Christ John Otto makes his triumphant return to the Sid Ceaser Photography studios for a head shot session prior to his big relocation to the United KingdomRead More
nashua nh photography
I love helping people create new head shots because I never know who I’m going to get to work with.
Carla contacted me after being recommended by a prior client (Thank you, Kate!). She was going to toss her hat into the political ring and run for Senate, and she needed a new head shot.
Carla was an absolute joy to work with. She was so friendly and she had great humor. She grew up in Africa and she wanted to wear a few things that hark back to her home.
I love her smile and her adorable pixie hair cut and she had she was just so warm and friendly and a joy to be around. I really liked photographing her and working with her.
I also get a kick when I see an image I created being used for things like billboards:
I had a very bad experience a few years ago with an image I took of someone and that head shot was taken by someone else and used politically in an attack print advertisement without my permission or knowledge. It’s taken a few years to get comfortable enough when someone approaches me asking about creating an image that will specifically be used for a political reason. Carla was so energized that she helped me feel comfortable making an image that was going to be used for that purpose.
I would love to photograph her again.
I've been developing a relationship with the band HOT MESS over the months, and they were so happy with the work we've done so far that when a new member of the band came into the mix, Jason, the head of Hot Mess, contacted me asking if we could create some new head shots for Lacy, but he also needed one other thing: he wanted a photograph of Lacy in the style of the group shot we did months ago so that she could be inserted into the group photo we had taken months before.
Let's give it a shot.Read More
Mike came to me by way of my buddy Jeff. Mike was looking for an updated Head Shot/Business Portrait, and he met me here at the studio one late afternoon, along with Jeff, and we chatted and make some photographs and when we were done we all went out to grab some good pizza and have some laughs. This was an exceptionally easy session, because look at Mike - so classy. Handsome and so easy on the camera. he just fell right into place during this session. Almost effortless.Read More
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Tim Paul Weiner.
Tim is a bass player, employee of Berklee College of Music, and member of HOT MESS. Remember them? We also have a mutual friend, Elise MacDonald, former owner of Studio 99, who introduced us. Tim liked working with me when we created some images for Hot Mess, so he booked a solo session with me. He needed images for a revamped website. I love working with musicians, and with Tim, it was so easy since we had already worked on the Hot Mess session together.Read More
Let me introduce you to the gang that makes up Hot Mess, and give you a little behind-the-scenes of our session earlier this year.
Hot Mess came to me via musician Tim Paul Weiner, who came to me by way of Elise McDonald. Elise used to run Studio 99, a local music venue that I miss terribly and I cherish all the friendships I made when it was open - both professionally as well as personally. Tim and I met and talked about creating some images to be used for a new website and other promotional needs for his music. During our conversation he told me he was part of a larger band that was going to be re-doing their website and branding and he'd share my work with them.
Jason Silverman is the man in charge of Hot Mess. He looks a little like actor Tom Hardy. I'm a big Mad Max fan, so any chance to photograph someone that looks like Tom Hardy is kinda cool to me. Hot Mess is a cover band out of Boston and were recently voted 2016 Wedding Wire Couple's Choice Award.
Jason was looking for something they could use as a splash page image on their soon-to-be-new website. Something simple with everyone in a row. I love keeping things simple, and we set up a time here at the studio.
I had never photographed a group of seven before (though recently worked with Fever Pitch made up of 7 smaller people). Up until now, I think the most I've ever photographed in my studio was the Mwano brothers or the Brooks Young Band. I knew that fitting 7 people on a nine-foot roll of seamless paper wasn't going to cut it, so the day before the session I went into the empty studio space next door to me and I took a roll of seamless and I ran it along one of the walls in there. It let me go past the 9 foot restriction I would have faced here in the studio so that I could get everyone lined up along side each other. I forget what the exact dimensions were, but it was pretty long. So I gaff tapped the paper to the wall and we were good to go.
I wanted to keep the lighting simple, so I set up three lights. I lined them up so that I created a single bank of light all flashing straight ahead towards where the subjects would be located.
Once they arrived it was just a matter of lining them up and visually making sure I had them in a good arrangement and getting to work. When dealing with a group of 7 people, your rate-of-return when it comes to usable shots is going to be low, because you have seven sets of eyes that you need to make sure aren't blinking, seven faces that need to be looking at me and looking good, seven facets of seven people that need to be in check, etc. After each shot I tried to take a peek at the back of the camera, but sometimes you get into rhythm of the shoot and don't check as often. I had them pushed right against the wall at the start.
A shot taken during the start of the session with some text added as a mockup for them
After getting some shots with them against the wall, I pulled them away from the wall a few feet and then took my two side lights and moved them around a bit:
the view from my perspective
Once we got some good shots, I then started to play around a little bit, and bought out my prism and started moving it around the front of my lens:
I was really liking the reflections that the prism was picking up and took a few different shots moving the prism around and picking up reflections and little light blooms (like the one in the above image in the left corner).
By now we were starting to fall into the groove. I knew that we had the shot they wanted for their website, but I was just feeling like I was getting to what I wanted from the session, so I started to pull them a little further away from the background and stagger their arrangements. Jason was the head of the band, so I knew I wanted him in focus, and if the focus fell off a bit, I was okay with that. Not everyone had to be crystal-sharp for me. I wanted to add a little dimension to the group shot.
And that was the shot I was looking for. Visually I was interested in the composition and layout of all the members. Jason was tight and in focus, and everyone else starts to go out of focus. Visually I liked how my eye started on Andria in the left of the image and you can feel your eyeballs move up and down as you move across the image to the right. This was the shot for me and after I got this, I knew we were good.
I also played around with the prism a little more:
Once the group images were good to go, I wanted to get individual shots of each band member that would go on the website's "About Us" page.
Tom Hardy. Totally.
It was a really great session and I think they were very happy with the images we created.
Their website went live and it looks pretty darn good:
Thanks gang, you guys were great to photograph, and I'm looking forward to working with y'all again in the future.
To see a few more shots, take a spin over to my Flickr feed.
Christ John Otto is an author and the founder of Belonging House. He contacted me after seeing the work I've done with Ian Ethan Case and we've developed a friendship while preparing to work together. Christ (rhymes with "wrist") was looking to have some promotional photography created in the form of head shots for his website and upcoming books. During our session, he let me play around a little bit and diverge away from our head shot session and take a little more freestyle approach.
For the image above, I slapped the Petzval lens on the front of the camera and took Christ into an empty studio next door to mine. I love this look he is giving me here. I love how the background gets kind of messy and circular because of the Petzval. I don't use the Petzval enough and have to remember to put it on the camera more often.
Then I tossed a prism in front of the lens and started picking up reflections and refractions.
I love when a client allows me to play a little bit during our session. I'm usually very lighthearted during all my sessions, but the people that let me break out a little bit and try this and that hold a special place in my heart.
Christ is currently on a multi-month sabbatical in Scotland right now. Color me jealous. He told me before he left that he's already anxious to hire me for another session, which is the best compliment in the world to get.
See you soon, Christ. Make magic while in Scotland. See you when you get back.
I've known my buddy Dave for a long time. He's become a very close friend, and I love hanging around with him and talking geek-stuff and recording podcasts and everything. His father, who lives in Taiwan, has visited Dave twice in the years that I've known him, and on his second visit last year, Dave hired me to make some portraits of his father.
I was going to write about a fantastic evening and dinner at Dave's and then how his father, Ingram (though he also likes to be called Sam) played some music for us and how we talked for hours about his home and his life working in missionaries in both Taiwan and the US, but instead I just want to focus on the image above, and how much I love the look of intensity on his face while he played for us.
You can see a few more images here, but I wanted to just concentrate on this image. I love it. I feel it's a beautiful portrait, and I'm so glad I finally got to meet the father of a very good friend.
In celebration of Hannah's new album hitting streets in a few weeks:
I've worked with Folk musician/ singer/songwriter Hannah Sanders a few times now. I enjoy being in Hannah's company; we have the same type of humor and I love laughing with her and listening to her British accent. She moved back to the U.K. a few years ago, but in August 2014 she came back to the States for come concert dates and she wanted to get together and create some new images for her forthcoming album and promotional images.Read More
Hey-O! Two most excellent things coming up on the same day in the same building!
FIRST, we've got the Picker Building Spring Open Studios event. Come visit the artists of the Picker Building; four floors of creatives getting their creative jiggy on! With Mothers Day right around the corner, maybe one of our fabulous artists has something for YOUR Mommy dearest. This is from Noon to 5pm, right here at the Picker Building, 99 Factory Street Extension in Nashua.
THEN, grab your folding chair and get your butt to Sid Ceaser Photography on the 4th Floor of the Picker Building as we happily host my buddies the BRYAN THOMAS TRIO! Live jazz by three friends who have been playing for years and years together. They played a bunch of times at the old Studio 99, and their music is a great shot of energy as they rip into free-form jazz. Space is limited, so make sure you come early and get ready! A $5 minimum donation gets you into the studio and ready to have your face melted off with Jazz! 7:30pm.
A great day right here in the creative hub of Nashua. If you've never been to the Picker Building before, this is your perfect opportunity to see all it has to offer.