Personal portrait projects are a great way to let loose and get creative, and at the same time can help a good cause. I reached out to my good friend Matt Wallace at the Heights Foundation in Fort Myers to pitch him an idea I had for the Foundation’s new community center in the Harlem Heights neighborhood of South Fort Myers.
“Harlem Heights is a severely distressed community, with kids living in poverty at twice the rate of the rest of Lee County.”
“The foundation is a grassroots, hands-on organization that celebrates the strength and diversity of the community and has the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty. Its work supports community development programs for individuals, students, and families, and provides charitable outreach projects in the community.” – Heights Foundation Mission Statement
The idea was to shoot fun expressive portraits of kids who benefit from the Heights Foundation, and then create large prints to help decorate the walls of the new building.
Matt suggested we photograph kids from the after school program at the center. The after school program is an integral part of the center’s commitment to the community.
I wanted to let the kids be themselves, expressive, fun and not feel like they had to pose for a typical school or family portrait. We shot over 40 kids during 2 days at the center.
I was able to negotiate a generous discount for the portraits to be printed 20×20 directly on foamcore locally by Suncoast Indentification Solutions, thanks to Corey Savage, their Director of Business Operations. They also donated prints to give out to the families of the children we photographed.
The success of the project is thanks to Matt Wallace who gave me the opportunity to shoot this project and coordinated with the center and the foundation to make this happen. The kids were amazing and had a great time mugging for my camera, the look on their faces say it all.
Creatives from Blount International contacted me to shoot a series of ads for a new line of high powered battery operated electric trimmers and pole saws for their Oregon Cordless brand. The tools are aimed at professional landscapers as well as consumers and they wanted to showcase their use at a golf course. Being electric the tools are considerably quiet compared to their gas powered counterparts.
Because they are based in Oregon, the abundance of lush green golf courses in sunny South Florida was an obvious choice. Unfortunately the scheduled shoot days ended up being cold and wet, coincidentally very similar to the weather our creative directors left behind in Portland. Rescheduling was not an option for them and we managed to overcome the weather challenges and produce a series of images that everyone was excited about.
Even though they sky was overcast and we were dodging raindrops for the majority of the shoot we relied heavily on large reflector panels from California Sunbounce to subtly bounce ambient light on to our model, adding some pop but keeping the images looking as natural as possible.
Fit Nation Magazine approached me with a cover idea March 2014 issue featuring high school athletes. I initially expected athletes from the usual high school sports, football, basketball, softball, etc.
Instead I was introduced to Jordan Griffith, a fencer currently competing in matches around the country, (dig his skull and crossbones socks!). We also had Adrian Dougherty, a spitfire 15-year-old competitive weightlifter, who kept us cracking up during the shoot with her quick witted sense of humor.
We started the shoot with Jordan and had him move through a few different fencing stances and motions. Adrian showed up shortly after with a few hundred lbs of weights that looked like giant lifesaver candies.
We shot a ton of images of the both of them and together on white seamless lighting them with a large Octa and then individual shots of them with the colored seamless using a Mola Demi beauty dish. Everything went great and we had a blast shooting these two incredible athletes.