Category Portraits

Polaroid Landcamera

I have been shooting porfessionally for almost five years now. In that time I’ve been focusing on digital and lighting techniques. Early on I had studied photography for a few years while in college. Back when it was film, no DSLRs. I had a blast learning how to configure my settings on the camera, then the anticipation of how they turn out as I rush off to the dark room. I shot on 35mm and also on medium format during that time. Most of my shooting was in black and white because I have love for it and also because my accessibility to a dark room was only for developing black and white film.

Polaroid of my oldest daughter

Over the past year or so, I’ve started to pick up my 35mm camera again working again with black and white and now knowing my skill with setting the camera and not wasting film is also reassuring since film isn’t cheap.

Polaroid of my girlfriend Kristin

So a couple of months ago I added a new camera to my collection and this has really been a ton of fun to shoot with. I picked up an old Polaroid Land Camera. It has been converted to using a AA battery. I have found that film can be purchased online, mainly finding Amazon a good place. My favorite to shoot with is the 669 or 667 film from Polaroid, but it’s hard to find film that is not expired. You can also shoot with FujiFilms version of Polaroid film, which I have done and it works great. The reason I like 669 and 667 film so much is the film transfer you can do. This is where you shoot your image, peel the film apart and stick the solvent to a sheet of paper, wood, any other surface and it will develop on there. I haven’t mastered this art form just yet but when I do I’ll have a post about it.

Polaroid of Dick Clow

One thing I love the polaroid for is shooting some take aways from shoots I’m on. I have started a journal sketchbook for pasting my polaroids in and make notes on the shoot and such, this process was inspired by studying Frank Ockenfels while in one of the 8 Week Portrait Workshops with Don Gianotti. Check out Franks journals, those are truly inspiring works of art alone.

Polaroid of my girls parents

Another thing I love this polaroid for is portraits of people. Friends, family, strangers. It always starts a great conversation. Whether it’s someone that remembers when these came out and they had one, or someone that has never seen one and is amazed at how this make a photograph.

A few weeks back I was on a trip back up to Maryland and decided to use this for portraits of people I was around during the few days. Again some were excited to see one in use again, and a few were not sure what this contraption was. The photos sprinkled throughout this post are from that adventure in making portraits.

I definitely see this being in my camera bag for a while.

I hope you liked this post. If you have any comments or stories you would like to share please feel free to do so down below. Keep a look out for future posts about my Landcamera. Thanks for stopping by!

Interview with mentor/instructor Donald Giannatti

Had a little recorded interview with Don Giannatti of Lighting Essentials. We talked about me moving from amateur photographer to getting more gigs and breaking into full time photography. It was great to share my path so far and things I’m working to do to keep and gain new clients.

I never really felt that I had a style, until I had someone come to me a year ago and say “I really love your work…you have this really dark, sort of comic book feel.Tucker Joenz

8 Week Portrait Workshop – Yousuf Karsh Week Two

It’s week two of the 8 Week Portrait Workshop, and the focus is on Yousuf Karsh. You can see the full gallery of images posted by other photographers of the AMAZING group I’m proud to be associated with over at Lighting Essentials. The portrait work of Karsh, as well as his lighting style resonate well with me. In looking back at some of my older work, I can see the similarities to his typical style of lighting. Karsh was one to photograph people as they are, capturing their true self. Looking through Karsh’s body of work, it’s like looking at history unfold. He’s photographed icons such as Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Winston Churchill, Adrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso, Fidel Castro and the list goes on and on.

I took to this weeks assignment full steam, using some of my style mixed with Karsh’s principles. First to be photographed was the wonderful Sailor Cher of Sailor Cher Tattoo and Piercing, where my better half works. Sailor Cher has a unique yet captivating look and presence about her. I had to photograph her for these reasons. I positioned her in her tattoo chair and built up my lights around her to highlight the wall behind with some of the work and images of her past. I then added a light camera right for my key light;  an Alien Bee 800 with a 50″ softbox. Just behind the chair camera left I set up a speedlight (SB910) to add a little rim light. This set up didn’t take long to construct, as I had the idea of what I wanted before even setting foot into the shop. Looking back, there is nothing I would change about this image, i love how it turned out. I feel I truly merged some Karsh with some Tucker Joenz.



The next subject that I wanted to capture happens to be a good friend, Alex Peramas, a local musician that plays solo, as well as with the talented band “The Young Step”. If you are local to or visiting St Augustine and Alex or The Young Step are playing, you NEED to see them. Alex is a very cool, outgoing guy and I wanted to capture this characteristic in this series of photographs, so I asked him to come over to my home studio where we could do just that. We started out with typical poses and as we both warmed up, and then after a few beers and light tests we started to come up with some incredible images that I feel capture the fun and spontaneity of Alex. In this scene, I set up my key light almost directly above my camera with the 50″ softbox on the AB800 and then behind the subject, camera left,  I set up the SB910 for the highlight of the subject and then set up a stand with a SB700 to camera right behind the subject, cutting the power back by one stop to give just a little highlight.  I’m very pleased with these images, and again, almost effortlessly see a great deal of Karsh’s style in my work.



In summarization, this was week 2 of the 8 Week Portrait Workshop with Don Giannatti. Thanks for reading and please check back for other posts.  Next week I’ll be sharing my experience on a study of Sarah Moon. Her work is brilliant, and I am a little nervous on how I’m going to tackle it.

If you’d like to see more work and info on Yousuf Karsh, checkout this page here at Artsy.

8 Week Portrait Workshop – Victor Skrebneski Week One

I am so excited to announce and start my journey this year with the 8 Week Portrait Workshop, my fellow photographers of Project 52 and the extremely helpful and talented Donald Gianatti of Lighting Essentials.

This 8 week workshop takes us each week to discover, research and study some great photographers of portraiture. Week one starts with Victor Skrebneski of Chicago, Illinois. His lighting style and denotation of motion is unconventional, yet he is one that has made his name all over the globe in fashion and celebrity photography. It’s amazing that Skrebneski’s style came by chance, entirely accidentally, as he didn’t understand that the camera had to be kept still during a shot. His images came out blurred due to the motion, but he liked the end result, and associated himself with this new ‘style’. This unorthodox idea captured my attention; I never thought of it as an option to keep blurred photos, much less intentionally move the camera and cause this distortion intentionally. So with that in mind, my first image for the week was a self portrait done exactly how I would have never done before.


Since this is a self portrait, I couldn’t move the camera-and instead moved myself. Some descriptives from my peers that I have shared this image with are -creepy-, -disturbing-, and -scary- .. and I love that my face is still somewhat recognizable.  You can see my nose, and barely my eyes and mouth. This was  pretty fun to play with. Now to re-do all the photos in the house of me with a blurred head, that’ll really scare the heck out of my girlfriend.

I love the sense of drama in his lighting with the heavy contrast. I have never used this style of lighting. I placed the light far above the subject with an umbrella and let the shadows fall, shot the image, and fell in love. In the next few shots you’ll see my take on his fashion style with a female and male…male being myself and the female was my semi-reluctant girlfriend.



Below is my lighting diagram for the images. The umbrella was above camera and subject slightly tilted and about 4 feet above.


I enjoyed this week’s study in trying a different approach to my photography with Skrebneski’s style. I do plan on adding this to my bag of tricks again in the future.

Thanks for checking out my post and stay tuned. This is only the start. Next week I’ll share my studies as we move to Yousuf Karsh…big fan of his work!!

Walking Luke

This is Luke, I refer to him as Walking Luke. Why you ask? Well you can see the walking sticks in the photo above, that probably gives one hint. Walking Luke is on his way as of Monday, April 21st 2014, to walk from St Augustine to the west coast. He has estimated it’ll take a couple of years to do so and along the way he will be stopping at friends and family to visit and be able to get some rest. 

His story is very inspiring. I’m sure there are other people out there that might think the same. There are those out there that think this is dangerous and not wise. To just be free from social networks, the burden of all the things around you that chain you down. Set off on a journey, just you and nature and the people you will come across. I can only imagine.

I hope to catch up with Luke at some point over the next few years to hear what the adventure is like and possible take a few more photos.

“Whips”…How do you get around?

Here is a glimpse at one of my personal projects entitled “Whips”. I started this last fall because of a few reasons. First off, I love shooting cars and I haven’t done enough of it. I felt this was a good way to do more. Two, I know that most people have a love/hate relationship with their transportation. Some LOVE their ride, some HATE them. I am a JEEP man and I absolutely love Wranglers. I also know that other JEEP owners love their JEEP’s. So… I have set out to document this and I have three of my close friends in the project so far but hoping to keep adding more and more as time goes by. 

Thanks for taking the time to check it out and if you are interested in being part of the project let me know. I would love to shoot and hear about it. It doesn’t have to be a JEEP, car or truck. If you ride a motorcycle or a bicycle or even a skateboard. Let’s shoot!

Something Different

Tom Richardson - Realtor

“Because he wanted something different. Something a little more edgy.”

Tom Richardson - Realtor

We were asked to shoot for a local Annapolis realtor, and what I was excited about, was the fact that he told me he wanted to go with us because he wanted something different. Something a little more edgy. This is not something you typically hear from someone looking for realtor head shots. This got my attention. Now don’t get me wrong, I would have shot the same old photos in front of a house or with a couple staging the new home buy BUT this was fun.

If you like what you see and want to book a shoot, please feel free to contact us!


Tucker Joenz

Joe Comfort Ferr Queenstown Mayor

Mayor Joe
As Joe says

“Bring the beards back to government!”

This is a shot I did for fun…as well as something to play with my magnificent Alien Bees. I got Joe out in the middle of Queenstown, Maryland to shoot a “Faux Realtor” shoot. Knowing that it’s something for his unknowing campaign to run for Mayor. Now we just need supporters. Who wants to back him?? If so go check out Hot Tub Limo Band and let him know, he’s the one sitting in the back beating on drums. Thanks Joe for being a good sport!

Fox News Photoshoot

Rich Edson Fox News OnAir
Rich Edson in Office

Rich Edson Fox News OnAir 2

This is from my shoot a few months ago for Annapolis Lifestyle Magazine. We were shooting an editorial piece on Fox News. Rich Edson was our guy to shoot and these are a few of what we got that day. We were given a few minutes to get what we needed and with the pressure on, we still came out with some great photos 🙂