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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Magazine Cover Shoot with the Sony a7s

I’m shooting everything these days with a pair of Sony’s

My sister site blueydawg is where I showcase my ridiculously wonderful pet photography” since 2010. Recently a magazine owner contacted me to do a magazine cover shoot for her first edition of a pet magazine in Orange County. Its not an new endeavor. She’s been producing a pet magazine in Palm Desert since 2010 with great success. I photographed the entire session with my Sony a7s and FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. I always take back up gear to my shoots and had my Sony a7II and a few lenses, FE 16-35 f4 ZA OSS, FE 24-70 f4 ZA OSS, and the amazing FE 55 1.8 ZA in my Think Tank Street Walker Pro. So you may be thinking why did I use the 12.2 megapixel Sony a7s when I had the 24 megapixel Sony a7II with me. Truth is I could have used either camera with the same results. I had the Sony VGC1EM, vertical grip on my a7s and didn’t need to worry about switching out the batteries during the shoot.

Production and Post Production: Abbey, a Shih Tzu, also known as a Lion dog was photographed outdoors, mid-day in natural light. A scenario that I’d typically not photograph a person in without auxiliary lighting. However, I’ve learned with pet photography hard light and day light is your friend. Your basically just using the sun as your key light. Because Abbey is a small dog and sits close to the ground, the white parts of her coat are easily color contaminated with the reflectance of the green grass and wild California yellow poppy flowers. In postproduction Nik filters White Neutralizer was used in mask mode to paint over the yellow and green coloration in her whit fur.

Pet Sitting, Boarding and Dog Walking: Abbey’s mom, Ruth Ann, runs a wonderful pet boarding, pet sitting and dog walking business OC Pet Companions, no relationship to the magazine. OC Pet Companions has been around for years and boost a client list of over one thousand happy clients.

” One thing I have learned in life, I always take time for animals. I have rescued 83 strays running loose on the streets to date and found all but three of them their owners. I believe in giving back to our community and work with the Pet Rescue Center and The Ark of San Juan rescues.” ~ Ruth Ann owner of OC Pet Companions

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When shooting for a cover make sure to leave room for text. The magazine art director will typically tell you where they need to layout the text. So you will need to shoot a bit more loose and leave negative space around the subject when framing in camera.


Sony a7s and FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS: I’m very pleased with the sharpness and responsiveness of the combination of the Sony a7s and FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS. Focus locked on quickly. I used a combination of Manual and AV exposures to capture images. The bokeh is excellent when shooting at ISO 400, 1/160 sec., f6.3, @ 192mm. I’m a RAW shooter and cull my images in PhotoMechanic, adjust the RAW’s in Adobe Lightroom, and retouch in Adobe Photoshop, Nik Filters and MacPhun Tonality for my black & white images.

pet photographer_0067Think Tank: I’ve recently partnered with Think Tank. IMO they makesome of the best camera bags and storage sollutions on the planet. I personally own at four Think Tank bags that I’ve personally paid for. And have been using their products for over 7 years now. Their gear is built tough and lasts, plus their customer service is outstanding. Bags I own Include: the Airport Security, Street Walker Pro, Retrospective 10, Retrospective 30. And was recently sent an early release of the new series for mirrorless systems, the Urban Approach 15 Back Pack which fits all my mirroless gear plus my iPad Mini and 13″ MacBook Pro. I’ll be doing a review on the Urban Approach 15 Back Pack {to be released in March} very soon. If you are a Think Tank fan or have been Jones’n for some Think Tank gear, I’ve got some great news for you… For free Gear go to: and enter code WS-754. You’ll get free shipping and a gift from Think Tank with you order of $50 or more.

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Disclosure: I only recommend what I use professionally and personally. No one pays me to review their products. I am part of the Sony’s Artisans of Imagery program, and purchased the cameras, lenses and accessories with my own money and use them professionally because I enjoy working with them and am very pleased with the results and the camera haptics. If I partner with a company and you use a link I provide to click through and purchase, I may receive a small commission from them.

Marc Weisberg is an award-winning photographer based in Irvine, California. Marc specializes in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Portraiture. He’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and engaging images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

The Color Checker Passport Is Your Friend

Never Leave Home Without It

Accurate skin tones and accurate color is a must when photographing executive portraits and headshots. To ensure accurate skin tones I always take my Color Checker Passport with me to my shoots. Before the Passport was around I took a large 8.5 x 11″, clunky and often damaged Gretag-Macbeth Classic or Original color checker with me to portrait sessions. It was oversized and difficult to bring outside of the studio, and it came in a paper cover sleeve that always got torn and was easily bent.


The old school Classic – aka Original Color Checker


A few years ago, along came the Color Checker Passport a scaled down version that is protected in its own hard plastic, clam shell, case.

Before each executive portrait and headshot session I do some test shots. When there’s no assistant to stand in for me, I’m the test dummy. I want to make sure two things are just right. 1) Make sure the lighting is dialed in perfectly. And 2) take a test shot with my X-Rite Color Checker Passport. This will ensure that after the session post production is sped up by not having to guess about the color balance. Instead, I click on the grey patch {at the very bottom} just to the right of the white square. This neutralizes the image of color casts and typically dials in a pleasing skin tone. I’ll occasionally need to tweak the image a bit, by warming it up, or cooling it down and sometimes removing some red from a ruddy complexion. Its a bit pricey at $99. But I’ve had it for a few years now and look at it as a necessary tool, which its still in pristine condition due to the hardshell plastic case.

The Color Checker Passport Is Your Friend

The new improved smaller and mighty Color Checker Passport.

Here’s what I like about it.

  • One click color correction. Mostly. Sometimes, It needs to be dialed in and tweaked just a tad
  • Grey card included on the flip side for custom white balance
  • Software included to create a custom camera calibration {from the Color Checker Passport desktop application} and store it in Adobe Lightroom
  • 5 x 3.5 inches in a hard palstic case
  • Compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Compatible with both PC and Mac
  • Takes the majority of guess work out of color correcting skin tones and color management

Marc Weisberg is an award-winning photographer based in Irvine, California. Marc specializes in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Portraiture. He’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and engaging images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

Orange County Executive Portraits and Headshots

Simply the Finest in Executive Portraiture and Headshots

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been working an a promo piece in the from of a thirty page magazine. Just finished it today and will send it to print tomorrow. Here’s one of the double page spreads promoting headshots and executive portraits.

Let’s face it. Every one is judgmental. It’s true, but I wish it were not. A recent Princeton study states: “That within a 10th of a second someone forms an opinion or first impression about you.” The Princeton study found that: “…People made judgments about the attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness of other people after looking at their faces for 100 milliseconds.” That’s mind blowing and the exact reason why you need to make a great first impression. In today’s digital age with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and online marketing, your face is your brand. It is the first thing that is seen.

Orange County Executive Portraits and Headshots

Marc Weisberg is an award-winning photographer based in Irvine, California. Marc specializes in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Portraiture. He’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and engaging images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

Executive Portraits with my Sony A7II

Tips For Photographing Executive Portraits

Executive Portraits with my Sony A7II: One of my passions is creating compelling executive portraits. When an executive or prospective headshot client contacts me for an executive portrait or headshot, they want to look their best. Its either a direct referral or they took notice of the quality of work on my website. Below is an outline of my though process for executive portraits and headshot sessions. A little pre-planning goes a long, long way. As a professional photographer its part of my job to ask allot of questions and listen to their my clients needs before their portrait session. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I recently sold all my Canon gear and moved over to Sony. Below is an inside look how I go about setting up and shooting my executive portraits and headshots.

orange county executive portrait photographer

A killer portrait of me {above}, if I do say so myself. Taken by my good friend and PPA Cert, Master Craftsman photographer Kevin Connors. Shoot with the Sony a7II and FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS and Profoto strobe with a 3×4′ softbox in his backyard during the last light of the day in San Diego. I applied the lo-fi look while post processing in Adobe Lightroom. Kevin a long time Canon shooter, mentioned to me after viewing the images in Adobe Lightroom in his studio that he was amazed at the sharpness of this image which was photographed at f/4.



Ultimate Use & Location Questions: My first consideration when creating executive portraits or headshots for clients….what is the ultimate use of the executive portrait? Is it for the web, print, magazine – is so what is the distribution?, brochures etc. Another question is where will the portrait take place and what type of background will be used? Will it be in their office – environmental?, outdoors – environmental?, or using a seamless? If a seamless, indoors on location then I’ll need to set up a small foot print studio. About a 8’x8′ semi private space. No one likes to be watched when having their professional portraits created. I’ll also suggest a few different options for seamless colors. I’ll also need to know if its a head and shoulders, half body, 3/4 body or full body which is rare. Also a vertical {more common} or a horizontal {which I like allot and is very cool and more contemporary}.

Two reasons asking allot of questions. 1) It serves my clients. To best understand what they’ll need I need to ask allot of questions. To a prospective client, its simple. They need a headshot…period. As a professional photographer it is our job to guide them through the process. Often bringing up scenarios they hadn’t thought of and educating them along the way. 2) If the images are to be used in a commercial venture, such as print advertising, then licensing will take place. For instance if they are national or international speakers, an attorney who plans on using it in a full page advertisement, on a billboard, or a bus wrap. Or part of a larger national campaign for XYZ company. For these scenarios I use Cradoc Photo Software, an industry standard photo quote software that provides me with spot on quotes for print usage predicated on ultimate usage, size of advertisement, circulation, type of print advert, regional, national, international and more. Its a great place to start in negotiating the price of licensing. And its important to note the licensing conversation always begins with “I use an industry standard software to determine licensing figures.” Cradoc Photo Quote also gives quotes with the aforementioned info and the type of usage license, and period of length of the licensing. At $149 its inexpensive and you’ll make your money back on your first licensing. “FotoQuote is the industry standard pricing guide for stock and assignment photography with over 300 stock photo pricing categories and a wealth of coach information.”

orange county executive portraits & headshots

A recent executive portraits session done for Purus Wealth Management and Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. I brought along a white seamless as specified by the stylist but opted to use a large white office wall as the background and lit it with speed lights on 1/4 manual power, each bounced into twin 30″ sliver lined umbrellas on stands, camera right and left. You’ll notice a bit of wrap around light coming from the back which add a nice dimension to the executive portraits. Both portraits taken with the a7II and FE 70-200 f/4 GOSS at ISO 200, f/8, 1/160th sec. Chimera 2’x3′ softbox camera right.

Styling: Finally, we’ll discuss clothing options for men and women: Men: suit, tie and shirts {my advice is to stray away from patterned shirts and white shirts} and a few choices for casual attire, plus a discussion of what colors could would work best depending on skin tone/color and eye color; for women: I always suggest hair and makeup be professionally done {yes there is a difference between DIY and pro level hair and make up artist}, plus what type of clothing and accessories to wear. I always suggest bring extra ties, suit jackets, shirts, tops, blouses, accessories. If its a casual look, then several outfits need to be available for wardrobe changes. A client may think they look fabulous in something but it may not translate well to a photograph so brining more clothing is always better.

orange countya executive portraits & headshots

Gear: When I’m photographing executive portraits I’ve gravitated to a one light setup. The exception is when I have to light a white background. See the diagram below. Its not only simple, its also very effective. My gear consists of a 2×3′ softbox, two light stands, Profoto AccuteB600R pack with 1 Profoto head, Pocket Wizard III’s, 1 Lastolite 30″ Wescott Tri Grip sliver and white reflector, a Manfroto Variable Magic Friction Arm with a Manfroto Super Clamp on both studs…for holding the Lastolite to a light stand used for fill with women, a heavy duty background stand…for seamless, tripod, Sony a7II, FE 50mm f/1.8 ZA, FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS, and FE 70-200 f/4 G OSS. Back up gear: Sony a7s with vertical grip, Profoto 300 w/s compact flash head, extra Pocket Wizards, extra batteries, extra SD cards. When lighting a white background, I’ll bring along my speedlights, an assortment of umbrellas, and extra light stands and model release forms.

orange countya executive portraits & headshots

These portraits are photographed with the FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS. I am delighted with the image sharpness and color rendition. There was zero chromatic aberration around the hair and edges of the shoulders and arms. There was a propensity for CA from the amount of light being popped off in the background.


executive portrait lighting diagram

For on location shoots of a single individual I’m using a 4′ seamless background. For groups I’d suggest a 9′ or 12′ seamless. When using a 4′ seamless I only use one light, the softbox, camera right.


Marc Weisberg is an award-winning photographer based in Irvine, California. Marc specializes in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Portraiture. He’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and engaging images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 949.494.5084…. or email.

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