Tag Archives: top commercial photographer

December 2013 Cover of PDN Magazine

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover December 2013

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Pitchfork Media hired me to photograph Janelle Monae for a web cover story. Some of the images I photographed for the Pitchfork article were later published by PDN Magazine.

The Process

I photographed the magazine cover photo with my FujiFilm x100s mirrorless camera. I have the silver model but I really want the all black edition.

I really like this camera because it is three times smaller and lighter than any of my Nikon DSLR cameras.

Sometimes it is hard for the subject to hear my directions  because the larger DSLR cameras create a barrier between me and the.

The smaller size of the FujiFilm X100s makes it easier to communicate with the person that I am photographing. I think that the photos come out better because there is a deeper connection made. The difference is like a face to face conversation versus a conversation through text messages.

Another great feature of the Fuji X100S is that it does not make any noise. This is a great feature  because the sound of the camera shutter can prompt subjects to change their expressions causing the photos to look unnatural.

I used the sun as my light source and and a round reflector for fill light.

Hair, makeup, and wardrobe were provided by Janelle Monae’s team. I must mention that her team was awesome because behind the scenes professionals don’t get enough love.

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Rants & Tangents

I really enjoyed working with Janelle Monae because she is chill. She was quiet at first but she came alive when she stepped in front of the camera.

Sometimes (a lot of the time) celebrities arrive fashionable late to photo shoots. This means that I get less time to capture the shots. Fortunately, her management gave us more time to shoot.  I still had to get the shots really quickly but we got the job done!

 

Portrait of Natual Hair Model Diandra Rose by Glenford Nunez for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

African American Photography Smithsonian Cultural Expressions Glenford Nuñez

Portrait of Diandra Rose by Glenford Nuñez for the African American Photography Smithsonian Cultural Expressions Exhibit

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait by Glenford Nuñez for the NMAAHC Cultural Expressions Exhibit

African American Photography Smithsonian Cultural Expressions

My natural hair portrait of Diandra Rose has been selected to be on permanent display for the NMAAHC. The photo will be used in their inaugural exhibition “Cultural Expressions” to open alongside the new African American History & Culture museum in 2016.

Update* Official Smithsonian opening African-American history museum Sept. 24, 2016

The Process

This photo was shot in under 60 minutes. We rented out a studio space for one hour so we had to get in and out as fast as possible. I used an Nikon D700 paired with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Lens. We used natural light from the window to take this shot. Diandra is a great subject and she is effortless in front of the camera.

I used a portable white backdrop for the backdrop. I think I used a circle reflector but I don’t remember. I probably didn’t because there was a lot of light in the room.

My camera settings were shutter speed 1/100sec, aperture f/2.8 and ISO 400, RAW.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free thought

Oprah gave $12 million to the museum!

“I am so proud of African American history and its contributions to our nation as a whole,” – Oprah

Me too Oprah, me too.

What if of President Obama shows up?

I am super excited and grateful for this amazing opportunity. It is crazy to think about how many people will see the photo. People from all over the world! The Smithsonian though!? I still cant believe it.

The photo will be on permanent display so it will probably outlive me. My children and hopefully my children’s children will be able to visit the museum and see all of the great works that will be there.

I cant wait to visit the African American Photography Smithsonian Cultural Expressions exhibit.

Also forgive me for the weird title. I have to SEO this post out. Sometimes that means keywords that don’t make sense in spoken or written language. It makes sense to the computer bots though so its all good.

 

Baltimore Uprising 2015 by Glenford Nunez

Baltimore Uprising 2015 by Glenford Nunez Bike Vs Armored Vehicle

Bike vs Tank.

Baltimore Uprising 2015 by Glenford Nunez All groups come together
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Woman moved by prayer. DSCF0334

 

 

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Baltimore Uprising 2015 by Glenford Nunez

I posted images of the Baltimore Uprising 2015 when the events were unfolding but I felt uneasy about sharing the images. I didn’t want to capitalize on the plight of the people. So I took them down.

I felt uneasy about the culprits of the media circus pitching their tents around me. I kept thinking to myself “Is this real life? Is this really happening” I knew that things hit the fan when Anderson Cooper from CNN news walked by.

A friend who saw the images convinced me to post them again.

The images you see here span two days after the “riots” (I use that term very loosely) happened.

I did a project with Aljazeera America entitled Life after Michael Brown I shared with them some of the same feelings that I have expressed in this post.

SaintsCameMarchingInFB

Diandra Rose Portrait

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Believe in yourself.

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Diandra is a great model and is a photographers dream. We have worked together before in the past. She loves the camera and she knows her best angles. She arrived to the studio photo shoot ready and all we had to do was snap the shutter.

The Proccess

We used natural light from the window. The windows were located behind me. I shot this image with a Nikon D700 with an Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D. The 85 is a great portrait lens but I sold it. I try to simplify my camera bag when I can but more about that later.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free Thought

I have so many images in my archive that the world hasn’t seen. It is  time to start releasing it. I believe that we are all sent here to do that “thing”. The thing that makes us happy. Portrait photography is my thing.  Making images has always been in me. Make cool stuff and share it.

More on simplicity. If its not a definite yes then it is a definite no. I try my best to apply this mantra to all aspects of my life. This way of thinking is particularly helpful when you need to optimize your camera bag. I use the same equipment 85% of the time for all of my shoots. Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, round reflector, and natural light.

If I use strobe lights it is typically an Alien Bee 800 flash head or a Profoto flash head (if I am renting equipment) paired with a large octabank light modifier. That’s it! No mas.

I also take my cue from studying top photographers. The great image makers have very simple setups. They are not bogged down by excess equipment. They know exactly how to make the image that they want to make with the gear that they have.  How may knives does a great chef need?

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

EmoniBarakaNaturalHairGlenfordNunez

Emoni The Coiffure Project

Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

This is a natural hair fashion portrait of Emoni Baraka. Hair and makeup by beauty expert Jamaya Moore.

Process

I used the available light from a window and a circular reflector to capture this shot.
I used a  Nikon D700 full frame camera with a Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D lens.

I like to work with small teams. This means a great model, makeup, and maybe a hair stylist. Most of the time it is just the model and myself. They usually take care of their own makeup but I really prefer to work with models who use little to no makeup especially for the natural hair photos.

Rants and Tangents

This photo was taken at I time after I had given up on photography but Jamaya convinced me to dust my camera off and get into the studio. It felt good to be behind the camera again.

What made me put my camera down in the first place? Maybe it was arrogance. I did not think I was getting the “recognition” I thought I deserved. I have grown a lot since then. I know that I did not put in as much effort and hard work that I thought. I have also learned that hard work is good but smart work is way better.

I also left because I was tired of being broke all of the time. I didn’t like not knowing where my next check was coming from. I wanted to go back to computer programming because in my mind I thought it was more “stable”. Stability is a myth and there is no such thing as a stable job anymore.

The crazy part is, I made a lot of money as a photographer. The problem wasn’t making money the problem was keeping it. I spent like a mad man because I new that someone would call or email with a job. I would book 10K+ jobs and then be broke in a few months. I have repeated that cycle too many times in the and I had to change my thought process. I had to change my attitudes about money.

Im not sure what I spent that money on! I bought camera gear but that was only a minor dent in my income. I think it all went to things like dining out. I threw away a lot of cash. Fortunately, I have learned from these hard lessons.

The main thing I had to do was stop blaming the world. I had to look into myself and my habits. I had to change.

Jamya says that I never really quit I was just on sabbatical. She is right, I never really left. I just needed a break to figure some things out.

Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

Janelle Monae Profile Portrait Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

This is a Janelle Monae Profile Portrait. I shot this in NYC for Pitchfork Magazine. Pitchfork is The essential guide to independent music and beyond. The found me through my natural hair photo book called the Coiffure Project.

The story eventually was picked up by PDN Magazine. One of the top photo magazines in the world!
My images made it on to the cover of PDN Magazine! You know I was hype. It still feels like a dream for a dude from Baltimore. It was a moment were all of the the hard work appeared to pay off. But we know that its just the beginning and the grind never stops.

These images where shot with my FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera with a wide open aperture so that I could blur out the background. I cant remember but I think i was at f/2. Im sure I can open up light room right now to figure out the exact aperture but one thing at a time.

Side note. I have the silver FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera but I want the black one! One more step to being incognito!

We were located in a community garden in Tribeca New York. We did not use strobe lights for this shoot because the sun was just right so all we needed was a reflector.

The subject (Janelle) was really cool. She was a chill person. I wish we had more time to chat about the universe but we were on a tight schedule. Celebrities tend to be very busy so we had to get the shots quickly.
I think we established that we were both Sagittarius which I thought was kind of cool. Searching for some kind of connection. Maybe im over thinking things. Hahaha!

Janelle had a beauty staff making sure her look was crisp. Her makeup was on point and her natural hairstyle was a piece of art.

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Im not sure how I got in contact with Neji. It probably was on social media. I was in NYC at the time so we were able to link up and snap a few photos. Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

At the time Neji was just beginning to model but she already had the “it” factor. Neji is a tough woman with a strong personality and I really appreciate that. Her personality comes out in her images and I think that sets her a part from the rest.

The Process

I shot these images images with natural light in an alleyways in SOHO, NYC. I chose to do this because the mid day sun was too harsh to shoot in directly.

Well, im not totally sure why I chose the alleyway. I dont mind shooting in direct sunlight and there are ways to use the harsh sun to your advantage. I guess I shot in the alleyway because I wanted to avoid the massive crowds of people.

I shot this with a D700 partnered with the 50mm f/1.4G. I also used the 20mm f/2.8 that day.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free thought

Fashion models of color are becoming more accepted in mainstream media but not enough I think.

Im really trying to figure out why I chose to shoot in the ally. It wasn’t your typical alley. It was wide and clean. I guess I shouldn’t look at is as an alley. I was more of mini street. I don’t think garbage trucks went through there.

I do not live in New York and I think that was my first time shooting outside in the city. I know that probably affected my decision to shoot in that location but I don’t remember because that was a long time ago.

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Jessica model portrait

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait.

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

This is a photograph of Jessica Chibueze shot in Washington, DC. I took the train to DC because it was the halfway point for Jessica and I.

Process

We shot this outside somewhere in downtown DC. It was in front of a building that was under construction. There was a black tarp hanging from the side of the building so I used this as the backdrop for the shoot. A security guard was watching us closely but it did not take a long time to get the shots I needed. Snapping the shutter only takes seconds once all of the pieces are in place. The son was in the perfect place and the model new how to move in front of the camera. We came away with a great portrait.

I shot this with my Nikon D700 and the Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D.
This is a great portrait lens but I have sold it because I have a 50mm that can achieve great results. I wanted to make room in my photo bag.

Rants and Tangents

I have worked with Jessica on many occasions for paid shoots but this was the first time we were able to work together for personal work.

We spent some time walking around the city looking for the perfect location. Usually I walk and talk with the model until they make an expression that catches me off guard or when the light hits them in a way that shocks me. If you are a photographer you know what feeling im talking about. That jolt of energy that shoots through your entire body the model and the light is perfect. I love the way that the sun is wrapping her brown skin.

We talked about life and photography and modeling and fashion and non profit organizations and humanitarian work. Jessica is very active in the humanitarian field. She does a lot of work in Africa.

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

Natural sunlight photography

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait Photography Best

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

A photograph of Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait. We met at the windup space Four hours of funk. I noticed her really great eyebrows even in the dark. Tanya is also a Baltimore photographer. You can check out some of here work. Tanya Garcia MiCA Portfolio

The Process

We shot this photo in the photo studio with natural light coming from the window. I chose to go with a white backdrop because Tanya has dark hair and I needed to separate her from the background to provide some depth to the photo. Depth is really important in portrait photography because we need to create a sense of reality in a flat 2D image.

Ramblings,Tangents, Free thought

I really like the softness that natural light can bring to the image. I am still experimenting on how to get the same effect with strobe lighting. I think its a matter first lighting the scene using natural light first. Setting up your camera the best way you can to take most advantage of the available light while still getting the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture you desire. Then when you get all that correct one would use the strobe light to add a little kick to the parts of the image you want to illuminate.

But! you have to be careful not to add too much strobe light to the image or you could run into the issue of things looking too artificial. You can control this by the distance of your strobe to the subject, the power of the strobe light and the use of grids and diffusers. Typically I keep the strobe heads very far away from my subject with medium to high power to get the effect that I want. This process still needs a lot of tweaking for me to perfect it. It also varies greatly depending on the complexion of my subject. People with fairer skin reflect and absorb light differently from subjects with darker skin tones.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

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Janelle Monáe for Pitchfork Magazine Cover Story later featured on the cover of PDN Magazine.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

I got a call from a guy at pitchfork media to photograph Janelle Monae. If I was not already familiar with the contact that reached out to me I would have thought it was a cruel joke. Pitchfork found me through my natural hair photo book The Coiffure Project which had gotten some press from major sites like The Huffington Post.

The Process

The setup was simple. Natural sunlight. I round reflector for bounce and fill. Shot with the Fuji Film X100s.

This was one of those situations that you never see coming. You never know what past interactions will manifest themselves in the present. The contact that reached out to me was a guy that I had a brief interaction. Long story short the contact reached out to me for a previous shoot. Unfortunately the company he was representing did not have the budget for the shoot. We both agreed and then went our separate ways.

A year and some months later I get an email from the same contact almost forgetting who he was. He said that he has changed jobs and now was working for Pitchfork media. He asked me if I knew who Janelle Monae was and if I wanted to photographer her. I was super excited but I had to play it off. “Yeah, Ive heard of her. I wouldn’t mind working with her.” Inside I was bursting.

The budget was in line for the project so everything was looking great. I caught a train or the Bolt bus to NYC and I shot with Janelle Monae.

Free Thought, Rants, Tangents

Ok! Tip. Create, create, create! Become great. Share your work in the process. People see your work and if it fits with what they need they will hire you. Stick to what you love and create the work that you want to get paid to do. Find out who else does the type of work you do. Figure out how that person does it. Learn from them. Borrow from them then make your own improvements. There is always room for improvement and the student always exceeds the teacher. No one is built like you. Only you can add the twist that you can. The most important things is to keep creating and never give up. You can take a break if you want. A long break even but always get back to you do.

There are no rules make up your own rules.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story by Glenford Nuñez.

An award winning commercial photographer on the East Coast.