Inside Brad Pitt’s GQ Style Cover Shoot

Everyone has their individualized reason for loving Brad Pitt. I’m sure you have yours or not, but regardless, I can’t ever recall a moment reading of anyone who’s expressed the opposite of admiration towards the guy. I’ve enjoyed a few films here and there, and while I may not necessary categorized myself as a fan, I have to admit it was riveting to read this candid story that’s been circulating, where he speaks for the first time about his divorce with Angelina Jolie. Yes, his personal life is his business and I absolutely respect people’s privacy, but more than anything, I was more drawn to the accompanying photographs to the story.

There’s so candid, so liberating, so unlike any setting in which I’ve ever seen Brad Pitt photographed in. I definitely encourage you to read the full interview with GQ Style Magazine but I equally encourage you to give Will Welch’s write-up a read as well where he gives you a BTS glimpse of the entire shoot.

Boathouse Adventures

On the last 2 occasions Elise and I have worked together, we were confined to the space we photographed in based off how incredibly cold it was to even consider having her out going through the motion attempting to portray how warm the weather might have been when it really wasn’t. Instead, we worked with what we had while keeping each other optimistic about how much fun we would have outdoors once the weather began shifting more into Spring.

In the process, since the demand for video content is growing by leaps and bounds, I managed to capture a few video clips while Elise and I shot with the intent to provide you with a glimpse of what the photo shoot was like simply because I’m very often curious myself when it comes to other photographers being on set.

8 Steps to Shooting Cinematic with Your iPhone

Typically anyone will tell you that the iPhone in your pocket is a sufficient enough device to go out there and explore a deep interest of yours and create something magical with it. It’s certainly been the case for me on a daily basis but as my interest with utilizing video has deepen, I realize that just pressing record may not be enough, especially when you’re hoping to achieve that indispensable cinematic feel to your videos.

Luckily there’s no shortage of videos on YouTube briefing you on how exactly one can achieve this polish look we all want but I personally found this one from Park Walbeck the most informative, as it pertains to all the technical aspects as far as setting up your iPhone for optimal performance when using Filmic Pro app which I had never considered.

I already own a stabilizer for my iPhone and I went ahead and purchased Filmic Pro app which really seems to be the most highly recommended for those who take their video creating passion seriously with their iPhone. In the end, who cares what you’re using as long as the story of what you’re conveying is compelling enough to resonated with anyone.

Tips for When You Feel Inadequate as a Photographer

Here’s what nobody tells you; feeling down about yourself, your work is an integral part of the creative process.

Well, that’s for sure! Typically, during those initial creative stages, we’re very quick to get caught up on this high of wanting to own the latest of everything with the notion that these “things” will guide us much farther in producing our greatest work. While that may potentially be the case, I must admit that for your sanity and mine, it’s in our best interest to be much more inquisitive about what the life of the people you admire is really like during those moments when it’s not super polished the way you see it on it social media.

I lost count of the amount of times I went through severe low self-esteem when it came to my work. I disliked it and regardless of what physical or mental angle I attempted to approach it, the ultimate sentiment remained the same…”I hated it.” The assessment might have been a bit harsh but at least I eventually understood that those feelings of inadequacy are completely normal as a photographer. The issue was that no one ever briefed me on it and then again I never asked about the questions that mattered.

Anna Bouma

Literally the day before heading out on vacation with the family, I met up with Anna at a yet another newly discovered coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Butler Bakeshop. The space is absolutely stunning and to me, it fulfills every attribute you can possibly think of that would make a coffee shop a success regardless of how saturated you may think a neighborhood may be with them. This impromptu outing also gave me the opportunity to test out the newly purchase Instax Mini 90 I snagged to take with me on vacation which practically ended up being free after having amassed a good amount of Amazon giftcards.

BTS of Bon Appetit's May 17' Cover Shoot

The creative director for Bon Appetit, Alex Grossman, describing the use of an iPhone 7+ to photograph the cover and feature story for the magazine as they explored Oaxaca, Mexico.

While there’s value in the ability to shoot with a higher end camera, there’s certainly something liberating about just photographing with your phone. I do it all the time, it's something I had the pleasure of doing when I visited Cuba last year, and while it's becoming more common for publications to take on this approach, this has probably been the first time I've seen a magazine release a video which documents the process. As photographers, we typically have this innate curiosity to get a brief look into the process of other creatives and this examination is no different.

8hrs in Labadee, Haiti

Our first port of call onboard Royal Caribbean Navigator of The Seas: Labadee, Haiti

I had stopped worrying about the length of time we’d been given on this beautiful island, nestled on the northern coast of Haiti. Eight hours may sound suffice but when you combined the impatience of your 5 and 3 year old kids, the 24/7 summery weather and the gorgeous pristine waters where you can practically admire your toes all the way through regardless of how deep you’ve gone in, you have to assume that anything less than a day will instantly feel like too little time. In any case, as it’s customary with cruise ship, you’re always allotted a certain amount of time at each port of call and I felt we made the most of our time to the point of exhaustion.

Watching from top deck as people began off-boarding to the island.

On every single island, we always made sure we got off as soon as possible.

"Adventure, exploration and relaxation is only the start of what this ultimate private destination has to offer" and the craziest part of it all is that unless you’re a vacationer onboard Royal Caribbean, it’s unlikely you’ll step foot on the island because it’s the cruiseline’s 260-acre private beach resort which apparently they’ve continued to lease from the Haitian government since 1986.

Overly priced beach cabanas near the end of Barefoot Beach

It’s very difficult to critize anything from Labadee because everyone was truly friendly as far as the staff but once we got to the Artisan Market situated, it became incredibly overwhelming to demonstrate an iota of interest in any of the beautiful handmade souvenirs for sale. It was nearly impossible to set your eyes on anything without having the sellers harassing and eager for your business. I personally cannot shop like that but was able to purchase a few knick-knacks from Yolanda who right off the bat told me, “I’m not going to sell you anything…you come to me when you’re ready."

Barefoot Beach is where we opted to stay at for the the day

Preparing for our snorkeling excursion with my 5-year old son Evan.

Preparing for our snorkeling excursion with my 5-year old son Evan.

When it comes to excursions, we typically tend to book them on our own on whichever island we dock, as oppose to acquiring a tour via the cruiseline themselves, simply because they’re often double the cost. In this case, because it’s a private island, we didn’t have an option so I booked a 2hr Safari Snorkeling excursion for Evan and myself for a whopping $100. The wallet hurt but the experience at the end was well worth it with my son.

The boat road to our snorkeling destination was 10-minutes away from the actual island

Evan was the youngest in the snorkeling group.

Evan hopped on to the kayak after he got exhausted from snorkeling

Evan hopped on to the kayak after he got exhausted from snorkeling

Our snorkel tour guide enthusiastically showing us a crab he captured with his bare hands

We were treated to some rum punch after snorkeling

Dragon’s Breath Flight Line: Swoop down along the longest zip line in the world over water.

How to Shoot like Annie Leibovitz

Very interesting 3 part exposé that “scratches the surface of Annie’s work, the craft behind her photographs and how to shoot models in her style.”

It’s true what they say: “The best way to learn from a pro is to apprentice for them. And if we can’t do that, the next best thing is to look at the behind the scenes videos.” As a huge admirer of Annie’s work, I can’t tell how enticing it was to read all these intricacies, extract from them and keep as reference in my head. As an adjunct to these articles, I equally recommend watching this video of Annie at work as she shoots a campaign.