Archive for October, 2010


Tips on headshots for websites and brochures

Today, I am the guest-blogger for 341 Studios, an outstanding marketing and graphic design firm based in Darien, CT. you can see my blog post here.


Philip Johnson’s Glass House

Recently, I had the great pleasure of photographing Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.  For those of you who don’t know the house, architecturally it’s one of the most important modern residences in the country, along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House.  For more on The Glass House, click here.

It had been a gloomy, drizzly morning the day I was scheduled to do the shoot, and the forecast was not promising.  But about an hour before I drove to the site, the skies cleared and the sun came out – a beautiful New England fall afternoon.

The house is really a simple glass box – and yet very elegant in its simplicity.  The design is in part about connecting with the landscape environment around the house. I tried to keep this in mind as I was shooting – many of the images are as much about the trees, grass and sky as they are about the building.

When it was new, the house was radically different.  Some people who visit the house react to the rather impractical aspects of living in a glass box.  The architecture critic Paul Goldberger tells the story of a woman coming to visit the house while Johnson was there. After looking about, she said rather snottily, “Well, it may be very beautiful, but I certainly couldn’t live here.”  “I haven’t asked you to, Madam,” Johnson replied.

The house was built in 1948-1949. Johnson lived in it until his death, at 98, in 2005.  Over that time, he added other fascinating buildings to the property and made many changes in the landscaping. He called his home his “fifty year diary.”

Johnson said to some visitors, “Shut up and look around.”  This is good advice.  During the shoot, I had the house all to myself, inside and out.  Much of the time, I just stood quietly and enjoyed the design and the surroundings.  I’d walk around and marvel at how the house looked from different angles.  I could happily have shot this simple glass box for several days. 

As the light was fading in the late afternoon, I shot a few images with a super-wide angle lens, which greatly distorts the perspective. One of the images with that lens is below. I like to think that Johnson, who had a  great appreciation for sculpture, would have approved of the picture.


Adorable Young Boys – Images for Holiday cards

Well, these two boys – a sixth grader and a third grader – probably do not want to be called adorable. But these little guys are pretty handsome – and photogenic, plus amazingly well-behaved and comfortable being photographed. These images are from a recent shoot that Mom and Dad will use for a holiday card, as well as prints for family members as Christmas gifts.

These shoots are great fun for me. I’d be pleased to photograph your boys – or girls – or whole family.


fashion and headshot shoot

I shot recently with my friend, Laura. Faithful readers will recognize her from earlier posts, such as this one. We did a few headshots and a few fashion images.  As I’ve talked about the lighting and Photoshop editing of similar pictures in the past, today I’ll just let the images speak for themselves. As always,  you comments and questions are welcomed. Thanks for having a look at my work – or, I should say – our work.


Shooting a Dance Revue

Recently I had the opportunity of shooting a dress rehearsal for “An Evening of Dance 2010,” a wonderful dance revue put on by The Darien Art Center. The program featured dancers from middle school age up to adults.

As anyone who has tried to shoot in a theatre knows, the conditions are tough for photography.

It’s dark, so it’s tough to get a clear, well-focused shot. The lighting colors are challenging. And things move fast.

So here are my tips for shooting dance in a theatre:

1)  If you can, see a performance or rehearsal before you shoot – then, you have some chance to anticipate the action.

2) Shoot at as high an ISO as your camera will allow. On my Nikon D700, I shot most of these images at ISO 4000 or 5000. You’ll have some “noise,” which you can alleviate in Photoshop or similar programs – to some degree.

3)  Shoot at a pretty fast shutter speed. In these pictures I mostly used 1/500th of a second

4)  Take lots of pictures, to assure enough keepers.

5)  Shoot “loose” – that is, with a lot of space around the dancers. You can crop in the photos in editing.

6) Keep checking how the images look on the back of the camera. Makes adjustments as necessary as you go along.

7) try different angles – get down low, shoot from the side if you can, etc. Take risks – shoot ideas that you don’t think will “work” – many of them will surprise you.

It was terrific fun for me to shoot this evening of wonderful entertainment.  As always, your questions and comments are welcome.