Breaking the Mold: Creative Experimentation in Professional Photography

Photography has been a passion for Michael Grecco since the age of twelve, and this passion grew as he started doing creative experimentation in professional photography later on. He turned his first 35mm camera into a lifelong passion for creative experimentation of photographic techniques and innovations. Less than a decade after receiving his first camera Michael Grecco became a “stringer”, a freelance photographer for Associated Press (AP). Stringers were only paid for the photos that the AP considered good enough for publication. It was the ultimate test of shooting photographs that were a cut above the rest.

Poet Barry Yourgrau photographed by Michael Grecco.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, cast of the X-Files cross-processed photographed by Michael Grecco.

In photography, it sharpened the lens for the pursuit of excellence. It meant breaking from traditional framing and lighting and developing innovative techniques that would be noticed above the dozens of other stringers who were turning in photos. During these early days, Michael Grecco experimented with lighting, framing, and unique angles when shooting photographs. His style was noticed, and he moved up the ladder. He was hired as a staff photographer at a Boston newspaper, rock magazine, and radio station.

Lighting, Lenses, Developing and Framing

Each new career opportunity enabled him to creatively experiment with different lighting techniques, new lenses, innovations in processing and film. Michael Grecco was breaking the mold with each advancement as a professional photographer. From capturing news events to documenting the early days of punk, each adventure in lighting techniques, advancements in equipment, developing techniques and framing the shot was the creative experimentation in professional photography that would set the next challenge.

Musician Al Jourgensen of Ministry photographed in Austin Texas by Michael Grecco.

Image shot for and at Smashbox Studios photographed by Michael Grecco.

Today in the world of photography Michael Grecco proudly wears the moniker “Master of Lighting”. Throughout his long storied career Michael Grecco has combined an experimental approach to perfecting the technology of professional photography. His personal artistic vision leads him to explore all the genres and applications of his passion of professional photography.

From news to pizza ads starring iconic country stars, Michael Grecco is equally at home photographing, high fashion, action sports, advertising and the depths and nuances of life and the universe. He embraces the challenges of creative experimentation in new technology, lighting, lenses, camera equipment, framing and presentation and whatever technology will offer next.

Al Jourgensen of the band Ministry photographed by Michael Grecco.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of the X-Files photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Photographic Signature of Michael Grecco

Michael Grecco continues to challenge himself and his vision to experiment with all the tools that a professional photographer can use in the era of technological advancement. Using a drone, computer, telescope, satellite, or old-fashioned box camera are all part of the photographic signature of the creative experimentation in professional photography by Micheal Grecco.

Guitarist Al Jourgensen of Ministry photographed by Michael Grecco.

Mr. Grecco sees no limits to the boundaries that have opened in the art of photography by technology. VR, AR, and AI are all challenges in breaking the mold by using creative experimentation in professional photography. Michael Grecco looks forward to embracing them all and integrating them into the art of creative experimentation in professional photography.  

The Art of Environmental Portrait Photographs – Telling Stories Through Spaces

Michael Grecco tells stories through spaces in his environmental portraits. Early photographers were at the mercy of technology. It was a case of tools limiting artistic vision for the earliest photographers. The size of the camera, the film, development, and printing techniques all had to be considered by the photographers of the 1880s who shot stoic portraits. The earliest steady work for the photographers in the 1880s was taking portraits for the law, today known as mug shots.

Actor Martin Landau when he won the Oscar for the movie Ed Wood, by Michael Grecco.

Actor Lucy Liu shot for People Magazine by Michael Grecco.

Each technological advancement in photography, equipment, developing, printing, and displaying it added new layers for the photographer to explore. The staple of photography, the portrait went from historic to artistic. Trained photographic technicians could capture clear law enforcement, school, or family portraits. The photographic artist, visionary and innovator turned stoic portraits into the art of the environmental portrait.

It took the eye of an artist to use the tools, techniques, and technology of photography to advance photographs to the realm of telling stories through spaces.

Comedian and actor Mel Brooks photographed for People Magazine by Michael Grecco.

Environmental Portraits

Cutting his teeth as a news photographer at the pinnacle of the era, Michael Grecco developed a unique style of freezing moments in time. Through the lens of his camera Mr. Grecco saw his job as a storyteller with photos. This included capturing the subjects of his photos in the spaces that they inhabited. Over the decades he has mastered this technique which has become known as environmental portraits.

Surfer Howard Devon shot for Business Week photographed by Michael Grecco.

Director Martin Scorsese on his “perch” in New York City, photographed by Michael Grecco.

The photo above captures a quiet moment with the iconic director Martin Scorsese. Here, Scorsese stands on a rooftop, his gaze over New York City, a place that’s as much a part of his story as his films. The city’s buildings rise around him, not just as a backdrop, but as silent witnesses to his remarkable journey in cinema.

Comedian and host Chelsea Handler by Michael Grecco.

Houda in Death Valley by Michael Grecco.

The choice of environment becomes an integral part of the story. Mr. Grecco uses the environment not to frame the subject but to harmonize, complement and tell stories with its inclusion. His earliest work as a photographer who documented the beginnings of punk afforded him a rich environment to tell stories through the spaces of his photography.

Artistically Technical

Porsche Mechanic photographed in Beverly Hills by Michael Grecco.

Comic actor Steve Martin photographed by Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco has developed all the technical tools of a professional photojournalist and applied them to creating artistically technical environmental portraits. The classic skills of a professional photographer are evident in the art of Micheal Grecco. Lighting, framing, and depth of field all contribute to the artistically aesthetic photos Mr. Grecco produces across an array of applications.

Houda in Death Valley, California, photographed by Michael Grecco.

The above photo is from the advertising portfolio of Michael Grecco, on its own it is art. The subjects and environments harmonize and contrast to fill spaces with stories beyond background and framing. Michael Grecco applies his love of artistically technical environmental portraits to tell the stories in the spaces that he sees through the eye of his camera in every genre he undertakes.

The Intersection of Photography and Technology: Embracing Innovation

In the ever-evolving world of photography, the one constant has been change, driven by leaps in photography and technology. From the days of the darkroom to the digital age, photography and technology has expanded the horizons of what’s possible in photography. Today, as we stand at the forefront of a new era marked by drones, AI, and mirrorless cameras, photographers like Michael Grecco are at the vanguard, embracing these changes to push the boundaries of their art.

Drones: A New Perspective

Drone photography has revolutionized the way we capture images, offering a bird’s-eye view that was once the sole purview of helicopter or plane photography. For Grecco, drones have opened up a new dimension in his work, allowing him to capture landscapes and cityscapes from mesmerizing angles. The ability to shoot from elevated vantage points has given his work a new depth, adding a layer of grandeur to his already impressive portfolio.

A drone hovers above Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado taking photos from above. Photography by Colin Lloyd.

AI-Assisted Editing: The Future of Post-Production

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made its way into the photographer’s toolkit, offering tools that can significantly reduce editing time while enhancing creativity. AI-assisted software can now sort, tag, and even edit photographs based on learned preferences. Grecco leverages these tools to streamline his workflow, focusing more on the creative aspects of his work. The precision and efficiency offered by AI have enabled him to experiment more freely with his images in post-production.

The Rise of Mirrorless Cameras

The transition from DSLR to mirrorless cameras marks a significant shift in photography. These cameras are lighter, faster, and offer better video capabilities, making them ideal for photographers on the move. Grecco has embraced this technology, appreciating the compactness and versatility of mirrorless cameras. The reduced weight does not come at the expense of image quality – a crucial factor in professional photography.

Staying Ahead in a Digital World

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying relevant means staying adaptable. Grecco’s approach to embracing technological advancements is not about jumping on every new trend but about understanding how each innovation can enhance his artistic vision and storytelling. It’s about finding a balance between new tools and timeless techniques.

Technological advancements have not only changed the tools of the trade but also the way photographers approach their craft. In the hands of a master like Grecco, these tools become an extension of the artist’s vision, enabling him to explore new creative territories while maintaining the essence of his art.

In the realm of photography, understanding and leveraging the latest technological advancements goes hand in hand with mastering the art of composition. Techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing are foundational skills that remain vital, no matter how advanced the equipment gets.

Are you looking to harness the latest in photography technology for your next project? Michael Grecco combines his mastery of traditional photographic techniques with a keen understanding of cutting-edge technology to deliver stunning, contemporary results. Whether it’s a high-end advertising campaign or a personal project, his expertise can help elevate your vision. Connect with Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com to explore how the latest photographic innovations can bring your creative ideas to life.

The Evolution of Portrait Photography: From Classic to Contemporary

Portrait photography, an art form steeped in history, has continually evolved, reflecting the changing tapestry of society and the ever-advancing technology of the camera. From the rigid, stoic poses of early daguerreotypes to the dynamic, storytelling images of today, this genre has witnessed a remarkable transformation, adapting to cultural shifts and artistic trends.

Robert Duvall photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Classic Era: A Study in Formality

In its early days, portrait photography was an exercise in formality. Long exposure times required subjects to remain still for several minutes, often resulting in stiff, unsmiling portraits that were more a record of appearance than an expression of personality. The focus was on clarity and detail, with photographers often employing painted backdrops and elaborate costumes to convey status and elegance.

Jason Schwartzman photographed by Michael Grecco.

Lucy Liu photographed by Michael Grecco.

The Transition: Capturing the Candid

As technology progressed, so did the art of portrait photography. The introduction of faster film and more sensitive cameras allowed photographers to capture their subjects in more natural, relaxed poses. This shift marked the beginning of candid photography, where the emphasis moved from how people wanted to be seen to capturing them as they truly are.

Richelle Fox photographed by Michael Grecco.

Bradley Schumacher photographed by Michael Grecco.

Contemporary Portraiture: A Tapestry of Stories

Today, contemporary portrait photography is a rich tapestry of styles and approaches. It’s no longer just about capturing a likeness; it’s about telling a story, conveying an emotion, and revealing the essence of the subject. Contemporary portraits can be candid and raw, stylized and conceptual, or anything in between. Photographers like Michael Grecco have mastered this art, using their unique vision to create images that resonate with depth and authenticity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger photographed by Michael Grecco.

Jane Monheit photographed by Michael Grecco.

Michael Grecco’s Vision: Blending Past and Present

In his approach to portrait photography, Michael Grecco seamlessly blends classic techniques with modern trends. His work is characterized by a deep understanding of lighting and composition, coupled with an intuitive sense of his subjects’ personalities. Whether he’s capturing a high-profile celebrity or creating a personal portrait, Grecco’s photos tell a story that goes beyond the surface, inviting viewers to connect with the subject on a deeper level.

Steven Spielberg photographed by Michael Grecco.

Composition in Portrait Photography

In any era, the key to a compelling portrait has always been composition. Techniques like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing are not just artistic choices; they are tools to draw the viewer’s eye, to focus on the subject, and to convey a message or emotion. Masters of portrait photography leverage these techniques not only to create visually pleasing images but also to add layers of meaning and narrative to their work.

Martin Scorsese photographed by Michael Grecco.

Whether you’re an aspiring photographer looking to hone your craft or a brand seeking a powerful visual story, the art of portrait photography offers endless possibilities. If you want to capture the essence of your subject with a contemporary twist, Michael Grecco is the photographer to call. With his expertise in blending the classic with the contemporary, he can bring your vision to life in a way that resonates with today’s audiences. Reach out to Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com and take the first step towards creating a portrait that’s not just seen, but felt.

 

The Challenges of Automotive Photography

In magazines, on billboards, as Instagram ads; automotive photography is everywhere. In fact, it’s one of the largest subsets of commercial photography. Ironically, it’s also one of the most difficult to master. Automotive photography presents a bevy of unique challenges for even the most seasoned advertising photographers. 

The Concept

As with all commercial photography, the first step in an automotive shoot is defining the concept. It’s important to understand the audience you’re trying to reach, and the message you’re trying to convey. Are you shooting a sleek new sports car that needs exude cool? An economical hybrid with an emphasis on the green factor? Or maybe it’s a family car that promises comfort and safety. An automotive photographer must be able to highlight the vehicle’s most essential features in a way that comes across clearly to consumers.

The Lighting

Using the right lighting for an automotive photoshoot is crucial. Most cars are highly reflective, which means the margin for error is miniscule. If you use the wrong lighting techniques, you could end up with a disastrous level of glare and a clear view of your light source reflecting off of the car’s surface. Using bigger light sources, like large softboxes, will help soften these reflections by dispersing them across the surface. On top of that, certain paint jobs will only pop if the lighting conditions are absolutely perfect. Silver cars are usually the easiest to light, and turn out looking the best. An automotive photographer needs both the technical skill and the artistic eye required to bring out a car’s color and luster, highlighting its aesthetic allure. 

The Focus

While a lot of advertising photography involves working with models, the focal point of an automotive shoot is always the vehicle itself. This provides a unique challenge: imbuing an inanimate object with character and personality. An automotive photographer must know how to use elements ranging from environment and background to shot composition to give their subject a life of its own, all while ensuring brand logos remain prominently displayed. 

The Motion

Cars are made to move. It’s their defining feature. Showing the vehicle doing exactly what it’s meant to do—driving—can be an extremely effective way to capture consumers’ attention. This is especially true for ad campaigns that revolve around themes like speed and freedom. A good automotive photographer knows how to use action shots, camera technology, and all manner of editing techniques to create images filled with motion.

Looking for an experienced automotive photographer to assist with your next project? Contact celebrated commercial photographer Michael Grecco at (310) 452-4461 or info@grecco.com today.