New Personal Work: Neon Boy & The Golfer

Hi everyone! Jared here. You may remember me from past blog posts such as Assistant Interview: Jared Castaldi  and pretty much any other post where I’m standing in testing light for Chris or acting a fool. I’ve been working with Chris off and on over the years as an assistant, digital tech, second shooter, etc. You name it. But most recently I’ve been handed the task of telling the story of how we came to make two of Chris’ recent portfolio pictures: Neon Boy and Golfer.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

Back in January of this year, Chris, Robert, Zack (our in house digital artist), and myself packed up and headed out west to Las Vegas. Chris had ideas for three pictures. Unfortunately due to weather issues, one of our pictures never came to be. I won’t mention what that picture was because it’s still in the works for later this summer. So you’ll just have to wait!

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitWhen we end up in Vegas, we usually end up at Tacos El Gordo. They are amazing. Go there and get the adobada tacos.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait   And when you’re in Vegas, you usually end up at a Casino. We like the Cosmopolitan but we didn’t stay there this time (but we stayed in sight of it!). They have secret pizza. We like pizza.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitHere you can see I’m taking a selfie of myself and the back of Robert’s head while riding an escalator in the Belaggio.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitIt was the Chinese New Year while we were in Vegas. The Bellagio had a huge display in their lobby for it. The goats were robots and they moved around and made noises. Reminded me of the Chuck E. Cheese band. Pretty cool stuff.

So once we got settled our first stop was the Neon Graveyard. The Neon Graveyard is a park like space that is home to a bunch of old vintage signs from long long ago when Sinatra roamed the streets of Vegas. It’s an amazing place. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from there:

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

As you can see from the final Neon Boy picture up top, we pieced together a variety of the signs and transformed day into night. When we got back home, we shot our hero and a few other pieces in studio. I’m no retoucher but I’m sure Zack had a great time putting the whole thing together…

After we got what we needed for the Neon Boy picture, we headed out to Mesquite, NV. This is where mother nature screwed us out of our portfolio picture. Mesquite is a little town a few hours northeast of Vegas. It’s basically the middle of nowhere. I don’t recommend going there. We stayed at the Virgin River Hotel and Casino. I don’t recommend going there either unless you like second hand smoke and becoming extremely ill….. Let’s not mention Mesquite ever again. Let’s move on.

After our defeat in Mesquite, we headed to back to Las Vegas for our last shot, which details a day on the links with a storied golfer. We needed to get plates at a golf course for this shot and the fine people at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort were kind enough to give us free reign of their beautiful course.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitCheck out that form! I’m actually an OK golfer. I shot an 84 last weekend. How ’bout that?

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitPresident and Vice President of Best Hair in the business right here. I hope they don’t crash their cart. Who will lead us then?!

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitAnd again, our golfer in studio back in Philly.

Then things got weird. We stopped in El Dorado Canyon which is even more in the middle of nowhere than Mesquite. It’s the site of the oldest and richest gold mine in Nevada. There were also a bunch of murders and Indian raids here back in the day. We didn’t know what to expect…. Now it’s basically just a few houses and barns filled with all kinds of stuff/junk. I think you can pay them a small donation and they’ll let you walk around with a camera and take pictures.. so we did that. Here are some pictures. You can decide yourself…

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

So this was our last stop on our trip. Our trip home was not fun though. We were sitting in our hotel room at around 8pm the night before our flights home. A huge blizzard was supposed to hit Philly a few hours before we landed and the airlines were starting to cancel flights. We got on the phones and booked red eye flights home to land before the storm. Unfortunately the rest of the west coast had the same idea and the four of us couldn’t fly on the same flights. Chris and I had to fly to Phoenix then home which went smootly but uncomfortably. Robert and Zack had to fly to Phoenix then to Orlando then home to Philly.

Their trip ended up being a real life version of the movie Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. It was not a good time for them. 🙁


PDN Photo Annual 2015

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chris crisman running horses portrait

Hi everyone! We are very pleased to announce that we placed in the advertising category of this year’s PDN Photo Annual! Our photo of running horses from our shoot at Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana is among the many amazing pictures selected for this category.

Many thanks go out to the judges and PDN for choosing us this year. To view all the winners for this year, check out the gallery at:

Surfing in Puerto Rico

chris crisman enviormental portrait surfer

In the fall of 2014 the Crisman team made a quick trip down to the amazing island of Puerto Rico for an assignment. Although we could have stayed for weeks, our schedule only afforded us a few days in paradise – where we did what we do best, we made pictures.

Traveling to the surf capitol of the island, Rincón, we headed straight for the beach in search of the sun, sand and photos to be had. It was on the appropriately named Surf beach that we met up with Rincón local Koty and her dog Maya to shoot a few frames.

chris crisman enviormental portrait surfer

Of course there were very few complaints from the crew – despite the fact that we often had to play human light-stand with a 7B backpack strapped to our backs. No worries though, no assistants, cameras, or lighting gear were lost on this trip.

chris crisman enviormental portrait surfer

We owe a big thank you to Koty and our crew in Puerto Rico for all of their help in making this shot and a handful of others possible –

Questions? Comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and/crismanphoto!

Nature Conservancy: Cuba on the Horizon

crisman_TNC_cuba_012There’s no doubt about it, winter in Philadelphia isn’t fun. This particular winter brought more freezing temperatures and more snow than we’ve seen in recent history – anyone in the northeastern United States can related as to how nasty the first few months of this year have been. Naturally, when our editors at The Nature Conservancy called with a cover shoot assignment in the Florida Keys, it was hard not to start packing our bags before we hung up the phone.

Wintry weather circumstances aside, Chris and I hopped a flight down to the Florida keys to meet and spend a few days photographing the TNC Caribbean Program Director Phil Kramer for this months cover of Nature Conservancy Magazine. How did the shoot come together? Keep reading to find out the whole story… (more…)

From the Archive: Heroes of Conservation

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

It’s been a wild few weeks. We’ve been on the road all over this great nation, landing in far removed places and meeting people we otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to know. That’s right, it’s that time of year again – we’re up in the air and on the road crossing the country to shoot the 2014 Field & Stream Heroes of Conservation.

Almost seven years in the running, it’s hard not to reflect on previous adventures, looking back on the amazing images and people we’ve met in the process.

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

chris crisman field and stream heroes archiveSince 2007, we have had the honor of being involved in the project, hitting the road and making photos with people who have devoted themselves to making the world a better place.

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

chris crisman field and stream heroes archiveWe’ll be sharing this years images in the near future, but for now it’s worth taking a look back in the archives our history with this great project. Thank you again to our editors and friends at Field & Stream for the opportunity!

chris crisman field and stream heroes archive

Questions? Comments? let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Behind the Scenes: Wildman

chris crisman conceptual portrait wilderness

What do you do when your studio manager/assistant/blogger (extraordinaire) goes on a well-earned vacation?

You call me. You also cross your fingers that everything is still standing by the end of the week. I’m only half kidding here; Robert has some pretty big shoes to fill, however temporarily. It’s a tough job! Luckily for me, these guys are so well prepared that I actually would have been hard pressed to mess it up. Still, no week around here is complete without a few surprises. Mine came in the form of a few rare free days in our schedule. Not being ones to waste time, we took the opportunity to produce an in-house conceptual portrait, known now as Wildman. With Chris on a whirlwind trip to shoot a particular a poppy field, I had some calls to make from the studio. For a while now, he’s had the idea for Wildman percolating. We knew his domain: The beautiful and ethereal Hoh Rainforest, in the Olympic National Park. We knew his character: An oracle of the woods. Someone who felt like equal parts Sea Captain, Yoda, and Santa Claus. Of course, we already had just the guy (I wasn’t kidding about the preparedness thing. As spur of the moment as the actual shoot may have seemed, even this detail was already taken care of for me.) Our model K.J. was a bonafide Pennsylvania man-of-the-woods. Or at least he introduces himself that way. I would know, as I was the one who called him to come in. To give you an idea of how that went:

“Do you want me to bring my skull collection with me?” Um, yes.

“How about an axe? Single or double bit?” Yes! Both!

“I also have this walking stick that I made…” Are you kidding me?!

Any day you talk a woodsman into bringing his collection of forest stuff into work is a good day, in my books.

chris crisman personal conceptual portait wildman

Things were coming together, but we still needed someone to handle the finer details of creating a convincing woodsman: Our makeup and hair stylist. With a few calls and some help from friends, we found Vanessa. Not only can she braid hair into feathers and repurpose wig bits into beard parts, but she also happens to collect vintage furs. Details, people. We had some workable pieces on hand, but Vanessa called in a favor and had some of her collection brought in. Turns out, they were perfect for what we needed. Transformation complete!

chris crisman personal conceptual portait wildman

chris crisman personal conceptual portait wildman

As easy as these guys make it look to get the shot they need, I know that it’s because they have lots and lots of experience. Sometimes you have your talent and location in the same place, at the same time. Sometimes you don’t. There are nuances to capturing your subject in a studio and dropping them into the middle of the woods. Never underestimate the importance of choosing your background plate ahead of time. Unless you possess a god-like ability to control the sun, your background has a lot less latitude in terms of light, and so lighting your subject well really matters. The most convincing elements of a good shot should already exist straight out of camera.

chris crisman personal conceptual portait wildman

chris crisman personal conceptual portait wildman

Hey all, Robert here – just wanted to jump in and discuss the nuts and bolts of our shoot for a second. Having shot our background plate back in 2010 when Chris visited the Hoh Rainforest, the idea of shooting a wildman talent has been in the back of our minds for a while now. We knew that the lighting would need to match the contrast and shape we had in the background plate. With KJ in full costume, we used a gridded octabank as our key light to really focus and cut the light onto him and give us the look we needed. Since the background also had a natural back-lighting about it, we mimicked that with a soft hair-light to break our subject off ever so slightly. Enough from me though, I’ll pass this blog post back to Lindsey…

All that being said, you don’t just drag and drop and call it a day. There are tones to match, and hairs to mask. Forest-diffused daylight has a slim chance of being the exact same temperature as your studio lights. You can get pretty far along with the right shot, but the feeling you want to create really comes to life in post. Thankfully we had the talent of Taisya Kuzmenko and Picturebox Creative on-board to help bring it all together in post.

For my part, I had a great time being Robert’s understudy. I think I really lucked out with the projects at hand while I was there. Making the intangible tangible is certainly a process, but it’s a fun one.

We owe a big thanks to Lindsey for filling in while I was on vacation and for writing this awesome blog post. She did a great job filling in for me and you will most likely see more blog posts from here in the future.

We have more wild personal shoots underway in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to see what’s next. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

New Conceptual Portrait: Wildman

chris crisman conceptual portrait wilderness

We’re excited to share some brand new work today! Our newest personal conceptual portrait, Wildman. Another image that has literally been years in the making, we just wrapped up this portrait and couldn’t wait to get it online.

Make sure to head over to to see it in full screen glory and stay tuned in the coming weeks for the full behind the scenes blog post about the shot.

What are your thoughts on this new shot? Any questions? let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!