Following Dreams & Breaking Molds.

I feel grateful today. I am surrounded by incredibly talented people. Together, we are moving towards the same amazing goals of success, happiness, and fulfillment for everyone on our team. My wife and I have put our dream out there, and one by one, people have come who share in that dream. Momentum is building and I feel grateful.

From time to time, encounters with people can leave me jaded. Negativity is easy to find, and I’m certainly not above it. I recognize that tendency in myself and that I must actively focus on what I want to create. So here it goes, what I want to create is beautiful, passionate, epic work with people who also feel this is important. I want to create a family that is healthy, vibrant and invested in life. I want to create a space where talent can learn and thrive among us. I want to give back by paying forward the huge gifts that were given to me by my mentors and friends. I want to shift the paradigm, break the mold and blow up antiquated ideas. That’s what artists do. This is who I am. As Steve Jobs once said, "I want to put a ding in the universe.” I believe that we can.

Incorporating CGI into Still Imagery.

Thinking outside of the box with a new "ASMP Strictly Business" Article! Several ways that CGI has empowered me as an artist to creatively meet the needs of clients and to explore new possibilities with personal work. Check it out! 

A Camera, Tripod and an iPhone…

As a followup to my last post, "Cut the Clutter", here's a photograph I made just for fun with my good friend Tyrome Jackson. 100% of everything captured here is done so in camera; No Photoshop tricks with this one! Just trying something new and testing the limits of the Canon 5DMKII @ 6400 ISO. This is one minute exposure, mounted to a tripod, in darkness with a bit of diffused moonlight and light-painted using nothing but an iPhone with the "flashlight" app.. I'm a firm believer in stepping outside your box and trying new creative approaches! There's always something new to learn… In this case, pretty much all of the "fancy photo gear" was eliminated proving that all one needs here is a stable tripod, a decent camera and a constant 5500k light source for light painting.  

Cut the Clutter!

If there's anything I've learned over the years working in this business, it’s that making great photographic imagery has NOTHING to do with the fancy, high tech gear your sporting!  Let me explain. 

At the beginning of my career, I had a vision of what a commercial photographer should look like. We would roll up to set with a truck of gear, carting every piece of equipment a young photographer could dream of. Lights, Booms and C-Stands, oh my! In my mind, this was the equation: the more gear I brought, the more I must have to offer a client I was wrong! 

If I’m being honest, it wasn’t just about impressing our clients. Within the industry, there is an ego about having the latest and the greatest. It's easy to feel that you need the newest cameras and the fanciest lighting to be taken seriously.  The hard lesson I have learned is that this stuff will eat away your profit as a photographer, and consume your creative soul. After a while you've accumulated so much gear that you need to have a studio just to store it all.  You stress about protecting your valuable equipment because it’s where you’ve invested everything that you have. At the same time, you are looking yet another upgrade and before you know it, your overhead is out of control. Trust me, I’ve been there.....

The truth is, you've got nothing if you don't have a solid concept combined with a unique moment.  You need to figure out what series of processes, gear, productions, etc. it will take you to produce the final image that people will connect with.  This process is different for every project. Make the shoot about the subject, not the stuff. If you need a special piece equipment for a project, consider renting it! This could be the perfect  opportunity to network with other photographers in your area; considering renting from another professional, or even trading favors. 

Taking your client into consideration is also important. The more time you spend unloading and staging gear, the less time you spend on your subject. Comfort on set is important as well: if your models can’t walk off set for a drink of water without fear of tripping over one of 35 cords stretched across the room, then you might be overdoing it.

One of the questions that has made me laugh over the years is “what camera will you be shooting with?”. My answer is always, "I'm going to shoot with the best camera for project." Whether it's a Hassleblad for the file size or a DSLR with video capabilities for speed and portability, I’m going to make sure that I bring exactly what I need. Nothing more, nothings less. 

The message I would like to share is this: think an image through and carefully plan for the best. This is the most efficient, most economic process to get your client to where they want to be. Bring the right gear for the job, keep the back ups in the truck and make it happen! For me, that is the best formula for success!

Several Ways I've Diversified My Business.

Here's the latest contribution to ASMP Strictly Business BLOG on ways I've diversified my business as a photographer and commercial artist over these last few years. Check it out!

ASMP "Strictly Business"

Honored to announce that I've been added as a contributing writer for "Strictly Business", a blog by the American Society of Media Photographers. New articles releasing soon. Stay tuned-much more to come!

Happy Halloween! Behind-the-scenes with GWAR from a shoot for Revolver Magazine awhile back. The scariest image I have in my archive. They were all great guys though in person! Fun memories at a Fun photo shoot!

Full tank of gas, hand full of cards and a portfolio...

Leaving for the Big Apple this week with a full tank of gas, a few changes of clothes, my brand new portfolio and a hand full of cards in my pocket. If asked, "what do I hope to accomplish by doing this?" My response will be simply, "to know in my years to come that at this moment of my life I found strength within and I made the effort to do it". More often than not, finding the strength and confidence within can be the most difficult part of expanding beyond your comfort zone as an artist. However, this is a business where big risks warrant big rewards. I will not know immediately the value of this trip but already I know that it will be a great learning opportunity and I will come back stronger as a professional and an individual... 

A video of my new portfolio can be viewed here: 

ASMP - Evolution / Revolution

Looking forward to participating in ASMP's inaugural "Evolution / Revolution" live webinar series tomorrow (Oct 8th, 2013) with guests Richard Kelly, Michelle Dunn Marsh and Esquire Photo Director, Michael Norseng. You may find more info or sign up for a live audio feed here: . See you there! 

New work for Crowne Plaza Hotel

Crowne Plaza Hotel of RVA recently released an entire new archive of images and virtual tours created by the Winton-Stahle Team. BIG THANKS to the folks at Crowne Plaza Hotel and to my awesome crew! 

Curves International

Here is one of several new images created as part of a project for Curves International. 

“The Road Not Taken”

Here's a new image from a project inspired by Robert Frost's, "The Road Not Taken". One of my favorite poems ever and one that has been a great influence to me personally. I've had this image, "or something like it" floating around in my head for years. What an amazing creative exercise this has been to analyze a poem verse by verse and then to techniquely and aesthetically figure out how to create a photographic image that accurately represent it. I do believe I would like to do more work like this!  

“The Road Not Taken”

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 10

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 15

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference. 20

Inspired Portrait: Madonna and Child

As some of you may know, we have a new addition to the Winton-Stahle team. Mr. Liam Dylan joined us on January 20th. Becoming a Dad for the first time is breathing new energy, perspective and inspiration into my personal work, in ways I never dreamed possible.

Life influences art, and art influences life. It's a circle of creative energy, and I'm excited to share with you this image as a part of that process.  Inspired by Giovanni Bellini's "Madonna And Child", I felt a strong connection to this painting because of Bellini's intense devotion and care given to his subject. Madonna and child historically represents a mother and child, and while religious in most aspects, reflects many of the emotions I feel about my wife and son. It's very personal, but also universal, as the true subject of this photograph is love.

It is my hope that this will be the beginning of many pieces inspired by both the great artists of the Renaissance and by my family. I can not imagine a better collaboration. Please stay tuned to join me on this adventure.

Interview for Shutterbug Magazine.

Mr. Liam Dylan and I are taking a moment to enjoy their new complimentary issue of Shutterbug Magazine in which I was interviewed for an article (page 104-109) about the benefits of being a part of a professional photography associations. Check it out if you get a chance!

It was an honor to be included along side several fellow ASMP colleagues out there in the USA! Thank you Shutterbug Magazine and Maria Piscopo! Ya'll are awesome!

Southern 2-8-2 Steam Locomotive

Very excited about this new photo-illustration created from 8 separate images and designed specially for a two page book layout. A lot of thought, planning and work has gone into this one! The image of this "Southern 2-8-2 Steam Locomotive" was taken near Abingdon, Virginia as it passed through as part of "steam-powered train excursion" that Northern Southern is partnering with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum on. The idea was to create an epic period landscape image using this train that really embodied the look and feel of a moment as it might have happened during the early 20th century.