Hungry Jack Frost


Dick Reillo and Stella Jimenez during an outdoor winter portrait shoot, Thursday, March 13, 2014. Special effects were used to create the snow for the shoot, which was done on a clear night.

My good friends Dick Reillo and Stella Jimenez have been asking me to do a portrait of them in the snow for months. While there’s been no shortage of the real thing here in the Chicago area as of late, brutal cold and winds have accompanied almost all of our snow storms this season. With a successful portrait under the real thing looking doubtful, I assured the couple that I’d give them a snow picture one way or another.

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Posted in Experimental, Lighting Design, Photography, Portraits, Tips And Tricks on March 14th, 2014. Comments Off.

USA Today Basketball Stars

Girls varsity basketball team member Linnae Harper poses outside Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago. Harper, a 5 foot 7 inch senior who plays the point guard position, is set to attend the University of Kentucky in the fall.

When I received my requests to shoot portraits of members of the USA Today All-USA High School Basketball Team, I was given little more than each player’s contact information and a deadline date. With everything up to me (including scheduling the shoots themselves) and no specific look to follow, the creative wheels in my brain started turning on how I could make each portrait unique and polished without necessitating a grip truck in the process.

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Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Portraits, Sports on May 20th, 2013. Comments Off.

Location Lemons

Gavit High School varsity girls basketball team member Hattie Andrews poses during practice at the school in Hammond, Indiana. The 6’3″ sophomore has been playing basketball since the third grade.

As a lighting designer, one of the best things about location film and photography work is the always-challenging task of transforming an everyday space into an attractive environment for the lens. More often than not, I enter new locations flying blind, having never visited the space before. I never know exactly what I’m getting into, which often causes a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Have I brought enough equipment to light the space, and more importantly, the subjects within? For video shoots, is there enough power? Will I be fighting bright light from windows during a daytime shoot? Can I capitalize on any existing fixtures within the building to create something special in an otherwise bland location?

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The Right Moves

Dancer and choreographer Asia Dickens poses for a portrait at Marquette Beach in Gary, Indiana. The ability to make your subject laugh is often helpful in capturing honest, relaxed moments.

It’s been a while since I shared one of those career-suicide morsels of truth with you all, and with summer slowly melting into fall, I figured now was as good a time as any to boost the confidence of you new-comers to the photography world. So, here goes: Posing people for portraits was, and sometimes is, a very awkward thing for me to deal with on a shoot.

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Posted in Photography, Portraits on September 15th, 2010. 1 Comment.