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Ninety Two

Date post: 22-Mar-2016
Author: ben-sasso
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A photography magazine documenting a summer of work as well as some tips, tricks and treats for the photo community. Enjoy!
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THE INTERNET MACHINE A few ideas on getting your brand out there, and how to keep in touch with your fans TIPS FOR TRAVEL Thoughts from my trip to Peru to help you with your travels SHOOTING INTO THE SUN Get a grip on backlit situations EMBER Behind the scenes with one of L.A.’s most forward thinking jewelry companies
  • THE INTERNET MACHINEA few ideas on getting your brand out there, and how to keep in touch with your fans

    TIPS FOR TRAVELThoughts from my trip to Peru to help you with your travels

    SHOOTING INTO THE SUNGet a grip on backlit situations

    EMBERBehind the scenes with one of L.A.s most forward thinking jewelry companies

  • Welcome to Ninety-Two.

    As a photographer, there are

    two things I hold in high regard. The

    first is shooting personal work; taking some

    time away from doing paid work and allowing

    room for error. Shoot anything you have been

    wanting to and work your creative muscles.

    The second thing is giving back to the photo

    community. I have learned so much from the

    photographers I look up to and I want to be

    able to pass that on. Ninety-Two is my yearly

    magazine put out at the end of summer to

    display the personal work I shot and to share

    tips and tutorials with the photo community.

    It will only contain images taken within the

    ninety-two days of summer.

    Kick back and enjoy.

    Ben Sasso

  • MORNING LIGHTReasons to get your butt out of bed

    SHOOTING BACKLITUsing the sun and getting a grip on backlit situations

    EMBERBehind the scenes with one of L.A.'s most forward thinking jewelry companies

    ONLINE PRESENCEWhy and how to carry your brand through the internet machine

    TESTINGWhy unpaid personal shoots can pay off, and how to properly set them up

    TEN TIPS FOR TRAVELThoughts from my travelsto Peru to help you withyour travels


    1 1123 414355

    76WRITINGBen Sasso


    DESIGNTony Sasso

    EDITINGVeronica Spake


  • There is something to be said for morning light. It seems like the sun would shine the same on the way up as it does on the way down, but the morning light is just so cool and soft in comparison to the light of the afternoon.

  • If you have the goal of shooting for

    publications you will need to train yourself to shoot vertically. It

    seems like it might be a simple thing to do but it is a bigger

    switch than you think. The more you practice

    it, the better you will be and the more comfortable you will

    feel doing it.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/400

    f/2ISO 160

    Ninety Two 1 / 2

  • Since I tend to shoot in the afternoon a lot I decided

    to do a few morning shoots this summer and after

    each one I was always so glad I woke up early. My

    favorite thing about Florida mornings is that the

    haze is still out, adding a lot to the atmosphere and

    taking a lot of the contrast out of the background.

    This allows the subject in the foreground to really

    pop. Its that same haze that makes the sunlight

    softer when it breaks the horizon. The softer light

    takes away the worry of harsh shadows and will give

    you some different looks when shooting backlit.

    While afternoon light will give you harder sun flare

    when shooting backlit, the early morning the haze

    makes the sun flare into more of a sun wash. I

    love both results, but for different reasons. The

    afternoon light always gives me great shots when

    I am looking to portray that easy-going, summer-

    fun style because it gives a much more dynamic

    flare. The dynamic flare creates a sense of action

    and movement. That combined with some laughing

    models can create a strong lifestyle image.

    The morning light is great for editorial and softer

    fashion work because of the peaceful atmosphere

    that the haze provides.

    I love the editorial feel to this shot and the way the softer

    morning sun doesnt give off any harsh

    flare. To give this shot more of a morning

    feel I brought out the blues in the shadows.

    Typically, morning light is a lot cooler (color-

    wise) than the late afternoon light.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/400

    f/2ISO 160

  • Ninety Two 3 / 4

  • I set up this shoot because I wanted some swimsuit

    shots in my portfolio that arent lifestyle but also

    dont come across as sexual. Let Talk about this

    shoot specifically. Why this location? Why this

    model? Why the one piece? I wanted it to feel less

    like a sports illustrated shot and more like an

    editorial shot. Even though there were a few things

    I wanted to focus on this summer they all were

    driven by the same idea. I feel comfortable with

    my skills when it comes to shooting late afternoon

    happy lifestyle work but I wanted to branch out.

    While it is extremely important to have a solid and

    recognizable style, it is also important to allow

    yourself the freedom to experiment. If you arent

    pushing yourself then you will never get past the

    level that you are at right now. After doing a few fun

    lifestyle shoots early in the summer I tried to shift

    my focus towards things I dont usually do.

    If you are going to follow my advice on branching

    out, it is a pretty simple process. The first thing I

    did is thought about why I wanted to try different

    things. Is it because I am not happy with the style

    I have developed? Am I bored with what I shoot?

    The truth is that I love my style and I always have

    a blast shooting lifestyle. The reason I wanted to

    experiment is because I want to let my brain work a

    little more and I want to have a photographic style

    that comes through in more than just one shooting

    style. By that I mean that my I want my work to

    be recognizable as Ben Sasso wether it is lifestyle,

    fashion, editorial or even video. That is why I spent

    a large portion of this summer shooting anything

    other than smiling afternoon lifestyle.

  • While it is extremely important to have a solid and recognizable

    style, it is also important to allow yourself the freedom to experiment. If you arent pushing yourself then

    you will never get past the level that you are at right now.

    Since Haley has killer freckles I wanted to do a few shots that emphasize them. I wet down her hair in order to make it darker because I knew that would make her freckles pop. In post I also bumped up the sharpness on her skin to bring them out even more.

    The lens I shot this with is all manual focus which is always fun to shoot. There is something about it that makes you appreciate photography more. Just like shooting with film, shooting manual focus really makes you slow down and think more about what you are doing.

    Left5d II + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/250f/2.8ISO 640

    Below5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/800f/2.2ISO 160

    5 / 6

  • I love these boulders. They give a great texture but still have a subtle enough color that they arent distracting or overpowering. I shot this right when the sun was coming up and since it was still hazy out the light was soft enough to not cast any harsh shadows on Haley.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/400f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 7 / 8

  • 5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/400

    f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 9 / 10

  • If you want to be a solid photographer, you need to understand light and how to use it.

  • Longer lenses like the one used for this photo will give large washed out

    flare like the rings towards the bottom of the image.

    Depending on your settings and how strong the sun is

    you can get a beautiful mix of looks with a lens like

    this. The sun for this photo was just behind Prestons face so I hid it, focused, recomposed and shot.

    5d II + 85mm 1.2L II1/2500f/2.0

    ISO 160

    Ninety Two 11 / 12

  • When shooting into the sun with a wider lens you will see smaller artifacts of flare like the ones on his neck and stomach. Wider lenses can give you dynamic images and a good flare can add a lot to that.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1600f/1.8ISO 160

  • Lighting is key. If you want to be a solid photographer

    you need to understand light and how to control it.

    It is something that can solidify a photographers

    style or put them on the map as someone who still

    has some learning to do. Among the many lighting

    techniques I see and use, shooting into the sun

    has always been a favorite of mine. My love for the

    technique was brought about by the imperfections

    and happy accidents caused by the sun hitting the

    lens. Over time I have grown to appreciate it for its

    ability to be specifically manipulated. Depending on

    the lenses used, the time of day, and the personality

    of the subject, back lighting can give you anything

    from a dynamic summer lifestyle shot to a peaceful

    editorial portrait.

    On most occasions, I prefer even lighting on my

    subjects which means I shoot with my subjects

    face either fully in the sun or fully in the shade. The

    trouble with shooting an evenly lit photo is that if

    it isnt done properly the photo can easily lose its

    strength. To bring back a dynamic feeling to the

    image I use the sun and the artifacts it can create

    when it hits the lens. The trick with shooting into the

    sun is learning how to show the power and beauty of

    the sun while preserving the details you want to in

    your images. One of the most common mistakes that

    photographers make when starting to shoot into the

    sun is exposing for the sky instead of their subject.

    This leaves the subject underexposed and less of

    a focal point. I hardly ever worry about blowing

    out the sky because the details I want are on the

    subject. What I aim for is the limit right before I blow

    out the highlights on my subject. Even if you are

    shooting RAW you will not be able to get back blown

    out details in post because the image data simply

    will not be there. A good way to find that limit is to

    turn on the highlight alert on your camera. Every

    camera has a different way to turn it on which can

    be found online or in the camera manual without

    much trouble. The highlight alert will tell you where

    you have lost details due to over exposure in your

    image. Every pixel on your image that has lost detail

    will flash on your LCD screen. If you see flashing

    pixels on your subject, dial down the exposure to the

    point right before it starts to flash. This way if you

    choose to push it farther in post, you still can but

    the details will remain in your image either way.

    Ninety Two 13 / 14


    5d II + 85mm 1.2L II1/800

    f/2ISO 160

    Now that you are shooting away, dont be discouraged

    when you are getting shots that look washed out.

    Shooting into the sun can give you stunning results

    but you usually need to pull them into post for a bit

    of work to get them there. The two biggest things

    you will notice once you are working with them on

    your computer is that they are washed out and not

    vibrant. Worry about vibrance and saturation last

    because when you fix the contrast you will find

    that the saturation is often fixed with it. Bringing

    back contrast to an image is pretty simple. You can

    either do it through levels in Photoshop or through

    your contrast and blacks sliders in Lightroom or

    whichever program you are working in. For a bit more

    punch you can bring up the clarity or sharpness until

    you are satisfied. After doing this and working with

    the temperature of the photo a bit you may find that

    the saturation is already back to where you want it.

    Obviously processing will vary from image to image,

    but unless you like washed out photos you can

    expect to do this to the majority of what you shoot.

    Something you will learn pretty quickly is that every

    lens handles the sun differently. Longer focal lengths

    will handle it differently than wider ones and even

    two different lenses of the same focal length will

    give you two different results. This is because the

    sun flare is a result of the sun shining into the lens

    and bouncing around the glass inside. Longer lenses

    will give you larger washed out artifacts while wider

    lenses will give smaller and more dynamic flare.

    The distance the subject is from your lens and the

    aperture that the image was shot at will also effect

    the final image. The reason I am telling you this is

    so you experiment. Shoot with all of your lenses and

    change up your settings to see what you prefer. Now

    just wait for the golden hour between the afternoon

    sun and sundown and go shoot!

    Once the right exposure has been found the next

    step is the decide where to put the sun in the sky.

    My general rule of thumb is to always have the sun

    peeking. This means to have the sun either peeking

    in from the very edge of the frame or to have it just

    peeking out from behind the subject. Sun shining in

    from the top corner of a photo will give you a strong

    flare shooting diagonally down into the photo

    while the sun peeking out from behind the subjects

    head will usually give you a nice dynamic shot with

    the flare drawing the viewers eye towards the

    subjects head or face. This peeking trick works

    with anything you are photographing: trees, street

    signs, kittens. Having the sun peeking out from

    behind something (almost) always makes a stronger

    photo than a sun in the middle of the sky.

    One difficulty you may come across when shooting

    into the sun is acquiring focus. With the sun beating

    through your lens and into the sensor the camera

    will have a hard time finding the point of focus. An

    easy way to battle this is to focus and recompose.

    The majority of cameras will allow you to focus by

    pushing the shutter button half-way and will hold

    that focus until you push it all the way to take the

    photo or release the shutter button. I almost always

    have my center focus point selected and then just

    focus on my subject and then recompose the shot to

    how I want it before firing the shutter. So, how do

    you battle misfocusing when shooting into the sun?

    If you are shooting with the sun peeking out from

    behind the subjects head, put the sun right behind

    their head so it isnt beating into the lens, focus by

    holding the shutter button halfway, recompose so

    the sun is peeking out again and fire away. Hide sun,

    focus, bring the sun back, fire. It is a pretty simple

    process that will save you a lot of frustration from

    waiting for your camera to focus. This works just the

    same when you are shooting with the sun peeking in

    from the side of the frame. Just put it out of frame,

    focus and then recompose. Bam! Problem solved.

    Ninety Two 15 / 16


    TOP5d + 35mm 1.4 L1/640f/2.2ISO 320

    BOTTOM5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/250f/2.5ISO 350

  • Ninety Two 17 / 18

  • 5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/1250f/1.8

    ISO 160

    Ninety Two 19 / 20

  • The lower the sun falls in the sky, the softer it will become. When it is about to break the horizon you will be able to get more washed out flare that wont give you those bright flare artifacts.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/250f/2.5

    ISO 320

  • 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/250f/2.5

    ISO 320

    Ninety Two 21 / 22

  • Behind the scenes with

    The Ember shoot was one of the bigger productions I undertook this summer. Ember is a company that I have always loved for their efforts to bring others out of hardship while providing a beautiful product. Ember partners with women in Northern Uganda who have lived through the trials of war and works with them to create jewelry solely out of recycled materials. Magazines are turned into bracelets and necklaces, plastic bags are turned into earrings. Its simple. Its good karma. Its brilliant.

    Ninety Two 23 / 24

  • Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1250f/2ISO 160

  • Now lets talk about the shoot.

    What was the purpose? How many people were

    on set? Why did we shoot where we did? How did

    we make it happen? When hiring a photographer

    for a shoot that involves products, there are

    typically two directions you can take. Direction

    A will lead to photos that are meant to do

    nothing but display the product for what it is.

    Make the product look good and make it look

    clear. Direction B will lead to photos that are

    meant to convey a thought or an emotion. Think

    about Roxy advertisements. Any Roxy ad you

    see will be of a blonde surfer girl having a blast

    at some tropical location with the sun peering

    through her hair and a huge smile on her face.

    What does this make you think? It tells you

    that she is the kind of person that wears Roxy.

    Therefore, you now relate Roxy with fun, summer,

    and good times. This is photographic branding

    at its best. Direction B is better known as

    lifestyle photography which is the direction we

    went in on the Ember shoot.

    Ninety Two 25 / 26

  • BOTTOMCanon 5d II + 85mm 1.2L II1/800f/2ISO 320

    TOPCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1600f/2ISO 160

    In a lot of these shots you will notice that there is not direct eye contact with the model. Eyes are the first thing that people typically connect with in a photo. In order to draw more focus to the jewelry I made the decision to breakeye contact which made the model less overpowering.

  • The amazing crew on set for day two of shooting. From left to right: Lauren Shute model, James Pearson Embers main man, Michelle Tobias extra hand/unpaid entertainer, Jennifer Welsch model, Rachel Burney hair and makeup artist, Tony Sasso brother/assistant/DJ and Matt Wood boat owner/wine and cheese supplier.

    Having a strong and energetic crew behind you can make your life a lot easier on a job like this. James was a blast to have on set, Rachel kept the models fresh and Tony was everything from a camera rack to a DJ. I really couldnt have asked for a more solid crew. After a full evening of shooting, the night was wrapped up with a

    delicious Italian dinner in Santa Monica.

    Preproduction for this included tech (location)

    scouting, booking models, a hair stylist, a make

    up artist, and purchasing wardrobe. We decided

    to outfit the shoot using J. Crew and Banana

    Republic because both of their lines are simple and

    sophisticated. We went with clothes that were plain

    enough to make the jewelry the focus instead of just

    blending into the rest of the outfit. After clothing

    was taken care of, we had to find location.

    Tech scouting for me always means just getting in

    a car and going. I always have a general idea in

    my head of what I am looking for but sometimes

    it takes a while to find the perfect spot. There

    is one thing the perfect spot shouldnt have:

    commercialism. A beautiful photo can be ruined

    with a big fat McDonald's sign in the background.

    I dont like to see anything that can be easily

    recognized by all of America; that takes the

    mystery out of the photo. Since this was a two day

    shoot we had two main locations to scout. One

    would be more natural and the other a bit less so.

    Looking for the first location was AWESOME. We

    drove around in the Malibu mountains for hours

    and screamed and gasped at every turn. Taking a

    simple right hand turn becomes a lot scarier when

    the only thing on your left is a cliff and a view of

    nothing but straight down. We found a great spot

    on the side of a mountain that was just what I was

    looking for. It had rocks, shrubs, flowers, and a

    view of the what seemed to be the rest of the Earth.

    The less natural location we decided to use was our

    friends sailboat at the San Pedro Yacht Club. The

    rest of the pre production for this shoot was pretty

    straight forward. The models were Lauren Shute

    from Orlando and Jennifer Welsch from LA. Our hair

    stylist and make-up artist was the AMAZING Rachel

    Burney, also from LA.

    Day one of shooting was a blast. Upon arrival to the

    mountain top everyone walked around and gazed

    at the view before settling down to remember why

    we were there. On set were our models, our hair and

    make-up artist, James from Ember and Tony Sasso

    who was the extra hand for the day. We started

    shooting around 5pm when the light was where I

    wanted it and shot for a few hours into the night.

    The beginning of the shoot gave us great sun flare

    coming from behind the mountains and as the sun

    fell lower in the sky we were left with a beautiful

    soft light. Shooting went on without a hitch and felt

    a lot more like hanging out than shooting. Having

    a strong and energetic crew behind you can make

    your life a lot easier on a job like this. James was a

    blast to have on set, Rachel kept the models fresh

    and Tony was everything from a camera rack to a

    DJ. I really couldnt have asked for a more solid

    crew. After a full evening of shooting, the night

    was wrapped up with a delicious Italian dinner

    in Santa Monica.

    Day two of shooting was further south at the San

    Pedro Yacht Club. In addition to the crew from the

    following day, we had the owner of the boat, Matt

    Wood, and extra set of hands, Michelle Tobias.

    Shooting in the yacht club was killer for lighting

    because the light would bounce off the white boats

    and fill in the models perfectly. The second day of

    shooting ended up being just as great as the first.

    After another full evening of working, the shoot

    was wrapped and we headed over to Yogurtland for

    our post shoot dessert.

    We drove around in the Malibu mountains for hours and screamed and gasped at every turn.

    On the following pages you will find a collection of the images from each day.

    To learn more about Ember or to purchase jewelry get on the nearest computer and

    visit www.EmberArts.com.

    Ninety Two 27 / 28

  • Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/400

    f/2ISO 160

    With this shot I tried to make the viewer feel as if they are being invited to

    follow Lauren down the path instead of feeling as though

    Lauren is walking away from them. I did this by not

    blocking the view of the path with her body so you can

    easily see where you would be walking instead of feeling

    trapped by not knowing where the path would lead you. Small details like that are things you need to pay attention to if you want to successfully carry out your

    final vision for a photo.

  • Ninety Two 29 / 30

  • For this shot I had a HUGE white boat right behind me that was bouncing the sunlight back onto Lauren. The result was

    great even lighting on her face even though the sun

    was behind her.

    Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/2500f/2.2

    ISO 320

  • This is one of my favorites from this shoot. A great tool you will find when shooting is natural framing to draw attention to your subject. In this shot I used the two diagonal white lines to draw your eyes in between them and I put the Lauren right in the wooden window frame to draw focus even more. These types of frames can be found all over the place when you are shooting so keep an eye out for them and use them to your advantage!

    TOPCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/500f/2.8ISO 320

    BOTTOMCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1000f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 31 / 32

  • In this shot I really wanted to show off the bracelet and have the viewers eyes go straight to it. I cropped below Laurens eyes make it harder to connect directly to the model. This takes away the aspect of seeing the human in the picture and instead seeing the mannequin displaying a product. However, the smile adds to the mood of the photo without being too distracting.

    Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/2500f/2.2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 33 / 34

  • Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/3200f/2.2ISO 320

    One of the many things I love about the 35mm focal length is that it feels real. You dont get the crazy distortion like you would with a wider angle lens and you dont get the extreme isolation that you do with longer focal lengths. It can create a very dynamic image without going overboard.

  • Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1600f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 35 / 36

  • When it is later in the day and you are looking to get a nice blue sky you can shoot with the sun behind you. This allows your subject to be brighter so when you expose for him/her/it the sky will hold its color.

    Canon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/400f/2.8ISO 320

  • There is something about this photo that makes me feel refreshed. Since she is stretching and taking a deep breath as if she just woke up I processed this one a little bit cooler to match coolness of the morning light instead of the warmer afternoon sun.

    TOPCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/400f/1.8ISO 320

    BOTTOMCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/500f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 37 / 38

  • The rule of thirds comes into play here. Putting your subject out of the center in the frame will give a more cinematic feel to the image. This is something to keep in mind when shooting but not something to get hung up on. If you feel an image would be stronger if you centered the subject then you are probably right. Do it!

    This shot was just a fun one since we were nearing the 4th of July.

    TOPCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/2500f/2ISO 320

    BOTTOMCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/640f/2ISO160

  • After the sun fell behind the mountains in the background we werent able to get that great sun flare anymore but we were left with a great soft light.

    TOPCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/125f/1.8ISO 320

    BOTTOMCanon 5d II + 35mm 1.4L1/1600f/1.8ISO160

    Ninety Two 39 / 40

  • When is the last time you went longer than a few days without checking your Facebook? Im almost positive that the internet is in

    the process of taking over the world. Its in your living room. Its in

    your pocket. Its everywhere. If you want to make it as a photographer,

    you need to have a strong online presence made up of three essential

    elements: consistency, personality and content that draws viewers.

    Consistency not only includes branding that is strong throughout

    your different online outlets, but also updating blogs and social

    media. Having a blog and a Twitter or Facebook account that allows

    your personality to show through is a killer way for people to connect

    more to your work. When people know who is behind the lens you

    become less of a company and more of a human.

    This can come across in your words and also in your design. Hiring a graphic designer who you work well with is key to creating branding

    that carries your personality. However, consistency and personality

    are not enough; you need to have content that will draw in viewers.

    This means strong work, good stories, or even tips and tutorials. These

    three elements arent all it takes to have a strong online presence, but

    they will give you a solid foundation to build upon. From here I will

    discuss the three outlets for an online presence and what I believe

    they should be used for.



  • WEB SITEIf you dont have one, get one. It is a necessity.

    Dont be cheap and get a free version of some do-it-

    yourself web site . Instead, spend some money and

    get yourself a site that represents you and your work

    well. Generally speaking, your web site should be

    considered the home base for your online presence in

    the sense that it stays the most constant. It should

    be easy to navigate, showcase your portfolio, host

    brief information about yourself and what you offer

    and also have an easy way for potential clients to

    get in touch. Keep the extra bells and whistles to

    a minimum. I love hearing that people enjoy how

    simple my web site is to navigate. Since I am a fan

    of minimalism it is rad to know that I got rid of the

    information and extras that do nothing but clutter

    my site. Keep this in mind when designing yours.

    BLOGI have always been a huge fan of blogs. Chances are

    if you only have a web site people will visit it a few

    times and thats it. There is no reason for them to

    continue to browse if there is nothing new to see. This

    is where blogs come in. Once you get a blog going

    it should be updated consistently in order to keep

    people coming. New photos from shoots, thoughts,

    etc. Remember, if people come to your blog it is

    because they want more. Dont be afraid to give it

    to them. Along with your photos you can talk a bit

    about the behind the scenes of the shoot: a funny

    incident that happened, a story about the client, or

    your ideas that inspired the shoot. When people hear

    your thoughts they will relate to you more which will

    create a stronger connection to your work.

    SOCIAL MEDIAWith sites like Facebook and Twitter it isnt hard to

    get your blog posts out there. Set up a Facebook

    and a Twitter account for your photography that are

    separate from your personal accounts. Every time

    you post a new blog, post a link on your accounts

    so people know. You can also use it to keep people

    updated in between blog posts. If you are working on

    new promo pieces, let the world know. Small updates

    like that may not seem important, but every time

    you post something photo related that shows up

    on a persons news feed it drills your name into his

    or her head as a photographer. Sometime down the

    road that person may have a friend that is looking for

    a photographer and your name will come up. Bam.

    Name repetition. So go for it. Post updates about

    your work, sneak peaks from shoots, etc. The two

    rules I try to stick by: dont be annoying and dont be

    inappropriate. Let your personality come through but

    dont forget that this still represents your business.

    Ninety Two 41 / 42

  • Ninety Two 43 / 44

  • If you want to get a solid start in the industry and

    want to continue to be creative when the jobs are

    slow, testing is the way to do it. A test can be

    anything from a photographer shooting a friend for

    practice to a full production including models, hair

    and make-up, props, wardrobe, assistants, etc.

    The size of your test really depends on a few things

    including where you are in your photo career, where

    you want to be, why you are testing, and how much

    money you can invest into the shoot. No matter

    how large or small of a production you are able to

    pull off, if you dont test you will be static. Testing

    is vital to a photographers creativity and growth.

    It is a great way to build a portfolio if you are just

    starting out and a great way to supplement it and

    try new things if you are already established.

    If you are looking to enter a commercial

    photography career you need to shoot for where

    you want to be. Feel free to practice on your

    friends but when it comes time to test, find a real

    model. Once you start working with models you

    will quickly see that they know how to move, they

    know how to pose, and they add a lot to the shoot

    and the final outcome. There are a few places you

    can look for models that will work as a trade for

    photos or a lower rate. One of them is a network

    for photography related creatives called Model

    Mayhem. Google it. Its a great place to find people

    to work with in your area. Fair warning: you will

    have to sift through a fair share of flakes but

    there are plenty of creative and talented people

    on there. When you find them, get in touch and be

    professional. Another great place to find model is

    a modeling agency. Crazy, right? Get in touch with

    a few agencies in your area and tell them that you

    are a local photographer and would love to test

    with any new models they have that are in need of

    photos. Dont be pushy. If they have new models

    and they think you fit the job, they will get in touch!

    Testing can get expensive if you are planning a

    larger production so it will benefit you to use

    your resources. Over time you will begin to build

    relationships with make-up and hair stylists as well

    as wardrobe stylists and many other creatives. Use

    this to your advantage. If someone knows they will

    get solid shots for their portfolio and they enjoy

    working with you it will be a lot easier to work on

    the cheap. Keep your eyes open for other ways

    you can gain something for a test. Over this past

    summer I had someone contact me who owned a

    140 acre ranch in Cleremont, FL that had a lake, a

    rope swing, horses, dirt roads, and cabins. They

    got in touch with me because they wanted to have

    me shoot photos of the property in order to start

    renting it out for weddings and events. A buzzer

    went of in my head, so after the client described

    what he needed (just a simple one day job) and

    requested a quote I told him that I could shoot it

    for free if I could use the property the following

    day for a test shoot. After asking a few questions

    about what the shoot would consist of he said, Of

    course! Once we scheduled a weekend for shooting

    I started preproduction for the test.

    Since the date and location were already set my

    next step was booking models. I wanted to have

    four girls on set so I started with two girls I have

    been wanting to work with for a while and two

    others that I have worked with before. Luckily all

    of them were available (although one had to cancel

    last minute). When testing I usually have the exact

    look I am going for in mind which is important when

    communicating with the make-up artist (MUA), hair

    stylist and models. I always tell the models what

    kind of wardrobe to bring along with them even

    though I shop for outfits also. The more options

    the better. When I first started testing I quickly

    learned that happy models and crews make better

    photos. Even if it is a small scale shoot, always

    consider your crews comfort, hunger, thirst, etc.

    If it is blazing hot out (it was for this shoot) make

    sure you have an air conditioned spot for them and

    some ice old beverages. Snacks like chips, fruit

    and trail mix are always a good thing to have on

    set also. This way, during the shoot when you see

    the models are getting hot you can go inside, grab

    a snack and take a break. Luckily the couple who

    owned the ranch was extremely hospitable and

    bought tons of food and a huge selection of drinks

    for everyone on set so I didnt have to worry about

    this at all.

    When shoot weekend came I set out towards the

    ranch with my assistant to shoot photos of the

    property. With the test shoot the following day we

    were invited to stay in one of their cabins for the

    night. After a full day of shooting and golf carting

    around the property the owners told us to be ready

    for dinner and karaoke in an hour. Neither of us

    were expecting that but before the night was over

    we ate some delicious barbeque salmon and sang

    some Johnny Cash and Journey. When we finished

  • This is another one where I was sliding downhill alongside Kristina. In order to reduce motion blur I took the ISO up to 640 so I could speed the shutter up to 1/2000. In addition to freezing Kristinas movement it also froze the water droplets in the air and the back lighting gave them a real pop against the darkness of the her skin.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/2000f/3.5ISO 640

    Ninety Two 45 / 46

  • This shot of Megan is from the 50 ft. slip and slide through the yard and down a hill. I had my camera in an Aquatech water housing and rode down next to the models. When you and your camera are covered in soap and you are flying down a hill, technical expertise takes a backseat and simply holding down the shutter takes the wheel.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/2000f/3.5ISO 640

  • up at about one in the morning we were told to be

    ready for breakfast at 8:00 am. This is one thing

    I love about my job. The experience of meeting so

    many interesting people is irreplaceable. If I wasnt

    a photographer I probably would have never sung

    karaoke on a 140 acre ranch with my assistant and

    a senior couple.

    After breakfast the next morning and some last

    minute shoot prep, the MUA and models started to

    arrive. We began shooting at about 5:30 PM and

    shot at a few different locations until sundown. The

    ranch hand and my assistant were a great help all

    evening and we had a blast getting some solid shots.

    All in all the weekend was a success. It was a

    fairly low budget test because of the trade for the

    location and I was able to give strong images to

    everyone involved. Although I have mentioned a

    few tips to help keep the price down on your tests,

    please keep in mind that while saving money is

    important, sometimes spending some can greatly

    improve your shoot. Dont be stingy and book an

    inexperienced MUA or hair stylist when you know

    they arent going to be as talented as you want.

    Dont be afraid to spend a few bucks on props,

    travel, etc. If the goal of your test is to create solid

    images, be willing to invest your time, money, and

    talent into it.

    47 / 48

  • Lately Ive really been loving this kind of shot. Just a straight forward, deadpan portrait. To make the subject pop a bit more I lowered the contrast on the background using a mask in Lightroom. This also made the blurred trees easier on the eyes.

    This is where having a confident model is a huge plus. Laughing is one of the harder things to make look natural, so be a people person and joke around with your models. If your models are comfortable you will more than likely get some great natural shots when it comes time to laugh.

    TOP5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/1250f/2ISO 320

    BOTTOM5d II 35mm 1.4 L1/1000f/1.8 ISO 320

  • In order to make Kristina pop in this shot I put her in front of a darker background. The background in your photos is something you need to pay attention to just as much as the subject.

    This is one of my favorite photos from the shoot. I did a set of photos with the pony instead of the horse because I wanted the model to be the focus and the animal an accessory.

    TOP5d II +35mm 1.4 L1/500f/2ISO 320

    RIGHT5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/1600f/2ISO 320

    Ninety Two 49 / 50

  • This shot was taken in one of two beautiful old Fords that were on the property. I was caught eyeing it by the owner so he said, Its unlocked. Feel free to shoot in it. We did.

    5d II + 85mm 1.2 L II1/400f/2ISO 320

  • Ninety Two 51 / 52

  • This is one of the photos I took for the ranch owners

    of their horse, Hannah Montana. I threw this

    one in black and white to draw more focus to the highlights and shadows

    that emphasize the horses muscles. I am always blown

    away by the strength of these animals.

    5d II + 35mm 1.4 L1/500

    f/2ISO 320

  • Ninety Two 53 / 54

  • Ninety Two 55 / 56

  • Bring backups. Technology

    is more prone to failure in harsh environments so make sure you have extra batteries, more than one lens, and an extra body. If you have the backup gear you probably wont need it, but the one time you only bring one camera body it might fail right before you come across a flying unicorn.

    5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/500f/2.8ISO 640

    Ninety Two 57 / 58

  • A smile and a little effort can go a long way. If you want to take a photo of someone, learn how to ask it in the local language and be friendly. Not only will that make your subject more likely to say yes but it will loosen them up a bit and give you a more natural expression from them.

    These guys were so rad. I tried to always converse a bit before asking to take a photo in order to loosen people up. Miguel (left) offered to put me in a wet suit to go dive for oysters with him. If I had more time I would have accepted.

    5d + 35mm 1.4 L1/320f/2ISO 160

    Ninety Two 59 / 60

  • When walking around

    town keep your camera

    ready, your settings correct

    and your lens cap off. You

    never know when you might

    see something that you want

    to shoot before the

    moment is gone.

    If you are looking for something to shoot besides landscapes but dont know where to find it, check out the local market. Most markets are filled with everything from fruit stands to butchers. Take your pick and start snapping away.

    LEFT5d + 35mm 1.4 L1/400f/2ISO 160

    RIGHT5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/1600f/2.8ISO 160

  • Get out of town. If you stick around the center of town you will end up leaving with plenty of photos of things that people have already seen. While in Cuzco my travel buddy and I waved a few taxis and asked them to take us up the mountain and away from town. They took us up, dropped us off and we walked back. On the way we got some great shots and got to see a part of Cuzco culture that most tourists dont get to see.

    Ninety Two 61 / 62

  • Leave your diamonds

    shoes and gold chains at home. Some places you travel will be more dangerous than others, but no matter where you are there are a few ways to make yourself less of a target. Try not to wear flashy clothing that will attract attention to yourself as someone who has money. If you need to carry camera equipment around, dont carry it in a nice camera bag but instead in an old backpack. Moral of the story, dress like someone who wouldnt be beneficial to mug. If all else fails, grow a


    In order to show the magnitude of the landscapes you are shooting, offer the viewer a size comparison in the shot. I had a few images of these dunes but this is the only one that did them justice because of the tiny dune buggy riding across them, the buggy you just now noticed.

    5d + 35mm 1.4 L1/1600f/3.5ISO 160

    Ninety Two 63 / 64

  • Dont go home empty-handed.

    After every day of shooting you

    should be backing up your work.

    You can buy hard drives that you

    plug your memory card right and

    they will copy your data. If you are

    traveling with a partner, buy two

    and copy all of your work onto both

    of them. Keep one in your bag and

    one in your partners. This is what I

    did for our two week trip to Peru.

    If our trip was longer I would have

    brought more hard drives and

    mailed them to someone at home

    every week or so.

    5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/2000f/3.2

    ISO 160

    Ninety Two 65 / 66

  • Be prepared for the elements. In the desert outside of Nazca we were met with howling winds blowing sand all over our equipment. Luckily I brought along a rain cover along that allowed me to continue shooting. It would have been a shame to be on those dunes without the ability to bring the camera out of the bag.

    During our last day in Cuzco while we were waiting for our bus, we happened upon a parade in the plaza. The local Official Photographers (as their reflective vests stated) were shooting the event with compact point and shoots.

    To capture a more dynamic shot of the parade in Cuzco I took a lower angle and placed the subject against the solid blue background.

    LEFT TOP5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/500f/2.8ISO 640

    LEFT BOTTOM5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/160f/2.8ISO 1000

    RIGHT TOP5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/1250f/3.5ISO 160

    RIGHT BOTTOM5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/1250f/3.5ISO 160

  • Whether you like it or not, chances are that your photos will take on a different style when shooting travel work. Before you arrive wherever you are traveling make sure you already have an idea of the kind of shots you want to take so you can hit the ground running. Having said that, keep your eyes open. Dont miss out on great shots because you were too busy trying to find the shot you pictured in your head before you even left home.

    Ninety Two 67 / 68

  • LEFT TOP5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/2000f/3.2ISO 160

    LEFT BOTTOM5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/1250f/3.5ISO 160

    RIGHT 5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/3200f/3.5ISO 160

  • If you arent adventurous enough to travel the wilderness on your own, consider hiring a guide. In most countries it wont be hard to find someone who will love to show you some killer photo spots in exchange for a bit of pay. If you decide to take this route, make sure you interview your guide before you hire them. Ask them what they can show you that other guides cant. It will also be a good idea to let your guide know that you are a photographer and may ask to pull over to the side of the road if you see something you want to shoot. They will more than likely be fine with that but it is always best to make sure ahead of time.

    Ninety Two 69 / 70

  • Stay awake on the bus and try to get a windo


    seat. If you have an appreciation for beaut


    buses can be the best part of your trip.

    5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/1000f/2.8

    ISO 320

    Ninety Two 71 / 72

  • RIGHT TOP5d + 35 mm 1.4 L1/1000f/2ISO 160

    RIGHT BOTTOM5d + 45mm 2.8 ts-e1/2000f/3.2ISO 160

    LEFT5d + 35mm 1.4 L1/640f/2.2ISO 160

    Kids are always great subjects because they love checking out the camera and are more than happy to have you take their photo. We didnt have a problem with this particular kid but one boy in Miraflores was trying to pry my camera from my fingers for about thirty minutes before he gave up.

    This image was taken on the train to Maccu Piccu. Although Maccu Piccu was amazing, I would argue that the three hour train ride was just as great as Maccu Piccu itself. The train was slow moving and took us through the mountains, farmlands and other beautiful landscapes. I may have gone crazy if I didnt have a window seat.

  • Ninety Two 73 / 74

  • Ninety Two 75 / 76


    TONY [email protected]