The Day I Almost Went Blind (The Importance of Eyesight)

"You're really pretty lucky, the blade only cut into the surface of your eye. It did manage to remove the skin from half of your actual eyeball, but it looks like your vision will be OK.” Those were actual words spoken to me from Dr. Michael from Kremer Eye Center here outside of Philadelphia. 

See, over the weekend, my left eye had a run in with the business-end of a scissor blade as I reached across my face with an open pair of scissors. It was like the lights in my world went out. Everything just went black. I ended up (trying) watching local UFC fighter Eddie Alvarez get TKO’d (KO’d?) by Irish superstar, Conor McGregor through one hazy, blurry eye while writhing in pain on my couch. I think I listened more than I really watched, but my mind wasn’t really there. Eye injuries hurt like the devil.

It was Saturday night around 9pm and I didn’t want just any technician, interim doctor, or jack-of-all-trades ER Dr. hacking and cutting into my eye so I opted for some drugs I had laying around the house from previous prescriptions and gutted my way through Saturday night and a long, arduous Sunday. Monday my wonderful wife called a local eye care clinic the very moment they opened and got us first in line to have this thing fixed with one of the best doctors in the state (probably in the nation, I think.)

I’m a pretty visual guy, my business depends on it. I’m a photographer, a video guy, a visual artist or sorts. I need my eyes working pretty well. On account of the fact that I’m writing this post, I’m doing pretty well now a few days after the injury and surgery (I think it was surgical? It seemed pretty no-big-deal from Doc, though.) I am still wearing an eye patch and taking some pretty annoying eye drops every few hours, but I’m not blind, heck, my vision will not even be affected by the injury. It was, after all, only skin deep.

The past few days without eyesight (I was unable to open/use my eyes from Saturday until Tuesday evening) have given me a newfound appreciation of how important they are and really how much I just took them for granted. I also have immense respect for doctors who have the skills and wrist control to gently correct a surface like your eyeball without causing additional damage. Wow. 

As I begin getting my eyesight back I am dreaming of answering emails, lining up my next photoshoot, sending my next batch of orders off to the printer, writing a contract, heck, let me wash some dishes or do the laundry, really anything that lets me know everything is back, working fine, and pain-free.

Eyes, man. They’re pretty important. Keep scissors away from them.

Top Secret Microsoft Technology in Seattle (Redmond), Washington

I may never be able to think of Microsoft the same way that I always have in the past. Over the past two days, Microsoft has spared no expense in flying me and a group of other Youtubers out to Seattle, Washington to tour some production processes and top secret, yet-to-be-announced tech in their Redmond, WA campus. It started with the first-class flight upgrades, the black car service, a nice dinner out on the town, and the top-of-the-tower hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. Gratefulness and gratitude were on tap before we'd even started the tour.
We took cars from the hotel directly to the campus in Redmond and started by touring one of the prototyping and design buildings on campus. Here we saw many of the initial iterations of the Surface book before it's final form took place. The effort that went into reducing weight, finding the perfect balance, and the all-important "muscle wire" folding  mechanism that gives the opening and closing of the notebook just the right amount of touch and go. An entire warehouse filled with 3D printers to afford the engineers and designers the ability to dream up a design and have a 3D prototype in hand in no time flat, rooms for laser etching, finish painting, and everything in between that you could imagine a designer would need to develop the perfect physical product. An impressive sight indeed.
We also got a very thorough tour of the ergonomics department/lab and talked a bit about some of the amazing tech and even a few relatively primitive tools used to find ever conceivable measurement on a human's face. This data is used to ensure that wearable and in-hand devices will be comfortable in at least 90% of the general public's hands. Amazing stuff.
From the ergonomics lab, we next went to the audio testing area where we were treated to a little time in the Guinness Book of World Records quietest room in the world. Your voice sounds so much different in the room (which seems more appropriately called a "chamber") when there is absolutely no sound reflection. The lights were shut off and we stood quietly in the chamber for 30-40 seconds and the sensory deprivation of no sight and no hearing allows you to hear your actual heartbeat, but it also had this strange effect of making my ears feel heavy and gave me a very slight dizzy feeling. It was pretty bizarre.
There were also some amazing technologies that Microsoft gave us exclusive access to see and preview that I'm not even allowed to talk about. But rest assured, between the robots waiting for you ready to give directions when you need them and the language altering artificial intelligence, to the self-growing lettuce vending machines and insane augmented reality that will change the way you buy products and services, the modern face of Microsoft is facing squarely into the future. In fact, they're doing their part to usher it in.

Most Miles Ever in Past Five Days

After catching a red-eye back to Philadelphia on Saturday night (my earlier flight got pushed about 7 hours later than I expected) and spending a day with my family, here I sit in an airplane once more cruising about 35,000 feet above South Dakota in a Boeing 737 flying toward Seattle for a dinner meeting with some folks from Microsoft. There is also some big secret (I think) "underground" tour that I am supposed to be participating in tomorrow. I have absolutely no idea what to expect. Microsoft has generously picked up the tab for my plane (first class window seats both ways), hotel, and car so I figured there was no harm in making the trip as long as I could find the time and still get my work done. I'm hoping this is a quick out-and-back trip.
When I was much younger, my family would take trips across the country, but it was the kind of trip where you all bumble into a van and spend three weeks driving across America and back again. These two flights have been a slightly different method of transcontinental travel. Despite spending an inordinate amount of time on airplanes in the past few days, it still blows my mind that we can travel nearly 6,000 miles in about 5 and a half hours. It doesn't even take enough out of me to prevent me from feeling energized and even doing work. I could almost commute to Seattle (or San Francisco) if my job required it (and they paid for first class!)
I've always loved airplanes since I was a little boy and they really are fascinating machines. To create something that can harness the air as though it had the buoyancy of water and float from one place to the next while soaring above the clouds. I could get used to flying much more than I do. It's so beautiful.
I'm hoping to meet some interesting people while out at Microsoft and see if there are any potential business venture opportunities. Maybe they all need new headshots, who knows? If they do, I'll be there.

For the Love of Uber (& its drivers)

I prefer to take the road less travelled. It speaks to my heart and my gut feel about many of the basic right vs. wrong and life vs. death things in my life. I look around and wish to learn from the mistakes of others even if maybe that's a little naïve to expect to do so at a young age. I'm also reminded of a shirt that I've seen more than once which carries the tagline "I took the road less travelled, now where the heck am I?"
Uber drivers (of whom I've bumped into my fair share these past couple days,) tend to be raw humans who open up if you make it clear you enjoy their company and laugh at their jokes. Many of them are immigrants with fascinating stories. Why they came, what it was like at home, where the rest of their family is now. They talk about travel, food, politics, economics, and even religion. Being in the back of an Uber car can sometimes be the happiest place in the world for me. I don't think about work. I don't worry about a thing. I just have a conversation with a human being who virtually always has an amazing story or point of view to share.
Just in the past 48 hours, I've had Uber drivers from Russia, Palestine, Morocco, Baghdad Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Northern India, China, Serbia, and a couple drivers from cities around San Francisco too. The conversations have been amazing, from talking about the history between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in the Middle East and Israel being granted sovereign status as a nation, to making money in the stock market and the best borshch in Russia there have been some really cool and very interesting conversations. There was even some Donald Trump talk just to keep things a little controversial. 😂
Uber, keep doing your thing. I like your service, I enjoy your cars, and I love your employees.

Teaching Photoshop & Photography Around the World

It's been the first of three days of live recording here in San Francisco for Adobe. We're recording and broadcasting these live shows that go out via the internet for three straight days at the Adobe HQ on Townsend st. in San Francisco. Today was a good day and from the start, the number of viewers that we were expecting is nearly 10x what I was told to expect. This is a good thing. The crew with whom I am working as well as the artists and co-hosts have all been great to work with as well.
I haven't done much of any preparation work for this project, but these things seem to work better for me when I don't do too much planning. It really allows me to "let my hands go"-to steal an expression from the boxing world. I've seen people turning on the live show while I am hosting from places as far away as Australia, Northern Africa, and central Asia. The power and reach of the internet is very real, folks.
Adobe has also done a great job of providing the hosts of the show with a very nice and laid back environment from which to prepare and work. Relaxation has always been key to me in terms of being more creative and productive in my photography work. The less pressure, the more I am willing to play with ideas and think around problems for creative (and often more beautiful) solutions. The people here are nice and the environment is conducive of happiness.
A brief moment to talk about San Francisco on account of the fact that this is my very first time here. Prices are madness, absolutely crazy. There are more Uber drivers than I have ever seen in my life (more even than NYC,) there are scores of homeless people sleeping on the streets (turns out SF has the highest rate of homelessness in the US,) and the weather-for at least the first day-has been lackluster. It's been foggy and chilly with just enough wind to make things uncomfortable. From what the local folks tell me, things get much nicer. I'll wait and see.
I am a part of the hosting crew for three days of live broadcast from Adobe and we just wrapped up day one. Things feel good. Time to go and kill it for the next two days.

Visualizing Success Definitely Prevents Airplane Crashes

The middle-aged woman sitting across the aisle from me is covering her face with her hands in a most terrifying manner while fly attendants seem to have trouble keeping their balance. The pilot seems oddly silent about this situation… oh wait, he just flipped on the intercom to let us know that we're not crashing, it's just a terrible bout of turbulence. Does it ever go away, or is the guy behind me "backseat flying" making a valid point when he is rather loudly proclaiming that the pilot ought to "climb to a new altitude"--maybe that's to just ensure there are really no survivors left when we inevitably hit the ground. Hey, the higher they fly, the harder they fall, right? Moments like this show me that I am not afraid of flying.
I am, in fact, sitting on an airplane flying as I type this on my way to San Francisco where I'll be working with some creative people from around the country for the next three days on a live video broadcast from the headquarters of the Adobe Systems. You know, the company that made Photoshop. Yeah, that application that I use to retouch most of the work you're seeing on this website.
It's my first time flying to San Francisco and it's my first time doing a live broadcast for an audience of this size (Adobe has a personal and social media reach of well over 50 million people). I find myself strangely calm before such a big event, it could be the fact that this plane feels like it is being shaken to pieces by the never ending turbulence so just making it to San Francisco would be a win in-and-of-itself, or it could be that I sit back and close my eyes and see nothing but success coming from this trip and this broadcast. I am brimming with confidence, not a bone in body holds a single doubt. I know what I am capable of and I know I'll do the best job. Is that confidence, or arrogance? I don't know and I don't really care.
We're flying over the Rocky Mountains at the moment, apparently. I would have a visual and potential to take a sweet photo, but my seat was switched just prior to boarding to an aisle seat. I guess the crew thought it would be good for a few laughs watching me winch in pain each time they ram my elbow with the drink cart as they race up and down the plane distributing drinks like they're the second coming. "No thank you, ma'am, I don't need (another) drink, but I may need a cast for my elbow by the time we're landing.
I have not done any preparation for this 3-day broadcast, I keep telling myself that it's "because I'm trying to leave room for creativity" or something. We'll see if I'm good enough to free hand this thing in front of a relatively large live audience. I'll let the proof be in the pudding. Over the next three days, will I absolutely knock the ball outta the ballpark, or will I crash and burn? I can't even wrap my mind around the concept of crashing and burning. Ok, enough with that kind of talk, I'm still on the airplane.
On a serious note, I will be watching and re-examining my performance and the reaction that the viewers have to it over the next 7-10 days in an effort to further refine my content, quality, delivery, and general interaction skills. Everything is a learning experience. Even the ones that aren't.
One thing that the third-person version of myself admires about the real me is that I take these critical looks at myself and-by some miracle-I turn my situations into learning opportunities. For instance, a single, right-hand elbow pad is a vastly undervalued piece of any person's flying kit.
To wrap things up, I sure hope my pilot has the same visualization of success and unwavering confidence in his flying skills, because if the past four hours are any indication, all of us on this tube in the sky just might need it.

The $100 Cheesesteak and How to Make Yourself Stand Out

At its heart, a cheesesteak is little more than a beautifully baked hoagie roll (you may need to Google that) with freshly sliced strips of steak grilled and forced between the two sides of this roll. Throw in a little cheese, maybe some caramelized onions, some mushroom, and BADA-BING! you've got yourself a classic. Not all that much to it, just quality ingredients simply prepared. Philadelphia is my home city and it is an incredible city. This may not come as a surprise if you've ever bumped into my timelapse film about the city called: "Philly is Ugly" In Philly we have a rich culture, amazing history, colorful characters, and an abundance of places to get pretty great food. In fact, it can sometimes feel like there is a place that will sell you a cheesesteak located on every corner.

So what's the business lesson we can learn from the humble cheesesteak? The answer lays in the story of the $100 cheesesteak. That's right, an upscale restaurant in Philadelphia had the gall to charge $100 for a sandwich for which others would charge a mere $6-8. The restaurant is called "Barclay Prime" it's an upscale, top-notch steakhouse in Philadelphia and the cheesesteak wasn't just ANY cheesesteak. See, Barclay Prime was setting up shop in Philadelphia and looking for a way to stick out, a way to make people talk about Barclay Prime and a way to compel people to come and visit the restaurant. Enter the $100 cheesesteak idea.

Of all the cheesesteaks out there, this is the master race version, they[Barclay Prime] have their own fancy roll it sits on, the steak is beautiful Kobe beef, the cheese is some fancy blend I can't pronounce, the onions are perfectly caramelized, I'm pretty sure truffles are involved in one or two ways as well, and there is a lobster tail plopped on top just because, you know, $100 cheesesteaks need a lobster tail too.

The fascinating thing about this whole story is that when Barclay Prime did this they were bold enough, fearless enough, and outside-the-box-thinking enough to break with the expected norms of a typical Philadelphian and their dearly-beloved cheesesteak. What happened next? Things went a little crazy. People couldn't stop, and people WOULDN'T stop talking about this cheesesteak. There was nothing quite like it, the food reviewers said it tasted amazing, it looked amazing, it was perfect. People went and paid $100 just to tell their friends they tried it, to share pictures on social media. All the while promoting and supporting and differentiating Barclay Prime as something different that you just had to go and try. Even now, when people go to Barclay Prime, they may not get the $100 cheesesteak, but you can bet your lunch that they know about it and are ready to brag to their friends about it.

In business, the norm, the expected, and the status quo are all yesterday. If you want to be huge, if you want to be great, set out with an eye toward tomorrow. Be fearless, risk everything, challenge expected norms, fly in the face of the status quo.

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do." -Steve Jobs

If you can challenge what people expect when they think of something (a $100 cheesesteak is NOT expected) and provide some kind of emotional kick to the view of your content, your photography, or the potential client you're angling for, you will place yourself in a position where they remember you and even seek you out.

Think about the iPhone for a moment. It was different, it was beautiful, it was effective, and it was an absolute smash hit. Never let the status quo hold you down, there are worlds to discover and huge problems to be solved. Thinking outside the box has never been more valuable than it is today, you just can't be afraid to do it.

"Perfect is the enemy of good enough"

In all aspects of my life, I try to set the highest of standards for what passes as "good enough." In fact, it's a bit of a running joke with my family that nothing is ever good enough for me. That may be something I need to work on for the sake of others and for the sake of my own sanity too.

Often I find that it is the little details at the end of a project, that last 5% of a project, that I obsess over to an unhealthy degree. In doing so I will end up not posting, not creating, not sharing, any number of projects, photos, videos, etc... that I may be working on. Indeed my pursuit of what I think is "perfection" is the enemy of good enough. It chokes the life out of too many of my projects. I just seem to be afraid to create something and share something with the world that falls short of wherever I place that 100% goal line. 

My counter-attack against this mindset for the past five or so years has been to constantly remind myself that iteration and refinement are good and beautiful things. Flying in the face of expectations, behaving in a more daring fashion (in my own mind at least), and pressing forward relentlessly have been the greatest catalyst for the success I've had for the past few years. Sometimes settling for 90% of perfection is the perfect amount of perfection because 90% of something is always better than 100% of NOTHING. In that case, 90% of perfection is just right.  

I'm finding that I love my 90%, but I'll be darned if I sneakingly don't find ways to try to get to 92% or 95% because the pursuit of perfection in the abstract might be something I just have to live with for the rest of my life and if that's my greatest flaw, I count myself blessed.

Is perfect the enemy of good enough? Absolutely.

Sidenote: Did you know that when I'm not taking photos, I am creating videos on how to create and retouch photos? Check out my YouTube channel right here (tutvid).

When you haven't written a blog in two years (the importance of writing)

The easy way out is to blame a lack of production on "being too busy." Sometimes it's a legitimate excuse, but it's still an excuse. I hate excuses and I try to hold myself to a higher standard.

So here I sit, once more dedicating myself to a writing project. The goal: write one blog post each day for six days a week (Mon-Sat.) Make time for it. Just do it. (Cliches are cliches because they work.) Will this project fall by the wayside like my personal daily journal? Will this project get excused for any number of rationalization I can conjure? This time, I won't let it. 

Writing each day will change the way I think and force me to think more critically. I'll have my mind working to prepare tomorrow's blog post before tomorrow ever comes. Within weeks, I hope my mindset changes and I begin to think differently, and think more creatively. Here I go.

This blog will feature photography work Iove, stories from my work, ideas I have, passions I'm chasing, technical articles, education, and anything else I wish to share. 

Philadelphia Photographer | Fall/Autumn Lawn Party on the Main Line

When a company hosted a lawn party to celebrate a great year of business and growth in their company, they asked me to come out and photograph what went down on a cool October evening in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

I was privileged to capture a ton of great photos of the great kids running around at the party participating in pumpkin carving, bobbing for apples, playing football, tug-o-war, corn hole, and so much more!

Everything was shot under the beautiful overcast skies which gave me amazing soft wrapping light the entire day while I was shooting. I also gave the photos a film style in post processing to top off a classic portrait look for these images.

I brought a wireless printer to the party and was able to deliver prints before families headed home and give them a great tangible gift that they could take home from the party. The photos were a hit!

Photographing Captain America in Philadelphia with MARVEL and BBDO

In Philadelphia, the BBDO agency had an event for kids which they had me come out and cover. It was an event born from a partnership between them and MARVEL on a New Avengers Comic Book called "Hero's Welcome" which promotes diversity. Previously MARVEL had been criticized due to a perceived lack of diversity in their offerings.

My assignment was covering the interaction between Captain America and the group of family members that came out for the event. I shot everything in the natural, available light and tended to stay with a shallow depth of field to create depth in an environment lacking great photo opportunity.

Behind the Scenes Video: Isabel Lacatus | RCA Recording Artist

Check out our behind the scenes video for our shoot up at ACME studio in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn, New York.

Merriam-Webster defines “prodigy” as “a highly talented child or youth” and also notes that the word is synonymous with words such as “Marvel, Phenomenon, Sensation, and Wonder”. However, Merriam-Webster seems to be missing Isabel’s photo which should be tucked in with their definition of “prodigy”.

I walked down a hallway into her studio space one winter evening with her father and was greeted by a smiling Isabel sitting behind the control station in the recording area. She hurriedly encouraged me come in and listen to what she was working on, but before she could let me listen, there were some final adjustments that needed to be made. I watched as she masterfully guided her cursor through the Pro Tools music application and adjusted the vocal track until it was just perfect. She turned the speaker volume up and played the track that she was working on, smiling and bobbing her head the entire time. Her little dog, Cimba, thoughtfully watched us and whimpered her voice of approval; or maybe was just concerned that a stranger (me) had suddenly appeared next to her owner. The music was just right and the voice, well, the voice is where all the magic is. This girl can flat-out sing and she’s got a passion unable to convey with words alone.

Isabel is a recording artist with RCA Records/Sony Entertainment and is primed to be the next big thing in the music industry. Isabel aspires to be like her inspirations, Alicia Keys and Andrew Belle, and the uniqueness and depth of her voice combined with her musical talents and production skills will certainly carry this youngster to new heights. She has won contests, accolades, and the hearts of many young fans. Keep your eyes peeled for this young starlet to grace the cover of your favorite magazine or walk down the red carpet in the coming months and years.

Check out the Isabel Lacatus website and sign up for her newsletter to get a free mp3 download as well:

We shot all day in studio and then wandered out to the Brooklyn Bridge and then later into Times Square and shot until about midnight. Check out some our photos from the day below:


Help Portrait | Philadelphia, 2013 | This one's for you

On Saturday, December 7th, 2013 an amazing event called “Help Portrait” swept across the globe. I lead a group and assembled one of the Help Portrait events right here in Philadelphia.What is Help Portrait? In a word, it's the most awesome photographic, charitable, story-telling, story-giving, picture-creating, tear-jerking, perspective-gaining, thought-provoking, and fun events that one could conjure up.

Help Portrait happens when a group of photographers, hair stylists, makeup artists, and volunteers get together and spend a day giving portraits away to those in need. For free. The people we photographed were characters of every walk of life; fathers, mothers, families, and fun-loving kids.

Partnering up with a number of Philadelphia photographers and artists (credits later on in this post) we had an event that went off without a hitch! I owe a massive “thank you” to everyone involved for helping to make this what it was and what it will be in the future! Without the selfless giving of others, we could never have made this happen!

During the event the best moment I experienced was when one 79 year-old gentleman-who had never been photographed before-looked at me and told me that he now "had a photograph he could give to his granddaughters so they would always remember him”. How cool and incredible is that? That’s a moment that will not soon be lost on me. Perspective gained.

I’d be remiss if I didn't mention that this whole worldwide event was started several years ago by the fantastic Nashville photographer, Jeremy Cowart. (Jeremy hates being mentioned in these articles, but credit where credit is due. *bow* )

We had a great location, Old First Reformed United Church of Christ which the incredible Philly-based company ShareMySpace helped up find and schedule.

Here are a few of the photos I shot on that day:


Fashion Model Katie Shea Walters | Philadelphia Photography

Daughter of local photographer, a film student, avid Star Wars fan, and budding young fashion model, Katie Shea Walters sure has her hands full modeling, walking in events such as the recent “Philadelphia Fashion Week”, oh, and-as mentioned-she’s a film student.

Katie and I first got together in January of 2013 and have worked together a couple times since then. These images are from our very first shoot together. This was very much a run-and-gun style shoot as we ran around a Philadelphia area town called Manayunk and captured images in several different areas of town. This shoot was a stylized, fashion-influenced, environmental portrait shoot to get Katie some unique and fun pictures that she could add to her portfolio.

The light source in these images was a single light, a 400W head with a 39” Rotalux Deep Octa bank (one of my personal favorite lighting modifiers!)

Check out a few of the images we captured below.

Katie Walters | Philadelphia Photography | Philadelphia Photographer


Katie Walters | Philadelphia Photography | Philadelphia Photographer


Katie Walters | Philadelphia Photography | Philadelphia Photographer


Katie Walters | Philadelphia Photography | Philadelphia Photographer


Katie Walters | Philadelphia Photography | Philadelphia Photographer

Austin, Texas Singer/Songwriter Abraham Weaver -Allentown/Bethlehem

Austin, Texas Singer/Songwriter Abraham Weaver

South of Austin

With a blend of smooth country notes brightly complemented with a commanding and room-filling power, the voice of Austin, Texas’ very own Abraham Weaver is simultaneously captivating and unforgettable the very moment you hear him start singing.

Raised in Southern Texas and hailing all the way from Austin Texas, the “Live Music Capital of the World”, Abraham has been singing and performing since the early 1990s. Having reached a personal “point-of-no-return” in 2004 he transformed himself from a Dance Hall and Night Club singer, where he would perform up to 200 shows each year, to a Contemporary Christian singer & musician.

As he belts out the lyrics of thought-provoking tracks like “The Car” and “Like Matthew Sees You” you are seemingly transported to a world that began with the pursuit of ease, prestige, and wealth in this world, but has instead led this singer to a life of contented happiness at the feet of his Saviour. At any number of social functions, special events, or maybe even your local café, your ears may someday be delighted as you listen to this vocal gem from Southern Texas.

Abraham and I got together and shot a great series of photographs for promoting his music and putting together a consistent look for the images associated with his music. We found a massive old abandoned factory and wandered in and shot some great photos!

Currently we’re working together to build a new brand and website for his music!

Abraham Weaver on Facebook » Abraham Weaver on ReverbNation »

Check out some of my favorites below!

Kelly Franks – POP ROX Band Lead Singer Portraits

Kelly Franks – POP ROX Band Lead Singer Portraits

Yes, Virginia

I had the opportunity to photograph Kelly Franks, a local singer, for the cover of her newest album “Yes, Virginia” which debuted on November 25th, 2011.

Check the album and listen to the track “Yes, Virginia” here » Follow POP ROX band on Twitter » Like POP ROX on Facebook »

The lighting for this set of images was a 28” Westcott Apollo softbox as an overhead light and a light with 7” reflector camera-right. I used 200W Elinchrom strobes for the lighting and Elinchrom Sky-port triggers to fire the lights wirelessly.

For the majority of the headshots I broke out my Lastolite tri-flector and had some fun playing with the angles in an effort to get a nice triple reflection in her eyes. With the Lastolite tri-flector I’ve found that using a light directly overhead and keeping each individual reflector at a near 90 degree angle to the chin and sides of the face (per each reflector). Check out a shot of how I was using the tri-flector.

Below are a few of the shots we captured that evening including the shot that was used for the album cover.

Modern Retro Fashion Photography with Des

Modern Retro Fashion Photography with Des

I’ve been terribly deficient in posting regular updates to the blog, the only good thing about that is that there is only room to get better about blogging!

Des and I got together back in October of 2011 to shoot a shot series of photographs. The clothing and styling were provided and take care of for us by stylist Tiffany B out of Bethlehem, PA.

Below are some of my favorites from the shoot!

Musician Photography Bridgeport, PA: Brodi Valos & Gethin Lewis

Musician Photography Bridgeport, PA: Brodi Valos & Gethin Lewis

Relaxing in Nags Head

After spending some quality time relaxing and shooting some photos in the small coastal town of Nags Head in the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina I hooked up with Brodi and Gethin on my drive home to shoot some photos for general purpose use and for promotional material for their music.

When driving for 7+ hours it is sweet relief to have a break worked into your driving plans. Mine came as I rolled into Bridgeport, PA. It was a brisk, cool evening and the light was amazing. All the photographs I shot using a single light on a stand an toyed with what I could using the ambient light (what little there was) in the scene.

Brodi Valos

Brodi Valos is a talented and perpetually hard working musician/recording artist who performs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region with Philadelphia-based group Dirty Electrick. Brodi, who himself hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is recognized for his roots rock sense of style in fashion, performance, and in his music videos.

Inspired by classic music icons such as AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, & Ray Charles, and even my all-time favorite group, Social Distortion, Brodi creates a wonderful blend of Rock and Country in his tracks that you’re sure to enjoy.

Did He Just Say 'Ron Paul'?

Brodi is a man after my own spirit and, like myself, views Dr. Ron Paul as the best of the candidates for presidential election in the upcoming 2012 Presidential election as we rapidly approach the conclusion of the Republican Natl. Primaries.

Check out and ‘Like’ Brodi’s Facebook Page.

Gethin Lewis is a musician and guitarist from Philadelphia, PA who, along with playing music with Brodi, creates his own Psychedelic brand of music. A great personality and a bunch of fun to photograph!

We had a great time hangin’ out and shooting these photos and spent some time chatting after we put the camera down. Check out some of my favorites below!

Creative, Commercial Style Portraits with Model Diana Di Bella

Creative, Commercial Style Portraits with Model Diana Di Bella

As we wrap up and finish out year 2011 I’ve thought back on some of the crazier/more difficult (i.e. fun!) shoots of 2011, one of which would have to be Diana.

It was cold, rainy, and mildly windy in the earlier part of the morning but the clouds broke for us just before we’d scheduled to start shooting.


Our location had been plowed under and a field of corn replaced what had been a nice park-area to photograph in. As far as I could tell there was no park left and no getting into what had replaced it and I didn’t have much of a “plan B”, but I managed to find two small locations to shoot in very nearby which turned out to work great!

The rain came back and pestered us throughout the shoot, I dropped my camera in the mud a couple times, got mildly wet, slipped a few more times, and risked life and limb (well… at least the ‘life’ of the lighting gear) to capture some photographs.

Big thanks to my assistant that day (Good friend and photographer, Joe Joyce) for his portable tent which kept our model dry during shooting!

Let’s check out a few of the photos we got from that shoot.

...and a little behind the scenes too!

Fashion Photographer Philadelphia - Fashion Designer + Me + The Camera

Simplify! Man!

Often as a photographer, I get far to caught up in the gadgets and gear that make my work possible and as they distract me from the fundamentals of why and how I shoot, I start to lose a little bit of what gives my work a "shot by Nathaniel Dodson" feel.

I’d venture so far as to say this happens to most photographers, but when this gadget-ism strikes I pony-up and strike back by heading out to a shoot with only a single fixed length lens and a reflector as my light! This is just to force myself to make due with what I have and use the light available to ensure I am not “losing my touch” on the basic essentials of how I shoot… this is of course assuming that I have some kind of touch in the first place (debatable). Stepping back and simplifying in both design and photographic work can be greatly beneficial! I love it!

She's a Fashion Designer... or a Rockstar

Kelli is a local working Fashion Designer who also has a passion for modeling. We got together to shoot some photographs and had an easy-breezy time capturing a few nice frames. She was great!


Getting together with Kelli I had previously decided that I would be significantly lightening my gear and carrying only a few things out onto location in an effort to focus on simplifying my approach –which had started getting a little out of hand. (Note: I brought one light with me for this shoot, an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra with the 39" Deep Octa Softbox.)

Below are a few of the photographs we captured. My shot(s) of the day turned out to be a series of black and white fashion photos which I absolutely love.