Quick overview of my post workflow for a Harley Quinn cosplay photoshoot.
Atlanta's beautiful spring weather means a chance to get outdoors for some fun family photos. We had a great time shooting this beautiful family and even got in a workout chasing their two energetic boys. Morgan Falls Park in Sandy Springs is one of my family's favorite hangouts and a great photoshoot location. We loved mom's red cape idea and it was the perfect strategy to help entertain the kids while getting some great, natural light shots - that's one smart mom!
The result of a shoot at an amazing new local business concept in Atlanta called Brother Moto, a place that supplies the "motocurious" with the necessary tools, environment and knowledge to work on their own bikes. This Atlanta business is more than just a shop, it's a community dedicated to the love of motorcycles old and new. It's a great place to hang out, get access to great tools, like specialty wrenches, or simply get a cup of coffee. Owners, Bobby and Jared are some of the nicest people I've had the pleasure to shoot and totally passionate about their business.
In just under 24 hours a series of Wells Fargo social posts went from concept to reality. Got to work with a great team of advertising creatives in Atlanta on location scouting, talent selection, props and execution. Social posts were a hit on Facebook!
I recently collaborated with model, Aneesah Hanan and makeup artist, Tony Stylez for a high fashion themed shoot. As you can see, they both did a great job and with their help, we got a great image. The photos straight out of the camera looked great but I wanted to practice my retouching skills and make this image shine.
In the video below, you can see my progress as I just about edited every pixel of this photo. From adding extra eyelashes, dodging and burning to bring out and enhance features to removing an ear-piercing hole, this photo is polished. Don’t get me wrong, Aneesah looked amazing with no editing whatsoever but this shoot was an exercise in attaining the super-clean and expertly polished beauty shot. While many companies are shying away from retouching, there is still a very strong desire for this level of perfection. Plus you still see Aneesah’s natural beauty and features – we’re not talking about changing nose shape or manufacturing cheekbones here.
As with our pregnancy announcement photo, the standard social media post of a grainy ultrasound picture wouldn’t cut it. The same went for our baby’s gender reveal. I wanted to create a fun and attractive image to share this exciting news with friends and family. On top of that, my wife was so thrilled with the pregnancy announcement that she wanted a gorgeous photo to capture each milestone of the pregnancy.
After a lot of brainstorming that included soccer balls, clotheslines of socks and anything blue, I thought – let’s just keep it clean and simple. Using quintessential boy toys, we created a shot that went well with our original announcement and paired it with a fun hand-drawn message. The photo was a big hit with family and friends and many are already asking about the next set in the series. My wife can’t wait until the photos are framed and on the wall.
My latest photography subject is fresh out of Officer Training School and brought a steeled focus to the shoot. Used to standing at attention for long periods of time, this guy was a breeze to photograph, as you can see from the photo below and in Launchpad’s portrait gallery.
For this portrait I wanted to convey a dark, dramatic ambiance. The background is black seamless and the lighting consists of two gelled rim lights and a large, feathered key light that rakes across the subject. During post I worked my basic retouching and color grading for a movie feel.
While shooting, Johnny recounted adventures from training and how rough military life can be. He had an MRE or meal, ready-to-eat in his duffle and was happy to let us have a sample. This one-day ration had a powdered sports drink that you mix in a bag, cinnamon roll, garlic toast, cheese spread, chicken pesto and patriotic cookies. I can tell you the cookies were exact replicas (minus the Hamburgler shape) of the cookies that were put in 1980s McDonald’s Happy Meals. The other cool thing about the MRE was a nitrogen-based heating unit. Just one drop of water will get the pack piping hot to heat up the chicken pesto. I also had a laugh when I learned every MRE comes with a laxative. While MREs are packed with a day’s worth of protein and other nutrients, it seems like the formula could still use some tweaking.
While scouting locations for an upcoming Verizon Wireless photo shoot, I stopped by Piedmont Park to test out the late afternoon sun peeking from behind the beautiful Atlanta skyline. As I snapped a few photos, I couldn’t help but notice a nearby father and son running around, roughhousing and rolling down hills. I went over to talk to the inseparable duo to see if they’d be interested in helping me out in exchange for a few photos. The dad was very excited about the prospect of an impromptu photo shoot and kindly stuck around until the sun broke through the clouds. When it was time to shoot these two pulled out all the stops running, playing, jumping and being silly. It didn’t take long to capture the sheer and simple joy of a father and his son at the park.
This father and son team were a lot of fun to photograph and I got a ton of great shots that will hopefully make their way to desktop backgrounds, wallets and desk frames. After looking at the time stamp of the photos, I was especially surprised to see that the whole shoot took less than 5 minutes. When you have something so true and genuine as the love between a father and son, it’s easy to capture the perfect shot.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you already know that I love sports and fitness photography. For this shoot, I wanted to try a new twist and work with composite photography, which is the art of combining two or more photos and perfectly harmonizing the lighting, color balance, proportions, tones, shadows, etc. to create a single cohesive image. If done properly, it can be very convincing.
Composite photography is becoming a widely popular technique, especially in the advertising industry to achieve a polished, perfected look or to capture a scene that would normally be too difficult to do in one take.
While we didn’t know it prior to the shoot, composite was going to be the only option for our photo! The shoot date happened to coincide with the height of Atlanta’s pollen season and our poor model Siobhan was having respiratory problems. While we had intended on a series of photos inside as well as outside, we were stuck indoors, in a studio setting for this shoot.
Our model Siobhan was a real trooper and gave it her all despite her terrible allergies. For the entire shoot I had the poor girl running, jumping, lunging, you name it! I would regularly ask her if she needed to take a rest but she always wanted to push on to get the perfect shot, but did have to sit down a few times when her cough got the best of her.
A few days later I took some outdoor shots to use as Siobhan’s backdrop. Put everything together in Photoshop and voila! What do you think?
We recently got in touch with Horace James, striker for the Silverbacks, Atlanta’s professional soccer team, along with his agent and team management to coordinate a photo shoot. They were amazing to work with, especially since we wanted to shoot at the stadium – a logistical nightmare.
When we got the call from team management that a timeslot had been found I was asked, “how does tomorrow at 10:30 p.m. work?” We’re flexible at Launchpad so we said, “Sounds great!” and quickly readied ourselves for a late-night shoot.
Horace was great to work with and didn’t let the late time get in the way of working for the perfect shot.
We used a setup consisting of strip lighting to highlight the models features, a large soft box and plenty of reflectors to make the photo pop. We typically have a laptop on hand since reviewing photos on a big screen as opposed to the back of the camera is a million times easier. Not a lot of outlets in the middle of the soccer field but we were very happy that our battery powered car jump starter and an A/C adapter gave us power until we closed up shop at 1:30 a.m.
Make sure to check out the rest of the photos from Horace’s shoot here
On the Launchpad blog, we typically share the latest updates on our photography projects and this entry is no different, except that this time it is a little more personal because my wife is expecting! We wanted to create a fun image to share the good news and found inspiration in the “Three Bears.” A pair of newborn sneakers stands in for baby Buccianti until he or she is here to fill those shoes.
Propped up on a few pregnancy books, I remotely triggered my Nikon, focusing the lens on Elizabeth and the baby’s shoes before stepping into the frame. The picture alone turned out very nice, but we felt that adding a few hand drawn illustrations would turn the cuteness factor up a notch. Elizabeth provided several pages of hand drawn banners, doodles and words for me to choose from and in the end we decided to keep it simple by just naming the three bears along with our birth year.
Family and friends loved the photo and we even ordered postcards so that our relatives can have a printed copy. Have you ever made a creative announcement with a photo? We would love to hear about it in the comments!
If only every photo shoot came with delicious food! We recently had the pleasure of taking portraits of Rusty Bowers owner of Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates, GA.
Rusty is a natural for creating the tastiest meat cuts you’ve ever had and his passion for his work comes across on the camera. We chose the shop’s iconic chalkboard as the backdrop and used a human-sized setup very similar to the recent pet photo shoot. The space was a little tight for all of our gear and at one point we had to actually put one of the light boxes outside an open window, which would have been fine if it hadn’t been for the pouring rain. Luckily our light box wears a poncho well.
We had a great time taking photos of Rusty and sure didn’t mind all the samples we got to try – like the most amazing soppressata and prosciutto. Really had a hard time keeping Elizabeth focused on holding a reflector while Rusty sliced 18 month aged prosciutto for one of the shots.
Make sure to check out the rest of the photos on www.LaunchpadPhoto.com. If you haven’t already visited Pine Street Market, you need to go because bacon jam will change your life!
This past weekend was a busy one as Launchpad worked on two different photo shoots. We first shot a workout series that we’ll be posting more about at a later date and then quickly regrouped to get ready for some really hairy models.
That’s right, a dog photo shoot. But I’m not talking about capturing dogs running through the lawn or chasing after a ball. This was an all out portrait session. I don’t think I have ever heard the words sit or stay so many times in my life.
A big thanks to the dogs and their owners who came out to the shoot. We got some great shots like the one of Lou, a bulldog, pictured above. If you go to my portfolio and click on nature, you can see the rest but what you can’t see is all the blobs of slobber I had to Photoshop out of Lou’s picture!
To capture this look I set up a solid blue paper backdrop with a large octobox as key light, two long lightboxes, called strip boxes, to add highlights and a reflector.
The dogs were very well behaved, especially after we plied them with plenty of toys and treats. For Yoshi, the Shiba Inu, we had to break out the big guns and scrounge up a piece of cheese before he would agree to the shoot. Models, what can I say?
All in all, the dogs look great and we have some very happy owners. Not many pet owners can say they have a professional portrait of their dog!
Along with the website launch, Launchpad Photo recently debuted its logo and I wanted to share a little background on the process. After a lot of brainstorming and research, I envisioned a simple and elegant look that had a retro feel while still being contemporary.
That kind of unique look and specificity meant only one thing – custom typography. The great thing about a logo with custom lettering is that you won’t find the font pre-loaded on a computer. It’s completely original and the name itself becomes the visual symbol of the business.
Typography is an art that requires meticulous attention to detail. While my background is in design and advertising, hand lettering is not my forte so I turned to a fellow designer and friend, Jennifer Howard. We talked about the name Launchpad and what I had in mind for the logo. I gave her a few directions to explore and in what seemed like no time at all, she created the backbone for what would serve as Launchpad’s logo.
With a rough draft in hand, I needed a typography expert to perfect the design and make sure that the curve, height, thickness, width, etc. of every letter was not only precise, but flowed together in harmony. Joseph Calvo was the force that poured over every detail of the logo. After hand drawing the word Launchpad, he traced it in Adobe Illustrator to create a digital and completely polished final rendition.
We see logos every day but don’t often get to hear about the process and how they’re made. I personally love custom type and admire those that have the talent and patience to create custom lettering. I couldn’t be happier with Launchpad’s logo.
It’s not every day that you get to announce a lifelong dream and for me, the start of Launchpad Photo is the beginning of that journey. From the second I picked up a Nikon DSLR I was hooked. While already on my way to a successful advertising career, I spent most of my free time learning photography. Family and pets sat for countless portraits and my camera never left my side. Weekends became an opportunity for new photo adventures.
As my skills progressed I was able to incorporate photography into my advertising work. I set up client photo shoots instead of sifting through thousands of generic stock images and soon was asked to do photo work for bigger names like NAPA Auto Parts and The Home Depot. I was also accepted as a Getty Images contributing photographer.
I have an almost obsessive attention to detail that makes for a clean and unique style my clients love. I fully understand the business of advertising, marketing, and public relations; I’m able to deliver photos that are not only visually appealing but that can also carry out an underlying strategy or message.
I couldn’t be that person who looks back on life with regrets or always wondered if he could have made it. This is my dream, this is what I’m meant to do in life, and all the hard work is transforming into a rewarding opportunity.
Thanks for checking out Launchpad Photo and the new blog. I hope you’ll stick around as we post our photo shoots, behind the scenes peeks, and other exciting developments. You’ll also hear from my wife and business partner, Elizabeth. She’s a public relations veteran and handles the business end of Launchpad. She works with clients to make sure everything runs smoothly so we can focus on getting great shots.
We look forward to sharing our adventures with you!