Here’s a recent shoot we did for ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) which is one of the nations largest specialty product companies.
They supply SWAG and promotional items to just about every major corporation in the world. Needless to say, we were happy to get
hired by their advertising department to shoot an inspirational magazine ad for one of their top sales distributors. This piece was
featured in their publications, website, trade shows and conventions for 2015.
Why Productions Love Filming in Memphis! Our company was featured by Production Hub on their blog recently, listing major cities across the country,
talking about what cities have to offer the video and film industry for locations and crew. Memphis has a lot of soul, and you’d be surprised how many
movies and TV shows are shot in Memphis every year. Our company provides camera and crew support, as well as full production services for producers
around the world. Read the full story about why productions love filming in memphis
The photo below is Sebastian Kim, one of the top fashion photographers in the world. He fly in from New York in the fall to shoot the December 2013 cover shot for GQ Magazine in Memphis. I got a call from the magazine to be an assistant photographer for Sebastian and his team on a shoot with Justin Timberlake and Kendrick Lamar. I considered it quite an honor to get to assist Sebastian and his team, it was a fast paced 2 day shoot with a crew of about 15 people, from the editors of GQ, to all the PR staff, hairstylists, wardrobe team and set designers. The photography team help set the lighting for each scene, as well as help aid Sebastian in his creative process, keeping the computers tethered to his Nikon camera, and getting each scene ready and tested for each part of the photo shoot. Just about every photographer in the world would give just about anything to assist Sebastian on a high profile shoot like this. I wasn’t afraid to roll up my sleeves and assist on this shoot, working with a group of professionals takes willingness to help at any level, from cutting foam board for bounce light, to rigging a 20 x 20 scrim to diffuse the light from the sun. I’ve worked on a lot of professional sets over the years, and this team was simply amazing to work with! Working with both Justin Timberlake and Kendrick Lamar was also about as good as it gets, they were both fun and very professional.
Chris Moneymaker – Ambassador for Hollywood Casino – Las Vegas
On a recent location shoot for Chris Moneymaker for Hollywood Casino, our team captured the images for the corporate advertising campaign for the Hollywood Poker Open that will wrap up in Las Vegas in the summer of 2014. RPM of Chicago secured Michael Allen for the shoot, where we spent a full day with Chris Moneymaker shooting a variety of photos for the promotional sports tour. For this shoot Michael worked with the creative director to come up with the style of the photo shoot. Michael created several lighting sets for the day long location shoot, and brought in his stylist, Morgan Armstrong to help style the clothing, hair and makeup for the shoot. Michael’s assistant photographer Sara Beth Raab worked along side Michael and Chris to help with the technical needs of the shoot. Michael gets calls from across the country for photo shoots, and has worked with numerous celebrities and agencies on professional shoots. We were pretty excited to get to work with Chris Moneymaker, who helped create and solidify the sport, and is admired by millions of fans around the globe for his accomplishments in the game.
For many Memphians we enjoy our city with all it’s history and fame, quaint neighborhoods, great music scenes on Beale Street, and for the past several years, our Indie Memphis world has slowly become quite impressive. This year the Indie Memphis Festival was named one of the Top 25 in the Country, and we are catching the attention of filmmakers everywhere.
That’s only part of the news that we are announcing today. The Avarice film team has scored the number one spot for the gala opening of Indie Memphis 2013, accompanied by the new cult classic “Day After Tomorrow”. We are all quite honored for this, and our cast and crew were on hand for the premier of Avarice at the gala, and after a few photos on the red carpet, we answered some Q&A from a large audience at the Playhouse on the Square, the cities new multimillion dollar facility.
As the cinematographer for Avarice, I was so excited to stand alongside our producers and directors for this event. We began filming Avarice several years ago, and after months and months of pickups and edits, our little short film has taken on legs and is beginning to pick up awards in festivals across the country. Last month it picked up “best fantasy film” at the Nashville Wizard World that was attended by such industry leaders as Henry Winkler. With all the hard work, shooting in crazy hot weather, and weeks & months of shooting, it’s very rewarding to see the excitement about our film.
Our producer Dan Baker and director Rachel Taylor have worked together on several projects over the past 5 years, and we seem to keep getting more work that keeps our team busy. Their company has grown and evolved into the “Timid Monster” name, and they are actively screening Avarice in indie festivals across the country. I also need to mention our wonderful leading actress, Hayley Parker, whom I truly adore. She has done several short films, and is getting more and more roles every year. We started filming Avarice when she was 11 years old, and she was just a happy little girl with an incredible work ethic, today at 14 she has a passion for success, and is humble, caring and happy. Her parents are very proud of her, just as I am. Our time together on set has always been fun and I hope to work with her again on future projects.
As we hope to win more accolades with our film, I want to offer thanks to the entire crew that worked on Avarice, Dan Baker produced and edited the film and did an amazing job with all the special effects. The sound designers, Kent Smith and Kerry Kernan created an amazing film score, and the 20 or more cast and crew members did an amazing job with wardrobe and set design. I enjoyed working alongside our DP Paul Skidmore, and so many of the crew members on this project, and know that they all are very excited to have been a part of this film.
From a cinematographers view of this project, I loved the artistic nature of the film. It really fit into my style of shooting. Working on a film crew takes special teamwork, and willingness to work hard on each take until its right. I loved shooting on the Canon 5dII camera system, compared to shoots I’ve done with cameras like the Red One, I think it performed extremely well. The 5d was a relatively new camera when we began shooting Avarice, and we had to innovate on the fly to make some of the scenes work, yet almost every other scene was a breeze to shoot. The way the 5d captures light and color is it’s strong suit, and the sharpness of it’s lenses helps the HD camera sing for the detail shots.
Keep checking back as Avarice continues to tour film festivals across the country, keep your fingers crossed for it to get mainstream attention from the Memphis indie film vibe that it now has under its belt. Here’s the Avarice team on the red carpet gala event in Memphis for the October 2013 event that drew attendees from every major market in the US.
Here is the latest photo shoot that I did for Walmart Soundcheck featuring Latino mega stars Los Temerarios. The band began back in the 90’s and have sold over 45 million albums worldwide. They have hit the Miami music scene in recent years, and tour worldwide to sell out stadium crowds. I got the call from Los Angeles to do the shoot right here in Memphis at the historic Tennessee Brewery, where they shot a series of 7 music videos, interviews for Walmart Soundcheck, and the portrait session of the artists who are brothers, Adolfo Angel and Gustavo Angel. I had a blast shooting the music video stills, and then later in the day shooting their portraits for the website and branding photos. Be sure to visit soundcheck.walmart.com/los-temerarios to view the still photos that I shot for the project. (You’ll also get to see me in action on one of the music videos where the director used my photo shoot for one of the scenes!)
For the still photographs, I used both my Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live music scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For the portrait session, I originally set up a 4×6 California Sunbounce reflector to accent the available light in the warehouse, but late timing and quickly fading daylight moved me into another room where I changed the lighting altogether. I simplified the shoot using 2 Canon 580 speed lights mounted on stands off camera to the right of the subjects. One speed light used a Gary Fong diffuser to offer a soft box effect, and the other flash was aimed straight on with no diffusion, both stands mounted low to cast a direct light across their faces. Using off camera flash triggers, I set the side flash to a manual setting of 1/8 of a second, at about 15 feet away to give me a nice hard light, as well as light the background wall. The other flash acted as a fill light to soften the light, and give me some key lighting on their faces. I used the Canon 24-105 mm IS lens for the indoor shots. I then moved them outside and simply used a Canon 50mm 1.2 L prime lens, found the last light of the day and placed them directly in the sun, letting the buildings bounce the sun around them as a backlight. The portrait session was changed to just under 10 minutes, so I had to be right on target with my lighting plan, and I had to make the last minute location change on top of all that. Finding just the right light and being creative at the very last minute was the key to this segment of the shoot.
Here’s a screen shot from Soundcheck’s home page featuring the shoot.
There are several stories in this press release, I got to shoot an incredible woman who is inspiring millions; I got to use my talents as a photographer to shoot Leigh Anne in an incredible portrait session that captured her love, emotion, and vision; and I got to use my talents that hopefully will help make a difference in someones life through purchasing Leigh Anne’s new book, as she is giving the profits to help young kids in need.
Earlier this year I had the honor of photographing Leigh Anne Tuohy, the inspiration behind the world acclaimed movie “The Blind Side” featuring Sandra Bullock. The photographs were used for Leigh Anne’s new book – Making it Happen, and for use on her website banner. The book is available online at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kindle and Nook. I received a call from her publicist in Hollywood asking I was available to do a session with Leigh Anne, and suggested we shoot in her home rather than the studio to give the session a lifestyle look. Shooting on location has some challenges, bringing lots of lighting and photography gear into someones home can be a huge undertaking. For this session I originally planned to use four 1k fresnels, scrims and flags, mixed with several flash units, but after scouting the house for the best locations, I was able to harness the sun by bouncing in through a huge picture window in Leigh Anne’s living room. The house was facing in the perfect direction to bounce in the bright, full sun. The outdoor reflector was a 4×5 oblong silver reflector mounted on a Cstand and angled to a precise spot in the room, from there I was able to set up another 4×6 california sun bounce reflector to soften the sunlight and gently light Leigh Anne for two separate locations in the room. I also used a third reflector to catch some side light and backlight.
I’ve shot with fresnels for years, but when I can use the power of the sun to shoot, I’ll opt for that. For a typical movie set shoot, I’ve used several 2k fresnels, but that requires lots of diffusion, extra power sources, and can take an hour to set up. Later in the afternoon we moved outside to a shaded area and again bounced a nice fill light from the massive 4×6 frame reflector on her to help the image pop a bit more than available light. For the cameras I used a Canon 5d and Canon 5d Mark II with a Canon 50 mm f 1.2 prime lens and outdoors I used a Canon 70-200mm f 2.8 IS lens. For both lenses I always shoot at f 2.8, and vary the shutter speed to achieve the perfect exposure. I also shoot at ISO 800, which helps act as a fill for darker backgrounds and shaded outdoor areas. I spent about 4 hours on location with my assistant, a makeup artist and a hairstylist, along with Leigh Anne’s assistant and her daughter Collins, who help style some of the shots with me. I find having someone that knows the subject is very helpful, they help point out personal details about the subject that I may not know about, like their favorite camera angle, and it helps the subject be a bit more relaxed, and having Collins on the shoot was a big plus. (Note: The photo of Sandra Bullock shown is not one of my photos, it is a theatrical movie poster image.) Below is one of my images from Leigh Anne Tuohy’s new book cover, using a shot from the session, click on the photo below to visit www.leighannetuohy.com
I am so excited to be the feature photographer for Walmart/Soundcheck on their latest production for Dierks Bentley. Be sure to visit www.soundcheck.walmart.com to see the feature video and exclusive photographs from the Ryman Theatre in Nashville. Dierks new song “Home” was just nominated for ACM’s song of the year for 2012 right at the time of this shoot, and the next week Dierks was a presenter at The 2012 Grammy Awards. The video crew captured a live concert and behind the scenes interviews with the celebrity. Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to photograph several prominent people, I have to say the Dierks is probably one of the best people that I’ve photographed in a behind the scenes session, a very nice guy that was so at ease with me behind the camera. I was able to sneak in for stealthy photographs like the one below, he was very much at home with my camera.
For the still photographs, I used both my Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For Dierks feature portrait session, I used a Canon 50mm f1.2, coupled with an Alien Bees ring light with a 56″ moon unit, triggered by Pocket Wizard TT5’s and TT1, along with a canon 580EX. I also shot one sequence with just the 50mm lens in available light from the massive window at The Ryman, and all of at the outdoor scenes were shot on the 50mm lens as well. I love shooting in Nashville, and make the trip up the Music Highway as often as possible.
Here’s a screen shot from Soundcheck’s home page featuring the shoot.
Probably the biggest retailer of music in the world, Walmart just released a new feature on Soundcheck with American Idol top runner up, Lauren Alaina. Michael Allen was the still photographer for the shoot in Memphis at Ardent Studios. Lauren flew into Memphis and was honored to light the Christmas lights at Graceland, a long tradition held only by very special individuals. Be sure to visit www.soundcheck.walmart.com to see the feature. Lauren’s new album just hit the country billboard charts at number 2, which shows the talent she has as an artist. The crew captured a live concert and behind the scenes interviews with the celebrity along with photographs from the day long shoot. Michael was honored to be selected as the photographer for this incredible shoot. The video crew used (7) Canon 5d’s to capture the live concert inside world renown Ardent Studios.
For the still photographs, Michael used both his Canon 5d Mark II, and an original Canon 5d with a wide array of lenses from the 15mm f2.8 fisheye, the 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens, and the Canon 50mm f1.2. All of the live scenes were shot with available light from the video setup, with ISO ranges from 800 to 1600. For Ms Alaina’s portrait session, Michael used a Canon 24-105mm f4 lens and the 50mm f1.2, coupled with an Alien Bees ring light with a 56″ moon unit, triggered by Pocket Wizard TT5’s and TT1, along with a canon 580EX. Michael loves to shoot high ISO in manual mode, with wide open apertures. Michael’s goal for her shoot was to capture her with a soft, off camera light, offering natural light look for the control room, but also with an edge that fits the music industry. Michael used blue gels to supplement the room light, and help provide some separation from the background. Working behind the scenes on a live video shoot is home ground for Michael, he can often be found behind a video camera on set, as well as shooting stills for movies, concerts and more. The producers wanted to capture Lauren behind the scenes, the details behind a music video shoot, so my camera rarely left my hand the entire day, as to not miss a moment.
Here’s a recent blog post featuring one of our weddings on Emmaline Bride, a very popular wedding blog that focuses on original had made wedding details. We figured the wedding would be a great submission with the flavor of a Southern Wedding from the Delta in Mississippi. Visit Emmaline Bride to read the full article.