Sit down, grab your favorite cup of Mochiato or Latte, and listen in to a Q & A session between Joey and his assistant as Joey shares a little bit about himself:
Q. Joey, how long have you been in photography?
A. I started all the way back when I was the senior book photographer for my High School in South Jersey beginning my junior year. I had a Nikon F3 film camera with a 50mm prime lens and that’s all. These were my formative years in the fundamentals of photography. Film. Dark room. Stop Bath. Silver iodide. Hypo. Rinsing reagents. I later became a chemical engineer instead. Go figure.
Q. What made you finally go full time into photography?
A. Well, having travelled and been successful in the corporate world, I decided to go back to something I really enjoyed. Well “go back” is not the right term. Photography was something I developed and used for many years, until I decided to apply myself, get more education in the trade, and go full time.
Q. So how does a chemical engineer become a professional photographer?
A. It isn’t as much of a stretch as you would think. Engineering involves solving problems quickly, using analytical and technical skills, project and time management, leadership, planning and execution skills. Really good and successful engineers need to also communicate well with all their stakeholders. All these skills are paramount in running a successful photography business.
Q. What are some of the difficult technical photography issues you’ve mastered?
A. Mastered is a strong word. I see my self as having experience, competency, and subject matter expertise. The word “photo” literally means “light”. If you have no light, you have no photo. So, whether I am planning an engagement photo session, wedding, commercial or editorial shoot, I must compliment the available natural/ambient light and artificial light with wireless off-camera flash and high intensity strobes.
Q. Tell me more about lighting.
A. Whenever possible, I try to use available light. Whether indoors, or outdoors, digital sensor technology has come a long way and can capture great photos even in dark settings (but you have to know what you’re doing). There nothing more satisfactory and pleasing than to look at an image without artificial light. You get true colors, avoid harsh shadows, and the dreadful washout. Its always more preferred to go for the creamy outdoor colors or daytime bokeh using wide open apertures. There are time when it is essential to use artificial lighting – either because available light is weak, or because there are technical or artistic reasons to do so. In this case and to precisely obtain the effect I am seeking, I use and locate the proper combination of flash/strobes, and adjust power and camera settings using light meters. My settings and adjustments anticipate moving subjects and changing ambient conditions (sunny one moment, cloudy the next). I try to get the best image in the camera so that post-production editing is minimized.
Q. What is your style of wedding photography?
A. Simple to answer but not achieve: Photojournalistic. This is closely related to candid photography, where everyone at the wedding doesn’t realize that photos are being taken of them. I enjoy creative and artistic staged and posed shots, but candid images capture natural emotions and personalities the best. The trick is to find equilibrium between being omnipresent yet invisible.
Q. What other things do you enjoy doing?
A. I love to read. I love to cook epicurean and culinary delights (the artist in me, right?). Crème brulee. Hand-rolled sushi. I also love coaching and walking with hurting people. There is a bit of a humanitarian in me that loves to serve others (which comes in handy at weddings!). I participate in donating my photography services to local and national charitable organizations such as the American Diabetes Association as well as Help-Portrait (offering free family portraits to those that can’t afford it). Oh, and I do business consulting, and photography workshops on the side!
Q. What is your favorite photo you’ve taken?
A. Do I really have to answer that? Sheesh. Well, I have many, but for weddings, it was a photo I took of the father and the bride dancing. I was standing about 30 feet away, leaning against the wall with my 70mm-200mm telephoto lens waiting for the right moment as the father twirled his daughter. I’ve taken this sort of shot many times, but lady luck was on my side this time and captured an award winning photograph.
Q. So what was different this time?
A. When I got back to the studio, I realized the image showed a gently smiling but teary-eyed bride as she rested her chin against her dad’s shoulders. In 20 years, when the bride looks back at the this image, she may fondly remember her dad’s cologne, the music playing, who she was looking at, etc. If I can create an image that results in a tsunami of emotions 20 years from now, then I have succeeded.
Q. Where have you travelled and what have you seen?
A. I’ve been privileged to travel five of the seven continents and been to about 30 of the 50 states. I’ve seen and photographed quite a lot of natural beauty, architecture, and people. I’m now convinced that I can see the same beautiful vistas and landscapes without stepping a foot outside of our beautiful country.
Q. Hmmmm. So, what’s your favorite U.S. location?
A. Easy. As a photographer, New York City. As a resident, Annapolis, Maryland.
Q. Any other words of wisdom?
A. Yes, but attribution is given to Mother Teresa: “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.” And one more from a line in Les Miserables: “To love another person is to see the face of God”. I am learning that overt, deliberate, and intentional consideration of other people is not only valuable to me on a personal level, but has also helped me deliver exceptional services and products for my photography clients. I thrive off their delightful feedback!