Professional Athlete, Casey Short

One of my favorite clients is Naperville Magazine, who I’ve been shooting for since 2007. The magazine has a circulation of over 40,000, and is bundled with the Sunday Chicago Tribune. My assignments have included shooting CEOs of multinational corporations, interiors of beautifully renovated homes, working with dozens of models for fashion spreads, shooting in restaurants, colleges and on the streets of downtown Naperville and other Chicagoland locations. It’s been a lot of fun and the variety has been great.

Recently, I photographed one of my favorites shoots for the magazine and this week, it came out as the cover story. In late November, we met up at Toyota Park to do the shooting with Casey Short, who plays defense for the Chicago Red Stars soccer team and has been invited to try out for the USA national team.

Casey couldn’t have been more easy to work with. We had the stadium to ourselves to work in and around, so we shot the cover image in the tunnel leading down to the field. We also used the field as well as the Chicago Fire (men’s soccer team) locker room. Most of the shots were taken using basic lighting– a medium soft box, with natural light allowed to fill in the background– and a Canon 1DX Mark II camera. I used a 70-200 f/2.8 lens for all the pictures except the action shots, which were taken on a 300mm f/2.8 lens.

Best in Show

Last summer I took part in my first fine art photography show in over ten years– the Bar Harbor “Art in the Park” show in Maine. This annual fair at the gateway to Acadia National Park is a showcase for painters and photographers to show and sell their art.

The most popular print at the show- a 40×60″ metal print

I custom printed over forty-five large (16×20 to the large 40×60-inch metal print above) limited edition prints for the show, as well as over 120 open edition 8×10’s, a new Acadia Centennial poster, and sold several copies of my book. It was my first time participating in the show, but the response to my work was very gratifying. The icing on the cake came a few days later when I was surprised to learn my photography had been awarded “Best in Show.” I’ll definitely be back next year to do it all again.

Luxury Apartment Shoot

New lobby at Elmhurst 255

I love shooting interiors and exteriors. There’s an art to making a room look inviting enough that someone would want to live there. Unlike shooting portraits, where you shoot lots of pictures to get a range of expressions, in architectural photography you spend a lot of time setting it up and getting the room looking just right; then you only take a few pictures.

I hooked up with Morningside USA about three or four years ago when they opened a 306-unit complex in my town and I shot all their marketing pictures (see here). A few months ago I shot their newest project, a 192-unit luxury apartment building in Elmhurst.

I always use a medium format camera for these jobs. My smaller D-SLR cameras just don’t cut it for this kind of work. The quality of the finished images is unbeatable, and the dynamic range (the amount of detail you can see in both the shadows and highlights) is superb. The larger file size also gives me more room to tweak the images by straightening out converging verticals and making sure the walls don’t look like they’re leaning in or out (a common problem with all wide angle lenses).

To see how the pictures are used on the client’s website, have a look at Elmhurst 255. And if you’re looking for a great place to live, close to the Metra station and only thirty minutes from downtown, check them out.

The Chief Executive Portrait

Centegra Health President and CEO

For the last several years, I’ve been privileged to meet and photograph several top CEOs in the Chicago area. Some of them have been CEOs of new startups, not yet making any money. Two or three of them have been billionaires. Several are in the tech industry, some are in well known utility corporations while others are in the food industry. Some oversee large hospitals while one even operates an airport. Some corporations have replaced their CEOs often enough to have me come back two or three times. All of them have been successful in their fields, whether it’s a new software venture, a thriving non-profit or a Fortune 500 corporation.

Almost all the CEO’s have been down to earth, friendly people who I’ve enjoyed getting to know. Most are comfortable having their picture taken- they’ve done it all before for magazines or TV spots.

Occasionally, I’ve been given free product from some of them, like the CEO of Girls Scouts of America who gave me a couple boxes of cookies! Or the CEO of Office Max who gave me a couple of their trademark rubber band balls you saw on the side of their trucks.

CEO of Allant Group

CEO of Trust Company of Illinois

CEO of Inland Group

CEO of Morris Hospital

CEO of Micro Dynamics Group

President of Pivotal Home Solutions AGL Resources

CEO of Swap.com

CEO of L Street Collaborative

President of Nicor Gas/ AGL Resources

CEO of AST

Founder and CEO of Calamos Investments

CEO of ATI Physical Therapy

CEO of Clow Bolingbrook International Airport

CEO of Nicor Gas/ AGL Resources

CEO of Office Max

CEO of PhysIQ

CEO of Edward Hospital

CEO and Founder of BCKSTGR

CEO of Oberweis Dairy

CEO of DuPage Medical Group

Founder and CEO of Thomas Interior

Best of 2016, Part One

2016 was probably the busiest of all the 27 years I’ve been in business. Let’s see… last time I updated the blog was last February, so it just goes to show I’ve been too busy to keep up with you all here. I added several new clients last year and was privileged to shoot with a great bunch of people and in places around the Chicagoland area and across the country– a new hotel client in coastal Maine, a healthcare client with a brand new state-of-the-art hospital (that I got to be the first photographer to shoot), several top CEOs in the Chicago area, a new $56 million apartment complex inside and out, and a new college client.

But I do want to get back to sharing some of my favorite pictures from last year with you. Typically, I don’t share pictures from shoots until long after they’ve been used by my clients, to respect their publication dates. But it’s a new year and I’m now looking forward to what 2017 has in store.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my favorite images and jobs from 2016: