Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA: Blog en-us (C) Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA [email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:47:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:47:00 GMT Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA: Blog 120 120 The Priceless Birthday Present
For my 45th birthday I received a surprise treasure from my mother. An unassuming box arrived in the mail, and there was no telling what would be in it because she has a knack for creative presents. This year she sent something of great personal value to her and now to me. It was from a time many years before I was born.

Carol and Charlie "JUST MARRIED" in 1960
 Back in 1961, my parents were newlyweds and financially strapped like many young folks. The stuff we take for granted today would have been considered luxurious for them at that time of their lives, especially since they were spending their summer working at Sky Ranch, a camp for "challenged" campers. Some of these young kids had no arms or legs, or suffered from the effects of polio and birth defects. My mother said that these children taught her and my father so much and made the summer a memorable experience.

Carol and Charlie Hughes in 1961
Having little money, my father got creative for their first wedding anniversary. He made my mom something with his own hands. In a way, these kinds of gifts represent an investment of time and love. Not to say that a store-bought gift is not appreciated, but in our product driven world, most people have stopped making things themselves. My father would continue to make her gifts for the rest of his life as seen by these whimsical butterflies made of crushed rock, wire and wood.

My dad carved for my mother a small wooden figure of woman carrying a baby on her back. For anyone who knows my Mom, they will know that this has more than a surface meaning. 

She has raised 4 of her own children, 4 grandchildren, a gang of neighborhood kids and several stadiums worth of teenaged counselors and campers. Not only that, she was the oldest of 8 siblings and helped with her mother with baby raising duties.

The timeworn face of a mother
To me, the figurine of a mother carrying her children symbolizes her perfectly. I suspect my father knew this when he carved it. My Mom  put her children before her own concerns. The weight was heavy as you can see from the stooped back, but she did it anyway... and is still doing it today in her late 70s.

You may never meet a more caring, insightful and funny lady. Many of our late night calls are filled with laughter and funny yarns filled with juicy details... just the way a good tall tail should be told. She is the type of person who knows who everyone is at somebody else's family reunion. I am sure she has introduced cousins who did not even know that they were related. My mom will make strangers feel welcome, and always let you know how much she loves you. I kinda feel sorry for the rest of the world, because I have the best mom out there... just saying.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Carol Hughes Charles Hughes mother parents wedding anniversary Sat, 14 Mar 2015 09:29:00 GMT
Executive Portraits for Spin-off Healthcare Corporation

If you have not heard, last year Kimberly-Clark Corporation spun off a $1.8 billion healthcare division resulting in an independent, publicly traded company named Halyard Health. This new entity will be  focusing on preventing infection, eliminating pain and speeding recovery for healthcare providers and their patients.

I was hired to create executive headshot portraits of the international board of directors. I would only have a minuscule 30 minute window of time to do it since their day was crammed with obligations. This meant showing up the previous day to set up my portable headshot studio consisting of a backdrop, 4 lights, a camera and a photographer... that's me.

I had to cut the set-up short because apparently the flash was bouncing into the board room making people think it was lightning outside. To put it mildly, this was distracting during an important Powerpoint presentation. We all had a chuckle about this later... but not then.

I showed up 2 hours early the next day to finish the setup. Then, during a short break in the meetings, I took all the portraits, packed up and hit the road. Mission accomplished.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) corporate photography Graphic Works head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography Tue, 10 Mar 2015 06:30:00 GMT
A New Watch Blog is Born at
A perfect storm of watch collecting, photography and blogging has come together in a pet project of mine located at I just launched this blog last week and am trying to fill it with at least an article per week.

I started this to have an outlet (other than my patient wife) to write about my passion of being a horologist... also known as a watch nerd. You can often tell a watch nerd by the way he wears his sleeves just above the watch. He does this so that he can gaze upon the amazing timekeeping device on his wrist, much like a proud parent may look at a newborn. 

This can quickly get out of control with the advanced watch nerds skipping the wrist watch altogether and opting for the ultimate neck watch. Of course, you have to ask someone else "What time is it?"

Photo by Comedy Central
My plan is to write about the watches I own and ones I would like to own. I will have different series within the blog including "Strap Swap", "Meet the Watch", "Watch DNA" and perhaps a sales corner with product recommendations. The subject is limited only by the time I throw at it.

The blog will also create photo studio projects for me to hone my watch photography skills. Watches can be incredibly tricky to shoot. Believe me, every spec of dust, microscopic scratch and unwanted reflection tries to photobomb the shot. There are also industry standards as far as how the hands are set ... usually at 10 and 2 just like they taught you in driver's ed. Of course, rules are meant to be broken as seen in a sample above.

If you have an interest , please check it out and subscribe. 
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes blog horology Masqueman Photography product photography watch collecting Sun, 08 Mar 2015 06:30:00 GMT
Web Site Design for a Large Manufacturing Conglomerate
Some websites are designed like simple calling cards to hold position on the world wide web. This was the case for site I designed at Graphic Works for OCI Enterprises Inc. This manufacturing conglomerate has several corporate layers under the main umbrella company. 

OCI Enterprises web site
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Graphic Design Graphic Works web site design websites Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:31:00 GMT
Shooting 225 Badge Photo Portraits in 3 Locations
There are different quality levels of portrait photography from a typical DMV mug shot to a multiple-light professional headshot. The difference is all in the lighting and maybe the willingness to make the subject look decent. I was asked to do something in-between, and was hired to make 225 badge photos for a national healthcare company in multiple locations in the Atlanta area.

Many of the subjects shared horror stories of past badge photos during a bad hair day, when a pimple sprouted on the tip of their nose or they got just one attempt. Though a necessity, many employees do not like getting these and they are in a rush to get back to the day's deadlines or lunch. 

On the flip side, many people are not willing to give up the 10 year old badge photo of their younger self. I made it my personal mission to make them look good and maybe even have some fun. There is nothing fancy with the 2 light setup, but it works for this sort of thing. 

Many of the photos were taken in just 2 shots. I had them write their names on paper and hold them up like they do in a police mugshot. Here's one guy who is familiar with that concept...just kidding Nick.
Regardless of the quick nature of these utilitarian photos, quite a few of the employees were photogenic... not bad for a badge photo.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) badge photos corporate photography Graphic Works head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:00:00 GMT
Creating an Impromptu Architectural Image for an Atlanta-based Healthcare Company
A photographer must be ready for any hot potato a client throws his direction. It is not always possible to accommodate impromptu requests, but the more versatile I can be, the better.

Perspective corrected image...
While on location setting up a mobile headshot studio for executive portraits, I was asked to make an architectural image of the client's new building. They had just completed parts of the build-out so this location still had that "new car smell"... and they needed an image the next day.

Outside was dull, dreary and threatening snow. I only had a few moments to snap some images before I was needed inside. I did the best that I could with the 24-70mm portrait lens I had with me. I normally do not bring my wide-angle 16mm lens to portraits so it was this or nothing.

A tilt shift lens would have been handy to dial out the perspective, but that is a rental for me. As such, I had to remove the extreme perspective in Photoshop. There are limited to what looks realistic. The very first image is what a tilt-shift lens might have produced. I'm not sure which I prefer since the second slightly distorted one looks more epic.

Building with some of the perspective left in...
The light played to my advantage with the foggy overcast sky acting like a giant softbox to evenly illuminate the structure's facades. The sun was cooperative and placed itself directly behind the building allowing parts of the giant glass tower to be both reflective and transparent. 

Out of camera capture...

Of course, the sky had to be replaced with something better than boring white. Above is the original out-of camera shot... I think I added enough drama to make it work.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes architecture corporate photography Graphic Works Masqueman Photography Sat, 28 Feb 2015 11:17:00 GMT
Happy Birthday to My Second Dad
We may get to pick our spouses in life, but we don't always get to pick the family attached to them. I hit the in-law jackpot by marrying into a very nice family. In particular, I not only gained a father-in-law, I gained a friend in Ronald Heady.

To me, he exemplifies the best that a man can aspire to be. I have never met a more intelligent or analytical mind in my life. I am sure that if scientists performed intelligence tests on him, their machines would have to be recalibrated. My relationship with him allows me to share my interests from photography, guns, gadgets, watches, robotics and science... not your typical "how's the weather" banter.

A few years ago, he allowed me to take some portraits of him. He had just given me two special gifts for my camera collection that reaches back as far as the 1930s. One was a Minolta camera that he personally used. 

The other was a Yashica twin-lens reflex camera that his father, Ray Heady, used as a newspaper reporter for the Kansas City Star newspaper beginning in 1943. I was over the moon to get these treasures and they are displayed in a place of prominence in my collection.

Here he is with his favorite gal, Sue. Happy Birthday, Ron! We love ya!

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) male portrait Masqueman Photography portrait photography portraits Sun, 22 Feb 2015 09:42:00 GMT
Two for One Headshot Sessions
When two of my buddies told me within the same week that they wanted new head shots, my response was to proverbially kill two birds with one Canon. There is nothing more business-like than high efficiency, but that does not mean we had to be boring. They wisecracked jokes the whole time. I am afraid that they might hurt me for posting the photo below... ha ha.

We knocked out the standard business head shots first. Unless I am trying to specifically match the style of a company's headshot, I tend to shoot a variety of backgrounds for the client. I can do this quickly by moving a few prearranged backdrops.

The requirements for Jason were slightly different since the headshot was going to include his company logo on his shirt. He owns Performance Audio & Video of the best audio, video and home automation companies in Atlanta. Give him a call if you need any of that.

While Justinas was dressed to the nines, I took some full body portraits in case he becomes a CEO or lawyer in the coming years. I remember the first time I met him with long hair riding a motorcycle. Now he is a respectable business man, and he cleaned up nicely.

We then moved on to more stylized photos. For Jason, I used a warmer tone to match his shirt. For Justinas, I chose to use a slightly blue cast to match his shirt. I think doing this emphasizes the face more and the clothing less.

I know for sure that I have the best friends in the world.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes corporate photography head shots headshot portraits Masqueman Photography Sun, 02 Nov 2014 12:38:00 GMT
Halloween Character Portraits
What is the best holiday of them all? I say Halloween for many people including adults. This might be the only yearly event where people get to step outside of their mundane lives and become somebody more interesting for a night.

In years passed, I have been hired to run photo booths at masquerade parties. These are as much fun for me as the participants. I love to see what will walk through the door. Maybe stars from the past will reappear...

In the case of Ricky and Lucy here... they were just enhancing reality with a sense of humor.

I think you can tell a lot about a person from the disguise he or she chooses. It could be a hero or villain unlike themselves. So, our next guy could be the dashing Clark Gabel...

...or a scoundrel tycoon named Dick Dasterly. You decide.

 A costume could be in poor taste and you wish you had not seen it. An example of this was a pudgy white man I saw (in 1998) who dressed himself as a minstrel-styled Aunt Jemima... yes, the nice lady from the syrup bottle. He even had a plate of pancakes and sang what he called "spirituals." Unfortunately,  you can't unsee or unhear some things. My advice... don't do this. And by the way, the guy next to him is no priest... 

The characters can come from literature like the Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

...or from pop culture like the Tom Petty styled Mad Hatter that came with the Queen.

This only makes sense if you saw his 1984 music video for "Don't Come Around Here No More"

Sexy vampires almost make you want to get bitten. More than once please...

I'm not sure if the motherly Morticia from the Adams Family was a vampire or not...

Some people never grow up and have to take their mummies everywhere. This gentleman English explorer's costume and expression were spot on. Blimey!

Whoa! I hope it wasn't the liver paté that made her turn green...

A touch of the old country... all that is missing is some beer mugs and polka music.

Is this what the Tooth Fairy really looks like?

It's only fair that I should embarrass myself with my favorite Halloween outfit of all time. One year I went as my West Virginia cousin, Bubba Joe Jethro (the third). The ladies loved my dental work.

That guy always gets out of hand though. Here he is talking things over with a security officer.

I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful Halloween. Be safe.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Halloween Masqueman Photography party Fri, 31 Oct 2014 09:03:00 GMT
Zombie Transformation Caught on Film
Fans of The Walking Dead have seen plenty of zombies. Usually they are shown in a state of decay just long enough to get their heads smashed in by the heroes of this popular TV series.

But, after watching every episode, I don't think I have ever seen a zombie transformation. For the first time EVER, this unseen event has been captured with time lapse photography. It's not a pretty sight either. If you are easily frightened, turn your eyes away now.

Apparently, the pre-zombie being grows a wild beard and his teeth turn into hideous bucktooth fangs. If you don't believe me, just watch the video evidence. It's got to be true if it's on the internet, right? See the link zombie video here.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Halloween humor Masqueman Photography time lapse Walking Dead zombie Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:36:00 GMT
CEO Power Portraits
One of my favorite things to do is make corporate style portraits. Usually that involves head shots, but it can also include body poses too. These can be great for magazine covers, articles or web pages. You never know where the images could end up including company sites, social media, email or print. In the samples below, I composited the client into 2 different backgrounds.

In this case, they will be used for several different types of articles on the company web site. With just a few modifications in the studio, I was able to provide a wide range of photos from formal to more informal. Providing different looks during a shoot gives the client's graphic designer much more material to work with. Variations on a theme? Check, check and check...

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes corporate photography Masqueman Photography portrait photography Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:41:00 GMT
Burlesque Dancer at Rosé Wine Party
Sometimes my job can be so fun that I forget I am working. This was the case when I was hired to take photos at a burlesque-themed rosé wine party.

A burlesque dancer named Amy was hired to entertain the surprised guests who were also dressed in various shades of rosé pink or sterotypical "French" attire. That includes berets and feather boas for us Americans. Check out the characters below... Magnifque!

Coincidentally, these two got engaged that day...

Entertainment included singing in French, comedy gags and Moulin Rouge style dancing. Plus, there was an elaborate strip tease with a "memorable" finale... If you want to see that, you are going to have to hire Amy. She is wonderful so you won't regret it.  Contact her at [email protected]

 Afterwards, Amy took photos with the guests... never dropping out of character. This lady has tons of charisma which made my job much easier. She is also a master costume maker and seamstress. Look at the details in the outfit she made. Imagine putting that on by yourself.

Below is my favorite photo of the entire evening which I snapped in front of my light box.

Guess who had the better legs below?

Many of the partygoers were very old friends so it was a perfect time for group portraits! 

Here are some of my favorite photos of the night.

The last photo reminded me of Linda Carter... yes, the 1970s era Wonder Woman.

She thought I was crazy to think this, but I know that I am right.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) burlesque costumes Event photography Masqueman Photography party photo booth wine Sun, 24 Aug 2014 06:48:00 GMT
It Would Have Been 54 Years Ago...
Wedding anniversaries in my family are not usually celebrated as big events outside of the married couple. Years ago, when my parents had their 50th anniversary, it came and went quietly. They did not want the attention or the hullabaloo.

Today would have been my parent's 54th wedding anniversary. 

My Dad missed it by less than half a year having passed away in April. My Mom is bravely facing this day "alone" so we are all thinking about her right now.

Over the years my parents rode the peaks and valleys of any marriage, learning to communicate as two totally different types of people and somehow made it work.

A big component of their lives was their children and grandchildren, but this is just about them.

My Mom shared a personal story of how my Dad would hide Snickers bars under her pillow or present her with flowers gathered from everywhere except the florist. The example below looks like it did come from a  florist, but he probably borrowed it from somewhere. Don't ask...

This is one of the last photos that I took when my Dad still had a sparkle in his eye. He had the same sparkle when he would sing songs or expertly whistle tunes for my Mom.

This was the photo we used for my Dad's funeral, and now it hangs in their bedroom next to the sparkly butterflies my Dad made for my Mom aeons ago.

Almost 54 years together is quite an accomplishment. I really don't have the words to describe what their partnership together must have been like so I'll leave it to the expert. Alan Jackson... take it away. This song is dedicated to Carol and Charlie Hughes on their 54th anniversary. It is their life and I would have sworn he wrote it for them.

See video here:

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Carol Hughes Charles Hughes Masqueman Photography parents wedding anniversary Wed, 20 Aug 2014 19:07:00 GMT
A New Breed of Bearded Terrier Discovered
What you are looking at here is the first known photo of the fabled bearded terrier of south eastern United States. These creatures are incredibly shy, living in the backwoods of the Georgia mountains. 

It is said that a regular old hound dog fell into a vat of 100 proof moonshine and swam a few laps. Then miraculously his beard began to grow like those Duck Dynasty guys. I have no idea if that is true, but these are amazing looking animals.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Boston Terrier Dogs Masqueman Photography tall tale Thu, 07 Aug 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Welcome to Earth Little Michael

Just a quick post to welcome Michael to this fine planet of ours. Say hello...

New baby parts below...

He joins his parents Amber and Jason plus sister Alessandra.

Big sis has already broken in her parents so Michael might be able to get away with more as a second child. Or perhaps, they will know how to spot his rascally tricks. Only time will tell.

I love this pose as Mom cradles baby.

Michael calls this "the claw" pose... I think I heard him meow as he did this.

One thing is for sure... he looks like a cool kid. 

Already Michael has made his parents very happy, and all he has done so far is mess up a bunch of diapers. Just wait until he does something really great!

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes child phtotography family portraits Masqueman Photography newborns Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:23:00 GMT
Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?
A client of mine brought her company's new CFO to our studio for a quick headshot and I just could not let her leave without me recording her new hair color. She used to be a brunette. She told me that she would let me know if blondes have more fun in a few months. This got me thinking about the origin of that common saying.

The question was perhaps first posed when some poor woman accidentally splashed bleach on her hair while washing clothes in a bucket. You know, before automated machines and woman's suffrage (a.k.a. the dark ages). Miraculously her hair changed color from brown to blonde... and so the bleach blonde was invented. I am making up that scenario since nobody really knows.

What IS known is that an astute woman named Shirley Polykoff solidified that concept into the collective of modern pop culture. Working for the ad agency responsible for the Clairol hair product accounts, she came up with these golden slogans for the company:

  • "Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure." This was the 8th top advertising slogan of the 20th century.
  • "If I only have one life... let me live it as a blonde." This one is clever because it sounds like a another famous slogan that reads "Give me liberty or give me death". It also hides a popular soap opera's name in the slogan which might have connected with housewives in that era.
  • And the last slogan "Is it true that blondes have more fun?" landed this creative lady into the Advertising Hall of Fame... one of only 5 women admitted. This is quite an achievement before the Women's Rights era.
Most of this info comes from an article by a Dr. Rosenthal which explores psychological studies on the subject. If you are curious, read more here:
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) advertising history blondes Masqueman Photography Tue, 05 Aug 2014 07:00:00 GMT
Photos of My Little Sister and Her Twins
This is a confession... I shot my sister and her two kids with a Canon. Before you call the cops, you should know that nobody got hurt and generally everyone had a good time.

My sis, Gena, had been promising me for years to come and visit me in my new Atlanta home... well, it was new 8 years ago anyway. It seems that she has been busy raising a family so traveling 10 hours by car was not an easy thing to do.

Now that her twin kids are 8 years old, it is much easier to toss them in the car and make the grueling drive.  Our plan was to keep the kids as busy as possible by purchasing an Atlanta City Pass. This allows people to see the top attractions in Atlanta for a highly reduced price.

The first morning, we made monster waffles in honor of Waffle House, which originated in Avondale Estates, Georgia... only 8 miles from my home.

Then it was off to the Fernbank Museum for some natural history and dinosaurs.

They have a great whale museum, which I accidentally found out does not allow photo taking. Oops. The hands-on science section has great things to occupy kids of all ages.

The next day was spent at Stone Mountain, which is not on the City Pass, but well worth the $10 admission to get in. The kids loved hiking around the old mill.

They sat still long enough for me to snap a few family photos. I mean just long enough... some of these poses were mere seconds before they were off and running again.

Notice the hug disguised as the "stay here" clutch.

Twins born 4 minutes apart...

Drawing in the sand like a cave girl.

Look at that fiery red hair!

We watched a Dock Dogs event, which had a bunch of lovable pooches jumping in a long jump pool. 

Then, we explored the top of Stone Mountain by riding the tram. I think we could have really tired them out by making them run up the other side of the mountain, but I am not sure the adults were up to it. They climbed trees to get higher!

Later we watched the laser show with thousands of other people. That lawn can really hold a crowd!

The next day was going to be spent at the Atlanta Aquarium. This place is as large as a shopping mall, and designed as such. I think I felt the dollar bills being sucked out of my sister's wallet as we exited through the gift shop.

 Yes it is good for business... but it causes a lot of headaches for parents with tired children who do not know what money is. Just saying...  Regardless of that, the venue is top notch with amazing sights and sounds. 

 How many fish are in this place?!

Life takes some strange and wondrous shapes.

This might be the only time little Andy sat down. I took the photo as proof.

I did not know the aquarium had amazing acrobats!

After we had seen all the fish there were to see, we jogged over to the new Coke museum for a quick walkthrough. Two highlights for the kids were taking a photo with the excellent polar bear and a 4-D movie with whiplash moving chairs and spraying water.

It seems that the pinnacle of the whole Atlanta trip for them was all the "FREE" Coke products from around the world in the museum's sampling room. It is kinda cool to try different flavors that are not available here in the states. My favorite was Inca Cola from Peru that has a unique flavor derived from lemon exotic flower.

The kids made friends with Zack the Boston Terrier who seemed to love hanging out with them. Little Andy even broke through to Zoey who is incredibly shy around strangers.

If they did not sleep in the car going back to Virginia, then I am not sure what else we could have stuffed into the 3 day weekend. I was personally bushed for the rest of the week.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Atlanta family portraits Masqueman Photography Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:00:00 GMT
Time to Say Goodbye to Nonna
As a photographer, I believe that I am a keeper of sacred images. As hokey as that sounds, you never know which will be the last frame you will snap of someone you love or another family's cherished matriarch.

This was the case of Joan Mitchell Jenkins who passed away this week after several years of fighting life-threatening diseases. I would like to celebrate what I knew about her.

When I met Joan, she was already battling debilitating health issues. This was extremely difficult for her, but I never heard her complain about it.  Instead what I saw was a complete dedication to her daughter's family including a special granddaughter.

I have rarely seen such devotion to grandchildren (excluding my own Mother who is at the top of the heap). Joan loved little Alessandra fiercely and it brought her great joy to be with her.

Over the years, I would take photos of little Alessandra and Nonna would often be there.  Some of my favorite photos are from her first birthday. These two share the same look.

To get all three generations of women together was incredible. Alessandra was teething and it would have taken hot sauce on her fingers to keep her hands out of her mouth, but it does not matter. The moment was recorded.

The last photo I took of Nonna and Alessandra together was ironically on the day before my own father died. This weighed heavily on me as I took this last photo of the two together... not knowing if there would be another opportunity like this.

Nonna probably would hate being seen in her pink cap and oxygen lines, but to me, this photo is a powerful reminder of how her world revolved around her granddaughter. Maybe this will become a reminder to an older Alessandra when she thinks about her Nonna.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Jason Caponi Masqueman Photography memorial Sun, 03 Aug 2014 10:11:00 GMT
Portraits of a Little Lady
I love watching kids grow up. Just a few months apart makes the changes more discernible. I have been photographing Allessandra since she was born, and she has become quite the little charmer. Here she is pretty in pink.

This black and white photo hints at what she may look like when she gets older which is the perfect combination of Mom and Dad. She was photographed using old fashioned tungsten hot lights... which produces a different look in my opinion. Plus, they can heat a room on a cold day.

It is obvious that she loves her Daddy. I like how their faces are so close here.

She is getting taller than Pops (as long as he is sitting on the ground).

There is no such thing as a subtle smile at 4, as you can see here with Mom and Dad.

It was dreary outside but a little flash trickery made it look like a lovely Spring day with Mom.

I'm sure the neighbors did not mind me using their azaleas as a backdrop.

I noticed on the way back inside that the red door would make a great background for her blue polka dotted dress. A moment later she leaned against the unlatched door and tumbled backwards. She was unhurt, but the look on her face was utter surprise. What a trooper!

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) child phtotography family portraits Masqueman Photography portrait photography Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:30:00 GMT
Hidden Garden Get Away in Asheville, North Carolina

For our eighth anniversary, my wife and I drove to Asheville, North Carolina for a fun filled weekend during the Fourth of July celebration. If you have never been to that town... put it on your list. Asheville is surrounded by rolling mountains which makes it a beautiful place to explore.

The pedestrian friendly town invites you to sight-see, shop, eat, drink and loaf about. There are tons of gluten-free and vegetarian options if you are into that. The food alone is worth the drive. The people are very laid back and friendly with several locals chatting us up for no other reason than to be neighborly.... and I thought Atlanta had the market cornered on Southern hospitality!

The night before we left, I packed a pile of camera gear to take with me including all types of lenses and flashes.  At the last minute, I decided to leave it all behind and take my iPhone and a Canon S100 which is a tiny point-and-shoot. 

Normally trips = photo safaris, but this time I wanted to spend time with Jenny. She was the whole reason for me being there and I wanted to concentrate on us having fun. 

Instead of staying in an holiday-priced hotel, Jenny found us a micro house which was amazing... and half the cost. The host's house can be seen to the right for size comparison.

A micro house can be many things, but in this case it was a wonderful one room modern bungalow surrounded by a lush garden. 

This was one of the coolest places we have ever stayed including swanky hotels in big cities.

The structures and garden were the result of many years of work by the owner who is a home remodeler and a landscaper. He is also a heck of a nice guy welcoming us with warmth and kindness.

We spent a few hours exploring in the gardens and seeing different things. Below is an old stucco shed that had be refaced with bamboo and reclaimed corrugated metal siding.

The location used to be a stone quarry and evidence of that can be seen in the sheer rock faces that surround 3 sides of the garden.

Much of the rock has foliage growing over it and the walls have cascading icicles in the winter.

So many details can be discovered in the garden. 

Some of the plants were throw-aways from other people's yards. They found a new life here.

Bamboo gardens rustled in the mountain breezes, which was incredibly peaceful. Sunlight seemed to turn green as it filtered through the leaves...

Bamboo was used as a recurring theme throughout the garden and structures.

Spike the cat will greet you and make you feel like a welcome guest.

Since I had a point-and-shoot, we just had fun taking photos. If something did not turn out right... who cares? We were were on vacation. 

For once it was nice to just be in the moment and not worry about the technical side of things... just capture the snapshot and keep going.

Our favorite activity (besides stuffing our faces) was exploring the vast arts district full of fantastic old warehouses.  It was an incredible trip and one we plan on repeating in the future.
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Asheville Garden Masqueman Photography NC North Carolina vacation. snapshots Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:30:00 GMT
The Dog With Aerodynamic Ears
Sometimes my wife and I babysit for her coworkers. The child that we watch is the 4-legged variety, which means no diaper changing... thank goodness. The little sweetheart's name is Spooner and he is a 10 year old Boston Terrier with a gentle personality.

Boston Terriers are a dear to us because that is our canine breed of choice, having had 4 of them. All had large pointed ears which stood up straight giving them the appearance of strange bunnies or bats. Below, Zack is sneaking a kiss to the chagrin of Spooner... (wish the focus was better).

Spooner on the other hand, has aerodynamically streamlined ears that seem to be located on the back of his melon-shaped head. Below, it looks like he stuck his noggin out of a car window.

This physical characteristic was not something that I really noticed until I tried to take a photograph of him in a makeshift studio in my kitchen. Where did his ears go?

When making dog portraits, I use an old muslin backdrop because seamless paper is easily punctured by dog claws. To see his ears, I had to shoot at a very high "over the head" angle.

Probably my favorite photo shows him as he really is... stubby ears and all. The "S" on his chest could also stand for "Super" because that is what Spooner is.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Boston Terrier Dogs Masqueman Photography pet portraits Spooner Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:16:00 GMT
A Letter to My Daddy on Father's Day

Dear Dad,

It's Father's Day so I thought I'd write you an note and let you know what is going on down here on Earth. Hopefully, you have internet access up in Heaven and can read this, but my hunch is that you are looking over my shoulder as I type.

First, all of us miss you dearly. I hate the fact that I cannot just pick up a phone and hear the eloquence of your Southern Gentleman's voice and your "dry as the desert" humor. I left a few old  voicemails from you on my phone so I can hear you any time I want. I also watch some of those videos from the 80s and 90s that were made about your Marine Science Center and when you appeared on the local morning television programs. You looked so cool in your lab jacket.

Most everyone is dealing with your departure in their own way. Mom is incredibly lonely without you, her companion for over 50 years. That's a long time to hear someone snore next to you. Maybe I should install a gasoline generator in her room to simulate the racket and she would sleep better then.

Kelli has gone a bit crazy without you. Hopefully, she can pull her life together, but that is something she will have to do on her own.

Dan is busy raising his family and carrying on the tradition of camping in a RV instead of a tent. I know that might be cheating, but it is a lot more comfortable with AC and electricity.

Gena is spending a lot of time with Mom helping her when she can make the drive from Richmond. She has her hands full with 2 kids and lots of wicks burning her candle down.

Justin has become more like you every day. There are times when I think that he is what you would have been like when you were younger. You would be very proud of him I think.

Kristina mourns for you long distance. She hates that she did not get to see you more before you left us. She has asked me for a bunch of photos of you to hang up in her home in North Carolina.

Sara and Tyler seem to be coping pretty well. They might not show it if they were not. They are in good hands with Mom raising them. They had better do their chores or suffer the dreaded flyswatter.

And that leaves me. I miss you too, but I feel like I am walking with you as my constant companion. If I look in the mirror, I see you. If I interact with children... I hear your voice and even use some of the same tricks you used on us to keep us entertained, though I have not attempted the fiery puffs of flame that you somehow surprised people with. I am not magician like you were.

The times I feel closest to you are in the deep woods right before sunset with the low beams of the sun lighting the side of the trees and leaves. There is such a peacefulness there without cars, cell phones or the constant background noise of modern life. There is just the rustle of leaves and the chatter of birds... many of which I know you could have identified and imitated with your virtuosic whistling skills.

In other news, I am sorry to have to tell you, that your beloved hoard of treasures has been discovered. Dan and Gena have been cleaning out your secret stashes around the house including your "drawer of trinkets", your "closet of secrets" and your "shed of fortune". They found many wonderful things like Reagan-era Band-Aids, old watches, souvenirs, ancient paperwork, $600 in cash and also an uncashed vintage check from 2003 worth over a $1300. Uh oh... you are in trouble with Mom. I am sure you will hear about that.

They have not attempted to clean out the attic or garage yet because we found out that dumpsters have a limit to what they can hold. Plus, we have to build a walkway through the expertly stacked strata of boxes, scientific equipment and biology books dating back to Darwin's time.

Many friends have come by to visit Mom or give a call. She has had a lively time sharing stories and hearing how you touched people's lives. Some of these folks have not been heard from in decades. Even now, the news continues to travel through the grapevine of your passing, and it still hits hard even months after the funeral is over.

Speaking of the funeral, I hope you saw it. The place was packed and there were even people standing in the back. Tons of old friends were there from Camp Chanco, relatives, neighbors, clergy, church members and your school colleagues. We sang all the favorite songs and it really took me back to the time you directed the camp in the 70's. Some of the people have not changed much like Ron. He had the place roaring with laughter as he described the hi-jinx you guys shared. Some flew thousands of miles to be there including your 90+ year old Uncle. His quote "you bet your ass I'll be there". One interrupted her cancer treatments to come. None of them would have missed it for the world.

The one thing that I heard over and over is how incredible the service was and what a great person you were to so many different people. You had no fewer than 8 or 9 eulogies. There were many facets of your life to be celebrated including your college friendships, your incredible teaching career spanning over 53 years, your traveling camps and also Camp Chanco. Then, your family got to share their thoughts. Dan was too busted up to talk. I almost did not make it through my speech. Thankfully, people laughed at my bad jokes. Ellie's speech was way beyond her young teenage years and Justin's words inspired me and reminded me of you.

The memorial service was decked out with lots of photos that I took of you. We used the one of you and Mom for the printed program. That was the one that had a sparkle in your eye and captured your mischievous spirit. I put a photo of you in your native headdress and the one of you sitting on the live oak tree in your crypt. I hope you don't mind because you are kinda stuck with them now.

Well, that is about it for now. I hope you are adjusting to your new home and are making room for the rest of us. I hope you have found some of your long departed buddies to pal around with in Heaven. I hope you are laughing and remember us too. We love and miss you Charles E. Hughes.

We can continue this conversation on our next walk in the woods. I know you will be there.

Luv Andy
[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Charles Hughes Father's Day Sun, 15 Jun 2014 08:19:00 GMT
Confessions of a Star Wars Geek Normally, shooting product photos for a client does not remind me of anything from my childhood, but in the case of Uranium Flashlights... I had to chuckle.

Back in 1977 when Star Wars originally came out, I was a young geeky kid who loved my action figures and X-Wing fighter. Unlike some of my friends who had every Star Wars toy sold (I'm looking at you Noel Natividad), I had a few precious characters... and I loved every one.

I idolized Obi Wan Kenobi from the original film even though he was only in it for what seemed 30 minutes.
I vividly remember losing my Yoda action figure to a curious mishap when I tied it to a helium balloon and launched him like Ben Franklin into an approaching storm. Of course, I had no idea that the thread I had borrowed from my Mom's sewing drawer was not attached to the spool. At that moment the string ran out, Yoda must have been at least 400 yards high (which is the length of thread on a typical spool), and he just kept rising. For all I know, he floated right back to his home planet of Dagobah. My hope is that some other kid found this sky treasure and gave him a good home.

Along with those toys, I always had a common household flashlight. During playtime it could become so many different things like a launching Saturn V rocket, an interstellar missile, a tractor beam, Han Solo's blaster, and yes, even a light saber (especially around a camp fire where the beam would seem to solidify in the smoke).

Uranium Heavy Duty Flashlights or rockets... you decide.
So there you go... I admit it. Star Wars is part of my childhood that just won't disappear... but I'm not the only one. There are legions of geeks out there... and more of us than you think... perhaps, even an army.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Masqueman Photography product photography Star Wars Sat, 08 Feb 2014 17:23:00 GMT
Atlas Fit Gloves Web Site
Sometimes clients need a fast and affordable way to promote a niche portion of their business. That was the case with Showa Best Glove who wanted a simple informational web site about some of their best selling Atlas gloves. Salesmen use this as a touchstone in their sales calls.

We built a web site to highlight key information about each glove including suggested uses, sizes, materials and photos. In-depth info could be downloaded as a PDF for review or printing.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Graphic Works Showa Best Glove web site design Fri, 07 Feb 2014 18:14:00 GMT
Red Headed Family Portraits at Stone Mountain
I am just like my mother.... I love red heads (I was even lucky enough to marry one). I am afraid when she sees these photos that she might want to adopt this whole family of four beautiful people with firery locks.

I kinda grew up with Michelle,  the mom of these two who is like a sister to me. 
It is so cool to see her with her own little clones... 

This is big Daddy Josh and Josh Jr.

It seems like Stone Mountain, Georgia in the Fall is a great setting for family portraits.

With my trusty 70-200mm zoom lens, I can get several versions of the same photo 
without even moving. Does that make me lazy or smart? You decide. Here is a wide angle.

Here is a medium angle...

And, finally... a close up. Don't drop those kids... it's a long way down.

Danielle is a stunning little girl... and so wonderful to be around.

How about some guy time?

Can you say cute? I love that curly hair.

Danielle reminds me of the young heroine, Merida, from the Pixar movie, Brave.

I actually had them holding hands at one point. Don't try that with older children
 unless you want to capture frowns.

At this age, I like to stack the family members to show the size differences. 
The way kids grow, they will never be this small again.

Something a little more informal perhaps?

I actually work for Michelle's father and Josh Jr. has the same glowing blue eyes of his "GranDave".

The kids just love their Daddy who is a giant of a man compared to them. 
He would literally do anything for his family.

Before the kids, it was just Josh and Michelle... high school sweethearts.

Here is a shot of Mom and the munchkins and ...we're done.

[email protected] (Masqueman Photography | Atlanta, GA) Andrew Hughes Atlanta family portraits Masqueman Photography portrait photography Stone Mountain Park Wed, 29 Jan 2014 10:03:00 GMT