Urban Portraits with Aziz

This particular post features two recent shoots I did with Aziz in New Brunswick, NJ. He’s an athletic guy and has been hitting the gym to box. As we were passing by a local machine shop, we noticed the letters on the facade spelled “AB SHOP”. So we thought it’d be hilarious to show some abs in front of the ab shop.

The majority of the photographs were taken using my Mamiya 645 PRO medium format camera loaded with Kodak TMAX400 black and white film. The others were shot using a Canon 6D body and 85mm f/1.8 lens.

I should also mention that I am hosting a photography workshop on January 30th in Asbury Park, NJ at Salt Studios. It’s called “THAT WERKSHOP” and will feature an in depth look into my workflow, lighting choices, composition and post-processing. The second half of the day will feature a live model that attendees will photograph on a one-on-one basis. You can learn more and REGISTER HERE.

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Aziz Rasheed

Duke Island Park with The Simkos

It was a cold day at Duke Island Park, but the hour flew by with two little ones. It almost looked like a fall session with all of the leaves on the ground, but it was definitely a cold December day. The biggest tip I can give you when taking photos of children is knowing when they are in the moment and when they’re not. If they aren’t, just let them run around and do their thing. I lucked out that I got the perfect mix of both. I could pose them where I needed to, but for the most part these are just kids being kids.

Equipment used:

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

The Simko Family photos at Duke Island Park

Origin of My Interest in Photography

If I had to pinpoint a time when photography became important to me, it was in Mr. D’Urso’s high school classroom. South Plainfield offered a fair share of electives and I was most grateful for this one because it taught me something magical. It taught me patience and process. Nothing great is instantaneous and that can be applied to everything in life.

Recently I have been in touch with Mr. D’Urso on Facebook. I had recalled using Pentax 35mm cameras and I wanted to purchase a similar model to the one I used over 15 years ago. He confirmed it was the Pentax K-1000 and I found a nice one with a 50mm f/2.0 lens for under $200.00 on keh.com

All of this got me thinking about doing a personal photography project. Something that wouldn’t be a one-off rather a continuing and endless series. I contacted my mentor and got it worked into our schedules.

I thought it would be a nice nod if I shot the project on film, so I loaded my Mamiya 645 Pro backs with Fujifilm Pro 400H (color) and Kodak TMAX400 (black and white) and grabbed some of my favorite light modifiers for the Alien Bee ringflash. I often use the ringflash and 56″ Moon unit/softbox. The white side of the softbox is great for portraits because it sculpts the subject nicely in a warm enveloping light. My setup for the portraits is one light with a softbox. Any ambient light is not cancelled out by the light I brought into the portrait. The environment is just as important as the subject, particularly since this is Mr. D’Urso’s actual classroom. There is a lived in and practical use for everything you see around the class.

Mr. Durso
There’s still nothing quite like film.

Film for portraits is something that engages the subject. Young and old either remember film or have a fascination that it still exists. It also helps slow down the process so the subject feels comfortable. I can talk to them and at 15 shots per roll, I am not machine gunning every movement. I practice this with digital as well, but it’s even more important with film. It goes without saying to bring along extra backs pre-loaded with film.

My developing ritual takes place in my bathtub. Living in a condo doesn’t afford me the space of a proper darkroom. If you are in a similar situation buy a black changing bag and the rest of the usual suspects (developing tank, thermometer, stainless steel reels, etc.) and get cracking! No excuses. If you have running water, you can develop film.

I develop my film in the bathtub. It’s not glamourous, but it works.

I thought it’d be fitting to have a photo of myself and Mr. D’Urso in the super cool tv station that the high school now uses to broadcast. Real broadcasts that go outside of the building. You can’t stop rock n’ roll or technology.

This is one green scene.
This is one green scene.

Josh Riklan Headshots

Simple yet effective headshots for young actor Josh. One softbox, one bounce card and one rim light. Josh was awesome at changing up expression with every shutter click. That’s key when shooting portraits. Unless you ask the model to hold a look, they should be expressing themselves. You’re looking for the real person to emerge so let them emerge.

I wish him the best of luck with his upcoming auditions.

Josh Riklan headshots

Alex at Mercer County Park

The sky looked like neopolitan ice cream and chocolate was obviously going to win. Mother Nature gave us a small window to shoot within so we got to work right away.

Alex had a few different outfits but this is the first time someone has shaved halfway through a shoot. One hour later we shot our last picture and it began to downpour.

For more examples of my photography,  please visit the That Werks photography site.

Alex portraits at Mercer County Park

Kelly and Ozi’s Engagement Session at Sandy Hook

A perfect location for an engagement session! My home away from home, Sandy Hook, for another whirlwind sunset session with Kelly and Ozi. It’s a beautiful time of day as the sun illuminates everything with a powerful orange glow. Sandy Hook is also several miles long, so capturing as many locations as possible before darkness is always a fun game to play. Preparing for a wedding obviously takes a lot of time and the engagement shoot is the first step in giving the couple something tangible to use for announcements to guests.

Ozi had me dying when he struck the same pose as Kelly with his hand on hip. It was hilarious and I’m so glad he did it! It’s those spontaneous moments that really make for the best photographs.

To view more of my photography work, please visit That Werks Photography.

Kelly and Ozi Engagement at Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Emily Bennett Broadway Headshots

Emily is actively auditioning for shows and needed a new headshot. That Werks to the rescue! Here are 3 of my favorites from the session. Time to bust out the black velvet and lighting! I bounced light from the top, sides and front for this series. I think the result gives a nice glow to the subject. When Emily is a famous performer I can say I knew her from back in the day.

Emily Bennett headshot 1
Emily Bennett headshot 2
Emily Bennett headshots

Portraits with Swathi in Princeton, New Jersey

Outfit changes and props galore! Swathi came with an impressive array of items for her shoot, including her friend Serena who assisted with styling. I’m used to Princeton’s huge summer color palette, so it was important to bring in as much color as possible for this grey day.

Swathi obviously has a great fashion sense and each of her outfits gives us a sense of who she is. I also love working with people that can smile naturally! It is a true talent.

Swathi Sree portraits at Princeton University and Princeton Battlefield

Portraits of Olympic Boxer Leroy Davila at New Brunswick Boxing Gym

Upon joining the staff at New Brunswick Today, I’ve met several interesting people. Leroy was born and raised here and is the subject of an article being written for New Brunswick Today. He is a true testament to following the beat of your own drum and staying positive.

Olympic Boxer Leroy Davila Portrait Session