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I shoot my friends

Published July 20th, 2012

Like my family, my friends are a very important part of my life. I think I have been really lucky, because even though you are the one deciding who you want to stay friends with, who you end up meeting by chance is something you have no control over. I know I can count on them whenever I need them and after college and high school when keeping in touch with everyone begins to feel like work we have done a good job of still being able to stay in touch.

So after having my camera for a couple of years and getting comfortable shooting I decided to enhance my skills by experimenting with my friends. These was the first time I shot with any additional lighting so these portraits were a challenge where I would use a combination of natural lighting and speedlights. I figured that if it didn't work being my friends they couldn't possibly be too upset with me if I failed and if I did a good job I they would get nice portraits out of it. It definitely helps to start with someone you know, at least with me I wasn't as nervous interacting with them compared to someone I was doing a job for.

For my lighting I used one SB 900 with a shoot through umbrella and if needed I would use a reflector to fill the shadows by bouncing available sunlight. This was my first time shooting portraits where I would have to work with a "model" (my friends are NOT models) to get a picture and composition that I liked while trying to get them to pose so I was a little nervous before the shoots, but thats why it is good to practice on people you know first. I really liked natural lighting I think it helps bring out a lot of the natural colors in the scenery so I would try to find the best natural lighting for the background and then use the strobes to just light the model. For most of these portraits I kept the sun in the background (if it was still out) and made sure it wasn't directly in the shot by blocking it from directly hitting the subject. Except the one with Sandy, where the sun was directly hitting her and no speedlights were used. My goal was to explore Chicago and find places as close to downtown that I could use to show the beauty of the city without trying to make use of places that would suggest that the portraits were being done in Chicago.

This set took me most of the summer through early spring. Mostly because of problems with schedules. But it was a great learning experience and I would recommend getting comfortable by shooting friends before looking for solo paid jobs.


One of my favorite people (my hotttie girlfriend) in one of my favorite spots in the city. Its amazing the things we could find especially in big cities like Chicago. I came to this place for field work during one of my classes my senior year. Since then we have come here many times during the spring and summer.

Its nice to just sit back and relax, escape city life. Which is kind of ironic because this place is pretty much in the middle of it.

sb-900 with 46' umbrella used a diffuser @ 1/16 camera left

  • September 1st, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 24mm / f/3.2 / 1/200 sec


One of my friends was moving out so this was the first portrait session I did. We tried to fit in a photo shoot two weeks before she left for Connecticut. And as comfortable as she looks she's actually really bad about taking pictures in public, really bad, unless they are really silly poses.

sb-900 with 42' reflector used a diffuser @ 1/16 camera right

  • August 1st, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 24mm / f/4 / 1/200 sec


This is Mr. Kyle Bacon, he likes to skate we did this during one of his drink skate Wednesdays. Drink skate Wednesdays...where he skates drinks and its on a Wednesday. Surprisingly out of all my friends he was the best model. He loves the camera and doesn't care if anyone is watching him. Actually some of our friends were helping out and watching and he was super chill.


Sadly this was one of the last shoots I did. Sometime in December, so we weren't really able to go outside to shoot. Luckily his old apartment has a brick wall that makes for a nice background. And his dog just couldn't stay away so it became a family portrait.

  • December 10th, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 27mm / f/4 / 1/200 sec


We got through Jenny's shoot, but not without some damage to my umbrellas, just a couple dents but they still work so hopefully I don't have to replace them anytime soon.

Jenny, with he classic pose. No matter what kind of picture she is taking, she ends up doing this pose and it doesn't change. Gave up trying to have her do different things. But if its not broken why fix it right?

  • October 21st, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 32mm / f/3.2 / 1/80 sec


  • September 4th, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 35mm / f/4 / 1/400 sec


  • September 10th, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 24mm / f/3.5 / 1/100 sec


  • August 9th, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 32mm / f/4.5 / 1/125 sec


This is from the same place I did Alis shoot this spring. Just different season.

  • November 5th, 2011
  • Nikon D90
  • 40mm / f/4 / 1/125 sec

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