Tuesday, November 29, 2011


A great big Thankyou to people I have worked with for providing these kind words...

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John - When I left tonight I was so exhausted not just physically but emotionally as well (something I had SO not anticipated). I was so overwhelmed I wasn't able to hug you goodbye. I had emotions that I still have not been able to put in place. I actually had to sit in the car and cry...not from sadness but coming from someplace else. I do know that you have made it so I could begin to look at myself differently...It is like a door unlocked in me tonight...leaving me with overwhelming but amazing feelings. Thank you for being a part of that experience. You were amazing. Words just stop in my throat but I can say THANK YOU! I will never forget what you have made possible for me.
--Chris G.
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"I love to work with John he is so much fun and I always get back great images. He knows how to make a shoot fun with silly props and ideas which always make for funny images. Not to often you find a photog that can get super awesome images and make the shoot fun at the same time. I always look forward to working with John when i'm in Seattle. His images are some of my best work on my port and i'll always keep them up." 
--Eleya M.

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"John Cornicello, is my all time favorite photographer. Not only for his fantastic skill behind the camera but also his ability to be playful while remaining professional. I've never felt more comfortable with another photographer, posing nude or dressed. Whether its underwater, fine art, portraits, performance, or maternity, John has put me at complete ease and delivered some of the best work I've ever seen. I now cannot imagine Seattle without him and I do see John as a part of my Seattle family."
--Tristen W.

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"John Cornicello is not only a highly skilled and creative photographer, he has the charm, grace, and maturity to make you comfortable expressing yourself in front of the camera. My session with him fulfilled my wish for gorgeous, sexy portraits that show me at my best!"
--Lisa E.

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" I always look forward to modeling for John because he is great at making a shoot fun.  It is easy to feel comfortable around him even from the first time you meet and work together.  On the other hand he is also exceedingly professional and always treats his models with the most respect."
--Audra P.

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"The experience of doing a pin-up shoot with John Cornicello was way more fun than I could have anticipated! We didn't really know each other, aside from a handful of casual conversations. His calm demeanor put me at ease right from the start. The nerves I felt were more the excited kind, anticipating the surprise when my husband sees the book of prints for our 10th wedding anniversary. He loves seeing my curves in lingerie (and bless him for that!), so this seemed like an appropriate way to give back to the man I adore. Because I love dressing up (or down as the case may be here) I enjoyed that part, but as an amateur model, I didn't know how to position my body for the camera, John had great suggestions of how to hold my arms, or place my feet, or look to the light, that really complimented my figure. The results didn't just impress the man in my life, but admittedly, I'm a little smitten with them too. It's a fabulous feeling to let go, and let a professional like John capture your essence and express whatever mood is true for you. It was such a rush, I kinda want to do it again...

"Who knew taking your clothes off in front of a near stranger could be THIS much fun!"
--Sheri H.

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"I'm ALWAYS amazed at how you are able to cultivate a relationship of trust with your subject so quickly, and then bring out the most spontaneous beauty in every situation (studio or out on the street)."
--Kim P. (my wonderful wife)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Working in a home studio

Let me start with a big Thank You to the folks at creativeLIVE. It has been a year since they asked me to come in and help out with a live workshop with Jeremy Cowart. That was an amazing weekend that has grown into a year of workshops. And to celebrate that, I'm going to do a 1-day workshop with creativeLIVE on working in a home studio to start the new year on January 10, 2012.

I am greatly encouraged by all the viewers who have commented about me during the workshops this year and who have written in asking to have me do a workshop. I'm a little nervous. I did do the fireworks class in July, but before that the last time all the cameras were focused on me alone was back in the mid 1980s when a TV show called "World of Photography" did a segment about me when I had a studio in New York City. I think I was so nervous there that they only showed me working and never used any of the footage of me sitting in front of the camera just talking. If anyone out there knows if these TV shows are available anywhere now, I'd love to hear about that. I lent my VHS copy of the show to someone many years ago and never got it back.

Anyway, that was around 25 years ago. I've come a long way since then. But I've also gone back to working at home. I started out at home, right out of college with a Norman A202 strobe pack with a couple of heads, reflectors, and umbrellas. I worked out of my bedroom at home, photographing things in the middle of the night while I had a day job working in a large catalog studio as an photo assistant.

Now I'm firmly entrenched in the digital world, but I do still have some of my film cameras, such as the 5x7 Deardorff view camera shown above. I still use studio strobes instead of small camera flashes for most work--that's what I've grown up with. But I have actually done a few recent jobs using camera flashes. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks (thanks to the Lighten Up And Shoot and Rick Sammon workshops on creativeLIVE).

I want this to be a very interactive class with lots of audience questions. So I invite you to start preparing some questions now and ask them here. And have more ready to go when Kenna joins me to take a look at my studio. You can ask about specific images shown below. Or ask about the equipment I use. Or ask about why I do things one way versus another. But it is mostly about helping you get set up to take photographs in your space.

Below I'm showing a selection of my of photographs and I am asking you which of these were NOT done in my home studio? Here is what I can tell you about my home studio. The main room I use is about 12x18' and I sometimes use an adjacent room that adds about another 12 feet to the 12' of the main room, creating an L-shaped area. My ceilings are a standard 8 feet high, and there is a wide doorway between the two rooms.


Looking forward to your questions and to seeing you online in January!



Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Vision Dance 2011

For the second year I've had the pleasure of photographing the New Vision Dance Company's fall show.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the show. Dance can be tricky to photograph as I have no control over the lights and always want the lights to be someplace other than where they are. In this case, most of the lights were at floor level which looked great for the audience, but presented a few challenges for getting the the photos I wanted. But I think I did OK.

You can find more in my New Visions Dance galleries from 2010 and 2011.

All photos taken with a Canon 5DmkII with the following lenses: 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2.0, and 24-105mm f/4.0.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fashion Lighting with Matthew Jordan Smith

Wow! What a weekend. I got to assist one of my photography heroes, Matthew Jordan Smith in his 3-day workshop at creativeLIVE.

On Saturday we did some beauty shots with a simple lighting set up of one 22" beauty dish with a white sock diffuse on it directly over the camera. I was so busy, though, that day, that I didn't take any photos.

On Sunday we did a larger set for a fashion session. After that session I got a few comments and questions on Google Plus asking about how the lights were set up for that session. In reality it was pretty simple. A Profoto Magnum reflector on a standard head over the camera about 12 feet up in the air. Matthew described this as his "sun." It was bright. The first meter reading I took was f/45. We had to power that thing down to get to around f/22.

The questions, though, were about our background lights. We had four lights pointed into two v-flats. One v-flat on each side of the set. The v-flats reflected the light onto the background and blocked the light from hitting the models. We used four heads and four strobe packs to get the fastest recycle time we could. If we put all the heads into a single pack it would have taken too long to recylce the power between exposures. With it set up this way Matthew was able to fire off multiple shots in a row to keep things flowing.

To help with the clean white background from head to toe we had the models on a platform created by apple boxes and white boards. Above is a photo of the set and below is a diagram I created to show the lighting setup.

The two softboxes in the photograph are for the video cameras that were broadcasting the workshop and did not affect the still camera exposure. So you can pretend that they are not there.

Here are two photos I took on this set...

And here are photos of the creativeLIVE crew and Matthew and I that were taken with the same lighting setup and a remote camera release (that you can see in my right hand).

This was one of the best weekends I've had. Looking forward to getting myself back into the studio!

The models for this day were Briauna Mariah and Sara Cozad. Styling by Alvin Stillwell, and hair & makeup by Erin Skipley.