How Watching Soap Operas Made Me A Better Stylist!

We can all agree that styling a model can be a pretty daunting task, especially if you’re fashionably disabled like me. Hiring a wardrobe stylist is always an option, but sometimes that’s not feasible. One trick that has helped me to “keep up with the times,” has been watching soap opera’s.


When I first started watching soap opera’s I was immediately drawn to the lighting and styling, not to mention the awesome dialogue. Actors on the show are always dressed to the nine’s, from perfectly quaffed hair down to triangular shape tipped shoes (which I just learned are “in”). I also noticed that soap opera’s seem to be ahead of the current fashion trend and in many cases set the trend.


When watching the show be sure to write down what you see, like the main actress is wearing a tribal sweater or that the male lead has on a bowtie. Also take note of hairstyles and make up that you like, then apply to your next photo shoot.


Obtaining the wardrobe needed for your shoot can be costly, but here are a few tips that I use to significantly cut costs. First, check out consignment and thrift stores, often these establishments have what you are looking for at a 50% discount.


Second, ask to borrow clothes from large department stores. Certain department stores will lend a photographer clothing for a shoot for a small fee. You will also have to leave a credit card number incase the garment gets damaged. You will need to do a little research and call ahead, but that’s a way I’ve obtained clothing for a shoot in the past.


My third tip is to rent clothing from websites like or At times sellers on Etsy will allow photographers to use clothing and jewelry as long as you provide them with final images that they can then use.

Once your photo shoot is complete and your ready to share your photo’s, be sure to tag the designer of the clothes you used. Social media is HUGE and that designer might just see your photo and want to hire you for a future shoot.











New Year, New Gear


With the new year brings new gear… specifically new gear for my 4 year old son, Johnny. I… I mean Santa, went out and found this awesome blue Kidizoom camera by VTech, which can be purchased here. If you read the specs you see that this beast is a WHOPPING 1.3 megapixels that can be reduced to .3 should you desire. It has built in memory, but I opted to insert a 16 gig microSD card, purely for comedic effect!

new camera!

new camera!

I took to the streets of NYC with my friend and model Cheyenne Lutek because lets face it, if you walk around with a toy camera anywhere else in the world you will get lots of strange looks, but not in NYC.

Below are a few shots from Johnny’s camera taken on the streets of NYC in broad daylight! All retouching was done in Alienskin Exposure 7 using the Wet Plate Destroyed filter.

The first 2 photos I had Cheyenne stand behind a plastic sheet which we found on the street. The buildings you see are a reflection on the plastic NOT a double exposure.





No Photoshop

Andy Mask-9625-gritty-gritty


Ok so maybe the title was a bit deceiving, but technically this photo was NOT edited in Photoshop or Lightroom, but rather the new AlienSkin Exposure 7 with RAW conversion capabilities. If you have 8 minutes, check out my LIVE retouch here. I’m been a BIG fan of Exposure and have been using it for years. If you’re just getting started in photography and looking for some GREAT software I highly recommend Exposure 7… They have a FREE trial if you click here. Exposure 7 works as stand alone software and as a plug-in, so you don’t need Photoshop to use! I’m interested to hear your thoughts about using Exposure so please comment on this post.


There are NO lighting tests in my studio

You heard right, there are NO lighting tests when I shoot. The second my subject steps in front of my camera I immediately start shooting, no light testing necessary. I will however meter the light using my Sekonic L-758DR, but as far as telling my model to “relax i’m just testing the light and checking exposure” just doesn’t happen anymore. I’ve taken many AWESOME photos right out of the gate that its far better to have your subject pose rather than have them just stand or sit there, you might catch something awesome! It’s far easier to check that your lights are positioned correctly and re-adjust than it is for the model to make that once in a lifetime face and pose.

My advice… Set-up your lights, take a meter reading, position your model and start shooting… if something looks a little off, don’t let your model know! Just take a few more shots and say something like “good” or “beautiful” after each shutter press. After you take maybe 5-6 photos, tell your model they’re doing great, but you want to try to add a bit more “spice” (use your own words here) and then re-adjust your lights if needed.

In the photo below I asked my model to stand on his mark and adjust his glasses. While he was doing so I released the shutter. Initially I thought the rim lights were too blown out, but the pose was AWESOME. I was able to pull down the highlights in Lightroom and recover details. I then retouched the image in Photoshop and toned it using Alien Skin Exposure. Out of all the photo I took, this was by far the most interesting! Had I asked the model to stand there while I adjusted lights, then kept asking him to adjust his glasses, I would have lost this genuine look.



Group Editing Assignment

I recently completed a shoot with one of my favorite models Karina. I thought it would be fun to see how creative everyone is. I you click here  you can download the RAW file. Please post your results on my Photography fan page on Facebook


Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!








New Studio & Camera System!

I must apologize to my followers for not posting soon, but I’ve been busy promoting my new photo studio and also testing my new medium format camera system. Below are a few images from recent shoots in my new studio with my new camera system: Mamiya 645 AFD III , Mamiya Dm22 Digital Back.


Up Your Game!

When you first start out in photography, you usually shoot what you have on hand, first. Fashion and glamour peeps, like me, look to family and friends to help build up content. It makes sense. Working with a familiar person is easy to schedule, you’re comfortable with them, and you won’t be afraid to try out new techniques. Eventually, you run out of family and all of your friends have modeling portfolios–that they may not need or want–so you have to step up your game.

What do you do when you want to move up to the next level? Below are a few tips for building up your portfolio.


Foord2Tip #1: Gather A Team

Building up a solid group of specialists is the first order of business. Regardless of the type of photography you do, a team will help you produce better quality work. If you’re shooting people, look for a makeup artist (MUA), a hair stylist, and a wardrobe stylist or fashion designer. If you’re shooting images that don’t involve people, find specialists in your area of interest such as aspiring local chefs for food photography, orpassionate fossil hunters for macro shots. I can’t imagine how daunting this task was before the internet. Thanks, Al Gore!

Social network websites literally put thousands of professionals at your fingertips. It’s your cursor, really, but you get the idea.

Facebook, one of the most popular social media websites, is a great place to start. You can search for pages and groups dedicated to hairmakeupfashionlocal foodmushroom huntingwaterfall photographyscuba diving, and more. When you find one that you like, simply post a comment saying you are looking to work with artists in your area.

Model Mayhem is another great resource for people shooters. It’s a place where artists of all types gather in order to work on creative projects. Once you’re signed up, you can post a casting and choose the type of artists and talent you’re looking for. MM is made for bringing together creatives, so if people are your interest, this is a must.

Foord3Tip #2: Take Your Time

This is a concept I still have trouble with! Once you get cranking through editing, it’s tough to pull yourself away, but it’s absolutely necessary. Taking a break during any project will let your eyes and mind relax. When you pause for a time, you come back with renewed perspective. My advice: Zoom all the way out, set things down, and, if you can, sleep on it. You’ll come back refreshed.

Foord4Tip #3: Build A Proper Showcase

Create a website/portfolio. Check out the online portfolios of photographers that you admire. Think about why you like their work, what draws you in, what makes you stay, what you like about the concept or layout, and what you can do better.

Combine the information you gather with the trends in the market. How do you plan to share your work? Do you plan to print your shots or is an iPad sufficient? This will tie in with the type of work that you want to go after. Assuming that you want to chase after paid gigs, of course.

As a final step, make an update plan, too. You don’t want your work to get stale, but you don’t want to update it after every shoot. Balance the amount of work you produce with the amount of time you spend in constructing your portfolio. You don’t want it to become a mindless chore. Always keep your wits about you and ask others for feedback. You’re only as strong as your weakest shot so be willing to listen to constructive criticism.

Foord5Tip #4: Network

Once you have a team, awesome editing practices, and a rock-solid portfolio, you’re ready to show it to the world. You’ll have to use a little savvy in the marketplace to start making waves. You can do this with a number of techniques. Most importantly, learn to make the internet your friend.

Take every opportunity to grow your online presence. You can start by being active on popular photography forums, on Facebook, Twitter, G+, or other social media channels. Connect with every professional, organization, and manufacturer that you admire, and keep up with what they’re doing, too. You’ll find there are plenty of opportunities to have your work featured if you keep your eye out for it.

Paid gigs will force you to perform in a more professional way, so I recommend chasing after work even if photography is just a hobby. When money is on the table, you’ll find that you operate with a renewed sense of vigor. You can offer giveaways, groupons, or discounts to help you get more work, and advertising is an option as well.

Guest appearances are a great way to grow publicity online. You could, for example, guest write articles for different companies. The larger audience of an established website is a great place to get your name out there. It’s not all about printed magazines, there are hundreds of other places to showcase what you do, or for you to share your knowledge on a certain subject. You can’t pay for that kind of publicity, so it’s worth a little time at the keyboard, or on set, to make up a solid article.