Tag Archives: new york city


My Rod Stewart Portrait: 3 Minutes Of Setup And 2 Shutter Clicks


My portrait of Rod Stewart: 3 minutes of setup (due to multiple location and schedule changes on the talent side, which is normal on a portrait taking place the same day as a concert) & literally 2 shutter clicks before the shoot was wrapped. Taken with my Phase One IQ140 with their brand new 75-150 Leaf Shutter zoom which looks pin sharp!

I wrote a blog post on Fstoppers about what it’s like to take celebrity portraits for a living: LINK


My First Gallery Show In New York City

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You may recall my post before about shooting supercars in Miami. Well, it all has concluded with a little gallery show in the SoHo part of New York City last week. Never have really had my work in an actual gallery show before, and it felt cool having people stop by and check out what I shot and ask questions about it. Thanks Gawker, Intel, Phase One, and Nik Software for helping to make this happen!

Here is a great article that was done on the gallery show.

You can also check out the post on Gizmodo.com about it.

The show opening
Speaking at the photography panel with the rest of the team
With the other shooters and the Gawker Media team that made this all happen
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Announcing My New Photography & Video Production Studio In Downtown Manhattan

Announcing my new studio in Manhattan located on West 27th by FIT campus in the Chelsea area. She’s a beautiful spot at around 1500 square feet with amazing available light (which can also be blocked out), full kitchen, wifi, freight elevator, in-addition to some really great raw space in the building.

I look forward to making some photo and video magic there! I definately plan to host a get together or two and possibly a workshop in the coming months. Stay tuned!


Shooting Honda Ads in New York City – 2012 Civic GX CNG Preview

Our final location, Times Square

Just got back from Manhattan and had a fulfilling all-day print ad shoot with the newly re-designed 2012 Honda Civic GX CNG (compressed natural gas) for the ad agency, Tier 10 Marketing under the direction of creative director (and Tier 10 co-founder) Scott Rodgers.

It was kind of wild (stressful) driving a pre-release factory vehicle around New York City during a heavy protest day, but I survived. Honestly, the new Civic was really surprising nimble and easy to drive around the city. I couldn’t believe this was a car that was considered an economy vehicle with GPS, 30+ mpg, smooth quiet ride, and a radio that synced to my iPhone 4 via bluetooth that not only handled my phone calls, but played my iTunes music without the need of a sync cable. This is coming from a guy that drives a luxury German car. Color me impressed by the new CNG Honda Civic.

Cannot wait to share the final edited images and behind the scenes video filmed by Joe Olesh. In the meantime, here are 3 iPhone photos from the past day of shooting.

The 3 factory cars being delivered to my hotel in mid-town.
These guys were shooting the ultra rare $1+ million Zenovo St1 Bugatti-fighter around the corner from us in the Meat Packing District. When I saw this I was like: Well I'm shooting the new CNG Civic, OKAY GUYS! Haha. Photo by assistant Erik Motta. Good snap Erik!
Okay, here is one teaser that the client already released. This is an iPhone snapshot of my laptop screen showing one of the proofs from today. We took this in Dumbo with the Manhattan Bridge in the background. Wait until you see the final images!

Photoshoot With Lady Antebellum Using The Ferrari Edition Hasselblad H4D

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Had a recent photoshoot with the talented top 40 trio, Lady Antebellum. This was another one of those quick shoots where I only had 10-15 minutes to do a couple of setups due to their tight schedule. The band and their crew was EXTREMELY nice and pleasant to work with.

I opted to go natural/environmental light for this shoot, despite bringing my normal 4k watts in lighting on set. One setup was outside shot in the shade and the other was in front of their stage (to be used for their evening performance). I had the stage lighting director turn up the haze/fogger and turn up all of the stage lights to create a hazy ethereal environment. I made sure to arrange all of that before the subjects walked onto set. All I needed to add for the stage shoot was front fill light was created shooting HMI lights through diffusion material.

This was my first shoot with the medium format 40 megapixel Ferrari H4D. Its a hefty camera to shoot with, but feels good in the hands. It’s not made to be an event camera with the max iso being 1600. You definitely notice some noise at 800iso. Although, when compared to my Canon DSLR’s, the color and tonality depth as well as the beautiful depth of field is second to none. Did I mention the epic shutter click? It may be slow but it’s loud and solid. An indescribably satisfying feeling when it clicks. Like a really good sneeze or the end of a perfect stretch.

Check out this quick video clip to hear the awesome sound of the shutter on set:

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The H4D files are just beautiful. Makes me never want to go back to DSLR shooting. Although, I definitely would not use it for every job. For example, I would definitely need the 5D Mk2’s for documentary work or concert coverage with its lighter weight body and better low light capabilities. Oh, and the files sizes are huge. They open up to 100 megabytes and my computer feels the weight of the files when I start adding any layers or doing any edits. Just had to order a lot more RAM. Haha.

Used my trusty Nik Software for the post production. I used Silver Efex Pro 2 for the black and white conversion (see a video tutorial on how I do black and white color conversion). On the color images, I used Color Efex Pro 3 “Color Stylizer” tool on the color images to create a more contrasty desaturated image. I followed up with the “brilliance/warmth” tool to add a warm feel to the image. I wrapped up all of the photos by using Viveza 2 to bring out detail using “structure” and using control points to bring out brightness and detail. You can check my previous Blink 182 blog to see how I use Viveza to bring out detail in my images via video tutorial.

You can see more of my celebrity portraits on my website HERE.

My Photoshoot With Pop Star Jessie J

Single gridded beauty dish on subject for main light and slight fill light on the left side facing the piano. This shot looks great printed big! Converted the color image to black and white using Nik Silver Efx Pro 2 and Nik Viveza 2. The Viveza plugin helped bring out more detail in the piano.

I had a great shoot the other week in New York City with the pop star Jessie J. She’s huge in the UK with a number 1 album over there, and her music is starting to make a big impact in the United States. You may have caught her on shows like Saturday Night Live or Ellen recently.

I only had about 15 to 20 minutes for this entire shoot and I was trying to accomplish 3 completely different setups in that narrow window, while also warming up and communicating with my subject and also getting my lighting as perfect as possible. Things moved so quickly that I had to rehearse the mental checklist of things that I needed to accomplish with each setup (lighting adjustments, lens selection, portrait subject interaction, etc). Thankfully Jessie was a pro and very easy to connect with.

I think I’m pretty pleased how everything came out! Let me know what you think. You can see a few of these images big on my photography website: CLICK

Keep updated on my unique shoots and behind the scenes: http://twitter.com/douglassonders

Lighting is single x1600 white lighting with large softbox and thats it believe it or not. Used Nik software Viveza 2 to even out the white tones in the background quickly and easily.

Ring flash! Nice and easy. No time to be fancy. I used what was simple and works quickly, especially in a tight hallway.


Remember Your Photography Friends – R.I.T. Edition

Heather Johnson, Nicole Sommer, Chad Griffith, Prof. Doug Manchee, Prof. Denis Defibaugh, & myself up front (left to right). I blame this photo concept and execution on Chad Griffith.

Last week, I was in New York City meeting up with old classmates from the Rochester Institute of Technology class of 2004 (Advertising Photo Department). Well, let me step back. The initial point of the get-together was for some of us 2004 grads to talk with a group of current RIT photo majors and offer various bits of career advice as most of them enter the “real world” at the end of the semester. One bit of advice that seemed to resonate was, keep close with your fellow photography students because you will be a resource to each other as your careers develop and grow. This was very true in my experience. I know I leaned on my friends for advice, couches to sleep on, volunteer assistants when I had no budget to spend, backup gear when mine died or didn’t show up on a flight, collaboration, and even jobs! I believe this philosophy is important to maintain throughout your career. Wether you went to photo school or not, be thankful and appreciative of your fellow-photographer friends. You never know when you’ll need to lean on them for resources or just help.

(left to right) Michael Turek & Chad Griffith talk to the seniors. Photo taken with iPhone Pano

I am proud to say that many of my old 2004 alum college classmates are doing very well and their incredible talents are shining through today (I’ll post some links to their sites below). We had a blast catching up and I am very thankful for the various ways we have helped each other over the years. As photographers in the 21th century, we are all standing on the edge of an ever expanding digital frontier and we really do need each other to survive in this increasingly competitive market.

Some of my R.I.T. photography major alumni friends you should check out (in no particular order).

Such incredible talent. Check them out. You will be inspired: