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Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Snow: Black and white

Black and white photos of snow.

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Hasselblad 500CM: A Legendary Camera

"So I bought a Hasselblad 500CM and I am super excited. I actually bought it back in September and have been using it as often as I can. There are a few reasons as to why I bought such a camera, read on! "

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Photography

Back in September I posted about my Fuji X-Pro 2 and a bike accident that I had. Since then I have not replaced the lens that sustained damage during that fall. I have no plans to replace it, at the moment. I have found that the lens produce some beautiful images even though it is flawed. This afternoon I had my small camera bag with me, which contains the Fuji X-Pro 2 and my new DJI Mavic Pro. Both fit perfectly in my Amazon bought camera bag. 

After I landed from a quick flight I decided to make some photos of the late afternoon light. My personal work is about light, shadows, patterns, and textures. This afternoon I wanted to produce a series of complex images that captured the light as it was setting. I relied on the environment around me to be the subject as I followed the light. 

The common thread that ties the following images together is not just the quality of light, but it is the use of shadow and space within the environment. You will also see a relationship of positive and negative space, how I compose the image to tell the story of how the light exists within the space. It is this thinking that allows me to create images of complexity that tell the story of a late afternoon light setting on an urban setting.

It is not everyday that I get a few minutes to myself to make some personal work. So much of my day is spent shooting, editing, or one or the other. Being able to make images like this is both fun and challenging. Challenging in the sense that I want to visually tell a story but I don't always have the time to do so nor is there always a story to tell. Enjoy.

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Model Test: Jessa V

Thank you for following these posts. I have been so excited to share these photo from my test shoot with Jessa. If you have any questions about this shoot, reach out to me. Follow me on Instagram, twitter, or find me on Facebook. 

Jessa was excited to work together. It was great to connect with her. I wish her the most success. I know we will work together in the future and until then, I hope she continues to slay it!

When I think back to this shoot, the light is what really made for such great images. Sure I was using a great camera, sure I had a great model to work with, but at the end of the day, it was the light that really paved the way for us. You can't write a book and tell a story with out words. In the case of this shoot, the light and Jessa are the story. I feel like I told a pretty great story. 

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Model Test: Jessa Part IV

Look at the glow in these images. Impressive. The volume of light was intense and beautiful. The first 3 of the following images are lit from the reflected, glowing, late afternoon light that was bouncing off the airstream. It was directly behind me and lit her beautifully.

The 4th images is amongst my favorite because of the glow and the pose, her gaze, and the closeness to the camera. That image and the following that are posted and the following final post, those are all lit with light reflecting off the airstream, bouncing off the corrugated metal directly across from the airstream, and coming right into the space we are in. Thee entire area was wrapped in light and I adored every moment of it. 

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Model Test: Jessa Part III

If you were to ask me before July, "what do you think of California?" My response would be simple. "I dunno. Ive never been. Ive heard good things." Driving up the coast in a convertible, heading into the sunset up into the hills of Malibu, the sun setting in front of me casting an orange glow on the pavement teasing me, saying "keep driving life will get better every mile you search ahead." To contrast, the north east is nothing like California. Boston is fun. New York City is, well, New York City. You love it or you hate it. I happen to love New York City. When you compare LA to NYC, you have two completely different types of cities, lifestyles, and of course, different looks. NYC has a jungle of concrete, Steele and glass. You can be on a rooftop in Long Island City and the view is nearly the same as something you'd see in lower Manhattan. 

Brooklyn seen from the rooftop of The Boro Hotel in Long Island City, NYC

Brooklyn seen from the rooftop of The Boro Hotel in Long Island City, NYC

 What I have seen in LA seems to be different. Very Different. The light is different, the skyline is different. Turn around and the view changes. Turn around again, the view changes. Hop to another roof top, the view changes, the mood changes, the looks change. The photo of me, below, is from the roof of a building in DTLA. That is from a studio shoot the day before the test shoot with Jessa. That shoot will be discussed following the posts of Jessa. 

Roof top from Apex Studios in the Fashion District of DTLA, July.

Roof top from Apex Studios in the Fashion District of DTLA, July.

View of DTLA from roof top of Apex Studios.

View of DTLA from roof top of Apex Studios.

I bring all of this up, show these images and comparisons for 1 reason, LA is different. Here is why. In the course of 24 hours you can be on the beach, the most quintessential view of Souther California shooting life style fashion, the next day you could be in a studio shooting a look book or some ecommerece. The day after that you could be in the hills shooting an editorial or on a Hollywood set shooting portraits. For me, from my perspective, the vast differences in locations that are seemingly nestled together, LA has a lot more to work with. 

My test shoot with Jessa in Topanga is a stellar example of how flexible the area can be. Turn the corner and there is an area ready to be use for any number of shoots. Turn the corner and drive down the road and there is yet another location ready for a shoot. I found Topanga to be especially inspiring. As quite and private as the area can be, I found it to be a hidden gem of sorts. If I was to be commissioned for an editorial to be shot in California, I would turn to Topanga before others areas. I would do so because I enjoyed the area and would like to use the elements that I saw in a shoot. Granted there are countless others spots I saw and have yet to see in the LA area, and other points north and south, but I know that I would like to shoot again in Topanga.

I said it before and I will say it again, the location was like a film set. I knew when I saw the Airbnb listing I just needed to rent the space. I moved a few pillows and made it a bit more comfortable, but other than that, I shot with the space as it was because it was that well set. As you can see by now, this being the 3rd post with Jessa, there really was a lot to work with.

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Model Test: Jessa Part II

As mentioned in the previous post, my gear for this test with Jessa was minimal. A camera with one lens, a model and a photographer in an awesome location. Check out the quick video of the location. Nothing super special. Its not even a real behind the scenes video. It was more of less a few shots on my iPhone to show the space. 

With the minimal gear that I had, I was limited to using just natural light. Even if I had brought a set of lights with me or a simple reflector, I wouldn't have wanted to set them up given the light that I had available. When I first arrived at the location I was awestruck. I have never been in a desert, nor have I ever been in the desert hills of California. The late day light was playing off the sand, creating a glow. Two parts of the property that I rented had airstream trailers, which acted as giant light modifiers. I didnt need a single light or reflector so long as I had the sand from across the valley and the light bouncing off the trailers. You'll see in the following posts how the light bounced through the environment and gave me a lot to work with. I am very pleased with the images we made. 

I know it seems a bit odd to have so many posts for one test shoot. Surely I could simply reduce the number of posts and just do one post with 1 image from each look, but wheres the fun in that? Plus, this is away of generating more content and sharing more images. I am going to be revamping the site over the next two weeks to include all new work, both of Jessa and the other work I produced in Cali, so the more content I generate on the blog, the more visibility. Enjoy!

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Model Test: Jessa

One of the worst pitfalls of being busy, is being busy. A lot of people say, "busy is good or its better to be busy than not be busy." There is healthy busy, the kind that is super productive. Then there is unhealthy busy. Prior to the start of this past summer I was busy in an unhealthy fashion. I was married to the daily work that was coming and I kept adding more to my plate. Once summer came things changed. Now, unhealthy isn't in my daily vernacular. In addition to restructuring part of my business, I have been working hard at being as healthy as I can. Part of this means carving out time to do the kind of marketing, self promotion, and general social media blasting that I need to, which brings me to this post and the next 4.

In July I was in Southern California for the first time. I did the trip right. I rented a convertible and drove up and down the PCH, Pacific Coast Highway. In a few future posts I will go into detail. For the purposes of today's post and the next 4 I have scheduled, I will be discussing my shoot in Topanga, California. I rented an Airbnb for the purposes of producing an editorial. To protect the privacy of the property owners, I will not provide the address. A few days before the trip things fell apart from a production stand point. Even though the editorial wouldn't be happening I still wanted to utilize the space, as it was so so incredible. It looked like a Hollywood film set, partially because the homeowner is a DP, so they knew what they were doing when they styled it. 

Jessa, who is signed with Rocky Mountain Entertainment is a model and actor working in LA. She was generous with her time and talents for our shoot. I must credit my friend and colleague Brittany Smith for having made the connection. I had been on location long enough to plan how the shoot would flow. Having spent a few days in production for the editorial, I had a great mood board in place.  When Jessa and I spoke, it was easy to communicate my vision for the location. I was looking to marry a bohemian style within the location. 

For this test shoot I minimal gear with me. I used a Canon 5Ds with a Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art lens. I did not bring any lights with me or use any modifiers. I relied entirely on natural and available light for this shoot. I will go into detail over the next few scheduled posts. It is also worth noting that in wanted to maintain minimal retouching for this shoot. I wanted things to feel natural and lose, not overly commercialized and heavily retouched. The following images as well as the next 4 posts will convey the visual success that we had. 

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Goals: Career Path

They say the simple act of writing something down is the first step towards achieving that goal, task, or desire. At the very beginning of 2016 I put a glass dry erase board in my home office. I took a step back and thought about what I wanted, all the goals I wanted to achieve that year. I am not a New Years resolution type of person, but setting goals is something to work towards and helps build upon the success already achieved. With multiple colors of dry erase markers I graffiti-ed those goals onto the glass in hopes that I would see everything to completion over the coming year. There are pivotal moments in 2016 where I thought my abilities to complete my goals were not just sidelined, but benched for the entire year.   

Its very difficult to take an idea, usually with minimal resources, and make it successful. An idea is just that, an idea. It doesn't become something tangible unless effort is put forth. For some people, effort comes with ease when they have the proper resources to take an idea from inception to a more concrete tangible form of success. When beginning new projects or making career moves it require a certain level of tenacity and resilience. You have to be as strong as the idea is in order to see it through. You have to believe in your idea and believe in your ability to see it happen. Starting and stopping a project is not the same as having a project fail. Failure is major contributor to the success of future projects. Without failures, there is no opportunity to learn, grow, create new ideas and projects. While reading a friends blog recently, I came to the realization that I hade quite a few failures from the end of 2015 into 2016. I didn't see them as failures at the time, because I kept on working, trying things, working, creating ideas, and working. When we refuse to continue to work we are saying two things, I give up and I can't. Can't means you wont. Can't is a form of accepting failure. Accepting failure can be broken down into two categories, the "I give ups" and the "I can and will make this work," attitude. Giving up means you're hanging your head low and walking away defeated. In contrast, I can and will make this work attitude will allow you to reposition yourself and pivot your ideas and resources in such a way that you'll make things work. That is the hardest thing to do, reposition yourself to become successful. It is easy to walk away and forget. It's harder to refocus, restructure, and reprioritize your goals. Outcomes change by other influencers, but if you stay determined, you will be successful. 

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This past December I cleaned off my glass board. I wiped it down and removed every mark I made back in January. Each line that I cleared away was like a light bulb going off. Everything I wanted to accomplish, I did. I had completed every goal I had written down. Holy shit. I know, right? I was impressed and proud of my hard work. See, the thing is, I am a note taker. I have yellow post it notes as reminders everywhere. As a busy creative professional, my mind is working on 3 different things at once. Post it notes are my to-do list, reminders, and general notes, outside of my iPhone. I keep short term goals written on them while the larger goals stay written on the board. I do not look at those goals daily. I do not want to be overly stressed out to complete them, which sounds a bit moronic to say, but it really isn't. My days range from back to back to shoots to days of editing, meetings, planning shoots. If I was to be focused on the list I created, I won't be focused on the work I need to do, which usually shapes how well a goal will be completed. The goals themselves, they are either physical and tangible objects or they are things if desire, such as future work, travel, various components of projects or entire projects themselves. That is not to say that I write them down and walk away and don't look at them for 12 months, I do. I just do not make a daily habit of checking the board. While writing down ideas and goals is a simple mechanism to ensure their success, there are obvious things that need to occur. The most obvious, write them down and continuously work to be successful. For me, I work to produce to work. My work is a reflection of who I am and enables me to be successful, which helps me build on the list of goals I make. 

To be successful, you need to be a leader. I'm not taking about a President, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, or the class president. No. You need to be your own leader and guide yourself to the right path of success. There is no guidebook on how to be an entrepreneur. It does and simply can not exist. What works for company A will and might not work for company B. Parallel to that, what works for me as a photographer might not work for someone who is a graphic designer.  

Brynn of Red Model Management, New York City

Laslty, you can not force success. You can not force your ideas to happen or to just snap your fingers and your goals are met. If you can do that, if you have that much resource, which most people do not and will not, congrats on being a .5%-er. Think about this: if you focus to intently on one thing, you're bound to neglect something else. Negelecting anything is to reject everything. Ideas, especially in the creative world are stimulated when we work. Placing to much focus on a goal is a wall building device that shuts out influence and inspiration from other forms of work and ideas. This type of practice is a means of rejecting the collaboration of a multitude of other resources, which can likely assist in the completion of any goals. 

Focus on creating a list of goals and ideas. Work. Work hard and often. Keep your goals in mind and check in often. Work on your list and on bulding the resources and network you need to make your goals happen. Sometimes we need the support of a community or a few other creatives to make our goals come true. Keep working. Fail. Realize that you have failed and celebrate it. Failing means you've tried, attempted, came close, or will come close to makeing your goals a reality. Get a board and write down your goals. It can be a simple piece of paper shoved in your wallet or it can be an entire wall in your office, basement, home, or wherever else you want to store your goals and ideas. Don't give up and keep failing. 

What I failed to do, failed at doing, or failed trying to do is irrelevant. What matters though, is that I realized that I failed and am not deterred from my goals. If I was, if I do, take no pity on me, for I will have become a quitter. Quitters don't share success or inspiration with you, they complain and whine about their failures because they are stuck on them. No one wants to work with someone who constantly fails and complains about it. The difference between healthy failing and the quitters mindset, they don't want to be successful through hard work, they want instant success given to them. I haven't found the Success Store yet or the page on Amazon that sells success.. No one is going to just give you anything. You have to earn it, work for it, desire it till it hurts. 

 

Here are a few of my goals for this year:

  1. Increase revenue for my businesses.
  2. Scale my business.
  3. Reduce expenses.
  4. Retain more profits while reducing expenses.
  5. Shoot 5 ad campaigns.
  6. Network with Creative Directors, Art Directors, Photo Editors.
  7. Travel more.
  8. Travel for work.
  9. Plant roots in New York City for work.
  10. Get published.
  11. Learn another language (French and Polish are on my list.)

Go be successful. Go write down your goals.  

The above featured photographs are from a portfolio building shoot that I had at the Boro Hotel in New York City back in January.