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

Stride Corporate Headshots

Something that I think every business strives for is repeat work.  It strengthens the relationship and helps to solidify that you’re a good match with that client.  With Stride, and more specifically Debbie Madden, I’ve been working with her on creative projects for a few years now.  She’s been growing her business and has some new hires that needed headshots so they called me to do the shoot.

Lucille is the Head of Talent at Stride and comes from the General Assembly and Google most recently.  Here are some favorites from our session around the streets of NYC.

Darrin Estep Photography - corporate headshots NYC
Darrin Estep Photography - corporate headshots NYC

Lisa is also new to Stride and is the VP of Engineering.  She’s worked with Debbie prior to Stride at Cyrus and comes from London where she worked for The Guardian.  She told me she had one headshot from that time that worked for all occasions and didn’t fancy being in front of the camera but got comfortable quickly after some initial shots.


I look forward to continued interactions with this great group of people.  

Model Headshots for Melissa

Last year, I shot for the first time working with Melissa and we hit it off.  She’s so great to work with and this session was just as awesome.  We proved again that spending some time before the shoot going over various looks via Pinterest and choosing outfits and accessories is a valuable activity. 

I snapped a couple shots of Amanda & Melissa before we started shooting.  She has so much hair that it turned out to be a bit of a blessing and a curse.  Styling all that hair takes time!

Prep for hair and make-up

Prep for hair and make-up

Images that resonate with me have a simple composition and draw your eye directly to the subject.  I have a pretty simple lighting set up here that helps achieve the look I'm after.

Simple lighting and non-distracting background keeps your eye on Melissa

Simple lighting and non-distracting background keeps your eye on Melissa

Alternate looks but still keeping it simple

Alternate looks but still keeping it simple

Finally got to use my fan! - Thanks Amanda for standing in to help.

Finally got to use my fan! - Thanks Amanda for standing in to help.

Hands up!

Hands up!

Hair everywhere. One of my favorites of the day was this composure where Melissa created her own frame.

Hair everywhere. One of my favorites of the day was this composure where Melissa created her own frame.

The location I used was a little different than what I've used in the past.  I used a service called Breather where you can rent a small (and I mean Manhattan small) room by the hour.  Its a great business idea and someone else suggested this as an option so I thought I’d give it a shot.  Once we navigated our way to the room, I noticed this set of stairs and made that a second shooting location.  This turned out to be a bonus of shooting on the weekend since nobody was traveling up and down the stairs.

Stairs and railing helped to create some interest in the composure

Stairs and railing helped to create some interest in the composure

And a few more back in the room to finish off the shoot.  A big thanks to Melissa for coming out to NYC from Boston and for Amanda for showing us her talents on hair and make-up.  I'm looking forward to the next shoot!

Relaxing on the couch

Relaxing on the couch

Agile NYC Promo Video

Back in September, I connected with Joe Krebs again to shoot material that would be used for a promotional video for the Agile NYC event that happens annually.  As you can imagine, there's a lot of planning and effort that goes into putting a day together that includes speakers, vendors, workshops, entertainers, keynote speakers, etc.  My role was to capture the day and showcase the vibe and the energy of both the presenters and the speakers.

As I started to think about what I wanted to see in a video, I knew I wanted to have Joe anchor the structure of the video so I had him talk about what the structure of the current event was and talk a little about what might be coming up next year.  I used this as a jumping off point for other material I show.  As was typical for this kind of thing, there's A LOT of material that I shoot that I don't show.  It gives you options as you start to tell the story and it can also provide ways to parse up smaller bits to feature in other ways.

After several revisions and working closely with Joe on the final output, I'm happy to show the finished result.  Check out the Agile NYC page for more information and future event details.

Rose's Highline

Shortly after shooting with Stephanie, I was introduced to Rose who works with the same modeling agency, Aqua Model Management, as Stephanie.  We met in mid October and I opted for a place I’ve shot several times now and just love it for the flexibility and diverse set of scenes that can be created in this environment: The Highline.

As I try to do each time, we started with some simple headshots.  Here are a couple of my favorites.


We then moved into some “casual” - just girl hanging out in the park kind of images.  One thing I learned about Rose while shooting with her is that she’s from Madagascar like one other model I’ve shot with several times - Anna Laura.  Pretty cool. Small world!  Rose also had this ability to turn on a very real looking smile simply by asking.  Harder than you may think.


Next setup wasn’t planned but it was one of those things where I walked by an area that I thought would look pretty nice and snapped this one (after sorting out some technical issues).


Finally, with the fabulous red dress on, captured some powerful images against the darkening sky.


Dark & Moody

One thing that remains the same is that the idea I start with isn't the one I end with.  I’ve come to expect that and I do my best to go with it when a curveball is thrown.  I planned this shoot several months ago with another model and then learned a few days before the shoot that the dates were confused by her and consequently she wasn’t able to make it.  I turn to sites like ModelMayhem when things like this occur.  I posted a modeling opportunity and very soon after that I met Steph.  She came across as very funny and approachable from the initial response and she turned out to be a great choice for this shoot.

The team was small. Steph is the model, Numi on make-up.  It deserves a shout out to Nicholas & Alejandro at Space 4 Shoots.  They have always been very helpful during the shoot.

I like to start with some beauty shots. I find that it helps establish a rapport with the model and hopefully allows for some nice shots of the face in the meantime.


Next up was a shot based on a concept I saw from a Dior ad.  I felt like going for something kind of dark and moody.  We started with the inspiration and moved away from that idea throughout this setup.


As we worked a bit more with this general lighting setup, I wanted to try some product shots with Steph so we used a perfume bottle she brought to the shoot and here are a few of my favorites.  Numi was very helpful as well with suggestions on holding the bottle. It's harder than you think to get something that conveys the right emotion without looking awkward.


Quick outfit change and a new lighting and background setup and I found myself to still be in a product mode so we had her show off a red purse and a black necklace.


For the last set, we dragged in a chair from the waiting room where there was a casting going on for a dance performance (random tidbit).  I thought this layout arrangement below was fun with the legs closed and open.  Lots of fun working with this team.  I hope we can all work together again soon.



I don't normally post pictures of myself in the blog entries however, I thought this one was kind of funny because I look so serious however, this was taken during a lighting test by someone in the studio and he just happened to catch me at a time when I was probably focused on thinking through the next setup.

Until next time...

The Highline: Headshots Take 2

I liked this location so much that I had to go again.  I had a day off recently and organized a shoot with Aneta which, as it turns out, is from Prague and visiting with her boyfriend for the summer.  Glad I caught her why she was here in NYC.


Helping out, in more ways than one was Seqoiya, the MUA that operates under Pure Glamour.  She was great and helped with both hair and make-up and also helped with some lighting too. 


I scouted out the next location but it was a little further than I wanted to go.  I came across these stairs and knew I had found our next spot. It's a little funny (now) how long it took to get these shots with all the time we spent waiting for people to clear the stairs.


Melissa M

Several years ago I met Eunice through a meet-up photo-shoot in NYC in 2009.  Turns out her friend Melissa saw the images of Eunice and was curious what fantastic professional (I'm embellishing quite a bit here) took those images.  We had been trying to connect ever since.

Melissa lives in the Boston area and back in the day was roommates with Eunice and competed in beauty pageants together and have been friends ever since.  Melissa has picked up a few honers along the way: Miss Rhode Island Latina, Miss US Latina (where she met Eunice), and Miss Colombia New England.  Very impressive!

A few months ago Melissa reached out to me via LinkedIn and I suggested we get together the next time she's in NYC.  The next day, I received a response that said, "Okay, how about March 24th?".  Wait, let me think about it - 'Hell yeah!'

I had a couple concepts I wanted to try out and Melissa was very receptive in collaborating on the ideas.  I think it helped to bring this shoot to another level.  I brought in a make-up artist, Nicole, that I worked with one other time and we were set.

Comparison of two treatments on this image

Comparison of two treatments on this image

Nice use of props!

Nice use of props!

Last but certainly not least.  This image was the very last one we did for the day and I'm so glad we tried it because I feel like this is my favorite image that I've ever taken.  I was standing on a laddar with Alejandro (studio guy) holding it below.  Two lights were on Melissa; one camera right (main light) and the other was camera left slightly behind her.  I just asked her to twirl around with this great dress she had.  We grabbed several like this but this was the favorite of the bunch.  What you don't see here is all the clutter that was in the original image.  A big thanks to Prerak for helping bring this image to life!


Nicole + Ryan

I met Nicole and Ryan on their wedding day when I was asked by Dan (a fellow photographer) to help cover the event. Dan and I joined Nicole, her mother, and the bridesmaids in the bridal suite to capture some details (shoes, dress, hair & make-up, etc.).  Nicole seemed so at ease as she sat for the finishing touches on her hair. Being surrounded by such close friends and family helped, I'm sure.  One of the favorites from the morning was this one of her making sure all was good through her compact mirror. 


I only stayed for a few minutes with the girls then drove to get some time with the groom for his preparations. Once I rounded the corner to the grooms parents' house, I knew I was in trouble because I noticed the party bus had already arrived.  My first thought is that I had very limited time to get what I needed.  As I entered the house, I said hello to Ryan and asked how much time we had.  He said, "About 10 minutes.  Is that enough?'"  Sure :-)  We can make that happen.  We set up a couple scenarios. Snap, snap, snap and they were on their way.

When I got to the church, I had a quick look around and saw great opportunities to get some interesting perspectives during the ceremony.  They had a balcony in the back and on either side of the church.  I was able to roam about to get images from unexpected vantage points. 


Next, we're off to Jersey City for the reception at The Liberty House.  I quickly moved around to capture the setup of the food and decor.  Here are a couple of my favorites... 


This day was one of the hottest of the summer, so we were fortunate that most of our shooting was indoors; however, we did get outside for some of the formals.  With such a nice backdrop of the NYC skyline, we took the opportunity to work it into the shot. The girls were particularly silly which I loved.  

The rest of the night was focused on capturing people having fun.  No problem at this wedding!  They had a great band called Night Moves which were fantastic, especially when the bride joined in toward the end of the evening to lead a Billy Joel cover.


Friends and Family

Not too long ago I learned that a very good friend was pregnant.  A friend that I used to work with and a friend who's wedding I shot.  Maternity isn't something that I've shot before so, this came from searching the web for ideas and collaborating with Suman & Rishi on some thoughts they had for fun shots. 
Together...with room in the middle
We were fortunate enough to have a room in their building to shoot without people around, except for one lady that was on a video conference call in the next room the entire time we were around.  This worked out really well since this location was very homy.
I thought it would be interesting to setup a shot where they had lots of books, "Special Delivery" in this shot, where they're learning and discovering.  Rishi and Suman are a great team and its such a great experience each time we get together.  Congratulations to the both of you!

It Takes Two To Make It Outta Sight

I heard the song on the radio that has this phrase and it reminded me that I needed to write about a recent shoot I had with Anna.  I met Anna through another photographer friend of mine, Lou.  They're both from the same country, Madagascar.  Anna came to a meetup style shoot a few years ago where you have a bunch of photographers, models, and make-up-artists get together for the sole purpose of everyone working on their portfolio.  Once in a while, I like to pull together a really simple shoot to accomplish the same goals...keep the portfolio fresh with new material.

Anna has - uh - a few things going for her here.  First, she's super nice, speaks French, which is always fun to listen to, she's easy on the eyes (stating the obvious), and she's totally professional; show's up on time, no drama, respectful, etc.  She mentioned she was able to be an extra in an upcoming feature film.  I'm hoping she'll remember our work when she's famous :-)  Oh, and I forgot to mention that she makes my job super easy because she just magically falls into these great poses without me needing to guide much at all.  Love it!  This particular shoot was pretty short (setup to breakdown was probably 60 minutes).  There were less than 100 photos taken.  Enjoy a few of my favorites.


And a few more...


A little piece of [photography] history

There's so much information to consume these days that you have to be selective about what you choose to spend time keeping up with.  For photography, there are only a handful of photographers I follow on a regular basis.  One of those photographers is Chase Jarvis.  He's a commercial photographer that has done a lot to bring a sense of community to photographers around the world and oh, by the way, he take some pretty great pictures too.

A recent project was of interest to me to check out, especially since it's being displayed in NYC and now that I'm working again in the city, its pretty easy for me to get to. Yesterday at lunch, I made the trek to the Ace Hotel to check out the "Dasein: an invitation to hang" display.  Its a collection of snap shots from around the world, hand picked by Chase and placed in this gallery space for people to take it all in and contribute either in person or virtually.  To some extent, it takes on the next step to a "Best Camera" app his team also developed.  Fun stuff.

Here's a couple pictures I took of what the display looked like...

Anna & Jackie

A good photographer friend of mine, Lou, let me know of a concept shoot he was putting together in the city.  "Let's shoot in the city with some high fashion models and make the best pictures ever!", said with his french accent.  How can you turn that down?

On a Monday night a few weeks ago I make the trek into NYC to a studio I had been to one time before.  Beautiful space - especially for the price.  By the time I got there, lights were already setup and Lou had done some test shots with one of the models.  Hair and makeup were almost done with the second model and we were ready to shoot.  

We took turns with the model and various setup's.  This time we had professional hair and makeup which makes such a huge difference.  Below are a few of my favorites.   Check out the Gallary page for more of my work.