Actor

Film, Digital, Color, Black&White, What now?

Two months between blog posts. Not good. I have been busy (lame excuse), but also have been shooting quite a bit that cannot be shown here until it is published elsewhere (better excuse). I have been doing a little traveling in the way-back machine lately though, having purchased a scanner and some film. I hadn't shot film in several years and it is definitely a reality check. I am hoping that, like a painter's medium, it will have me think a little differently, both when I am shooting and in preparation for a shoot. I know, blah blah blah..show me the pictures.

I resurrected my 35mm camera and took a couple field trips...So here is a bench, some grapes, and a couple of guys on bikes. Did I mention that I am not a street photographer?

With a little help from eBay, I made some new friends in Japan and Korea. In the process, I bought a monster of a medium format camera. It creates negatives that are 6x7 centimeters. Here is my photography colleague Jack Holmes; world traveller, great photographer and all around nice guy!

Jack Holmes

Jack Holmes

Ok, one last gear-head thing... I bought a mono-rail 4x5 view camera recently too. I am headed off to a workshop next week, but I hope to start, or restart, a series of portraits of local artists when I return, and use both medium and large format. So watch this space.


Now, in no particular order, here are a couple of publication tear sheets, some shots from UTEC's Sweet 16 event, the Summer Kickoff of the Lowell National Park, the Grand Opening of Ani's boutique, Humanity, and an actress headshot that I did for another all around great person, Christa Brown.

Humanity Lowell

Humanity Lowell

UTEC - Sweet 16

UTEC - Sweet 16

Christa

Christa

Lowell National Park

Lowell National Park

UTEC Sweet 16

UTEC Sweet 16

Barron's - Fidelity's Steve Buller

Barron's - Fidelity's Steve Buller

Merrimack Valley Magazine

Merrimack Valley Magazine

Four at the Door

This post makes my fourth submission in my Big Door series, so I think it can officially be called a series now.

In the process of casting for a short video project, which was the same occasion on which I met Obehi, I also met Jacquie, another talented actress. Interestingly, both Obehi and Jacquie are musical, and both are brass players. Her family owns Golden Girl Granola, which is awesome!

I also thought I would reshow the black and white portrait that I did of Jacquie, since I have received so many kind words about it.

Keep watching this space for who will be next in the series!

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Obehi, the Multitalented

I recently met Obehi Janice while casting for a promotional video that I was working on with filmmaker Pete Pedulla. A performer, writer and speaker, she clearly fit with my ongoing goal of finding interesting people to photograph. She came to my studio yesterday along with her sister, and UMass Lowell student, Joy. It was a fun shoot!

...and this Big Door Portrait series is really on a roll!

Obehi regularly performs her own, solo work, FUFU & OREOS, and will be doing so in Chicago, on Friday, February 15th. Check out her web site for more information:  http://www.fufuandoreos.com

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The New Studio

It has taken me a while to get my new photography studio into shape, but after having moved in a little over a month ago, and having done a number of shoots here already, I am finally able to show it off. Thanksgiving week is always a reliably slow week and therefore makes a great time to catch up on things that had been impossible for months. I needed to move in to the studio over a weekend because the following Monday I had two shoots, back to back, but I never had the chance to really organize it or hang work on the wall. I am almost there!

Western Avenue Studios, Suite A405

Western Avenue Studios, Suite A405

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So there won't be any misunderstanding, I am still at Western Avenue Studios, in Lowell, Massachusetts! I have simply moved to a larger, brighter space, two floors up. The new space is on the 4th floor in what is known as the A-Mill; studio A405. This floor itself is much brighter and more welcoming even as you come off the elevator. Restrooms conveniently located just to your left as you get off the elevator, and my studio only several doors down the hall.

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The Green Doors - I have mentioned the green doors before, but most people are not aware of their size until they actually enter the studio. These are what must have been loading dock doors years ago through which raw materials and finish products were moved. Today they are sealed, and make a really cool background. Here are some shots done in front of the doors. In fact, these are from my first author portrait photo shoot in the studio; the one done that Monday morning after moving in.

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The Scott Grimes Cover that Almost Didn't Happen

Back in August, Masschusetts native, actor and musician Scott Grimes, of ER and Band of Brothers fame, came home to do a benefit concert at Lowell's Memorial Auditorium. Merrimack Valley Magazine loves a hometown success story, so Scott was a perfect fit for the cover. It was all arranged. We were to meet Scott back stage before his concert and do the cover shoot. Nothing highly produced, just a series of portraits of him sitting, singing, enacting a voiceover session in a theatrical setting. Dramatic lighting, minimalist background... you get the idea.

I had the lights all set up. Everything was ready to go. I did some test shots with the publisher sitting in for the star. He loves that (ha!). In walked someone in charge. 'Scott won't be able to come down. It's too close to showtime.' I looked at the publisher and the creative director as they went completely pale. I blurted out: 'can he just give us five minutes?' The guy paused and said, ok, I'll check. He walked away and the aforementioned magazine honchos shot me a look. A glare really... I said, 'I am all set up. If he comes down here for 5 he will be here for 15.' I may have even said 'trust me'... I really need a manager; someone to stop me before I say 'yes' again!

Scott came down to the set and was incredibly personable, helpful, ready for a photo shoot, and seemed to be in no rush to leave. Happy to accommodate. We shot the cover in a little less than 10 minutes and followed that up with several relaxed, informal posed shots of him, his band and our writer, Beth Daigle. It had turned out to be a good night all around. But someone really needs to stop me next time.

And please don't miss this issue to check out Creative Director Steve Pennimpede's great vision and Photoshop work on the cover concept!

Merrimack Valley Magazine - November/December 2012

Merrimack Valley Magazine - November/December 2012

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A Happy Team - Merrimack Valley Magazine's owner, editor & publisher, Glenn Prezzano, writer for the Scott Grimes story, Beth Daigle, and creative director Stephen Pennimpede

A Happy Team - Merrimack Valley Magazine's owner, editor & publisher, Glenn Prezzano, writer for the Scott Grimes story, Beth Daigle, and creative director Stephen Pennimpede

Goals and a Vision for your Head-Shot

A potential client contacted me a few weeks ago inquiring about having an actor's head-shot done. She was very specific about what she wanted and seemed to like what she had seen of my work. I forwarded her some information about the way that I work, the fee and my deliverables. We then set up an appointment and she asked if I would mind if she sent me her ideas about the shoot. I love when a client is personally invested in this process, so I naturally said, yes, please do! She then sent along a Word document listing her goals for the shoot, what she thought the head-shot should be or entail, as well as a list of questions.

To a portrait photographer, this is what a great shoot looks like. That isn't to say that everyone needs to do this! In fact, most subjects are actually rather unsure of what is going to happen when they arrive at my studio or I at their location. When possible, I prefer to have a pre-shoot conference, either in a separate sit-down, or if that's not possible, immediately before the shoot. My objective is to explain the process, answer any questions and to solicit any input that the subject would like to contribute. I cannot speak for other head-shot photographers, but I really appreciate input from my client. The great thing about the actress to whom I was referring was that once we started, she wasn't into micro-managing the session. She had shared her vision with me before we met and my job was to make her vision reality. I hope the work speaks for itself.

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I work with all kinds of clients, creating actor head-shots as well as corporate head-shots, although I prefer to call the latter, corporate portraits. Irrespective of the client though, having a vision and goals in mind before the shoot begins is key.