Antigravity Yoga with Jen

I was recently invited to photograph a long time friend of mine doing some anti-gravity yoga.  Its something I've never seen in person or experienced so it was insightful to take a few photos and see what it is all about.  This, in general, is one of the things I like most about being a photographer - being in situations I wouldn't have otherwise been in.


There's a lot of focus and attention inward.  I came in once the session already started and we didn't actually say hello until she was done with this private session.


This is a nicely lit studio in NYC that was fun to explore from a photographers perspective.  Shot all in natural light.


One of these days I'll try this anti-gravity session and experience for myself.  Looking forward to our next shoot.

Capezio Activewear Shoot

Stephanie, whom I've worked with multiple times in the past, recently was selected for an opportunity to model some new Capezio clothing.  She asked me to help capture some images to market these clothes to the active, fit females everywhere!


We had access to a gym that she works out in called Fairlambfit in Northern NJ.  We pretty much had the whole gym to ourselves which allowed us to explore without having to ask people to step out of the way :-) 


Steph had a few pieces of clothing to feature so we moved around a bit to keep in the sports/active mode while featuring the clothing, and her, in action.  She got a little workout in the meantime.


Keeping it real.  Steph has been a dancer for many years which allows her to move and stretch like one.   


For this last one, we got a little help with the edit. Thanks to Olya Bro for some photoshop work on this one to clean up the surroundings.  Great kick!

Beach Volleyball Sports Shoot

I planned a beach volleyball shoot in the summer and it didn't work out and boy am I glad.  This is the shoot I planned but not when it was originally scheduled.  For various reasons we had to push it back to early September and we were blessed with a beautiful warm day and nobody around since it was a day when most people are back to their lives after the summer is over.


I had worked with Erke before but this time she brought along a friend, Cassandra.  Super fun to work with and her height came in handy for jumps like you see above and even beforehand with hooking up the net since none of us could reach without a step stool.


We headed to Bradley Beach on the NJ Shore and pretty much had the run of the place.  We started shooting around 3pm and shot until the sun set.  Now these girls are not pro volleyball players but you'd never be able to tell.  We were fortunate to have help with the location and instruction from Landa (true volleyball player and referee).  


Both of these girls went at it pretty hard all day with jumping and diving for the ball.  We took a break just before the golden hour and got back to it for some of these shots.


Such a fun shoot on the beach!  This last set above is more of their expertise.  Love working with talented people!  Big thanks to Erke & Cassandra!

Handbag Advertising Shoot

This year I had a very specific goal to execute several advertising shoots during the course of 2017 to show the execution of a concept to delivery of images.  This is the second in this series.  The first was a jewelry shoot featuring some David Yurman pieces.  This one is all about the handbag!

Darrin Estep Photography | handbag advertising

I selected two bags that inspired me and worked with Brittany Rendon again to style the shoot based on the feel I wanted. The first shown here was a Michael Kors bag.  I love how the expression of love for this bag comes through on Erke's face.  Effrosyni also did a great job with hair and make-up changes throughout the day!

Darrin Estep Photography | handbag advertising

The great styling work from Brittany really shines through on the pieces above.  We also featured a variety of sunglasses to enhance the look on some of the images.  Erke effortlessly works a variety of poses to showcase the bag and the clothing to give a sense of fun I was imagining when first thinking about this shoot. 

Darrin Estep Photography | handbag advertising

I had to put this jumping image on its own.  Wow!  You should have seen the air this girl was catching and looking so effortless with bag in hand.  Special thanks to Olya for her attention to detail in cleaning up these images to look magazine ready.

Darrin Estep Photography | handbag advertising

The next bag was a Louis Vuitton that I thought had a very cool look to it. This one is called the Kimono just in case you'd like to get one.

Darrin Estep Photography | handbag advertising

So, Erke is a model but also an accomplished dancer.  I worked with her on a previous shoot when I first discovered her jumping skills and brought her back for this gig.  I leave you with a few more of her catching some air with Louis. Awesome shoot. Great team!

ModelErke Roosen
StylistBrittany Rendon
Hair + MUAEffrosyni Pimenidis
Assistant: Achim Harding
RetouchingOlya Bro 
PhotographerDarrin Estep

Kelly's Portraits

Kelly responded to a casting call I placed a couple months ago on Model Mayhem.  I had a lot of responses and she was my top choice but we weren't able to work together because of scheduling conflicts so I kept her info for another opportunity to do some test shots.

Darrin Estep Photography | portraits

I'm glad I waited.  Her features are striking and what I was pleasantly surprised to find out as well is that she is very down to earth and fun to work with.  I started with a few images that were near a window before I broke out lights.  Natural window light is hard to beat.

Darrin Estep Photography | portraits

She mentioned that she didn't have as much in her portfolio that are full body so I selected one of the dresses she brought to the shoot and we played around with this outfit.  

Darrin Estep Photography | portraits

We ran short on time so I ended with a few headshots of her with this dress.  The session was short but sweet.  I hope we can work again in the future.

ModelKelly Mulvihill
MUANicole Maldonado

Modeling Portraits with KimC

Now and again I like to use ModelMayhem to help find new people to work with.  I put a last minute shoot together to keep things interesting and put a challenge in front of me to think on my feet.

DarrinEstepPhotography | portraits

As I usually like to do, we started with beauty shots.  I find this really helps to break the ice and for myself and the model to get a little time to connect.  Well, this was pretty quick and easy with Kim.  She looks intense but she was very down to earth and easy to talk to and I remember being impressed on the day of the shoot that she would very easily go from smiling and laughing to being completely "in character".

DarrinEstepPhotography | portraits

We had this nice exposed brick to work with so we played around with that for a couple looks. Kim has super long legs and I wanted to feature that in some of the images.  She asked if I prefer working with taller models and I said, "Sure, as long as I have my step stool with me :-)"

DarrinEstepPhotography | portraits

We were running short on time toward the end and there was a couch I wanted to use so I moved it in front of my black backdrop to isolate Kim against the couch.  Love what we got here.

Thanks to Kim (model) and Sheila on make-up for making it a fun, successful shoot.

Jewelry Advertising Product Shoot

One of most important goals I have for my business each year is to continue to push myself creatively and do personal work that's inspiring and challenging.  Its also very important to me to work with a team of people you respect and trust.  This is the first in a series of shoots this year that will showcase my ability to build out an idea, find the right team to collaborate with, and execute on that vision.  In my opinion, when these elements come together it can take the final output to the next level.

For this shoot, I developed a concept inspired by a well known jewelry designer and collection I was drawn to.  I built a creative brief and explored what would be featured, how I would display the jewelry to convey a feeling and emotion.  I wanted it to feel effortless while being very intentional.

One of the most important roles in my creative team was the stylist.  Brittany was a referral from the make-up artist (MUA), Lyndsey.  Her role is critical to helping bringing a rough idea to life and tell the story.  Its also critical to have a MUA that can deliver on what's planned and a model that can interpret the direction given and add her own bit as well.  Everyone is an essential part of the team.

Darrin Estep Photography | Product

The storyline here follows three parts: 1) Preparing for a night out 2) The night out itself and 3) Reflection.  The first two images above represent the preparation.  Everyone gets ready with this much bling on, right?

Darrin Estep Photography | Product

The classic little black dress (LBD) helps feature a variety of the pieces we had for this shoot.  We simply turned it around for a different perspective.  Another aspect I explored in terms of the final output is color or black & white.  Which do you like better?

Darrin Estep Photography | Product

With the level of detail and scrutiny I've given to these images it gives me an appreciation for the final results.  There's a LOT of work that goes into the planning and executing of a shoot like this.  I really love it though.  All of it.

Darrin Estep Photography | Product

Finally the "reflection" image.  What I've gathered here are a small sample of the great images that came from this day.  As I mentioned above, I worked with a team of people that I want to thank and recognize for their contribution to this project.

Model: Stephanie Damiano
Stylist: Brittany Rendon
MUA: Lyndsey Ariel
Assistant: Tom Spota
Retouching: Olya Bro 
Photographer: Darrin Estep

Darrin Estep Photography | Product

Laundrylux Laundromat - The Bronx

I know I say it a lot but I'll say it again.  I love referrals and repeat business.  This, to me, is so important.  This was the second laundromat shoot I've done now for Laundrylux which manufacturers commercial laundry equipment.  The first one was in Queens and this time I was in The Bronx to shoot a location that was just about to open.

Darrin Estep Photography | Laundromat Commercial

I wish I would have counted the number of people that stopped by this location to ask, "Are you guys open yet?" while I was shooting this space.  It was impressive and there's obviously demand for it in the neighborhood.  The space is GIANT (as the name indicates), clean and new and ready for your laundry needs.

Darrin Estep Photography | Laundromat Commercial

Pictured here was Jim.  He was my contact at this location and one of the owners of the space.  Super nice guy and I wish him all the success in the opening of this beautiful location.

Mother/Daughter Photos

Recently I was hired to shoot some photos of a mother & daughter.  It's something that so far I've not had the opportunity to do...and after this session its something I would definitely do again.  

mother-daughter | Darrin Estep Photography

Mom (Katrina) and I had many conversations about the type of look we were going for and we agreed the images would be more on the serious side however, we wanted to have some fun as well.  As you can see, we did both.

mother-daughter | Darrin Estep Photography
mother-daughter | Darrin Estep Photography

Gabby (the daughter) wasn't super comfortable in the clothes that mom brought but she went with it.  We made sure to allow for some time for her to stretch her wings a bit.


We ended the day with a few of Katrina.  Fun session with the two girls.  We have more scheduled for later in the year.  Can't wait.

mother-daughter | Darrin Estep Photography

Corporate Headshots: Mastiff LLC

A company that I've worked with before, Mastiff LLC, called on me again for photos of a new employee, Bryan.  He interned with them before and now he's been hired on as a full-time employee.  

Darrin Estep Photography | portraits

We went to nearby City Hall Park to grab some photos while the weather was still warm.  Later, we joined the others for some group images near the office.  Love the repeat business and look forward to working with this group again soon.

Darrin Estep Photography | portrait

Dance Photos in NYC

As usual, there's a backstory to every shoot.  Months ago I wanted to setup a shoot with dancers to do something creative.  Just a personal project.  I spent the time thinking through all the logistics and concepts, did lots of planning, set a date and - it rained.  Ugh.  

Fast forward a couple months and I thought I wanted to pick up where I left off but it was very last minute and none of the original team was available.  Fine!  I still want to do it so I'm going to post something online to see what I can put together.  Lucky for me, Erke answered my casting call and Alexa was available to help with make-up - and boom.

Darrin Estep Photography | Dance

I started with headshots.  We only took a few because we were limited on time and I really wanted to see this girl jump.  I was NOT disappointed.  I picked this location from suggestion from another photographer and it was perfect.  It has all the elements I wanted: interesting but not too busy, very NYC but not something you see all the time and open shade which is so much easier to work with.

Darrin Estep Photography | Dance

Dance Shoot Crew:

Model: Erke
MUA: Alexa
Assistant: Tom Spota

Corporate Team-building with Bottle & Bottega

Something I strive for in my business is to please each client so above expectations that they want to hire you over and over again.  I work hard to achieve this and have been fortunate enough to be able to do with Bottle & Bottega.  They are a wine and art party business, have a local studio and host events like this on-location for organizations that want teambuilding activities.

Two overall goals here: 1) Capture the event, venue, and give a sense of what it was like to be there and 2) Select key images to end up in a slideshow video to showcase the type of work Bottle & Bottega does.

The first set of images here are of the crew responsible for helping each of the tables: the artists.

Corporate Team-building - Darrin Estep Photography

I captured people at various stages of painting; here are a few...

Corporate Team-building - Darrin Estep Photography

Some tables as they finished (love the guy with both hands up)

Corporate Team-building - Darrin Estep Photography

A sense of the overall space, the finished result and people gathering in front of the paintings to admire the work.

Corporate Team-building - Darrin Estep Photography

An additional component of this shoot was to produce a video slideshow from the images that can be used for Bottle & Bottega marketing efforts for the holidays.  Here's a link to that video.

Corporate Headshots for Debbie

I consider Debbie to be a great friend and client as well.  Debbie is the CEO of Stride and had an upcoming speaking engagement.  She needed updated images for her website and to give to event organizers so we met up in the city to capture these images.  Fortunately, we had a nice day in the city to shoot.  We walked around for about 30 minutes and stopped at a few locations I scoped out prior to us meeting.  Here are a couple favorites of mine.

Corporate Headshots - Darrin Estep Photography

Portrait of an Entrepreneur: Drones of all sizes

Something I thoroughly enjoy is engaging with and learning from clients.  Jeremy has just started a business called Silicon Flight Academy and their goal is to train kids how to fly multicopters responsibly.  He’s in the process of partnering with some schools in the NJ area as a part of the STEM program.

We had a couple of goals for this shoot.  First, Jeremy wanted some updated profile images to use on LinkedIn.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Portrait - Darrin Estep Photography

Next, we wanted to feature some images that show a little of what some of the multicopters (drones) look like.  We wanted to show some really small ones and some that are a little larger.  In addition, he had some FPV gear (headset) to help demonstrate what it would look like to be in an open space piloting a drone.  He's knowledgable and passionate about this subject and I plan on taking advantage of his proximity to me to learn more as I also explore what its like to fly drones.

Lifestyle Images - Darrin Estep Photography

I look forward to our next meet-up.

Laundrylux washing machines at Queens Laundromat

I was recently hired to photograph a laundromat in Queens to help support the manufacturers, Laundrylux marketing effort for both current and future laundromat owners.  I was connected with the owner of this location and we agreed on a date to shoot.

On the night before the shoot, it was raining...hard. The next morning, no change.  Fortunately, there were only a few shots I needed outside. 

Laundrylux laundromat in Queens NY

There was a brief reprieve from the rain so I took advantage to get shots of the exterior.  The location is on a pretty busy street relatively close to the LGA airport.  Once back inside, I knew the key to this shoot was to get the color right.  When fluorescent lights are used, they throw off a green cast that isn't terribly visible until you compare it to other light.  So for each of the locations in the store, I would reset my white balance on the camera using a card to ensure I was capturing an accurate, balanced color from each section of the store. 

Laundrylux laundromat in Queens NY

This shoot went well and the people involved in the shoot were great to work with.  I definitely look forward to shooting additional locations with this group.

Corporate Headshots in lower Manhattan

A few weeks ago I was hired to shoot some corporate headshots for a small company called Mastiff LLC located in downtown Manhattan.  They are a property development and financial services firm.  In my consultation meeting with them, we were discussing what they wanted from the upcoming session and suddenly they stopped to ask, “Would you like some cereal?”  I felt like I immediately got their humor and personality.

My contact is Marissa and she told me about the desire for them to have headshots for the three of them and we also discussed some recent blogging that she’s started to do for the company.  She wanted to capture some lifestyle images for the blog. The topics focus on the work they do and how they split their time across a few locations where they have property.   


Once the formal shots were done we headed outside.  Fortunately, we had a beautiful day.  Their offices are near the South Street Seaport.  I haven’t been down there in a long time and was surprised to know there are still sections of that area that have been closed since Hurricane Sandy.


Such a fun group to work with.  We talked about some fun projects to do in the future so I'm looking forward to being a part of that soon.

Teterboro Airport: Private Jet Interior/Exterior

I've had lots of interesting opportunities in the time I've been a photographer.  This, however, is by far the most interesting (and expensive) product shoot I've ever done.  When the first question you're asked upon arriving is, "Where would you like the plane?", you know its going to be a fun shoot.

Unfortunately, it was a rainy day which required us to shoot inside the hangar vs. outside. The ground crew at Teterboro Airport accommodated us by moving this plane to allow for mostly unobstructed views.  We started with the outside, then moved in. 

The owner of this beautiful Falcon 900EX is making it available to charter.  This generated a request from the charter company, Landmark Aviation, to have images featured on their aircraft data sheet to show prospective clients.  They connected us with the pilot, Bruno, for a tour of the plane and help with any requests we had during the shoot.   

Bruno told us about the updated interior and, as you can see from the images, everything is immaculate.  Looking back, I laugh that I brought windex and paper towels as a "just in case" - NOT needed!

For a shoot like this, it's always better to have another highly competent person with you to cover the job properly.  Theresa Keil of Keil Studios Photography has worked with me on many jobs and helped create some great images on this shoot as well.  To add some color, I worked with a local florist, New Providence Florist for the short-stemmed yellow roses.

Family Photos at the Great Swamp

Late fall in NJ can be a great time to shoot outdoor.  On this day we had some nice cloudy weather that most photographers love.

NJ Family Portraits - Great Swamp

With some research, I found a location within the Great Swamp that worked great for Nick & Nirali's family shoot.  We had this cute family walk a bit and huddle in for a few poses.

NJ Family Portraits - Great Swamp

A few images I liked from a little more walking around the grounds.

NJ Family Portraits - Great Swamp

Some individual shots of the kids.  The older children were a little more willing to step out on their own.  For the youngest, mama had to tag along for that shot.

NJ Family Portraits - Great Swamp

GTD: A WPPI Follow-up

I struggle…a lot with getting things done (GTD).

There are so many ways to get things done and so many distractions preventing me from just doing it.  The saying I try to live by is, “You always have time for what you do first.”  After this bit of learning what I’d add to that is, “Do the deep work first”.  Being honest, the reasons I don’t take the time to do the deep, focused work are tied to distraction, laziness and avoidance.  This brings me to a talk I went to while at WPPI 2016 in Las Vegas.  The presenter was Dane Sanders, whom I’ve seen before and enjoyed.

His topic was Rebuilding Your Business from the Ground Up.  The target audience for his talk included those just starting their business all the way through those that have been in business for some time and looking for a re-think.

Dane covered the categories to consider when evaluating your business.  Things like: value creation, marketing, sales, value delivery, business model (whether you’re freelance or a signature brand), what systems you use to process your work and finally how you work with people.  Obviously, there’s a lot of content in each of these categories that I won’t cover here.  The one I want to spend a little time on is a point that would fall within the systems category having to do with how you organize your day and how you get things done.

The reason why I feel like this one is a big deal is that if you don’t have the focus and wherewithal to do some deep work to sort through questions like: 

  • What can I bring to the client experience that only I can do?  
  • What’s the best way to identify and target clients in a meaningful way? 
  • What can I do to make sure my brand presence is consistent from end-to-end?  

These are all pretty hard topics and not something you’ll likely figure out easily.  Without diving into these topics, my business will not flourish as quickly as if I did take that time.  Dane suggested several books but one stood out and I’ve just finished reading it, its called "Deep Work" by Cal Newport.  "Knowledge workers are forgetting the value of going deep”, Cal tells us.  According to a McKinsey study, "60% of the work week is spent doing internet searching with 30% of that time spent answering emails alone.”  Hard to hear but it doesn’t seem far off to me.

Without getting into too much detail, the highlights from the book are first learning to identify the different types of work and the effect of each.  Primarily, the book focuses on shallow work and deep work.  Examples of shallow work are things like checking email, surfing the web and catching up on social media.  A good example of deep work for me would be editing video or writing a blog post like this one.  This is an exercise that I need a large block of uninterrupted time to parse through the message and spend time thinking before creating.  What the author argues is that to produce anything of substance, you need to devote time to deep work.

Finding a way to structure your day so this deep work gets done leads to the topic of forming good habits and continually prioritizing what’s important for you to succeed both personally and professionally.  Another photographer I follow, Chase Jarvis, shared these thoughts  on how feels about being "busy" and how he organizes his day to get things done (skip to 3:07 for the meat of it).

The take-aways for me are: 

  • Consider your entire day as a set of opportunities and possibilities
  • Have a set of goals identified 
  • Prioritize those goals and aggressively find ways to minimize distracted, shallow work to allow for blocks of time for deep thinking.  There were many suggestions on how to manage the disconnection from email, social media, noise, etc.
  • Watch the rewards of this deep thinking come back to you many times over

Now the test.  Let’s see if I can take the time needed to dive in and make this a reality.