Monthly Recap

I've been finding it increasingly difficult to balance work while updating my site weekly, if it all. Since I've been gone for so long, I figured I would share a monthly recap of everything I've shot for Whirl and Edible. These months' issues are some of my favorite yet. I shot a feature with Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, explored rooftop bars downtown, shot my second cover, and had numerous other shoots ranging from cocktails to rooftop fashion. This is gonna be a long one, so grab a beer and buckle up baby. (still can't believe we lost game 7)

To begin, I'm finally the proud owner of the lens I've dreamed of owning since day one. . .a 50mm f1.2L. I'm so in love with this lens that I haven't mounted another lens on my camera since I got it at the beginning of April. Since the special thing about the lens is the ability to shoot at f1.2, I also found myself rarely ever leaving that aperture, which is incredibly risky, yet so rewarding. I now own my personal version of the "Holy Trinity." A 50L mounted on a 5Dmk3 triggering strobes through a handful of Pocketwizard Plus IIIs.

With that being said, one of my first shoots was to shoot a group of alcohol-less cocktails aka mocktails. Working here at Whirl and Edible, I've become quite accustomed to shooting beverages. Lighting and styling them is something I'm very comfortable with, so I knew shooting these would be just another stroll though the park. The first mocktails were shot next to a huge window at 2pm on a cloudless sunny day. I let the sun do it's job, and simply used my strobe as a fill light camera right. The final results proved to be very pleasing. Excuse the poor BTS. (You can click on the images to make them larger.)

Overall I had to shoot three different sets of mocktails from three different restaurants, making nine total. The group to the right and below were shot using something I haven't used in a solid four months, natural light, or how we call it at the office, Natty Light (I started it by the way). I live and die by using strobes, but I'm realizing that natural light can produce amazing light quality. The images from this set came out so well that we used one of the drinks as the cover.

As per usual, I also shot plenty of awesome dishes from all over Pittsburgh.

Now this is the part that I'm really excited about. Every month for Whirl, we do a "Style Feature" and "Style File." Normally every month features very stylish individuals that have no idea what to do in front of a camera. This month was completely different, minus the stylish part. Our style feature this month was Hines Ward. This was my first time shooting someone of his caliber, so I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect for the shoot. Needless to say, nothing went right.

He was scheduled to show up at our studio at noon. Earlier in the morning, Sam, our graphic designer, Jason, our Art Director, and I began to take some test shots to make sure that everything looked perfect for when Hines showed up. After a few hours, we were able to show our Editor-in-Chief Christine what we had. We were already cutting it close (11:30) when we showed Christine. To make a long and stressful story short, we had to completely redesign and re conceptualize the shoot in 15 minutes. Christine was looking for a raw, yet polished look. She showed us some tear sheets that she wanted us to model our shoot after. We soon realized we were unable to fill her request. The concept I came up with, which is nothing new in the industry, was to show Hines on the backdrop, with the lights and surroundings still in the photo. She loved the one test shot we were able to take before Hines showed up. After a pack-of-cigarettes inducing 15 minutes, we had a concept nailed. The shoot then went as smooth as could be.

Absolutely love the look of f/1.2

Absolutely love the look of f/1.2

Our style file shoot, although much smoother going, was still just as awesome. We shot on top of a salon's roof that had a view of the skyline between two buildings. It was an awesome location, so I knew I had to do something really cool to make the most of the location. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to shoot with strobes during high-noon. This time of day is completely avoided by most photographers because it's considered the hardest light to shoot in. I embrace it, because I know I can manipulate it into anything I want.

When I strobe outdoors, I essentially emulate the sun. I balance the daylight with my strobes so that it seems like the image was shot without any hint of there being a flash. If I had some more time, I would have really been able to dial everything in so that I didn't lose the sky. But of course I was on a deadline, so I made it work as best as I could with the time given.


Plenty of food and drink shoots, two awesome fashion pieces, and getting to explore and meet new people all over Pittsburgh. Overall another typical, yet rewarding month of work.


For your viewing pleasure. Some extra images that I shot this month as well. Click to enlarge.