A new family portrait


Two nights before we returned to Chicago from our new house in the south, Tina and I raced to complete at least one new portrait. Inspired by a few different photographers including Greg Crewdson, we photographed each other separately and then plugged the image we wanted into the scene.

The room itself was photographed separately as well.

I love that Talulah made the cut. She was walking making sure she made an appearance.


When you hit a creative deficiency, make a casual shoot appointment with a beautiful model




It doesn’t take long for someone like me to feel the sluggishness that results from a creative deficiency. It’s a time of frowns and repeating the lines, “Gosh, I need to photograph something soon that isn’t a bland cracker of a project.”

We get a lot of projects. Some are creative. Many aren’t. Lots of people’s and company’s needs for content aren’t much more than things that feel cookie cutter. And while we make great strides to work with folks who need more creative content, it’s dampening to the part of me that some call the soul. You say soul. I say creativity.

As a photographer, I have lots of friends on social media that are photographers, models, hair and makeup artists. I see their work all the time, and it loads up another pile of jealousy onto my creativity depleted soul.

Then I remind myself, the difference between wanna-be artists and artists is ideas versus execution. Lots of people have ideas. Few have the strength to pursue them, let alone follow through.

So reached out to Andrea to do a short casual shoot, two hours tops. Her time was valuable as well — because in two days from this shoot she moved to China to model for months.

My goal for this shoot was to shoot all f2.8. Find poses and then push the focus point to be SPOT ON. Focus is something I prioritize anyway. But I do it with more depth of field, f6 to f11. The depth of field plain on my Hasselblad set at f2.8 is closer to f2.0 on my DSLR with a similar focal length. And hitting the mark is often made more difficult because of a minor move by the model or camera.

Andrea here is a true professional, and we were able to work with the minutiae until we landed beautiful shots, spot on focus … all of which were done within a short two-hour window.

The image below is probably one of my favorite shots in a LONG time. It’s all natural light, and my only criticism is that I didn’t have her do an implied nude, as I’d love to see her decoupage as well. I cropped it out, because what she is wearing over one shoulder and it really distracted from her face.
Andrea Susan Bush, February 2015

Andrea Susan Bush, February 2015

A room with an enchanting view

When Tina and I travel, we’ve found AirBnB to be the best way to stay. We’ve used the service to travel in France, Turkey, Italy and when we visited San Francisco earlier this year.

In Rome, we stayed in a beautiful apartment where the walls were floor to ceiling art and books. Had we stayed in a hotel, we would never experience the life of an Italian in such a culturally rich way.

From the decor to the layout, we get to live like a Roman.

Enjoy some of the interiors of the space below.






still working on them tables

tablesThis has been quite a week for Tina and me.

We learned some bad news. We lost two accounts that made up about eight jobs, two of which were in New York City.

It appears, at least for now, that our NYC work has dried up. It’s my goal to land a bigger and better client to replace this one. Said and done, we weren’t making too much off the work trips to NY. We love that city and love seeing Luis V. and Becky F., so it was always fun to go.

We’ve been raising our rates lately, and are declining lower-paid work in exchange for jobs with higher price tags. As a financial conservative, this is tough for a guy like me.

But the quality of our work is improving, and with that, we should chase higher-quality customers.

On the heels of bad news, there has been a flood of positive words. A local magazine will be publishing the images we took of the tables above, and the response from our client was that the magazine “complimented your gorgeous photos.”

We attended an event with a national luxury interiors magazine last night and received, quite possibly, some of the highest praise from their publisher I’ve ever heard. She introduced us as a high-quality, photography team with a portfolio of amazing work as well as two of the best personalities in the business.

The stars are also aligning with strong possibilities of landing a beautiful studio space soon. Stand by for details.

And the mother of one of the models we’ve worked with a few times sent us a note this week that read:

Lauren has worked with several other photographer teams since the catalog [for our client]. To date, I think your set-up/shot plans, energy and direction, and brilliant finishing are not to be duplicated.

All I know is, I should be re-broadcasting those words with bullhorns from rooftops.

We continue to attract attention from bigger and better clients. I can tell it’s taking it’s toll on this blog. Day to day hits have plummeted.

It’s fine. I’m directing more energy — positive energy — toward creative efforts.

Tina and I hope to roll out our new brand soon. And I’m going to be dedicating much more time to social media and marketing to drive traffic to us.



Putting you in your creative place



More often than not, you see photography that makes you yawn at best.

I know I’m guilty of getting all masturbatory and self congratulatory about my work only to wonder if others are all wide mouthed yawners with no interest or care.

But this work from near Chicago, fine art photographer Kyle Thompson will blow you away.

I’ll let his images be the thousand plus words. Go here to read an article. Here for his facebook.


Petursey has a photography web site!


Regular-reading Petursey has opened up a virtual storefront promoting his photography business, and you should go check it out.

It’s here.

We’re friends on Facebook, and he’s been posting a photo of the day lately. Which is inspiring.

Some of the best advice you ever read/hear from photographers is to practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.

Take a look at the site and the facebook, and be inspired to start your own thing, in whatever art you find compelling and fun for you.


piercing beauty


While in New York a couple weeks ago, part of our job is to capture the essence of bridal designers and their exhibits. Most of the designers hire models to try on their gowns for buyers.

Often, the models are marble-mouthingly gorgeous. Tina and I will pass a few and lose all ability to make intelligible words come out of our mouths.

I’ve been going through my photos, which is where this one came from as well.



It’s Tuesday. How about some distractions?


Today I’m working on 12 corporate head shots very similar to the one above. If you tell yourself, I’ve seen that background before on Jeremy’s shots, it’s because the company we’re working for wants that background.

And companies get what companies want.

For the most part, anyway.

Since we’re talking about photography, I thought I would recommend a couple of links about photography that might distract you, entertain you, or educate you.

Ming Thein wrote this piece that is insightful: Photography and psychology, part one: it’s all a mind game. I would like to use it as an inspiration for how I view it.

If you’ve ever wondered how to shoot manually on a camera, check this tool out from Canon. It’s a great introduction to shooting manual.

And just for some fashion inspiration, here’s a link for Jamie Beck’s blog: Ann Street Studio. 


Went out to shoot waves and came back with a portrait


Yesterday, I read in the Chicago Tribune that the waves and current would be so great on Lake Michigan that no swimming would be allowed on the last possible day to get in the lake this season.

The report was that the waves would crash really high, and I wanted to see about doing long exposures in full sunlight of these monster waves.

I jumped on my bike to ride out there, and the guy in the pictures below was crossing the road in front of me. Shooting homeless people doesn’t interest me. I feel that it’s exploiting someone who can’t help the place they have landed in their lives.

But this guy couldn’t be ignored. He was holding a saber of sorts with a wig attached and Hoda Kotb’s image was on it. He looked to be some kind of American Shaman, walking the earth attempting to cure it of, well, I don’t know.

His outfit was creative. He built his hat, created it out of torn material, lace and sequins.

I started a conversation with the guy, and tried to get his story. For 20 minutes, I listened to him talk. It was a bit incoherent and he spoke very softly. So I followed very little of the details. He talked for moments about being from New Orleans. He was there for Katrina. He talked about getting punched once in the jugular. He spoke of getting a light for a cigarette from a stranger, and the lighter exploded in his face. He talked about knowing Howard Hughs.

I asked his name and he gave me several options, including “Panama Jack Calhoun.” Andy Andy and “Catfish.”

When I left, I said, “Thanks for talking and for the portrait, Mr. Calhoun.”

He smiled and fist bumped me.

My goal is to stop more people and ask for their portraits, and hopefully this is only the first in a series of random people’s portraits.