Is The Winter Drought Over?

Winter can be challenging for photographers in the Northeast.  Especially if it’s not your full time job.  As someone who works a 9-5 it’s very difficult to find inspiration to shoot.  Many photographers also struggle with inspiration when they don’t leave their city/town enough.

The golden hour is frequently spent at the office and you can only go out and shoot so many long exposure night shots.  And even when you do you’re freezing your ass off because it’s 15 degrees.

I shouldn’t complain too much.  Here are some of my favorite shots from this year’s slow season.  Many nights loosing the feeling in my fingers and toes but I’m happy with a few of them.

I know it’s only February but the sun is staying out later it’s warming up randomly thanks to decades of poisoning the ozone layer so it’s time to shoot.  But time is still limited.  I decided that I’ll start carrying my camera with me to work each day.  Working and living in the city constantly provides new opportunities to improve my street photography.

First things first I needed a new bag.  I prefer a messenger style bag to carry to work so I had Manfrotto send me out the Befree Messenger bag that would support both my work laptop/iPad and my camera and a few accessories.

Next I needed to make some efforts to get out of the city more.  Any photographer, hobbyist or professional will tell you, you need to step outside your city/town often.  It’s very easy to lack inspiration from your every day surroundings.  I find that even in a city this happens to me often.

Last weekend I took a trip out to my alma matter Rider University to catch up some old friends and watch a basketball game.  Of course I brought my camera with little or no expectations of obtaining any usable photo but for me it’s getting back in the hobbits of a hobbies photographer.

Next week I’m off to New York City for a week (work related) but I’ll be sure to have my camera with me in hopes of exploring some new opportunities to shoot a new city.  One I’m not particularly familiar with and not particularly fond of.

By the end of next week I really hope to have some photos up here in another blog post to talk about the experience as well as update more frequently on Instagram.

Life is Short. Live Your Dream and Share Your Passion.

Realizing that I purchased my original domain and webspace one year ago today it felt appropriate to reflect on why.

Social media quickly became a place to share every thought, cup of coffee, and/or photo of your pets/kids.  That is a fine way to get a quick fix of dopamine but that’s really it.  When you reflect on your “On this day” featured on Facebook, does it tell an accurate story about who you were at that time?  Probably not.

If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for nostalgia.  Over the years I’ve curated videos compiled of the moments that helped make unforgettable years but even that to me wasn’t enough.  Written word seems like the best way to record the specific details.  Each word and phrase carefully premeditated.  (For the most part when I’m not botching spelling and throwing grammatical errors like confetti)

That’s what brought me here.  A place of my own where I can elaborate share thoughts, ideas, passions, phots, videos, and more.  Regardless of how 9 to 5 your life might seem at times you are interesting.  Social media has made it mandatory for us to keep up with “Friends”.  Their news is blasted on what they call “news” and we addictively scroll through for the latest nonsense and memes.  We rarely encounter original content let alone interesting stories about the people we associate with.  Well if you want to hear my nonsense, I might share previews on those very social media platforms but I’ll make you take the extra step.  If you’re truly interested you’ll know where to find me.

In the short year since I purchased the website, even shorter than that since my first post and 13,669 visitors later I’m still kicking.  Over the next week or so I’m going to give the sight a major facelift, improve it’s mobile viewing, and the user interface.

I’m excited to get this baby revamped during the busiest time of my life with my 9-5, photography, grad school, etc.  Wont be easy but I see value in the art of self reflection and what better way than to paint it all over the internet in permanent ink.

I hope that people will read this and start to tell more of their stories.  I know a ton of interesting people, many of which I’ve called out in previous blogs.

If you think this might be something you’d be interested in I’d be happy to help you get it off the ground.  I use WordPress for everything and it’s pretty simple one stop shop.

There are also millions of tutorials online to get a site started.  Here is one I’d check out.

Live Your Dream & Share Your Passion.

2017 XPONENTIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY SUBARU

This last weekend I was invited to come shoot the Marina and River stages of the XPONENTIAL Music Festival hosted by WXPN FM out of Philadelphia, PA.

Unfortunately due to some scheduling conflicts I couldn’t make the full festival but I’m still very excited about the acts I did get a chance to shoot.


Foxygen
Sure I had heard of this band from the Google Home commercial so my interest was peaked.  To put it short the absolutely blew me away.


Dave Hause & The Mermaid
Philadelphia locals absolutely killed it.  I was new to these guys but I am so stoked to follow them as they make their way back to the Theater of Living Arts on December 2, 2017.  Please go check them out.



Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Jazz isn’t my specialty but good lord do I appreciate it.  These may be some of the most talented musicians I’ve seen live in a long time.  They played two sets the same day and brought a ton of energy to both.


Rhiannon Giddens
What a captivating voice singing some of the most emotional and thought out lyrics.

 

I’m always looking to shoot more live music.  Please contact me if you’d like me to come shoot your show.

Shooting a Row Home in Philadelphia

Real estate photography is a wonderful market to be in.  It’s an opportunity to show off how amazing homes can look for perspective owners.  Real estate agents love having professional photos of their listings for two main reasons.  First it improves the responses they get once their listing is posted and secondly it helps them gain more listings to have a photographer that they know will deliver for them.

Philadelphia is one of the most densely populated cities in the country.  Many of the single family homes you’ll find are row homes.  They can be both challenging to shoot but also fun and creative.  Here are some tips and tricks from my most recent shoot in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood.

Reserve the parking in front of your listing and across the street.  

Find out whoever it is you need to talk to make sure there isn’t going to be someone’s car in front of the home you’re trying to shoot.  This is going to take a little bit of work but save your hours of waiting to trying to find the owner of a car in your way.

Plan a walk through with your agent.

I always suggest to agents that they complete a walk through so we can go over all of the shots that I want to cover and any that they might want to add.  This gives them opportunity to have their voice heard and prevent from having to make a 2nd day to come and shoot the property.

Go wide but not too wide.

A wide angle lens is key for these types of shoots.  You want to make sure you’re giving the perspective buyer as much of the room as you can but still seeming very natural.  I use a Canon 16-35mm lens on a 35mm size sensor and my shots typically live in the 18-24mm range.  You do not want to use a fisheye lens or build panoramas that are going to give a false sense of actual size.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with lighting.

I always carry at least two strobes with me on every shoot.  I use cheap tripods as light stands for the because they have a minimal footprint.  You want to give the room a very natural feel but still be able to highlight certain points.  This is why having multiple strobes is key.

Set expectations.

Your contract should already do this for you but it’s important that your clients understand early and often what it is you’re going to deliver.

Here are some photos from this listing.  If you’re interested in my services please check out my Real Estate Services page.

If your interested in the house here’s the listing.

My Journey into Street Photography #HelpPhillyHomeless

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Recently I’ve been getting into Street Photography.  Surely, there are a number of ways to define street photography but as I’m learning more and more about my particular style I really prefer the most candid of shots.

Now some people are exactly the opposite and will seek out strangers in the moment to model for them because they appeal to them in one way or another.  I’ve seen some amazing work in that sub-genre but it’s really not for me.  But really what that means is that it’s not in my comfort level.

Philadelphia is full of culture and natural history.  It should be a photographers dream to live here.  Street photography for example can be a bit stressful.  What would you do if a stranger walked up to you asking to take your photo?  I’m not extremely interested in asking strangers to model in the streets for me just yet.

So I set out shortly after getting my Canon 6D and thought I’d take a nice long walk of the city and fire from the hip.  Firing from the hip refers to a term of shooting a gun without aiming down the barrel.  Same can be said with photography.  For me to get my level of comfort in street photography I wanted it to be truly candid.  That’s not always easy when you’re carrying around a large DSLR camera with a noisy shutter.

Who was going to be my first subject?  I’ve always had a large level of sympathy for the homeless.  Homelessness in Philadelphia is a huge problem.  One that is incredibly difficult to overcome.  One thing is undeniable is that these individuals have a ton of raw emotion.  Remember not every homeless person has a drug or alcohol problem.

I thought to myself that perhaps a photo series of showing the raw emotions of the homeless in Philadelphia would help spark a larger awareness and sympathy for the less fortunate.  So I started shooting.

I quickly learned that firing from the hip isn’t easy and I didn’t really have a telephoto lens to capture from the distance where I wouldn’t be noticed right away.  I was able to leave that day with a couple of shots I was pleased with but more importantly the motivation to do this project right.  I went ahead an ordered a proper telephoto lens in hopes to capture some more of this raw emotion on the streets of Philadelphia.

What I hope to accomplish is some wonderful images that will help tell the stories of these less fortunate individuals.  Perhaps next time we won’t ignore them as we walk by because a simple “Hello” can go a long way.

If you want to help spread the awareness of homeless I invite you to share you own photos all over social media use #HelpPhillyHomeless.

(Click to enlarge) (Updated 5/16/2017)

Why Real-Estate Agents NEED to Hire Good Photographers.

It drives me crazy as I’m shopping around for apartments and houses and see the poor quality of photographs that agents and individuals listing their properties with.

As an agent not only do great photographs help you lease apartments and sell houses but they also set you ahead from other agents that you may be competing against.  Philadelphia is a booming housing market and agents are constantly looking for more listings. Quality professional photographs are the way to do that.

Let me show you a top-notch example.  I live in a small studio apartment in Philadelphia, PA. I love it here!  My apartment is small, only 280 Square Feet.  Here are the photos that were on the listing for my apartment.

Not much to look at.  Other than knowing this apartment is only 280 square feet already I wasn’t exactly turned on by these photos.  However, I loved the neighborhood and the price was right so I thought I’d give it a look.

Boy was I glad I did.  I signed the lease within 48 hours and set a date to move in.  Now as a photographer I thought I would take the time to show you how much better the space can look.  I have done zero renovations on property just set up my standard camera and lighting setup and this is what you get.

Which one looks more welcoming to you?

This is a perfect example of why agents and anyone listing properties need to have high quality photographs.  If you’re one of these individuals be sure to check out my rates in getting high quality images for your property.