Aaliyah’s Sweet Sixteen

•August 30, 2018 • 1 Comment

Nothing’s better than working from home, or working near home and I get super excited when I’m able to work in my own backyard. Not my backyard literally, but in the same borough, town and neighborhood I reside in. There are pros and cons though. One of the pros is getting home early after working and one con would be people knowing your personal business. I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s funny when I show up to an event on Staten Island and some guy taps me on the shoulder and says “Hey, you go to the gym on such and such street?”, or “I knew I’ve seen your face before, I didn’t know you were a photographer. That’s good, because I’ve been looking for some good inexpensive local photographers”. Yikes…. This event has nothing to do with any of that, I just felt I had to put that out there. This event came to me by way of videographer Delroy Barclay, met dude 2 years ago at a Sweet Sixteen and we’ve been referring clients to one another since. I’d have to say, he’s been helping me a lot more than I’ve been helping him but I’m going to fix that soon.

See, Delroy does video and I do photos. People reach out to him for video and then they’ll ask “Do you also do photography?” and one thing leads to another. The client ended up hiring me for both the event coverage and the photo booth so it was a triple win, a double for me but you know what I mean. I meant the client booked the photography, the photo booth and the video coverage. I don’t want to spend the entire post talking about Mr. Barclay so I’ll begin explaining how amazing this Sweet 16 was. Aaliyah, who was the birthday girl danced her heart out which we love as photographers and especially at Sweet 16’s because the kids tend to stand in a circle looking down into their phones. Trust me, there were kids doing that but Aaliyah and her Dad didn’t care. They literally pushed and dragged people onto the dance floor which made the event super cool because who likes a boring party. Oh, and the music was off the hook….!!

Dominic, who is Aaliyah’s dad met me in my favorite Dunkin Donuts to go over the contract and all months before the party and I knew him and I would hit it off. I think it had something to do with all that moving from Brooklyn to Staten Island talk we had. Wait, was that him that I had that conversation with? Yo, at some point there was a Milly Rock battle or contest taking place in the middle of the dance floor which was amazing to see. There are literally 4.5 dances these kids do all day now at parties and this was one of the times I didn’t mind documenting the same stuff I see at every party. This party was on a whole other level I haven’t seen, shout out to the DJ who’s name I don’t think I’d remember if I tried for this event took place some months ago. Y’all should be used to these late blog entries by now. Yes, this party took place earlier this year… March 24th 2018 to be exact. Don’t worry, I’ll get better with this next year…

For more images from this event CLICK HERE

For Delroy Barclay of HVP Classic CLICK HERE

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Noelle’s 30th Birthday Party/ New Years Eve Celebration/ FRIED CHICKEN

•August 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

So, the young lady that hired me to cover this event is super awesome. Shout out to Rebecca. I’ll get that out of the way, oh… and so understanding. I’ll break that all down right about here: Okay, I book a job in Montclair NJ through Thumbtack.com and everything is fine and dandy. We lock in the hours of service plus the rate, the invoice goes out and all I’m doing is waiting for the date to arrive. The evening comes, I’m in my house watching CNN and I have a few more hours before I head out the house. I get a call from the client, the conversation went like this:

Client: Hi John, are you here yet?

Me: Hi Rebecca, no.. i’m in my house charging my batteries and watching the news.

Client: Because the birthday girl is about to enter the room and give a speech.

Me: Wait, did you change the time for the event and forget to notify me? I’m supposed to be at the venue in an hour and a half, I’ll send you a screen swipe image of the booking reservation you made.

Client: Okay

Client: Oh sh@t, I know what happened. I made this reservation with you from home in California and the time difference didn’t translate to Eastern Standard Time. I’m so sorry, how far out are you from here?

Me: I’m about 30-35 minutes out, I’ll hop in my car shortly, I should be there in a half hour….

That was so crazy, I felt bad but at the same time when I screw something up I make up for it. That was one where I had no fault in it but I drove like a bat out of hell to make it to the event and get some of the best images ever. When I pulled up I couldn’t quite make out the address to the house, the house was off the hook. Something you see on Zillow.com listed at a billion dollars. Well, that’s what I saw. I get to the door, ring the bell and the music is so loud I don’t know why I thought someone would hear the bell so I called my client Rebecca. She must’ve been sitting on her phone because she answered it mid ring like “Please tell me you’re outside?” I was like “Yep”. She thanked me so much and I got straight to work. That’s when I found out that not only was this a New Years Eve Celebration that it was also a 30th Birthday Party for her friend Noelle. Man, they had an ice luge there they were downing drinks off of and I was blown away by it. I’m so used to seeing those in cult classic college fraternity/ hangover type movies, I’ve never been to an event near and around one myself.

The highlight of the night was this fried chicken that I’ll never forget, now… as a brother walking around doing my photography job and during down time I’ll snack on whatever’s around. Okay, so i’m hovering around this table and there are some baby carrots, meatballs and other things I can’t remember right now and a whole bunch of fried chicken. Now, I don’t like to touch food like that when I’m shooting because I don’t like to get food and ish on my cameras. I usually get the little tooth pick types, you know.. the stuff you can pick up and not have a messy hand just in case someone yells “Picture man, come over here and take my picture”. So, this caucasion man says to me “Dude, you have to try that fried chicken”. Part of me was like “Why does this white man assume I need to try some FRIED CHICKEN?”. I was like “Nah, I’m going to stick to these carrots and healthy ish”. I moved about and got some turkey meatballs and some other things that were on tooth picks but as I walked past the fried chicken platter that whiff just hit me. I played it off and walked away, but that chicken smelled so damn good. About a half hour later, there’s some more down time and I sneak away to find that fried chicken tray, I grabbed a piece and a small plate and went to town. That damn chicken was probably the best fried chicken I ever had. As I reach for another piece that same dude that mentioned the chicken to me earlier was back at the tray too and he said “Was I right?’ I started to give him a hug, YO…..!! The event was catered and that restaurant/ cook/ chef that put it all together deserves a damn award.

The second highlight of the night was the birthday girl Noelle doing a split, like she just spazzed out. I don’t even know what song was playing or the reason for the split but I’m sure all the champagne and Tito’s Vodka had something to do with it. I had a good damn time….!! Oh, I mentioned earlier that my client Rebecca was cool and so understanding as well, I said understanding because of something that happened recently. Okay, so I shot this event on Dec. 31st 2017 and I got the final images back to my client on Jan. 2nd 2018. Contractually she had 2 months to download the images from my server and she never did. I think she was just happy with being able to visit the site link to see them on her phone but she never downloaded the actual image files. Just this July she reaches out to me to say the link expired and she’s trying to download the pictures. Now, I thought she would have downloaded them in the near 7 months she had access to them and she never did. I searched my computer and they were no longer there because I delete images months after the event. Those files take up mad space. I did upload a few of them to my Flickr account and told her that I was sorry and that I don’t keep images stored that long due to space allowance. I pointed it out to her in her agreement and she totally understood. Sent her the link to the Flickr gallery and she said what I sent her was good enough.

The moral of the story guys: Please download the images I send in the gallery when you receive it.

For more images from this event please CLICK HERE…!!!

Best,

J. Flowers

 

Amrita and Joegy (April 22nd, 2018)

•August 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Beautiful venues always make events look better, when I mean beautiful I’m talking about scenery and lighting and whatever else photographers and videographers (<— Is That A Real Word?). Some times when I walk into a venue I’m blown away and often times I’m scratching my head like “WTF??!!”. I’m saying, I’ve shot events in public school cafeterias, you feel me? It’s all about making the best of any given situation. Some times there’s 2-3 more lights you can add or the DJ having a light display that helps your outcome. Chopping it up with Kenny Watz who was my second shooter during this wedding we came to the conclusion that it was just too dark in the venue and I bring this up because I’ve been to venue before just as a photo booth operator but if I remember correctly the space was lit a lot better. I just think there were 6-8 up lights around the room there before which aids a lot but I don’t want to get too much into the technical. I’ll reel it back in and discuss this wedding which was a beautiful union.

My client Amrita [the bride] reached out to me through another vehicle I’ve been using in my attempt to land more photography jobs. That vehicle is http://bark.com. With anything I try I give it a window and if I don’t have any success I move on. That wasn’t the case with Amrita and this new vehicle, I believe she was the 3rd person I contacted which isn’t bad. She loved what I was selling and we started the process, Through conversing with her and knowing what she wanted I decided to let her know about the photo booth and she loved the idea that she would save if she booked both event coverage and photo booth. I remember leading up to the wedding, like 2 days before Amrita and I were trading emails and I brought up the 2 additional people I’d be with who were Kenny [2nd Shooter] and Xavier [Photo Booth Attendant]. Amrita didn’t let the venue know that I’d have people with me so there was a possibility they wouldn’t be fed. I was like “Oh sh@t, I thought I told her I’d have people with me?” Told Kenny and Xavier there was a chance we’d have to eat before and after the event because the client may be short 2 plates. My guys weren’t sweating it, we’d just grab a couple protein bars on the way but my client had it all covered and we all ate that night. The ceremony took place outdoors where the sun and shade weren’t playing well together but we figured it out once the groom began walking out. The highlight of the ceremony was the best dog, yes… at some point a young lady walks down the isle with a bulldog on a leash and the dog is wearing a tuxedo. Well, I’ll be damned… The wedding took place at Stone House At Sterling Ridge in Warren NJ.

Props to the good people of the Orange County Police Department, the groom I believe is a Lieutenant with the OCPD? He had nothing but the best things to say about Kenny & I and said he’d write a review on my Google page, I need to look for that because I could use that. Lol, never the less it was an amazing day, an amazing client and normally an amazing venue but those up lights would have really helped. Oh I got a call recently from Amrita, they are expecting and will be considering me for her maternity session. Yay…..!!!

For more images from this wedding, please CLICK HERE!!

Best,

J. Flowers

COMODO Networking Event (July 2018)

•August 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

People have mentioned to me the reason they enjoy reading my blog is because I speak some real stuff. I don’t go too deep into some of the struggles I face as a photographer with clients but I hint and make light of situations that either lands me another opportunity or put me in a place where I’ll avoid something or someone the next go around. You see, I’m still learning this as I go but let’s get into the story. Okay, last year Halloween I had the pleasure of working for a client named Beep Boop who originally only wanted to hire me for the photo booth. After he looked around my website I think he got wind of the event photography I offer as well. He booked the photo booth and I gave him the event photography super discounted because I wanted to land the job for 2 reasons.

REASONS:

  1. I REALLY needed the money
  2. I have a teenager working with me and I like to keep the kid busy, he can carry heavy equipment too so it works

Fast forward to this year, it’s not even Halloween yet but I get a text from Beep Boop wanting those same services and I was with it. Sent him the invoice and he immediately noticed the difference in the total price from 2017 Vs. 2018. He inquired and I simply told him the truth, I think I even mentioned that he should visit my website to see the actual prices for the services I provide. That text seem to have fallen on deaf ears because he didn’t respond. I was thinking to myself “Damn, I think I may have lost the job over a couple hundred dollars” because as quick as the event date was approaching I needed to know something but I didn’t pester him, I fell back. I was wondering whether he would let the opportunity to get the same quality services pass by just to save a couple hundred bucks to get a sub par service provider. What I was also wondering even from last year is what did this guy do for a living because his house is something straight off of MTV Cribs. Any way, I call my dude Marcel Holley often to discuss photography and other stuff under the sun but we always chop it up about good and problematic clients. Told him about the price increase and he was saying I should just give dude the same price from last year just to ensure I’ll land the job but I didn’t want to sell myself short because I took a loss last year. A week passes by and Beep Boop replies to the text to lock me in. The client is super dope though, he doesn’t mind us drinking while working.. Shoot, he actually enforces it….!! The first thing he showed me when Amy (because Xavier wasn’t available) and I arrived was the 2 refrigerators loaded with beer and wine, told us to help ourselves. He wants us to have the same good time his guests are having. Last year was the Halloween/ Birthday Party while this past July was a Networking Event. He did mention he will be having the Halloween party in October and I think he’ll be using my company again. I think….? What made me feel confident that I’d be back again was seeing the same hired bartenders and DJ from the 2017 event. They all remembered me, the DJ even said to me if Beep Boop likes you he’s going to hire you for every event he has. One of the bartenders mentioned that too and she’s worked 3 events he’s had. Now, y’all know the clients name isn’t Beep Boop. Not sure if I ever asked him whether I can drop his name in my blog entries, I may have last year though. I’d have to look back.

While at the event I asked a couple friendly people how did they know Beep Boop, I wanted to really find out what this guy was about. A couple people said he was their boss and a former competitor. Then that’s when I decided to ask what was the company all about, I knew the name before the event because I had to put the photo booth artwork together for the prints. When one of the young fellas told me what the company was all about I was floored, I started to give the guy my resume.. I’m going to try to see if I remember, COMODO provides internet security certificates in short TLS/SSL is a standard security protocol which establishes encrypted links between a web-server and a browser, thereby ensuring that all communication that happens between a web server and browser(s) remains encrypted and hence private. I just copied and pasted that from their website like I knew what the hell I was talking about. Lol, I know this entry was scattered and all over the place but I needed to put this out. I shot a lot of events during this recent hiatus and it all needs to get out.

Special thank you to the guys at COMODO, thank you for having us back again.

To see some more images from this event click here: COMODO NETWORKING EVENT 2018

Best,

J. Flowers

 

 

Andrea and Jason’s 40th Birthday Celebration

•August 8, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Man, it has been a minute since I’ve done this and I’m sure like the other 4-5 times it will happen again. It’s good to be back though, I’m trying to remember the reason for the hiatus this time around. I think I made an attempt to blog but forgot about a conference call I had to jump on or some crap I had to do at work. Whatever though, it’s good to be back like I stated earlier. I’ll start out by thanking my recent client Jason for understanding and agreeing to the terms of anything contractual I sent or stated to him. People tend to not understand the time frames they’ll have to either download their images from my server, staying over the hours I’ve billed them for and everything else that will eventually cost them more. People really think I want to be at their parties, lol… in some cases I do like when the food and drinks are good but other than that I’m just working hard to put food on my family like my man said right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uToKQqlf6Ic That of course is a joke, shout out to Andrea & Jason for having me cover their joint birthday party although from what I was hearing it was really Jason’s. Great couple by the way, they celebrated their big day at the Crestmost Country Club in West Orange NJ, very swanky place, golf course and all.

I got to the venue a little early because I’m a nut when it comes to being on time, I was a little worried because it looked like a construction site. Grabbed my phone to confirm the address and went inside a door where I saw people entering to inquire whether I was at the right venue. The young man I spoke to quickly apologized about the condition the place was in because they were/ are actually under construction. He pointed me in the right direction and I was good to go. I ran into Jason and his wife Andrea as I began to unload my equipment and it was party time. The location was nice, one of the nicest places I’ve worked at this year even with the eye sore/ construction materials and trucks in site. Great music, amazing food and super cool party goers makes for the perfect event.

Super Happy Birthday shout out to both Andrea and Jason Gershwin, such a pleasure working with you guys. To see some more images from this event click here: #GERSHWIN40

Best,

J. Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tatyanna’s Quinceañera (December 16th 2017)

•January 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

You get that client every once in a while that’s so appreciative of what you do as well as the quality or service and product you provide that they kick themselves for not finding you earlier. I love those types, she was like “Oh @hit, you have a photo booth too?” “How much do you charge for 4 hours?” “Oh my god, I wish I would have found you earlier”. That’s no shade to the photo booth provider that my clients husband had already booked, they were awesome. I wish I could remember the name of the company so I could plug them…Okay, it brings me to Tatyanna’s Quinceañera at Pierre’s Of South Brunswick, a town in Jersey I’m becoming very popular in. My client who is the mom of Tatyanna pulled out all the stops for her daughter, I see some parents doing little to nothing or way too much and this one fell in the way too much file. As a photographer and a spectator you listen to the stories being told at these events and you can either start playing on your phone or you can listen to get a real feel of the person everyone’s in the building to celebrate and I witnessed clearly why her daughter deserved such a lavish celebration. Go Mom & Dad….!! You guys are doing an awesome job.

Everything from the decor, the back drop, the desert table on down to the location was absolutely beautiful, we had an issue with time in the beginning because my client wanted me to shoot the court before the event but she got there late and so did half of the court. You know me though, I couldn’t leave that event without getting those shots in. I had to think quick, where in the hell am I going to shoot this large group of people without them all being needed for or at some period of the night? I ran out of the venue looking outside of the building as well as inside of the building on other floors and couldn’t find anything. I saw things, but I didn’t have an assistant and my lights were already set up around the dance floor. I don’t like moving my lights from location to location because you mess up your settings and when you get back, that spot may longer be available and so on and so forth. I wonder had I not gotten the shot would the client had been disappointed in me or would she had dealt with it because she and the court were late? Lol, let me not wonder that and be proud that I was able to pull it off. I called the mom to the side and told her I need the entire court at a certain spot at 9:40PM, and asked her if she can make it happen. She said yes. I moved one light, set the stage, did a couple test shots and I was good. A half hour or so passed and all members of the court were where I needed them, I made a couple adjustments with height and such and I was good money. Took a test shot and let off about 10-15 more and I told all those teenagers to beat it, you are no longer needed. Lol, real talk. One kid was like, there’s no way he got the shot. Come on son, I does this. I wish the guys would have stood closer to one another but you know how dudes are.

Just a good old time overall, shout out to Pierre’s Of South Brunswick… I’ll be shooting a Sweet Sixteen there on March 10th, we should probably sit down and talk. You know, let’s talk about that Preferred Vendors list. Lol

Cockroach Labs Holiday Party 2017

•December 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Every once in a while I get lucky enough to have a client utilize my services more than once, I love repeat clients. I want to give a super big thank you to Chelsea Lee and the good people over at Cockroach Labs for hiring me again to provide the photo booth for their 2nd annual holiday party. Not sure if it was the actual 2nd annual but to me it was. I was on site for a short period of time because I was double booked but with the help of an awesome assistant I was able to be in 2 places at one time. Thanks Deb….!! For all those curious at to who Cockroach labs are, they are the SQL database for building global cloud services. I copied and pasted that straight from their website. Real talk.

I’m going to talk my client Chelsea Lee into using the photo booth in the traditional way next year if I’m lucky enough to be back. Going with the 3-4 images per strip Vs. one shot and print. I feel like people get more bang for their buck that way. Oh, and we’re definitely using another back drop as well. I think that gold sequins can set it self up at this point as much as it’s requested and used.