Fashion Photography from my Art Institute of Pittsburgh days

Lynn Agee was an amazing model during my college days at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

Lynn Agee at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh – posing for a class photo assignment at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1978 or 1979.

The route to my degree in Specialized Technology – majoring in Photography/Multi-Media allowed me to explore the field of fashion photography while at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (AIP).

Two main challenges were finding models on a budget (Hey, I was a student paying for most of my education!) and finding unique locations to impress the profs.

I was fortunate to have a roommate who had an attractive girlfriend who was willing to pose for some of my class assignments.

Lynn Agee was an Interior Design student at AIP without formal modeling experience. She also had a car (which I didn't) so we were able to scout out some pretty cool locations around Pittsburgh.

The location for this particular assignment was Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts – a performing arts center and concert hall located in the Cultural District in downtown Pittsburgh. After all these years, I can't recall how I was able to finagle time at this prestigious location!

Lynn chose her outfit, I lugged in some tungsten lights to match the illumination on Lynn with the color temperature of the lighting in the hall and the result were some stunning photos of a beautiful subject – both the model and the building.

Not only did I get an “A” for this assignment, but I grew to love the challenge of fashion photography created on-location – one of many experiences that continues to serve me well as a portrait photographer creating glamour photos, high school senior portraits and family portraits throughout the U.S. today.

Here are some videos of high school senior girls that show how my portrait style has evolved since Lynn's photo shoot.

High school senior SpokesModel photos created in the Cleveland area.

High school senior SpokesModel photos created in the Cleveland area.

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Low camera angles can add visual interest to portraits


Sometimes, you just gotta “take one for the team” to get an interesting portrait. Click the photo to see it bigger. (Photo of me lying on the ground by Colleen Pishkula)

Over the years, I've found some of the best portraits require climbing a ladder or laying on the floor or ground.

Olmsted Falls High School class of 2015 student, Tori Pishkula, her mom, Colleen, and I set out for a “photo safari” in The Flats near downtown Cleveland this summer to create something a little different for Tori's senior portraits.

When we came across this lift bridge, I fell in love with it's massive structure and metal girders criss-crossing at 90 degree angles. When I viewed Tori and the bridge at Tori's level, the size and “power” of the bridge just wasn't obvious. Laying on the ground and shooting up at Tori with the bridge rising up behind her solved the problem.

Notice that I positioned Tori slightly left of the center of the photo so as not to block the view of the entrance to the bridge. I also posed her close to the camera so she stands out beautifully against the background. Most amateur photographers would typically place the person at the entrance of the bridge where they become lost in the photo.

Do you have any photo-related questions that you would like to have answered? It can be about composition, exposure, Photoshop techniques, cameras… the sky's the limit! I will answer them here and sometimes create a video to give a better visual explanation.

Just post your questions in “Comments” under the title of this post.

How to make a fashion book with Blurb

Blurb is a cool company that lets you make books about anything that interests you. (View a sample of my Blurb-made book – Picturesque Olmsted Falls – And if you’re interested in fashion and style—and love to show it off—making a book of your personal fashion is a fantastic way to capture your sartorial genius for all time. Whether you want it just for yourself, so you can look through your greatest hits, or you’re a bit of an Internet fashionista who wants to make a book to sell, you’ll find these tips pretty helpful:

1. It’s all about lighting. To make your fashion really pop, choose natural light or studio light with a soft box (you can even make one from a lamp and last season’s white t-shirt). If you’re using a flash, you’ll probably want to bounce it or stick a diffusion filter on it.

2. Make a shot list. This is a critical step, and even more important if you are photographing models. Even if your model is just your best friend who owes you a favor, they’ll appreciate it if you know exactly what you want to shoot. Think about the poses you want to capture, the outfits you want them to wear, and the details that you want to highlight in every shot. 

3. White balance (WB). Accurate color and skin tones come from making sure the WB function on your camera is set to your lighting situation. (You can check the color looks right on the camera's screen to see if it looks right.) Not sure hoe to adjust the white balance? It will be covered in your camera's manual. You do still have it, don't you? 😉

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

Be sure the camera's white balance is set to the correct lighting you're shooting under to ensure the models's skin color looks natural.

4. Choose the right lens/zoom setting. If you’re using a wide angle, you’re going to distort your models face and body (and your model may never forgive you). If you have a camera with a zoom lens, zoom out to minimize distortion. You will then have to move farther away from the model to get their whole body in for those full length shots.

5. Keep it stylish. It’s a fashion shoot, after all. Play music, keep things moving, try new angles. Attitude, attitude, attitude. 

Try unusual angles. Shoot down from a ladder or lay on the floor and shoot up to make the subject look taller.

6. Dress it up. Make your book as fashionable as the clothing featured in it. Choose a simple design that doesn't upstage the clothing, but still looks chic. Pick a size and paper type that showcases the work brilliantly.

If you've ever paid attention to what’s on the “catwalk,” you know that fashion means different things to different people. Follow your own fashion obsessions and document them in a fashionable book. If you look good today in person, imagine looking great forever on the printed page with Blurb! Start your Blurb book now and Save 25% on print book orders of $75+ at Blurb.

If you want the best model portraits possible, that's where we can help. Check out some of our model shoots here.

LinkedIn Unlocked – Missing links revealed to boost your job search success

Finding a job is HARD! There are so many different ways to search for one besides the classified ads in the newspaper. In fact, newspapers are quickly becoming the last place that most job seekers search. If you aren't using the Internet and networking with family, friends and former coworkers – your odds of finding a job are greatly diminished.

So how can you effectively combine networking and the Internet to land your next job? By having a complete, free business profile on LinkedIn.

Executives from all 2012 Fortune 500 companies have LinkedIn accounts and 50% of Fortune 100 companies hire through LinkedIn.

A personal, LinkedIn profile gives users an online, up-to-the-minute “living resume” – available online 24-7 to recruiters, hiring managers or prospective clients who may wish to do business with or hire you.

Not sure how to set-up a LinkedIn profile? On Monday, December 9th, from 1:30 – 3:30, I will be presenting a free workshop, LinkedIn UNLOCKED – The MISSING links revealed to help grow your business or land your next job. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to optimize your profile to rise to the top of recruiters’ searches for someone with your skills and discover numerous strategies to uncover individuals who could open the door to your next job. Here's a short preview of some of the info that I'll cover:

Only use a professionally created portrait on your LinkedIn profile. Self-portraits with a cell phone do not look professional – which gives a bad impression of you.

Only use a professionally created portrait on your LinkedIn profile.
Self-portraits with a cell phone do not look professional – which gives a bad impression of you.

One critical mistake that many job seekers make is not having a professionally created portrait on their LinkedIn profile. A professional portrait is key for a great first impression and strong credibility. Self-portraits with a cell phone do not look professional – which gives a bad impression of you.

Recruiters want to see what a potential candidate looks like. LinkedIn profiles with pictures are reviewed more than those without. A study by TheLadders online job search service discovered recruiters spend more time examining a LinkedIn user's portrait than reviewing their qualifications.

If a picture isn't on a profile, people tend to assume it's because the person is unattractive. (Miriam Salpeter at U.S. News & World Report) Your portrait should be updated every 2 – 3 years. If you want to be recognized at networking events by your LinkedIn connections, make sure your portrait is current!
The workshop will be at the Westlake Porter Public Library at 27333 Center Ridge Rd, Westlake, OH. Phone (440) 871-2600.
What questions would you like me to cover? Please click “Comment” to pose your questions.

Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one.

Changing camera angles and take an ordinary pose and transform it to an extraordinary one. These photos are from the presentation: “7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography”

I'm really excited to be asked to show how to take better vacation photos at the May 20th meeting of the North Ridgeville Arts Council. I will be presenting “Discover 7 Secrets to Better Vacation Photography.” The information can be used to improve vacation photography, pictures of friends and family, sporting events and more.

Topics to be covered include: how to choose a camera, creative composition from unusual camera angles, use of natural light and electronic flash, how to help people look their best, enhancing photos after they're taken, saving and preserving picture files to guard against loss from a computer crash, different ways to display photographs for maximum enjoyment and more.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

The meeting is on Monday, May 20th at 7 p.m. at North Ridgeville Library,35700 Bainbridge Rd, North Ridgeville.

Adrienne Gaggi Senior session was amazing!

Adrienne Gaggi has some modeling training and she obviously learned well. Rarely do I see a high school girl easily show such a wide variety of expressions – and soooooooooo effortlessly.

Adrienne, thanks for a GREAT photo shoot!

Now if I could just find some girls like Adrienne from the class of 2012 to be Facebook models for my studio!

The return of the Liddys

Last week, I was blessed with the opportunity to photograph my third member of the Liddy family from Olmsted Falls. Sean, like Donnie and Melanie before him, was fun to photograph. His confident manner was easy to capture in his portraits.

Just like his parents, Teri and Don, Sean will be the kind of person to motivate others to accomplish great things.

To see more of Sean's portraits, watch his video on YouTube or Facebook.

Glamourpuss – Bridal tips for a picture-perfect face

There is nothing more beautiful than a bride on her wedding day.

One of the key areas of a bride's appearance is how well her makeup is applied. Here are 10 tips to guarantee a picture-perfect face:

Do you have any additional tips you'd like to share? Click the “Comments” button and post them there.

Revolutionary breakthrough technique makes everyone look great in photos! Endorsed by famous celebrities

"Opaque Portrait" of the Wicked Witch of the West after being doused by a glass of water

After years of intensive research and monkeying around, a new, breakthrough photographic technique has been developed to help EVERYONE look great – no matter what their appearance. Dubbed Opaque Portraits, these photographs are created in a specially designed studio with patented opaque lighting so that nothing is visible in the photo. “No one will ever have to worry about others judging their appearance ever again,” states photo artist Mark Madere of SpectraLight Photography.

“We've been asked by world renowned celebrities to create Opaque Portraits for them,” said Madere. Their first client was a California Governor and famous movie star who flew all the way to SpectraLight’s North Ridgeville studio for his session. When he saw his Opaque Portrait, the Governor exclaimed, “I’ve never looked so good! You can’t see anything in this picture. I'll be baaack!” Continue reading