Feb 23 2010

NeuAura Shoes Spring/Summer 2010 Collection

New York — This is the second collection I’ve photographed for Arti and NeuAura.  Before I received the samples I had plans to shoot the collection outdoors.  Unfortunately, the DC area got hit with two monster snow storms, so I was a bit worried about the shoot.  My only requirement was to maintain a rustic theme, so I Googled “rustic” and didn’t see images that I liked.  I stumbled on some images of wood flooring and knew that was the direction I wanted to take.

I headed down to Home Depot, perused the aisles for cheap solutions, but didn’t find anything reasonable.  Staining cut planks of wood required too much effort and buying a big box of wood flooring was uneconomical.  I stumbled on some pressed wood shelving and decided to go with four shelves for $20.  But after shooting the shoes on them, the results were terrible.  The wood pattern and quality looked really cheap.  I was really worried after that.

Overnight, I remembered seeing some pretty good quality flooring at Ikea.  The next day I swung by and picked a box for $30.  Wow!  The put together the set on my dining room table, but still wasn’t sure what to expect.  After shooting a test shot, I was feeling pretty good.  The results were lightyears ahead of the Home Depot solution.  I’ll be return the shelving and keeping the flooring for future shoots!

    Client: Arti Upadhyay
    Company: NeuAura Shoes (New York, NY)
    Product: Animal-friendly fashion footwear

Sep 27 2009

Katz’s Deli and Jim’s Steaks — 09.26.2009

NEW YORK, New York — To finish off our trip up North for Frenchie’s baptism, we headed over to one-of-two, sad to say, tourist traps: Katz’s Deli.  Although the ‘tourist trap’ label is a bit harsh, modern television media and food programming turn them into those.  Best kept secrets become a melting pot of annoying people-traffic.  But there is an upside.  In their purest form, places like Katz’s, Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC and Pat’s in Philly are all tributes to awesome, O.G. throwback architecture and culture.  It’s not your typically wanna-be chain restaurant that’s hired the crew from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to design the joint.  We’re talking blood-n-sweat, Mom-n-Pop shops who have built their reputations over several decades.  It’s definitely worth experiencing at least once, even though crowds–myself included in those crowds–can spoil things a bit.

My brother Paul discovered Katz’s from Food Network show and recommended that we try out their famous kosher sandwiches.  The food is pretty good, the wait-time and crowds are absolutely not.  If you decide to head there, do not sit in the back area towards the right if you intend to have someone wait on you.  Sit in the main eating area.  Sitting in the back (next to the bathrooms) requires you to go to the front and grab your food.  Not a big deal, but it sucked that we gave up good seats and wait service in the front.  Sitting where we were did buy us relief from the hoards of chair-bumping tourists!  I had a pastrami sandwich. Rating (7.75/10)

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania — The last leg of the trip brought us to the City of Brotherly Love.  Yes, that’s right, we hit up Jim’s Steaks to compare it to our other beloved tourist trip, Pat’s King of Steaks, or Pat’s for short.  Before we got into the city we couldn’t imaging anyone else lining up to eat there given that it was pouring outside.  We were wrong.  The line had us waiting for around thirty minutes just to sample our first non-Pat’s sandwich.  The chefs were great to photograph as they played along with my attempts to covertly capture them in action.  So, what can I say about the steaks?  The meat was a bit too chopped up (almost minced) for my taste, but it was definitely good.  I’d highly recommend trying it out if you’re into the comparison thing.  I’m still a Pat’s loyalist, but you know, sometimes you need to see what the competition is all about.  Well, I guess this begs the question, how good is Gino’s?  I may stay away from this one.  That’s like me going for the Cowboys.  Rating (7.5/10).


Sep 23 2009

Neuaura Fall/Winter 2009 Collection

GEORGETOWN, Washington, D.C. — A few months ago I received an email from Arti Upadhyay, owner and designer of Neuaura Shoes, saying that she’d like for me to shoot her Fall/Winter shoe collection.  Wow, just the opportunity I was praying for!  We played a little phone tag, but we eventually agreed to work together.

Arti is making quite a name for herself in the Vegan fashion scene.  As many of you may know, Vegan fashion wear eliminates the use of animal products. Period.  That means end-to-end–yes even the factory in Brazil is Vegan-approved–no animals were harmed during the manufacturing of Neuaura products!

A few weeks after our conversation, I received the samples in a huge, worn box.  I could tell this guy had made it’s rounds with FedEx; turns out the collection was being featured in various fashion articles including The Wall Street Journal.  I decided to take the collection down to Georgetown to give me a quasi-city feel.  The Washington, DC area isn’t know for huge skyscrapers or that New York hustle, so I’d have to fudge the L&F with tight shots and editing.


Check out the article from City Saheli featuring one of our images!

Jul 9 2009

Cruz Family – Maternity Session

GREENBELT, Maryland — It’s been over two years since I first started shooting and it all feels like (yes, it’s cliche) yesterday.  Lorraine and Neil have believed in me since the beginning.  Always offering honest and encouraging advice in all my photography ventures.  They were actually the ones who got me my first gig with Chris (Baltazar).  I’ve been shooting with him ever since as an associate photographer.

So today, while I was at work-work, I noticed that I had a missed call on my cell.  It was Raine!  “Oh, man! I hope she didn’t already give birth,” I said to myself.  I was supposed to shoot her last week.  I was in luck.  She was just having contractions and wanted to do the maternity session if I was available.  This was around 4:00 this afternoon (July 8).

I get to the house around 7:45PM and immediately start to setup the backdrop and strobes, while Raine does her belly up and Neil watches Mia–I did Lorraine’s maternity pictures more than a year ago, about a week before Mia popped out.  The D700 just arrived in the mail this afternoon, so what better time to test it out?!  It works superbly by the way!  So we start shooting around 8:30PM and here are the results:

LiamLiam and MommyMia, Liam and Mommyliam-0069_editcruz-liam-0137_small

Jan 4 2009

Jarren and Jack

FT. WASHINGTON, Maryland — My friend Jackie called me earlier this week to ask if I could shoot the boys, Jaren and Jack, over the weekend since they were in town from New York.  I was more than happy to since I’m always looking to practice with the chil’ren!  I showed up to her parent’s house in Ft. Washington after Crystal and family took off for Montreal.  Jarren warmed up to me rather quickly, but I never earned Jack’s smile for more than a vanishing second.  Not even the trustly peek-a-boo worked.  Wow.  He’s one tough cookie to crack.