Archive for category Portraits

Civil War Reenactor Noah Crawford

Recently I had the privilege of photographing Noah in several of his Civil War reenactor uniforms. Below is his story:

Private Noah Crawford, Civil War Reenactor

Noah Crawford and his chauffeur Mom

Noah Crawford and his chauffeur Mom

“I am a member of the 19th Virginia Infantry, Company B (“The Albemarle Rifles”), which is part of the 3rd Regiment, ANV (Army of Northern Virginia), re-enacting unit.

The 19th Virginia was recruited from Albemarle, Nelson, and Amherst Counties. Company B was recruited largely from Albemarle (as its name implies). The Regiment fought at First Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines’ Mill, Frayser’s Farm (also known as “Glendale”), Second Manassas, South Mountain, Antietam (also known as “Sharpsburg”), Suffolk, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, White Oak Road, and Saylor’s Creek.

At Gettysburg, the 19th was part of Garnett’s Brigade of Pickett’s Division, and participated in the famous “Pickett’s Charge.” The regiment lost about half its strength in the doomed assault as well as its battle flag, which was captured at “the Stone Wall” by the 19th Massachusetts. Three days before Appomattox, the remnants of the 19th Virginia were surrounded and surrendered at the Battle of Saylor’s Creek. Though a total of 1,600 men served in the regiment at some point during the war, only 29 men and 1 officer were present to receive paroles when the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House.

I was voted into the unit in early 2008, when I was almost 11 years old. I began as a drummer, but in recent years I have carried the rifle when needed. The first uniform is a standard gray infantry frock coat with blue trim on the cuffs and collar; during the war, these coats were manufactured at the Charlottesville Woolen Mills. The accoutrements are all russet leather, typical of those worn by members of the 19th. As the war dragged on and material became more expensive, uniforms would more closely resemble those found in the second impression: a gray Type III Richmond Depot Shell Jacket and butternut pants with a wide-brimmed hat would be more typical to a post-Gettysburg soldier in the war’s Eastern Theater.”


  1. This is my inaugural portrait session at my new home studio. It is very nice to have a “home” from which to work!
  2. All images were captured with the Sony a7r and Sony 90mm/2.8 macro using “Eye-AF” autofocus.
  3. The key and fill lights were Einstein E640 strobes. The background light and right/left rim lights were Balcar P2’s.
  4. The RAW images were edited in Lightroom 6, exported to Portrait Professional for face retouching, and then re-imported into Lightroom.
  5. I imported the images as TIFs into Capture One Pro for Sony, where I made minor adjustments and exported the JPGs as B&W sepia #2.

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MoneyWise Executive Portraits

MoneyWise Executive Portraits – two improvements in my location executive portraits

MoneyWise executive portrait

MoneyWise executive portrait

This post falls under “olde dog learns new trick(s)”.

Improvement 1:  Lighting equipment

For many years I have been photographing executives on location with Balcar lights but have always been frustrated that they are just too powerful. I prefer than an executive portrait subject’s eyes are sharply focused but that the tip of the nose and ears are soft (out of focus). This requires shooting around f4.0 or so. Even when I would power down the strobes, their color temperature would also warm (slightly yellower). (Of course, I could correct this in Lightroom, but why should I have to?) Then there are the small shooting locations, where it is difficult to reduce the strobe power enough, so I have to stop the lens aperture down more; losing my desired “look”, including the soft background bokeh.

So, I have been very interested in the Paul Buff Einstein strobes. Consistent color temperature, adjustable to very low power level, already uses all my Balcar accessories, and can be controlled remotely from the camera with the Cyber Commander!!! I bought a couple and used them on this job. More on the Einsteins in a future post.

Improvement 2:  Camera equipment

For the last 5 years much of my photography has been at corporate events. It requires shooting hundreds or thousands of image a day, standing on my feet all day, and really having my photography under-appreciated in this era of camera phones and selfies. Photography has become just a commodity, and good photography seems not to be as valued as it once was.

I am now making a conscious effort to move away from run-and-gun shooting (no pun intended) to a more deliberate style of photography. That involves simplifying equipment and lightning my load. My Nikons have served me well but will soon be up for sale (after a corporate shoot next weekend in Richmond). I have decided to move to the Sony mirror less E-mount Alpha system, specifically the Alpha/a 7r 36MB image sized camera.The “r” stands for resolution, and it lives up to it’s name. I am seeing things in these portraits I did not see in my Nikon D3s. Incredible detail! You should see the pores and eyelashes in these RAW images…stunning!

These are my first portraits, shot with only 2 Einstein strobes and the Sony a7r and Nikon 70-200 lens tethered wirelessly to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014. The images were processed in Lightroom 5.6, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, and PortraitPro Studio 12.

The camera system is not perfect, but when I get it figured out I think it will work really well.

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Church Location Portraits

Church Location Portraits

Church location portraits

Church location portraits

It has been about 11 months since I last updated this site. I hope to catch everyone up soon as to what’s been going on. For now, my church asked me to add some more officers and staff location portraits to our site at Grace Community Church (PCA). No problem, except it has been about a year since I last shot there, and I still wanted the images to look as though they all belonged together.

I normally shoot location portraits with 5 lights (key, fill, background, hair, and rim). I shot these images with only a 46″ Photek Softlighter II as a key, and a 60″ Photek Softlighter II as a fill and spill onto the background, both with nylon diffusers.

I think I came pretty close to matching the previous images here.

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