William Vázquez is an advertising, portrait & documentary photographer based in New York, USA.

Having photography LEGS in this economy.

A recent shoot for Parker, The very awesome Diana, and her long legs waiting on set.I have always been interested in photographing all sorts of things people, places, and things. In the business of photography that can be considered a bad thing. The argument being that you can't do everything equally well. How can you be an expert in all things? I do agree with that argument to a degree. Which means that if you want to work you have to specialize in one particular subject or style. Being a generalist has always been "not the way to do it." Although it has been the way I have been able to stay in this constantly changing business. The way I look at my job is that I tell stories, visual stories. I use a variety of styles to achieve that whether its in a reportage style where its just me, and my camera or a big todo in a studio with lots of production and crew. So I am a bit of a cameleon when it comes to visual style. I like to try different things all the time, and I really try to listen to my clients on what their needs are. So that can take me from photographing a peanut farm in Haiti, a baby formula plant in Singapore, a studio in NYC shooting fashion, to shooting advertising on a beach in Miami. It has been working for me for the last 20+ years (I am not as old as you are thinking), and still is. Not to say that this is the way to do it, but it has been my journey. That doesn't mean that I can take it easy, and relax...can't do that. It's harder than ever to earn a living in the creative arts. In order to stay in the mix you have to think like an artist and evolve, always evolve.

When in Vegas...

I did the big murals for the huge restaurant at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas; which were a big hit. My client then asks me to do some more photographs for the billboard advertising of the establishment. This being Las Vegas of course the concept was pushing hard against political correctness. We also had to shoot in Vegas because the models were there. It was a fun shoot.

Here is the final billboard...I think it turned out pretty well. This was not the original concept. The original concept was deemed too racy, and not used. Unfortunatly I am not going to post those. Sorry! Hopefully next time I am out there I will see the billboard in person and take a photo of it. Its my first billboard after all.

Shooting in the studio

Here is a finished shot of a big project I did in the studio. A while back I posted some stories on the production of these shots. You can find it here, and another here.

I really have no excuse for not posting it sooner. I have been dying to show it off. Many thanks to Jessica Silverman from Wilhelmina models. She was professional, energetic, and simply perfect! Also gotta mention my retoucher Mark Beckelman of Beckelman imaging for the usual great job, also the assistants, and stylists who played a big part. All sets were built in the studio by moi, with some help of course.

Samsung: Africa

Shot a mini campaign for Samsung to be used in the African market. Magazine, newspaper, bill boards, bus stops, the works. It was lots of fun, with lots of high energy jumping and cheering mostly by me to get the models motivated. I can't take credit for the retouching though the agency Agendanyc managed that. Nice job!


Kids are tough to photograph....They don't listen, they get tired,  get cranky, and at times they just don't care. Sometimes though you connect with them, and they can be fearless. Like the photo below..... Just did a fun project for an international its not for Nike®, although that would be nice too! The ball just happened to show the logo. This is one of the images I did for myself after the shoot. So much studio work these days. It's a nice change of pace from pure location work.

Geisha the movie: Behind the scenes production video

Ok, the last piece of the project. No more geisha after this! Well unless another project pops up. The art has been installed and has gotten very positive comments. In fact I have been commissioned to make another piece for the client. Thanks to my crew who really, really helped make this happen, and continue to do so for other projects on a regular basis.

Model: Natsuko Koizumi, Photo associates: Andrea Patton, Gabriela Herman,  Wardrobe styling: allyson Vieira, hair/makeup: Nancy Sprague, videographer: David Levitsky, Retouching: Mark Beckelman

More painting

Andrea, and Charley are painting more walls for the last 3 sets we have to do today. Not to mention sharpening up their painting skills! It is amazing how commercial photography is so much more than taking great pictures. Its how the situations are created to take great pictures. Its just products today no models we got those done the last 2 days. Now if only the paint would dry faster.......

A Casting.

Wow! We have been super busy here at the studio, and I haven't had time to post. We are in the middle of a last minute, lots of production, make it up as you go shoot, with an out of town client. That's Charley Parden by the way all the way from Alabama. Photo assistant, painter, builder, driver, mover of stuff, and all sorts of helpful stuff that has been popping up on this shoot.

Here is a sample of a shot I did while casting for a model Jessica Silverman from Wilhmenia models nyc. I can't divulge too much yet until we are done with the shoot, but its hectic. Just how I like it! Not to mention a good project full of challenges.By the way this model was awesome!


Last Geisha image

The top image is the final image that will be printed for the Borgata project in Atlantic City, N.J. It is an extreme crop from the original file you see below it. This shot was unplanned in the sense that we didn't know where it was going to go, and what feeling we were trying to give. So I had originally wanted to use an image where you can see the nape of the neck. The nape of the neck is considered to be very sensual. Also traditionally Geisha's don't show too much skin. I took a few liberties with that in my photos. Anyway in order to enhance the sensuality there is an area on the neck left bare with no makeup. I just couldn't find a shot that had all the elements in it when I did such a vertical crop. I do feel great about the one that was finally chosen, its going to look awesome. It will be 4 wide x 12 feet high and printed on a translucent material that will be applied to a glass wall in the wine room. Its a good thing I used a Leaf 75s back with a Hassalblad H2 camera so the quality is there. I must say this project has taken quite a bit of time. Besides all the research on Geisha costumes and makeup. I have had to manage all facets of the project from conceptual, production, retouching, printing, and will go to Atlantic City to supervise the installation. I want to make sure it doesn't get ruined in the end. Its refreshing as well as apprehensive to be able to have total control over the whole process. Thats what makes the work exciting! This is the reason I became a photographer to be able to do what I love. By the way any one looking for medium sized Katsura? Katsura is Japanese for the wig I bought for the shoot and would love to not have anymore.

Old School Skills..still got em

I never thought I would have to be doing this again...spotting whats that?

So the prints come they look all fabulous then you see it....Oh no! whats that! You see that in transit the prints were scratched. Grrrrrr. Well its a good thing I was a great print spotter back in the day of the wet darkroom and the prints had all sorts of dust, and scratches on then.

Finally! My Geisha

I was finally able to make myself stop driving my re-toucher Mark Beckelman of Beckelman Imaging totally insane with my nit picking. I think the images turned out super, and will look tres cool 9x12 feet approximately. They will be permanently installed at the Shiso restaurant in the Borgata Hotel, Atlantic City. So if you are ever in that part of the world, and are not totally partied out have a look, say you know the artist. That's right you heard me I said artist! I can't promise you that you will get any special treatment though. Maybe a plastic cup for your winnings on the the nickel slots.Now to deal with the printer, and getting it delivered on time. It's gonna be tight! Thanks again to the photo crew and my client Alvarez-Brock Design. It was great fun creating these images. Lets do more!



Ok I wasn't going to post a photo from the "Vegas" art shoot until they were retouched, but I like the photo so much I just had to show it off. There is no retouching or anything done to it. Although I don't see too much to least not yet...if you stare at it long enough you always find something to tweak! The production stills really don't do the final images justice though as you can see in the above photo.

I am posting a slide show of the behind the scenes. I didn't have time to do anything super involved like a video or a time lapse video...I do love those though, and I miss that for this project. I want to say though that advertising photography is not just about taking pictures. As you can see in the slide show, there are many other skills involved some basic some specialized. First and foremost a good crew to work with. That makes the production go smoother when you are working with people you can trust. Here is the break down....

  • Copious amounts of research on what the look should be. Good thing I have seen a few bullfights in Spain
  • Props from all over the US were located and shipped. Thank God for Ebay and the internet!
  • The right type of dirt was found locally (that was harder that we thought)
  • Get the dirt delivered. They only deliver by the tractor trailer load. we only needed a pickup truck full.
  • All the necessary dirt grooming tools procured.
  • Figured out how to make our 1/4 bull look more like half a bull.
  • Lots and lots of garbage bags.
  • 33 megapixel Leaf, Aptus 75i back

Still trying to get rid of the dirt in a green way and not throw it out. So far no luck.

Not to mention..... We moved 1800 pounds of dirt not once, not twice, but 4 times! grrrr. Anyone got a need for yellow clay...hardly used.

Many thanks to my assistants Andrea Patton, Zack Callahan, and Manjari Sharma. Also Allyson Vieira the über fashion/prop stylist who really made something out of literally nothing. My client Rafael Alvarez of Alvarez/Brock Design who just keeps raising the bar on what he keeps inventing. We did earth and water....whats next? Applause to our model the muy sexy Bridget who really got into the role! I will post the final retouched images once they are done. No animals were harmed in this production! Ole!

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Let There be Light!

My studio mate does lots of liquid shots and needs super fast flash duration in order to freeze motion. So he bought these Ascor "Sun" strobes. I think they were made to light up the ground from an airplane for spy photos.....Or something like that. Super mad scientist stuff! I could have used these for a shoot I had the other day, but locating a sync cord was a problem. I wonder why? These strobes were made in the 60's

What I do like the most though is the sound of 12,000 watt seconds.....very scary. Reminds me of my days at Francesco Scavullo's getting yelled at. Ahh the good ole days. Hear for yourself not the yelling, but the sound of the strobes.

Anything that makes a sound like that "es muy macho!"


Samsung: Somewhere in Europe

I recently did two advertorials for Samsung for the European market. One that talks about Samsung's mp3 players with Ken Pohlman who is an absolute guru on digital sound. That one we shot in Atlanta, Georgia at Big Studio last summer when its 100 plus degrees outside. Thank God we were in a studio! The other advertorial was shot in NYC and it was about Samsung's Series 6 HDTV's. That advertorial featured Karim Rashid who is a master of product design. It was really great working with these two masters in their fields. It is always great to talk to people who are at the top of their professions. It gives a better insight on what is behind the ideas that they come up with.

This is the first advertorial with Ken Pohlman. Check out the Samsung DNSe site and hear what Ken has to say about the technology.

Here is final Samsung Series 6 HDTV advertorial with Karim Rashid.

Here's a little production info on that shoot. First we had to find a gallery space in NYC that was just right in size and configuration. That was much harder than you would think. Richard Hobbs the location scout did some exhaustive research and pounded the pavement to find the perfect one in record time. Even though it was perfect there is never enough space to fit everyone so it was pretty crowded with crew, equipment, and clients.

Lighting and photographing Karim was much easier than getting the TV just right. We had to shoot the TV in studio in order to get the perfect lighting on it. Although a blend of the studio version, and the gallery version were used in the final  ad

Overall the final shot is probably composed of 5 different shots to get it just right. I had a great crew, and great clients who really worked hard to make it a good project and fun experience for everyone. Next time though we have to all go Salsa dancing.... Client: Samsung Agency: Agenda Creative Director: Dan Koh Art Director: David Rodriguez Account Exec: Rich Lim Photo Assistants: Este Aladroo, Andrea Patton, Gabriela Herman Fashion Stylist: Allyson Vieira Hair/makeup: Kim Do


Pool Building

The client wants a model standing on rocks in water. So I had to build a 12' x 16' pool in the studio to make that shot a reality. My client then asks for rain in the shot. Oh oh that would require a studio with drains in the floor and our budget going out the window so that idea is nixed. Here is a small super fast movie of the pool building and shot. Its kinda rough with no sound, but you get the idea. I will have a much slicker behind the scenes movie posted soon. Thanks to my assistant Andrea Patton who helped put it together.