Category Archives: Studio

Film and Video Production!

Along with all of our photography services and photography classes and workshops, Orcatek Photography also has a Video, Film and Commercial Production division. Here’s a snapshot of the video filmed for PBS’s Wilson Bickford’s Painting class. Need an ad, commercial or promotional video shot for your business or product? We can do it! Trust in Orcatek and contact us to discuss filming all of your commercial, advertising and promotional video needs!



Commercial Filming!

It’s a wrap! A behind the scenes look at the filming of 90 videos for an English Language Program by Orcatek Photography. Orcatek now films commercials, promotional, spokesperson, testimonial and campaign/fundraising videos along with web series. We can now cover all of your photography and film/video needs for any project!


So much to talk about

First of all, I have been teaching constantly.  And I have schedule a lot of photography classes and workshops.  So now is the time to learn all my tricks.

I played around with water for a bunch of boudoir photographs.  Be sure to check them out.  Next summer I will be doing this again.

And maternity and newborn photography is always popular.  I love it when my maternity clients return for their newborn photos.  It lets me enjoy a bit of that special time in their life.


Hiding from the Heat

Category : Studio

Record high temps this week here in Phoenix have slowed the photography down.  Too hot for fun shoots, so just business.

“Fun shoots?” you ask.  Those are shoots I do to develop new techniques or help beginning models out.   I like to try to get on shoot in a week that allows me to do something that I can just go off the deep end.

This maternity photograph from last week is a perfect example.

Sunrise Maternity
Sunrise Maternity

As you can tell, I do go little bit crazy on these shoots.

I did teach two photograph classes and workshops this week.  They were a huge success.  Several students have already requested to take future classes.

Everyone take care of yourself in this heat.  Drink plenty of fluids and stay inside if you can.  Also look at donating on your utility bill to help those who need it.

Whew – it’s been busy

Finally got a few moments to update my blog.  So many shoots this week.  I’ve been doing a lot of shoots for 480 Magazine.   Lots of fun shooting the wonderful ladies that are part of this.

4 sexy ladies in a sexy boudoir bathtub by Orcatek photography in his Phoenix studio
480 Magazine

My boudoir photography experience came in handy for this shoot.

Lots of clients also rented The Studio this week.  I shot lots of behind the scenes photos.

Spent some time preparing for the Introduction to Photography Class coming up on April 16.  You can still register.  Call about the $29 special – regularly $99.  Be sure to check out our other photography classes.   Want to get on our list about workshops, just drop an email to [email protected].


How to succeed as a photographer – Part III

This is part three on succeeding as a professional photographer. The question that I am always getting asked is what equipment and tools should I buy. “Canon, Nikon or Sony is coming out with a new whiz-bang gizmo, should I buy it?” In short, probably not. I am not going to recommend brands, because as long as you stick to the major manufacturers it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in the long run.

First lets look at cameras. The body you choose depends a lot on what you will actually be shooting. If you are shooting action sports a camera with decent frame rate should be considered. Also read up on focus speed and focus tracking. Portraits are your primary business, then low light might be important, so look at noise levels for these images. In the end a lot of photographers choose a camera which does well in both areas, but isn’t the best at any. Another option is two cameras, one suited for each style.

Eventually you are going to need to have two cameras. As a professional you need to have a back-up available for emergency. In the beginning it may make sense to rent your back-up camera until revenues justify owning a second. Also remember your back-up does not need to be the same model as your primary. A lower end camera can work fine. Typically I rotate cameras from primary to back-up to sold. Last year’s model is often a great way to save.

Which brand of camera should you be using? If you know other photographers, using the same brand may be beneficial. You may have the ability to borrow a lens for flash in an emergency if you use the same gear. Also you will have someone to ask questions.

Lenses are another area of debate among photographers. A prime vs. a zoom is the one of the biggest questions. Primes will almost always give better results than zooms. But in the real world, it can be very difficult to tell the difference in a final print if you have good zooms. The most important thing is to buy good lenses. You will have them for a long time, whereas camera bodies in the digital world have become consumables unfortunately. Again, rent the specialty lenses as you need them. Owning a seldom used lens is a waste of precious money.

Lighting is the last key piece of equipment. Reflectors and bounce cards are your friend. Learn to use them and you will need fewer lights, saving money. If you are shooting outside the studio you need a good on camera flash. Lots of modifiers are available read reviews and get one you like, or make one. The ability to use your flash off of the camera will come in handy, so consider this as a future upgrade – brackets with cords or wireless remotes for longer distances.

In studio you can do a lot with as few as two lights, especially with the use of reflectors and a few good modifiers. Umbrellas are the lowest cost modifier, but softboxes tend to be the favorites among the pros. Get some decent stands and some sandbags to keep the lights from falling over. Once again look at wireless remotes, you can use cords to save some dollars, just be careful about tripping. Some lights have them built-in. This equipment can be rented too as needed when you are starting out.

Renting a whole studio for your shoots is a good idea when starting. A studio is a huge overhead with rent, utilities, alarms, insurance… Many studios rent to other photographers, and some cities have studios that only exist for rental purposes. Some rent equipment too making it every easier, albeit a bit more expensive.

Insurance is probably one of the most important areas that photographers will overlook. You need to not only insure all your equipment but also have general liability insurance protection. This can help you when you need financial assistance if any damage claims are alleged against you while working from your home studio. You may be able to add it to your home owner’s policy when you start out. Check as if you use your equipment for business, it is often excluded or requires a special rider.

The biggest equipment area to watch is spending. Don’t buy until you can justify with revenue. It is so easy to want the latest and greatest. Manufactures love to push this, but buy with caution. If you don’t manage your money, there will be no money to manage.

Next week I will continue this discussion and talk about computers, software and organizations.

Orcatek Photography – Phoenix

Studio Rental in Phoenix

Motorcycles and Automobiles in the Studio

Automotive or motorcycle photography in the studio presents some interesting challenges. This week I will take a look at some of the options for dealing with these details.

Motorcycle Photography Phoenix Orcatek

First of all they are big and don’t move easily to “adjust their pose”. Motorcycles are a bit easier to photograph as they can move easier, but cars or trucks are just a lot of work. Careful planning is required.

The first thing you need is a studio with enough space to hold the car and allow the photographer to get far enough away to shoot it. If you are too close you will need to use your wide angle lens leading to shots where the vehicle will have a huge front end for example. Sometimes this look can be desired, but more often than not, it is problematic. I prefer to be a good 20 or more feet to keep proportions correct.

For moving the car around, car wheel dollies are great. One goes under each tire and you can jack it up then basically push the car in any direction you want, even spin it in a circle. They are not a cheap tool, but if you shoot a lot of cars, they are well worth the investment.

The other most difficult thing to deal with is reflections. The whole automobile is one great big mirror. Chrome on motorcycles can be even worse. And of course the classic black hot rod looks great, but shows everything. A very clean studio area is critical. Anything that must remain should be pushed as far away as possible from the car. This includes yourself and your assistants.

I actually have my assistants step off set behind a wall in my studio. I wear black to help hide my reflection. Another reason for keeping the photographer to automobile distance large during the shoot, is that it makes the reflections much smaller and easier to deal with in post.

Lighting is another key. You need a large soft light from above for most automotive work. Since I shoot on white, I have painted my light stands and cords white to hide them in reflections. Nothing more annoying than a beautiful white highlight on a car with a light stand jumping out at you.

Feel free to contact me with any questions. And if you are in the Phoenix area, I do rent my studio to other photographers.

Orcatek Automotive and Motorcycle Photography

Shoot cars at The Studio

This week I had the chance to shoot a car in my new studio.  Having done a lot of automotive photography, I knew just what I wanted as the new studio was created.   As I moved the test car into the studio I could see that everything had come together perfectly.

The lighting was everything I had hoped it would be.  This shot gave me just what I wanted using the standard configuration.

BMW Z8 it The Studio 

I plan on doing a lot more automotive photography in future in the studio.  Location work falls off so much here in Phoenix during the summer due to the heat.   Now I can do the shoots in the studio while I enjoy the air conditioning.

The only thing that I will be adding is some hydraulic car wheel dollies to make positioning the car easier.  With them if the photographer needs to rotate the car and inch or two it is a quick job to do as opposed to trying to drive the car back and forth to get it perfect. 

The Studio is available for rental to other photographers.

Orcatek Photography

The Studio – Phoenix

The Studio is now open

The Studio is officially open for business.  We built the Studio so that photographers could rent a studio with the features to create amazing work without paying for all the flashy stuff that doesn’t pay the bills.  With today’s tight economy, photographers need to watch their budgets very close.  The Studio is the answer to their needs.

We have four primary shooting areas available for rent.  Each bay was created to fit the varied needs of a photographer.  Why rent what you don’t need.  Of course if you need more we have that too.

The first bay is a large cyclorama which is 20×36.  Plenty big for photographing cars and large groups.  With two cove corners to allow the photographer to work with ease.

The second bay is a small cyclorama which is 18 feet wide.  The bay extends back 23 feet.  Perfect for fashion photography.

Bays three and four are what we call our standard bays.  They are 18 feet wide and 23 feet deep.  Bring your own backdrops or rent our seamless papers.

 The bays can be draped off for privacy as needed.

 Located on the Tempe / Scottsdale / Phoenix border, it is the perfect location.

It took a lot of time and effort to build The Studio, but it was worth it.  We have already had photographers come in from Los Angeles and they said it was just what they needed – affordable quality and functionality.  Exactly what we had in mind.

The Studio – Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and the rest of Arizona


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