Sep 06


Jun 30

Branding Importance and Why I Changed Mine

As a working photographer, there are a few things I feel you must do. Branding yourself is one of the most important. Giving yourself and your photos a certain “look” can help you find more clients, as well as give your current clients piece of mind when it come to your deliverables to them. In the last few weeks, I’ve been working on rebranding myself. What sparked this whole transformation was a comment from photographer Jeremy Cowart. I’m a huge fan of his, and recently he took a look at my website. He told me, that my work was great, but my website kinda sucked. That caused me to take a look at why it sucked, and I came out with alot of changes that I think are really going to make a HUGE difference to my clients, and help them get to know who I am in photography. This blog post is going to touch on my business card. Ill show you my previous cards, and highlight what worked, what didn’t, and why I’m changed my card the way I did.

First off, alot of people think business cards are dead. In this digital age, more and more people are simply just using their iPhone, or iPad to give their information to someone, I feel however being able to hold something, put it in your pocket, only to find it later, will much better your chances of being “memorable” to a potential client. Same goes for a portfolio. sure it’s nice to show your work digitally, but handing a client a printed book, so they can feel the paper, and really see the detail in your photos, will be better every time.

So now, for my first business card:

My first card wasn’t terrible, but looking at it now, I can see the strengths and weaknesses pretty quick.


Color; The color orange evokes the feeling of enthusiasm, or excitement, which was one of the main reasons I used orange for my first card. I was new, and I wanted my card to really stand out, since my work wasn’t there yet. I wanted someone to see it and think “new”, “happy”, and “fresh”. 


The biggest weakness of the card is the typeface and size. It’s just hard to read. You have to really look at it, to see what it says which isn’t great with a biz card. Also the fact that I didn’t have a website at the time, meant I had to put my flickr address on there and a yahoo.com email address. While not really “that” bad to do, but if you’re going to sell yourself as a business (which as photographers, we are) then you better show your clients that you are one, be atleast securing a “.com” to put on your card.

Now my second card:

This was my second card, and up until today was my current card.


So I learned from my first card, to have everything be easily read. So the second time around, I made the text much bigger, and it worked. It also has alot more information on this card (twitter, facebook, email, phone number and blog address) The font was big and bold too. I wanted this card to really compliment itself, and using a neon green and black combo was the way to do that. Those two colors really pop off each other and  it really made me stand out. Those things coupled with a spot UV coating on the letters, really made this card special.


The card was realllllly busy. All of that information on the card is good to have, but it could be represented in a different way thats cleaner and more organized looking. Even though I listed the color combo has a strength, it was also a weakness. Using black (to me) it kinda tough. It’s an off putting color, and while it can look sleek, it can also show negativity. The card was also lacking my “JT” logo.

And now for my current card: (although I will be reprinting this with another printed ASAP)

I’m still using a shade of green for my cards and branding. Reason being: its a color that shows trust and tranquility. “Genius’s pick green” after all :) Why am I using a vertical orientation? Just because I hardly ever see that. I thought it would be a cool thing to try. I’m going with a green and white color scheme for 2012, to me, those two colors show stability and maturity. I wanted my new card, and website, to have a very modern, simple look to it, which is why I kept the flash down, and allowing my prospective clients to let my work speak for itself. The new card has all the same information as the last one, but it’s just shown in a classier way. I’ve also decided to change my “JT” logo. I had been using the same logo for 3 years now, and I thought it would a good time to change it. A friend of mine, Peter, came up with the current logo for me, which also looks like a reverse PI sign, something that is recognizable to alot of people. I’ve also included the words “photo” and “video” since I do both.

Well thats it for now, I’ll be launching the website in a few days and I’ll do the same blog post about my website then too.


Jun 27

Calumet Beauty Dish vs “NEW” style Paul C Buff Dish Round 2

ok, so I did the BD test on my buddy Shawn a few days ago, and I did the test using the BD in a way that I would use it. Simply as a key light high and left. Using a BD in this way gives your subject alot of contrast with a decent amount of shadow. While the test turned out great to me, I did hear two things that I could’ve done to make the test more accurate:

1) use the beauty dish as just that, a beauty dish, for beauty work

2) In the previous test, I used the “older” style PCB BD. So for the test I was going to use the new style to see if if made a difference both in light quality and ease of use

Let me also preface this by saying im not typically a beauty shooter. I tend to shoot more conceptual/cinematic photos, so doing this was a bit out of my wheel house, but I think I made it work. Also NO EDITING was done to the photos.

click here to see a closer look: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmoepic/7455356486/sizes/o/in/photostream/

Ok, so here it is, as you can see in the histogram in each pic, the camera settings were the same, in each shot, and the camera was on a tripod. My model Yuliya did her best to stay in the same spot, and for purposes of this test, I think she did.

Lighting was a white lighting head, at 1/8 power, and two AB 800’s at half power behind.

Ok so some of the differences I’m seeing are this: the calumet dish has a softer shadow. Looking at the fall off on the shoulders shows that, so it has a almost “octabank” feel to the light. The biggest difference however is the color and quality of light between the Calumet and PCB dish.

To me; the calumet has a way better color light coming out of it, while the PCB has an almost green hue to it. This is something I’ve never noticed in the past but now looking at it I’m glad I’ve seen it. I’ve also included a shot using the CTO warming center piece I made for my Calumet dish, so you can see how much that little piece warms up the skin tones in the picture.

Another thing not to forget is ease of use. I forget to take a picture, but when the New style PCB dish is mounted on a AB head, it has the SAME CLEARANCE AS THE OLD STYLE meaning you can’t tilt it down far enough, so the use of a “baby boomer” arm or boom is necessary. Huge design flaw in my book.

The next annoying thing about the New PCB is that it comes it two parts, the dish and center piece are independent from each other, requiring you to have to use the umbrella bracket to slide the pole from the center diffuser inside to hold it in place. Reason for this is incase you wanna move that piece closer or further from the bulb resulting in a difference in light quality. I hate that design. Its hard to work with, and I’d rather it just be attached to the dish and have a sliding mechanize on the center piece that the Calumet has. (it has wires you can bend in to slide the center up and down)

Ok so that does it for my second test of the Calumet dish. Again I’m super pleased with it so far and I think it out shines the PCB competition. It’s alittle more pricey, but for that extra $30 you get a much more versatile light modifier.

twitter: @jthorpephoto


Jun 25

Product Test: Calumet 27” Beauty Dish vs Paul C Buff Beauty Dish

I live in the Washington DC area, and around here our big camera store was Penn Camera. Honestly to me, it wasn’t always a great resource, as they didn’t really ever have a HUGE stock of equipment like the big boys have, (B&H, Adorama, etc) but it was what we had. There’s also Ace photo, but they’re not the most helpful I’ve found, and their prices were always way higher than Penn.

Penn closed most of its locations a few months back, keeping 3 of the 14 (i think) stores open. The remaining stores that were left, were bought out by the photo company Calumet. I wasn’t really familiar with the company, but hey, I’ll give it a shot. Overall their equipment seems good. It’s all built well, and prices are pretty good. Which brings me to my only purchase from Calumet, their 27” Beauty Dish.

I should also say, I’ve don’t really use beauty dish’s too often, I really like my 8 foot octabank, so I tend to use that, but the sheer size of the BD was just amazing. At 27”, its nearly 5 inches larger than my current Paul C Buff BD. So I put it to the test.

^ Calumet on the left pictured without the center diffuser, Paul C Buff on the right

I had my good buddy Shawn come over to take a few pics, to compare the two:

check link here for full res: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosmoepic/7443079958/sizes/o/in/photostream/

The biggest difference I see between the two is this: the calumet produces a slightly brighter light, which is a result of the silver inside, as opposed to the white inside of the PCB BD, which is a good and bad thing, you get a little punchier light from the silver. Once you put the “sock” on it though, you get the same quality of light as the PCB BD, has. Which to me, makes the Calumet alittle more functional. That coupled with the fact that the shadows are a bit softer on the calumet over the PCB made it an easy purchase for me.

Wanna purchase it?? click here! http://www.calumetphoto.com/eng/product/calumet_27_beauty_dish/cf0565 remember to get whatever speedring your particular lights may need.

After doing a search online to find comparable BD’s I found two:

The Mola dish 28” Setti Dish (but forget it, its like $500 :p)

And the Elinchrome 27”  Maxisoft Beauty Dish $274.00

the Calumet is $129.00 without the speedring, so when it’s all said and done it comes to about $150 total. and the PCB is $89.00. 

Now heres the biggest reason for going with this dish over the PCB, especially if you’re using Alien Bees:

with the PCB dish, you can hardly tilt the dish down at any angle. Requiring the use of a boom, or the PCB baby boomer mini boom arm, for around $20.

Another thing I noticed, in the search and in looking at the Elinchrome maxisoft, was that it offered different inserts for the center piece, which looked interesting, and easily emulated. It offers a Frosted, Gold, White, and Silver insert. So I made my own:

I used some plexiglass covered with a CTO gel, and a piece of frosted plexiglass. Here are the resulting pics using my ugly mug:

The frost and standard insert look similar with the frost having a bit less shadow and a bit softer, while the CTO insert really warms the image. I’m also working on making a gold metal insert too.

Overall I’m very happy with my Calumet purchase, and I plan on checking out their softboxes next.

twitter: @jthorpephoto

Jun 24


ill be deleting my photo blog soon, in favor of a new one but this will turn into a more personal blog


Jun 13

black sheep

i often feel as if i have no friends in the world. yes i know, i do have some friends, and im not super sure what im “lacking” but i often do feel like that. for whatever reason i feel like the black sheep everywhere i go. this is something ive been trying to shake for a few years now, but for whatever reason i just cant. i guess ive always been a sort of introvert. but its gotten worse over the last couple years. something ive always wanted in my life ever since i was little, was a strong core group of friends.

id love to be able to call on people when i needed to, for photoshoots, drinks, dinner, etc. but i really dont think i can. there are days where i want to just pack it all up and leave. im sure we all feel that way sometimes, but something holds them back. i just wish i knew what was holding me back. there are so many things  i know how to do in life, but the very basic things like having fun, relaxing, etc. are so foreign to me.

i hope i can change that.

Jun 07



it was early evening today when I was driving home from my studio. It had been a beautiful day, sun shining, warm, a perfect June day. As it went on, some storm clouds moved in, and it began to rain fairly hard. Something not atypical for this type of year. 

After the rain finished and I continued to drive, the sun peaked its face out from behind a cloud. I looked up in the sky to glance toward it. As my head looked up I saw, (for what I could only assume for miles), tons of big fluffy clouds. Theres nothing that says “nice day” then a blue sky filled with big clouds after a fresh warm rain. But it made me think. Now when I look up at clouds, thats all I see.


You see when I was a kid, I would lay on my back , normally on a skateboard in my driveway and look up at the sky. I would never see clouds though. Sometimes I would see a giraffe, or an ice cream truck, or maybe a slice of pizza, or the ever popular mashed potatoes whatever it was, and regardless of what it was, it was always something.

it was never just Clouds.

But now, all of those child familiarities are gone. I look up now and I don’t see my little sky friends. I just see clouds. I think thats something we all go through. Something happens as we get older. Things start to change, you get a girlfriend or boyfriend, you have a career, and before you know it, it happens. Life. 

We’re all guilty of it. We get wrapped up in what we’re doing in our lives so much that we forget to stop, and just look up. Not just to glance, but to really look. Turning off all the stress in our lives, from out work, our families, our friends, and most of all our life. 

I remember a saying, “time waits for no man” and believe me its true. It doesn’t wait, but next time you’re out side on a warm sunny day, with blue skies and big fluffy clouds, stop what you’re doing. Lay down on your back, (maybe on a skateboard), and look up. You might just see something you’ve been missing for a long time.

yes “Time waits for no man” and it doesn’t have to, but maybe by taking our mind off of it, we can atleast slow it down for a moment and enjoy it, rather than let if float away like a cloud.

May 24


May 21

this is exactly why i dont brag or show off. 

because i dont have to.

let your work speak for itself, and shut the fuck up.
twitter: @jthorpephoto

this is exactly why i dont brag or show off. 

because i dont have to.

let your work speak for itself, and shut the fuck up.

twitter: @jthorpephoto

May 09