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

Art directing from the other side of the world

Here are some photos from the location part of the shoot. Like my DJ headphones? It was loud at the location so I needed to borrow some headphones. They were a bit over the top.Seoul, Korea is 6885 miles (11080 km in Euro miles ;-), and 13 hours ahead. That is where my clients were while art directing a recent shoot I was working on for Samsung in NYC. It is amazing how technology has evolved where this is possible. For this to work, you need the right technology, most importantly a decent internet connection, which sometimes can be hard to come by, and a good working relationship with your clients. The step up is not perfect yet, but gets the job done. Although I have some ideas on making the process even more awesome the next time.

5 photos in 1 day, 4 in the studio, 1 on location, 1 employee photo, 1 male model, 1 child model, 1 teddy bear, a black turtleneck (you would be suprised on how hard it is find one in the summer) 1 makeup artist, 2 assistants, 1 intern, a ton of equipment, and one long day particulary in Korea where they pulled an all nighter to work with us. Thanks to everyone for pulling this one off with few hitches especially with the monsoon rains we have been having in NYC.

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 "What is Beauty" shoot tears

As a followup to my previous post on the production of this story. I finally got the final magazine from the "What is Beauty?" shoot with the man on the street. Also there are a couple of fun portraits, and a stillife no less. There is even a photo of me on the first spread. On the left side in the middle holding the camera looking like I am going to be run over by a truck. Many thanks to everyone on the crew who made it happen, and to my client for the great layout.

Making it work, no matter where you are.

What do you do when you need to photograph someone in their environment, except that's not possible? Not to mention very limited time to actually photograph them? You create the environment and bring it to them that's what you do. We built a wall, put up shelves and furnished the area we needed. The plus side to this is that we can customize it. After we were done it looked like we were never there.

Thanks to Michael Robinson for lending the experienced hand, Lori Rielly for her prowess with tools plus her dry sense of humor, and Ann Orcutt on make-up.

Man on the Street: "what is beauty?"

On a chilly day in December, we did a man on the street shoot for Samsung. One of the fears was will people stop to have their photo taken and answer a few questions. Most people think that New Yorkers are cynical and won't want to cooperate. So I hired Sari Goodfriend, and she proved that theory wrong! Her charm was able to convince almost anyone she spoke to, to have their photo taken. Way to go! Not to mention she interviewed them for the piece. Listen to the statements on beauty as the slide show plays.

The success of the shoot just reinforces the need to have the right people to make a project not just get done, but be spectacular. Not to mention a good time was had by all. Many thanks to Sari Goodfriend (first time people wrangler and a great photographer herself), Michael Robinson (who played the producers role, and organized the shoot also a good photographer), Charley Parden (great assistant and a future photographer), and of course my clients who let me do this stuff.

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.

Maxed to capacity

The studio is operating close to maximum capacity with client, crew, props, and wardrobe. We have had to rearrange all sorts of stuff and get more space. Its been a good way to get rid of those props that we haven't touched for 5 years.

This is just a small portion of the wardrobe that Jessica Zindren the wardrobe/prop stylist extrodinare for the shoot picked up. Its a bit messy at the moment, its all my fault though, I had everyone digging through stuff looking for something that I thought I saw. I realized that it got returned. Oops! sorry Jessica. Great to have choices, lots, and lots of choices.


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!


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