personalproject

The Value of Self-Assigned Work as a Professional Photographer

Commercial photography is as saturated a marketplace as any these days. With such stiff competition, it’s no wonder brands are raising the bar on those of us trying to break our way into the industry. No experience? No thanks.

Doing a Personal Photo Project During Social Distancing

Living in the part of New York where the first confirmed case of COVID-19 virus was discovered earlier this year, things have been pretty weird. Our corporate photography studio is in Midtown Manhattan, things there are completely shut down. Even if we were able to lawfully work, there is no work to do as we deal with corporate clients and they all have strict stay at home policies.

Capturing Portraits in Indonesia’s Trash Dumps with a Dislocated Knee

I’ve always laughed when, as a photographer, people ask me if I can deal with a difficult client or shoot in a difficult situation. But even still, things are never going to be as bad as the conditions on my most recent trip – after this, I feel like I can shoot anywhere.

The Secret to Developing Your Street Photography

Shooting street photography without a project in mind is like shopping for food when you’re hungry. You might get a few nice treats, but ultimately you get back and find there is nothing to sustain you.

This Inspiring Portrait Series Captures the Beauty and Wisdom of Women Over 50

Following the 2017 Women's March and the rise of the #metoo movement that saw so many women speaking truth to power, award-winning street, portrait, and fine art photographer Pedro Oliveira was inspired to start a project that would shine a light on some "equally fierce women." That's how Beyond the 60th Sense was born.

Shooting Vintage Car Lifestyle Photos for Self-Promotion

I do a lot of automotive lifestyle personal projects that I use for self-promotion and am constantly on the hunt for new ideas. A friend of mine recently turned me on to Turo, an app for peer-to-peer car rentals. In the past, you had to hire a picture vehicle company to get vintage cars for shoots, and those can be really pricey and are severely limited in terms of how far you can drive the car.

20 Square Meters: A Summer of Photos on My Patio as a Creativity Challenge

The great photographer Jay Maisel used to talk about color, light, and gesture being three essential elements of a great image. With 20 square meters, my goal was to create a body of imagery that transports viewers into the scene and allows them to imagine the whole range of smells and sensations of a summer outdoors.

The Significance of a Personal Project

My daily stroll through the newly-built but already-decaying park near my apartment in Hanoi while listening to Spotify on a brisk (by Southeast Asia standards) morning has me in deep thought. We only get this type of weather for a couple months a year here and I absolutely love it.

Botched Steve McCurry Print Leads to Photoshop Scandal

Steve McCurry is, perhaps, one of the most iconic names in the National Geographic pantheon. A travel photography giant, his vibrant images have inspired millions, but he's recently come under fire over Photoshop use after a botched print at a show in Italy was found to have a serious issue.

It Never Hurts To Ask: How Great Photo Projects are Born

Behind the lens, I am no longer Ben Helton, married father-of-2 living in the South. Camera in hand, I become invisible and free: a blank canvas in attendance to take in and document the experience around me as it unfolds.

I Shoot Portraits of Strangers in My Backyard

Editors like to say, "There are great pictures to be made right in your own backyard!"

Come to think of it, there really is a lot going on in my backyard, or at least in my Baltimore back alley. Fugitives from justice have fled down my alley, pursued by police helicopters. I once found a trail of blood that stretched for hundreds of yards. I followed it the whole way, and at the end found a guy with a badly cut hand sitting on a curb.

How I Shot a Star Wars-Themed ‘Last Supper’ Photo

Sometimes, photography is about being brilliant at lighting, or capturing a decisive moment, but often it's as much about collaborating with other talented people to realize a vision as it is about your own skills.

The idea of recreating Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper using characters from Star Wars had been in my head for over a year before I was finally able to make it real.