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 Tag: Pittsburgh magazine photographer

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.

Diane Arbus

"Are you related to Diane Arbus?"

That was the question posed to me in 1980 by one of the most respected photo educators in the country, Angus McDougall at the University of Missouri. At that time, McDougall had more graduates in positions at leading newspapers and magazines than anyone else. So when he spoke, people listened. 

"Are you related to Diane Arbus?" he asked. Of course, the answer was no; I'm not. He wondered because of my photos being "quirky" sometimes almost to an extreme. I didn't have a style like most other students. It wasn't typical American photojournalism. It wasn't entirely European either. It was some strange conglomeration he couldn't put his finger on so he related it to the only thing that made sense, the odd, sometimes uncomfortable, work of Diane Arbus. 

While I'm not sure he meant it as a compliment, but I took it as such. My style isn't "the Missouri way," or any other teachable way, but it is my way. It's how I see the world, sometimes paring in odd ways. 

I've often looked back to my time at Ball State University and am thankful I found a teacher and mentor in Joseph Costa who allowed me to be me, for better or worse, rather than a prescribed formula for how an American photojournalist should see. 

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Betty James and the Slinky

How do you photograph a sound? Well, that was the question posed to me when I was assigned in the mid-90’s to make a portrait of Betty James. She was the chief executive officer of James Industries, the maker of the Slinky. The famous toy has a very distinctive sound as it walks downstairs, “grzzzzink!” Inc. Magazine needed a portrait and wanted to see that sound. 

No pun intended, but it wasn’t as hard as it sounds. It took a few Polaroids to discover the right shutter speed to add enough blur to the toy as it walked down a set of test steps in the company’s Hollidaysburg factory, but once that determined, it was a straightforward shoot. I photographed Betty with and without the toy in her hand, but in the end, the magazine selected the one shown here. Shot in color, I converted it to black and white because the film has deteriorated over time.

Betty James passed away in 2008 at the age of 90, but her legacy will live on as long as there are stairs to descend and a spring that makes a “grzzzzink!” as it walks.

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It's The Feeling, Not The Face

Herb Ellison was a mechanic in the Hill District. He had a story to tell, and my colleague Dan Bates and I were there to listen. My lighting was from an open door, the pose was with purpose, and the expression affirms the dignity of Mr. Ellison. 

The KISS method. Keep it simple stupid. Don’t complicate things unnecessarily. Just because you have a dozen lights doesn’t mean you need to use them for every picture. People don’t always need a cheeky smile or grin. Photograph the feeling, not just the face. 

Sometimes keeping it simple is the right thing to do.

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How I did it: Environmental Portrait

Environmental portraits are easy, right? All you do is stand or sit someone in their space, focus and snap. Done. Maybe. When you decide to take your portraiture to the next level, you’ll need to consider a lot more. 

Just for fun, let’s dissect a picture I did of Robert Luffy, the former president of American Bridge. 

The commissioned portrait was an illustration piece for a magazine profile of Mr. Luffy. Because this was not documentary journalism, I had leeway to create the image any way I decided, as long as it fits a vertical format.

At the studio, I began to prepare for the assignment by pulling together the equipment I thought I might need. At that time I was using Canon equipment, so I put together my standard camera kit, 
2-Canon 5D bodies; 16-35mm; 24-70mm; 70-200; 50 1.2; 85 1.2, 45TS.

Lighting at that time was all Dynalite, including 2-1000 WS power packs; 2-500 WS power packs; 6-flash heads and 2-400 WS Uni-400 battery operated monolights. All this went in three Lightware cases.
I also packed 11’ stands for each head; 2-4’ stands; 2-floor stands, and a boom arm.  I also packed a sturdy tripod. Modifiers included grids, softboxes, scrims, and softlighters. Another three Lightware cases would hold this equipment. 

The last two bags would hold all my miscellaneous items including speed rings for the softboxes; 400’ of extension cords; gaffer tape; Leatherman tool; rolls of color correction and enhancement gels and a roll of black aluminum foil.

The six cases fit in the back of my SUV for transport and on one big rolling cart to get to the location. 

I had an idea of the kind of image I wanted to make, but I needed to be sure to have enough gear available in case my original plan didn’t come to fruition. Prepare for the worst, expect the best and somewhere in the middle it’ll all work out. 

Once on site, Mr. Luffy’s marketing officer showed me a conference room they thought would work for the portrait. I explained I needed something more illustrative and dynamic and asked about going to the shop floor. After some back and forth we went to the shop. That was the location I had in my mind’s eye. Sometimes you just get lucky. The moment we walked in I saw this enormous steel beam. With Mr. Luffy in the foreground and the beam going off into the background, I knew I had the makings of an excellent composition. Thankfully the overhead lights formed a beautiful pattern, further pushing the eye into the frame. The open door in the far back of the picture was the perfect stopping point for the composition. With foreground and background set all I needed was a middle ground that would add to the story. A few feet away workers were cutting metal with sparks flying. That was the missing piece! After a brief explanation of what I was trying to achieve, I convinced a worker to help me out and set up to make sparks. 

Lighting on this photograph was all natural. A large overhead door on camera left provided soft daylight for Mr. Luffy, with just enough fade out to illuminate the worker one stop darker. Exposure was determined by a hand-held meter at 100 ISO to be 1/6 second at f/9. I need 1/6 second to create the right stream of streaks from the grinder and f/9 to provide just enough depth of field. Also, through prior testing, I knew that lens was sharpest between f/8 and f/11. A hand-held meter was used rather than the built-in meter on the Canon because of the contrast ratio in the photo. All the darkness in the picture would likely result in overexposure had I used the camera’s meter. With a hand meter, I was able to pinpoint the exposure to just the light falling on the subject. 

The camera was a tripod-mounted Canon 5D and lens was a 16-35mm set at 26mm. I chose to go wide to make Mr. Luffy prominent in the photograph while everything else faded into the background layers. I was meticulous to make sure Mr. Luffy’s head was entirely framed within the steel beam and not intersected by the diagonal. 

Finally, with all these elements and layers I had to be sure to work my composition for the most efficient eye tracking, so I intentionally used the Fibonacci Spiral as the basis of the photo’s structure. 

In post-production, I darkened the corners of the image and warmed up the color balance a few points for a more pleasing look. Other than that the image is pretty much as it came from the camera thanks to pre-visualization and very detailed execution.

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