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Marketing News: The Marketplace @ Guilford Food Center Named 2015 Business of the Year


Last month, our client The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center was named Shoreline Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year. Woo-hoo! We congratulate them, and would like to share some of the best practices we implemented to develop the marketing communications program which helped them win this honor.

Ray and Ron Rosa passing the torch to Dee Jacob and Jason Iglesias at The Marketplace/Guilford Food Center.
Ray and Ron Rosa “passing the torch” to Dee Jacob and Jason Iglesias at The Marketplace/Guilford Food Center.
Sandy Connolly, Jason Iglesias, Dee Jacob, Irene Liebler
Sandy Connolly and Irene Liebler with The Marketplace owners, Jason Iglesias & Dee Jacob, at the 2015 Shoreline Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Dinner.

A Few Simple Marketing Tactics:

First, start with inspired and differentiating strategic thinking.

Decide upon two or three (no more!) key attributes you’d like to drive and then be disciplined about keeping them in
focus. You can’t be all things to all people – decide who you are and then have faith customers will discover and appreciate you.

Second, be single-minded in your advertising, social media posts or PR.

Trying to jam a variety of messages into an ad, post or press release will leave your audience confused
about what you are hoping to say, ultimately wasting your time and your money.

Finally, get the most from the marketing assets you create.

Partner with a team that will build a website you can easily and quickly update. Make sure images (photos,
illustrations) created for your business can be used across a variety of deliverables. Coordinate messages so the same themes turn up in many different vehicles (website, PR, print ads and in-store signage, for example) to achieve maximum impact. You can get custom sign types which will imprint the message of your business and attract customers.

We’re proud of the work we’ve done for The Marketplace.

From logo design, to launch PR, to website, to social media strategy, the team at Super9Studios drove every piece of marketing communication.

The Marketplace website was created just in time for their Grand Opening Celebration in June 2015.

coffeeCreating talked about branding assets that punch above their weight and drive business success is what we do. Let’s talk about how we can help make <your business name> be next year’s Business of the Year.

Give us a buzz at the Storm Center. We’ll grab a cup of coffee and talk about promoting your business. Contact Sandy at 203-584-2814 or sandy@super9studios.com.

Bacon Ipsum

Bacon Ipsum Text Generator

Tired of Lorem Ipsum? Or you just wanna add a little meat to your design comps? What better way, than with Bacon Ipsum. Here are 5 paragraphs that’ll get you cookin’ with your next design.


Bacon ipsum dolor amet venison porchetta picanha, swine tongue chuck pastrami kevin turkey pork chop boudin pig shoulder meatball. Shank cow jerky, doner spare ribs landjaeger ground round prosciutto brisket beef ball tip. Pancetta ball tip boudin filet mignon drumstick shank jowl ham hock beef leberkas kielbasa. Tri-tip venison brisket, sausage doner pastrami kielbasa.

Picanha chuck pork chop, ham hock tongue turducken spare ribs pork bacon shank flank pastrami ground round biltong. Shank meatloaf turkey porchetta fatback. Bresaola cupim salami, kielbasa landjaeger filet mignon shank drumstick brisket jowl ground round flank t-bone. Jerky tail cupim biltong pork chop. Jerky cow corned beef andouille meatloaf pancetta pork shank.

Swine ball tip filet mignon drumstick. Beef venison hamburger kielbasa, salami jerky chicken fatback pork loin biltong pork chop brisket tenderloin tri-tip. Pancetta leberkas shankle pork chop turkey chicken. Strip steak doner frankfurter fatback. Porchetta andouille alcatra, shank bacon brisket fatback hamburger ham hock chuck turkey drumstick doner landjaeger. Cow ground round short loin ham jerky, tri-tip alcatra shoulder sirloin leberkas pig venison. Meatloaf beef brisket porchetta cow flank boudin.

Fatback shankle rump, brisket alcatra beef tri-tip landjaeger pork belly hamburger meatloaf turducken salami frankfurter. Corned beef cupim sirloin meatball chuck pastrami strip steak spare ribs ribeye kielbasa. Landjaeger tri-tip salami, pork loin pork belly short loin swine ball tip. Andouille pork belly corned beef kielbasa, meatball sausage bacon kevin. Strip steak ham pastrami prosciutto boudin pork belly salami ham hock bresaola rump picanha pancetta cow alcatra.

Picanha short ribs jowl ground round leberkas, pancetta ham doner short loin. Landjaeger chicken porchetta, ham kielbasa strip steak ribeye shankle rump pork loin tenderloin cow jowl pork belly. Boudin tongue frankfurter sirloin brisket cupim capicola filet mignon turkey spare ribs pork chop shank. Beef ribs pancetta turkey frankfurter leberkas. T-bone pork chop biltong chicken pork loin, bresaola cupim meatball rump short loin beef sausage ham hock spare ribs. Meatloaf capicola sausage porchetta, pancetta boudin pork belly. Tenderloin boudin ham hock corned beef.


** If ya want more, use this Bacon Ipsum generator.

BTW: The Bacon Ipsum animated gif was created using my iPhone 6, and Photoshop. Here’s the tutorial I used to figure it out.  (Just be sure it’s under 2MB when you export, or it’ll be dissed on social media.)
And here are some great marketing ideas using animated gifs. Need help? Give us a buzz.  hurricanes@super9studios.com


Experimenting with Bottles

I recently joined the North Haven Camera Club and participated in my first group competition – the theme was “Bottles”. Step one was finding some interesting old bottles, so I called my neighbors Lynne and Deb who used to own Azteca’s Restaurant in New Haven. Their house is filled with wonderful treasures from many years of collecting, and they loaned me a few old bottles with probably decades worth of authentic dust and grime.

Bottles with Smoke

Bottles with Smoke

Below are behind-the-scenes shots. I used black glass for the base, red matte board for the background, and a snooted and gelled flash on the floor behind the table, shining up onto the red board. On the right, is the original image straight out of the camera (SOOC). Oh, and the smoke in the bottles, and cloudy background was added in Photoshop.

Bottles with red background
View from above with snoot
Original bottle image

Bottles with Stone

Here’s an image with my fireplace as the background, and below are behind-the-scenes shots. I used a gelled snoot made from a mac ‘n’ cheese box. In order to get the blue reflection on the left bottle, I added a blue piece of paper in front of the snoot. On the right was a gelled, gridded beauty dish.

Flash with Snoot
Gelled & Gridded Beauty Dish

Food Coloring in a Bottle

I also borrowed some new bottles from my friend, Chrissy.

Here’s a “new” bottle with food coloring swirled into it. The white background was created using a softbox, and the blue texture was just a piece of paper that I held between the bottle and the light. The final image was cropped and tilted.

Food coloring in a bottle
Food coloring in a bottle

Blue Tequila Bottle

Lastly, one of my favorite vases that I re-purposed from a tequila bottle.

Tequila Bottle

Product Photography for Roxy Grace Bath & Body

One of our favorite clients, Roxy Grace, makes the cutest bath and body baskets for all occasions. Recently, we helped them with some new product shots as they gear up for the holidays. Their website is here, if you wanna get a fun gift for someone special.

Their Mission

To educate girls and young women on the importance of using natural bath and beauty products. Provide meaningful creativity that helps develop social skills and build self esteem. Encourage kindness and generosity.

Their Products

Roxy Grace and Company Do It Yourself Kits contain 100% natural ingredients. They believe it’s important to provide products that are free of synthetics and additives to ensure quality, purity and safety.


Olivia Sings “La Vie en Rose”

My daughter, Olivia, surprised us all recently with her voice. We knew she could play piano, violin, ukulele and the melodica, but we didn’t know she could sing! Here’s a video of her singing “La Vie en Rose” by Edith Pilaf at Sandy Connolly’s Crescendo Music Studio Summer Recital.


Here’s the audio file if you’d like to add it to your iTunes library 🙂

A little history from Wikipedia:
The song’s title can be translated as “Life in Rosy Hues” or “Life Through Rose-Colored Glasses”; its literal meaning is “Life in Pink”.

The lyrics and melody of the song were written by Édith Piaf herself, but the melody was said officially to have been composed and registered by Louis Guglielmi (known as Louiguy) only, since at the time, due to the stringent registration requirements of SACEM, Piaf did not have the necessary qualifications to be able to copyright her work with SACEM. Piaf offered the song to Marianne Michel, who slightly modified the lyrics, changing “les choses” (“things”) for “la vie” (“life”). English lyrics for the song were later written by Mack David and Frank Eyton. In 1943 Piaf had performed at a nightclub/bordello called “la vie en rose”. Initially, Piaf’s peers and songwriting team did not think the song would be successful, finding it weaker than the rest of her repertoire. Having listened to their advice, the singer put the song aside, only to change her mind the next year. The song was performed live in concert for the first time in 1946. It became a favorite with audiences. “La Vie en rose” was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics telling about retaken love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult wartime.

“La Vie en rose” was released on a 10″ single in 1947 by Columbia Records, a division of EMI, with “Un refrain courait dans la rue” making the B-side. It met with a warm reception and sold a million copies in the USA. It was the biggest-selling single of 1948 in Italy, and the ninth biggest-selling single in Brazil in 1949. Piaf performed the song in the 1948 French movie Neuf garçons, un coeur. The first of Piaf’s albums to include “La Vie en rose” was the 10″ Chansons parisiennes, released in 1950. The song appeared on most of Piaf’s subsequent albums, and on numerous greatest hits compilations. The song went on to become Piaf’s signature song and her trademark hit, sitting with “Milord” and “Non, je ne regrette rien” among her best-known and most recognizable tunes. Encouraged by its success, Piaf wrote 80 more songs in her career.

Hurricanes Help with “Lifting Up Westchester”

Super 9 Studios recently worked with Brian Penry of Penry Creative to produce two videos for Lifting Up Westchester, formerly Grace Church Community Center in White Plains, NY. Grace Church Community Center has been around for over 40 years and in need of a name change for almost as long. It is a major force of social services in Westchester County. In an effort to bring everyone (parishioners, board members, a staff of over 200, donors, community leaders, and clients) on board, the following video was created:

Describing all that this multifaceted organization does  is a major feat! We were proud to join efforts with Penry Creative and the leaders at Lifting Up Westchester to create the following marketing video. (Thanks to Matt Berky of Massive Productions for his music composition):

Here’s an excerpt from an article originally distributed via PRWeb.

Lifting Up Westchester Takes Flight

Grace Church Community Center, the 36 year-old Westchester County social services organization, has announced its re-launch with a new, comprehensive brand identity and tag line: Lifting Up Westchester: Where Hope Takes Flight One Person at a Time. The unveiling of the new brand identity took place at the organizations Oasis of Hope spring gala at Leewood Golf Club in Eastchester on April 17, with more than 200 patrons and supporters in attendance. A community-wide celebration open to the public is slated for late spring.

This is a major milestone in our organizations long history, remarked Paul Anderson-Winchell, Lifting Up Westchester’s Executive Director. For 36 years we have been a hidden gem in this county. A more identifiable name is integral to increasing our impact in Westchester. That said, our mission remains intact: to restore hope to our neighbors in need. Chris Schwartz, Director of Development, added Our vision is to continue our legacy of providing people in need with food, shelter and support and lift them to greater self-sufficiency with dignity and respect. Equally important is that we focus on the individual helping one person at a time.

For more information, please visit http://www.liftingupwestchester.org or contact Chris Schwartz at chrisschwartz(at)liftingupwestchester(dot)org or (914) 949-3098.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/04/prweb12665856.htm

Brian Penry and Sandy Connolly-Shooting behind the Scenes at Lifting up Westchester

Behind the Scenes at Lifting up Westchester

Shooting behind the Scenes at Massive Productions in Rocky Hill

Shooting behind the Scenes at Massive Productions in Rocky Hill

Shooting behind the Scenes at Lifting Up Westchester

Sandy waiting for the interviewee

Shooting behind the Scenes at Lifting Up Westchester

Celebrating the completion of a long, but successful project with dinner and drinks at Bar Bouchee in Madison, CT

Bar Bouchee, sandy, brian penry-4388 Bar Bouchee, sandy, brian penry-4391 Bar Bouchee, sandy, brian penry-4433 iphone 2015 misc-4469 iphone 2015 misc-4470

The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center – Grand Opening

Our new clients at the Marketplace at Guilford Food Center have been busy as bees for the last few months, preparing for their Grand Celebration on Memorial Day weekend.  Super 9 designed and developed their new website and did some of their photography. We wish them all the best!

The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center marks completion of its transition with Grand Celebration on Memorial Day Weekend

Three-day event to feature free samples of new product offerings, special deals, hourly drawings for gifts and live music.

To mark the completion of their transformation into The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center, new owners Jason Iglesias and Dee Jacob have planned a three-day Grand Celebration set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

The Grand Celebration, which will feature three days of hourly giveaways, free food and beverage samples as well as product specials and live music, will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, May 22 at 8 AM, with Guilford First Selection Joe Mazza in attendance.

“We are celebrating the near completion of this major transition we’ve undertaken since we purchased the Guilford Food Center back in April,” said co-owner Dee Jacob. “Our vision is to build upon the established Meat, Deli and Grocery store we purchased to become a place where our neighbors can come shop for their favorites; dine in; grab a coffee or tea; or sit with a dessert to end their day.” Read More…


UPDATE: Here are some of the other pics we took for The Marketplace.
The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center-pastries The Marketplace at Guilford Food Center

Elizabeth MacDonald’s Beautiful Bead Habit

We met Elizabeth MacDonald from Bridgewater, CT with Barbara Gold from Mission Branding at The Grove last week and got to play with and shoot all her gorgeous beads. Elizabeth’s beads come from all over the world, and what distinguishes her jewelry work from other designers is the range of earthy textures she includes. Our goal was to capture the earthiness of the beads with the high-techy image sensors inside our cameras.

My favorite quotes of the day were, “I have to make these necklaces to support my bead habit,” and Irene saying “I want to make a wave…” while making thirty giant strands of beads bow to her designing eye.


Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-36Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-38Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-118Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-123Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-131Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-132Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-136Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-138Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-140Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-142Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-143Elizabeth MacDonald - Necklaces-146

Happy clients: Barbara Gold & Artist, Elizabeth MacDonald (center).

Happy clients: Barbara Gold & Artist, Elizabeth MacDonald (center).

Photographing Time

Over the last couple of weeks, perhaps you have been following the story on Facebook, we have been photographing and processing photos for Pyramid Time Systems, a company in Meriden that makes time clocks, document stamps, time clock systems, and synchronized clock systems. Since they have their own in-house Photoshop editor, they will be dropping in the digital displays that show 3:07 as the time (the official time of the Pyramid logo). We and our friends at Pyramid are pleased with the results!


Pyramid-Time-Systems Pyramid-Time-Systems Pyramid-Time-Systems Pyramid-Time-Systems Pyramid-Time-Systems


Herb Ritts: A Legendary Photographer

Herb Ritts started his career selling rattan furniture to movie producers in West Hollywood in the late 70s, and became famous by shooting glamorous photos of his actor friends in the 80s (namely Richard Gere). He carved out a beautiful life for himself… sadly it was cut short at age 50 from complications from pneumonia.

We’ve all seen his work, especially if you grew up in with Madonna, Prince, Janet Jackson and Brittany Spears. He’s known for his clean, minimalist, stark, black and white, graphic style. Often using the beaches of LA, and the desert sands as backdrops – creating sharp shadows with full sun.

Here’s the result of four hours of shooting with Jilian Grey, trying to capture the essence of photographer, Herb Ritts! It’s important to note that Jil is the amazing singer of Hot House Band, and is very comfortable in front of the camera. Very fun!

Setup shot: Two bare Einsteins flagged off, and poiting at white seamless backdrop. One shoot-through umbrella lighting up Jil. On some shots, I removed the umbrella to get a sharper shadow on the backdrop.

The lovely Jil Grey – BEFORE.

What Is Included in Processing?

We often get asked questions like “Can’t we just have the photos?” or “Why do we have to pay for processing?”

One of the reasons our photography looks so good is that we process each image to make it as useful as possible for you and to make it look the best it possibly can. Here are all the services that are included when we process any photo:

  • ​Import all images taken during a session from the CF cards in our cameras into our editing software​
  • Label them all with a meaningful name (useful for SEO down the line) and embed our copyright info into the files
  • ​​Cull images to the best ones​
  • Crop to specifications​ and to show only the important subject of the photo and sometimes to remove things like backdrop stands, , etc.​
  • ​Make adjustments to overall exposure, white balance, clarity, etc.
  • Light touch up to remove things like blemishes from faces, clutter, switch plates, or wires from rooms or dust from products
  • ​Add filters either to improve the photo or create an artistic look
  • ​Increase or decrease overall brightness depending on whether the photo will be viewed on a screen or printed
  • Create a uniform look among all the photos from that session if they will be used as a group on a website or in a brochure or catalog
  • ​Convert ​all photos​ from​ the​ raw .cr2 format​ that our cameras create to whatever your specification and format needs are. Usually, we give you two files for each photo: high resolution for print and low resolution for web. (​I​f we just gave you the​ raw​ files, you would not even be able to view them​ without special software.​)​​
  • ​We upload everything to an online gallery where you can easily access all the photos and download them right to your computer.
  • ​If you are getting a large number of photos, we will put them all on a flash drive and deliver them right to your door, for a small fee.


Comparison: Jack-before

A-Dan Winters-Irene-Liebler-1


The Hurricanes at Opticare in New Haven

Hurricanes at Opticare

This month we are taking a tour of a sampling of doctor’s offices in the New Haven County on behalf of the New Haven County Medical Association. Today we got to take pictures at Opticare on Whalley Avenue in New Haven. Us, fooling around? Never.


George Brinnig-6620 George Brinnig-6618

Portraits in the Style of Photographer, Victor Skrebneski

Boom, boom, boom!

Shooting in the style of Victor Skrebneski is much easier if you have a boom. The famous celebrity photographer from Chicago is known for his dramatic, one-light set-up, usually overhead, which creates lots of edgy contrast.

I’m happy to report that I’ve started a new 8-week portrait class with my favorite teacher, Mr. Don Giannatti from Phoenix. It’s good to be back! The first assignment is based on the work of Victor Skrebneski.

Here are my attempts at Victor’s lighting and compositional styles. He uses lots of negative space, one light source from above casting dark shadows on the face, and oftentimes his work is blurry – on purpose! That’s not really my style so I tried to keep things in focus, knowing that I could blur in Photoshop if I wanted to.

Thanks to John Liebler, Sandy Connolly, Abigail Connolly, and Rachel Connolly for posing for me, yet again!!

Here's my lighting setup. One Einstein strobe with a 24 x 36" Paul Buff Softbox on a boom (a.k.a. "The Giraffe"). Thunder Gray paper backdrop.

Here’s my lighting setup. One Einstein strobe with a 24 x 36″ Paul Buff Softbox on a boom (a.k.a. “The Giraffe”.


Skrebneski is most known for his fashion photography and his work for the ad campaigns of the cosmetics company Estee Lauder, Inc. He has photographed various celebrities, including Cindy Crawford (whose first notable photos he took), Oprah Winfrey, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Ross, Hubert de Givenchy, Diahann Carroll and François Truffaut He has created numerous other ad campaigns.

Here’s Skrebneski’s bio from Kodak.com:


A chance encounter with a lost camera changed the course of Victor Skrebneski’s life. “I was playing on the swings in a city park when I was six or seven years old,” recalls the photographer. “It started to rain, so I jumped off of my swing and ran toward the clubhouse. As I ran by one of the park benches, I noticed a black box camera that someone had left behind, so I picked it up, brought it inside with me and gave it to the lady at the desk. No one ever claimed the camera, so after a couple of weeks, it was mine for the taking.”

That simple fold-out camera inspired Skrebneski to embark upon an artistic journey that would last a lifetime. Today, at the age of 70, he is one of the world’s most prolific and renowned fashion, beauty and portrait photographers, with an impressive body of work behind him and a number of new projects underway.

Originally, Skrebneski aspired to be a painter or a sculptor. His enthusiasm for artistic endeavors was fueled by his childhood mentor, Dorothy Bates. An artist and an actress, Dorothy lived in the coach house behind Victor’s family home in Chicago. She introduced young Victor to the world of art, teaching him about painting, sculpting, drawing, furniture design and acting.

As a teenager, Skrebneski studied painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago and then at the Maholy Nagy Institute of Design. Photography became a force in his life once again when a friend who had once wanted to be a photographer gave Victor his darkroom equipment. Victor set up the equipment and developing trays and went to work enlarging and cropping the photographs he’d been taking since he’d found his box camera in the park as a child.

Eventually, he showed some photographs of his sister, Jennie, and some cityscapes to Harry Callahan, who was then a photography instructor at the Institute of Design. Callahan, who said that he’d never seen cropping like Skrebneski’s before, urged him to visit some of the magazine editors in New York City. Skrebneski followed Callahan’s advice and spent a few months in New York working for Esquire and other magazines.

But Skrebneski’s sojourn in the Big Apple was brief. During a return trip to Chicago to pack up his possessions and move permanently to the East Coast, he was called to do a fashion assignment for Marshall Field’s, one of the city’s biggest retailers. That first fashion assignment — which Victor shot in the early 1950’s at the tender age of 23 — led to another assignment and then another. Caught up in the flurry of fashion work that had come his way, he abandoned his earlier plan to relocate to New York City and opened up his Chicago studio.

By 1962, Skrebneski had become the exclusive photographer for Estee Lauder, and for the next 27 years, his flawless images of models such as Karen Graham, Willow Bay and Paulina Porizkova made his name synonymous with beauty.

During the 1970’s, his “black turtleneck series”— a collection of moody, reductive portraits of celebrities wearing a black cashmere turtleneck that the photographer carried with him from one session to another — captured the essence of some of the era’s most celebrated and accomplished actors, musicians, writers and artists. In the 1980’s and 1990s, Skrebneski became fascinated with blur. His disturbing diptych of an indistinct Dennis Hopper became emblematic of our collective uncertainty and a pervasive sense of moral ambiguity as the 20th century drew to a close.

Throughout the decades, Skrebneski’s diverse body of work — from wildly inventive fashion images and sculptural nudes to starkly revealing portraits and haunting cityscapes — has been informed by his formal training in art at the Art Institute and the Institute of Design. Whether we find ourselves gazing at a Lagerfeld dress soaring through the skies of Paris, a minimalistic portrait of Liza Minelli or a street scene in Monaco, each photograph exhibits the lyricism, elegance, timelessness and classicism that have become hallmarks of the Skrebneski style.

With a recent retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and a corresponding book project entitled Skrebneski: The First Fifty Years completed, Skrebneski is still going strong. He’s already moved on to his next project: thirty-three portraits of Steppenwolf actors for a book commemorating the Chicago theater company’s 25th anniversary. And he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. As this indefatigable image-maker is fond of saying: “Our favorite word at the studio is “NEXT!”

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

What a perfect name for a band of doctors!

Genre: Beatles-Stones-Petty-Pretenders… 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Vocally driven rock.

The Band:

  • John Moniello Guitar/Vocals
  • Emily Nolfo Guitar/Vocals
  • Rob Nolfo Percussion/Vocals
  • Rich Halperin Bass/Vocals
  • Peter Mohrer Guitar/Vocals
  • Gerry Pollak Keyboard/Vocals

Our recent photo shoot with this group had us in stitches! Ha ha! If you wanna catch them live, visit: www.taketwonolftones.com

Take 2-2899-Edit

Take 2-2941-Edit

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Take 2-2465-EditTake 2-2515-EditTake 2-2614-EditTake 2-2673-EditTake 2-2708-EditTake 2-2777-Edit

Happy Holidays from the Hurricanes!

Wishing our friends, families and clients all the best!! CHEERS!

{This was our first time playing with our new piece of equipment – a Rhino slider that allows the camera to move smoothly through a scene.}


  • We’d like to give a BIG thank-you to Ted Ervin who was our camera man for this shoot. Thanks, Ted! Couldn’t have done it without you. Our new slider is very cool, but it doesn’t run on auto pilot…
  • And thanks to the wonderful peeps at The Grove in New Haven for letting us take over The Clubhouse for an entire morning!

Flowers on the Green: Ready for the Holidays!

Today Sandy and I went to visit the fabulous Connecticut florist, Christie Baker, to discuss the promotional video we’re producing for her shop, Flowers on the Green, in Guilford.
Since winter is her busiest time, it’s no wonder that she’s already decked out for the holidays – Christmas in particular. Her whimsical style is bursting from every corner and every arrangement – a delight for the eyes! Christie does it all… from a single rose to a full-blown, upscale, glamorous event.

Even though I just had my iPhone with me, I grabbed a few shots of the extraordinary Christmas trees and decor on display that feature fiddle heads and feathers. And, if you like owls, you’ll have to come and see them in person!
flowers on the green, GUILFORD CTflowers on the green-2284flowers on the green-2285flowers on the green-2295flowers on the green-2296flowers on the green-2300

Event Photography: NHCMA 230th Annual Meeting

On October 14, 2014, the New Haven County Medical Association held their 230th annual meeting at Quinnipiac University’s, Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine in North Haven, CT where Emily A. Nolfo, MD, was inaugurated as their new President.

Emily Nolfo, MD - New President of the New Haven County Medical Association

Emily Nolfo, MD – New President of the New Haven County Medical Association


The Keynote speaker was Francine Mary Netter, daughter of Frank H. Netter, MD,  and author of “Medicine’s Michelangelo: The Life & Art of Frank H. Netter, MD”


An excerpt from  Quinnipiac University’s website below:

About Frank H. Netter MD

“Born in Manhattan in 1906, Frank H. Netter began his life with artistic aspirations, and by his late 20s was a successful commercial artist whose work appeared in national magazines. His family, however, urged him to pursue a more stable and respectable profession, and he abandoned his artwork to study medicine at New York University Medical College.

As a medical student, Netter drew as a means to study, producing visual representations of class notes that enabled him to understand and recall material. After graduation and a brief practice as a general surgeon, he traded his scalpel for a paintbrush and enjoyed a prolific career as a medical illustrator for pharmaceutical companies. The Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations, a 13-volume set of Netter’s work, earned a place in libraries and clinics across the country. In 1989 he published his eponymous “Atlas of Human Anatomy,” which has been translated into at least 11 languages and is widely used by undergraduate medical students.

With his exceedingly rare combination of artistic talent and perspective as a physician, Netter brought his subject matter to life with stunning precision and clarity. As his acclaim grew, he found himself invited to illustrate cutting-edge medical advancements ranging from organ transplantation and joint replacement to the first artificial heart. His work not only granted unprecedented visual access to human anatomy and pathology, it was done with a striking level of empathy and humanity.

Netter’s legacy transcends his life’s work. A major gift from Barbara and the late Edward Netter, Frank Netter’s first cousin, pays tribute to “Medicine’s Michelangelo” in the naming of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.”

Also present was artist, John Liebler, founder of Art of the Cell: 3D Medical and Scientific Animation studio. John was invited to display his stunning cellular and molecular artwork at the event, as it bridges the gap between traditional medical illustration and today’s modern approach of using 3D animation in videos to explain complex medical procedures and concepts.

Event photography by Irene Liebler.


Francine Mary Netter and John Liebler

Francine Mary Netter and John Liebler

Francine Mary Netter and Dr. Emily Nolfo

Francine Mary Netter and Dr. Emily Nolfo

Francine Mary Netter giving her presentation

Francine Mary Netter giving her presentation

Dr. Emily Nolfo - new President of the New Haven County Medical Association

Dr. Emily Nolfo – new President of the New Haven County Medical Association

Jay Sokolow, MD, Emily Nolfo, MD, David Hass, MD

Jay Sokolow, MD; Emily Nolfo, MD; and David Hass, MD

David Hass, MD

David Hass, MD

Frank Netter Event-0658

John Liebler with Dr. Emily Nolfo

John Liebler with Dr. Emily Nolfo

John Liebler with Dr. Emily Nolfo

John Liebler with Dr. Emily Nolfo

John Liebler donates prints to the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

John Liebler donates prints to the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

John Liebler donates prints to the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

John Liebler donates prints to the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

Members of the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

Members of the Quinnipiac University Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine

Frank Netter Illustration of the human heart

Frank Netter Illustration of the human heart.


360 Degree Product Photography

I tried out 360 degree photography after a potential client inquired about it.
A bit tricky to set up, but I can see the possibilities. What’s cool is that you can control the movement with your mouse, or finger, on the iPad.

It’s basically an object rotated on a lazy susan. I found that natural light works best so the lighting is consistent from frame to frame.
Photoshop did a great job of aligning the french press in stacked layers, ready for batch export.

As far as I could tell, it only works with 3rd-party software that I installed onto our WordPress site.

This is definitely a service we will be offering to our clients.


It seems that even the restaurant industry is getting in on 360 for online menus.
Here’s an article from FSR Magazine: http://www.fsrmagazine.com/kitchen-sink/triggering-taste-buds-through-imagery


Triggering Taste Buds Through Imagery


Appeal to the senses with your online menu

Considering the incredibly competitive nature of the restaurant industry, maintaining a steady flow of foot traffic can be a tall order, especially since the dining experience begins long before a customer walks through a restaurant’s doors. When choosing where to eat, customers take the time to evaluate multiple factors to find and select the perfect environment and menu—adding more avenues of marketing engagement. The fact is, retaining current customers and attracting new ones is a constant challenge. The problem has never changed, but the solutions to success have.

Today, when deciding where to eat, consumers turn to the web. In addition to social media, consumers often visit restaurant websites before going out to eat. According to AIS Media, 89 percent of consumers say they have researched a restaurant online before dining there, and of those 89 percent, 57 percent indicated that prior to selecting a restaurant they view the restaurant’s website. Consumers are looking for comparisons and unique reasons to try or return to a restaurant. It’s not just about satisfying hunger, it’s about whether a restaurant can create a memorable dining experience—and the answer can be found online.

Prior to creating full-blown promotional campaigns, it is vital for owners to take a step back and evaluate why customers choose specific restaurants. People choose to dine out for a variety of reasons: celebrating a milestone, planning a get together, fulfilling a craving…the list goes on and on. Choosing a specific restaurant that everyone can agree upon can be time-consuming, even with help of apps, websites, and printed menus.

As found in a May 2013 Harris Interactive Study, there are several reasons why patrons choose specific restaurants. Restaurant owners need to hone in on these reasons, and capitalize on that information to secure the most revenue.

  • 90 percent look for good prices

  • 86 percent choose based off of their mood

  • 84 percent look for a favorite item on the menu

  • 83 percent decide based off of a convenient location

  • 78 percent value a restaurant with a large menu

  • 59 percent look for special offers or sales

  • 56 percent decide based off of food that meets their dietary needs

The same study also discovered that among 2,496 adults, 90 percent of them have eaten out in the past month. This means that many are still spending their time and money at restaurants. But how are establishments persuading them to dine out?

A new marketing technique that’s gaining popularity is digital menus which engage restaurants-seekers. With the number of consumers relying on the web to make dining decisions, digital menus can draw customers to establishments through appealing visual displays. By implementing 360-degree rotating images as menu items, customers can browse each dish and see exactly what will be served. As members of a visual generation, patrons would prefer to see what they are ordering as opposed to simply reading a description of the dish. With 360-degree images on a website, you can allow restaurant-goers to start craving the dishes on your menu before walking through the door. Consumers are looking for revamped menus in both taste and style, and these digital menus speak directly to a generation with a finely honed appreciation for appealing visuals.

According to Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research & Knowledge Group, “Restaurant operators today are much savvier about attracting repeat customers and maintaining their loyalty. They are utilizing new technologies and tactics to engage, retain, and enlarge a loyal customer base.” Mr. Riehle is right—restaurants must promote themselves through digital marketing channels to engage and entice customers into their establishments.

Digital marketing initiatives such as engaging, rotating views can encourage diners to visit restaurants, attract new customers and enhance customer loyalty. And since solutions are available for free or at low cost through vendors such as RotaryView, embracing interactivity online can drive a strong ROI. In a digital and visual age, the restaurant industry would benefit greatly from adopting these practices that directly engage the target audience.

The opinions of contributors are their own. Publication of their writing does not imply endorsement by FSR magazine or Journalistic Inc.

Gev Rotem is the co-founder and CEO of RotaryView, the leading resource for creating and using 360° product views to increase online sales. Rotem has a strong foothold in the e-commerce space and an impressive record working with startup companies, consistently delivering successful results in terms of strategy and development. Previously, Rotem served as the CEO and co-founder of the location-based parking tool, ParkPool. Prior to that, Rotem co-founded and served as the COO of a technology startup specializing in 3-D imaging for the diamond industry, which was successfully sold to SarinTechnologies in 2011. In addition to his successful entrepreneurial background, Rotem is a jurist with a LLB in law and BA in Business Management. Rotem lives in Petah Tikva, Israel and enjoys woodcarving in his spare time.

Copyright © 2014 Journalistic Inc. All rights reserved. FSR is a trademark of Journalistic, Inc. Please read our Privacy Policy before submitting data on this web site.  Submission of data is acknowledgement of acceptance of our Privacy Policy.

Irene’s Photography: Shown in Photoshop Layers

During the month of October, some of my photography was exhibited at the Guilford Free Library in Guilford, Connecticut. This video was shown during the Opening Reception to help explain my process of layering multiple images into one final composite.

Irene Liebler PhotographyIrene Liebler Photography - Cooking with ChiliIrene Liebler PhotographyJohn and Irene Liebler with friendsJohn and Irene Liebler

A Boney Halloween

The Creation of Mort the Skeleton

Over the years, Halloween has become a favorite holiday for the Lieblers. This year’s creation was a twelve-foot skeleton made from PVC pipe, paper maché, and foam pool noodles for the spine.
My son Jack did a classic bloody butcher knife to the chest, and Olivia terrified tiny children with her ripped out heart.

Our friends also joined the fun. We had Beethoven, a Princess, Weird Al Yankovic, Elise the Ladybug, Mrs. Doubtfire, Little Red Riding Hood and Rosie the Riveter.
My favorite photos are below. More photos are here on Smugmug.


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City Wide Open Studios – New Haven

City Wide Open Studios 2014

The Alternative Space weekend sets New Haven’s CWOS apart from other open studio weekends by offering artists from across Connecticut, and those who are interested in creating site-specific works, a unique backdrop to showcase their talents. Each year the Alternative Space provides artists with the chance to show work in vacant historic properties throughout the city, connecting artists and visitors with different areas of New Haven.

For the second time, this year’s exhibition took place in the Goffe Street Armory (290 Goffe Street, New Haven), a colonial armory full of rich New Haven history.  Learn more about the Alternative Space Weekend.

Below are a couple of artists I met at the show.
And here’s a link to the rest of the images.

To see more of Joe Fekieta’s work click here.
To see more of Robert S. Greenberg’s work, click here.

Howard el-Yasin

Howard el-Yasin

Howard el-Yasin Artist

Howard el-Yasin

Howard el-Yasin Artist

Howard el-Yasin

Howard el-Yasin

Howard el-Yasin with his installation

Joe Fekieta's art installation

Joe Fekieta’s art installation.. A commentary on the homeless.

Robert S. Greenberg

Robert S. Greenberg

Joe Fekieta with Krystyna Miedzinski

Joe Fekieta with Krystyna Miedzinski

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Potty Art

The Armory - Goffe Street, New Haven Connecticut

The Armory – Goffe Street, New Haven Connecticut

Magical Fairy Photo Shoot – Sneak Peek

Our photography studio was enchanted by a wizard and a fairy today! CJ May (aka Cyril the Sorcerer), with his fairy daughter, Ella, asked Super 9 to create a conceptual image for a poster announcing his new magic show “Little Fairies, Big Magic”. We were delighted!  We met a week ago at the Grove in New Haven to work out some details… the concept, costumes, flying hair, makeup, pointy fairy ears, etc.

Here are a few raw images from the shoot. I’ll take some time to do the final composite… (I still have to shoot some insect wings for the fairy, and find a nice woodsy background). Stay tuned…

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UPDATE: Here’s the final photo.


And our friend CJ with his cool poster. He had all of the people involved sign it. From the costume designer and tree maker to the printer and photographers.

Cyril the Sorcerer

Local Author Mohamed Elgendy Gets a New Look

Mohamed Elgendy knows the value of looking good, especially inside the cover of his new book, Business Analysis for Beginners. He and his team are creating a series of books with the name “For Beginners”.  Author of 3D Business Analyst, Mohamed is the founder of Elgendy Consulting LLC., a management consulting company. He is a corporate coach, business analyst, project manager and process improvement consultant. Directly, and through his company, Elgendy has provided training and consulting services to diverse fortune 500 clients in the USA, Europe and North Africa covering a broad range of industry sectors, including health care, government, banking and financial organizations.

We got several great shots. Here’s the one for his book:

Mohamed Elgendy


Mohamed’s lovely mother Dr. Hoda Helayl happened to be visiting from Egypt, so we got her in on the fun:



And then Mohamed suggested we just all get in the shot. What the heck:

Mohamed, Mom, and The Hurricanes


All the best to you, Mohamed!

The Hurricanes Shoot More Heads

Thanks to our new relationship with Thumbtack, we are getting to meet lots of new people.

We met these three guys from Checkpoint HR in New Haven (from left to right Phil Orlando, Joe Hall, and Harry DiaDamo). Thanks guys!

Phil Orlando  checkpoint-joe-1000-checkpoint-harry-1000-




Harry Penner – SECT Tech Interview

A video we did for Mission Branding featuring Harry Penner and SECT Tech.

Harry Penner is Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of New Haven Pharmaceuticals and has 30+ years of management experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. He has previously co-founded seven other biotechnology companies, including Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Affinimark Technologies, Prevention Pharmaceuticals, RxGen, MAKScientific, and RHEI Pharmaceuticals.

SECT Tech’s objectives are to engage the New London/Avery Point/Groton area and to support the state in its efforts to retain Pfizer and excite local entrepreneurs toward market-ready products and startups. A particular focus on life-science opportunities will be a logical element of SECT Tech’s efforts, and opportunities in the applied sciences will also be pursued as appropriate. SECT Tech activities include mentorship, business modeling, structured advising, educational programming, Hub networking events, business launch parties, investor forums and showcases, among others.

Harry Penner-SECT Tech Interview from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

Short Promotional Video for Cyril the Sorcerer

This short video is a brief introduction to Cyril the Sorcerer’s two most popular shows, “Recycling is Magic” and “MAGITRICITY”, and how they help others see the magic they possess. The video was created to promote his work in environmental magic to those who might bring him to perform as well as to those who might support a grander effort: Message Through Magic (MTM). Message Through Magic allows him not only to perform full-time, develop new presentations and cross-train magicians, environmental educators and youth on how to strengthen their own presentations through the use of magic. To see the longer, 3-minute version click here.

Guilford Citizen’s Day Parade 2014

Guilford, Connecticut is a quintessential New England town, and its Citizen’s Day Parade represents it at its best. This year’s theme was the “The 375th: Our history, Our present, Our future”. From tractors to llamas, from girl scouts to politicians, we saw it all… People of all ages lined the route as the parade made its way around the Guilford Green to Boston Street and out to the Guilford Fair grounds on Lovers Lane.

Check out some of the pics:

Video: Christine Ohlman Rocks the Madison Beach Hotel

It was a PERFECT night for an outdoor show… Christine Ohlman took the stage in her stylin’ beehive and kicked off Labor Day weekend to a mob of loyal followers at the Madison Beach Hotel. Here are a few shots and a video of a song called “A Shot of You” from The Hard Way released in 1995… one of my favorites!


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Sneak Peek: Feathers from Kevin the Peacock

I recently visited a peacock named Kevin, and borrowed some of his feathers. Yes, friends of mine in Guilford,CT have a pet peacock who recently dropped his summer show of feathers.
After about age three, peacocks begin cycles of annual molting of their long tail feathers… usually in summer, around July or August. After each molting, the tail feathers will be longer and have more “eyes”.

I’m going to use the feathers in a portrait and wanted to post my work-in-progress.
I used a mannequin as the model so that I could form a “feather dress”.  (The mannequin is another story that will probably have its own post someday…)

Here’s Kevin… and his feathers.

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Here’s the setup for the top part of the dress:
Peacock dress, behind-the-scenes

Update: Here’s the final image.

Best Western Exterior Photography Shoot

Sandy and I just finished the final phase of our Best Western North Haven shoot – the exterior of the building. The hotel was recently converted from a Holiday Inn to a Best Western and had a complete multimillion dollar makeover. New beds, new colors, new furniture, and new signage.
Jennifer Cretella, the manager, wanted to wait until spring to shoot the outside so that the flowers would be in full bloom, the grass would be green, and the signage would be complete.

Here are some of the shots:

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To see the other photos click here.

Smoke: A Photographic Study

One thing leads to another. Lighting dandelions on fire brought me to recognize the beauty of smoke.
I used incense, and a black poster board for the background. One speed light was enough to light up the smoke without overexposing.

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Photography Headshot Posing Tip: “Do the Turtle?”

Directing a model is a skill that every photographer needs to have, and a recent shoot with Olivia gave me an opportunity to practice! One of the most important features of someone’s face is the jawline. Unfortunately, if a person sits or stands naturally, without direction, they usually don’t look their best on film. They have a tendency to lean back and smile. They may have a double chin or look like they’re slouching.

As photographers, we need to direct people and help position them for the most flattering results. Doing “The Turtle” (made famous by top model, Tyra Banks) is one of the silliest expressions I’ve heard, but it describes how you feel when you accentuate your jawline for a photo. You have to literally stick your neck out like a turtle! Go ahead, try it! Here’s a link to Tyra’s explanation.

“Chin-Forward-and-Down” is another common phrase, but it’s a little confusing, and most people end up sticking their chins out too far, and their chins look too big in the camera. I recently heard another phrase that works a little better: “Forehead-to-the-Camera”. If you point your forehead to the camera, your chin automatically goes down, AND our eyes get bigger, which is always better! If you’re getting your headshot taken soon, it’s worth practicing these techniques in the mirror. This also works with selfies!

A tutorial by Peter Hurley (a rockstar headshot photographer in NYC), will explain in detail how this works. Below is the video (it’s a little long, but worth the lesson). Even if you’re just posting your profile on Facebook, it’s worth looking your best!

Here are the best shots of Olivia. Some of them have better jawlines than others, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a fun, natural expression for a slightly double chin.



A Bird in the Hand

A photo illustration called “A Bird in the Hand”.
This proverb refers back to medieval falconry where a bird in the hand (the falcon) was a valuable asset and certainly worth more than two in the bush (the prey).

Other languages and cultures have their own version of this proverb, notably the Czech ‘Lepsi vrabec v hrsti nez holub na strese’ (A sparrow in the fist is better than a pigeon on the roof.).

This was a really fun assignment that forced me to drive around my hometown and photograph fields, trees, goats, sheep and flowers.
The pheasant head and the cardinals are from the Yale Peabody Museum. The egg is from the local BigY. :)
Model: Rachel Connolly

- photo illustration by Irene Liebler

Photo Illustration: Who’s Afraid of a Little Fish?

The dark ocean
So mysterious
And beautifully terrifying

Irene-Liebler-Shark Fears


When I was six-and-a-half my parents took me to see JAWS on the big screen. Needless to say I was permanently damaged. The most gruesome part of the film that stuck in my memory is the floating leg after it’s been bitten off.

I know the statistics about shark attacks… and that you’re more likely to die from a falling coconut, but that doesn’t change anything in my head. I’m skittish about swimming in the sea, but I still go in every summer, always keeping watch beneath the waves. Looking for wayward shadows, and ready to launch back to shore if a piece of seaweed touches my leg.

This picture kind of shows how I feel when I’m in the ocean.

A photo composite of images from the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, Florida; the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; and Mystic Aquarium, CT
Model: Rachel Connolly from Guilford, CT

Photo Illustration: Butterfly Portrait with Rachel

Last week I did my first butterfly portrait with twelve-year-old Abigail Connolly. This week I had the opportunity to work with her older sister, Rachel, who was on spring break from Cornell.
She’s been a model many times before (ie: Sign of the Times) and is always willing to pose tirelessly!

This image was done with a beauty dish from above, a bare speed light behind Rachel, a speed light with soft box on the right, slightly behind her (which is lighting up her left shoulder). The hair was lit with the beauty dish from above, and a softbox to the left.

• The clouds are from West Lake in Guilford, CT
• The branches from Chatfield Hollow, Killingworth, CT
• Butterflies from the Peabody Museum, New Haven

irene liebler butterfly portrait

butterfly portrait-behind the scenes

Hangin’ at the Connecticut IMAGES Show

It was a gratifying day at the 33rd Shoreline Arts Alliance IMAGES Show – Connecticut’s Annual Juried Photography Competition and Exhibition, where four of my images were accepted. There were 144 entrants with close to 900 photographs submitted. Most were digital, but there were some film, silver gelatin, tin types, salt prints, bromide, and prints on wood.

The three judges were: Martin Axon, photographer and master platinum printer who has made print editions for Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Avedon, Horst, Annie Leibovitz, just to name a few. William Meyers, photographer and writer on Photography for the Wall Street Journal; and Steve Smith, Professor of Photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Images Show 2014 b

Sandy Connolly and me, next to Sign of the Times, which she helped produce. The image features her daughter Rachel, and her friend Scott.

Images Show 2014 c

The four images selected: Red Balloon, Who Moved My Cheese?, One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure, and Sign of the Times.

Shoreline Arts Alliance Images Show 2014 d

My son Jack and I, talking with Martin Axon, one of the jurors.


Portrait Session with Catherine G. Frantzis

Sandy and I did a portrait session with Catherine G. Frantzis during a recent shoot at Joanna John Collection in Woodbury, CT for their newspaper advertising.
Catherine was such a natural in front of the camera – a real pro.
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Photo Illustration: Abigail with Butterflies

This is Abigail. A talented young woman who is spreading her wings and learning to fly. She’s a singer and musician who plays the piano, upright bass, electric bass, ukulele, drums and sax. She’s also a phenomenal ballet dancer and all-around nice kid.

She just celebrated her twelfth birthday on the day this portrait was taken.

I created this image for Project 52: Assignment 52 (yes, the last one of my second year!). I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. In fact, I almost nixed it at the last minute because I didn’t think I’d make the deadline. But I’m happy I stuck with it. I got the inspiration while watching Miss Aniela, a surreal fashion photographer, on CreativeLive recently. She often uses photos of taxidermy animals in her composites. Here’s her website.

The technical info: One beauty dish on camera right, pointing down.
All but one of the butterfly photos were taken at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. The monarch on Abby’s hand was courtesy of Sandy Connolly’s personal insect collection. Thanks Sandy!

Below are the stages of the images. At the very end, I swapped out the hands and arm with another version where her hands are wrapped in her hair, which reminded me of a cocoon.

Irene-Liebler-Signs of Spring-Portrait of Abby


Below are the stages of the images. At the very end, I swapped out the hands and arm with another version where her hands are wrapped in her hair, which reminded me of a cocoon.


Eagle Electric Headshots Un-edited

We had a great day on Friday shooting the folks at Eagle Electric in their giant garage. It was pouring rain so it was nice to be able to drive our van right in to unpack.

Our setup was 3 speedlights on the backdrop, 2 softboxes on either side of the camera, and 2 black cards on the sides of the models to add a little shadow to the sides of their faces.
Each model also held a white reflector in their lap. We were having some technical problems with the Einsteins not staying at constant power – the levels kept creeping down randomly. We called Paul Buff and they said it’s probably the Pocket Wizards. I’m going to update the firmware today, and see if that helps.

Below are my favorites (un-retouched). I want the client to pick their finals before I start editing.

To make a long story short, I wasn’t able to get a pure white background with this setup, so I’ll be doing some masking.

Our client, Barbara from Mission Branding, was there to approve the shots and she was happy with the results.

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Commercial Photography: Eleven Electricians’ Head shots (test shoot)

Sandy and I are getting ready for a commercial photo shoot at the end of the week. Head shots for eleven electricians.
Our clients, David and Barbara at Mission Branding, gave us specific art direction showing a pure white background.
Here’s what we’ve come up with using 2 lights and a reflector.

One Einstein light is behind the white paper backdrop. The second Einstein light with beauty dish is directly above the camera. I also used a white reflector on the right to fill in the shadows on his face a bit.
It’s not exactly like the sample, namely the reflections in the eyes, so I may try some other options.

Mission-Eagle Electric Boys Headshot test2Mission-Eagle Electric Headshot test1

This is the sample provided by Mission:


Photo Illustration: Playing with Fire… and Peppers

Peppers don’t stick to red jackets very easily. This photo illustration was created for a book cover design titled, “Cooking with Chili” with a general layout provided by the art director.
My idea was simple enough, but a bit challenging, technically.

Step One: Get lots of red peppers.
Step Two: Stick them to the Man in the Red Jacket.
Step Three: Light the scene and take the picture.
Step Four: Add fire.

I was able to get plenty of peppers at the local grocery store.
I figured out that heavy duty double-sided ATG tape (the kind used for picture framing) works to stick the peppers to the jacket. However, since the Man in the Red Jacket was not readily available to spend a couple of hours wearing peppers, I used the jacket from the Red Balloon image. (I’m all for recycling.)
I had about 12 red peppers to work with so I laid them out in batches on the jacket, starting with the lapels. I took several photos and stitched them together.
The fire photo was taken from my library of stock images.

See behind-the-scenes images below.

irene-liebler-Chili Cookbook Cover

Here’s the set-up:
With the jacket on the floor, I was able to secure peppers.
Lighting: Softbox on the left, gold reflector on the right.

cooking with chili-behind the scenes


Photo Illustration: Everyone Needs a Burger Float

My latest image of the Man in the Red Jacket had strange beginnings.
It went from being a menu cover design with flames, a flying Miata,  and red hot type to a simple, square, whimsical image. Same burger, two very different uses.

Here are both images:


I shot the burger through a piece of clear plexiglass from below (just imagine the plate is a burger… my son, Jack, ate it before I could take the picture).



Jenna Hart Writes in Wire

Sandy and I had the distinct pleasure of photographing Jenna Hart’s beautiful jewelry that she makes by twisting gold and silver wire into words.  You can find Jenna as Isle of Agape on Etsy and Facebook.

Personalized Name Jewelry by Jenna Hart, Isle of Agapeisle of agape-204-edithirezisle of agape-186-edithirezisle of agape-150-edithirezisle of agape-143-edithirezisle of agape-111-edithirez


The Hurricanes Photograph the Newly-Renovated Best Western Hotel in North Haven, CT

Many of you have been following our luggage cart and poolside escapades in North Haven over the past few months.  We thought you might like to see the results!  We have nothing but great things to say about the staff and the beautiful facilities there.  Thank you, Jennifer Candido, for the opportunity to photograph your newly-renovated facility!

Crazy stuff we had to do to make these photos look good:

  • Iron bed skirts while they were still on the beds (anyone ever tried this?)
  • Make it look like none of the lamps, TVs, computers, or exercise equipment had wires
  • Open and close all the curtains 5,021 times
  • Set up the tethered capture station in the coat closet of the smallest guest room so we wouldn’t be in the shot
  • Ask the custodian to replace light bulbs in a seemingly impossible corner of the ceiling in the lobby (he did it in less than ten minutes!)
  • Photoshop out the camera in the exercise room due to mirrors everywhere!
  • Yell “DUCK!” in the lobby so the staff wouldn’t appear behind the counter in the shots (they were such good sports!)
  • Learn how to iron tablecloths in Photoshop (ironing for real life is easier than ironing for photos!) (Hey Photoshop Developers!  Can you get us an ironing tool?)
  • Eject chairs out into the hallway

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Best Western Plus, North Haven, CT
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Photography by Irene Liebler: A Year of Project 52-2013

A behind-the-scenes look at my weekly photography assignments for Project 52/2013… an online workshop lead by Don Giannatti.  project52pros.com

“Project 52 PRO edition is something that started as an idea, and has become an amazing place of learning, teaching and sharing. It fills the gap between becoming a photographer and becoming a professional. Ideally you would assist for someone in the field for a few years, but that is not possible for everyone. This is the goal of Project 52 PRO – to teach you about that experience through experience.” ~Don Giannatti

“Tripping” by Paul Lisak & After The Ice
Album: It Happens All the Time

Used with permission through www.jamendo.com
Creative Commons License

2013: A Year of Photography by Irene Liebler-Project52 from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

Find me on Flickr too!

I Love Snow Fog

Tooling around Guilford yesterday and today, I got to play in what I call snow fog.  I’m sure it’s the technical name for it.  Nothing like almost getting run over by a few cars while I was at it!  If you live in Guilford, can you tell where I was?

False Eyelashes & A Hat

It all started because I wanted to get a picture of my daughter Rachel in the new hat my sister gave her for Christmas.  Next thing I knew, we were full on with false eyelashes and dramatic makeup.  Here are some before and afters along with rare appearances by my son Zachariah and a few self-portraits I took while waiting for the long make up session to finish.


Promotional Video for Cyril the Sorcerer

Sandy and I have recently finished a video project for local hero, Cyril the Sorcerer (aka CJ May). In this three-minute video, Cyril the Sorcerer introduces two of his most popular environmental magic shows, “Recycling is Magic” and “MAGITRICITY” which entertain children while teaching them about recycling, alternative energy, and sustainability.

“Friend” CJ on Facebook.

Or visit his website for more info: www.betterworldmagic.com

Watch the Video!

Cyril the Sorcerer’s “Recycling is Magic” and “MAGITRICITY” Shows from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

…by its ability to capture the imagination
can change the world.
As Cyril the Sorcerer, I use my magic to show people the wonder of our planet
and the power they have to protect it.

For nearly a decade I have performed Recycling is Magic, telling the story of a peaceful village
that loses everything to an army of ogres.
A wizard seems to save the day by scaring off the monsters
but is then at a loss for how to clean up the mess or,
more importantly, how to restore what the villagers have lost.

Vanishing the trash would clean things up…but the villagers would have nothing.
So the wizard uses the better magic…..recycling….and makes all the old… new.

I end this with the good news that everyone has the same power as the wizard. By using their own magic box….their recycling bin,
they can turn the old, broken and useless into the new and useful.

I end the show  with information on how to recycle clothing, computers and so many other items.
I empower children to make a big difference just as the wizard did in the story.

MAGITRICITY began as a companion piece to the “Seasons of Change” exhibit at Yale’s Peabody Museum.
Like the exhibit, it educates about the causes and effects of climate change,
but in its quick 15 minutes, MAGITRICITY takes the audience from the connection humans have to energy and climate change to the power each of us has to save energy, save money and save the planet.

Key to both shows is their ability to entertain and educate children and adults through stories, images and lessons that inspire hope and action, not fear.
By showing the impossible, magic not only makes for spectacle and wonder that engage….
magic reminds people how wonderful our world is, how strongly we are connected to it, and how powerful each of us is to make a difference.
I may be a wizard, but my goal is to help others see the magic that THEY possess.

~ Cyril the Sorcerer

“Cyril the Sorcerer is developing a program to formalize his presentation of environmental magic at a museum as well as teach a select group of magicians, environmental educators and youth how they can use magic to strengthen their presentations.  Mr. May is looking for financial, collaborative and networking support and would appreciate any suggestions you and others have for such partnerships.”

Mr. Biggles visits the Museum

The Man in the Red Jacket contemplates "Nude Descending a Staircase" by Marcel Duchamp

The Man in the Red Jacket contemplates “Nude Descending a Staircase” by Marcel Duchamp

Recently I was invited to participate in a brand new creative project started by Melanie Biehle and Sandra Harris called We Are The Contributors, a creative community and publication built around monthly creative projects to inspire our own work and build community among creative people across mediums.

My Contribution: Mr. Biggles visits the Museum

My inspiration for this illustration was The Connoisseur by Norman Rockwell, which, I have come to realize, is one of my favorite painters.
(The image of the staircase in the background was taken off the coast of Connecticut the day after Hurricane Sandy blew through and ripped it off of someone’s home, leaving it looking very surreal in a open field of marshland…)

More about the Contributors Project from Sandra Harris & Melanie Biehle:
“Our goals for these projects are to:

See creative work that is happening outside of our direct circles
Meet new creative people to collaborate with on personal or client projects
Grow our creative community by broadening our reach and audience in organic ways that make sense (e.g., Who cares about getting “likes” from people who don’t really connect with your message or work?)
Get exposure to new ideas and inspiration and provide the same to you

Each month we will invite 10 creatives to participate in a new project. The results of this inaugural project will be introduced and published on Inward Facing Girl and Raincoast Creative Salon. Subsequent projects will be featured on the We Are The Contributors site that will include bios and links to all Contributors and their work. The first project will be featured there as well, once the site is ready to go.

We are also planning a print publication whose first issue will be published no later than June 30, 2014. The magazine will include creative profiles, spaces, work, and inspiration, as well as a selection of the monthly Contributors projects. You and the rest of the inaugural 10 will receive a complimentary copy of our first issue.

Here are the details for the first project. “


We Are The Contributors Project #1: The Armory Show
by Sandra Harris

For me history has always been about people – how they lived, who they loved, what they thought about, what they were passionate about, and what they created. On my second trip to NYC I was wandering around Manhattan on a sweltering August day. I turned a corner and bumped into the Armory Building on Lexington between 25th & 26th – the location of the 1913 Armory Show where modern art was introduced to the US. I think I might have even skipped a little, I was SO excited.

People really didn’t know much about modern art before that show. NYC wasn’t a cultural capital. Yet. The first highrise, the Woolworth Building, was just about complete. And Wall Street only dreamt of challenging London as a stock market.

After the Armory Show modern art was introduced to the masses. Vanity Fair started covering modern art. NYC department stores like Wanamakers sponsored Cubism, and fashion designers created Cubism-inspired gowns. Newspapers hired art critics to discuss modern art, and new art galleries opened up to showcase the work of young, progressive artists.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show, our first We Are The Contributors Project will use three pieces from the original show as prompts for your work. Pick one, two, or use all three to inspire the project you share with us.



Everything Under the Roof, LLC “Before & After” Kitchen Remodel

Kim Spanier knows construction. She and her husband own Everything Under the Roof, a talented construction company in CT. Here are a few “Before and Afters” of a recent gorgeous kitchen remodel in North Haven, CT.

Kim wanted to use the images in a slideshow on their website, so the transitions had to be seamless. Our photographic challenge was to be able to line up the shots, even though they were taken months apart, and walls were removed. We did our best to take careful measurements and notes during the “Before” shoot, but in the end, a tethered laptop and Photoshop layers helped us line up the shots perfectly.

Recent work by Kim Spanier's construction company, Everything Under the Roof. Before and After of a recent kitchen remodel in North Haven.

Recent work by Kim Spanier’s construction company, Everything Under the Roof. Before and After of a recent kitchen remodel in North Haven.


“Travel Life” Cover – Photo Illustration

On Assignment – “Travel Life” Cover Shot

“MobileLife” is a brand new approach to the smart phone press. They want to show how smart devices work well within our lives, not as a convenience, but a necessary part of how we live in these modern times…

Now where the heck is that Starbuck’s??

Irene-Liebler-Mobile Life-Travel Magazine-illustration

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Photo Illustration by Irene Liebler – “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure”

Project 52 Assignment 31: Here’s The Brief, by Don Giannatti:

“An old saying that we don’t hear much anymore, but it always reminds us that some folks throw out what other folks love. I have found some amazingly cool things at flea markets and garage sales and such.

Treasures? LOL, well maybe not treasures… but certainly some stuff that I have made great use of. The concept you are going to illustrate is that the idea of throwing out things / others collecting things may be a new movement that is spreading from rural areas to the cities. It has become a new way of ‘bartering’ or, in some cases decorating and designing with found objects.”

(Thanks to my friend, Bryan Connolly, for loaning me his secret stash of golden micro processors.)  See Behind-the-Scenes video below.

Surreal photo illustration: One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure


This shot was created in Photoshop and took about 5 hours. Here’s a 13-minute video showing the process, including false starts and lots of trial and error.

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure – Behind-The-Scenes from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

Beautiful Things at Joanna John Collection in Woodbury

We’ve been extremely busy this week with three photo shoots: A head shot; some “after” shots of a new kitchen design by Everything Under the Roof; and Product photography for Joanna at her chic boutique in Woodbury, Connecticut. It was a feast for the eyes if you like to wear bright fabrics, and wonderful silky and soft textures. We spent a half day there which was just a tease – there’s SO much, we’d love to go back and spend a week shooting!

Below are some of the one-of-a-kind jackets, beads and scarves that are typical of the Joanna John Collection.
For the jackets, our main goal was to get a pure white background in-camera (to keep the post-processing down to a minimum), while maintaining the details and bright colors of the clothing. We had a 4-light setup against a white seamless backdrop which worked perfectly! Now if we could just invent invisible hangers… Here’s a link to Joanna’s site for a glimpse of her dazzling shop.

Thanks so much to David Rosenthal and Barbara Gold of Mission Branding for sharing their client with us!


Joanna John-218Joanna John-220

Why & How to Use Pinterest to Build Your Brand

Why Use Pinterest to Build Your Brand?

Why Use Pinterest to Build Your Brand?

Pinterest is a major traffic driving powerhouse.  It’s not just for crafts and recipes.  Pinterest drives more traffic than You Tube, Google+, and LinkedIn COMBINED!  Pinterest is now the fourth largest traffic driver worldwide.”

70 percent of people say they go to Pinterest for inspiration and recommendations (compared to 17% on Facebook).

Irene and I just gleaned some powerful information from Melanie Duncan‘s Creative Live course Unlock the Power of Pinterest, and we want to share some ideas to get the Pinterest juices flowing.

  • Businesses should create a business account by going to business.Pinterest.com, or you can convert your existing personal account.  This is so that you can attach the name and url of your business to each pin.
  • Follow other Pinterest users that share your audience.  Yes!  That means your competitors.
  • Look for people and pages that you know your ideal customers are probably following.
  • The people you follow should have at least 1,000 followers.

Five ways to get more followers:

  1. Comment on other pins in your news feed.  (If you comment well on the top ten pins every day and include a link, then your profile photo and direct link will show up to all those thousands of followers.)
  2. Get a Pinterest Tab for your Facebook fan page.  (Use Woobox.)
  3. Post Pinterest links as updates on your Facebook page.
  4. Promote specific boards on your Facebook page.
  5. Create a contributor board by inviting customers, colleagues, and competitors to contribute to your boards.  The benefit is that now you have access to all their followers!

Book a free Coffee Consult with the Hurricanes today to find out more.


JoBird & SuperNine Published in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens

For the last nine months, we have been trailing trend-setter Pam McCann of JoBird like paparazzi and photographing the latest additions to her line of stylish and eco-friendly carryall yoga bags.  One thing that moves these bags into the extraordinary category is that they are walking pieces of artwork by local artists.  The new Brushwork series got the attention of  Connecticut Cottages & Gardens recently, and our photo of Elizabeth MacDonald’s rich geometric maze, Autumn Mosaic appears on page 32 of the September 2013 issue.

Here’s a link to more photos of the bags:

Photo: Jobirds Bag, center left.

Jobirds- CT Cottages and Gardens

Jobirds- CT Cottages and Gardens- September 2013 cover

On Assignment: CD Cover Designs

My latest P52 assignment was to create a CD cover for Jeanne Newhall‘s 20th album, and title track, “SKY”.
I found the lyrics to be very peaceful, simple, ethereal, and a little dark. Here’s my take on it… my favorite being on the top left.

Here’s the link to SoundCloud if you want to have a listen.


“Sign of the Times” Wins!

Sign of the Times wins 3rd Place in the Commercial Category in Creative LIVE’s WORLDWIDE Photo contest held this week!

The judges were Sue Bryce (one of my all-time faves), Bambi Cantrell, Scott Robert Lim, John Cornicello (whom I met at Don Giannatti’s workshop on Creative Live in Seattle in 2012). #photoweekThere were 3 images chosen for each category: Commercial, Portrait, Lighting and Wedding. Then there was a top prize for the best overall image.

Originally created for a Project 52 Assignment, “Sign of the Times” is a commentary on social media and our obsession with our screens. Thanks to Rachel Connolly and Scott W. for modeling! And to my partner Sandy for cracking the whip and making this shot happen.

Behind the Scenes:
Step 1: Sketch the idea.
Step 2: Find two well-dressed teenagers willing to sit for hours, staring at nine freshly boiled lobsters.
Step 3: Buy nine fresh lobsters a the local market.
Step 4: Gather additional props – fine flatware, candelabras, champagne and glasses.
Step 5: Lighting – two soft boxes with Canon 580 EX Speed lights on either side.
Step 6: Mask out the black background. Do Photoshop composite with flying hair and dress, cool clouds and foreground.

(Note: All photos are original – no stock images were used in this composite.)

Super 9’s Shot of Christine Ohlman Fronts The Nelson Odeon’s Fall 2013 Concert Program

Irene & I were enjoying our usual Friday Happy Hour concoction of gin, tonic, and fresh lime juice on my back deck when a package was brought in with the mail from the Beehive Queen herself, Christine Ohlman.  She kicked off The Nelson Odeon’s fall concert series on September 7 and thought to save and send us a program.  Our favorite shot of Christine from a recent photo shoot looks awesome on the program cover for this premiere venue in Central New York for live entertainment.

Thanks, Christine!  Rock on, sistah.

Christine Ohlman - Nelson Odeon Program-Fall 2013

Note from Christine Ohlman

My Epson 2200 is Too Smart!

My Epson printer refuses to print this image of money. It thinks I’m a counterfeiter… (What it DOESN’T know is that I’m growing tens and twenties in my garden! Mwwaahaha!)

But seriously… apparently, there’s a smart chip built into modern printers which can detect images of dollar bills, and cancels printing about half-way through. This is really annoying, because 1. I need the image printed, and 2. it wastes precious ink! I figured out the problem fairly quickly because I had the same issue with Smarty-Pants Photoshop, which originally wouldn’t open any of my  images of money. I guess it depends on the size of the currency…

I’m going to search Google for a printing work-around. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know…

Here’s the image in question.

A Monster in my Garden!

He’s cute and colorful… and you might even want to pick him up. But beware this poisonous fiend. He will sting you with his tiny, spiny thorns, and make you feel like you’ve been bitten by 100 wasps. He’s called a Saddleback Caterpillar, and hides under the leaves of shrubs. This one was found on the leaf of a Purple Smoke Bush.

A Day at the Beach in York, Maine USA

While at York Beach in Maine, I was playing around with a fun App called 8mm, an easy-to-use retro video camera for the iPhone. Here’s a quick video I shot with my iPhone 4S and edited in Premiere, using my friend Pete’s music.
I did not set out to make a video while on vacation, but realized when I got home, that I had enough footage to put something together. Wish I could go back in time and get a few more shots.

A Day at the Beach – York Beach, Maine USA from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

“Little Girl with Great Big Plans” Video

Mary is a talented 14-year-old with big dreams of dancing on Broadway someday.
“Little Girl with Great Big Plans” is my first attempt at creating a video, and was directly inspired by Hailey Bartholomew and Sue Bryce and their workshop on Creative Live. This project was an exercise in following their recipe (almost to the letter) and learning their techniques. Thank you Sue and Hailey!

Model: Mary Markovitz. Music by Mindy Gledhill (Triple Scoop Music, used with permission).

Filmed at various locations in Connecticut: East Hampton, Wickham Park, Harkness Park; and New York City.

Little Girl with Great Big Plans – Irene Liebler from Irene Liebler on Vimeo.

Super 9 Photographs JoBird Brushworks Launch on 7/27/13


Irene and I became fast friends with Pam McCann this past winter and have been photographing a line of yoga bags called JoBird Yoga Carryalls that she and her partner, Jake Nadler have been developing since last year.

Pam McCann & Jake Nadler:  The Brains Behind JoBird Yoga Carryalls

Pam McCann & Jake Nadler: the brains behind JoBird Yoga Carryalls

Several things about these bags are noteworthy:

  • They are made entirely in the U.S.A.
  • The exterior fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles
  • You can roll any size yoga mat into the integrated Velcro sleeve designed for easy and secure transport
  • They have created a line of “Brushworks” bags that feature artwork by local artists

This last item is the one I love the most.

This last Saturday, July 27, Irene and I had the privilege of photographing the second Champagne Reception, Launch, and Signing for their Brushworks line featuring artists Souby Boski and Elizabeth MacDonald.  A bonus for Irene and me?  The other two artists for the Brushworks line were also present:  Jennifer Sabella and Joan Morosani.


Litchfield County Artists

Litchfield County Artists


Thanks to Paul Doherty and David Behnke, owners of the beautiful Behnke Doherty Gallery in Washington Depot, we had a lovely space to photograph.

Behnke Doherty Gallery

Behnke Doherty Gallery


Here’s Irene in action with her results:

Irene & Her Result

Check out Elizabeth MacDonald’s original clay artwork  Blue Mosaic up close.

Elizabeth MacDonald's original work in clay: Blue Mosaic

Elizabeth MacDonald’s original work in clay: Blue Mosaic

Thanks to all for a lovely evening!



Focus Stacking with a Rose of Sharon

I just picked up Seeing Trees at the Guilford Free Library.  WOW!  Robert Llewellyn‘s photography is breathtaking.  Being a nature lover, I practically wept.  It was so moving, I had to write him and tell him.  He responded the same day and helped me understand a bit about his technique.

Here’s my first attempt at focus stacking.  Fun!  Thanks Mr. Llewellyn!  I think I’m on my way.

Rose of Sharon

Rock & Replublic Pumps, with a Cherry

This week’s P52PRO Assignment was to create an advertising-style photograph featuring women’s shoes – heels, straps or athletic. I chose a pair of classic pumps. After fooling around with four lights and various reflectors for an hour, I discovered a cool look using just one light.

Here’s the final shot and the setup shot below.
• For the surface, I used a piece of plexiglass placed on top of red mat board.
• An orange piece of board was used for the background.
• I left a gap between the two pieces of board to allow light to pass through from below.
• I put a flash on the floor under the table, shining up through the gap, to illuminate the background and the undersides of the shoes and the bottom of the cherry.
• Black cards were used on the sides of the shoes to eliminate unwanted reflections on the shoes.
• Finally, a white card was used on top to bounce light from the flash, onto the tops of the shoes, and the cherry.
• I got rid of the gap, and blurred the plexi surface to hide the scratches.
• A “Cross Process 2” filter was applied in Lightroom and the photo was cropped to spec.

Visiting the Fairies at Thrush Cottage

Most summers, the Connollys five visit the fairies who live at Thrush Cottage in Maine outside of Ellsworth.  If you live in Connecticut, drive north on I-95 until you get to Bangor, hang a right, drive towards Bah Hahbah, and then stop halfway in the middle of nowhere.

The fairies there make sure you have clean beds, cake for breakfast, and several desserts after every meal served with Sterling silver.  The hermit thrushes sing you to sleep, the loons call out to you in the middle of the night from the pond, and the sensitive ferns ensconce you ever so gracefully among the erratics that you really never ever ever want to leave.

Super 9 Celebrates the Release of Despicable Me 2


One of the many things that Super 9 enjoys together is anything to do with the movie Despicable Me.  We love to quote it with the same passion as devotees of The Holy Grail which all of the Super 9 children must also be able to quote.  (We can all say, “We are now the knights who say, ‘Ekky-ekky-ekky-ekky-z’Bang, zoom-Boing, z’nourrwringgmm.”)

We planned to attend the opening night of Despicable Me 2 together at least two years in advance.  The night finally came this last week, and in preparation, all the Super 9 girls had their nails done.  We gathered around the Connolly kitchen table and choked the guys out of the kitchen with the fumes of nail polish solvent.

Among the topics of conversation, the question had to be answered, “Capes?  Or no capes?”  We decided to go out in full Super 9 regalia, as you can see here, along with #5’s minion Jorge.  She could not understand why #1 insisted on bringing him.

We arrived in plenty of time to take our portrait in front of the theatre.

Note to self:  it doesn’t matter how fast your lens is, it is impossible to get a photo inside the movie theater without a flash.

Irene’s Summertime Margarita


Irene's Summertime MargaritaThe summer is HERE!  And I have just received my first lesson in making margaritas.  Everything I know about making drinks, I have learned from the master:  Irene.  If you’re standing right with her, she’ll say, “Cut your lime.  Run it around the rim.  Dip it in the salt.  Ice.  Four glugs of tequila.  One glug of triple sec.  Now squeeze in two entire limes.  Stir with knife. Voila!”

This is the sort of recipe you need if you have no idea how many you’ll end up making and if people want more than one (and they always do).  If it’s one thing we need a budget line item for, it’s limes.  We buy them by the truckload and squeeze them by the bushel.  We even have special lime squeezing tools.  Well, I have one because Irene gave it to me.

On the other hand, if you are like my father, O.C. Gregg, then you better chill the glasses to minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit and measure everything to the milligram.


Here’s a recipe from Irene for people like my father:

2 ounces (1/4 cup) tequila
1 ounce triple sec
2 ounces (4 tablespoons, or two limes worth)  fresh lime juice
Kosher salt or ground sea salt
1 lime slice for garnish
A fancy glass – very important

Pour a layer of salt onto a small plate; or get one of those handy salt containers that looks like a sombrero.  Cut a lime in half and run the wet edge along the rim of your glass. Dip the rim of the glass into the salt and roll it from side to side to pick up some salt. Then add plenty of ice cubes to your glass – about 3/4 full.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the tequila and lime juice. Shake. Pour it into your glass and garnish with a slice of lime.

-Use 100% agave tequila labeled white, silver or blanco. I recommend Patrón.
-Use room temperature limes – they’re easier to squeeze.

A Year Ago on Creative Live

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I flew to Seattle to be a part of Don Giannatti’s Tabletop Lighting Workshop on Creative Live! It was truly a life-changing experience. Here’s a a few pics of the amazing people I met.

Don Giannatti – amazing teacher and all-around great guy. We had so much fun hanging out after the show each night, wandering around Seattle taking pictures, and talking about the business of photography.
Brett Doss & John Cornicello – Don’s sssistants on set.
Creative Live Staff: Kenna Klosterman, Celeste Olds, Kate Hailey, LaRea Lobdell, Russ Andes, Ian Spiers, Arlene Rubin.
Fellow Students: Lori Patrick – my roomie and night-crawling buddy; fellow P52-ers – Barbara Tozier, Charles Howard, Keith Kasniak; and Paola Thomas.

Who Moved My Cheese?

This week’s assignment was to create an image with lots of texture… and somehow, this brought me to cheese – Gorgonzola cheese.
I love the greenish-blue moldy marbled veins. I thought it’d be fun to illustrate the book, Who Moved My Cheese?, a funny business fable by Spencer Johnson.

I used some yarn to tie around the wedge of cheese and hung it from the ceiling. For the foreground, I spread some Hollytone plant fertilizer on my seamless backdrop. Two bare Speedlights on either side to capture the most texture. See the setup shot below.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Here’s my setup shot:

“Gorgonzola is a famous blue cheese originating in Italy, with a distinctive smell which many liken to old shoes.” ~from Wise Geek: http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-gorgonzola.htm

Hurricanes Sandy & Irene Visit the Branford Festival 2013


I felt incredibly hip as I left my sleeping family with my cup of coffee in hand and headed out with Irene in her Miata to the Branford Festival this last Saturday.  The weather was with us, and we found a great parking spot next to some poor guy who had just scraped the car next to him getting into his spot.  He was being a good citizen and leaving a note on the windshield.  My car parking method worked this time:  drive to the center of the action where you think you’ll never get a parking spot and hope that someone is leaving.

I knew this was going to be good because we ran into my friend Tommy Nagy playing drums with Dizzy Fish. They were smokin’ by the time we got there.

A few steps away, we came upon Potato Chip Boy.  As far as I’m concerned, the potato is the perfect food, and I could live on only the potato in its various forms for the rest of my life.

If Jen Reynold with 66 North Main Massage was trying to get some attention, she succeeded!  Check out this contraption!  Anybody know who the lucky guy is?

Why is it that you can’t go to any big event in Connecticut without the horseshoe crabs crashing the party?

When you see this and find out that it’s called “Garlic Chicken Stick,” it is definitely time to have some lunch!

While we were having our lovely Garlic Chicken Sticks, Irene and I noticed that there was an alien invasion.  I mean, I think every other person was walking around carrying a giant purple or green alien thing.  It was hilarious!  I mean, what does it say about human behavior that we see lots of people carrying these completely useless and hideous things around and think, “I MUST HAVE ONE OF THOSE THIS INSTANT!”  Irene succumbed.  Thinking it would assuage her guilt for not bringing her children to the Branford Festival, Irene determined that she would win one of those aliens for her son Jack.

Paying for a ticket to win an alien-thingy

Paying for a ticket to win an alien-thingy

Check out all the alien thingys!

Check out all the alien thingys!

Look upon their alien hideousness!

Look upon their alien hideousness!

She's gonna win an alien thingy!

She’s gonna win an alien thingy!

Yay! Irene won an alien thingy!

Yay! Irene won an alien thingy! Don’t you want one too now?

Getting an alien thingy home.

This is how you get an alien thingy home in a Miata. We drove on I-95 with him like this, and I thought his head was going to pop off.

If we visited your booth and took your photo, check it out here.  If you’d like to order prints, click “Client Access” above and navigate to the “Event Gallery” to find “Branford Festival.”


Special thanks to Ed Lazarus and Al Canosa for making us feel so welcome!

Al Canosa & Ed Lazarus

Al Canosa & Ed Lazarus

A Simple Guide to Licensing Photography

by Sandy Connolly

Are you confused by the language on the bottom of your photography estimate?  If you are working with Super 9, it’ll say something like this:

“All photographs remain the property of Super 9 Studios.  Licensing for use of these photos for self-promotional websites and printed materials is included in this estimate.”

You can read a  tremendous amount of technical jargon about licensing photography.  In fact, I have a book on my shelf that devotes 40 pages to the topic. Here’s some really technical jargon so you can really enter my world for a moment:

“Non-Exclusivity.  Definition:  A type of right granted by the copyright owner.  The licensor (and other parties offering licenses of the work) may license similar, related, or identical rights to another licensee at any time.  Additional Info:  A purchase option that must be negotiated.  Unless the right of exclusivity is expressly granted by a licensor to a licensee, any other rights granted under a license are non-exclusive by default.  Term In Use:  “A competing magazine was able to use the same image on the cover because they had only negotiated for non-exclusivity of the photo.”  from the PLUS glossary

Just shoot me now.

Just shoot me now.

You can even visit http://asmp.org/tutorials/licensing-guide.html and get information on every side of this subject, but I am here to explain the “Spirit of the Law.”  In other words, what it really means, and why it’s there in the first place.  I love to talk about the spirit of the law because it gets to the heart of the matter.

Here it is:  we photographers want to help you become successful, and then, when you do, we want to share in your success.  It is one of the ways we build our business and yours.

Piggy Bank

Industry standard says that images are the intellectual property of the creator in the same way that a book is the intellectual property of the author, a song the property of the songwriter, or software the property of the creators.  Other people can make use of these things, but licensing must be agreed upon for everyone to be happy.  Sometimes when people read about the licensing on our estimates, their response is, “You mean I’m going to pay all this money, and I’m not going to OWN those photos?”  That, my friends, is called full buyout, and you can get it if you want, but it’s very expensive.  What you’re asking us to do is write a song and let you say you wrote it.  This is frowned upon in the photography world.

Industry standard is to license photography for specific uses.  Licensing protects us photographers from other people taking our photos and changing them in a way that would hurt our brand.

There are three categories of photography use:  commercial, editorial, and retail.

Commercial Licensing

Super 9 Studios is interested in helping the businesses around us succeed.  Therefore, we include in all our estimates licensing for self-promotional purposes on your website or in any printed materials you create to promote your services or products, and you can use them in any size for as long as you want.  This includes headshots, product photography, and any photos we take of your place of business or images that show services you provide.  This is commercial usage.

Massive Productions

Editorial Licensing

In the event that a newspaper or magazine notices you (maybe even partly because of a photo we took), wants to do an article on you, and needs a photo to go along with it, then we would like to share in that attention and success.  That’s editorial usage and requires different licensing.  Let’s say you are a musician.  We take pictures of you for you to use on your website, Facebook page, and Twitter in order to promote yourself.  But if you get the attention of Rolling Stone Magazine, and they love that photo we took, then it’s only fair that we would get to share in a bit of that glory too.

Christine Ohlman


Retail Licensing

Sometimes we photograph weddings, proms, and family portraits.  The work is categorized as retail because the end use is personal.  But let’s say the company that made that prom dress thinks you look really hot and wants to show that photo on a billboard on I-95.  You might be really excited to appear on that billboard, but so would we!  And that would require a discussion about commercial licensing.


The bottom line this…

When we take a picture of you, your company, or your product, we are beginning a relationship that we would like to continue.  We hope that we will see you in the coffee shop and that you will tell us how much business you are getting because of a photo that we took.  And if Popular Science calls you because of that Pickle Power photo we took, please let us know!

Pickle Power

Concept Shot for Poster

Project 52 Pro – Assignment 5
To create an image for a poster for your local Chamber of Commerce, warning people of the dangers of severe weather.
The 3 most recent storms we’ve had here in Connecticut – Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, and Super Storm Nemo – prompted me to create this shot.
It’s a combination of 4 shots (see set-up shot below).


Sign of the Times

Project 52 Assignment – “Sign of the Times” book cover. A commentary on social media and our obsession with our screens. Thanks to Rachel Connolly and Scott W. for modeling! And to my partner Sandy for cracking the whip and making this shot happen.

Behind the Scenes:
Step 1: Sketch the idea.
Step 2: Find two well-dressed teenagers willing to sit for hours, staring at nine freshly boiled lobsters.
Step 3: Buy nine fresh lobsters a the local market.
Step 4: Gather additional props – fine flatware, candelabras, champagne and glasses.
Step 5: Lighting – two soft boxes with Canon 580 EX Speed lights on either side.
Step 6: Mask out the black background. Do Photoshop composite with flying hair and dress, cool clouds and foreground.

(Note: All photos are original – no stock images were used in this composite.)

Harco Parts

Product photography for Harco in Branford, CT

A little about the company:
“HARCO is an award-winning designer, manufacturer, and international distributor of aerospace air data systems, gas turbine high temperature sensors, on-engine electrical cable assemblies, airframe electrical cable assemblies, and other advanced sensor products. Established in 1951, its manufacturing business was based on a need for temperature measuring devices for aircraft engines, naval nuclear reactors, and rocket engines. Since then, HARCO has extended its existing product lines and has added new technologies to include speed sensors, resistance temperature detectors, air data probes, air data computers, and innovations in high temperature and position sensing. Core design, development and manufacturing are located in Connecticut, U.S.A. with additional manufacturing in Mexico.

HARCO has consistently achieved double-digit growth over the past decade. One of HARCO’s greatest strengths is our endless commitment to provide customers with innovative product solutions and continuous support. The owners of HARCO have historically made a major commitment to invest more than 50% of the company’s earnings into Research & Development. This has resulted in significant innovations such as a metal matrix composite branded as SIMx for high-temperature applications and our Magneto-Optical Sensors for position sensing. Research & Development has also positioned HARCO to secure patents for several leading-edge technologies.”


Chicken Fajita Recipe

Here’s a recipe I discovered recently – based on Martha Stewart’s – with a few improvements.


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, sliced crosswise. (1 package)
  • 1/2 stick of real butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Sea salt and ground pepper
  • 2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
  • 1 large vidalia onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 flour tortillas (6-inch)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (for guacamole)
  • 2 avacados (for guacamole)
  • 2 limes (1 for guacamole)
  • Sour cream, for serving


  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Arrange sliced chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Squeeze juice of 1 lime over chicken. Sprinkle with chili powder, and season with sea salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside.
  2. Sautée peppers, onion,and garlic in butter; season with salt and pepper, cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Stack and wrap tortillas in a damp paper towel; microwave on high until warm, about 1 minute. Transfer chicken and pepper mixture to a platter, and serve with tortillas, cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges.
  4. Mash avacados with juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper, and chopped fresh cilantro– lots of it!

Project 52 Video

Here’s a time lapse video I created using a collection of my photos taken for Project 52-2012. Fourteen hundred photos squashed into 4 minutes.


Client Spotlight: Jobird Yoga Carryalls

Another Happy Client: Pamela McCann of Jobird Yoga Carryalls

We met Pam through Barbara Gold and David Rosenthal of Mission Branding in Guilford, CT.
Pam needed some updated photos of her existing line of yoga bags and she wanted to highlight their style, craftsmanship, durability, spacious size, and multiple uses. Our goal was a clean look so we chose a bright white background, and used a piece of transparent acrylic as a base to create a subtle reflection. Pam was also willing to model and came equipped with matching yoga wear!


About the bags… “This fashionable bag really does it all, and it’s not just for yoga. Designed and made in the USA it is eco-friendly, water resistant and stylish! The exterior fabric is made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET), and is printed using an AirDye water and energy conservation print technology. The lining is treated with a fungus retardant finish.

The adjustable shoulder strap sits comfortably on your shoulder, while you can roll any size yoga mat into the integrated Velcro sleeve designed for easy and secure transport. The bag is sized to accommodate a pair of shoes, towel and toiletries. The inside waterproof pocket holds those “sweaty and smelly” yoga clothes. The outside zipper provides quick access to the other essentials for getting to and from the studio: keys, credit card, metro cards and cell phone.”


As an added bonus, Pam hired us to design an e-vite and postcard for Jobird’s upcoming event called “Brushworks” … A Champagne Reception, Launch & Signing Hosted by Charym Yoga + Fitness and JoBird Yoga Carryalls, to celebrate Pam’s NEW line of yoga bags that will feature the artwork of local Litchfield, Connecticut artists, Joan Morosani and Jennifer Sabella.

Here’s the final design:

Chatfield Hollow in January

The fog was so thick one morning that I decided to visit Chatfield Hollow State Park and get some background images for upcoming portraits.
Final processing was done in Lightroom and Nik Software.

Client Spotlight: Massive Productions, LLC

Our newest Happy Client is Matt Berky of Massive Productions, LLC, located in Rocky Hill, CT.

Our goal was to shoot 2 images for their homepage that showed a seamless transition from an empty studio, to a busy studio. First we had to find the right angle to shoot from; we needed to include every corner of the room, yet make it look accessible. We started with the 16-35mm, but decided everything looked too far away, distorted, and detached; so we went with the 24-105mm on a sturdy tripod. We dialed the shutter speed down so that with the slightest movement, the people in the shot would look blurred. The result was successful almost immediately, but we took a few extra shots for good measure. We shot tethered to a laptop so Matt could approve the shots on the spot.

The Massive Productions studio is so cool that we couldn’t help but get some detail shots of the various microphones and numerous awards on display.

A little background info about Massive Productions:

Matt Berky – Owner/Engineer/Composer

As an award-winning Composer and Production Engineer, Matt Berky brings years of experience and his celebrated style to every project large or small. Whether recording voice-over artists, composing music or producing sound design, Matt infuses his award winning sound into everything he does.

By six years old Matt was already being classically trained on violin, later earning the top rankings in the state. This love for music swelled while studying music at The University of Hartford as a young teen. Matt made the natural transition of violin to guitar majoring in jazz theory and improvisation at Plymouth State University in NH. Acclaimed for his body of work, Matt was honored with the highest composition award by the University in 2001.

Matt’s work has been acknowledged by the Silver Microphone Awards, the prestigious Telly Awards for his music scoring and the Communicator Awards for his radio production technique. His music can be heard around the world on radio and television, medical animations, corporate videos, films and documentaries.

Matt’s acclaimed music score for “The Inner Life of a Cell” produced by Harvard University in 2007 has brought Massive Productions world-wide acclaim. Featured on ABC World News with Charles Gibson, the video has circled the globe, helping teach biology students all over the world pairing animation with Matt’s innovative sound design and composition.

Communicator Award  |  Telly Award2009
Communicator Award, 1 gold national winner and 2 silver winners  |  Telly Award2008
Communicator Award for the Best Commercial Campaign in the US for 2008, and two Awards of Distinction  |  Young Entrepreneur Award2007
Addy Award  |  Telly Award for Best Overall Sound2006
TOTY Award  |  Telly Award for Best Music Composition for a Non-Broadcast Film or Video

Red Balloon

Red Balloon - tribute to Renee Magritte

Assignment for the week: Red Balloon.

Below is the setup: A combination of 5 photos using natural light.


Jam Session at the Country Tavern in Guilford

This last Friday night, I found myself at the Country Tavern in Guilford enjoying not one, not two, but three really fun bands: Mojo Banditos (Tom Knapp, Steve Plaziak, Ted Ervin, and Joe Pecoraro), Steamroller, and the Never Ready Band. Had to bring a camera with all that action.

Ingredients for a Recipe

Before looking at the recipe, can you guess what it makes?  Irene makes these all the time, and I get to have one every so often.  YUM!


Crepes: 2 C flour, 2-1/2 C milk, 4 eggs, 1 t. vanilla, butter, Nutella, bananas (optional). Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs, milk and vanilla.
Heat a lightly buttered frying pan over medium high heat. Pour some batter onto the pan, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Spread Nutella over the whole crepe, add sliced bananas. Roll and serve immediately. Crepes can be stored flat in the fridge and microwaved as needed.


Final Assignment for Project 52-2012

This is Steve, the model for my final assignment for Project 52 2012.
The assignment was to shoot a stranger or someone I haven’t photographed before and do it in my “style”. Since I really don’t know what that is, I decided to use the same lighting setup I’ve been working with and start to get some consistency going.

Thanks for your time Steve!  And for wearing your leather jacket in my 80 degree studio space.
Here’s the final image: A Photoshop composite with a forest image from Chatfield Hollow in Killingworth, CT.

Client Spotlight: Shooting Flowers in the Storm

We shot flowers at Christie Baker’s beautiful shop Flowers on the Green in Guilford, CT  yesterday at the beginning of snowstorm Nemo to capture her amazing art with flowers. Christie knows each flower by heart, calls them by name, and lovingly arranges them into amazing conversations with each other.  It was a true pleasure to work with her to create these photos.  Thank you, Christie, for the opportunity!

A little about Flowers on the Green:
“Flowers On The Green is a full service florist located at 959 Boston Post Road in Guilford, Connecticut, providing same day delivery service which includes the nearby communities of Branford, East Haven, New Haven, Clinton and Madison.

Flowers On The Green designs arrangements that express your personal style such as traditional, classical, elegant, modern and ultra contemporary.  Flowers On The Green will exceed your expectations in all of the services they offer including wedding flowers and bridal bouquets, event flowers, corporate weekly flowers, arrangements for the home and funeral floral arrangements.”
Check out Christie’s site: Flowers on the Green

Book Cover: Inner Life of a Hero

Project 52 Assignment 51 – Cover image for a book on Heroes.
The assignment comes in from a most unusual client. The author is working on an interactive book discussing the myths and lore that surrounds “Heroes”. From ancient times to contemporary life, he is tracking the similarities in how people think of and treat “Heroes”.

My friend, who works for some of the best book cover designers UK has, said that he needs a heck of a cover shot. And he needs it to be both in profile and face to camera. Body language is up to you… but there is a profile and a full frontal on the face.

The neat thing is that this author is letting you run with the photograph… the bad thing is you may have to do a little research yourself. This book is not disparaging toward heroes, nor is it a fawning review of our most revered celebrities. It is a real world examination of the flaws that are sometimes overlooked – many times for good reason – of our heroes faults and petty challenges.

Our photograph is to make it instantly known that this may be a hero, but on a more human scale. You can go costume, or real life… it is your call. But you must not make a shot that looks negative, or one that is too over zealous.

A CD Cover Photo for “Dance With My Father” by Luthor VanDross

One of my assignments for the week was to create a CD cover for Tamyra Grace’s re-release of Luthor VanDross’s song “Dance With My Father”.  CD covers are square, so I had to shoot with that in mind. I decided to do a Photoshop composite which included the famous constellations from New York City’s Grand Central Station ceiling.

Abby Sleeping in the Clouds

Here’s the setup shot:


Back when I was a child
Before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high
And dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around till I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved

If I could get another chance
Another walk, another dance with him,
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love, to dance with my father again

When I and my mother would disagree
To get my way I would run from her to him
He’d make me laugh just to comfort me(yeah, yeah)
Then finally make me do just what my momma said
Later that night, when I was asleep
He left a dollar under my sheet
Never dreamed that he would be gone from me

If I could steal
One final glance
One final step
One final dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
Cause I’d love love love to dance with my father again

Sometimes I’d listen outside her door
I’d hear how my mother cried for him
I’d pray for her even more than me

I know I’m praying for much too much
But could you send back the only man she loved
I know you don’t do it usually
But dear Lord she’ s dying to dance with my father again

Every night I fall asleep
And this is all I ever dream

Marcelle’s Top 10 (plus one)

Marcelle was putting together her first modeling portfolio, and the industry motto is “less is more.”


Aspiring Super Model Gets Her Wings

We had the great opportunity to photograph Marcelle Gosteli earlier this week in her effort to begin a modeling portfolio.  Behind the camera: Irene;  Styling and Production: Sandy;  Model: Marcelle Gosteli

Behind the Scenes: Here’s how we did this shot.

That 70s Girl

This week I was assigned to do a “period” piece from any decade – 20s, 30s, 40s, etc. I chose the 70s with my friend Diane Heriot in mind. She’s got great 70s clothes that belonged to her mother.

Here are a few of my favorite shots.

Christine Ohlman – The Beehive Queen

Sandy and I recently had the amazing opportunity to shoot the one and only Christine Ohlman… singer, songwriter, guitarist, recording artist.
The Beehive Queen was sassy and classy – a rockin’ legend.

How to Make Cyanotype T-Shirts

As part of a campaign to promote my new album, I decided to make t-shirts.  Not satisfied with the traditional silk screening process and wanting to make things completely more difficult than necessary, I thought I would try making cyanotypes on t-shirts.  Essentially, photographs on fabric.  It’s a very touchy process, but I am finding great satisfaction seeing how each one comes out differently.

My father asked for a photographic documentary of the process, so here it is, Dad!  It’s only 50-steps long.

Step One – Start with a high-resolution digital file of a great photograph

This is the album cover that my friend and business partner Irene Liebler created for me.


Step Two – Create a negative.

I made mine in Photoshop by opening the file and pressing Control-I.


Step Three – Gather supplies

I ordered mine from Bostick & Sullivan.  You need Ferric Ammonium Citrate and Potassium Ferricyanide for starters.  If you want a different color other classic cyanotype blue, you’ll need other stuff.  I’m using Bostick & Sullivan’s Cyanotype Bleaching Solution A and Cyanotype Bleaching Solution B.  I’m also using spring water because I have well water that may or may not be softened today.


Step Three -Figure out your proportions

In this case, my containers only hold 900 ml, so I had to adjust accordingly.



Step Four – Mix Solutions A & B in ambient light being careful not to get it on stuff. 

From this point on, everything in your house will start to turn blue.  I’m using a postal scale that also measures in grams.  While I live life on the edge and do everything in the wrong place at the wrong time, I don’t recommend mixing these chemicals in your kitchen next to where you prepare food.

I find I can get between 7-10 shirts coated with 900 ml each of Solution A & B.  It depends on how big the shirts are that you are coating.

Measure Ferric Ammonium Citrate


I bought this beaker because it just seems cooler to use when you’re mixing chemicals.


In goes the Ferric Ammonium Citrate, and stir.


Measuring Potassium Ferricyanide.


Mixing Solution B


At this point, the chemicals can be stored for a few weeks and even months.  I’m using mine tonight.



Step Five – Get your t-shirts ready

I ordered mine from BlankShirts.com and am very happy with their prices and quick delivery.


OH!  I’m just now remembering that I need to wash them and dry them a few times.  I did it three times.  Now everyone is talking about how soft they are!


Step Six – Prepare a sort-of darkroom somewhere.

Check out the high-tech way I turn my laundry room into a darkroom.  For cyanotypes, you don’t need a room that is completely light safe – just mostly.


Cover up anything you don’t want to turn blue.

I covered my floor with those big paper leaf bags and the walls and machines and other stuff with newspaper.  I also made sure all my laundry was PUT AWAY!  I can’t tell you how much of my laundry room is permanently blue from doing this.  Get rubber gloves and use them.


You can do everything by Christmas tree lights without exposing your cyanotypes.



Prepare a place to hang the wet shirts so they can dry overnight without touching anything.  Touching anything organic with the mixed solution turns it permanently blue.  Plastics and metals can be wiped off.


Step Seven – Mix Solutions A & B in your mostly dark room.

Mixing them makes them light-sensitive.  I’m mixing them into a deep bucket into which I will smush a few t-shirts at once.


Step Eight – Coat your shirts

Here I’m smushing a few into the solution.


Squeeze out excess chemical.  For what I paid for it, I consider it precious and want every drop going onto a t-shirt somewhere.


Step Nine – Hang shirts to dry.

I was a bit ambitious.  I’ve coated over 11 shirts!  Set them up with a fan to dry.  I even moved a dehumidifier into the room.  For the best results, I’m finding that I need to expose them the very next day to get the best results.  Therefore, I’m always checking the weather to make sure I have a bright, sunny day the next day before coating.  I wish I knew what I was doing wrong because I think this shouldn’t have to be the case.


Keep dark room safe.



Did I mention that if you get the chemical on stuff, it turns it blue?  It wears off of your skin after a day or two.



If the shirts are coated and dried properly, they will be a light yellow color.  If they start to get exposed at all, they will start to turn an emerald green.  For some reason, this is happening to me – but not enough to wreck the shirts.

Here are my shirts ready to be exposed.


Step Ten – Place negative and glass on top of shirt

The glass needs to smush the negative down on the shirt as hard as possible so no light can get between the negative and the shirt.


The glass edges will create a little bit of a shadow, and you will get a slight image of the rectangle left from the shape of the glass.  Personally, I like this effect.  Here I have three shirts stacked – each on its own piece of foam core.  I like to arrange the shirts with the negative and glass in the dark room so I’m not rushing in the sunlight to get everything set out.


Leave them in the sun from 10 – 20 minutes.  If it’s a mid-summer’s day around noon – you only need about 10 minutes.  If it’s in late fall, like I am here, you’ll need 20 minutes.



I want the backside to be blue too, so flip them over and expose for another 10-20 minutes.  These have already been out for awhile, so they’ve turned darker.  These are almost done.


OH YEAH!  If it’s windy – you’ll have to weigh down your shirts with stuff inside.  I used these:

Step Eleven – rinsing

When exposure is complete, they are developed by rinsing in running water for a few minutes.  I usually rinse until all the yellow gone from the unexposed parts.

If you like the blue that you get here – you are finished!  If you want something different – press on.


Step Twelve – Toning

Mix your Cyanotype Bleaching Solution B and Cyanotype Toning Solution B.  I got mine at Bostick & Sullivan.


Like I said – I don’t recommend using all these chemicals in your cooking area, but I live life on the edge.  A little chemicals with your parsley anyone?


Measure the bleaching solution.  I’m using 100 ml of bleaching solution to 800 ml of water.


And 100 ml of toning solution to 800 ml of water.


Step Thirteen – Put shirt into bleaching solution

This is a little scary – because it makes your image disappear almost altogether.







Step Fourteen – Rinse, rinse, rinse!


Step Fifteen – Put into toning solution.


Step Sixteen – Rinse again


Step Seventeen – Hang out to dry

You could just spin them in your washer and put them in your dryer, but this is more romantic.


Here’s a toned one up close:


Here’s one I did back in the summer.  I think they come out sharper with the sun higher in the sky.





If the shirts are coated and dried properly, they will be a light yellow color.  If they start to get exposed at all, they will start to turn an emerald green.  For some reason, this is happening to me – but not enough to wreck the shirts.