Posts by: Tony

Actor Headshots – Liz Harrison

Now a days in Atlanta, there seems to be a production company on every corner shooting the next release for a famous Hollywood actor or a plethora of Zombie’s skulking around an abandoned warehouse or factory looking for brains.  Unless you’ve been living a really sequestered life, you realize that Atlanta has become Hollywood southeast and a lot of people wanting a shot at getting on camera.  To do this, they’ll need a portfolio that shows their diversity and brings out a bit of personality.

© 2013 di Sogno Photography

Portfolio image.

When Liz contacted me, she was happy to make it past the first round of eliminations in a fashion model reality show shooting here.  Even with the success of landing on that show, she thought her portfolio needed new images so she could get additional work.  On the day of the shoot, she brought a number of different outfits and we worked together on different concepts to capture.

© 2013 di Sogno Photography

Reminiscent of Goldie Hawn…maybe!

Liz is a lot of fun to work with and very adventurous in what she is willing to do for the camera.  Both good things when looking for work in the entertainment industry.  Knowing Liz, I know she’s already used them in her acting endeavors.  If you know a budding actor that wants to get on camera, tell them you know someone who can help them create a portfolio that just might help them get discovered and send them my way.  At least they’ll have some good images to show!

A Little Technical Information

Both of these images were shot on a white seamless background using one strobe with an 8′ Octobox as a light modifier.  The Octobox creates a very large, bright and soft light for the subject.  The light fall off allowed let the background turn a light grey and that created a good separation  from the background.  Although make-up and hair were very well done by Liz herself, my standard post-processing was done to this image.  That includes brightening of her eyes, blending and smoothing of her skin, doing a bit of teeth whitening and removing stray hair.

Bond, James Bond

The James Bond theme, you know, the one played on guitar while you view Bond through a gun barrel as he’s walking across the screen, is all I could think about for the entire time I was onsite to create the images you see below.

Motor Cars of GA – Aston Martin Showroom

I received a referral to call Rob at Dealer Publishing. He needed pictures for an article to show the remodeled Aston Martin showroom (not the cars themselves) at Motor Cars of GA in Sandy Springs. There was a catch, though. Rob had a short publishing deadline that needed to be met.

I accepted the assignment to make contact with Brandon at the dealership and clandestinely capture images of the showroom without disrupting their day-to-day operation or impacting their client’s movements. Then to make my way out, leaving no trace that I was there.

To make these images, I decided on an approach where I didn’t have to bring in a lot of extraneous equipment to get in the way. I set up with a tripod and created multiple exposures of the showroom and then combined them in post processing using a High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique. HDR is a technique that captures a greater range of the lightest and darkest areas of an image than the camera can capture normally. The images were processed using a combination of Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Photomatix Pro. Although this is not a technique I normally teach in my photography class, an advanced amateur can learn the steps necessary to create images similar to these in a private lesson.

Rob was pleased to receive the finished images and was able to meet his deadline with time to spare. And I completed another critical assignment for my client. Who am I? My name’s Bond, James Bond…errrrr, make that Tony Fiorda!

 

Why take a photography class?

Congratulations, you’ve recently purchased a new Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera.  You look over the manual and realize you may be in over your head but at least it has a program mode for use as a point and shoot camera with which you’re familiar.  After a bit you begin to think that taking a photography class to learn how to use the new DSLR wouldn’t be a bad idea.

There are a number of reasons why someone would take a photography class and creating better pictures is the end result of all of them.  That new camera is just a tool that is used to create pictures but if you don’t know how to use that tool properly, your pictures won’t get better…in fact they may get worse.  So let’s discuss a few reasons to take a photography class.

Downtown Tampa, Fl. from University of Tampa park.

One is learning photography from someone who is in the business.  They can provide valuable feedback on the pictures you make so you can improve.  You can ask them generic or specific questions to aid in your understanding of photography, use of the equipment, and various techniques to capture images.  Essentially gaining knowledge from their experience and expertise.

Another reason to take a photography class is to learn about the tools you use to take pictures.  Why is it called a digital single lens reflex camera?  What kind of lens is used for shooting sports, portraits, landscapes?  What is the shutter, aperture, ISO or white balance and how are they used?  How to compose a shot that has that WOW factor people like to look at.  How do I hold this big camera?  Learning the basic science and techniques of photography can help you to take better pictures.

In a classroom or workshop environment there is the opportunity to learn from other classmates about how they made a particular photo.  If they use a technique that no one else is doing, or may be using one that you are having trouble with, they may be able to help.  Plus most discussions are open and can range far and wide from the material being presented.

Finally to have fun!  When you understand the basic principles of photography and composition and can use them without thinking, then you can expand and start breaking these principles to make new, interesting, and just plain fun images.  And you’ll have a lot more fun with your camera because you’ll be taking better pictures and having many more keepers!

Introduction to DSLR Photography and Creating Better Photos” is a class designed for the new to almost intermediate use who has moved up to a DSLR camera.  At the completion of this class,  you’ll have a good grasp of the basic principles of photography and composition.  You’ll understand more about which lens to use to gain the effect you’re looking for in a picture.  And you’ll have a introductory knowledge of using workflow tools to find and manipulate the pictures you’ve taken.  So check out the class on the DSLR Photography Class page on this website and register soon.

An HDR Image for the Client

I’m in the middle of a project for Electro-Optic US, a die-cutting manufacturing company based in Alpharetta, GA.  One piece of this project is to create a exterior image of the US headquarters of the company.  Sounds easy right?  Not necessarily so.  Creating an exterior image of a building takes more work than you may think.

The entrance to Electro-Optic US is on the north elevation and because the sun is so far south at this time of year, there would be very dark shadows on that side of the building.  No matter what time of day the shot would be taken, if the sun was above the horizon, the dynamic range of the image (that’s the difference between the brightest part of the image compared to the darkest part of the image) would be too large to correct in post-processing.  And since Markus, the president of Electro-Optic US, wanted the focus to be on the building and not any cars that may be in the parking lot, I created the images below when they were closed and during that 20-30 minutes between dawn and sunrise when daylight first appears early on a Saturday morning.

Creating an Image

I captured the five small images on the right side of the image above just after dawn using five different exposures to capture the brights of the lights, the darks of the shadows and everything in between. You can see them better by clicking on the image to enlarge it in your browser.  I then merged them together in software to create the High Dynamic Range (HDR) image in the lower right of frame.

This created a very workable image but there were things that needed to be fixed before I would call it a finished image, ready for delivery to the client.  For instance the dull sky needed to be replaced and distractions like the signpost removed, the brown grass made to look greener, replacing missing pine straw around the bushes and straightening the crooked window shades all needed to be fixed.  There was even some foliage added to the three bushes at the front so they would look healthier.  That’s an image I’m proud to present to a client.

If you are or if you know a business owner who wants their building to be seen in the best light, even if the images were taken before the sun came up, tell then you know someone who can create that image, point them to this post and introduce us in an email or over coffee.  Thanks for visiting the blog, and remember, I don’t just take pictures, I create images.

More Executive Portraits

Over the past month or so I’ve had the pleasure of creating  executive portraits for friends who have now become my clients.

Debra Scott, a registered representative of Vining Financial Services, Inc., a financial investment firm located in Marietta, GA, needed to update her portrait.  Debra enjoys educating clients about investment planning when she’s not having a good time with her family.  She had been telling me that she was going to come see me and after a few weeks, and she finally did!  We had a fun time creating her portraits.

 

Another friend, W. Wright Dempsey Jr., is an attorney providing full legal services with emphasis on estate planning and probate, construction, personal injury, commercial, and cultural conservation matters in Dunwoody, GA.  A person with diverse interests, it isn’t everyone who can sport a bow tie and look great doing it!  He even taught me how to tie one,  yes, that is a real bow tie, not a clip-on.

I’ve known both of these folks for a couple of years now and I occasionally have a breakfast with them.  I’m happy that they chose me to update their portraits for both online and collateral usage.  If you happen to need their services or know of someone who does, Google them to find their contact information.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to shoot as  I love to create executive portraits!

Companion Reference for Intro to DSLR Class

Updated version for the companion to the Introduction to DSLR Photography and Taking Better Photos course. Included with enrollment in the class or can be purchased separately by clicking on the red button below.

For more information on photography classes in Roswell, visit our training page.

Intro to DSLR V2.0

By Tony Fiorda

80 pages, published 10/13/2012

A companion book for the Introduction to DSLR Photography and Creating Better Photos class created and taught by di Sogno Photography, designed to be used as reference after taking the course. The first and second sections cover common camera features and functions and the basic technical aspects of photography such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus modes, depth of field, lenses and their effects. The third section…

Interdev Executives

I’m happy to announce another successful shoot of some local executives.  The folks over at Interdev, LLC, a Managed IT and Security company, needed portraits of their management team for their website.  It took some planning to get everyone together but as you can see from the images below, it happened and everyone is pleased with the results.  You can see the images here on their site and I really appreciate that they entrusted me to create their images.

An executive portrait is just one of my services I enjoy creating for my clients.  From products, to specialty images, I enjoy talking to my clients and getting to know them and their business.  That enables me to create the images that let them shine!

Peruvian Sweaters and Caps

During the last week in July, I again found myself  doing product shots for children’s clothing and/or accessories.  The company for which I was shooting this time, Chirimoya, is still in start-up mode, and Charlie, the owner, recognized the need for professional images when he couldn’t create images that matched the quality level the products he wants to sell.

The products, hand made sweaters and caps are imported from small villages in the mountains of Peru.  Hand knitted and embroidered with landscapes of flowers, lambs, and alpacas, ensures that each item is unique and I can tell you the quality of these items is exceptional.  During the shoot, I had to keep an eye on the samples because everyone who saw them tried to take a sample home with them.  Including me, because I have a new cousin being added to the family in a couple of months and one of these would make a great gift!

My other task, besides looking out for the samples, was to create images that could have the backgrounds in different colors sampled from the items themselves and then to have the backgrounds easily changed out if so desired.  I used a technique where I place the item on plexiglass and then lit the background and items separately so there are no shadows on the final image.  This makes it extremely easy to cut the item out of the background and place it on its own Photoshop layer.  The image below is composite of the results I achieved for Charlie and Chirimoya.

So if you know of someone who has children in the 0-4 year old range and you could use a very unique gift for the holidays, check back here every so often.  I’ll post a link to the website when it goes active you can see more and maybe order a few items.

OyToy Products

Last month I had the opportunity to shoot products for OyToys.com.  This website sells clothing items, toys and puzzles to a very large and specific market.

When RuthE, the owner of the site, accepted my bid, she said she was bringing not only the items for the shoot, but  the models also.  After the models in the images below arrived at the studio with their mothers, I was able to sit back and enjoy taking photos because their mom’s corralled the little ones, and got them dressed in the different items that RuthE wanted to shoot.  I also used RuthE as a designer for the accessories on the ‘modelettes’ so they looked the way she wanted them shot.

Reagan is wearing a bib embroidered in Yiddish.  Originally, she was to model a baby blanket but she didn’t like being wrapped up in it.  When we put her in this bib her face brightened.  Can you imagine, having an attitude at that age?!  :-)  The bib was obviously something she enjoyed modeling!

Eliana, pictured below, was having a great time in front of the camera, so much so that it was difficult to show the embroidery on the blanket.  But, she was so cute that I just had to shoot images of her with the blanket wrapped around her even though you can’t see the embroidery.  Yes, we did get images with the embroidery showing, so we were successful.

This is one of many puzzle products that OyToys.com sells.  Our oldest model, Daniel, no more that 4 years old, enjoyed solving this puzzle.  He also like mugging for the camera!

A fun shoot with little models full of personality, we just had to find what worked for them.

Till the next time!

Tampa Bay Hotel

While travelling, I often shoot images to use in my portfolio and I shoot them in the way that would I shoot images to be used in industry publications and location websites.

While in Tampa, FL a couple of months ago, I had some free time and I visited the Henry B. Plant museum that was at one time known as the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel.  It was a resort built by Henry B. Plant, a railroad magnate, containing more than 500 rooms to host the elite of society around the turn of the 20th century.  The grounds cover more than 150 acres and the hotel itself covers 6 acres and is a quarter-mile long.  It was equipped with the first elevator ever installed in Florida and that elevator is still in use today, making it one of the oldest continually operational elevators in the nation.

During the Spanish-American War, it was the base of military operations.  It housed officers and wives in the hotel and enlisted men were encamped on the spacious grounds.   Even Teddy Roosevelt, his wife and his Rough Riders stayed at the hotel prior to embarkation to Cuba.

Today, the hotel (which is part of the University of Tampa campus) hosts the museum in a portion of the first floor.  The rest of the building houses administration offices and classrooms for the University of Tampa.

This view, from the hotel’s garden (now called Plant Park), overlook the North River with downtown Tampa in the background. 

This view is the reverse of the one above and shows more of Plant Park as well as the Tamp Bay Hotel and its Moorish Revival style of architecture.

Here’s another view of the museum entrance and the unique architecture of the building.

I highly recommend a visit to this museum if you have some free time when in Tampa, FL.  It will give you a fantastic perspective of the Gilded Age of America around the turn of the 20th century.

News from di Sogno Photography!

Introduction to DSLR Photography
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di Sogno Photography
1005 Alderman Drive
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Alpharetta, GA 30005

ph: 770-817-0945
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