Get Out… Scout… & Stack the Cards in Your Favor

Drivel on the benefits of scouting is nothing new… and we’ve heard it all before. I still find, however, that scouting tends to be an overlooked item line in budgets. The obvious benefits of visiting a location a day or two prior to shooting can be huge. Not only does it afford the photographer an opportunity to plan and pre-visualize the manner in which the space can be used, explored, and lit… but it also allows him/her the opportunity to map out the path of the sun, the wind patterns, and the weather.

Assuming that the weather allows for shooting… the sun and wind can often be the most critical and overlooked aspects in planning. The use of the location and the placement of talent tends to not only be determined by content… but also by the opportunities and the limitations that the location offers. If time is tight… you will want to know where the sun will be once your set up is complete and the shoot begins. As the sun moves… so will your use of space and the placement of talent. Sun and wind can also play a key role in informing your strobe/modifier pairings. If the sun is blaring… a high-powered strobe and efficient modifier combo can be critical. If the wind is howling… best have a c-stand, sand bags, or multiple assistants. Weather seems to be a more obvious concern. It’s certainly best to have a temperature controlled vehicle or building close at hand… as well as… watchful hair and makeup artists. No budget for hair and makeup? A light hair spray and blotting tissue can go a long way. Get some and keep them in your bag at all times.

If the budget allows… scout a day or two prior. If not… arrive early and plan ahead. A strong plan can make it or break it in crunch time. Even with a good plan… you will always be improvising and dancing with the changes… so it’s best to have the cards stacked in your favor.

Red Rock Wilderness Observation Park | Jonathan Timmes Photography

Red Rock Wilderness Observation Park | Jonathan Timmes Photography

Red Rock Wilderness Observation Park | Jonathan Timmes Photography

Red Rock Wilderness Observation Park | Jonathan Timmes Photography

Lastly… Don’t overlook or rule out the benefits of planning non-project-specific scouting trips to discover new locations. Over time you will build yourself a library of sites that can potentially be paired with future projects. The images above were shot this past weekend while scouting on a hiking trip with my wife and daughter. Nothing more than an iphone and pen/paper were needed. It took a whole 5 mins to explore these buildings… take these pics… and jot down some notes. The final images that you deliver to your clients are your responsibility. You best own-up because no one wants to hear any excuses. My advice… just get out and SCOUT! It’s up to you to make it happen.

Monarch Magazine: Attorney Scott A. Bolden

Having shot various features from fashion spreads to business profiles, I have been working as a regular contributor to Monarch Magazine since late 2010.  Most recently, we had the opportunity to photograph Attorney Scott A. Bolden, Managing Partner of Reed Smith‘s DC office.

Monarch TV joined us to capture it all & learn more about the attorney.  You can watch this clip… amongst others @

Behind the Scenes: The Five One

Creating images with The Five One was a definite highlight in 2011. Not only was this project a blast… but we pulled it off at one of my favorite spots in the DMV area… Union 206 Studio. The Five One’s musical influences range from legendary rock artists to the most iconic figures in hip-hop culture. Although their sound is refreshing, the most meaningful aspect behind the quartet is their concept… REVALULION [rev-uh-loo-lee-n]

Revalulion, a philosophical term coined by the band, is the action of personifying oneself as a color. Defined only by the color in their closets, The Five One (Red, Blue, Green, and Gold) search for freedom from the complexities of social identity. You can learn more about The Five One @

Behind the Scenes: Inner Ear Studio

I recently had the opportunity to work with record producer & musician, Don Zientara. Don is founder & owner of Arlington based recording studio, Inner Ear. The studio is deeply embedded in the DC music scene & has been in operation for over 25 years. Over time, Don has recorded virtually all of DC’s most widely recognized and acclaimed bands including: Minor Threat, Rites Of Spring, Fugazi, The Dismemberment Plan, Q & Not U, and Black Eyes.

Inner Ear Studio | Jonathan Timmes Photography

My crew & I enjoyed our time at Inner Ear. The studio is blanketed in eye candy including… album covers, eclectic art, & old photographs. The history is plentiful & Don was full of smiles as he shared it with us.

Behind the Scenes: The Kane Show

If you’re a fan of Hot 99.5… then you’re most likely familiar with the 4 characters who make up ‘The Kane Show‘… Kane, Sarah, Samy, & Eric.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with this cast on a few occasions… & it’s always a blast!  Recently… we hooked up to collaborate on the cover image for Northern Virginia Magazine‘s “Out on the Town” issue.  A camera crew was there to document all the fun.

Many ‘THANKS’ to the cast & crew for working so hard to pull this together… & of course…a big ‘THANKS’ to Spider Kelly’s for opening up their doors to us.

(Front: Sarah, Hana, Buzz, Me)   |   (Back: Eric, Kane, Michelle,  Lynn, Samy, Elisa)

NHL Network: All Access – Backstrom/Green

The NHL Network takes a behind the scenes look into my photo shoot with Nicklas Backstrom & Mike Green of the Washington Capitals. Accompanying the guys are Samantha Casey (Miss Virginia USA) & Sophie Pyle (The Blonde Chariot Mafia).