My biggest investment in my business

Hi everyone I apologize for missing a blog post last week but I was away in Atlanta visiting my sister and her family. If you read my blog post from a few weeks ago you may remember how I was investing in a video camera as the video side of my business was expanding and I needed to have a proper video camera in order to be able to do more jobs with a camera that has a lot more capability then my Sony A7II.

I did a lot of research on cinema cameras before I decided what to buy. I looked at Canon, Black Magic, Sony, Red and I decided on the Sony PXW-FS5. The main reason I went with Sony is that since I already own a Sony camera with Sony lenses I would be able to use those lenses on the new camera. Another main selling feature was the price point. At $6450.00 for the kit that I bought is the best value for the buck in terms of performance and features. Yes $6450 is a lot of money to spend but compared to the bigger brother to the FS5 the FS7 mark ii we are around $12K for that camera and even more for some of the other camera's


Another selling feature to this camera was the size. It is a very small compact camera which is perfect for run and gun style filming and is a great documentary camera which will become the main camera for my film I am doing on abandoned buildings. The body weighs in at just over two pounds so even with the lens and the handles on it I can easily handhold this for long periods of time. 

The Sony FS5 is also filled with some unique features as well. The biggest feature in the built in variable ND filters. Now most cinema cameras have built in ND filters but this camera has a variable ND built in so you can gradually increase or decrease the amount of ND in very small increments. Other cameras have hard stops of ND.

Another great feature is clear image zoom. This allows up to an extra two times of zoom on any lens including primes. Sony has figured out the math to do a digital zoom without any degradation of the picture quality. This means that even prime lenses are now zoom lenses. 

Super slow motion on this camera is really good to. I can do up to 240FPS super slo-mo in 1080 HD at 8 second bursts. It can go up to 960FPS but it is in SD and the picture is not usable. 

I have been spending a lot of time playing with this camera and I have a lot to learn still with it. I have shot one video with it for the Peace Camera YouTube channel and I then shot a video about it that I will link below. I will see you all next week.


EPK videos

Hello and happy Sunday everyone. It's a cloudy Sunday and the weather cant decide what it wants to do so today is a good day to stay inside and get caught up on things. 

I am happy to say that I am finally all caught up on my client work. I am waiting to hear back from one client on some changes they want made but that should not take me long to fix once they send me that information. 

So recently I have been filming EPK videos otherwise known as Electronic Press Kit's. These are short videos that a person or business can use to promote themselves or their business. I really enjoy making these videos for people and in today's social media world I think it is one of the best ways to promote yourself.

These video will range from 3 to 10 minutes depending on what you want to get out on the video but 3 to 5 minutes is the sweet spot. So my friend and fellow photographer Lauren reached out to me to do one for her business and I drove out to her studio in Smithfield and spent a few hours with her doing an interview and then capturing video of her working shooting a client of hers. 

Then it was time to figure out a way to tell her story in the best way possible. This is what takes the most time. I have to go through all of the footage to pick out the best clips and then put them together in a way that best tells the story. For Lauren I tried three different edits before I decided that I was happy with the flow of the video and then I had to had all of the B-Roll and effects and then send it to her for approval.

She sent me some changes that she wanted done and after I made those changes she was happy with the video. 

So if you think you would like to have one of these videos made for yourself to promote your brand or anything else please feel free to reach out to me through the contact me page on my website or email me at Prices start at $500 for this service. I will link the video below for you to watch. 


Investing in my video business

Hello everyone in this weeks post I want to talk about a very exciting purchase I made on Friday evening that I hope will take the video side of my business to the next level. Since I have been doing video more and more I decided that I want to invest in a proper video camera. My Sony A7ii is a wonder camera for video and I love it but it has it's limitations. For me having a 30 minute recording limit is the biggest limitation. When I am shooting an event or wedding and I know that after 30 minutes I will have to stop and restart the recording and potentially lose an important moment or have to wait for a pause in the action to stop and restart the recording can be very stressing. The 2nd biggest factor in purchasing a true dedicated video camera is audio. While my A7ii has a mic input and i have a shotgun mic on the top of the camera I also have to use an external recorder to try to capture cleaner audio as I cant always be right on top of the action and depend on the mic to capture good audio. 

4K video is another option that I wanted to have. My A7ii can only shoot in 1080HD and since 4K is getting more mainstream these days I wanted to have that ability so shoot 4K video.

So what did I decide on you may ask? Well after doing lots of research  I decided on the Sony PXW-FS5 camera. For my run and gun shooting style this seemed to be the perfect fit for me. It's a lightweight, modular 4K cinema camera. It shoots full 4K video in 8 bit format but I have an option to upgrade to full 4K raw output to an external recorder at 12bit. 1080 HD video up to 240FPS in 10 bit 4:2:2 which is what I will be doing most of my recording at gives me a lot of flexibility.  As far as audio it has 2 XLR inputs with separate audio control for each input and will allow me a lot more flexibility. 

The camera also has a ton more features that I wont go into detail about now but I know this camera will allow me to do so much more and can open up a lot more jobs for me. 

I hope to get the camera in my hands this week and start playing around with it. Once I get is in my hands I will do some videos on it and upload it to my YouTube channel as well. 

This was an expensive purchase for me as the camera comes in at $6500 with the options that I choose but I hope to make it all back within the year or less. I will do another post on this once I have it in my hands and I can do a full review on it. until then have a great week and I will see you next Sunday.

Wedding weekend

Happy Sunday all. This weekend has been a busy one for me. Yesterday Jeannie and I drove up to Bracy Virginia to see my friend Stephanie get married. I had offered to be the photographer at her wedding but she said that she just wanted me to come and just have fun as a guest and not work. So I did not bring my camera's with me.

It was a beautiful day and we arrived at the church for the ceremony and ran into some friends that used to live in the same neighborhood as I did but had moved up north to Boston. Seeing Toby and CJ was really nice as we had so many fun times together. The wedding ceremony was very nice and then we drive back to the community where they lived where the reception was going to be held at the clubhouse.

Now Jeannie and I are both photographers and while watching the hired photographer work we both said that we should take some of our own pictures for Chad and Stephanie. Since we did not bring our camera's our only choice was my iPhone 7+

We used my phone to take a bunch of shots although we missed the cake cutting since we were outside trying to catch firefly's for a nice picture but we failed on that end. 

We then drove back home as I had to get up early to go on a video shoot this morning. So below are some of the pictures that we got. Not the best quality as they are from a phone but I love how they turned out anyway.

That's going to wrap it up for this week. See you next Sunday. Thanks to Jeannie for taking about half of these shots. 


Sorry that I missed a week. Dealing with some things

Hey everyone I apologize for missing a blog post last week. I have been so focused on getting the client edits done and I realized on Monday that I forgot to blog and I just said to wait until this week to blog again.

So I have had a hard time thinking about what I was going to blog about this week. I have been going through some things that I am not going to talk about at this time and I needed the time to absorb them and move forward. On a good not my new medication that I am on for my Hiatal hernia has been working like a charm and I have not felt sick for a month now. I have even gone back to eating food that my other Dr told me not to eat anymore. 

So with everything going on I have had a lot of things on my plate and I have decided that I need to take some time off for me and hit the reset switch. So sometime this week I will figure out when I can take a week off from work and have some time for myself. I will hopefully go down to Atlanta for a coupe of days and visit my sister and her family in their new house as they just move there from Ohio. I might also take a day trip to the beach and most definitely break my camera out and do some shooting for myself. This year I have really not shot for myself except one time and that needs to change. While I am happy that I have a lot of client work along with my regular full time job something needs to change so I can do some personal work and get the creative juices flowing again. 

That's going to wrap it up for this week again I am sorry for missing last week and having such a short post for this week but please bear with me and I should be back to normal soon. I will see you next Sunday. 

Another throwback with Emily

Happy Sunday everyone. If you read my blog post last week I talked about how much editing I had to get done. Well as of Saturday evening I have the main wedding video all complete and exported and I am now working on the highlight video and I hope to have that all done today and then I can start working on the EPK video. If I can get that done by midweek I will be all caught up on my client projects. 

So yes that is why I am doing another throwback post. Everything I have shot has been client work and I have not done any personal shooting for myself recently and hopefully that will change soon. 

For this weeks throwback I wanted to share another shoot I did with my friend Emily. She is one of my favorite people to work with. She really knows how to pose and she is also such a sweet person and a good friend.

I found out about Rougemount Castle through a friend of mine. The owner of the castle was building this for his wife and then the project was put on an indefinite hold. So the theme for this shoot was fairytale princess.

We drove up there along with my friend Mike. The property is located on top of a mountain up a very rough road.

The most interesting part of the castle is the outside as that was mostly finished so we decided to start shooting with the castle in the background.


We then decided to move inside to see what kind of cool shots we could get on the inside. The inside is mostly unfinished so we were limited on what we could get. 


As we were shooting I noticed all the patterns in the shards of glass that was left in the window frame and decided to see if I could get a good shot of her looking out the window from the outside. This was my favorite image of the shoot. 


We wrapped up the shoot and went on to another location but I will save that for another time. I need to get back to editing client videos. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there and I will see you next week. 

Editing, Editing and more Editing

Hi everyone happy Sunday. I am releasing this blog post very late as I wasn't very functional for most of the day today. Jeannie and I got up at 4:30 am Saturday morning to drive to Charlotte for a shoot that she had that started at 8am. While we had an amazing shoot by the time we got home we were both wiped out and I crashed on my couch for a few hours and then went over to her place to crash some more. When I woke up this morning I was still feeling very tired so I got home and sat on the couch napping on and off for most of the day. It's 3pm now and I am feeling awake enough to get some work done.

So the topic for today's blog as said by the title is all about editing. If you read my blog post from two weeks ago I talked about how video work is taking over my business and the amount of video editing that needs to get done almost seems unending. I am getting close to completing the wedding video that I shot a few weeks ago. On Wednesday of this week I shot a corporate video that was an awards ceremony and i have to deliver that in a few days. That video is 98% complete as I am just awaiting a few clips from the client that I hope to have tomorrow and I can then finish up the video. On Friday I shot an EPK video (electronic press kit) for a photographer friend of mine to promote her business and I am now copying all of the data over for that as I type this.

Needles to say I have a lot of work ahead of me sitting at my computer in Adobe Premiere pouring through the footage from all of these events and putting them together to tell a good story. After I finish the wedding video I still need to make a 2nd video that will be a highlight reel about 10 to 15 minutes in length. The main video is almost two hours long.

So with that said I am going to end this blog post and get back to work even though there is a Star Wars marathon on TV and I would love to watch that instead but I need to get this workload decreased. Have a great week and I will see you next Sunday.


Painting with Light

For this weeks blog I wanted to share another one of my favorite photography pastimes, light painting. When I first heard of light painting photography it was using a flashlight to light up an object while taking a long exposure and I thought that it was very cool but then I met my friend Johnny and he showed me a whole new world of light painting photography.

I met Johnny at a gallery during First Friday here in Raleigh. I saw his images hanging on the wall and was just blown away. He had such detail in all of his images and i asked him to show me how to create the images that he was doing and he agreed.

The meeting space was a bike tunnel that had no lights inside so at night it was pitch black. I set up my tripod and turned it on bulb mode and watched him work. The first images he showed me was spinning steel wool orbs. Of course anything that involves fire I like.


At this point you could say I was hooked. He then pulled out his homemade light wand that you can program an image into and then fire it and it will paint line by line an image as you walk in front of the camera. This takes a lot of practice to get your pace right and a steady hand to get a nice smooth image.


Now it was time to start getting more intricate. Using another pattern and some more of his toys that emit light I stood in as a model while he made another image. Now I have to stay standing still for up to 10 minutes at a time to get these images is not easy but it was worth it.


I heard of a tool called the pixelstick that was like Johnny's but with more LED's and can be programable with any image that you can think of. Of course now that I was hooked on it I just had to buy one for myself. When it arrived I was like a little kid at Christmas. I called Johnny and said let's go play. Johnny sent me some images to load onto it and I was blown away by the detail that produces. 


Well now you can see why I am so addicted to this type of photography. When most people put the camera away at night we are just getting started. I want to give a big huge shoutout to Johnny for showing me how to create these images. Please go check out his site for more amazing images Until next week. 

Is video taking over my photography?

HI everyone in this weeks blog I wanted to talk about how doing video is starting to take over the photography side of my business. Last year I got the opportunity to do the behind the scenes photography on two short films and I completely fell in love with the filmmaking process. I had been doing video for my YouTube channel up to that point but working on the set of those films really ignited a fire in me for filmmaking.

Fast forward to the last few months and I was put in charge of creating a YouTube channel for the camera store I work at Peace Camera and I put out a video every single week. So each week I need to come up with a topic to talk about then plan, shoot, edit and then publish that video which takes a lot of work but for me it's quite a lot of fun and I decided to add videography as part of my business plan.

My friend Steve recommended me to do the videography at a wedding that he was doing the photography for and the client hired me over the phone and I am currently in process of editing that video. I also will be shooting a EPK (electronic press kit) for another photographer friend of mine in a couple of weeks. A EPK is a commercial to promote yourself for those who were wondering and in today's age of social media I think this is a fantastic way of doing this.

While I still love still photography and it will always be my first love expanding into video is the right move for me. So if you think you would be interested in hiring me for any photography or videography work please feel free to contact me though the contact me page on my site or send me an e-mail at

This is going to do it for this weeks blog. I am sorry it came out so late and that it is so short but I need to get back to work editing this wedding video. I will share the highlight video once it is done.

Portrait Palooza 2017

Every year for the past couple of years I participated in an event put on by the Wedding and Portrait Society called Portrait Palooza. This event is a contest in where you have 10 minutes to shoot a bride in as many locations around the facility as you can and then you have 48 hours to edit and submit two photos.

The first year I participated I went all out and brought two monolights with softboxes with me and when it was my turn we ran to the location I wanted to shoot and and spent half the time troubleshooting my lights as something decided not to work with the triggers that I had and I was only able to get one shot.


While I was happy with the one image I got I knew that I didn't have a winning image. I was determined that I was going to do better next year.

For last years event I showed up early so I could scout the location and pick out where I wanted to shoot. For lights I decided to bring only one light an Alienbee 800 and a beauty dish. I tested my lights to make sure they worked about 10 times before it was my turn to go. I met my model that I was going to be working with and we started shooting. Since i only got one look last year this year I wanted to get three looks. Since I went through this before I was much calmer this time around and was able to get 4 looks within the 10 minute time limit. This time I was quite happy with the two photos I got and I thought I had a fighting chance at winning or getting an honorable mention.


While I did not win I felt a lot better about the contest and had high hopes going into this years event. 

For lighting I decided to go with just a speedlight with a PLM to make it really simple so I could do the most with the ten minute time limit. I was in the 2nd group to go out and I had my three locations all scouted out. I met my bride and we went out to shoot. We got through the three looks that I wanted but I was not happy with the results. I was missing a lot of things that I should have seen when I normally shoot but since I only had ten minutes I missed most of the posing mistakes that I would normally catch if I had all the time in the world to shoot. The next day I submitted the edited images and waited to hear the results. I found out that my friend Maria had the winning image and I am extremely happy for her as she is an amazing photographer and the image was spectacular. As far as my images I will post them below. I will see you next week.