Danny Diamonds ūüíé

This weekend Steven, Fred and I had the pleasure to photograph another local artist who goes by Danny Diamonds. He is a second generation American whose parents moved from Russia about 25 years ago due to political unrest. He grew up in Boston and began producing music in high school for fun with his friends. Danny decided to come to University of South Carolina to attain a business degree but plans to return to Boston once he graduates. His music was featured on the New Artist Spotlight on Spotify which garnered nearly 100k plays.

For the shoot we set up a variety of lighting scenarios to match different moods and different outfits. Our goal was to give Danny a comprehensive set of photos to use for album covers, social media, and general promotion of his brand.

The first lighting scenario we did was a 5 light setup with a soft box on the right side, beauty dish on the left, two strobes blowing out the backdrop and a mono light with a smooth pointer at his face. This is what we produced

The second lighting setup we tried had only a hair light and the ring light on the body with two lights blowing out the backdrop these shots were up close and personal.

The third shots we tried were using held to color the backdrop and the body. These shots turned out very well and were some of the most fun to shoot.

Steven and I make a very good team, I do most of the lighting and he frames the photos and directs the subjects. Fred is also a very big help and is very creative with the editing. Together the three of us have done some crazy projects and we hope to continue our work for the rest of college. It’s fun doing these creative projects and especially working with unique subjects who bring their own style to the photos as well.

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6ixx Similian

Steven and I had the great opportunity to photograph a very unique man. Demetrius “6ixx” Similian is an artist, a musician, a public speaker, the recipient of two college degrees, and the son of a Haitian¬†immigrant.Steven had asked me to help him create interesting lighting ratios which blossomed into a collaborative effort to create a phenomenal photo collection for 6ixx to use for his promotion and social media.

Steven and I began with a 4:1 ratio to really create a dramatic feel. We then spent the next few hours trying dozens of setups and coming up with some beautiful results.

 

I left the photos mostly unedited and aside from some white balance adjustment and vignetting these are pretty much untouched. We are going to stay in contact with 6ixx and I have offered to edit the photos to fit any medium or style he wishes to portray.

Working with 6ixx was an amazing experience. He was charismatic and easy to work with. He came in with little idea of what he wanted but we bounced ideas off of each other and ended up making his vision a reality. Hopefully, we can work together again in the future.

Spring Game

This weekend I had the opportunity to shoot the football team during their spring game. A group of students from Journalism 447 armed with 70-200mms, a 300mm, and a 400mm took the sidelines and photographed the game from all angles. I had the chance to show some of my classmates some of the tricks I’ve learned while shooting sports but more importantly I had the opportunity to watch professionals and try to learn from their skills. I even bumped into a few of the sideline photographers I had met at the Outback Bowl back in January.

Some of my friends texted me pictures of myself on ESPN and SEC Network when I was standing behind Steve Spurrier as he was being interviewed.

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I had a really good time, especially considering I got to play with the 400mm 2.8 and I was able to get some decent shots. Unfortunately, about 800 of the 1100 photos I took that day are still stored in my CF and I have not downloaded them to my computer yet. But here are a few of the unedited photos I shot earlier during the practice.6C8A7692.JPG

Summer Plans

For the past two months, I’d been trying to decide where I will be living and working during my last summer in college. I applied for many internships between Hilton Head and Columbia. One of these internships happened to be with the marketing department of the ownership group who own the restaurant that I’ve worked at for a few years now.

The position was an unpaid internship with the marketing department where I would essentially just be an office intern and learn the inner workings of a marketing team. I sent a resume to the hiring manager who called me the next day and asked for an updated portfolio which I promptly sent her way. About a week later I had a phone interview where we discussed my skills and what I was looking for in my summer experience. I thought the interview went pretty well but the lady I spoke with also mentioned that there were a few other candidates in the final pool with me. At the end of the call she assured me that she would call me back sometime that week with a final decision.

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About a week later, I received a call from the hiring manager. She told me that rather than a half day internship that the company was willing to offer me a paid position on the marketing team and that they would also be able to work my schedule around my other job serving tables at one of their restaurants. The woman told me that the reason for my job offer instead of an internship was my photography ability. For some time now, the marketing team has taken all of the photos of the restaurants, food, views, and customers with a basic point and shoot or iPhone cameras. The marketing team wants me to do a complete overhaul of their photo library. They want updated menu photos, location shots of the views and scenery, and kitchen/dining room shots of every restaurant they manage.

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They offered me the job as opposed to an internship because of the workload and because of what I can bring to the table. We discussed compensation and they made what I believe to be a generous offer. I plan to use most of the money I receive from this project to start working on my lens wish list and also maybe a mono lite or two.

I am very excited to be working in a professional manner for an extended period of time and for such a large company. Hopefully, if this summer works out I will have a hefty portfolio built up and I will be able to apply for a full-time position in marketing!

My Top 5 Lens Wish List

  1. The Canon EF 85mm 1.4 IS USM is the first lens on my list for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, 85 mm is the ideal focal length for portraiture, animal, and product photography, which are the main ways to generate income from photography. The 1.4 aperture would be a substantial improvement over my current f/4.0 maximum. This would help me create soft and beautiful bokeh on all of my portraits as well as improve my low light video performance. The 85 would be my main prime lens and would essentially live on my camera for day to day use.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 12.36.59 AM.png
  2. The Canon Advanced Two Lens Kit with 50mm f/1.4 and 17-40mm f/4L Lenses is second on my wishlist and is arguably the first thing I’m actually going to purchase. For only $900 you get both lenses and save nearly $400 on buying the two independently. The 50mm f/1.4 ¬†is a Canon classic and would be one of my daily carry prime lenses. Much like the 85mm, the 50mm creates incredible bokeh and has a slightly wider field of view to incorporate¬†wider portraits. However, I am much more excited to get my hands on the 17-40mm f/4.0 wide angle lens. I had the pleasure to use this lens when I went down to Tampa as the student photographer for the Outback Bowl. I love the low distortion wide angle capabilities¬†of the lens and the f/4.0 aperture is plenty fast enough to catch every shot. It also happens to cost less than half of the 16-35mm f/2.8 variant and is still able to capture the same photo quality.Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 12.58.09 AM.png
  3. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens is another instant Canon classic. Perfect for weddings, sports, and wildlife photos, this lens is a must-have. One of my passions and the reason I really got into photography in the first place is photographing birds. I find avians fascinating and beautiful, this lens will allow me to zoom right up close to preserve detail and the fast aperture will help me both freeze birds in mid-flight and separate them from the often cluttered background. In addition to the lens, I would like to buy a Canon 2x Extender which would double my focal length to 400mm and only decrease my aperture to f/5.6 which is still plenty fast for what I would be using it for. Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 1.08.23 AM.png
  4. The Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens for Canon EF is a very interesting lens that I’ve wanted to grab for a long time now. Essentially it is a 4-4.5 time multiplied super-macro lens that would open up a ton of potential photo subjects. From dates and scratches on a penny to individual grains of sand to even the eyeballs of fruit flies this lens would be a ton of fun to play with. The best part is the lens sells for only $200 and has raving reviews from all of the hobbyists who have it. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†c6700ddc-0da4-59e8-8c69-3f1c5031c454.jpgScreen Shot 2018-03-21 at 1.18.56 AM.png
  5. The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Lens for Canon Cameras is the final lens on my list. I currently run a Canon 24-105mm f/4.0 USM II which I got on an amazing deal on Black Friday. I had really wanted to get the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 but it was not on sale and was nearly $900 more. The Tamron version is essentially the same lens and would be an upgrade/trade for my current lens. It would also allow me to siphon off a little money from my Canon variant to put towards other accessories. I’ve heard and read some great reviews of this Tamron and have no qualms about not purchasing the name brand Canon version.¬†Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 1.28.12 AM.png

 

El Camino de Santiago Trip

After my graduation, I plan to travel to Spain and spend around 30 days walking the Camino de Santiago trail.The path has been a well known Christian pilgrimage for centuries and millions have taken a pause from their lives in order to experience the beauty of the Spanish countryside.

I first learned about the Camino when I was a sophomore in high school. I was in AP Spanish class in which we watched a movie called “The Way”. The film starred actor Martin Sheen, who played a father of a young man who perished in a freak accident while on his own pilgrimage on the Camino. Once the father learned of his son’s untimely demise he decided to walk the trail in memory of his son. The film is a very accurate description and portrayal of the experience of walking the trail.Martin-Sheen-in-The-Way-007.jpglarge_kqNq4dmQOG9yTBYknXlvZTEWutT.jpg

My high school economics teacher had walked the trail the summer before I had him and he was able to show me photos and tell me stories of his time in Spain. This peaked my interest and all but set a date for my own journey.

My plan is to walk what is called “The French Way”, which is an extended version of the original Camino. While the Original Camino begins around Pamplona, Spain, and stretches to Santiago de Compostela, the “French Way begins in Paris and connects to the original in Pamplona. Taking this route would allow me to see much more scenery and experience more culture.

While the main purpose of the trip would be to fulfill my wanderlust, I would take the opportunity to create a long-form story and document the amazing experience. Photographing the journey and the people along the way would help me share my story with everyone when I got back. It would also give me an amazing piece for my portfolio and resume.Camino_de_Santiago_Credit_jon_alkain_Shutterstock_CNA.jpgCamino-De-Santiago-Spain-Small-Group-Guided-Tours-Caspin-Journeys.jpgp1070637-800x600.jpg