"The bottom line for us is: What are we doing to make the world better?"
It has been quite an exciting few weeks here at the Macbeth studio. To recap: Hillery, our studio manager, prepared to leave for her honeymoon, we scrambled to cover her position, finally brought Justine back from the west coast, and now we've hired two new interns! The Macbeth staff continues to grow both creatively and in numbers - brace yourselves Orlando, we're a force to be reckoned with.
For those of you who were a part of our very short application and interview window, we thank you so much. We were impressed with all your work and blown away by the response we got. You are all truly talented individuals, and we hope to see you again in the future! Without further ado, we are so excited to announce the two newest members of our team, officially starting March 14th! We thought we'd let them introduce themselves...
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ELYSE UGALDE: Studio Management Intern
Hello friends! Jim is allowing me to indulge my narcissism through a short introduction, so here goes nothing: the year was 1987, it was an unseasonably warm November morning - Oh, what’s that? That’s too far back? Ok, fast-forward.
I am a first generation American and I was raised by my sweet mama and my grandparents. I’ve got two brothers, two adorable nephews and one precious niece. I love my family so much that I avoid talking politics with them. I consider my Cuban heritage to be a major aspect of my identity. I grew up in Miami, but after moving to Orlando as a teen, I quickly learned that Orlando is a diverse group of awesome people who are working together to elevate our city. My ultimate goal is to contribute as much as possible to our community. I am an MBA student focusing in marketing who enjoys coffee, writing, Pho, fantasy novels and watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. But, mostly I like to surround myself with creative and kind people. That’s where Macbeth fits in! I am beyond thrilled to work with such an accomplished team and I am looking forward to learning as much as I possibly can before they realize how annoying I am and ask me to leave. I might get to meet you, too! So, please say hi and compliment me on my nails. Yes, I did just get them done, thank you for noticing! But enough about me, let’s talk about you.
SARAH TATUM: Photography, Videography, & Editing Intern
It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce myself to you as one of the new additions to the Macbeth team. My name is Sarah and I am an Orlando Native. I grew up here, learned to drive here, spent my free time at the local Boys and Girls Club here, and went through my awkward high school phase here. When I turned 18 I wanted to experience a new place, a new culture, so I applied and was accepted into Florida State University (Go Noles!). I packed my bags and went off to college leaving the beautiful Orlando and my awkward high school phase behind.
I studied Journalism at FSU but have always had a passion for photography and videography. I was a club photographer for one of the more popular areas in town called the Strip. It was the place to be your freshman year of college, and I saw many stories unfold before me. I also had the amazing opportunity to work on the sci-fi web series "Chronos" with IronZoo Productions. I even got to study abroad in Spain and write articles about the culture I was experiencing. I loved my time spent in Tallahassee, but as graduation approached it was time to figure out what was next for me in the post-college world, so I came home. Now I get the amazing opportunity to learn from the Macbeth Team. I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to start in March!
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There you have it! The times certainly are "a-changing" here at Macbeth. We can't wait to have you ladies on board in a few weeks!
Temporarily, that is.
Hello Macbethians! My name is Justine. Some of you may remember me from a couple years ago; I was Jim's pre-Hillery assistant until my restless soul brought me all the way across the country to San Francisco. I figured I should re-introduce myself here (and say hello to some new faces) since I will be covering for Hillery while she is on her honeymoon. If you happen to come through our studio or need to contact us over the next few weeks, I'll be your gal!
Since saying an emotional farewell to Macbeth and the city of Orlando two years ago, I have been pretty busy to say the least. Even though California was a greater experience than I could have imagined, my wanderlust is still stronger than my love for the west coast. I spent last year chasing music festival season from Washington to Tennessee, hiking the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, and just recently got back from spending two months traveling from South Africa to Zimbabwe (you can catch some of the Africa action yourself in the video below!). I once again put all my belongings into a backpack, began travel blog Words from the Wild with my favorite adventure partner/love of my life, and have been spending lots of time both in front of and behind cameras... although most of them are GoPro's!
And now I get to temporarily resume my "old life" here in Orlando before heading off to the next big adventure! Although, working for Macbeth is an adventure in and of itself. Even with the distance, Hillery, Morgan, and Jim have remained great creative influences in work and even greater friends in life, and I am so excited to be part of the team again - even if it's only for a few weeks. I've only been back one day so far, and I can already see Macbeth has grown so much since I left in 2014. That being said, I cannot wait to work with all of your familiar friendly faces, and meet some new ones!
Our Orlando Map from this past June's First Friday has become well-loved over the last several months. So much so that we actually went forward with answering a regular request: having 18"x24" prints made of the hand painted 9'x9' backdrop.
We never anticipated such a huge response from our fellow Orlandoans! What had started as just a backdrop for our first Rethink Homelessness partnership has evolved into a way for us to spread awareness, celebrate our city, and engage with our community. It's been an amazing few weeks.
A lot of you have been curious about how the map and Local Love Orlando came to be. So, I'll break it down for you with a quick Q&A with the designer of the map (and Macbeth Photo's studio manager), Hillery Brooks.
What was the idea behind partnering with Rethink Homelessness for June's First Friday?
Greg and Carolyn of CT Social (the social media team behind Rethink Homelessness) came to us in February with a request to work together on one of our First Friday events. They wanted to spread the word about the work that the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH) is doing in our city, and we already had plans in the works to host our second annual "Local Love" First Friday. The first one involved this hand-lettered chalkboard.
Local Love round 2 was the perfect event to partner with CFCH on, because celebrating our local community comes with the responsibility to help our neighbors who don't have the same resources and comforts that we do.
What made you decide to use a map for the backdrop?
The idea of painting a map came to us while brainstorming with Greg and Carolyn. We needed to find a visual representation of both homelessness and our community, which was not an easy thing to do. The backdrop needed to be beautiful and shareable, but homelessness is an ugly thing that's hard to talk about. We finally concluded that we can celebrate our city and the neighborhoods within it while still having a serious conversation about those who don't have a home within them. A map seemed like the best way to represent that.
How long did it take to hand draw, letter and paint the 9'x9' backdrop?
From sketches to completion, the original map took about a month. But there was a week-long trip to Haiti somewhere in there, and the actual paint didn't touch paper until about 3 days before our deadline to start promoting the event (apparently procrastination didn't end with art school).
And I definitely didn't work alone—Nathan Selikoff made the mapping research process go so much faster than I could have done on my own. He spent a lot of time working out the official neighborhood names and boundaries, and provided me with a file he had put together. Morgan Walker drew all of the illustrations with ink directly onto the map—she didn't use a projector or even a pencil. Her drawings really made the map come alive and feel like it has a personality. Drew Powers showed me Sanborn Maps (which ended up inspiring the color scheme), and he did the "Orlando" lettering at the top of the map in that amazing ornate style. And finally Melissa Spilman came by the studio to hang out while we were finishing up the map, and before long she was on the floor drawing the compass. It was a collaborative effort, and that's what I think makes it so great.
Whats the craziest map request you've gotten from someone so far?
It's not really crazy, but we've gotten a lot of emails from people asking why certain neighborhoods (or main street districts, or neighboring cities) aren't on the map. The usual answer is that we just had to cut it off somewhere. We also were careful to research and name neighborhoods that are deemed official in the city of Orlando, rather than featuring every residential area that we came across. And even for some that we wanted to include, there just wasn't room at that scale to fit them on the paper.
I completely understand why someone would be bummed if their neighborhood isn't included. We're already working on ideas for future projects that include more of the Orlando area, and we love hearing what areas people feel are missing so we can do more research.
Why do you think this backdrop stands out so much more than any other you've made in the past?
It's definitely one of the more vibrant backdrops we've made. But beyond that, I think it fulfills a need that a lot of Orlandoans have to visualize where they fit in on the map. I love watching people study the neighborhoods, find the cross streets, and identify where they live and work. The neighborhoods and main street districts each have their own divisions and colors and illustrations, but they all fit in together to make up our city. I guess that sounds kind of philosophical, but finding an appreciation for and a place in Orlando is something that seems to come up a lot these days.
When was the decision made to produce map prints available for purchase?
We always had it in the back of our minds that this could become a print, but we really started working on it after the June First Friday event. Even before the event happened, we had people seeing our Facebook posts asking if they could buy a print of the backdrop. The interest only grew as people started sharing their images and tagging Rethink Homelessness. We've been told over and over again that this is something that hasn't really been done before—a map of Orlando that isn't all about theme parks and tourism.
How long did the production process take to make the 500+ prints?
Longer than it probably should have! After the June event, we knew that a lot of people wanted prints. We didn't realize how much would be involved in digitizing a photograph of a painting while shrinking it down so that it was still readable at 18x24 inches rather than 9x9 feet. And even once the print file was ready, there were a lot of decisions to make in regards to how big the print run would be, how to handle shipping and pickup, stuff like that. We're a photography studio, so this was a whole different world.
And of course, these took time to print—and rightfully so. Mama's Sauce does an incredible job in meticulously caring for every single print that runs through the press (in our case, five times per print). It's a process that can't and shouldn't be rushed, and it's the reason the print quality is so gorgeous.
We finally went live with localloveorlando.com 13 days ago (December 9th)—so almost exactly 6 months after the event. We've already sold over 450 prints, so we may end up doing another run if the demand is there.
What will you be doing with the original backdrop that inspired all of this?
We've donated the original painting to the Mayor's office, and they're currently working on framing and hanging it in the Orlando Information Center. Pretty exciting stuff. We plan to host an event (hopefully in January) when it's ready.
To find out when new products are available or other Local Love projects are happening, sign up for the email list at the bottom of LocalLoveOrlando.com. We have more ideas in the works for products and events that help raise awareness about local businesses and causes that make us love Orlando.
We were thrilled to be part of another Yelp event and even more thrilled that it was Great Gatsby themed. Bring on the beads, bowties, and flowing alcohol!
Inspired by art deco motifs and the elegant brilliance of metallic gold on black, we created a custom, hand-drawn backdrop for our photo booth. We couldn't be happier to provide a unique photoshoot for all the Orlandoans who attended this splendid affair, dressed to the tee in 1920's era fashion. Seriously, we were very impressed with the impeccable sense of style our city had to show. Cheers, Orlando!
Thank you everyone who was part of a wonderful night. Here are a few of our favorite snapshots.
The Medical City of Lake Nona is emerging as an innovative breeding ground for astounding buildings, hospitals and schools. Lake Nona has made national headlines for it's technologically-savy and atmospheric Nemours Children's Hospital and the establishment of UCF's Medical School.
Medical City is defying stale hospital expectations by continuously working toward creating a community that feels like a vacation destination with jaw-dropping and mesmerizing special effects sure to impress the kiddos.
Nemours Children's Hospital was the first to show the world the importance in not only treating children with top specialty care, but also the importance of creating a happy environment that takes the fear out of hospital visits and stays. A lot of these techniques involving colored lighting effects that leaves everyone who sees them "ooo"-ing" and "ahh"-ing.
Which leads us to introduce to you The Beacon at Lake Nona Town Center; A parking garage that resembles more of a Universal attraction than a garage outside the local Marriot.
What is interesting about this garage is it's ability to transform into a piece of art. The structure is covered in binary code cut-outs, where light travels through and casts shadows around the garage. Glass sheets attached all over the side of the structure also add to the wow-effect, and reflect an assortment of colored light. Additionally, multi-colored light igloos surround the building and video projections are displayed on the 60-ft white centerpiece of the building. It's like nothing you've ever seen...at least not on a parking garage.
We were fortunate to see this incredible piece of art before the public, as we photographed the structure for the press release that was sent to The NY Times. Now that the news is out, we can proudly show you what we captured last Thursday, November 12th.
As Jim would say, "Sometimes being a photographer has nothing to do with photography." It's being able create beautiful work on the fly, to scramble to get everything you need for the perfect shot or improvise at a moment's notice. There is a whole lot that goes into a picture than just the picture-taking.
Today is just one example of the life of a photographer. The last minute idea to take photos in our studio to promote on social media the upcoming Rethink Homelessness event meant we had to act fast. All hands were on deck as we hurried to create a very detailed, hand lettered backdrop in just an hour's time, along with cardboard signs as props for the subjects. Our hand lettered sign was created by Hillery and reads "How will you help every Orlandoan have a home?"
With these photos though, Rethink Homelessness can now advertise the event taking place at Kasa in Downtown Orlando, where they will introduce the next phase of their campaign to build a better future for our homeless neighbors in Central Florida.
To see how you can be a part of this movement to transform the lives of the homeless in Orlando, we encourage you to check out Rethink Homelessness on Facebook or attend the Monday night event on November 23rd.
After we finished last week's team portrait shoot, I remembered that I had a roll of black and white Kodak Tri-X 35mm film in my old Pentax SLR. So before we cleaned up the studio, I dragged everyone back in and took 3 frames of each person.
The old film SLR presents some challenges that are easy to forget:
- No changing the ISO, without changing film.
- Manual focus. Get used to the split-prism and ground glass.
- No spray-and-pray. Every shot counts; 24 frames and then rewind and reload.
- No LCD to check exposure and focus. You have to engage the brain and think about what you're doing.
Below are my favorites of each member of our staff, plus a couple of friends from the office next door.
Are you interested in shooting / developing / printing your own black and white film? Stay tuned for classes starting in the spring, at our darkroom at the Maitland Art Center. Or you can contact us for more details, or to sign up for notifications about class dates and rates.
Please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page, and let us know what you think.
Mike Spectacle is a tough act to follow, but I'll give it a try.
"Art begins in imitation, and ends in innovation" — Mason Cooley
When you make your living with a proven lighting technique, it's easy to get complacent. This project is a refreshing challenge to try new things, and test out ideas on our colleagues.
I'm most comfortable surrounding my subjects with light from all sides... which generally is the most flattering light. So when it was my turn to produce a set of team photos, I decided to get way outside of my safe zone and try something different. This summer, a friend gave me a copy of WWD, which had a striking portrait of the Olsen twins on the cover. The image stuck with me, so I decided to try my own version.
Deep black shadows and harsh side lighting scare the heck out of me, so I figured I'd give my coworkers the chance to help me get over my fears.
After studying Nigel's images in WWD, I decided to use a single softbox. No reflector, no fill, no hairlight, no background light. I used a 4' x 3' softbox horizontally, about 4 feet from the subject, and high enough to create a shadow under the chin. In some of the shots we achieved the traditional Rembrandt triangle on the far cheek.
I used a mottled background about 6' behind the subject, and adjusted the softbox until the spill illuminated the right side of the background just enough to separate the subject from the background. Normally I'd make the subject pop off the background with a hairlight on camera right, but this subtle separation is a very satisfying alternative.
I really like the flattering perspective from a distance of about 8 feet away, so I shot this with a 70-200 lens at 200mm, and wide open at f/2.8 for nice shallow depth of field. Fortunately, the Paul Buff Einstein strobes go as low as 1/256th power, which allows a wide open aperture with the big softbox very close to the subject.
Although we did get some smiling and laughing shots, it seemed that this solemn and serious lighting setup should have expressions to match it, so we selected more thoughtful looks.
An experiment with clamshell portrait lighting using only a modeling light and reflector.
You may have seen us prepare for OrlandoiX with our hand-painted gradient background, but what you haven't seen are our robo props! We loved the way these custom made robot costumes for our First Friday event turned out (and we are pretty sure the attendees of the event did, too).
These bad boys were made out of cardboard boxes, spray paint and a whole bunch of buttons from Skycraft Parts & Surplus.
Below are a few of our favorite OrlandoiX robots. Not too shabby, eh?!
It's that time again...First Friday! Can you believe it's already October?! Nope, neither can we.
This month's First Friday (October 2nd) is being held in Downtown Orlando on Wall Street at the OrlandoiX opening party (open to the public). We are stoked to be a part of this convergence of technologically creative minds!
Speaking of creative, check out Hillery's hand painted backdrop for the event in the below time-lapse video and still images:
More info on the event can be found here on our Facebook page.
Hi, all! I'm Bailey, the newest addition to the Macbeth Photo team (you can see me in some of the pictures below).
New Port Richey is a town on the Gulf Coast of Florida, about 30 miles north of Tampa on US 19. I moved there from Canada when I was 12, and left when I was 20 (my parents still live there, so I get back a couple of times a year). Those formative years left a deep impression, and one of the many memories from that time is driving out to Green Key Beach to watch the sun set, and wade in the very shallow water and hunt for horseshoe crabs.
From the shoreline, you can see several houses about half a mile into the Gulf, built on pilings driven deep into the soft muck on the bottom of the shallow water there. I guess I never thought much about them, until I recently read this well-researched article by Jeff Miller.
It got me to thinking about the stilt houses again, and I realized that I'd never really paid much attention to them when I lived there.
So, since I'd already booked a plane and Macbeth Photo's chief pilot Brokaw Davis to shoot some aerial photos for clients in Orlando this weekend, I figured we might be able to make the 45-minute flight over to the coast and check them out, time and weather permitting.
It happened that the weather was gorgeous, with almost no clouds (a very rare occurrence in the middle of June around here). With Brokaw's brilliant low-and-slow flying skills, we were able to get some shots of the stilt houses, perhaps to help complete the story of these unique and, sadly, endangered homes (read the article for details).
Last spring we collaborated with The Carousel Emporium and traveled back to some time between 1920 and 1950. With one of Orlando's largest collections of vintage clothing and accessories, this beautiful antique store had some amazing pieces to style our models Adrienne and Morgan. Located in the heart of the Ivanhoe Antique District, light pours through the huge, arched, front facing windows of the shop. Surrounded by ornate furnishings, carved wood, and lace details, we were transported to another time and place. Here are some captures from that day.
The annual "Paws In The Park" pet walk, which happens on the weekend closest to Valentine's Day, is the single largest fundraiser for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Thousands of dog-owners get together at the southeastern shore of Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando, after raising over $100K in donations. Dogs of all shapes and sizes are represented. There are vendors of every type of pet product and service, and activities include agility courses, long-jump-into-water competitions, and much more.
Orlando Bike Tours is a movement to highlight Orlando's cultural identity through food, drinks, and bike riding. It is a great chance to get outdoors, meet new people, and see Orlando in a alternative way. We sponsored the first tour on February 22, starting at Cocina 214 in Winter Park. We then rode through brick roads, Mead Gardens, and the Orlando Urban Trail to Maxine's on Shine, The Brass Tap, and finally Latitudes downtown.
New tours will be announced here.
About 10 months into a year of weekend side-projects (just for kicks and learning experiences) we had a shoot scheduled with two incredible dancers. We wanted to experiment with movement and natural interior light—but where to shoot? Orlando isn't exactly filled with high-ceilinged industrial spaces (or so we thought.)
We brainstormed for a few minutes, and remembered that local print shop Mama's Sauce had plans to move into a big empty warehouse west of College Park. They were still in the process of building out at the time, and we'd seen a few Instagrams of local businesses like Rifle Paper Co. and Barnlight Electric using the space to shoot. Our hopes were high.
Luckily for us, the good people at Mama's Sauce are as nice as it gets. When we walked in that morning, the space was even better than expected. The concrete floors and exposed rafters are just dreamy. Gorgeous light filters in softly through the old windows.
Megan and Michelina leapt across the unforgiving concrete for several hours like complete champs. Our friend Wendi Stark helped with hair and makeup.
A huge thanks to Mama's Sauce for the opportunity to shoot in this space before it's filled with massive printing presses. We hope the two dozen donuts showed our gratitude on some small level.
Whether to buy a pre-made 20' overhead light bank for $11K, or design and build our own?