•September 12, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I got a call last week at the 11th hour in regards to the photo booth, the funny thing about it was I originally wasn’t hired. Thought maybe the client found a more local company or a cheaper price tag. Not sure what changed the guys mind but i’m blogging so that means I was the guy for the job. The clients name was Paul, and Paul has a super corny/ funny email address which I won’t disclose but over the phone I couldn’t help but laugh when he told me what it was. It’s an AOL email address so I guess I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Skyla “The Birthday Girl” is the young lady with the Tiara on in the top embedded image (right hand side). I think her Dad did a good job by surprising her with this because he did mention that she had no idea the photo booth would be there. Since the job was only a 2 hour gig it worked out well because my assistant and I were able to get the booth in and build it up before she even walked in the door. Shout out to my man Andy Panda…!!
I still can’t remember the name of the venue where the party was taking place, the address led me to either The Firehouse Eatery & Pub or Robby’s Banquets in Rahway NJ. I think both venues were on the same lot, I just couldn’t figure out which one I was in. That’s crazy right…? Ran out of ink and photo paper while on this job, I did panic for a minute because when teenager’s can’t get their photo booth prints when they want them they make a huge deal out of it. I wasn’t worried about that, I was just concerned whether I had an extra kit on me and I did. A kit meaning an extra roll of photo paper and ink. Had to shut the booth down for 5-10 minutes while I changed everything out and after that… we were back in business. Happy Birthday to Skyla and thank you to Paul for hiring John Flowers Photos Inc. Oh, and to make up for the 10 minutes I had to shut the booth down to change the paper and ink Andy and I stayed an extra 20 minutes. How about that….!?!?!?!
•July 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment
The title of the post is basically me not hearing Bev correctly over the phone when she contacted me in regards to capturing some moments at her 60th birthday celebration. At first Bev was only interested in taking some family portraits at the house before her, her family and friends would party it up on a yacht that sails out of Chelsea Piers. I got the call on behalf of my man Delroy of HVP Classic, him and I met at a Sweet 16 a couple months ago. He does video, I do photos, we exchanged numbers and since that he’s sent me 3 referrals. I owe dude a couple drinks as well and a couple gigs too. Good looking out Delroy….!! So, back to the birthday girl Bev.. yes, so Bev was debating on whether she would do video as well but I think she figured that would be a bit too much being that it wasn’t a private party. We talked invoice and such and upon ending the call I called her Beth by accident, she laughed and corrected me “No, it’s Bev”. My bad. She said she’d go with the family portraits for now and if she changed her mind she’d like me to board the boat with them too and capture the entire evening. A couple days pass and yes.. she decided to do the entire day which came out so much better for her and her friends.
A few days before the event Bev and I exhange text messages just confirming everything and guess what….? I called her Beth AGAIN via text message but she didn’t correct me. She just ran with it. I arrive at the house the day of and I’m like “Damn, this lady must be rich”… such a nice house out there in Piscataway NJ. I call her and she doesn’t pick up and the last thing I need my client to think is I was late so I leave a message and I call a couple more times. A car pulls up and the gentleman driving it looks as if he’s going to the house I’m parked outside of. I ask the gent whether he was there to see Bev and he says “yes”. I tell him who I am and he goes and rings the bell. Bam, Bev answers the door but I don’t know it’s her because I haven’t met her yet. I approach the woman at the door and she extends her hand and says “You must be John?” and I’m saying to myself “there’s no way this woman is 60 years old”. Bev can easily pass for 40-45 y’all, Black Does Not Crack I tell ya…!! I run back to the car and grab my equipment and I start my job. The portraits that were taken at the house were red carpet like, that’s right.. she had the back drop and the red carpet already set up. Side note: her husband Wayne told me in advance that she was a picture diva but I was ready.. lol.
We had a good hour or so at the house for photos and even had a chance to drive to a park real quick and grab a portrait of everyone in one shot. From there we had a party bus pick us all up to drive to Chelsea Piers so we can get on the yacht and party it up. Good drinks, good conversation and such a wonderful group of friends and family. I don’t normally drink while working but Bev’s niece insisted so, lol. Dinner was great and I learned a few things about Panama while conversing with a gentleman named Jimmy, his wife is Bev’s cousin. We just had a good old time. The cake got a little messed up during the commute from Jersey to NY but we staged it good enough to be captured in some of the the candle blowing photos. While at the house earlier that day I asked Bev whether she noticed I called her Beth once again via text message by accident and she said “Yes, but I figured I’d let that one slide”. Again, such a great client and an awesome group of people to photograph and spend the evening with. That drive home was something else though because I was tired as hell, the party bus picked us up and brought us all back to NJ. I had to pack my car up and drive all the way back to Staten Island, the life of a photographer I guess.. I want to thank Bev again for her business and thank Delroy once again for the referral. I really do appreciate it..
•July 26, 2016 • Leave a Comment
I was a bit busy and all over the place as of late so if you’ve been waiting on another blog entry…. HERE IT IS…!! Jack’s Bar Mitzvah, which happened on June 11th on the Island Of Staten. Jack’s mom Jody liked my work, we had a conversation or two and she booked me. Before that, I had never attended a Bar Mitzvah but I had an idea it would be a bit different than the Bat Mitzvah I shot a few days earlier. Yes, it was.. Although the ceremonial elements were similar, the celebration and venues were totally different. Which is fine, again… I learned so much that week about Jewish tradition and I couldn’t ask for more. Life is all about experiences…
When Jody and I got to discussing some of the traditional things I should look out for, she hinted me to “zap photos” which I honestly never heard of. I had to hop on Google to see what I was working with. Come to find out, the term is for images taken and then immediately being displayed digitally. At the time, Eve’s Ultra Lounge was under construction and I needed to know whether they actually had the technology in the space to pull this off. I ended up speaking with an event planner that I believed worked there before and she wasn’t 100% sure but when the day came… we tried it and it didn’t work. I honestly think it was my fault, after I decided to look at my camera settings a week or so later I noticed I had what I think was the wrong settings applied. I’m a decent photographer but ask me have I ever read a manual to any of the cameras I own. Yikes… I had it set to take RAW & .jpeg images but for some reason it was only taking RAW images which couldn’t be displayed. When the event planner gave me back my SD card she stated that the file type couldn’t be read and I didn’t know why. Besides the brain fart I had that day, I must admit.. I shot the hell out of that event from the family portraits all the way down the the celebration itself. Jack was having a blast and it showed in every single image I shot. On a side note, when I met my client Jody that evening.. Oh My God, she reminded me so much of Alison Victoria from Kitchen Crashers on the DIY Network. I actually asked her that in a text message, she said she didn’t know who she was and so she Googled her. She got back to me and said “I can see what you’re talking about a little!” Lol
Happy Bar Mitzvah to Jack, and a super big thank you to Jody & her husband Michael for hiring me. You guys have a beautiful family…
•June 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment
There have been a lot of first times in my short career as a photographer but this right here had my mind blown. Not for one reason either, but stay tuned. Yes, I was hired to shoot my first ever Bat Mitzvah. A Bat Mitzvah is a religious initiation ceremony for a Jewish girl aged twelve years and one day, regarded as the age of religious maturity. I copied that right from Google by the way, I didn’t know the exact definition until I looked it up. That’s right, a very nice client hired me to capture the moments at her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah and I was flattered and shocked all at the same time. Not only did she book me for the event coverage, she also wanted the photo booth experience. I couldn’t wait to call a few of my colleagues to tell them the good news, loving the fact that i’m getting the experience working alongside other faiths and religious groups all for the sake of great moments captured. This is a big deal for an African American photographer, these types of events are normally not captured by someone like myself BUT I was chosen. Lol, Lisa was great to work with from the invoice on down to the contract. She was very detailed and asked plenty of questions which is good.
When she introduced me to Ita, I was saying to myself “there’s no way this girl is 12 years old, she’s so tiny”. Lisa told me that Ita gets that all the time, she can pass for a nine year old. Such an adorable young lady though, her smile can light up an entire stadium. She was just too cute….!! I loved watching the ceremonial parts of the party, I learned so much that day. Talking with Ita’s father before the event was great too, he gave me some insight as to what the day would be like and that kept me at ease. I get a little nervous when I have no idea as to what’s going to happen and just that 5 minute conversation put me in a better place.
Shout out to Kenny Watz for the assist on the photo booth man, you are a life saver my dude. Oh, and I forgot to mention how cool the entertainment was at Ita’s Bat Mitzvah. The entertainment was a cool group of young ladies, I believe 2 were DJ’s and the emcee who’s name was/ is Shimmy was so super cool. They kept the party live and with all the games and songs there was never a down/ dull moment. While Kenny & I were packing up all of the equipment Lisa wanted to thank me for the work we put in and asked me what my weekend looked like. I told her “it’s so funny you ask, I actually have a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday”. Lisa says, “See, Jewish people love you….!!”. I want to thank my client and her beautiful family for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such a festive day. From all the people at John Flowers Photos Inc., we appreciate your business..
•June 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Love when I get these random calls regarding photography, it tells me that the word is or has been getting out. Mykyta reached out to me on a Saturday evening, I was just sitting in the house chilling. I think I was watching Kitchen Crashers with my girl Alison Victoria on the DIY Network. I don’t normally answer my phone when a call comes in that I don’t recognize, I’ll check to see if the person leaves a voicemail and I’ll call them back. I decided to check the voicemail message and the caller on the other end states who they were and what they’re calling in regards to. Something along the line of whether I was still in business and that he needed some head shots, I’m like… okay? I call the gentleman back and I tell him of course I’m still in business, we worked out a date and time to put things together and what shocked me was how the gentleman found me. Says he Google’d “Staten Island Photographers” and I came up as the 3rd or 4th link. NOW, THAT’S WHATS UP…!!!.
Upon learning more about my client I noticed he was a bit fit, so I asked him what gym he worked out at an he stated he doesn’t go to the gym. He said he prefers doing calisthenics, pull ups, dips, push ups in the park and such. From there I knew we’d have a cool, quick and easy session because I’m the same kind of person. Lately I’ve been a gym rat BUT.. I still get my dips and push ups in while at the gym. I learned what Mykyta really needed these images for (LinkedIn) as well as pulling something out of him that he says he’s always hated.. and that was his smile. Can’t remember if it was one of my corny jokes or what but I kind of know what I’m doing at this point so it’s a no brainer. In total, I think we shot for less than 40 minutes and we even pulled off some 3/4 and full body shots. I was having either another shoot that evening or I was meeting with a couple cousins of mine to grab lunch. Why am I drawing a blank? I want to thank my client Mr. Mykyta of New Dorp Staten Island as well as Google. Just never know who’s out there looking for quality work. Google is the ish…!! I wonder who were the other photographers on Staten Island I was competing with though…? Lol…
•June 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Don’t forget to drop the DVD’s in the mail, Don’t forget to drop the DVD’s in the mail, Don’t forget to drop the DVD’s in the mail, is what I keep saying to myself the past week and a half as I need to ship my client her DVD’s containing all of the images from a portrait session I had with her and her graduating friends in Silver Lakes Park on Staten Island some weeks ago. Mind you, she’s super cool and she has the images already… her and I just can’t find the right time and place to make the DVD transaction. Her name is Diamond and she’s super cool. When her and I met she stated that she didn’t want the standard cellphone camera images that everyone would be posting and sharing, she wanted some professional grade images and I was flattered that she was considering me. We chopped it up at Dunkin Donuts and had already had a shoot date and time set. I have to say, I meet a lot of teenagers and they are nothing like this young lady. She is super wise beyond her years and just having that conversation with her at Dunkin made me think that the youth aren’t all lost. I was marveled hearing her accomplishments, about what she does for a living now and what she wants to do in life. I salute my new friend, I call her a friend because I heard her say to one of her friends “John Is The Homie”, that means I’m cool as hell by the way… Lol
The shoot was cool and quick, all the prom girls and guys were there with their dates and we shot in couples and then in groups. Met a few of the parents and even got my palm greased by Diamond’s mom, good looking out Mom Dukes. I plan on dropping these DVD’s in the mail by either tonight or first thing tomorrow afternoon Diamond so if you’re reading this…. I got you…!! Shout out to my man Quentin too, he’s the gentleman in the group image at the far right. I met him & his little sister the day I met Diamond, we were all in that Dunkin Donut’s just kickin it. Congratulations to you guys once again and I look forward to seeing you all again..
•May 10, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Last month I was hired to shoot a Christening out in Elizabeth NJ/ Perth Amboy NJ, which was my very first Christening… if I’m not mistaken.. (scratches head). I was super happy to be around a family/ client that said they were going to feed me even before I sent that said client an invoice. That’s right, my client stated that she would like her photographer to sit and dine and have drinks with the family as well. I was sold….!! Lol, just kidding about the drinks portion because I truly don’t drink alcohol while I’m working. BUT, I will eat…! Liliana was absolutely the sweetest person and I can’t thank her enough for going with http://johnflowersphotos.com
The day started with a phone call while I was parking my car around the corner from the church, it was Liliana. “Hi John, are you close?”, “I actually am, I’m parking my car”. “Great, because the ceremony is about to begin”. I soft jogged from my car and ran right into the church fully loaded and ready to go, then I noticed 2 other photographers. I didn’t know what was going on but it came to me quick, there was another Christening going on in the church as well as a Sweet Sixteen ceremony and since I never met my client before that day I didn’t know who I was supposed to point my lens at. Liliana got my attention and it was on from there… The ceremony was so beautiful, baby girl Juliana was all decked out and looking so angelic. Man, I miss my son being that little.. I took a lot of candid images of the family as they received the blessings from the church as well as some posed family portraits.
Such a great family, I really enjoyed my time and experience with my client and her family & friends. I felt as if I was with my own family and friends, I just happened to have the camera on me that day. Everything from the initial meeting to me having an actual place card for the table I sat at during dinner. It was probably the best time I’ve had this year as a photographer, I want to thank Liliana & her husband Jason once again for being such great people and making me part of the family. You guys were/ are awesome..
Kiss the baby for me…..!!