Posts tagged: head shot

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.

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!

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!

The Power of an Image

Believe it or not, images speak.  They can say many things and be very powerful.  An image can say “I want you!”, “I’m in charge here!” or “Come on in, we’re glad to see you!”  It takes a collaboration between the subject and the photographer to create an image that says the right things.

When Pierre came in to the studio for his executive portraits, he had a challenge for me.  He wanted images that were friendly and casual but conveyed a tone that said “I’m the expert.”  As a successful franchiser, they had to convey his friendliness, approachability and confidence; images that could be used in magazines and newspapers or in corporate communications.

By finding a pose that fit the criteria and having him change only his expression we captured images that expressed those messages.


Successful people like Pierre come to me for their images because they want them to say many things and I can help them create the images that express exactly what they want say.

Starting the year running!

I’m happy to say that 2011 has had a very good start with two shoots submitted for publication in trade magazines and numerous executive portrait sessions being done! Well enough about us.

Early in January, the franchise owner of Fresh 2 Order (F2O) contacted me because Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine wanted to do a story about him and F2O. We spent an afternoon capturing images at one of his locations and then sent them off to the art department of the publication for inclusion in the next issue.

I took home a couple of the dishes you see in this picture for dinner and I’ll say they were delicious. I highly recommend you stopping by for lunch or dinner to check them out sometime.
Shortly after completing that assignment, I received a call to create a set of images for Southern Waste & Recycling a turnkey solution provider and management firm specializing in waste and recycling services. They announced in a press release that they had recently won an exclusive contract with Fieldale Farms in Baldwin, GA to recycle all of their office and paper waste at all of their processing plants and HQ. In case you were wondering, Fieldale Farms supplies chicken under numerous private labels as well as their own label. They control the process from egg to freezer. Waste Age Magazine saw the press release and was doing a story about them both.
Although I was not permitted to take photos in the processing plants, it was interesting moving through the different areas and seeing the processing lines as we were heading to the various offices to capture the images for submittal.

I did get one image of a chicken…okay, technically it’s a rooster. Although it’s not as big as the Big Chicken in Marietta, it’s definitely the 2nd largest one I’ve come across…and it makes a pretty good prop for pictures!
I’m happy I could help both companies complete their magazine articles with the images we made.
Among the executive portraits I’ve shot so far this year, Hank was very interesting. After saying to me at the start of his portrait session that he NEVER took a good photo, Hank looked over the table at me during his sales session and said “You don’t play fair. I can’t decide on JUST two, there are too many images that I like!” I just smiled back because I like hearing it. It means I did my job well!
He was so pleased that he asked me for a contact sheet of all his images in order to show his wife, so she could make choices for additional images for herself!
That wraps up this post. I hope the run continues, as the year progresses. Remember, I shoot more than just business and commercial work. I photograph anything from fire and ice, artistic or fun, to sultry and seductive. If it gets added to a portfolio, hung on a wall or put in a little black book, be assured, they’re all unique images you’ll treasure. See you next time!

It’s June Already!

Hi all! I know, it’s been a while, but I must admit that I’ve been busy making images, getting some continuing education, shooting a couple of personal projects and taking some mini vacations.  So, where to start? How about with the continuing education…

Photoshop World Orlando, Florida
A few weeks after my last blog entry in late March, Ann and I took a week off from work and traveled to Orlando, FL to attend our first Photoshop World (PSW) presented by the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.  The number and scope of the educational courses presented by some very big names in the photography business was just overwhelming.  So much so, that Ann and I only duplicated one course and we still wish that we had been able to clone ourselves to attend additional courses.  Those however, will have to wait until next year. But we both came back energized and with our creative juices pumped.
We went down a few days early for one of those mini vacations, getting over to SeaWorld and Universal Studios amusement parks prior to attending PSW.   We enjoyed SeaWorld immensely, particularly the dolphin and sea lion/walrus shows.  Over at Universal we caught the Blues Brothers visit, listened to some great jazz and watched the street dancing.  Our lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant was a definite parrot head experience.  Yes, we even made a stop at the Hard Rock Café for dinner prior to leaving the park.
Making Images
It seems as though something is happening with the economy and business is coming back a bit.  I’ve been very busy taking a lot of head shots, for everyone from real estate agents; to HVAC company owners, to PR/Marketing folks.  Here are just a few.
Now a shameless plug, if you or someone you know needs a new or updated shot, we have revamped our product and it now includes two poses in print and web resolution on CD for only $140.00.  That’s a deal folks, so call for an appointment!
Four Generation Shoot
We had a location shoot on Mother’s Day, it was a family of 20 that included four generations, ranging in age from two infants that weren’t quite there yet, to about 88 years.  They were a blast to work with and even fed us some great BBQ after we were done packing up.
Thanks to Joyce Forgoston-Bogrow for requesting the shoot and setting this up. According to Joyce, this was the first time in many years that a full family image was made.
Personal Projects
After returning from PSW with my creative juices flowing, I set up a couple of shoots in order to bring my vision to life.  My first idea was to put together a shoot with a body painter and model. It was to be artistic in nature and mimic some of the great masters of the cubist era of fine art. vOn a Saturday in April it all came together. vLynn Cole did the body painting and Sally Klein was the model who agreed to be painted.  In order to get some images to make composites, I shot Sally for around 30 minutes prior to letting Lynn take her.  It took Lynn about 3 hours to paint Sally in the cubist look that you see below.  People who have seen this image, tell me they like the juxtaposition of a work of art looking at a person as a work of art!  There was a lot of fun had that day by all and when Sally got home, in her body paint, her son couldn’t quite believe it was her and that it would come off. She told me he gingerly touched her cheek to see if it was permanent! How cute was that!

Another project involved working with chiaro-scuro to do some figure studies using just one light. Chiaro-scuro (Italian for light-dark) is a technique that has light areas next to dark areas in an image.  A model I shot a few years ago posed for this series of images and this is just one I really like.

Another Mini Vacation
The middle of May brought our anniversary and we took a long weekend and stayed at the Stonefort Inn in Chattanooga, TN.  This was recommended to us and let me tell you, it is well worth it. It’s an old hotel converted to a bed and breakfast with only 16 bedrooms.  A great place and the breakfasts are truly gourmet!
During our stay, we took a day trip from Chattanooga to Lynchburg, TN.  I bet some of you know what’s there.  It’s the home of the Jack Daniels distillery and it’s in a dry county.  Talk about a dichotomy!  The tour was interesting, particularly with our ‘good ‘ole boy’ guide.  I never knew that maple charcoal could add such a great taste to the whiskey.
We stopped by the White Rabbit Bottle Shop at the end of the tour and came home with a commemorative bottle of single barrel Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey.  We haven’t opened it yet, but we are thinking about having a few folks over for a taste testing with the other Jack Daniels products that can be found at your local bottle shop.



So as you can see, I’ve been busy lately and really enjoining it. Until the next time, take care and call if you’d like a portrait or need some images to update your web site.  I know, I know, another shameless plug!



Unique cars, characters and restorations!

Cars and Characters…


This past holiday, we went to our old home town of Cincinnati, OH to catch up with some family.  Knowing that each 4th of July, the city of Aurora, IN (near Cincinnati) holds a judged car show, I made sure to bring my camera along.  (Like I ever go on a road trip without it!)  There were many different types and ages of cars there and I felt that two of them stood out from the rest.

The first was this 1957 Chevrolet Corvette.  It was finished in a beautiful red/white and of all of the ‘vettes there, my attention just kept coming back to this one.  Probably because it was almost as old as me!  The only nit was that the mechanical restoration wasn’t original.  Even with that, it still grabs me even in a vintage black and white image.

1957 Corvette

The second one, that I thought was the most unique car at the car show this year, is a 1929 Chevrolet 3-Door Woody. It is totally customized with a 327 cu. in. engine bored out to .060 over the standard cylinder size and has 3 two-barrel carburetors .  For those that don’t understand car-speak, that is a modern engine that has been made larger and more powerful to give better performance, not gas mileage.

1929 Chevy Woody

The owner of this vehicle seems to be honoring our military personnel, past and present.  The chalkboard dedication says “In honor of all our Military Hero’s, POW * MIA”.

Soldier's Cross

He displayed what is called a Soldier’s Cross.  It’s often placed at a spot of a fallen soldier and represents the final march of the last battle – items the soldier no longer needs.  It is also displayed as a memorial to those who didn’t make it home.

Dangerous fuel tank

The fuel tank seems very dangerous indeed…surrounded by .50 caliber rounds and fragmentation grenades!  And his passenger (below) has a very ominous stare.

Mortal Passenger

Since this was over the 4th of July holiday, I suppose the sentiment was well meant, but some of the imagery was fairly gruesome.  I guess the owner was trying to add a bit of reality.

Speaking of unique things, I captured this individual walking around at the car show and I thought he was the most unique person there.  After all,  how many people do you see walking down the street with a pet Boa Constrictor wrapped around their neck!  Unique INDEED!

Snake Man

All in all, it was a fun morning at the car show.

Saving Memories

A few months ago a friend of ours lost her mother to an illness.  While going through old photos, she realized that she didn’t have any photos of her mother other than snapshots taken at differing times in the past.  She asked if I could take a couple of the images and help her save some memories by creating a formal images from the snapshots.

Before-2  After-1

She wanted to use this image because of the great smile on her mother’s face.  The original 4×6 image was taken about 10 years ago and her mother and friend appeared very small in comparison to the whole image.  To separate her mother from her friend, and create a formal image, the crop needed to be very small.  After scanning the image to a digital file and cropping, a lot of the original film grain could still be seen.  This meant that it wouldn’t be a clean, sharp image, so I cleaned up the scratches and dust spots and softened it a bit to remove the graininess.  Printed on water color paper it looks more like a piece of hand drawn art rather than a photograph.

Before-1  After-2

This image of her mother was taken at their rehearsal dinner.  I cropped in a bit to help remove the background clutter and added a vignette.  That almost completed the work but her face was a bit washed out by the flash, so I hand colored it to make it look more natural.  And that finished the work on the images.
Our friend purchased both a desk size and wall size of each image.  I am glad I could help her save some memories.

Head Shots

We’re still doing a good business with corporate head shots.  Even with a slow economy, folks understand the need for a professional image and are coming in to have me create it.  Remember that the image you show on your website or collateral, IS the image people see of your business.  Make sure it conveys what you want it to!

That’s all for now.  Be sure to follow us on Twitter or become a fan of our Facebook page!  You can also follow all updates by subscribing to the RSS feed on this page.  Take care!


I’ve been neglecting my blog! Arrrrrgh!

Since the last time I updated this blog at the end of January I continued building the commercial side of the business, put a new product together, attended group shoots and took some time off to rejuvenate.  Ahhhh!


A lot of business people understand that in the down economy lays an opportunity to grow their business or to start a new one.  I’ve been doing business photography like at no other time.  I’m pleased to see that this portion of my business is still alive and kicking as I really enjoy helping small businesses advance their brand through photography.
Head Shots   Jewelry

My wife and I have been busy putting together a new product for our studio called Curtain Call.  The production is for ladies only, and provides a night out with a few of her best friends on a closed set with wine and hor d’ourves for some of the best, relaxed images of all time.  We’ve done a couple of these and have received great feedback.  Call us for information if you can’t wait for the website to be completed.  We’ll post more information about it here with links when it’s done.
Curtain Call
I don’t know if many of you have heard of Meetup Groups, groups of people that join together to pursue their interests and likes.  I’m an assistant organizer of the Kennesaw Photographers & Modeling Meetup Group.  This group meets once a month at a studio run by a friend and normally has an outdoor meetup once a month, too.  About 30-40 pro and amateur photographers and models get together to talk shop, trade stories and shoot, adding to their portfolios while filling the experience with a lot of fun and camaraderie.  I don’t get the opportunity to attend the outdoor meetup as much as I’d like, but I have attended a few.  Two of these were in Acworth and Kennesaw, GA.  Both locations are beautiful, small communities north of Atlanta.  We shot the models and the locations and below are Chrissy and Alicia from those meetups.
Meetup Meetup
After all of that, I really needed some time off to refuel.  And I did over at the Huntsville, AL, Space & Rocket Center.  I grew up in the space age and I really enjoyed remembering the pioneering projects of Mercury, Gemini and Saturn!  If only they could ‘Fly me to the moon!’  Here is a shot from that trip.
Saturn V
So until the next time, stay tuned and subscribe to the RSS feed to catch of the updates to the blog.


Fun, Fun, and More Fun!

Well it’s been another busy couple of weeks around the studio. A few models, a few family sessions and business head shots, some commercial work and one really fun shoot with a photographer friend of mine!  Essentially it was a fun couple of weeks here at di Sogno Photography and here are some highlights.

A young lady and an aspiring model, Aura, needed some lifestyle images for a local agency so she could start her portfolio.  The agency wanted at least five different looks and one formal studio style head shot.  She has some really great photos from her session, don’t you think?
Aura   Aura
Aura was a pleasure to work with; she’s a natural in front of the camera and takes direction very well.  I think she’ll go far and I know I’d work with her again.
Jay, owner of web design company Kapp Koncepts, contacted me because he was creating a new web site for a local company that makes turbine engine parts and needed fresh images.  This project included head shots of the company leaders, images of four to five computer controlled milling machines while in operation, general images of some of the parts produced and images of the building.
dynamic turbine   dynamic turbine
I captured everything over a few days of shooting, did initial editing of the images and turned them over to be used on the site.  I am happy to say that Jay was pleased with the results our collaboration.
Model Mickie Lynn was scheduled in the studio for some additional images for her portfolio and we wanted something elegant for her to wear.   Stephanie, the owner of Lola’s Boutique, often allows me to borrow outfits for use by the models.  This time Stephanie lent us a stylish black and white dress and a very cute white top.  I shot Mickie in both of the outfits we borrowed and the images turned out great.  In return, I printed two images from the shoot that Stephanie is using on the walls of her boutique.
Mickie Lynn
This is one of the images.  If you want to see the others, stop by Lola’s…and check out her selection of clothes while there.
Now for the fun shoot.  Friend and fellow photographer, Valerie Smith, invited a few select photographers and models to her studio a couple of weeks ago for an “anything goes” fun shoot.  Since the format was totally open, the photographers collaborated with the models to create scenarios and capture different images.
Sometimes they were casual…
Fun shoot
sometimes they were sophisticated…
Fun shoot
and others were just plain fun.
Fun shoot   Fun shoot
As you can see, the ladies dressed up in very loud and colorful outfits, made up their faces as small children, put their hair in pig tails, blew bubbles and licked oversized lollypops!  It was a blast!
Well that’s about it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and if you like, leave some feedback in the comments section.  Until the next time…

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