Over the next couple of weeks, I'm posting a series of headshots and senior photos to my website, starting with these of Kayla. See more at http://glenncook.virb.com/kayla.
Recent photos of Lauren, a repeat customer and college sophomore, are now up at http://glenncook.virb.com/lauren17. If you are interested in headshots, senior photos or a family portrait, contact me soon to set up something!
Check out these headshots of Laura, taken during a recent visit to Hickory, N.C. Photos are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/laura. Schedule your session now. If you have a group of students that are interested in headshots and/or dance photos at your studio, let me know and we can work out special rates.
Check out these headshots of Shannon, another repeat customer from Northern Virginia, at http://glenncook.virb.com/shannon17. With college auditions coming up, it's time to get headshots done as soon as possible. Short and longer sessions are available at reasonable rates.
Check out this portfolio of Elizabeth, taken earlier this summer as she approaches her senior year, at http://glenncook.virb.com/elizabeth17. Now is the time to schedule your senior photos. Contact me via email or PM today!
Check out these headshots and action photos of high school student Melody at http://glenncook.virb.com/melody. Packages that combine in headshots with action photos of dancers, actors, and singers are available. Contact me if you're interested in a session.
Check out these senior pictures of Alexa, a repeat customer from Northern Virginia, at http://glenncook.virb.com/alexa. It's not too early to schedule a session for your high school senior this fall.
Check out these new headshots of Katie, a high school senior in Northern Virginia, at http://glenncook.virb.com/katie. Now is a good time to schedule headshots for college auditions as well as senior portraits. Different packages are available.
Just added an Instagram account for my business. Follow me @glenncookphotography
Check out these headshots of Madison, taken during a mini-session last month in Hickory, at http://glenncook.virb.com/madison. Schedule your own session now!
This is an edited narrative of a presentation I gave at the National Dance Society’s annual conference on Aug. 4 in Norfolk, Va. Photos included in this blog entry were taken during classes offered to area students and attendees at the conference. My wife, Jill, also was a keynote speaker at the conference, talking in separate sessions about mental health and bullying.
The purpose of this session is to talk about the role of the dance photographer so you can capture and promote the work that you do as educators and studio owners. But first, let’s start with a bit of background — the “why” you’re listening to this person on a sunny, summer Friday afternoon.
Here’s what I’m not:
- A painter, or sketch artist: I can’t draw a stick figure or a straight line with a ruler — that type of talent skipped from my father to his grandchildren
- A singer: My wife and oldest son are the singers in the family. I lip-synch “Happy Birthday.”
- A dancer: My son and daughter have that down, thanks to their mom and her excellent coordination. I have to look down to make sure both feet are moving in the proper order.
Here’s what I am: A photographer, writer, storyteller, husband, father, and the son of two teachers. I learned my way around a camera out of necessity while working as a journalist and communications professional, and was told I had an eye for it.
Like many parents, I found myself taking pictures at my kids’ major events, including their dance recitals. The limitations of my camera and lenses made it difficult get much, however, and I did not know enough about dance to capture the proper technique.
Over the last four years, since going out on my own, I’ve learned how to capture the art of dance, both in performance and in various settings that make up my “Art & Dance” series. This series, primarily focusing on young, pre-professional dancers performing on city streets, in an abandoned church, in a creek, in a subway tunnel, and under a bridge, among others, has been profiled in a Northern Virginia arts magazine and has been the subject of three exhibits at a local art gallery. You can see my photos on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com.
What I’ve discovered is that these types of photographs are powerful marketing for educators and studio owners. So let’s spend a little time looking at photography, the basic technical information you need to know, and ways you can broaden your audience.
Getting the Right Equipment
Photography is, like any art form, both independent and interdependent. Yes, anyone can take a picture, and technology has made it easy to capture beautiful shots with our phones. But if you want to shoot dancers, especially during a performance, your iPhone won’t do the trick. In fact, rather than promoting your brand, it dilutes your impact.
The reason, not to get too technical here, is cell phones do not have what is known as an SLR, or single lens reflex. This allows you to focus, click and — if your light and shutter settings are correct — stop action. Your phone camera can’t do all of those things at once, especially in dim light, and it can’t do some of them at all.
So that means you need “a real camera,” and depending on the complexity of what you’re trying to capture, the reality is that a “real camera” and good lenses don’t come cheap.
Here’s why: Going beyond composition, photography comes down to two things — light and speed. This is where photography is most interdependent. If the two are not in sync, it will be difficult to capture what you want to achieve, even if everything is perfectly composed and in focus.
In most performance settings, you will need a camera that can handle low light really well. This is where ISO, the setting for how much light you allow into the camera, comes into play.
If you’re shooting outside, you can normally set your ISO on 100 (brightest), 200, 400, 640 or 800 (getting dim, but still light out). When you’re indoors, you likely will need your ISO settings to start at 1600 (if you’re lucky), 3200 (if there’s good lighting), and 4000 or 5000 (most common).
Although technology has improved greatly, it’s still hard to find an inexpensive camera that can shoot with the speed you need at ISOs of 4000 or 5000 consistently without too much “noise,” which affects the sharpness of your picture.
This is further complicated by the speed factor. To stop a dancer’s motion without blur, you need to have a shutter speed of at least 1/200th of a second. Anything less — whether you’re outside or inside — and you will get blur. Sometimes you can get a flash to sync at 1/200th of a second, but I haven’t been to a performance yet where you can shoot photos with a flash.
So if you decide to take this on yourself, remember these things:
- Get a camera body that can comfortably handle an ISO of at least 4000. (To do that, you’ll need one that can shoot at an ISO of up to 25600, because that means the camera’s sensor will be able to handle 4000 without too much noise.)
- Set your shutter to at least 1/200th of a second.
- Start shooting.
Shooting a Live Show
Photographing a live performance is one of the most difficult and demanding things I’ve done. You have to learn how to anticipate the action, and find ways to shoot so that both technique and emotion are captured. Yes, you want the leaps and jumps, but it’s also about telling the story of the work your students are doing.
This again, speaks to the interdependence of photography. Understanding the story being told on stage is key to capturing the big moments, and the small ones as well. Knowing generally where the performers will be positioned also is helpful.
In most cases, a photographer will not shoot the actual live performance, but a dress rehearsal. This prevents you from disrupting the paying audience and gives you time, in case anything bad happens, to ensure that you get decent shots. It also offers you flexibility because you can shoot from all areas of the performance space.
What happens all too frequently is a photographer will set up in the back of the auditorium and shoot from the same spot. This does capture the show itself, but it prevents you from getting those small moments of emotion that help you tell the story.
So what does this mean for you?
- Talk to the photographer beforehand. Let him or her know what you’d like to see captured — the big and small moments — but give the photographer the flexibility to surprise you.
- Let your dancers/performers know in advance that someone is shooting the dress rehearsal and/or show itself.
- Given that you are capturing a live performance, be prepared for things not to be perfect and know, generally, how that will affect what you choose and use to promote your work.
- If there is time, consider setting up certain scenes to be run more than once so the photographer can capture the action from multiple angles.
Storytelling and Photography
You have millions of ways to tell stories today. Video, stills, audio, the written word. You are in a visual medium, and social networking — despite the political wars many get into on Facebook these days — is geared toward the visual.
This should be a great match, so why don’t you invest in it? And why do you accept poor quality, or opt for the cheap stock art, rather than focusing on your performers? As you put your shows and performances together, do you think about how you will tell the story to the outside world?
Folks are interested in process, the “how” of you put something together. Behind the scenes videos, photos, and short narratives are increasingly popular because of the online world’s endless thirst for content. You don’t have to have high production values for these types of stories; simple iPhone interviews often will do.
As the performance nears, this is where you need to engage a professional photographer and talk about telling your story. Consider having a promotional shoot that can be used for posts — posters, post cards, online posts.
Finally, as the show/performance nears, have the photographer shoot the dress rehearsal. Let your cast know the photographer has free reign to walk around. Say you want 10-15 shots to use for social media purposes immediately; the additional photos can be sold or made available for download to parents.
There are many ways to do this effectively, but being willing to partner and plan is key. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked to shoot something at the last minute. The photos turn out decently, but they would be so much better if I had the opportunity to meet and plan beforehand.
Make It Work for All
I understand that your bottom line on these types of performances is often razor thin, and photography is the first thing to get cut when finances are tight. But you can be creative and original in ways that are fair to everyone involved.
This is my pitch/plea to you: In addition to remembering the photographer in your planning, be prepared to work out some sort of financial arrangement for the work he or she does.
Many photographers I know are willing to go the extra mile for their customers, but free is not acceptable. Think about how you feel, as a business person, when someone constantly asks you to do something without compensation of some sort.
As fellow artists, we understand the financial constraints you’re under, but you can make it work. Telling a photographer he or she can “sell” pictures in lieu of a shoot fee is, unfortunately, a nonstarter. We are in a share society, not a sell society, where consumers feel like they can get their music and media for free.
Here are some things you can do:
- Offer the photographer a shoot fee or a per diem in exchange for the right to sell prints on your own.
- Add a small extra fee for photo services to your recital fees or master classes to offset your cost.
- In return, work with the photographer to make a selection of photos available for sharing on social networks. Usually, these will have the photographer’s watermark on them so that intellectual property rights are not violated.
That’s it, really. If you know your audience, assess your needs, make marketing your story integral to what you do, and work with your photographer and your students to tell it, your audience will be much more engaged in the great work you do.
Four years ago today, I formally started my business with this photo, which was taken during a Memorial Day trip to New York City. Clicking the shutter that day, in May 2013, I did not know I would be unemployed in a week.
After 30 years in journalism and communications, moving from job to job and seeing professional growth with each position, being laid off left me — and my family — adrift. I knew I had to do something, but prospects in an ever-changing publishing world were limited. Also, having worked for the same company for 12 years, I had seen a once vigorous operation slowly succumb to financial and organizational erosion, and I wasn't sure I wanted to face that prospect again.
Being on your own has its downsides. You rarely know what the next day will bring. Stability is elusive. You can work 24-7 without batting an eye. You have to rely on the faith of others (especially family and close friends) and word of mouth. And you have to hope that your work is not just good, but good enough, so clients will pass along your name.
Knowing these things, I formally launched this photography and freelance writing business five weeks after losing my job. Working on this website over the Fourth of July holiday, I launched my Facebook page on July 7, 2013.
And here we are, four years and more than 12,000 photos later, having slowly but steadily built a client base that I can only hope will continue to grow. Thankfully, I've had the opportunity to branch off into all sorts of things, meet a wide range of new (and usually fascinating) people, and have the types of experiences I dreamed about while sitting at an office desk all those years.
The creative malaise I dealt with for 2+ years in my previous position — an apt visual analogy is 1,000 small but painful paper cuts — has never returned. If anything, I feel more creative and engaged than ever.
As a storyteller, one who uses images and words to tell his tales, these last four years have been a lifeline. And I know, without question, I could not do this if it weren't for my wife, Jill, and my families (biological and otherwise).
I'm eternally grateful for your help, support, comments and feedback along the way. Thank you, and I hope you'll keep coming back to visit/use my services.
Over the past two weeks, I've:
• Shot and edited more than 1,000 photos at two conferences in New Orleans and San Francisco.
• Written a column for one magazine and a paid-sponsorship feature for another. Also wrote a blog on Fathers and Sons and posted two albums of photos on my business page.
• Officially (at least according to LinkedIn) marked year 4 of this solo business gig.
• Visited a Louisiana swamp and Bourbon Street. (I'm not talking about the same thing, despite many similarities.)
• Spent an invaluable week with my oldest son, showing him NOLA, Texas, and (long enough to snap a picture) Oklahoma.
• Saw and spent varying degrees of time with my mom, aunt, sister, first cousin, and nephews/grandnephew. (Just saw one of the nieces in a literal drive by.)
• Took a number of photos in Kilgore, where my parents first got together.
• Visited my grandparents' gravesite and showed Nick the places where my parents grew up.
• I did not leave the hotel these last three days in San Francisco, but with an afternoon to kill before my red eye back to Virginia, I went to the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see the Summer of Love 50th anniversary exhibit. Before leaving, I also walked through the National AIDS Memorial Grove, where I had a fascinating conversation with two college-age women.
And despite a trigger finger that is rapidly approaching carpel tunnel status, I took my camera. It was nice, after all the work-related stuff, to let my eye roam free.
All in all, it's been a great and productive trip, exhausting but emotionally recharging at the same time. I'm truly grateful to Jill (who's had a couple of interesting weeks in her own right) for having the love and patience to let me do these things.
So that's the news from this end. Look for more photos here and on my Facebook page soon, and hope I sleep well on the plane ride home.
Thanks for reading... How's your week been?
Hello, New York. It’s been a while…
On my first trip to the city in several months, I had the opportunity to take dance photos in Washington Heights with my twins (Ben and Emma) and three alums from the “Newsies” tour cast (Josh Burrage, Kaitlyn Frank, and Iain Young).
A subway tunnel on 191st Street and Fort Tryon Park provided the backdrop for this latest set in the series.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here. Click on the "Art & Dance" tab at the top of this page to see more galleries in the series.
Conference photography is a growing — and highly enjoyable — part of my business. Earlier this month, I shot the APMP Bid and Proposal Conference in New Orleans and the Graduate Management Admission Council’s annual conference in San Francisco. I already have three more conferences scheduled in November and December and am bidding on several others.
The best conference photos, in my opinion, tell stories using visuals rather than words. Nothing bothers me more than the photographer obstructing the views of both the speaker and audience, so I try to remain as unobtrusive as possible. Unless it is absolutely necessary, I do not use flash during sessions, because this has the same disrupting effect on the speakers and audience at a live performance or show.
APMP, which serves professionals dedicated to winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations, holds a three-day professional conference for its members. More than 900 attended this year’s June 13-15 event, the largest in the association’s history. Over three-plus days (including preconference sessions and portraits for the board of directors before the meeting started), I shot and edited more than 600 photos, completing the task before leaving New Orleans to visit family in Texas.
This marked the fourth time I’ve shot the GMAC annual conference, held June 21-23 in San Francisco. Each time, I cull through the edited photos to produce a 2- to 3-minute slideshow of highlights that is aired during the final general session.
An aspect of my journalism career — working on deadline — also has helped in my approach to conference photography. I carve out time during breaks and in between sessions to dump and edit what I’ve shot. Typically, you shoot three to five photos for every one you keep, so this approach gives me a running tally of what I’ve got, and allows time for more shooting if necessary.
This year, for the first time, the slideshow came as close to real time as possible. I had a backup from the first two days already completed, but wanted to see if I could push the envelope. I took photos from the final morning of presentations, went out, picked the best, and edited them. I then shot photos at the start of the 90-minute final general session, edited the best, and added those to the slideshow as well.
When the slideshow — see below — aired, audience members saw about 15 photos that had been taken that morning. In that respect, the photos told the whole story of the meeting.
I watched the Tonys last night in my hotel room in New Orleans, where I'm starting a two-week trip that includes shooting conferences here and in San Francisco, with another trip to Texas in between. (Bonus: Nick is meeting me here tomorrow and will be with me through the Texas jaunt. Yay!)
It was wonderful to see so many people I've become acquainted with performing and being part of the ceremony, and you couldn't help but love the speeches of Ben Platt and the Divine Miss M.
I got here early yesterday and walked around the city, dodging the raindrops to take a few photos. In the afternoon, I went on a swamp tour (why not?) and then called it a night, sitting in my bed and happily watching the Tonys.
Based on all the noise I heard outside, it sounded like the streets of NOLA were viewing the show on a giant screen, but I decided not to be part of their fun. And given the marathon of the next two weeks, I'm happy with that.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy, which opened in 2013 with 15 high school freshmen and sophomores, graduates its second class this June. With the first class, I did a series of portraits at the Lorton Workhouse, incorporating the students’ chosen art form into the aesthetic of the former prison.
This set took a new, though somewhat familiar, path. In all but one instance, the students wanted to use the Workhouse, where the soon-to-be graduates spent three of their four high school years. The familiar setting, however, lent new opportunities for creativity.
The result is “Multiple Exposures.” I’m interested in hearing what you think.
To see the photos of all the MSA graduates, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/msa-grads.
Last week, I had the privilege of shooting the 28th annual Servant of Justice Awards Dinner for Legal Aid of the District of Columbia.
Legal Aid is Washington, D.C.’s oldest and largest general civil legal services organization serving low-income residents in our nation’s capital. This year’s dinner, with 775 guests and more than 40 sponsors, raised $1.2 million for the organization.
Honored with the Servant for Justice awards this year were Vanita Gupta, former head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and Donald B. Verrilli Jr., former U.S. Solicitor General. Gupta is incoming president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, while Verrilli is a partner with Munger, Tolles and Olson. David Young, an associate with Ropes & Gray, received the organization’s top honor for volunteer excellence.
For more photos from the dinner, go to my Facebook album here or visit www.legalaiddc.org.
Soggy conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of supporters who came to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to advocate for environmental causes and science research on Earth Day.
The set up for the March for Science was similar to the Women’s March on Washington, held just three months and one day earlier. I was hired by the Entomological Society of America, one of numerous science organizations that took part in the event, to shoot members getting ready for and participating in the rally.
Throughout the rally, a broad range of speakers were supported by entertainment and a series of short films and clips. Questlove, whose Grammy Award-winning group The Roots serves as the in-house band for The Tonight Show, was one of the co-hosts. Jon Batiste, music director and bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, led the house band.
The steady drizzle turned into a downpour by late morning, and I left before seeing Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) speak or Thomas Dolby perform. These photos, however, capture some of the spirit of the day, which was mirrored in more than 600 cities on more than six continents.
To see more photos from the March, go to my Facebook page here.
Emi is an elementary school student from the Boston area who is working in local theatre. I am returning to Boston next Tuesday through Friday to shoot photos for Wheelock Family Theatre, and hope to schedule more sessions with actors young and old while there. If you're interested, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out these photos of Max taken during a quick mini session in Boston earlier this year. I'm returning to Boston next week to shoot photos for the Wheelock Family Theatre and hope to schedule more sessions with performers young and old(er). If you're interested, send an email to email@example.com and we can set something up!
John, a student at Metropolitan School of the Arts, is a repeat customer who needed new headshots. See the results at http://glenncook.virb.com/john2017, and consider scheduling a session today.
Seth is the seventh actor I’ve taken headshots or dance photos of who has played one of the most demanding child roles on stage — the title character in “Billy Elliot.” These photos were taken during a mini session in the middle of tech week for the show. You can see more photos at http://glenncook.virb.com/seth.
Check out these headshots of Shane, taken during a mini session in Boston in the middle of tech week for “Billy Elliot” in late January. The gallery is at http://glenncook.virb.com/shane. Shane played Michael for most of the month-long run as well as the title character.
Taking headshots of your own children is more difficult than you might think. They’re often your toughest critics — justifiably — and you learn as much as you teach them. That said, when your kids are performers and dad is a photographer for a living, you work it out.
Now that my twins, Ben and Emma, are college age and living in different cities, it’s difficult to photograph them together. Both wanted new headshots for upcoming auditions, however, and as it turns out, they wanted to go to the same place.
Here is the result. I’m very pleased, and they seemed to be, too.
You can see more photos by going to the “Portraits” section of my website and clicking on the Performers/Dancers link.
Continuing our series of headshots, take a look at these photos of repeat customer Georgia, a second semester freshman at New York’s Pace University. The photos are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/georgia.
Day 2 in our series of newly posted headshots takes us to Boston, where I did a series of sessions as well as the production photos for a regional production of “Billy Elliot The Musical.” These photos were taken of Byron, an actor and motivational speaker who now lives in New York City. You can see the gallery at http://glenncook.virb.com/byron.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m posting and sharing a series of headshots taken over the past couple of months. Now that spring is officially coming, it’s time to schedule full or mini sessions for your performers, high school seniors, families and corporate work. Send me a personal message via Facebook or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your session soon.
Let’s kickoff the series with Sofia, a lovely young lady from Northern Virginia, whose headshots were taken at the Workhouse Arts Center in January. You can check out her headshots at http://glenncook.virb.com/sofia.
Dancer in silhouette (from the Art & Dance: Ballerinas Redux album) — Arlington, Va., February 2017
Two and a half years ago, just after developing the “Art & Dance” concept, I took a group of ballerinas from Metropolitan School of the Arts into Washington, D.C., where we shot photos at a graffiti park and in the Federal Triangle. The shoot was very successful, and spurred much of what has taken place since with this series.
What was missing, however, was a second chance to take photos of MSA ballerinas in this type of setting. That changed on Monday, when five members of the Metropolitan Youth Ballet and a helpful apprentice went to Theodore Roosevelt Island and to Great Falls, Va., for the latest installment in the series.
Blessed by an early spring-like day, we navigated around an unusually large contingent of families walking around Theodore Roosevelt Island and took photos in a creek at a small park near the larger Great Falls facility.
Each winter, the Workhouse Arts Foundation holds its Collectors Showcase exhibition and fundraiser, featuring donated pieces from each of the 90-plus studio and the Arches Gallery artists. Last year, one of my photos was selected as “Best in Show” by Sarah Newman, an independent curator with past exhibits at the National Gallery of Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art.
As a result, I was invited to have my own exhibit at the entrance to this year’s showcase, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 4. The exhibit, dubbed “Road Show,” features 12 photographs taken during 2016, a year in which I traveled to 18 states and three countries.
All 12 photos are for sale, with 30% of the proceeds benefitting the Workhouse’s art, education and history programs. This teaser video gives you a sneak peek at the show, which was installed yesterday. I also will feature selected images from the show — with the stories behind each — in upcoming "Daily Photos" here and on my blog.
Starting this weekend, you can see the photos for yourself during the gallery’s regular hours (11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays) and at the second Saturday event on Feb. 11.
For more information about the Collectors Showcase and art lottery, visit www.workhousearts.org. And stop by Building 9 to see three more of my photos and the work of the other Arches Gallery artists.
My oldest son designed these business cards and a new watermark for my work. Thank you, Nick!
Last week, I posted photos shot during the final dress rehearsals for Wheelock Family Theatre's production of "Billy Elliot" in Boston. While there, I also took headshots of five cast members in a series of mini-sessions.
Tomorrow, I'm returning to Boston and Wheelock to take various photos and see our son, Ben, play Older Billy. If you've read my Stage Dad posts, you may recall the long journey that Ben took with the show on Broadway and the national tour. This weekend, he will play his fourth different role in the show.
If you're in the area and interested, go to www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org to get your tickets. Ben will perform as Older Billy at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11. He also is teaching master classes for youth ages 8 to 16 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 11.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped Glenn Cook Photography to its best year yet. This is a snapshot of the clients who hired me to take their headshots and family photos in 2016. I've also shot a variety of meetings, events, and conferences for nonprofit and corporate clients in addition to fine art and dancers.
I hope you'll consider hiring me for your photo and/or writing needs in 2017 and beyond.
Headshots of James, a senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/james. It's not too late to get your headshots or senior photos done, but call soon!
College audition headshots of Rebecca are now up on my website at http://glenncook.com/
rebecca. Take a look and consider scheduling your own session soon!
Photos of Ivy, taken in November during a workshop for dancers in Reidsville, N.C., are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/ivy. If you are interested in scheduling a combination of master classes in dance and headshots for your students, contact me to talk through the possibilities.
Headshots of Brian, taken for his college auditions as he gets ready to graduate from Metropolitan School of the Arts in Northern Virginia, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/brian. It's not too late for high school seniors to schedule a quick headshot session before the spring audition season.
Photos of the Thornton family, taken at Burke Lake Park in November, are now up at http://glenncook.virb.com/the-thorntons. While your children are home on break, consider scheduling a session for your family!
Another set of headshots, these from repeat customer Merritt, are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/
merritt2016. If you're looking for audition headshots, be sure to check out the "Performers" section on my website. Miniature and full packages are available.
I've been uploading a series of recent headshot sessions to my website this weekend. Check out these photos of Danielle at http://glenncook.virb.com/danielle.
Recently, I've started uploading a series of headshots and photos taken this fall. Check out these of Lauren at http://glenncook.virb.com/lauren-nc, taken during a recent trip to Hickory, N.C.
Another set of headshots from a recent trip to Hickory, N.C., are now up on the website. Check out these pictures and others of Elizabeth at http://glenncook.virb.com/elizabeth.
It's not too late to have senior pictures taken for your son or daughter. Check out these of Meryn that I took recently in Alexandria, Va., at http://glenncook.virb.com/meryn.
Last week, I shot a half-day Capture & Business Development Conference for APMP, a Washington, D.C.-based organization for professionals dedicated to the process of winning business through proposals, bids, tenders, and presentations. The association then posted the photos to its Flickr site for attendees to download
This past week, I photographed a conference in Las Vegas and stayed at the Westgate Hotel, which is best known by its former names and a famous occupant: Elvis Presley.
Built in 1969 by Kirk Kerkorian, the International Hotel was the largest in the world when it opened. Barbra Streisand was the opening-night performer, but Elvis made the hotel’s reputation. He performed there twice a year from July 1969 to December 1976, eight months before he died at age 42.
Kerkorian sold the International to Hilton in 1970 and went on to build the MGM Grand Hotel in 1973 and the MGM Grand 20 years later. Hilton owned the property until 2012 and it was sold again to the Westgate in 2014.
Known now for its race and sports book, which is the largest in Las Vegas, the Westgate is showing some signs of age. But it still is a huge draw for visitors, and the statue of Elvis remains in the lobby.
A huge word of thanks to the students and staff at Academy of Dance in Reidsville, N.C., for bringing us in for a day of master classes, headshots and dance photography this past weekend.
My son, Ben, taught back-to-back classes and talked to students at the studio about his experiences as a working actor. I took headshots, did an "Art & Dance" session with several students, and talked to parents about challenges of raising a child in show business.
This is the second of these types of sessions we have done this fall. If you are interested in bringing us in for your studio, send an email to email@example.com.
Academy of Dance in Reidsville, N.C., holds a special place in my heart because it’s where our daughter Kate took her first dance lessons at the age of 2. Seventeen years later, Ben and I returned so he could teach two master classes and talk to students about being a performer.
Earlier in the day, I took headshots of the kids as well as this addition to the “Art & Dance” series. Later, while Ben was teaching, I spoke to parents about the work it takes to help an aspiring performer navigate the professional world.
It was a fun day, an opportunity to help others, and a chance to reminisce. It also produced some really good pictures…
Drew Minard is the fifth dancer I’ve shot this year who has taken on the role of “Billy Elliot” in the Broadway, national tour or regional productions of the Tony Award-winning musical. Now a student at the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City, Drew performed on the national tour from 2012 until it closed in Brazil the following year.
These photos were taken in New York City a couple of weeks ago. As with all of the young men who’ve played one of the most difficult child roles on stage — original director Stephen Daldry likens it to performing Shakespeare while running a marathon — I was in awe of his talent and professionalism.
And, appropriately, these shots were taken as the New York City Marathon wrapped up on a beautiful, chilly fall day.
Highlights from the Association for Career & Technical Education's "Vision 2016" conference, held Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This slideshow of my photos was shown at the final general session.
As a photographer (and parent), I truly enjoy working with young actors, dancers and performers. My goal is to take photos that capture their personality in a professional way without losing the spirit of who they are.
Last year, while taking photos of Metropolitan School of the Arts' first graduating class, I took students to settings around the Workhouse Arts Center. The goal was to integrate their art with the workhouse surroundings, and the result was a very successful shoot.
Around that time, I mentioned to Brian Perry (then a junior whose focus is on acting) that I wanted to find a way to capture his many expressions for his senior photos. When the time came to do his headshots for college auditions, I asked him to sit against a wall and give me faces.
Here is the result from a very enjoyable afternoon.
I love repeat customers, especially when I get a chance to see how kids have grown. Check out these new headshots for Aidan at http://glenncook.virb.com/aidan.
Photos taken of three dancers and Ben that were part of a weekend of master classes and shoots earlier this month in Hickory, N.C. The girls are students at Sonya's Dance Academy. The photos were taken in downtown and at the Bunker Hill covered bridge.
We also held a Sunday morning shoot at a railroad yard featuring some, though not all of the teenage dancers from Sonya's Dance Academy. The shoot produced an interesting set of images, and a whole lot of fun for everyone involved.
Seven performing arts students from Point Park University, including three Metropolitan School of the Arts alums, went with me on a cloudy, breezy Sunday afternoon earlier this month for a dance shoot. The intent was to go to a variety of locations, but the shoot ended up taking place in and around Point State Park across the river from Heinz Field.
I'm sure there will be other shoots in Pittsburgh, but for now, enjoy these and others on my Facebook album here.
It's been a while since I've taken headshots of Kate, and she needed some new ones, so it was a pleasure to take these. Here are four takes on my beautiful daughter, who turns 20 (!) in December.
It is headshot and portraits season, open to all ages. Check out these headshots of Alex, a recent college graduate now pursuing an acting career in Austin, Texas, at http://glenncook.virb.com/alex.
Senior photos and headshots of Bridget are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/bridget. Now is a great time to schedule photos for your children and your seniors.
Packages are available for prospective dance/musical theater/theater majors who need photos and videos for their auditions this fall. An accompanist also can be arranged for an additional fee. If you are interested, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Headshots and dance photos of Zach, taken in New York City, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/zach. Check them out and schedule a session of your own soon!
Headshot season is heating up! Check out these photos of Anissa, taken this summer in New York City, at http://glenncook.virb.com/anissa and schedule your session today!
Senior photos of Ashley are now up on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com/ashley. Take a look and schedule a session for your high school senior soon!
A huge thanks to the staff, students, and parents at Sonya's Dance Academy who took part in a weekend-long series of photo shoots, master classes, and workshops recently in Hickory, N.C.
My son, Ben, taught two hour-long dance classes and talked to the students about his evolution from child to adult actor/performer. Meanwhile, I scheduled a series of mini-sessions with students for headshots, and spent more than an hour with parents talking about raising a young professional in the performing arts. Finally, we did a series of "Art & Dance" shoots, for which the photos will be coming shortly.
If your studio or group is interested in putting together this type of package, please contact me via Facebook message or by email at email@example.com.
At 17, Tade Biesinger already has lived a very interesting life, becoming one of the youngest boys to play "Billy Elliot" on Broadway and later reprising the role in London for several months.
Now a senior just outside Salt Lake City, this very talented young man is taking college dance classes as he finishes high school. We've known Tade and his wonderful family for six years, and I was fortunate to catch up with him on a recent trip to Utah.
To see more from this shoot, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/salt-lake-city-tade.
Headshots and senior photos of Caroline are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/carolinek. As kids get ready to go back to school, it's time to schedule a session for your senior!
Isabella, a student at Interlochen Arts Academy in northwestern Michigan, hired me to take her head shots while she was at a summer intensive in New York City. To see more from the shoot, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/isabella.
Headshots of Kylie are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/kylie. Check them out and schedule a session!
Metropolitan Youth Theatre, a student-run nonprofit company formed two years ago in Northern Virginia, will present the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” in July.
Featuring a cast of 17 high school and college students, the show is the fourth MYT production since the company was founded in 2014 by Fairfax County students Sam Cornbrooks, Chad Vann, and James Woods. Students run all aspects of the productions, fulfilling the company’s mission of educating young actors and technicians about the challenges they soon will face in the professional theatre world.
Cornbrooks, who graduated this month from Lee High School, is the producer and technical director of “Spring Awakening,” which won eight Tony Awards in its first run on Broadway and was nominated for Best Musical Revival this year. Vann, a rising senior at Hayfield Secondary School, is the show’s director. The music director is Woods, a rising senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts.
Since the company started, I have served as MYT’s photographer, taking publicity photos to promote each show and then of the performances. Because the show’s themes focus on the sexual awakening of teens in 19th century Germany and the struggles they face with adults, we used the Lorton Workhouse as the setting for the promo photos. The gritty nature of the former prison — a place where I shoot frequently — served as a terrific backdrop for a series of mostly somber portraits of the cast.
Performances will be July 29-31 at 1st Stage Tysons in McLean, Va. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 and available at www.metroyoutharts.com.
To see more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
A weekend with my oldest son, Nicholas, and his girlfriend Conner in Durham, N.C. led to a walk around downtown and a series of fun photos of a cute couple. To see more, go to my Facebook album here.
Here is a 3-minute slideshow of photos I took at the Graduate Management Admissions Council's annual conference last week in Washington, D.C. The slideshow aired at the beginning of the conference's final general session.
GMAC has been an outstanding client. I've shot the council's last three annual meetings as well as other events and staff portraits.
Send me an email or give me a call if you are interested in having me shoot your conference or event. Hourly, half-day, daily, and multiple day rates are available.
Need some headshots? Check out these, taken of Ben during a session in New York City earlier this month. The photos are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/ben-2016.
Continuing our series of portraits: Check out this session with the Austin family, taken at various locations in Alexandria, Va., at http://glenncook.virb.com/the-austins.
Looking to the future — Newport News, Va., May 2016
Headshots of Myriam, a graduating senior at Robinson Secondary School, are up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/myriam. Take a look and consider scheduling your session.
Continuing our ongoing portrait series: Senior photos of Biby, taken last month at the Lorton Workhouse, are up at http://glenncook.virb.com/biby. Take a look and consider scheduling a session today!
New portraits of Annie, taken earlier this spring in Northern Virginia, are up. Check them out here and schedule your photo session today.
Continuing our recent portrait series... On location photos of Ally, taken just before her graduation from Christopher Newport University, are now up at http://glenncook.virb.com/ally.
Twenty-one high school seniors affiliated with Metropolitan School of the Arts will graduate later this month. Most also will perform in a special senior showcase scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the MSA studio in Alexandria.
Our daughter, Emma, has been a part of the studio since early elementary school, so this will be one of the last opportunities she has to perform in a MSA show. As a parent, I’ve been fortunate to watch many of these kids — now young adults — grow up and flourish as performers and people. As a photographer, I’ve also been fortunate to take many of their headshots and senior pictures as they get ready to go to college.
Late last month, on a drizzly Saturday morning, we went out for a shoot with the seniors that will be featured in a video to start the show. You can see some here. Come back next week to look at what I take at the senior speeches scheduled after the showcase.
Over the next week, I'm uploading and posting photos from a series of recent sessions. This from a morning shoot with the Rubin family at the Chapman Mill Historic Site on the Prince William-Fauquier County line in Northern Virginia.
For more photos from this session, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/the-rubins. And contact me if you are interested in a session of your own.
A photographer's financial bread and butter, in addition to portraits, is often reflected by your ability to shoot meetings and events. Over the past couple of years, I've been fortunate to obtain a number of recurring clients.
Over the past month alone, I've taken photos for the Graduate Management Admissions Council's day-long staff retreat, the American Payroll Association's Capitol Summit, the Equal Employment Advisory Council's annual meeting and policy conference, and the American Staffing Association's law conference.
At the GMAC retreat, in addition to the group photo seen here, I compiled photos from the event into a five-minute slideshow that was shown the following day.
To see the slideshow, go to GMAC Staff Retreat 2016. This type of work is part of commissioned services I can provide to clients.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Fifteen area athletes took part in a benefit Strongman competition Saturday at Gold’s Gym in Lorton to raise money for autism awareness.
Proceeds from the first-ever event, held on World Autism Awareness Day, will be used to sponsor an athlete at the Lift for Autism competition in Hudson Valley, N.Y. on April 16.
Organizers Justin Burcham, Kelly Bryan, and Nick Shelton have been teaching local athletes, clients, class members, and friends pieces of the Strongman sport for several years. Saturday’s competition gave athletes an opportunity to compete in the log clean and press, axle deadlift, farmer’s walk, a sandbag and keg carry medley and tire flip.
Jill and I weren’t able to stay for the entire event because of a previously scheduled trip to New York, but I did manage to capture pictures from the first three events. Congratulations to all involved, and thanks for helping a great cause.
For more photos, go to my Facebook album here.
Senior photos and headshots of Lexi, a senior at the Metropolitan School of the Arts Academy, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/lexi.
It's not too late to schedule a session for your high school senior or prospective performer. Send me a message on Facebook or give me a call!
Conclusion: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on the “Art & Dance” series.
What led to the “Art & Dance” series?
My twins, Ben and Emma, are dancers (as was their sister, Kate, until she was in high school). So, as the family photographer, I found myself taking pictures of their recitals, just like I did with Nicholas and his theatre/music performances in high school and college. For a long time, I had to take hundreds of pictures just to get a few I liked.
And there are reasons for that.
First, I shot a lot of pictures indoors, and until I got a good camera body (Canon 5D-Mark III) that works well in low light as well as a number of F2.8 lenses (the expensive ones), I was working at a disadvantage, especially indoors.
Second, I usually shot performances, which meant that I sat in the same place and tried to capture things on a stage. That was both fun and boring at the same time, because I had to wait instead of create, and I had to rely on lighting that was completely out of my control.
In 2014, I was looking for a new creative challenge, one that was more conceptual and artistic. I was always told that I had more of a news eye than a conceptual one and, for a long time, I believed that, but I wanted to challenge myself because it was something I hadn’t done before.
That’s when I came up with the idea of taking pictures of dancers in natural light and in unusual settings. This is not a unique thing; you can find countless images all over the web. But it solved two concerns for me: 1) I wouldn’t have to worry about slow shutter speeds and sitting in the same place all the time. 2) I could see if my conceptual eye (the Art) could match the skills of the performer (the Dance).
What challenges did you find in doing this?
Unfortunately, at least at the beginning, I shot the “Art & Dance” pictures the same way as I did the performances. As someone who doesn’t dance, I didn’t understand the “peak” and missed it over and over, as my kids took pains to remind me constantly.
Things changed for me when I realized that I needed to try different angles. I do that in my other photography, but why not dance? Often when I sit I can capture peaks because my eye is at the same level as the dancer’s jump. And the more I practice, the better I get at it, both the photography and the art direction.
As a dancer, you have an advantage because you know that part. But you will still need to practice, practice, practice. Photography is a form of art just like dance is, and you can always find ways to improve.
Part 3: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on starting and running a business.
Did you always want to own a photography business?
Growing up in the days when we had film and not digital photography, I never, ever thought I would do something like this.
I’ve always been primarily a writer and editor. Photography was something that interested me, and I really enjoyed doing it while working for small newspapers in Texas and North Carolina. Traditional studio portraits, however, are often more technical than artistic, and for the longest time I thought that was the only way I make a living through photography.
When I moved into communications, and became a one-person publishing unit, I started paying more attention to the visual presentation, especially as I took photos. The problem was I did not have the technical skills, or the patience and aptitude to learn those skills in a way that could make me successful solely as a photographer.
Understanding how to get my camera to do what I wanted so I could capture what I saw was more frustrating than fascinating, especially in the days when post-production was spent inhaling chemicals in a pitch dark room.
That has been eliminated thanks to the digital explosion, and enhanced by a chance to pay tribute to my dad. It’s also served as an opportunity to explore that I never thought I'd have.
How did you start your business?
On a rainy day in 2012, my oldest son (Nicholas) needed headshots for school. Of course, he was leaving that day, so we had to be creative, especially since I didn’t have studio equipment.
I was extremely nervous about doing them — nothing is harder than getting professional quality shots of your own family — but they turned out well and I found that I liked the challenge of portrait photography, especially without the constraint of being in a studio.
The next year, I was laid off from my job and became a freelancer. I started offering photography as part of my services when I felt like I finally had the equipment and the skills necessary to make sure my customers would be satisfied with my work. I’ve been fortunate that most of my clients like my work, and the business has grown in new and unexpected ways.
What have you learned from running your own business? What are the challenges?
I learn something new every day. I’ve had to learn how to juggle many different writing and photography projects at once while still trying to raise a family, something that is not unique to anyone who does this even if our circumstances (and skill sets) are a bit different. Like any business, this one fluctuates in a feast or famine way, and that can be challenging.
My wife is an excellent time manager, and being the one with the out-there creative gene, I’m not. I never have been, so it’s something I have to continue working at constantly.
Purely from a photography standpoint, I still struggle at times with my technical skills (especially in the area of retouching). They are not where I’d like them to be yet, although I’m getting better. It’s not something that comes naturally, but I’m working at it.
What have you enjoyed the most?
I genuinely like meeting new people and working with them on various projects, whether its through interviews for stories or going on a shoot. When you have a chance to work together in a collaborative way, like we’ve done for the “Art & Dance” series, that’s always a lot of fun.
Increasingly, I’ve learned how to enjoy art directing a shoot. This was something I never thought I would be good at, because I didn’t think I had that level of creativity to create something out of nothing. I find it really fascinating.
Part 2: Being interviewed by an aspiring teenage photographer — the director’s cut. This section focuses on tips for beginners.
The question seemed pretty simple: What tips would you give to someone starting out?
My response: It's all a matter of what you want to do, and how much time you're willing to invest. The beauty of digital is that if you don't like it, you can delete it, and it doesn't cost anything. So go out and start taking pictures.
Find new ways to challenge yourself all the time. Don’t rest on what you’ve done yesterday. Look ahead to tomorrow's opportunities.
Think about composition. Don't be afraid to bend down or look around, and take the same shot from three different angles. Keep the ones you like and delete the others. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
What does someone just starting out need to know about equipment and lighting?
I’m not a technician by any means, but here are some very basic things you need to know:
- Digital SLR vs. iPhone: Yes, you can get great shots with many of the point-and-shoots that are out there, and the iPhone's camera is really nice. BUT: A good digital SLR gives you flexibility (faster shutter, no delay, broader range, more settings, different feel in your hand). Your dad mentioned that you received a digital SLR for Christmas and that’s great. You’re off on the right foot.
- Lenses matter, too, often more than the camera body. This is where you start to spend the bucks. Each lens gives you different abilities/opportunities (sharp foreground/background blur, panoramic view, zoomed in view) and, depending on how much you're willing to spend to make your photos pop, greater clarity.
- Try different angles. Generally, when you’re taking pictures of people, it’s best to be at eye level, but not always. Take pictures from a long way away and up close of the same subject. Look up, look down, and take several different pictures of the same subject from a variety of angles, then see what you like best.
- Fill the frame as much as possible, with an eye toward the crop. You don’t want dead space in your picture. You know those pictures where people stand in the middle of the photo and there’s all this space on either side. Unless you’re trying to do that on purpose, you need to get closer to your subject. (But not too close, because you can lose some things too.)
- Remember the crop. Most digital cameras produce files with a 4x6 ratio. If you are producing 8x10s, then you’ll need space at the top or bottom to accommodate the crop. Also, if you have to crop the picture too much, you’ll lose quality on the image, so that’s why you need to be as close as you can.
- Shutters and speed: If you’re trying to capture action (such as sports or dancers), you need to make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/160th of a second. (1/250th or 1/300th is preferable.) Unfortunately, this also means you’ll have to push your ISO (how much light goes into the camera) way up if you’re shooting indoors. Depending on the camera body you have, it can be difficult to push the ISO up to much more than 3200 or 4000 and still get a good picture. Higher end cameras can go to 6400 or 12800 and get something that is acceptable, but still not ideal.
- Flashes and stopping action: Most flashes operate at 1/60th to 1/125th of a second, and it’s hard to stop action without blur that way, which is why I often am outside for most of my dance pictures. Also, available light is almost always the best way to go because of the way it lights the skin, but that’s just my personal preference.
Tomorrow: Starting and running a business. For Part 1, go here.
Recently, the father of a 13-year-old girl wrote asking if I could help her with a class project by answering some questions about photography. The dad explained that his daughter — a dancer and a big “Newsies” fan — had started following my work because of my ongoing “Art & Dance” series and had gotten a camera for Christmas.
As a dad, it’s hard to turn down this type of request, especially when a parent takes the time to ask for help for his daughter. As a photographer, I’m more collegial than competitive, and always happy to help others.
Answering her questions was an interesting exercise. Since Jill and I reached 50 last year, we both find ourselves reflecting on why we do what we do, what drives us to continue, and what we like/dislike about our roles in this life. As the child of two teachers, this was my teachable moment, an opportunity to explain the craft I've come to love.
Over the next four days, I’d like to share edited — and in some cases enhanced — versions of the responses. (Call it a “director’s cut” if you will.) If you follow my writing and this blog, chances are you’ve seen some of this before. But I hope you find it an entertaining read nonetheless.
What was your inspiration to become a professional photographer?
My dad was a visual artist who could paint, sculpt, or draw anything that came to mind. I can't draw a stick figure, but I've always had his eye for composition, just not the creativity (or sadly, the fine motor skills) to create something out of nothing.
When I first went to New York with our son, Ben, in 2009, I thought of my dad often as I was drawn to the visual explosion that is the city. Dad died in 2007 and never visited New York, but in so many ways, the stuff I see walking around serves as a constant reminder of his interests, insights, and influence on my life. Also, when in New York, I spend most of my time on foot as opposed to in a car, so I see things differently when I’m there.
On a beautiful spring day, I took out my camera, started taking random pictures of the things I saw, and found I have a knack for it. I shared the photos to Facebook, found my friends liked them too, and just continued with it.
What do you like most about photography?
Capturing moments in time, whether it is through the dance pictures, an unusual or visually interesting place, or through portraits I take of people. People seem to appreciate that I can do it and like my work, which is very gratifying.
Photography also has allowed me to make connections I never would have imagined — such as the one I’m making with you right now — and several folks from far-flung places have said they became interested in picking up a camera after seeing my random noodlings. I've been lucky to go out on photo shoots with a variety of other weekend warriors, all of whom I've learned from and whose talents are greater than mine.
Here’s what I say to anyone who has an interest in taking pictures: Try it and see what happens. You might find you like it and have a previously untapped talent. It’s something you can do alone or with others. It gives you a chance to be creative in ways you might never have imagined.
Next Up: Learning the basics.
Portraits of soon-to-be high school graduates, many of them aspiring performers, are a large part of my business here in Northern Virginia. Working with dancers, singers, and actors, my goal is to combine aspects of their art with my eye to create images that are captivating, reflective, slightly edgy, and occasionally provocative.
As anyone who follows my work knows, I spend a great deal of time shooting for Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA), which offers pre-professional training to performers from age 3 to adult. In September 2013, MSA opened a college preparatory performing arts academy at the Workhouse Arts Center for students who want to combine academics with intensive arts training.
The first class graduates this June, so I decided to work on a series of senior portraits for those who are enrolled and attend school at the Workhouse. Nine of the 12 seniors are in Lorton; two are already working as professional performers and are not on site, while one graduated at midyear.
As an associate artist at the Workhouse, a former adult reformatory that was reshaped into a complex for the visual and performing arts, I have long been fascinated by the elements that remain of the former prison. Combining the Workhouse’s physical elements with the students’ performing skills and passion presented an interesting artistic challenge.
The result is this series of portraits that were shot last week. Throughout the month of June, a number of these images will be displayed in gallery W-9, where the Associate Artists show their work.
I hope you enjoy these and others that are on my Facebook photography page.
Just over a year ago, I went on a photo shoot with Sabrina Campbell, owner of Occasionally Cake in Alexandria, Va. Tonight, Sabrina won "Cake Wars" on the Food Network. Congratulations!
Headshots of Annie Laurie, a student from Northern Virginia, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/annie-laurie. Check them out and consider scheduling headshots, senior photos, or portraits today!
Another set of headshots, taken last fall in New York of siblings Jeremy and Diana, are now up on my website here. I'm happy to take headshots and portraits at reasonable rates in Manhattan and in the Greater Washington, D.C. area. All you have to do is call, email, or send me a private message on Facebook.
New headshots of Brianna, a junior at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, are up on my website. Take a look and schedule your session soon!
Check out a new set of headshots for Anya here and schedule a session today. These photos were taken last month at the Lorton Workhouse.
Headshots of Maddie are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/maddie. Take a look and schedule a headshot session today!
Senior photos and headshots of Veronica are now up here. Take a look and schedule your own session now!
Nicholas is my first-born child and my first portrait subject. He turned 23 this week, and it was a few short years ago that I nervously took his headshots on a cold, drizzly morning before he started auditioning for colleges.
That shoot, at the Lorton Workhouse, inadvertently led to this business and this page. Today, he's working at his alma mater (Elon University) and still posing for his dad, this time during a Thanksgiving week trip to Wintergreen, Va.
For more, go to my Facebook album here.
Emma and Margaret are first cousins and, along with Ben, the high school seniors in our family who will graduate in 2016. While in Wintergreen over the Thanksgiving holiday, the girls and I went out just after sunrise for a "senior" photo shoot at one of our favorite family vacation spots.
For more photos from this shoot, go to my Facebook album here.
Wednesday is the last day to order your 2016 "Art & Dance" calendar and receive it in time for the holidays. Cost is $20 (plus $6.95 for shipping outside Northern Virginia), with proceeds benefitting Metropolitan School of the Arts and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Wren is the beautiful daughter of Steve and Meredith Blanchard, two actors on the "Newsies" tour. Last year, while in Chicago during the holidays, I mentioned to Meredith that I wanted to take pictures of Wren, who had just turned 2. What that turned into was a series of photos at three different stops — in Charlotte, San Antonio, and Richmond, where this set was taken just a few weeks before Miss Wren's 3rd birthday In November 2015.
To see more from the Richmond shoot, go here.
Wren is the beautiful daughter of Steve and Meredith Blanchard, two actors on the "Newsies" tour. In Chicago during the holidays, I mentioned to Meredith that I wanted to take pictures of Wren, who had just turned 2. We took pictures in Charlotte in January and again in San Antonio this past week between the Saturday matinee and evening shows. We're already making plans to do so again sometime when work out and I'm back on the road.
Veronica is a high school senior who was part of one of the first "Art & Dance" shoots (ballerinas in a graffiti park) in August 2014. These photos were taken earlier this fall at the Lorton Workhouse. For more photos, check out my "Art & Dance" page here.
Courtney Lapenta is one of the most interesting and talented dancers I’ve known in my time as a photographer for Metropolitan School of the Arts. Now a sophomore at California’s Chapman University, we took advantage of her fall break to take pictures at the Capitol Columns site at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
These photos from a trip to Hollywood are part of my 2016 "Art & Dance" calendar, now available at http://glenncook.virb.com/2016-calendar. Proceeds from the sales benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Metropolitan School of the Arts. Get yours now in time for the holidays!
Photos of the Lewis family, taken in mid-November outside a historic hotel that's now part of the University of Tampa, are up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/the-lewis-family. Take a look and schedule your family for a session in the coming year!
The day before Thanksgiving, I had an opportunity to take pictures of Justin and Donna Swanson and their two adorable daughters, Casey and Riley. Justin was about to be deployed and Donna wanted a series of family photos before he left. I was happy and honored to oblige.
For more photos from this shoot, go to http://glenncook.virb.com/families-the-swansons.
Headshots and senior photos of Georgia are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/georgia. Why don't you schedule a session to kick off 2016?
One last thing from last week's events: Photographer Isaiah Foster took these photos at the RAW-DC "Uprising" exhibit I participated in at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. To see more of his work, go to http://shineinc516.blogspot.com/
Another night, another show: One of my pieces — a collage of photos I took during a visit to Texas earlier this year — is featured in an "Art Feast" exhibition at the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery at the Hylton Performing Arts Center. Thanks to everyone who came out to Manassas tonight for the opening of the Workhouse Associate Artists exhibit and to Kathy Strauss for asking me to speak briefly. The exhibit showcases the work of a number of very talented people who work in all different types of genres.
Now on my website (http://glenncook.virb.com/freelance) is a fascinating human interest story on a young woman who became a corporate attorney thanks to her mother's willingness to sacrifice everything. I also took the photos of Patricia Astorga and her mother in New York City earlier this fall.
On Cyber Monday, you can buy gifts online and support the arts at the same time. Pick up your 2016 "Art and Dance" calendar featuring pre-professional and professional dancers from across the U.S. on my website. Go to http://glenncook.virb.com/
2016-calendar and show your support for Metropolitan School of the Arts and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Now this was an interesting project.
For several years, I was on the board of directors for Association Media & Publishing, a national organization that serves writers, editors, designers, and other online/print professionals in the member and trade association space. AM&P, as it is known, has a bimonthly print magazine (called Signature) that focuses on related trends in the field.
While on the board, one of my tasks was working with editorial director Carla Kalogeridis to develop content and structure for the recently rebranded and rapidly growing magazine, which does an excellent job on a shoestring budget. Although I have not been as involved with AM&P since leaving the board and starting my freelance career, Carla and I have continued to talk and email back and forth on occasion.
Several months ago, Carla emailed me with a question: Would I be interested in helping to shoot a cover photo for Signature?
The idea was intriguing for a number of reasons. First, Signature has never had people on its cover. Second, even several years removed from the board, I knew what the likely editorial budget was, and it wasn’t much. And finally, what did Carla mean when she said “helping”?
Carla explained that she wanted to put people on the cover because PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, had acquired a business-to-business media company (Summit Media Group) that specialized in custom digital media, magazines, and newsletters. In the association world, this was a very bold move.
All is well and good, except that the management teams of the two groups were in Northern Virginia and Chicago. They weren’t scheduled to be in the same place before Carla’s deadline, and Signature’s budget would not allow us to get them together.
So, Carla asked, would I be willing to take pictures of the PMMI staff at its Reston office, while another photographer handled the Chicago group? And, given my association with AM&P, would I do it for a lower-than-usual rate?
The answer to both questions was yes, and what you see at the top of this page is the result. Before the shoots, we had a conference call between Bates Creative (the magazine’s designers) and Kyle Bethea, PMMI’s Chicago-based photographer. We agreed to take several individual portraits of the different professionals in a variety of poses (facing one way, facing another, smiling, not smiling). Bates then cut the photos out individually and arranged them into the cover you see.
After seeing the final result (and the magazine), I’m glad to have taken part in the project. As Carla writes at the end of her “Under the Covers” column explaining the execution of the concept: “Don’t shy away from something just because it seems too complicated and unlikely to work out. Sometimes, just taking a few steps in the right direction reveals a path you never knew existed.”
Sounds like a good mission statement for a freelancer, doesn’t it?
To see the issue of Signature, as well as other photos that accompanied Carla’s cover story, go here.
DATE CHANGE: Get your tickets now for RAW-Uprising, a show featuring more than 40 Washington, D.C. area artists (including me!) that will be held Wednesday, November 18 at the Howard Theatre. Tickets are only $15.
I need to sell 20 tickets by Sunday, November 15. Ten of my photos will be featured. Purchase your tickets at www.rawartists.org/glenncookphoto. If you can't go, buy a ticket and I'll make sure it is given to a deserving artist...
Support the arts!
Senior portraits of Megan, a student at South County High School, are now up here. Check out these and other portraits and book your session today.
Headshots and senior photos of Hank are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/
hank. Contact me today to schedule your session!
Headshots of adult actors and performers taken during "short shoot" sessions in October 2015 in Syracuse, N.Y. To get more information about these sessions, contact me here.
Senior photos of David, taken at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate and at other locations, are now up on my website here. Contact me today to schedule your session.
Engagement photos of Ginno and Elie, taken earlier this month along the High Line and in Manhattan's meatpacking district, are now up on the website here. Congratulations to the happy couple!
Senior photos and headshots of Lauren are now up on my website. Check them out at http://glenncook.virb.com/lauren and book your own session!
Key message — Lorton, Va., September 2015
New headshots of Ben, a senior at Metropolitan School of the Arts, are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/
ben. Schedule a session for your senior, performer, or family member today!
Senior photos of Samuel, taken at various locations in and around Washington, D.C., are now up on my website at http://glenncook.virb.com/samuel. Schedule a session for your high school senior soon!
Senior photos of Carolyn are now up on my website — http://glenncook.virb.com/carolyn. Schedule a session for your senior now!
Over the past year, I have done "Art & Dance" shoots with professional and pre-professional dancers in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Hollywood, New York, Orlando, and Toronto. Recently, I decided to compile my favorites from each shoot and put them up on my website. Take a look by clicking on the "Art & Dance" tab or by starting here — http://glenncook.virb.com/about-the-series
Annelise, another dancer from the Detroit area and a veteran of the “Billy Elliot” tour, is in the spotlight today as “Portraits & Headshots Week” continues. For more photos from the session, go here.