Commercial Work: M and M Environmental, Chinatown, New York City

Sometimes, the job is simple. Just go out and make a picture. The key phrase there is “make a picture”. Anyone can press a button and take a picture, but it’s making a picture happen that makes this job worth getting up in the mornings for.

And believe me, I got up early for this one. For a wedding, I’m often showing up 11AM, 1PM, nice and easy. When you’re meeting the techs who go out for one of Manhattan’s leading pest control companies, you get there when they do: 7AM. In the pouring rain. One thing’s for certain, we’re not taking any outdoor photos today.

In this case, I’m taking staff photos for a relaunch of a corporate website, including new domain names and all. Now there’s one thing M&M Environmental is known for, and it’s eradicating bedbugs. (Don’t worry, I promise no images of bugs on my blog. Honest.) And the star of M&M’s team is Champ. Say hello to Champ…


Champ has no concept of personal space.

That might be because Champ is a year and a half old Beagle/Pointer mix, and he’s got more certifications and degrees than you can shake a stick at, if that’s your idea of a good time. Champ’s idea of a good time is sniffing whatever he can, and when he smells bedbugs, up comes his right forepaw. I got to watch Champ training, and he is goooood at what he does. Champ’s best buddy and partner is Danny, and that dog loves loves loves Danny.


One of the things I had to show was that M&M has complete testing as part of their service, but there wasn’t a lot of equipment around that day towards that. They did have kind of telescope/magnifying glass thing around, but it wasn’t the most impressive thing you’ve ever seen. We used just the top half, and implied the rest.


Finally, I had to get a portrait of Tim, the technical director for the firm. One thing about executives– they don’t generally give you much time. And I didn’t ask much of Tim’s time. I led him up to one the meeting spaces, set up one small soft box. Tim made it easy, he just exudes confidence and comfort with what he’s all about, and it took literally 3 frames to get his portrait done. Two verticals which fit newsletters and blog postings well, and then this one, which is the type of thing you can use for a main shot for a feature article on a business profile.


I gave them tons of stock images they can use of their staff from techs to call center to their four footed superstar. They were thrilled, and Champ was too.

Editorial/event work: Northpointe Christian Church, Lincoln, Rhode Island

One of my recent gigs was covering the launch weekend of a new church in the Providence, Rhode Island area.

I had been contacted by Dan Clymer of Restoration House Ministries, a church planting organization that launches new churches throughout New England.  During my one year at Lincoln Christian College, Dan was one of my very best professors, and I’ve always held it as one of the great privileges in my life that I was able to listen to Dan explore the life of Christ for four hours a week every week for an entire semester.  When he asked me about covering the opening weekend, I was thrilled to be able to commit to it.

Northpointe Christian Church meets at Cinemaworld in Lincoln, Rhode Island.  Yeah, the church meets in a movie theater.  It takes a little getting used to, but the location is ideal– you have a room with clear sightlines, an area for using as a stage in front, a second theater is used for one part of the kids programs, the kids’ party room is used for one class space, and their offices in the mall, just outside the theater entrance, encompass the infant/toddler area.

I covered a launch party the night before the first service at the theater, as well as the first day’s program.   I ended up delivering about twice the amount of images in the slideshow, with an eye towards showing them in action, while getting them group and family unit portraits that could be used for newsletters, fundraising brochures, etc.  I’m told that Restoration House is using the images to put together a 10 minute video that explains their role in bringing a project like this to fruition.

In a lot of ways, my photojournalistic style that I use for weddings was a perfect fit for giving them an inside view of the day, without interfering with the experience for newcomers.

The 2009 family Christmas card…

2009 Christmas Card front

Took a break from editing during my too-brief time home for Thanksgiving to shoot the portraits for our annual Christmas Card. With the twins now 20 months old, we’re able to get them to do a little more in front of the camera.

The basic setup for this one was white seamless paper for the background with a Alien Bees B800 monolight through a beauty dish, just to the right of the camera, as our main light. I used a white coffeetable as a combination stage/seat, as some of the photos were taken with the kids having their legs dangle over the edge, some with them standing on the table so they could move around. I also had a small flash high above at camera right running through a 1/4 inch Honl Speed Grid as a hair light, and a second small flash with a second Honl Grid behind the table lighting up the background.

Just because you’ve planned things well, doesn’t mean they always work out right.  I noticed quickly that one of my Pocket Wizard radio controllers wasn’t consistently firing my main light.  I ended up disconnecting it, and using the hair light to trigger the other two.  That required a second adjustment… it cost me a third of a stop of shutter speed.  Even on self-assigned gigs, you have to be ready to adapt quickly.

Kristina and I had a pretty good idea of our selects before the shoot was over.  The easiest part was the mixing of the five photos– I’ve had this concept (and the previous year’s card) in mind since before the twins were born.

I’m out of ideas for next year.  Maybe I’ll let Kristina come up with the next concept… Naaaaaah.

Cool wedding videos found on the internet…

Every once in awhile, I try to link to something that’s outside the box.  Sometimes, it’s advice, sometimes it’s inspiration.  This is definitely the latter.

Found this one through Offbeat Bride.  Bride and groom are turning 30 and 40, respectively.  A dual birthday party is planned.  This (fun, sexy, stylish) film is shown at the party.  Most of the guests are unaware that Jessica and Lorien (aka “Tree”) recently eloped.  

They know now.