What to Wear: Photographer’s Edition

PhotographerFashionIn a word: black.

Black shirt.
Black pants.
Black shoes.
Black socks.
Black belt. Continue reading

Uncommon Yet Essential Items For Your Gear Bag

EssentialItems_BannerThere are some things you won’t read about in a photography book, they won’t teach you in photo school, and they don’t even sell at camera stores; yet I feel lost if I don’t have them at a shoot. Stash these goodies in your bag and you’ll be set for anything. Continue reading

Batteries Batteries Batteries

Batteries_Banner-It’s crazy to think that photography and electronics haven’t always been the same thing. Photographers today live on batteries, so it’s important that we consider what is powering our cameras and lights. In this post I am specifically talking about batteries for speed lights and small strobes. Here’s a look at what I recommend and why, plus a few tips to stay organized. Continue reading

Four Reasons Why I Prefer SD Cards

SD_Reasons-I’ve recently done a 180 degree turnaround regarding photo storage. I used to swear by CF cards feeling that they were somehow superior as the professionals choice. However I’m beginning to re-think the whole notion of “professional photography” altogether…

When I first got my D7000 I was annoyed by the fact that it only used SD cards. After using that camera exclusively for several months now I’ve gained some perspective that makes me appreciate a few unique advantages of SD cards: Continue reading

Lessons Learned from Beauty Retouching

BeautyRetouch_BannerLast week I met with the French photographer Clovis Lalanne who does a lot of work in the beauty and makeup industry. Talking with him made me realize how little I know about shooting and retouching beauty photos. Far too often I’m guilty of looking at an advertisement and saying to myself, “I could’ve shot that…” and then usually end up in a bout of self loathing as I reason why I’m not doing work at that level yet. Meeting with Clovis helped me understand the gap and realize I still have a lot to learn. After looking at my portfolio he suggested that I work on retouching, so that’s where I began. Continue reading

Behind the Lens: The Making of a Photograph


First things first, I really can’t take much credit for this photo. Sure I lit it and pressed the button, but it was 100% a team effort. Colleen Anne is a talented hair stylist who helped create the look, and Breanna Gittell is a fantastic model. With this much talent working together it’s hard to take a bad picture.

Lesson Learned: Surround yourself with talented people. Your photos will be better because of it.

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Behind the Lens: Shooting Skylines and Architecture

National Harbor at Dusk

I was hired to shoot some interior and exterior photos of a really ugly up and coming property just up the road from National Harbor. Suffice to say I was none too excited, but at least it was a chance to make a buck. The shot list also called for “pictures of the surrounding area” which I interpreted loosely as the National Harbor waterfront. You see, I had recently discovered a small stretch of land with a great, unique view of the harbor, and this was my opportunity not only to shoot it but to get paid for it. In other words I turned a crappy assignment into one I was actually looking forward to.

Lesson #1 Always look for opportunities to expand your portfolio and shoot what you want.

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Carnival Diem


On my way back from a shoot in Baltiless yesterday I saw the lights of a carnival and thought, “That would be fun to shoot…” so I turned around, grabbed my camera, and seized the day.

Carnivals are a great place to play with long exposures. Bring a tripod, set the camera on Shutter priority, and start clicking.

The Oak Sleeps in the Acorn

  Photo by Stephen Elliot

The title of this drawing is a direct quote from the book “Think and Grow Rich.” It speaks to the human potential, and it struck a chord with me when I first read it. My imagination took off running, and this is where it led me.

Drawn with a ballpoint pen in a pocket Moleskine notebook.


  Photo by Stephen Elliot

Years ago (about nine, in fact) I wrote down this idea of doing a self portrait that was half photo and half sketch. After so many years of excuses like “I’m not inspired right now,” and “I’ll do it when I have more time,” I pretty much forgot about it altogether. It wasn’t until I was nearly done with this drawing that it occurred to me I was already halfway there. Sometimes you just have to do the work and let the inspiration catch up.