Enjoy Peoria! Tourism Spot for TV

Last summer I had the honor to help direct the new tourism TV spot for the City of Peoria. My friend TJ is a creative director and writer, and was approached by the City Of Peoria to create a tourism piece for the city. We worked together to come up with concept, script and locations, and after approval from the City, we shot the piece below, along with several other videos focusing on new business and residential growth in Peoria. It was an insane schedule that spanned 8 solid shooting days (plus 2 auxiliary days for landscapes, or city events that happened outside of the shoot schedule), nearly 30 locations, a crew of 8, plus talent, and 2 emergency room trips. Super thankful to the City of Peoria for Green-ligting this project, and to everyone who worked on the shoot. Looking forward to the next one!

Making Portraits

I think one of the hardest parts of being a photographer is having to connect with complete strangers in very short amounts of time. Sure, some people are easier to talk with than others, but it can definitely be challenge to gain the trust and attention of someone while also guiding them towards what I am trying to accomplish with a photo. When I shoot someones portrait, I like to get them as involved in the creative (and sometimes technical) process as they are interested in. It helps them feel like they are partnering with me towards achieving a goal, rather than just being directed towards an end result they may envision differently than I. When the subject feels like they are part of the process, they often bring ideas up that I may not have thought of that make the image that much better. Collaboration is almost always better than a single persons vision, so why not include the person you're photographing?

I wouldn't at all claim to be a street photographer, but that said, I don't shy away from asking to take a portrait of someone I find interesting. Its a great way to keep exercising my communication skills on the fly in random situations, while trying to develop a story and get a good photo. I grabbed this one while on the 5th Ave bus in NYC a couple years ago, and its one of my favorites. Ask people to be a part of your creative process, see what you learn, and how your work improve because of it.

Photo 52 Portrait Project

A few years ago I did a photo 365 project, and was really amazed at how much I grew through the project, as well as how much fun I had. I love shooting portraits, but most of my work and personal projects have always been location assignments where I am lighting people in natural backgrounds. As much fun as those are, I want to push myself to shoot more portraits in the studio on a background. Its a different way and challenge to capturing someone and tell a story. For the rest of the year I'll be shooting a black and white portrait of someone every week, and sharing on  my blog and instagram.  I couldn't think of a better person to start off with than my good friend Austin, who is actually moving out west this weekend. Can't wait to see the collection of images as a whole one year from now, or who I will meet and photograph through it.

Thanks, and have a good weekend!


Austin, Week 1, 2016

2015 Year In Review

What a year its been in so many ways. Ive traveled more than imagined, and really got to work on some fun assignments. I hit the ground in a near dead sprint last January, and felt like it never slowed down until about 2 weeks ago as I wrapped up a couple of final projects.  Last spring, I was finally able to shoot a personal project in Wyoming that I had been dreaming of for years. Along with a some friends, I helped write and direct a few video projects including both a city tourism spot, and a piece for a Fortune 50 company. Working on the video assignments were a blast, and I actually ended up writing my first short film I'll be releasing soon. Thought the year I shot an ongoing campaign for a huge AG company that involved everything from lifestyle shots of farm life to some landscapes and still life pieces, and was able to wrap up the year shooting a dream assignment for Zion Coffee down in Central America.  All that mixed with some random editorial assignments and everything else that goes on in life barely left me with time to sleep. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a blast, and I am really excited for this next year.  Thanks to Sarah Claxton for all the help and encouragement along the way, to Jordan Lehman for your wisdom and laughter, and finally to my wife - for believing in me when I fail to do so.