a year here and there, but not many. In 2016, after 7 long years of struggling with infertility, Sandi was 8 months pregnant with our son when we decided to head up again before having him.

That year, which was 3 years after my Mom passed, we drove out to a tree that she had always taken pictures of. It’s a tree that sits all alone in a wide open wild blueberry field. It’s the most picturesque looking scene I think I’ve ever seen. There was always something special about that tree for me, and I wanted to give it an even more important meaning in my life… in my family’s life. I took a few maternity photos of Sandi at the tree that year and had the idea of going back to take a new photo every couple years of the two of them. This year, 2018, my son Luke turned 4 while we were up in Maine. I will admit, we had a busy year and were originally not going to go, but it was because of this one single photo that I decided to make the drive anyways. Luke turns four today, September 30th, but we celebrated his 4th birthday while we were up there with him. On Wednesday, we drove out to the tree and I was able to get the shot of Sandi and Luke together. You can see all three shots below. Not only did Luke get bigger with each photo, but so did the tree, interestingly enough.

 
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We had a great week and stayed at a new place right in Acadia this year, just to switch things up a little. Having been two years since Luke had last been there, it was pretty neat to see just how different this trip was for him. Much better on his feet compared to the last time, he was a lot more adventurous and if anything I had to constantly keep my eye on him as he had no fear. Both Sandi and I bring our cameras with us no matter where we go when we’re up there. We also make it a point to only have them out for short periods of time. Each and every year while I’m there, I tell myself to put the camera down. Each and every year once I get back home and see the edited photos in a gallery, I tell myself I should have taken more.

2016 Adventures

WPPI 2018 - Leica Camera Workshop

Last year during WPPI, I gave an hour-long lecture for Leica during a sit-down dinner that they treated everyone to. We had a great turn-out and everyone that attended really liked how it was done differently than all the other WPPI lectures or classes. This year, we decided to step things up a little and rather than just a lecture we would host a complimentary workshop out at the Springs Preserve. I loved that Leica was willing to switch things up this year and let me take a group of photographers out off the strip away from all the chaos and walk them through how I shoot an engagement session. We tried to do the shoot out at Red Rock Canyon where I had shot the day before but ultimately decided against it due to the permits and longer drive. Springs Preserve turned out to be the perfect spot for what I had in mind and was only a 15-minute drive from the Leica Store in Ceasars Palace.

Leica Workshop

A couple months before WPPI, just as I started planning for this workshop, I found out my good friend Mark Condon from Australia was coming over to the states to attend the expo along with his wife. Not only is he the creator of the popular website SHOTKIT, but he's also a pretty talented wedding photographer himself. After a little persuading, I was able to talk them into being the models for my workshop. 

 Demonstrating creative use of harsh light and dark shadows

Demonstrating creative use of harsh light and dark shadows

We had 15 attendees show up which turned out to be the perfect head count for a workshop like this. I couldn't have asked for a better group of photographers, all asking questions and taking in everything I showed them. I went through everything from building client relationships, to posing, to shooting techniques and using natural light in creative ways. I also did things a little differently than I normally do at workshops and I let the attendees shoot a good amount. I would go through a few things, work with Mark and Elissa, then back out and let someone else lead. Overall, it was an awesome workshop and afterward, Leica treated everyone to a dinner while I went over some of my shots and post production. 

 Photo by: Phil Cuenco

Photo by: Phil Cuenco

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 Photo by: Phil Cuenco

Photo by: Phil Cuenco

I had a great time teaching this workshop and I'm hoping to do something similar again next year. A big thanks to Leica Camera USA for hosting the event, to Mark and Elissa for modeling, my good friends Bud Johnson and Jason Vinson for helping out, and John Kreidler and Phil Cuenco from Leica for helping me put everything together. 

 Photo by: Bud Johnson

Photo by: Bud Johnson

 Photo by: Bud Johnson

Photo by: Bud Johnson

Here are a handful of shots from the workshop. I only took a handful, so I'm glad that Bud and Jason took a few as well when I wasn't shooting. If you're interested in attending one of my workshops, I'll be teaching one in LA from April 20-22nd, here is the link to check it out - Leica Wedding Intensive.

 Photo by: Jason Vinson

Photo by: Jason Vinson

 Photo by: Jason Vinson

Photo by: Jason Vinson

 Photo by: Jason Vinson

Photo by: Jason Vinson

SHOTS I TOOK WHILE TEACHING...



 
 

WPPI Photos

Shooting out at Red Rock Canyon with Bud Johnson, Jason Vinson, Mark Condon, and model Ashleigh Etherton.

Wedding Gown by Mary Elizabeth Bridal out of Savannah.

All shots are with the Leica SL and M10.