Dont Sit Back!!

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I just watched a Live feed on Facebook by Stel Bailey. She was talking about being a GO GETTER!!!. I do believe that gigs and clothing etc… Is not going to be just handed to you in the photography and modeling industry. Yes you will be able to land designers and yes they will want you to shoot their stuff, but not with a ton of footwork and talking so they get to know you and what you can do for them.

Over the past several months I have worked with an awesome friend/model Jessie Ann and I have done a ton of footwork to get where we are at as a team. Not only have I done promoting her Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram etc.. But she has also promoted herself to get where she is at. I went to the companies with her original photos she had from another photographer and said here is a model I would like to shoot your stuff with. 3 companies and 1 designer have jumped at the opportunity.

The point is I did not sit back and let those companies come to me and expect they just are going to send stuff. I worked my butt off to get them to want us and me to shoot for them. Just to mention a few names, Swimrags Swimwear, Rock God Eyewear and even now Husk Apparel. This was not easy!!! People it takes hard work and alot of determination.

Many hours were spent planning the shoot for me to go from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Spent alot of time discussing locations, getting lodging for the weekend, food , and transportation from here to there and then to the locations once I get there. It is not easy to do all that and then you have to battle weather elements in the middle of April. We shot on a beach for the swimsuit part of our shoot, on Lake Erie again in the middle of April. Be prepared for elements if you are doing this in April, and make sure you have the proper attire for in between wardrobe changes, so your model stays comfortable. I would rather I freeze than my model. So in between shots she was in my jacket, In a Pink Victorias Secret Hoodie covered in towels just so she was warm and could be ready to go brave the elements for the next suit.

Like I said sometimes in order to get results though you must produce the results. It is not just about things being easy. I have invested alot of time and effort to get where I am at and It has been very rewarding at times. Make sure when you approach companies you have a good body of work or a great portfolio. that is absolutely necessary. They want to see what you can do who you have shot with, where you are published, etc….

Getting published is a whole different ballgame and again that I will discuss in another blog because there is alot more to write on that!!!

Thank you for reading again,

Brian Andrews

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My trip and photoshoot in Pennsylvania

 

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Last year I met a model on Facebook by the name of Jessie Ann. Originally we started talking as friends discussing life and among other things. After awhile well I showed her some of my work, and told her I would love to shoot with her someday. She told me she did not know if that was possible since I lived all the way in Illinois.

Several Months went by we continued to talk sometimes for hours on end and alot of times about stuff that would just make us laugh, and we grew as friends!. The months had passed we continued to talk occasionally bringing up shooting, but alot of times it just would not happen for one reason or another.

She had had a few shoots with some pretty strange and shady photographers, one gave her the photos pretty much in Jpg form and unedited. To me he was just looking for a pretty face and body and that is pretty much it. His posing the model was absolutely not what I would have ever expected from someone who invested so much money into studio equipment. Photographers like this absolutely piss me off. Because those of us who struggle and use the same old equipment and provide amazing images really almost never get noticed, we even get cut on by other supposed professionals telling us we should upgrade our equipment but that takes time and money.

After she went to this photographer and he gave her the images which he never edited, she had asked me to go back and edit the photos. I gave her edits of his photos because I wanted her to atleast get something nice and not images that she never could use!. after a month or so of editing she finally said hey lets shoot again. This time we not only planned this shoot but we landed 3 different designers.She put in so much effort in order to make this shoot happen night after night we threw ideas at one another.

Finally the day came after all our reservations were made and it was time to leave on the Amtrak to Pennsylvania. After a year of talking and a few months of planning this was finally happening. It took me from 9:30 at night til 7 the next morning to arrive in Pennsylvania. I was nervous at first, I was afraid that after all this planning one of us would somehow fail to make it. But that was not the case.

After about an hour of waiting and her getting ready and us talking we finally started to shoot. I was really super impressed by her pushing herself physically to make this shoot happen. Jessie gave 110 percent of everything she had from start to finish, and although we froze at times on the beach as we were shooting, she would cover up and take a break to warm and we would start over again!!. Even when we were indoors only real break we took was to eat!!. Jessie wanted to go from one wardrobe to the next bang bang without hesitation. I was seriously amazed at how much she loved to model!.

Sunday night after all was said and done we sat on her porch where we we went through over a thousand photos, and had some dinner we chilled and talked. We came to the conclusion that we needed to shoot again lol. After awhile one of her neighbors she went to school with years ago walked up and started to talk we spent the next several hours before I had to leave talking and laughing. When the time came to go I was actually sad I had to leave and well It both kind of hit us that leaving was real. I cannot wait until we shoot again!!

Brian!!

 

 

Night Time Phototography Long Exposures Done Right!

chicago 1 aI have often gone out at night and thought about all the lights and how amazing they look. nothing though looks more amazing than a long exposure photograph. Cameras can capture all the ambient light the human eye cannot see.

It Is easy to think well I’m going to go out and go to the city with my camera and take photos. Long exposure photography is something that is somewhat skill and somewhat just plain dumb luck and timing. You can take one long exposure photograph thinking this will be amazing once I am done, but I have looked afterwards and thought there is really not the lights I wanted and it does not look as good as I first thought it would.

Usually I wind up trying to find some amazing Locations first. Take the photo above for instance, this was taken on a Chicago night facing the Chicago River in the foreground. The buildings make for all the light you need. The boats that passed by made for the streaks of light on the river. Lights will normally look like small starbursts especially Street lights. Here I set My Shutter speed to bulb so I could get about a 45 second exposure my Iso was set to about 200 and my F stop to about 14.

After I took the photograph I did not know how amazing this would look thinking this better turn out well, only because I forgot one essential. I forgot My Tripod that day!. I found the flattest surface I could possibly find where the camera would be steady, and set the camera there with my shutter remote attached because pressing the shutter button manually usually causes blur because the camera tends to shake. The photo above was one of the prettiest long exposures I have taken.

5e662d12-07df-42f8-9921-2f0dadbe6ea2_FULLSCREENThe photo you see here with the light throw from a Projector at the Harvest Moon Drive-In Theater in Gibson City, Illinois was taken on a rainy night. Again I forgot one important necessity at home and that was my tripod again. There was a picnic table in the front of the lot and I used that to Steady the camera. normally you cannot see the light from the projector like this on a clear night with no rain, but I got lucky on this night the rain produced this amazing light throw. I set the Camera to about a 30 second exposure here and let the camera capture this scene. So here you see the light flooding through the rainy night as families sit in their cars and watch movies. I would never suggest forgetting your tripod!!

water 2 aHere was one of my favorites here I remembered my tripod this was taken In St. Charles, Illinois. I was born i this town so this photo means a bit more to me than just some random night shot I took. Here there was a small dock off the river walk it was fairly steady, and several times i had to tell people to stay off the dock to because walking tended to cause shake, and I had to deal with the swarm of mosquitoes trying to attack me on a warm summer night and ignore the how uncomfortable I felt from them constantly biting me. This was one of the hardest shots to accomplish because of all the elements working against me, but I finally got the shot I wanted after almost 10 minutes sitting in discomfort.

This shot was on a Tripod and I set the shutter to bulb again, my F stop to about 14 or so and an iso of about 200. I took this photo just after the sun had set and the skies turn that pretty blue. i let this exposure go for about 45 seconds or so!. So not only do you capture the light but also the amazing reflection on the Fox River.

So this is just a little about long exposure photography hope you enjoyed if not for the story atleast for the amazing photos!!. Please feel free to follow me I know I Have not written in a while, but it is Valentines Day and It is Snowing well I have nothing to do so writing seemed like the best option. Like I said hope you all enjoyed. I will try to write a bit more often. Feel free to follow my blog. There are more stories you can read some just for fun and some educational.

Thank You,

Brian

Shooting at the beach!!

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    There is something about shooting at the beach. I started thinking about this because today it is raining, and has been for about the past 2 days here in Central Illinois. I think the reason I find it an experience to shoot at the beach is because not only is it challenging, but it is relaxing and fun at the same time. Well also if you get to hot you can also take a quick dip in the water to cool off. DO NOT FORGET TO BRING SUNSCREEN. I have forgot and have regretted it and head to go home and soak in lukewarm water in the tub for several hours. Also another tip bring a towel, if the model forgets to, atleast you have one!. Also make sure you bring some clothes like a swimsuit for yourself that you are willing to get wet in to get the best shots because you will be in wet sand, and even sometimes in the water too. Also make sure you have your camera strap around your neck and quick reflexes because the waves can become tricky. If you are someplace like Lake Michigan also realize the water is cold!! Only stay in for 5 to 10 minutes tops along with the model. Then you can move to the warm beach and shoot the sand photos. I try to watch the weather before a beach shoot to so even if it is warm atleast we have blue skies. If you have blue skies you have blue water and it makes for a much prettier shot!!. Be careful also obey the warnings if they say do not go in water due to riptide, IT MEANS DO NOT GO INTO WATER!!! you do not want to put your life on the line!!!. Make sure you are not to far from a car or shelter to because even though the day seems nice it can turn nasty really quick. I was on a shoot with Miss strawberry, and the day started out beautiful, and suddenly Dark clouds rolled in the lighting started to flash so we left quickly to our car. Needless to say tornado sirens went off not to long after. Lake Michigan is actually not a lake it is scientifically considered an inland sea and will create its own weather patterns quickly sometimes without warning. the shot you see above though is with a model Hunny Bunny and was a perfect day but the waves were massive so we did not go into the water much due to that!!!. These are just a few tips for shooting on the beach hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you want please do not forget to follow me!!!

Bald Eagles a majestic raptor!

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        So last weekend I was out at Grant Farm’s neat St. Louis, Missouri, and there it was the most beautiful bird of prey in the world, the Bald Eagle. Bald eagles are indigenous to most of North America, and normally nest in non-human populated areas along rivers, lakes, marshes, with abundant fish life. The American Bald eagle has over 700 feathers on its body, and the male of the species weighs about 9 pounds, and the female approximately 14 pounds.

        The Bald Eagle is a thing of beauty in  the air, and has soaring speeds 35-42 miles an hour, and diving speeds 75-99 miles an hour. The Bald eagle was so named not because it was bald, but because of the white coloring in the feathers on the top of its head and neck. Their diet consists of mainly fish, birds, and mammals. They have even been known to bring cats back to their nests to feed. When feeding their young usually the stronger of the the eagle offspring survive and the strongest of the nestlings will bully the weaker of the two and gain the upper hand, until the other is malnourished and eventually dies.

       Eagle nests are usually large and have a cover from the foliage of no more than 60 percent and no less than 20 percent. Eagle nests have been recorded up to 10 feet in diameter, and 20 feet deep, and weighed over a ton. The breeding pair of Eagles is the only bird that once they find a mate will stay together for life.  A Bald eagles life span in the wild is usually 20 years, and the oldest recorded eagle in the wild was 28 years old.

      The Bald Eagle is the National Bird and National Animal of the United States of America. In the late 20th Century the Bald Eagle faced Extinction from the wild, and was extremely endangered due to hunters and poachers. Now because of modern science and people willing to help they were removed from the Endangered species list July 12th, 1995, and put on the threatened list instead. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 States on June 28, 2007, and today there are over 15,000 breeding pairs alone in the United States. We should still fight to protect this beautiful bird, and all other endangered species including the African Elephant, and The Bengal Tiger.

     In order to protect such species places such as the World Wild Life fund have been set up for research and helping bring species back from the brink of extinction. If people donate to these funds or even volunteer time to help such causes, or even just make these causes known, our children, and grand children can enjoy the animals in the wild, and not just in a zoo, or in pictures in a science, or text book someplace. I urge all to please share and make sure we protect these birds and animals.

Thank you!!!

Traveling

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      I went down to Tuscola, Illinois this past week again I love going down there. most of the land is Farmland, Untouched, Or photo spectacular. Let me explain that last one photo spectacular. I mean that there are so many unique aspects old barns, old signage, or even your early 20th century brick roads. While traveling I love looking out the window seeing barns such as pictured above. I love having the little bit of puffy cloud cover, because it gives depth to the photos. As I said before I love looking at something and seeing something old as a beautiful piece of America. Driving down through central Illinois you see corn and soy. our 2 major bumper crops! It is nothing but fields for miles and I love it!. I love the open skies, the fresh air, and not smelling exhaust, and other pollutants in the air. I cannot wait to go back down there again I have tons more to photograph down there!.

Drive-In Memories

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       Photo Above: McHenry Outdoor Theater, McHenry, Illinois

As the Sun starts to set, so does the time I knew. Growing up on Friday, or Saturday nights the parents used to get us in our pajamas, pack a couple of bags of Okee-Doke Popcorn, usually cheese and regular, and put us in the car and take us to the Cascade Drive-in, in West Chicago, Illinois. We used to go when I was real young in the 69 Camaro that was my Mom’s, or the 69 Barracuda which was my Dad’s. The Camaro was Blue with a white rag top, what a beautiful car. 

        When the upkeep got to expensive for those cars, my Mom and Dad bought an 83 Citation, It was Maroon with a Hatchback. Again they would pack us in that car, and at the Drive-in they would put the seats down, and we could lay in back. We would usually try to make it through the first movie, and sometimes on a rare occasion we would make it through the second one to.

      I remember seeing some great movies there, but before every movie they would either run a cartoon, like popeye, heckle and Jeckyl, or a Bugs bunny Cartoon. Sometimes if we were lucky they would run a Three Stooges short  until the sun set far enough down for the movie to start. This is not a practice alot of Drive-In theaters do anymore that I would love to see brought back.

       We saw such movies as Karate Kid 2, The Last Star Fighter, Space Camp, Starman, and the Three Amigos. Those days the theaters had playgrounds, of course they were monkey bars, swings and maybe 1 or 2 other items. Playrounds became a thing of the past when people became sue happy, and the playgrounds were all metal equipment. The Insurance companies basically told the theaters no more. Another sad notation in our American culture.

      Years later my family moved to the McHenry County area. It was fairly rural but the one thing we did have and still do, if we can keep it alive is the McHenry outdoor theater. I worked there 11 summers, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The crews I worked with became my summer family, and I even met my ex-wife there. Even though we wound up getting divorced we had 3 beautiful children together. My kids when they were younger would get in the car and we would take them because daddy was working, and they could watch a movie. They basically spent every summer night when they were younger at the Drive-in.

      Now the McHenry Outdoor Theater is facing its biggest challenge. It is becoming to expensive to run 35 mm film anymore, and alot of companies will not produce first run films in 35 mm format. Most theaters have now switched over to digital, and McHenry is trying to do the same. If they do not raise the money to put in Digital Projection they could be facing a grim, and heartbreaking future.

        Most Drive-ins I remember are now a thing of the past. I do not like this because people have become to lazy, and would rather spend time on their couch with cable or red box and watch movies in the comfort of their own home. I would rather be at the outdoor sitting in my car enjoying a double feature, or even a single feature because some theaters do not have double features. I want to eat popcorn, drink Coca-Cola, and eat hotdogs, pizza, and burgers.

     So far this year I have relived some of those old memories I went to the McHenry Outdoor a few weeks ago, and just last week I went to the Harvest Moon Drive-in, in Gibson City, Illinois. Harvest Moon Is a Twin Drive-in in the middle of Gods country. It is the worlds first wind powered theater, with digital projection on each screen. It has a wonderful little concession stand to.

     If you want to see the McHenry Outdoor stay open please patronize it, become a good customer. Lets not forget the Drive-In It is a good family night, and we do not want to forget the way America was. Thank you for reading this I really hope you enjoyed this!!!

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Photo above: Harvest Moon Drive-in, Gibson City, Illinois