Terry Clark Photography

Are you looking for a photographer that can bring a fresh and creative eye to your next project or portrait?

Then look no further. Terry Clark Photography is one of the most sought after photographers in the country. Having photographed three Presidents of the United States, kings, titans of industry, and business of all size and description, there is no assignment too small or too large.

Having traveled far and wide to create storytelling pictures for his clients, Terry Clark Photography has the experience and knowledge to pull together any project, domestic or International. If compelling images are most important to you and your client, working with our team will ensure the success of your project.

Call 412-491-7887 to speak with a team member about your next photo shoot.

email – terry@terryclark.com

Filtering by Category: Photography technique

Photographing Faith

It was an honor and privilege to work on this story for Public Source.

 “Absolutely and unabashedly welcoming”: How some Pittsburgh faith communities embrace LGBT worshippers.

By using the silent mode of my X-Pro2 and X-T2 (sound off, electronic shutter on), I was able to work during the service and not be disruptive. Prime lenses (18mm, 23mm and 50mm) kept my X-Pro2 kit small and light, while the 50-140 on the X-T2 allowed me to get in tight from a greater distance. 

For the portraits, the 10-24mm was perfect to achieve the desired perspective and coverage. Godox TTL flash provided the right illumination to balance with the ambient light.

Without the flip screen on the X-T2, the exterior photo with the rainbow flag would not have been possible. To make that photo, I leaned over a row of prickly plants and framed the shot at a very difficult angle.

As always, my X System worked flawlessly and produced amazing files that needed almost no adjustment in post. 

Rev. Shanea Leonard, the pastor of Judah Fellowship Christian Church, sings along with the congregation during worship. Anita Levels directs the worshipers in song.

Rev. Shanea Leonard, the pastor of Judah Fellowship Christian Church, sings along with the congregation during worship. Anita Levels directs the worshipers in song.

Rev. Shanea Leonard delivers the sermon during worship services.

Rev. Shanea Leonard delivers the sermon during worship services.

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Rev. Shanea Leonard gives a hug to three-year-ol Vivian Grey during worship services.

Rev. Shanea Leonard gives a hug to three-year-ol Vivian Grey during worship services.

The Rev. Vincent Kolb is pastor at Sixth Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill.

The Rev. Vincent Kolb is pastor at Sixth Presbyterian Church in Squirrel Hill.

Yvonne Hudson and Lynette Asson in the sanctuary at Calvary United Methodist Church.

Yvonne Hudson and Lynette Asson in the sanctuary at Calvary United Methodist Church.

A rainbow flag outside of Calvary United Methodist Church on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

A rainbow flag outside of Calvary United Methodist Church on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

Concert photography

I've said many times before; I haven't had an assignment yet that my Fuji cameras could not perform exceedingly well and produce top professional results. Monday night was a prime example. 

Photographing live music of any kind poses many unique challenges. Lighting variables, movement of the performers, color balance and access limitations can turn what sounds like a fun job into a nightmare. Monday evening I had the pleasure to photograph country star Kelsey Waldon at Club Cafe. It was a laid-back performance in an equally laid-back venue. Of course, that doesn't mean there weren't unique obstacles to overcome, primarily, lighting, or rather, lack of it. The spotlights were not set to illuminate the entire band. One spot was on Kelsey, and the others seemed to be where ever they happened to be, mostly aimed at the floor. Oh, and the main spotlight was very weak, too. 

Many would have shuttered at the conditions, but I knew my X-Pro2 could handle the situation without a blink. First, I always shoot in RAW no matter what the job. After that, I selected my auto ISO #3 setting which gave me a range of 3200 to 12,800. I wanted to keep my shutter speed at 1/125 as much as possible, so I set that manually. The light color varies tremendously I set the camera to auto white balance, expecting to custom white balance in post. Knowing my prime lenses are razor sharp it was with great confidence I set them at f/2. Because it was a concert, I wanted my camera to be nearly silent. No problem, select electronic shutter (es), then go into the sound set-up menu and change the audible levels of the shutter. I could have set the camera so there was absolutely no sound whatsoever, but I like a very faint click to help me in timing. Also, so my presence was minimalized, I selected EVF only on view mode and turned off the image review. Now my LCD screed would remain dark and therefore, less obtrusive. With everything set, I was now free to make pictures at will. 

I knew I would be able to photograph the entire concert, so I packed prime lenses for the job. I always prefer primes whenever possible. My selection included the following: Zeiss 12mm f/2.8; Fujifilm 18mm f/2; Fujifilm 23mm f/2; Fujifilm 35mm f/2; Fujifilm 50mm f/2 and Fujifilm 90mm f/2. If this had been a typical concert where you can photograph the first three songs, I would have instead carried zooms, so I didn't have to take the time to change lenses. Thankfully I didn't have that restriction. 

In the end, my shutter speed varied from 1/125 down to 1/15 depending on who in the band I was photographing and where they were standing. My ISO ranged between 3200 and 12,800, the latter being most predominant. 

I could stop right here, but that's not the end of the story. Once back at the office I uploaded my images into Lightroom CC. Yes, I use LR for my Fuji processing. There are a couple of methods I've learned that have eliminated the crazy wormy grain effect seen from LR in the past. First, LR CC is not the same LR from before. They have improved the program significantly. But, in the last update, the "default" sharpening setting is now at 40. That is much too high for Fuji RAF files. So the first thing I do after editing my selects is to adjust the sharpening from 40 to 10. An ISO of 12,800 is going to be slightly noisy. So when shooting at this extreme, I apply a LR noise reduction setting of 22 to 27. I batch the entire shoot with these two corrections right away. The noise reduction is just enough to take the edge off the noise but not significantly soften the image. From here I proceed as usual and color correct, adjust tone, contrast, exposure, and shadows. Most of the time very little needs to be done. Fuji is like that, almost dead on, right out of the box. 

ISO 12800 | 12mm Zeiss Touit

ISO 12800 | 12mm Zeiss Touit

ISO 12800 | Fujifilm 23mm f/2

ISO 12800 | Fujifilm 23mm f/2

ISO 6400 | Fujifilm 35mm f/2

ISO 6400 | Fujifilm 35mm f/2

IS0 8000 | Fujifilm 35mm f/2

IS0 8000 | Fujifilm 35mm f/2

Diagraming a photograph

Taking pictures is easy! Just point and push the button. 

Yeah, right.

The diagram below shows what goes through the mind of a photographer a nano-second before the shutter is released. With time, it becomes so second nature you forget you're doing it. You see it all without looking. It becomes a feeling. Or, as my mentor Joseph Costa once told me what his mentor told him, "you look through the viewfinder until that voice in your head kicks you in the ass and says, NOW!"

Breaking it down, line by line.

RED LINE: The first thing I saw was the spiral that starts at the wheel above the mechanics head, travels down at an angle to the wheel on the shelf and rotates around his hands and lands on the tire on the car in the background. I call this a 'modified Fibonacci spiral' (my term, not official).

GREEN LINE: Next comes the balance between different forms within the frame. The two wheels and the can and poster. While the sign itself is a different shape, the balance is still there. 

BLUE LINE: Speaking of balance, the negative space occupied by the refrigerator on the left and the concrete floor on the right are areas that balance each other within the photo. 

YELLOW LINE: The picture gains power with a strong diagonal line from the tire above center, through the angle of the mechanic's eyes and out the other side through the wheel on the right. The photo has a near perfect division between left and right sides with the subject's head almost dead center. Left and right side of the picture is balanced. Finally, if you draw a line through the space separating the refrigerator door from the freezer above and on through the top of the shelf in the background, it too divides the picture just right. The three lines also form a triangle, which further enhances the strength of the frame. 

Of course, all the graphics in the world can't make a weak image strong. The concentration on the mechanic's face as he works on the part in hands enhances the photo, as does the angle of the light streaming into the garage from the right. Put all the individual elements, lines, and graphics together, and the picture works. 

It's that simple, and that difficult. All done in the mind and heart of the photographer in a fraction of a moment, every day, on every assignment. 

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Black and White or Color?

Coke or Pepsi? Fritos or Doritos? If the answer was only that simple. But in some ways, it is. Personal preference plays into the decision. More importantly, how do you see the scene, how do you interpret the image, does color enhance or detract from the message you want to convey? These questions will help you decide, and only you can determine the outcome. Crowdsourcing for answers means you don't know, and if you don't, how can anyone else, it's your photograph.

Learn to see in both color and black and white. Learn to understand the difference between color harmony and visual harmony. How do you learn? Practice, practice and more practice. And study. Lot's of study.

Analyze the color masters and how they work, how they see. People like Joel Meyerowitz, Sam Able, Jay Maisel, William Albert Allard, and Alex Webb. Look deep at the black and white photographers; Matt Black, Ralph Gibson, Jacob Aue Sobol, Bill Brandt, Michael Kenna, and of course, Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Compare and contrast their styles and vision. See how they compose, how they use tone, light, and shadow. 

I came upon this scene at a traffic light. As always, my camera was at the ready in the center console. All I need to do was frame the photo and wait for the moment to develop. What I wanted to capture was already clearly formed in my mind's eye, and thankfully it occurred before my light turned green. 

From the instant I spotted the scene I knew it would be a black and white photo. I saw the shadows and highlights and colors dancing in shades of black, white and greys. The yellow-greenish tint to the building and the red bus both turned neutral in my vision of a monochrome image. Color, in this case, would be distracting, confusing even, pulling attention away from the subject, and the story. Is the scene as a color photograph terrible? No. But in my vision, the black and white image is stronger. The monochrome tones and design elements graphically harmonize while in color they are confusing to the eye.

Defining your vision and style is a journey of many steps, and only you can walk the path.  

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Seeing

I see the world in graphic shapes. Squares and rectangles. Lines. Light and shadows. Adding a human element gives scale to my scene. The dynamic range of the Fuji sensors allows me to see into the darkness and retain detail in the highlights to reveal more detail. It's all there for the taking, the light, the shadows, and the shapes. Foreground to the background.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 | 12mm f/2.8 Zeiss Touit  

 

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X Marks the Spot

I need to give a big shout out to two outstanding people who recently helped save the day, and my bacon. Amy Maki and Stacey Moore work for Fuji and are my heroes. They didn't know me but came to the rescue when I needed to get two of my cameras repaired. They didn't have to reach out and help, but they did. Thank you so much.

I've been an evangelist for Fuji for some time. I'm not paid by them or anything like that; I use their gear. And when I find something that works, I tell people. Loudly. Let me explain why.

First, the files I get out of these cameras are outstanding. The image quality, color rendition, and file size work for all the professional applications I need. 

Next, Fuji cameras are a joy to use. The size, weight, and operation of the cameras are as close to that of a film camera as I've ever found in the digital realm. To me, that matters. There is more of a spiritual connection. It's a mind, body flow of creativity that is not interrupted by the awkward feel of my tools. It's is not the first time I've had such a connection. The Nikon F and Leica M cameras provided me the same experience. Not surprising, Nikon consulted a Zen master on the design of their first flagship SLR. 

The weight of the camera is perfect. I usually work with three bodies and lenses at a time. Fuji is not too big, not too small, just right to be carried all day without the typical fatigue associated with lugging multiple DSLRs around. I've worked this way for decades. It's incredible I can now do it without exhaustion or an aching back.

Fuji makes some of the best glass in the industry. Their large format lenses are legendary. They have taken that knowledge and transferred it to the digital side. As a result, the lenses are so sharp many have compared them to those created by a certain German company, especially in their f/2 line-up lovingly nicknamed "Fuji-crons."

A large number of naysayers point to what they believe is one of Fuji's major shortcoming – the APS sensor size. For those pixel peepers, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and ask, why? I've made prints up to 4x6 feet that are so vivid and tight you seem to walk into the image. I've shot billboards, annual reports, magazine covers, and dozens of other types of assignments. In each case the image quality, sharpness, and dynamic range exceeded expectations. For what I need, Fuji works.

While they are a relatively young entry into the digital market, they're growing, expanding their lens range, and best of all, they keep improving their cameras via firmware updates. Kaizen – continuous improvement, a long-term approach to work that systematically seeks to achieve small, incremental changes in processes to improve efficiency and quality. Fuji has embraced this philosophy with open arms to the benefit of consumers, amateur and professional alike. 

But, the bottom line is this; pick the camera that fits you and produces the images you demand. You can have all the gear in the world, but if you don't have a vision, you have nothing but a fancy camera. A pinprick in the bottom of an oatmeal box can produce a work of art in the hands of an artist.

 All I'm saying is Fuji fits my work, my style, and my heart. And maybe yours, too. And it doesn't hurt to have heroes out there watching your back, either. 

Fuji X-E2 | 18-55mm "kit" lens. How much sharper does this need to be?

Fuji X-E2 | 18-55mm "kit" lens. How much sharper does this need to be?

Fuji X-Pro2 | 18mm f/2 lens. Advertising photograph, color grading in post.

Fuji X-Pro2 | 18mm f/2 lens. Advertising photograph, color grading in post.

Andre and Me

To know where you're going, you must know where you've been.

I've said it before, studying the history of art and photography provides you a broader view of the world. Filed away in the recesses of your mind will be snippets. Fragments that can be inspiring, even without consciously knowing.

In the case of "Oil Platform, 1992," I didn't realize the relationship between my photograph and one by Andre Kertesz, "The Balcony, Martinique, 1972," until several years later. Are they the same? No. There are subtle similarities, yes. Do I remember seeing the Kertesz picture before I made my image? Now, yes, then, probably not consciously. I'm sure it was always there, logged in my brain, bouncing between the synapses. Maybe a spark came through that day, or perhaps I just recognized an intriguing alignment of elements – lines, ocean, shadow, clouds, and colors. But whatever it was, seeing the similarities makes a case for studying art and the history of photography. You never know when you'll find a spark.

Oil Platform, Gulf of Mexico, 1992 – Terry Clark

Oil Platform, Gulf of Mexico, 1992 – Terry Clark

The Balcony, Martinique, 1972 – Andre Kertesz

The Balcony, Martinique, 1972 – Andre Kertesz

Interpretation and dissection of an image

In my photography, I often strike a balance, black and white, yin and yang, positive space and negative. Intricate graphic elements to enhance the overall design of the image. I use a lot of lines and spirals and frame dissections to intensify a sense of movement, even when it does not exists due to stationary subjects or high shutter speed to stop the action. It's the feeling I'm after, and I'll use every tool in my belt to achieve the desired result. 

For me, I do not want to see a picture; I need to feel it. Does it hit me on a visceral level? Does it envoke a response? Is it calming or jarring? Is there a third effect in action?

In this photograph, "Cars," a lot is going on and not much at all. It's almost Seinfeld-ish. An image interpreted in a variety of ways but is about nothing. Two cars, going down the road, photographed thru a highway fence. That's it. Or is it? 

Art interpretation is rarely that easy. 

Compositionally, you have the conflict between black and white. There's a separation of the scene by the pattered fence. The horizontals and slight diagonal lines move through the image but are blocked on one side by the heavy weight of concrete and shadow which frames the image on three sides. And then there's the support for the bridge, the linchpin of the photograph. 

Beyond the dynamic design of the image, either further reach of artistic explanation or interpretation is on the viewer. For me, it was an iPhone snap out the window while stopped in traffic. Did I see the graphic design? Of course, I saw it, that's why I made the picture with the only device within quick reach. It was one and done. The light turned green, and I drove on. Do I see more in the picture? Maybe. Maybe not. How about you?

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The Traveler

As photographers, we write with light. It's the essence of what we do. 

Light shapes, sculpts and envelopes who we photograph. Every form of it has a different effect and sends a distinctive message. With light, you can make your subject appear soft and inviting or harsh and threatening. You can add drama or mystery. Shape it, bend it, diffuse it, reflect it or channel it any way you want to convey the feeling and narrative you desire. 

With light, there is always darkness, the shadow. The two opposites, yin, and yang work together or tear apart depending on your intent.  

In "The Traveler" the daylight is sharp, and the shadow is heavy. Because of the angle of the sun, it appears she's moving in that direction, into the light while the shadow feels heavy, weighing her down. Variations of gray on the wall and the diagonal line from the shadow further enhance the illusion of movement. Questions abound. Why is she traveling? Where is she going? Is she afraid or looking forward to the journey. The two other subject shadows stretching toward her adds another layer of mystery and suspense. Are they merely fellow travelers, protectors or antagonists? 

Success or failure of a photograph depends on many factors. The viewer's interpretation weighs heavy on that decision. But, each person decides for themselves drawing from their life experience and tastes. No one person is correct or wrong. Hence the old saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the end, it's up to you, the creator, to decide if the story you told by writing with light was a tale worth telling. 

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Earth Day

Happy Earth Day 2018. It's time to get out there and hug a tree.

I'm only a little sarcastic. Seriously, we have one planet and need to take care of it at a grassroots level because it's painfully apparent politicians aren't willing or capable of caring. I suppose there's too much money coming in from the other side. But I digress. 

It's a beautiful day in Pittsburgh, and I hope everyone will celebrate the land where we live. Make a picture of and for Mother Nature. Trees, flowers, the rivers or the multitude of creatures great and small that share our rock. Breathe in the springtime air. We all deserve it. We all need it. 

I made the picture "Roots" during a visit to Vermont. The Widelux was the perfect choice to include the exposed roots of the mighty tree, as well as the trunk and branches stretching into the sky. While the scene was alive with color, I decided black and white would be more striking. I wanted to record the scene in it's most basic graphic form to emphasize the struggle of nature against all the odds. Here was a tree thriving as it clings to life on the side of a mountain. I bowed to the awesomeness of its lifelong travail. 

Today, and every day, find your bit of awesomeness out there. Honor the earth. It's the only one we have. 

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