Stocksy Portfolio Reaches 500+ with Beach Vacation Images

It’s been an exciting year since the launch of Stocksy United. And, for me personally, making memories on the vacation of a lifetime. The two combined neatly today: my latest photos curated into the Stocksy collection originate from this dream beach getaway and they pushed my portfolio over the 500 images mark!

Kiawah Island, SC is among my favorite places to unwind and experience life a little slower. About 35 minutes outside of historic Charleston, it grants a profound pause button for the daily grind. Stay long enough, and a little perspective may permanently seep back in. What the island lacks in board walk attractions, it more than makes up for with the beauty of the Carolina Low Country and quiet spaces to take in sunrises over expansive beaches, salt air, wild life, and great company.

Collage of Family Kayaking on Salt Marsh River, Beach Sunrise, Charleston, and Girl Buried in Sand

I’ve been going to Kiawah since I was a kid. My mom first learned of it reading travel books in the ’80s and put it on her dream vacation list. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that we made our first trip there. It became an instant tradition, and we made our way back every few years. I took my wife there not long before we got engaged, but hadn’t been back in years. This time, it was my turn to share it with my new family. We had a blast. The tradition lives on. :)

As with most photos on my blog, these images and many more are available for commercial use via royalty-free (RF) licensing. Please visit my stock photography portfolio on Stocksy to purchase or call with any questions. Thank you for stopping by!

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Book Cover Bonanza!

Among professional photographers, one of the most sought after uses of our photos is the coveted spot on the front cover of a novel or magazine. In the past, my work has been featured on billboards, bus stop posters, and published widely in print in national and international magazines. This weekend I learned of THREE new book covers to add to my portfolio. What a rush!

Book series by April Adams

This series by April Adams brings my cover count to four books featuring photos of gymnasts and gymnastics! Sports photography has always been tops among my favorite disciplines and gymnastics takes the crown :)

What a thrill it has been working with these amazing athletes and getting to know their families. In fact, here’s a good opportunity to revisit a video I made to celebrate our collaborations and highlight some of my favorite works in this area.

Fans of gymnastics who want to learn more about this book series should head over to “The Gymnastics Series” page on Facebook.

And, designers and editors who would like to license these and other commercial stock images in my portfolio, including many sports photography concepts, please check out Stocksy United!

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Mud Run & Extreme Endurance Sports

It’s getting to be that time of year again: signs for the Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Hero Rush, and Spartan Race are popping up all over IRL and like weeds on social network sites. I must admit, while I really admire friends that compete in these events, and find them quite inspiring, I’m content drawing the line at photographing them. Running 12 miles (or more) in cold, wet, muddy conditions doesn’t sound like my cup of Pumpkin Spice Latte. Oh yeah, and there are often obstacles like electric fences, barbed wire, wooden walls, and rope mazes to contend with!

Last fall, I figured it would be fun to make some generic images that designers could use to promote any of these outdoor endurance challenges. And keep in mind, we don’t have to be literal. Sports images are also great for conveying messages of inspiration, team work, and achievement.

As a final note, let’s thank these tough models! They deserve kudos for their efforts and determination. While it may appear sunny, we shot on a cold November day. It was probably in the 30s with the wind chill, and yet, there they were, covered in mud, trudging through water obstacles, and looking proud for the camera. Nothing is more important to a shoot than top notch models!

These images, and many more Sports and Fitness photos, may be licensed for commercial use from my portfolio at Stocksy United. Thanks for stopping by!

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Love Wins!

This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for weeks, today provided the perfect inspiration :)

Just after the New Year, I was contacted by Valerie and Ann about covering their upcoming wedding at Surreybrook Farm in Middletown, MD. This was an exciting opportunity for me, particularly coming so soon after Maryland voters affirmed Marriage Equality. I was so proud for my state! And now I could contribute my passion and talent toward their beautiful wedding.

As a bit of personal insight, I want to highlight one of my favorite high school teachers. One of those people you never forget. I took three years of Latin in good part because she was such a fascinating person; a teacher who slipped in plenty of insights about life amid lessons on declensions and Roman mythology. Mrs. Remus once told me that I was, “in Love with being in Love.” This may have been a friendly critique, but I took it as a compliment and still do! Wedding days are full of Love. They are quite honestly one of my favorite things to photograph. People glow, smiles abound, and you often see the best human emotion on vivid display. Cheers for Maryland and progress in our country that champions equality and makes more room for Love.

Ann and Valerie, I would first like to say, “Congratulations Newly Weds!!” And secondly, what an honor it was to photograph your wedding. Thank you! You were such a fun couple to work with and your wedding day was a magical combination of smiles and authenticity, with a touching ceremony that will remain very memorable to me.

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For Designers & Local Businesses: Images from Frederick, MD

While researching locations recently for a new stock photography series, I met several local business people who gave me a great idea… Local designers want local photos!

As many readers, clients, and models know, a good portion of my business centers around creating commercial stock photography. I am currently looking for airy, contemporary, and organic work environments to create authentic business images for Stocksy United. Researching and shooting this topic has brought me to the local bike shop (a fixture of downtown Frederick, operating continuously since the mid-80s), a fantastic and eclectic “battery free” toy store, and to Cowork Frederick which is a fresh workplace concept for the 21st century workforce.

As I walked through Cowork Frederick, I immediately got excited about several great spaces in their beautifully renovated downtown location. The concept behind Cowork Frederick is providing both shared and private work areas that local business people and entrepreneurs can subscribe to and use on a part time basis. It provides a much more professional space for remote workers to meet up and meet with potential clients compared to the old standby — coffee shops. More importantly, it provides a fantastic environment for sharing ideas with professionals from diverse industries and interests. This latter aspect was proven handily by what happened next…

Certain that the space would be very photogenic, my next concern was models. When aiming for authenticity, I prefer to use real people in their everyday environments rather than bringing in models as actors. I approached several people working in a common area and gave my elevator speech about what I do, so I could follow-up by asking if they would be interested in being involved. Explanations are fine, but an actual example can be a thousand times stronger. So, I pulled up my portfolio on Stocksy to share real world examples. The “Oooohs” and “Ahhhs” were immediate and gratifying! I wished I’d recorded this to share with some friends at Stocksy. :)

In particular, I’d like to highlight Jennifer Gerlock, Social Editor of Frederick Gorilla who instantly appreciated the photos on Stocksy, calling them magazine quality and noting a high-end advertising style. Several other people in the room perked up and headed over to see what the fuss was about. Many small business people are well acquainted with stock photos, having used them in their websites and marketing materials. There’s also been a push back against microstock photos that is gaining force as people feel the generic photos are overly polished, fake, and don’t connect well their audiences. Stocksy is an antidote to this, and people see this immediately. Aynex Mercado, of Aynex Designs (whom I’ve had the pleasure of working for) described what she saw as “Stock photos that don’t look like stock photos…” BEFORE she learned that was Stocksy’s tagline! :)

Back to that great idea I mentioned, and how it opened my eyes to the value of co-working spaces: Here in a room full of people I’d never met, came an idea that never occurred to me. As they browsed my portfolio, they began to notice many familiar places: Cunningham Falls, Carroll Creek Linear Park, the fairgrounds… and they said images of local places could be very valuable to local designers! So I showed them more from my portfolio: shoots I had done at local restaurants, the toy shop, the bike store, a counselor’s cozy space in Walkersville. Ideas continued to flow. I showed more from our local CSA, schools, a mud run, and series near Harpers Ferry and Washington, DC. And finally, cycling photos taken on the C&O Canal and our own lovely back roads, complete with trees, mountains, and land forms that immediately feel like home to anyone from this area.

So, at their request, and I hope as a helpful library to more local designers, I’ve created a gallery of stock photos local to Frederick, MD at Stocksy United. General enough to be useful, but with a feel that is closer to home. The gallery houses some of my favorite photos from Frederick and surrounding areas. Many more can be explored by browsing the shoots and galleries associated with these images. As royalty-free stock photos, they can be licensed inexpensively and used for commercial purposes that highlight the best of Frederick County and the Mid-Atlantic region.

* As a final point, if you are a designer or local business owner seeking imagery not already represented in my portfolio, please contact me. It’s quite possible we can work out a trade or I can shoot exactly what you need on spec. I enjoy working with local businesses and it’s been great discovering just what a vibrant community of designers and entrepreneurs we have right in our own backyard.

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Down Syndrome Awareness Photo Shoot

Oh my goodness, did I recently have a chance to meet some amazingly charming children?!
Girl Student with Down Syndrom in School Library

I enjoy working with kids because they are naturals in front of the camera, they don’t filter themselves as adults often do. You get authentic smiles and emotions right from the start. This was proven again (to the extreme!) when I did a photo shoot for the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Frederick County for Down Syndrome Awareness Day. I was contacted by F.R.I.E.N.D.S. President Denny Weikert to help create posters for Frederick County Public Schools showing a day in the life of these adorable kids with Down Syndrome in their schools.
Down Syndrome Student with Teacher

It was an honor to have the opportunity to contribute, and so fulfilling! I couldn’t stop smiling as I skimmed through the photos to select the best poster images. So many great smiles, and words really cannot justify how much fun we had and how they lit up in front of the camera!
Down Syndrome Boy and Girl at Mainstreaming School

I also learned a more about Down Syndrome ahead of this shoot and first hand by working with these children and their families. The experience was eye opening for me and once again I am impressed by Frederick County Public Schools, this time for their mainstreaming programs which are clearly working very well for these kids.

At times, I do shoots on trade to help a good cause or when an interesting opportunity to photograph a new subject presents it self. I hope that the positive, happy photos of these great kids will be used in advertising and educational materials that promote mainstreaming concepts and advance the simple idea that people with Down Syndrome are so very much like you and me.

These highlights and a larger Collection of Images of Children with Down Syndrome in School are available for Royalty Free licensing via my commercial photography portfolio at Stocksy United.

[All images on this blog post are copyright (c) 2013 and may not be used without a license.]

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Gymnastics: A Story

Of all the photos I’ve made, and people I’ve met over years as a professional photographer, many have touched my life in very positive ways. People, quite simply, are the reason I do photography. This is a post about a one special group of amazing athletes and their highly supportive families.

I have always been in awe of talent. It takes many forms, and they all deserve to be celebrated. Talent and perseverance give us the greatest examples of what we can achieve.

I’ve also loved sports photography since I was young. Sports images give us unfiltered glimpses into the most powerful of human emotions: aspiration, determination, pride, and love. Iconic sports images convey the heights and depth of emotion that come from pouring our hearts and souls into realizing dreams.

I started photographing gymnastics in 2008. It started small (and with a bit of luck), and grew into my most heavily photographed topic across several years. Perhaps it should be obvious, but it is almost impossible to comprehend how hard these young women have worked to reach the top level of their sport. This short video is my attempt to tell a bit of their story, both as a thank you, and hopefully as tangible memory of this amazing time of their lives…

Without giving too much away, I’ll also share that one of the images in this video will be touring the country in a 7 year Smithsonian Institution exhibit starting next year! I can’t wait for the reveal :)

As with previously blogged commercial sports photography, I hope these images will be useful for encouraging and promoting youth sports and inspirational advertising. Images from this video are available for licensing in my Gymnastics portfolio at Stocksy United.

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Baseball: Opening Day!

Spring is finally in the air, and we’ve reached an important milestone for the year — Opening Day! :)

This is a cause for celebration! So I’m here to share with you a relatively recent series of royalty-free stock photos with themes surrounding youth sports, particularly baseball! For this shoot, I had the pleasure of working with very talented high school players, some of whom have gone on to play college ball. Maybe even turn pro some day soon?

Here are a few favorite baseball player, game situation, and team photos from the shoot:


Studio lighting pops and these images drop you right into the action of the game!


For a fun twist, I built a microphone trigger to capture photos at the moment of the crack of the bat. Check out that smoke after making contact! I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, “don’t try this at home!” If you do, wear protective equipment and have a solid insurance policy on your equipment. I won’t forget one shot that breezed right past my ear, literally, the “WHOOSH” itself was almost deafening.


And, it’s not an official game, unless it’s called by a good umpire.

Many thanks to all of the baseball players who took part in this shoot!

These photos, and many more “utility players”, are available in my portfolio at GL Stock Images. I highly recommend stock image buyers and designers give GL a fresh look as one of their first stops for stock photography needs. There’s a fair trade movement gaining steam in the stock photography industry and GL Stock Images has a great library, with simple search, streamlined buyer checkout, and pays a fair royalty to photographers.

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The Next Chapter – Stocksy!

This. Is. BIG! On Monday, March 25, 2013 Stocksy United Photography went live to the public. It was the first web-based company I’ve been a part of launching and it was electric. More important than being a new company, it is a new model for the stock photography industry! Stocksy United is a photographer-owned co-operative, and it is exploding onto the scene at a perfect time to bring balance back to the supplier-distributor relationship. Did I mention that Bruce Livingstone, the original creator of iStockphoto, is at the helm? Yep, it’s true!

At launch, we’re a collective of 220 hand selected photographers from around the globe. Many of the biggest names in photography are actively contributing: Thomas Hawk, Sean Locke, Kevin Russ, Jonathan Ross, and… Your’s Truly ;) I am in awe of the company I’m in. This is a dream come true, and a giant step forward in my career.

So, why are we here? The “two things” about Stocksy United are: ground breaking stock photography and sustainable fair trade.

Stock photography — photography that is created for broad audiences and a variety of commercial uses — has gone too far towards the generic, sometimes becoming comically perfect. (Conjure images of Stepford Wives and you get the idea.) Stocksy, by contrast, is building a collection of epic, inspiring, authentic imagery that also includes a dash of quirk, real life characters, and a healthy dose of global culture.

Fair trade? Yes! And, that’s long overdue in our industry. When Getty Images bought iStockphoto in 2006, they promised to grow business and allow the community culture to thrive. That didn’t last long. Although iStockphoto was at times Getty’s most profitable business unit, rather than build on this model, Getty did what Getty does: it began hunting growth by slashing commissions paid to photographers, cutting benefits, and eliminating key staff. Foreshadowing what was to come, Jon Kline, CEO of Getty Images, asked Bruce Livingstone, “Why do you pay your photographers so much?” At that time, iStock was paying photographers up to 40% commission on each sale while Getty Images typically pays half that. Getty has since introduced initiative after initiative to reduce commissions to the very creators of the content they sell. In Getty’s hands, the lowest commissions at iStock have been hacked down to 15%. Unbelievably, photographers with tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, invest their time and money to hire models and locations, and conduct shoots and finish production to get paid as little as 15% on their work as a result.

Enter Stocksy offering a new model for creatives pursuing sustainable careers in photography, and a resource for designers seeking amazing images, fresh content, and straight forward transactions. Plus, a source of satisfaction knowing that the majority of each purchase is now paid directly to creators rather than a corporate middleman.

I am very proud to offer my portfolio for licensing through Stocksy!

Designers in particular, if you love our images, and appreciate the fair trade philosophy, please help spread the word about Stocksy!


Stocksy buzz has been huge! Read more about the “who” and “why” of Stocksy:

Get Social with us! Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and Facebook.

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Shooting for Maryland Life Magazine

For today’s post I’d like to share a bit about shooting for Maryland Life magazine!

I started shooting for Maryland Life this past Autumn. It is a beautiful publication! I was initially approached by Art Director Marie Boshoff after she discovered product photography examples on my website. After sending more samples, Maryland Life asked if I would like to shoot for their new regular department titled “Treasures.” Specifically, the magazine needed high quality photos of objects for layouts with colors and seasonal themes synchronized to local events and culture.

When Opportunity Knocks, you answer the door! :-) I jumped at the chance. Commercial photography is an area I thoroughly enjoy and one in which my business has invested heavily to facilitate production of material that meets commercial’s high technical and quality standards.

It has been such a pleasure working with Marie Boshoff in studio. Just last week we completed our fourth shoot together. Marie brought a few issues of the February 2013 issue for my portfolio. She also brought great news! For the February issue, and going forward, Maryland Life magazine is using my photos in additional spots in the magazine. As a design accent, they are featuring one object from the Treasures section on the table of contents page. I’ve also been tapped to shoot for a new section called “Opportunity Knocks” which features products from local businesses.

Marie is an incredible art director, and as I’ve posted before, I love collaborations. I’ll usually setup lighting, and dial in initial shots. Then we’ll play with each object, and it is amazing to see the dramatic differences that tiny movements and styling changes make in the final product. My favorite photo yet is the candle from the December 2012 issue. After we got the safe shot, we decided to photograph the candle lit, and finally with smoke floating off the wick right after blowing it out. Smoke won the day and ran in print.

A lot of thought goes into making great photographs. And subtle changes can elevate a regular product photo into a stylish commercial piece. One bit of irony for me, is that it is 180 degrees from the stock photo aesthetic that’s been popular with agencies — shadowless objects floating in space. As we work, I chuckle (on the inside anyway) at seeing how well these shadows work to heighten the creative impact.

As a fun and final note for photographers in the audience: let me reinforce the fact that attention to detail matters. Early in our work together, Marie mentioned that what she liked most about my product photography portfolio was the coloring of the shadows! And when we work on each issue, we spend quite a bit of effort creating shadows that are “just so”. Case in point: the white card we held under a butterfly broach that was suspended in mid-air to give it context and enhance the sense of flight. Other times, lighting is moved to steer shadows, diffused or hardened to fit the object, and shadows filled or intensified to perfect them for her page layout and graphic design vision.

Photos by Brian McEntire in Maryland Life Magazine, October 2012
Photos by Brian McEntire in Maryland Life Magazine, December 2012
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