Modeling At The Great Swamp At Sunset

(If you enjoy these photos of Gina, you will be pleased to know she is the live model for my photography workshop happening next week at Salt Studios in Asbury Park, NJ on Saturday, January 30th. We start at 9:00am and will be discussing your goals as a photographer, my workflow (planning a shoot, composition, flash/natural/hybrid lighting) and then shooting with Gina for the second half of the day. Space is limited and There are 10 slots left. REGISTER TODAY!)

Today I give you a modeling shoot at a vast nature preserve. It’s almost unfair shooting at a place like this. It’s wide open wilderness and strange on top of it. There are eagles and hawks everywhere. Weird skeletal trees. On this particular day we were the only two souls in the preserve since it was both windy and freezing cold. But we bundled up and trekked around for an hour.

The first panoramic overlook provided us with a preview of what the rest of the shoot would look like. Warm golden sunlight. No light modifiers would be necessary. Just two Canon 6D bodies, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 85mm f/1.8

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Portraits of Gina Knox taken at The Great Swamp during sunset

Cleri Models Shoot with Yumin at Salt Studios in Asbury Park

Another fantastic shoot at Salt Studios in Asbury Park. Elise and Kelly from The Beauty Bar in downtown Somerville, NJ did a wonderful job producing three distinct looks for this shoot for Cleri Models. Yumin was one of the best models I’ve worked with because she had a lot of poses already on lock. You can tell she’s serious about it. The Beauty Bar helped craft three individual looks. Business casual, casual and a high fashion look to wrap it up. Always impressive work from them.

I used a combination of light sources and modifiers for this shoot including ring flash, soft box and natural sunlight. One of the best parts about shooting at Salt is all the natural light that is available. However, if you want to shoot using only flash they have blackouts for the windows. Really handy to create a more controlled environment. Lighting has to be carefully considered when doing a model shoot with different looks. Calling attention to the great work of the hair and makeup team is paramount in tandem with showcasing the model’s versatility and body type.

Model: Yumin (represented by Cleri Models)
Hair and makeup: The Beauty Bar
Assistant: Lew Monty

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin

Yumin
Yumin for Cleri Models

Yumin for Cleri Models

 

That Werkshop

Big savings for my upcoming photography workshop. You SAVE $75.00 by signing up for That Werkshop. That’s $175 (Regular rate $250) for a full day event of demonstrations and questions/answers I get asked most frequently. Lunch and drinks are provided.

THAT WERKSHOP – A Day Of Learning Photography @ Salt Studios in Asbury Park, NJ from Chris Sztybel on Vimeo.

I am a photographer that has laughed at photography workshops. Usually I see photographers that are trying to make a living teaching photographs instead of taking photographs. NOT HERE, FRIENDS! For starters this is taught by me in between a schedule full of photo shoots. I am a real-life working photographer so you can ask me just about anything and I will have an answer.

If you are looking to pick up tips on inspiration, composition, lighting and lens choice then this is for you. Hell you might even be a person that has had a camera sitting in the back of your closet for years. Now is the time to break that sucker out and use it. The number of werkshop students in attendance will be limited to 15.

The individual students will be rolled into the presentation. You will send me your best work and we will discuss it. This is not me standing on a soapbox for the day. It has to be interactive so we all get the most out of it.

ABOUT THAT WERKSHOP

  • I will explain the types of work that I shoot which is primarily portraits and product photography.
  • Each student is asked to send 2 high-resolution photographs (non-watermarked) of their own work that they would like to discuss during the workshop.
  • We will work with a live model. Each student will be given time to shoot the model as they wish.
  • Lighting setups and client interaction will be discussed.
  • There will be two door prizes that will be drawn at random. Both are tools that I use for 99% of all my shoots.
  • Pizza and beverages will be provided for lunch.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Seats Remaining : 12 (of 15 total)
Date: Saturday, January 30, 2016
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm (30 minute lunch break)
Location: Salt Studios in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Newsletter Rate: $175 per person (Regular rate: $250 per person)




 

Full-Time High School or Full-Time College Student Rate: $50 per person (Regular rate: $250 per person)




Recently "stolen" from Lew as the rain started to come down.

MMA session with Kali Herman

Maria Tenorio

The beam of sunshine during fall 2014

The Wedding of Ceri Stromberg and Mark Langell

Ashley Nicole

A surf and turf family photo session with The Zushmas.

Blake Reiner infant photos

laura-lew-zombies-8350-2015-10-25-Edit

On The Beach with Crystal

This was my second time shooting with Crystal in Asbury Park. For the first time, check out this blog post. It was one of those days where black and white was on my mind, so this is heavier on black and white photographs than color ones.

We did some high-flying maneuvers off a park bench, played with shadows and took advantage of a day free of Atlantic Ocean swimmers and fishermen. I think our next shoot together will take place in outer space. If you don’t have the energy to keep up with her, you will fail as her photographer.

To see more of my work, please visit thatwerksphotography.com

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Crystal Cruz in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Model Ashley Nicole in Asbury Park, New Jersey

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Most of the time I shoot digital, but I still mix it up and shoot film whenever it makes sense. I particularly love the look of the Mamiya 645 with a 150mm lens on it. Almost a perfect combination. Throw some sweet Kodak Portra 400 in that bad boy and you…are…SET. Since film requires a slower approach, each time I return to digital I respect the many, many advantages digital has. My one wish in my digital workflow is a realistic film grain tool in Lightroom. Come on, Adobe, let’s get on that.

The images that kick of this series are shot pointing the camera right at a setting sun. The way the film renders sunsets is really special to me. It feels inviting and you can almost feel the warmth enveloping you.

For the trippy images taken in front of McLoone’s and Wonder Bar, I used a prism to bend the environment around Ashley. I didn’t like the lack of light in the background. The prism gives me the ability to frame her appropriately with lamp posts and other objects in the area.

In most cases I like to develop my own film and do so in my bathtub. After the negatives are dry, I scan them and do very light retouching to eliminate any dust or water spots.

If you are interested in purchasing a camera setup similar to this, I highly recommend KEH Camera. They have excellent customer service and real human beings work there if you have a question about anything.

Model: Ashley Nicole
Assistant: Lew Monty

Equipment: Mamiya 645 PRO, Mamiya 150mm f/3.5, Mamiya 55mm f/2.8, Kodak Portra 160 & 400

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The Grunge Look In Asbury Park

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Asbury Park. Dirty, unclean, unsafe, bombed-out Asbury Park. Things are changing from those descriptions to things like fun, delicious, historical, lovely, etc. Luckily the town survived long enough to experience a renaissance. My goal for this shoot was to embrace the grunge side of Asbury Park that is quickly fading from the landscape.  They have been cleaning up Asbury for years now so it’s getting harder to find bombed-out parts of town to shoot in.

I threw a few challenges at myself for this one. The weather was sketchy first of all. Secondly, I didn’t bring an assistant. Third, I was shooting three people (two of which I haven’t photographed before.) I like to do these sorts of things to myself to generate new ideas and finding faster ways of working by myself.  You don’t always have an assistant.

I limited myself to the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens and the Canon 70-200mm f/4.0 for this shoot. I love the 50mm for just about everything, including portraits. It can be trusted to remain razor sharp wide open. Most of this shoot was all 50mm. So much can be done with this lens that it makes my head spin. For those shooting on a 6D, or any camera with a shutter slower than 1/4000 of a second I would highly recommend purchasing a neutral density filter.

Models: Andrea Lisa, Crystal Cruz and Johnny Vega

Equipment used:

To see more of my photography work and for booking, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

 

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Christine and Joe’s Asbury Park Engagement Session

It’s July 4th weekend, people! As the saying goes, celebrate the independence of our country by blowing up a small part of it. This engagement session is timely for such an occasion because we have Christine and Joe who are recently engaged. Joe serves in the United States Army. Christine had a few shots in mind, but the rest was up to me. We made the most of the sunset in Asbury. The boardwalk is always filled with families, dogs and joggers. It’s rude to grab random dogs and pose with them, so they brough their own…BENNY!

Benny kept everyone entertained by being freaking adorable and eating his snacks between shutter clicks. Christine’s mom came along and took Benny home after he was done being awesome.

The remainder of our time shooting was spent on the beach and boardwalk. We lucked out getting very wide shots of the abandoned casino. For some of the casino shots, I lit up the inside with my ABR800 at 1/1 power. It’s nice to show off the architecture. Thank you Christine and Joe for hustling with me to get these wonderful photographs. Congratulations to both of you on your engagement and please, please use Benny as the ring bearer.

To see more of my photography work, please visit http://www.thatwerksphotography.com

Asbury Park engagement session

Jersey Shore Roller Girls poster concept

Concept poster for Jersey Shore Roller Girls
JSRG poster concept

The Rocketeer movie poster

Earlier in 2010 I designed a concept poster for the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. Instead of using team photos, I went with a hand drawn art deco theme. The sport of roller derby goes back to the time of the 1930s and one of my favorite things from that era is “The Rocketeer” by Dave Stevens. It was important to have that hand drawn and airbrushed technique and less of a “Photoshopped” look. I let highlights and glows fly and oversprayed areas to keep things unrefined. Less time spent on details and more time spent on overall feeling.

One of the elements I enjoy the most is the track below all of the pieces that are in your face. It helps keep everything bundled together. In a future revision, I might consider adding streaks of light, representing each team, racing around the track. The extra line work would help keep the bottom portion of the poster as interesting as the top.

Up close

I would love to revisit this design one day, but for now it will remain in this stage. For more information on the best roller derby league going, please visit the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. They play almost every month and it’s a guaranteed good time. I suggest hitting up the beaches and boardwalk before the bout to get the full experience of a true day at the Jersey shore. Summer will be here again before you know it.

GIZMODO Shooting Challenge: Steal

Bruce Springsteen "Born in the U.S.A." redux
"Born in the U.S.A." redux by Christopher John Sztybel

GIZMODO  ran a pretty cool “Shooting Challenge” called “Steal”. Recreate a well-known photograph. I love this sorta stuff! When the “Steal” contest was announced, I thought of a few pop culture photographs that have both a commercial value as well as artistic merit.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this entry, results are in for the Shooting Challenge. Very happy with the results. Such cool submissions!)

The original composition I stole from was the “Born in the U.S.A.” album cover (photographed by Annie Leibovitz) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_in_the_U.S.A.

"Born in the U.S.A." original
"Born in the U.S.A." original by Annie Leibovitz

The artwork for “Born in the U.S.A.” has always stuck out in my mind. I am a huge fan of Annie Leibovitz. Especially her more simple compositions. The message behind the album title (and title track) should be noted as a remembrance of the men and women who have served the United States in both popular and unpopular wars. My dad served in the Vietnam War and I thought this would be a great iconic photograph to emulate.

Set design

  • One white t-shirt
  • One pair of blue jeans
  • One red baseball cap (Thanks for letting me borrow the hat, Vin!)
  • One large American flag
  • One male model

The American flag was clamped to a fence (You can get an idea of the setup by taking a look at the photo to the right.) Since my remote for the camera was dead, I had to get creative with focusing the lens. The The setup for my "Born in the U.S.A." photographtrash can in the backyard was placed approximately 2 feet in front of the fence. Then I focused on the trash can. Then I removed the trash can from the scene and replaced it with Ralph’s chew toy. A little rubber doughnut to be specific. The doughnut was my standing marker. After pressing the shutter, a 10 second timer would give me just enough time to get into position.

The project would have been a lot easier with another person helping me. Oh well!

Lighting setup

I did my best to replicate the lighting from Annie’s original photograph. I couldn’t find much detail on her original shoot, so I did my best to emulate her setup.

  • Sunrise
  • Canon 7D onboard flash
  • Canon 430EX
  • Canon 580EX II

Shooting information

  • Model: Canon EOS 7D
  • Exposure: 1/250 @ f5.0
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO Speed Rating: ISO 200
  • Lens: EF 50mm f/1.8 II

Post-processing

I made it a goal to strictly limit the post-processing techniques to those of a photographer back in the mid-1980s. Photoshop did not exist. Although I shot digitally, I used an extensive amount of dodge/burn techniques to emulate the methods of that era.

As always, please check out the rest of my photography