photography

The Makeup Show Orlando 2018

Back in September 2014 I attended my first Makeup Show in Dallas, TX. It was a really cool event to attend and I captured a lot of interesting photographs. While I was a photographer living in Dallas, I never attended another Make Up Show. In October of 2016, I moved to the Tampa, FL area. This past summer (2018), I just happen to come across a ad promoting The Makeup Show Orlando, scheduled for September 15-16, 2018. After verifying my calendar was clear for that weekend, I immediately made plans to make the hour and half drive to the Hyatt Regency Orlando. 

The format and layout for the show was similar to The Makeup Show Dallas, but in Orlando, it was $5 cheaper for a one day pass and $4 cheaper for a two day. As stated in my previous blog, the event isn't open to the public, you have to show some proof that you are in the industry as a makeup artists, cosmetologists, hairstylists, fashion stylists, photographer, model, etc. I provided my business card and I was good to go.

Unlike 2014, I attended this years show with a photographic purpose in mind, which was to capture images to add to my editorial stock portfolio on Shutterstock. The first time around in Dallas I was so excited to be there, that I photographed a lot of the same things. This time around, I was a lot more selective. After all, once you’ve been up and down each isle after a few hours, the scene looks the same. It was however, interesting to see the progress of the models being body painted. Whenever I felt the visual monotony, I would stop shooting and starting observing, even having a conversation or to or take a break in the lobby. When I became bored from just walking hunting for a opportunity, I would “work” an area, and whatever I found interesting at that spot, I would photograph it.

The Makeup Show attendees are probably the most interesting subjects of all to photograph. There’s a real buzz of excitement by all the passionate beauty professionals and there’s a steady flow of new faces. In the middle of the second row next to one of the makeup vendors, there was a full length mirror with beautiful bright lights around the edges, a photographers dream. I noticed attendees would look at themselves in that mirror after sampling various makeup looks. Periodically through out the day, I would park just to the left of the mirror and photograph attendees as they admired the work on their face. I even managed a few ladies to pose for me.

Well, The Makeup Show Orlando, was just as much fun this time as it was in Dallas. Please check out a few images blow, or see my collection on Shutterstock.

Stennett - Sloly Wedding

I had the pleasure of photographing a wedding in the Houston, TX area. The wedding was held at the Enchanted Cypress Ballroom. This venue had some fantastic backgrounds. The wedding guest travelled from both the east and west cost to witness this union. It was a lovely wedding, and the Caribbean roots of the bride and groom made for a festive reception. 

Flight Status

Last week (April 2, 2016) I was flying from Dallas, TX to Tampa, FL. After boarding the plan, the captain announced there were storms in the Tampa area and there would be a possible 2 hour flight delay. 30 minutes later, we de-boarded the plan and went back into the DFW airport terminal. After finding a seat, I decided to take some photographs of the travelers passing by to kill the time. I was sitting near a flight status monitor and I noticed a steady stream of travelers stopping to check their flight status. I decided to take images of people looking up at the monitor.

I was seated on the end so I had an unobstructed view. I didn't want to be obvious, so i put my camera in Live View mode and balanced it on my knee. As people stopped, I would frame the shot via Live View and take the photograph. Most didn't notice what I was doing, and the ones who did, didn't say anything, they just kept walking. 

The flight delay ended up being only an hour. But during that time I took some interesting images. Here are some of the photographs. 

Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Photographer

For the 2015 NFL season, I'm the photographer for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers and Drumline (DCRB). The DCRB dancers are the ONLY coed hip-hop professional dance team in the NFL! They perform at all of the Dallas Cowboys home games and make special appearances around the country. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, this is a super dope opportunity. How did I get this photography gig? Glad you asked. For real, I've gotten that question several times.

Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers

I love the hip-hop dance genre, so back in 2014, on my own initiative, I started photographing local hip-hop dance events as a personal project. I started searching for hip-hop dance events around Dallas, when I came across the World of Dance tour.  I blogged about that event, which you can read here. To date, I've actually photographed 3 WOD events, 2 in Dallas and 1 in Houston. From there I went on to photograph the Dallas Hip Hop Dance FestMonsters of Hip Hop Dance and other dance events around the Dallas area. The dance community in Dallas is a small world, I started seeing the same people at each event, and I developed a reputation for my photographic work. As a result, I started getting calls to photograph hip-hop dance events and classes. There's one person in particular I want to point out, Paul Gosling. Paul was one of the parents for a dancer on the Hooligans Dance Krew. He hooked me up with several opportunities and referrals from dance classes by some industry leading choreographers such as Laurieann "Harlee" Gibson and Will "WilldaBeast Adams, to a Monsters Headphones product test shoot. Thank you Paul for every opportunity you brought my way.

Monsters of Hip Hop

Along my journey as a hip-hop dance photographer, I met Jenny Durbin Smith. The first time I saw her, she was a co-host at the Dallas Hip Hop Dance Fest. Soon after we started following each other on Instagram and we eventually met in person at the Monsters of Hip Hop event back in January of this year (2015).  I didn't know it at the time, but she was the director and choreographer for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers. If fact, she has an impressive body of work in the dance industry. Back in June (2015), Jenny offered me the job as the DCRB photographer for the 2015 season. I didn't even ask what it paid before YESSSS leaped outta my month (not a good negotiating practice btw). Money didn't matter to me, it was the experience of shooting a professional hip-hip dance crew AND it's for America's Team the Dallas Cowboys. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!  Thanks Jenny!!!

As the seasons goes on I hope to be blogging more about my experiences and sharing some interesting shots as well.  We're already 3 games in (including the preseason), so I plan on getting caught up this week. Enjoy the ride er'body, cause I am.

World of Dance Dallas 2015

World of Dance Dallas 2015

For the second year in a row, I was a volunteer photographer at the World of Dance tour that hit Dallas on May 9, 2015 at the South Side Ballroom. I was excited about this event because one of my favorite dancers, Fik-Shun would be performing. I watched So You Think You Can Dance season 10, where Fik-Shun was the male winner that season, he quickly became a crowd favorite. 

Last year I shot pretty much want I wanted, this year I had an assignment to shoot the vendors and attendees. Once the dance competition started, there wasn't much to shot as everyone was watching the dancers, so I shot the dancers from the audio booth, right behind the judges. I'm glad I brought my Sigma 70-200 2.8 and my mono-pod as they came in handy shooting from that distance.  There was one dance crew I knew so I did shoot them from the front of the stage using a 17-35 i rented from Competitive Cameras. I prefer the shots from the audio booth because I didn't have to be on my knees for 4 hours, I could shoot standing up. 

Although I wasn't prepared to shoot video, I ended up shooting over a hours worth. Short clips of each crew. With a 70-200MM lens and a monopod, the video came out very shaky. It's hard to shoot stills and video when you have a few seconds to switch between them. I wanted to shoot some video just for the practice and wasn't to concerned about the quality. Below are some shots from the event, you can check out my full gallery of images HERE.

Fik-Shun

Fik-Shun

Hooligan Dance Krew

Hooligan Dance Krew

Fik-Shun

Fik-Shun

Open Mic

A few weeks ago, someone on Instagram posted that they will be performing at Opening Bell Coffee's (OBC) Open Mic. I was curious about that and went to OBC's website to see what this was all about. OBC has the longest running Open Mic in Dallas. Musicians sign up and play on a rotation for about 15 minutes which is normally two songs. Original music is preferred, but they do allow some cover songs as well. I decided to go to Open Mic night and see if I can photograph the artist as they perform. I spoke with the host and asked if it was OK if I photographed the artist, he said sure. I did offer the images for free for anyone who wants one. When I got there I was surprised to see one of the models I photographed at a works shop a few months ago. Below are some of the shots from Opening Bell Coffee's Open Mic, I also have some video clips on my Instagram feed.

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Strangers of Seattle

Back in January (2014), I spent a week in Seattle. Seattle is a great place for street photography, especially the area around Pike Place Market. There's never a shortage of opportunities for street portraits. The majority of people said yes to having their picture taken, I ended up with 25 stranger portraits. I found the people friendly and down to earth. Here are some of the strangers I photographed while in Seattle. At the bottom is a map of Seattle where I took a lot of my street portraits. 

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Map of the locations in Seattle where I took the street portraits. 

Map of the locations in Seattle where I took the street portraits. 

Mo' Stangers

Recent Stranger Portraits

After completing the 100 Strangers project, I stopped photographing for a while. At times I would feel the "itch" to photograph strangers, so if I come across somebody interesting and I have my camera, I'll ask to take their portrait. Now that I think about, I might as well go for a second set of 100. Here are a few of my most recent stranger portraits.

I was in Grapevine, TX and decided to take a walk around the mall to see if I could find one interesting stranger to photograph. It's about 7:30 PM on a Thursday evening and there was hardly anybody in the mall. Most of the stores were empty, so I saw a lot of people standing around not doing much. I was walking by a store called Proimage Sports and that when I saw Terrence. He was standing behind the counter and the store was empty. I walked in side and told him he had a great afro. He says he gets that all the time. I asked I could take his photo, he said sure. He has a friend who's a photographer they shoot all the time. I told Terrence he had a great urban look, if he wanted to do a shoot downtown to let me know

I was  attending an event when I saw Mari. I told her I liked her head dress and asked if I could take her portrait. She said no at first, but I kept telling her great she looked and she agreed. Mari is originally from Afghanistan and is an event planner. 

I was  attending an event when I saw Mari. I told her I liked her head dress and asked if I could take her portrait. She said no at first, but I kept telling her great she looked and she agreed. Mari is originally from Afghanistan and is an event planner. 

I was  attending an event when I saw Winifred. She walked over to my booth and I asked to take her portrait. I mentioned that I loved her skin tone. Winifred is a graduate of Texas A&M.

I was  attending an event when I saw Winifred. She walked over to my booth and I asked to take her portrait. I mentioned that I loved her skin tone. Winifred is a graduate of Texas A&M.

I was in Subway for lunch when Kaylee walked in the store. Her urban style caught my attention and at that point I was interested in taking her portrait. I was at the cash register when she came in and there was one guy ahead of her and other people started coming into the Subway. I took my order and sat in my car, hoping she would come my way.  When Kaylee came out of the Subway, she walked right toward my car, I figured she was parked next to me and she was. I got out of the car with camera in hand and introduced myself. I mentioned she had an interesting look, I asked if I could take her portrait. She had this sly grin on her face and she said "sure, go for it." I'm sure she was on her lunch break, plus it was a cold windy day her in Dallas (30F) so I took a few quick shots and give her my business card.

I was in Subway for lunch when Kaylee walked in the store. Her urban style caught my attention and at that point I was interested in taking her portrait. I was at the cash register when she came in and there was one guy ahead of her and other people started coming into the Subway. I took my order and sat in my car, hoping she would come my way.  When Kaylee came out of the Subway, she walked right toward my car, I figured she was parked next to me and she was. I got out of the car with camera in hand and introduced myself. I mentioned she had an interesting look, I asked if I could take her portrait. She had this sly grin on her face and she said "sure, go for it." I'm sure she was on her lunch break, plus it was a cold windy day her in Dallas (30F) so I took a few quick shots and give her my business card.

100 Strangers

Personal Project

In December 2012, I started a personal project called 100 Strangers. I found out about this project on Flickr. The idea is to take at least 100 photographs of 100 people you don't know and ask for permission to take their photo. Part two of this challenge is to find out something about them, who are they and what is their life like. I was immediately intrigued and then I was hit with a sense of fear. It was that sense of fear that cause me to decide to do it. This past August (2013) I completed the project. Yes, I photographed 100 strangers. It was an incredible experience, I'm glad I did it. In this blog post I want to share what I learned and to show some of my favorite images.

5 Lessons Learned

  1. Fear: This is the biggest issue to overcome. I found that, being told no, is not what makes you nervous about approaching strangers, it's what that person thinks. I decided early on, it doesn't matter what they think.  I did it in-spite of the fear, which never goes away, even when I approached my 100th stranger I was nervous about. I just fought through the fear. I must admit, it got the best of me sometimes. Yes I missed some great portrait opportunities. But I won more than I lost and by completing the project - I won the war. 
  2. Say What? The next issue I need to address is what do I say? What I settled on was not to just ask a random stranger, instead, I would approach someone that had something interesting about them - that would be my opening line. I would introduce myself, tell them about the project, say what I find interesting about them, and asked to take their portrait. People love it when you compliment them, especially women. Just the slightest compliment generates the most authentic expressions.
  3. Professionalism: One thing I did was have some business cards printed up. A lot of times I would give them my card during the opening statement. That gives the impression that this guy is legitimate. Also, I always offered to send them a free copy of the image. Most people are leery of giving you there email address, that's why I used the business cards with my email address, so that they can contact me. From what I've discovered very few people contacted me to get a copy of the photo. There have been occasions where they gave me there card and I would send them a copy. Lastly, appearance is important as well. You have about 3 seconds to make a good first impression. With that in mind, I would make sure I didn't look sloppy.
  4. Patience: There have been several strangers who were on the fence. You can see their brains just turning as they tried to decided whether to do it or not. This is where patience is important, I didn't assume what they would say or use some Jedi mind trick. I would stand there and just smile and wait for an answer. If they paused to long or said something like "I don't know, how long will this take?" Then I would tell them it will only take a second or reinforce what I found interesting about them. I would never give up while in the midst of indecision. Most of the time they said yes. If they really struggled I would let them off the hook and just say thanks and move on.
  5. Conversation: I can't express home much I enjoyed conversing with the various strangers. I met a activist, artist, counselor, yoga instructor, nurse, cook, college student, waitress and a few models. I even met a guy how had a documentary about his life filmed. You can image the range of conversations, it was very interesting indeed.

These are just a few of the lessons/experiences I learned during this project. Now, let's take a look at some of the strangers I met. It was hard to choose ten, but here are my top ten stranger portraits (in no certain order) along with a description of the experience. You can see all 100 by clicking HERE!

 

Top Ten 100 Stranger Portraits

#1

This image is the most sentimental, because it was my first stranger portrait. I saw Nicole at Klyde Warren Park and I thought she had an interesting hat. I introduced myself and explained the 100 Stranger project and asked if I could take her picture. Nicole is a Yoga instructor and she was about to lead a class and said I could photographer her while she did a few Yoga movements. While she was doing Yoga I took several pictures. I chose this one because of the wonderful smile on her face. Later I found her email address and sent her a copy of the images for her portfolio.

Nicole #1

#2

This is probably my favorite image capturing during the project. On my flight back to DFW from Winnipeg, CA, I had a 2.5 hour layover in Minneapolis-St Paul. I decided to get something to eat so I went to this bar and grill and Kiki was my waitress. Immediately the hair style caught my attention. I told her I loved her hair and that she has a great look. I asked if I could take her portrait and she said sure. I didn't want anything in the background, so I had her stand next to a white column near the bar. The catch light in her eyes is the huge window behinds, perfect window light. I noticed how comfortable she was in front of the camera and that she changed poses and expressions between shots. I asked if she models, she said yes. In fact, she has a photo shoot the next day. Kiki was working, so I didn't want to take up to much of her time, I did ask where she was from, she said Ethiopia. The meal at this restaurant wasn't very good, never has a bad meal been so worth it.

Kiki #95

#3

I saw Bob in Deep Ellum, playing his keyboard with one hand and singing a song. I asked Bob if I could take his portrait. He said yes. Bob gave me his website which is HisNameIsBob.com. Come to find out, Bob has a documentary film about him called “His Name Is Bob.” Articles have been written about him in the Dallas Morning News, chronicling his story. Bob is mentally challenged with a troubled past, abused by his mother and abandoned at an institution as a child. He was a heavy drinker and for a time he was homeless. The East Dallas community reached out to help him. His story was told in the 2010 indie documentary what has won awards on the festival circuit and was shown on DirecTV and Dish.  

Bob #56

 #4

I saw Lori at the Nasher Sculpture Center.  I didn't say anything to her at first and I almost left. I saw her with a camera phone, taking a picture of her son, who is 10 months old. I walked over and asked if I could take her picture for the 100 Strangers project. She said yes, but I could hear the reluctance in her voice. So she sat by one of the sculptures and I started shooting and would talk in between shots. Lori was very friendly and we had a good conversion talking about kids. Then something amazing happened, I noticed her son started smiling. At first he just sitting there, in fact I thought he might be sleep. That expression on his face in this image is "priceless." 

Lori #10

 #5

Vicky was sitting in the park with her feet up in a chair just chillin. She had a warm look about her and I liked the scarf she was wearing. When I approached her regarding the project, she was very interested and agreed to have her photo taken. Vicki is a very nice lady, she even introduced me to two of her friends that were meeting her in the park. Vicky was born and raised in Dallas and works at the Meyerson Symphony Center. Before I left, she took out her camera phone and took a shot of me.

Vicky #43

 #6

This stranger portrait was taken on a business tip to Winnipeg, CA. After work I went to the hotel to get my gear to look for strangers to photograph. I found a mural painted the length of the wall next to a library. I thought this would make a cool background, but very few people passed by. I waited for some passersby, but few did, so I decided to go back to the hotel. On the way back, I saw Michael and Grace (#64) walking toward me when I interrupted them, gave them my card and introduced myself. I asked if I could take their portrait for the project. Michael asked what I would do with the pictures, I informed him that I would upload them to my website and Flickr.  He agreed. Michael asked if he could use his megaphone in the shot, I told him that we would take various shots with and without the megaphone. Michael and Grace had just returned from a “May Day” protest rally in support of day labors. They were also supporting opportunities for Aboriginal Youth (Michael is Cree). Michael organizes AYO! (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities)—a youth-led anti-gang organization committed to breaking stereotypes and creating opportunities in the community. He has also spoken at TEDxManitoba in 2012. Michael has great personality and it was blast photographing him. We exchanged twitter tags, Michael tweeted a pic of me photographing Grace.

Michael #63 (Canada)

 #7

I was standing on a street corner in downtown Winnipeg, MB, CA, when I spotted Jessica crossing the street. Her style and obvious beauty drew my attention. Jessica was about to go into Tim Horton’s, a popular coffee shop here in Canada when I approached her. I described the project to her and asked if I could take her portrait. She was very hesitant, but didn't say no. It’s been my experience that if someone doesn't want their portrait taken, they say no without hesitating. I went into more detail about the project and to my elated surprise eventually she said yes. After about 3 frames, she was ready to go. Jessica is currently a student. Since she was on her way into the coffee shop, I bought her a cup coffee to show my appreciation. 

Jessica #67 (Canada)

 #8

I was photographing a fashion show at the Galleria, when I saw Carlos. His style immediately caught me attention, once the show was over I made it a point to try and find him afterwards. I walked to the area I last saw Carlos and he was around the corner from the catwalk. He had a few people around him taking pictures. I walked up to him and said I liked his style and asked if I could take his portrait. He said sure, he was standing next to black wall, I had a 85 1.8 lens I rented, I stood back and took a few frames. One of my favorites.

Carlos #97

 #9

I saw Tenielle walking toward me at Klyde Warren Park, when I asked to take her portrait for the 100 Strangers project. She was hesitant but finally said ok. Sounds like she had a British accent which I always find charming.  Tennille works for Crazy Fish, a sushi food truck. I told her there was a sushi food truck at my job a few months ago. I told her where I worked and she said that was her. It is a small world after all.  I eventually found out that Tenielle is from Australia and she has been in Dallas for ten years. What's funny about this picture, at the time I didn't notice the frames on her shades were two different colors.

Tenielle #29

 #10

Last but not least is Josh from Winnipeg, CA. I saw this cool background in downtown Winnipeg. So I stood there waiting for a stranger with an urban look to pass by. When I saw Josh heading toward me, I thought he would make a good subject. I described the project and he said yes to the portrait. I placed him hear the multi-colored wall and took a few shots. Josh is a student, majoring in business and he graduates next year. Currently he needs to make some money so he’s looking for a job bar tending. Josh asked my about the experience of photographing strangers, I told him it’s very interesting. You get out of your comfort zone and met some amazing people. I emailed Josh a copy of the photo. We're friends on Facebook.

Josh #70 (Canada)

 

Honorable Mention:

Because this was stranger portrait # 100 I had to include it. I was in North Park Center mall when I saw Priysnka walk by. A few minutes later she walked back toward where I was sitting and she went into a store. I waited for her to come out and I approached her and told her I was out photographing strangers. I told her I thought she was very attractive, then I asked if I could take her portrait. She was on the fence about it and finally she said yes. Priysnka was on her lunch break, she just received her masters degree in Psychology, she counsels people with eating disorders. I gave her my business card and thanked her. 


Priysnka #100