In Print

What serendipitous timing! Wade Griffith just shared new work he shot for the Houston edition of the Wallpaper* City Guides. I’ve been daydreaming of a weekend trip to the oil town for a while, now I know all the best places to check out!


Wade shared his experience with ILTP:
I have photographed 5 travel guides for Wallpaper* – Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston and most recently Austin. For each guide I’m the main photographer on the project and usually spend two weeks in each city photographing around 60 venues that include restaurants, hotels, landmarks, architecture, retail shops, spas, sports venues, a portrait of a city insider, a panoramic of downtown and the best of the city in 24 hours.


Since there was already a guide produced for Houston in 2008, I was only shooting an update for this one. The writer from Texas, Jim Parsons, spent several weeks in Houston scouting it out for the best new places to include. Based on his recommendations a shot list of 25 new venues was created for me by Elisa Merlo, the photography editor, who is based in London, UK. I was given around 5 venues a day to photograph and a contact name and time to be there, along with instructions on what to photograph.

All photos are shot in an architectural style. Wide angle, very clean, no cars or people, natural light and not styled. Emphasis always remains on architectural interior/exterior and design. The guide includes large pictures on each page along with a small paragraph of information below it. I photographed Houston in November of 2013 and the guide is now available as of June 2014.


Sicardi 02
Esperson Bldng
Class Room
Asia Society Center 01
Hotel Sorella 02
Bayou skate park

Austin-based Julia Robinson recently traveled to Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico for The New York Times travel section. She shared her experience with ILTP:

(all photos © Julia Robinson, more photos after the jump)



“I recently had one of those dream assignments to photograph Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico for the New York Times travel section. The writer took a first-person, travelogue approach to the story which gave me a blank canvas to fill in the sweeping vistas of the tiny village just across the border from Big Bend National Park. The border had recently reopened to tourists after a 11-year closure after 9/11.

I visited the town as a kid, mucking through the shallow Rio Grande with a childhood friend and her family. I don’t remember much from that trip – enchiladas with a warm bottle of Mexican coke, an onyx horse statue I bought from the restaurant, colorful buildings, dusty streets, and the sing song tone of Spanish that I had yet to learn.

Twenty years later, little has changed. The streets are still unpaved, many houses have spotty electricity, though some sport new solar panels. The colors have different, but remain variations of wow.

I walked up the hill into town, into Falcon’s and found a row of onyx horses in the window, just as I remembered them. The owner, Lilia, had taken over the restaurant from her father, Boquillas’ most famous resident, after he died in 2000. We talked for a few hours on the patio of the restaurant facing the main street through town.

The handful of tourists were gone for the day (the border closes at 6pm), and I was staying overnight in the room of a local I met on the horse ride up from the river. For all the pretty and empty travel pictures to be made in a place like Boquillas, it was this connection to Lilia that made the trip for me. Her uncle had just arrived from Midland, Texas – his first trip back since the border closed in 2002.

In a few hours, I was standing with Lilia and her uncle in a family cemetery, visiting her father’s grave and listening to them telling stories in the fading twilight. The photos of Lilia and her uncle didn’t run in the travel piece. Too emotional? Too specific? Too off-topic from the easy, breezy travelogue from the writer? The east-coast editors never say, but these are the photos that fulfill me as a journalist.

You better believe I’m going back.”














Who: Jeff Stephens

What: D Magazine Home Design Special Issue

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Jeff Stephens ©

Wood styled by Jay Evers

Blue Tape was a personal project.

Who: Justin Clemons

What: The Ticker & Wall Street Journal

Read about Justin’s experiences below.

Justin Clemons ©

Justin Clemons ©

DCEO-Playful-web-1 DCEO-Playful-web-2 2013_12_28_cmyk_NA_04

Recent tears from Justin Clemons and his reflections on the shoot

DCEO for The Ticker
“After much brainstorming I came up with the idea that I could have him physically forming a CEO out of clay, with the idea that he is “molding” or “shaping” the CEO’s of tomorrow. The photo editor loved it, and I thought it turned out pretty successful”

.WSJ Mark Cuban
“Sometimes on TV he is very loud and in your face, and other times on Shark Tank he seems very easy going and kind even. Turns out I got the kind and patient Mark, which I was thankful for. We talked about Shark Tank, our kids and the Mavericks, it was really cool. I got three different looks with him in about 15 minutes and we were done. I do really like the image that WSJ picked”.

Who: Jody Horton 


What Jody had to say about the shoot below.

0114_OnTheTable_1 copy

“Oysters are my favorite subjects to photograph.

These images of a commercial oyster harvest in East Galveston bay were featured in this month’s issue of Houstonia Magazine, along with an article by food writer and oyster expert Robb Walsh.

Thanks to Tracy Woody at Jeri’s Seafood in Smith Point for allowing me to see their operation and tag along on a dredge.” – Jody Horton

I had the pleasure of talking to Eric Doggett recently and picked his brain on what made him click as a successful commercial photographer in today’s competitive industry. We spoke about his career decisions and the creative influences that made him the photographer he is today.

What/Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?
I came to photography late in life. When I was younger, I was more inspired by other creative areas like music and art. I spent four years in the Air Force at the Pentagon, and at the end of that tour I started thinking more about creative areas I was interested in. One of the big ones for me (and still to this day) was film music – I have a crazy appetite for film scores. It’s a bit of a weird type of music to get hooked on, but I love them. So when my family and I moved to Austin, I did music for independent films and commercials in town. Now that I’ve moved into a visual medium, all that music inspires me while I’m working. I can match up a certain soundtrack with a mood I’m in, or the mood of an image I’m working on, and be very happy.

Do you have any influences that inspire your current work?
Sure. Like many of us, I have several. Some of my favorites include Dan Winters (who, interestingly, I run into on occasion as he lives about 20 minutes away), Randal Ford, Jeremy Cowart, George Lange, Art Streiber, Brian Smith, Dean Bradshaw, Erik Almas, Frank Ockenfels and lately, Matt Hoyle for his humor work.

What career path were you involved in before deciding that you needed a change?
My background was in information technology/web development. We would create applications for various organizations at the Pentagon. It was an interesting place to be at when I was in my 20s. But (like all development-type work), it takes a certain mindset to put up with those fluorescent lights all day. I just knew it wasn’t for me. For example, I would have more fun creating promotional videos or images for various projects than I ever had writing code. In fact, one of my favorite accomplishments from that time was creating the official logo for the government’s Y2K effort. This was back around Photoshop 3, when layers were new and all the rage.


What moment made you realize that you wanted to pursue photography?
2005. I was doing web development work for a health company and our first son was born. I somehow convinced my wife that we needed a new camera to capture all of his little life events, and somehow by the end of that year I found myself shooting weddings.

How did you get started?
The first one was one of those ‘friend of a friend’ weddings that was going to be small. There was a good three-month period where I remember getting my hands on any photography book I could find and reading it over and over. The funny thing about weddings for me was that my most favorite time of the whole event was when I had ten minutes alone with the couple to create images. In my mind, I was spending eight to ten hours of shooting to get those ten minutes of fun. And as I did more and more of them, I started sketching ideas for shoots we could do during that time. And they started involving more and more humor. In fact, consultants would look over my portrait and wedding work and see this consistent humor thread. I shot weddings until some time in 2010, when I started becoming more interested in editorial and commercial work. They were a break from the reactionary world of wedding photography. I was able to spend time planning a shoot, focusing on what was needed to create the image I had imagined.

I really enjoy the humor in your photography. What is your thought process when creating those concepts? 
It depends. Sometimes I get a client who is looking for a funny idea, and those shoots are always the best. Other times, I think of an idea on my own that’s funny to me and I set out to create it. Usually, those personal humor shoots are the ones that people remember. They sort of start out with a “wouldn’t it be funny if..” and then go from there.

What is your favorite part of creating and executing those concepts?

I love to sketch out ideas on paper. Drawing it out helps me think of new possibilities. Seeing it drawn out is definitely a fun part. Another is when the person I’m photographing ‘gets it,’ knows what I’m going for, and really gives a great ‘performance.’


How do you keep yourself motivated?
Since I usually retouch my own work, I love keeping up with the latest techniques and software. Seeing what other people are doing with Photoshop can be a big source of motivation for me. I also keep a running list in Evernote of shoot ideas that I think would be fun to do.

What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
I love to experiment a lot in post production, so I definitely enjoy that process. Also, whenever I feel like I’ve put in a good day working, I’m happy. This is tough sometimes as we all can approach this job in a reactionary way, dealing with whatever fires are going on that day. However, if I’ve done a good job planning tasks for the day/week and then get them checked off, I really enjoy that feeling of accomplishment. The challenge here has been separating a task from busy work.

What advice or motivation would you give for anyone inspired to start their careers in the photography industry after being involved in something different, then competing with other photographers that have been involved in the industry for most of their lives?

I think the best piece of advice is to be sure that what you are offering to the market is your own unique voice.

It’s easy to get caught in a mode where you are constantly copying other people’s styles or techniques as a test for yourself, only to find that your whole portfolio consists of tests you’ve done over a period of time. You end up with no overall direction – just a bunch of well-crafted images that are completely different in look and approach. Find inspiration in others, try to recreate techniques they have done, and then put all of that knowledge in the back of your head and store it as an ingredient for your own style.

What has been your best career decision so far?
Probably accepting that I’m not the perfect match for every client. Artists by their very nature are pleasers – we want people to enjoy the work we create, and we want the opportunity to serve as many people as possible. So it’s a bit of a leap to say ‘I’m not the best person for you on this project‘. I like it when someone can look at an image and know that it’s mine before they read that I shot it. It means that I am developing my own vision and style. That process has taken years for me, but it’s the only way that I would do photography today.

What is your favorite piece of equipment that you use?
A photographer named Joey Lawrence. once talked about how he used neutral density filters combined with flash to get a really shallow depth of field with the punch of a flash. It’s a great look, and I’ve found myself using that set-up more and more. I’ve also developed an addiction to tethering – I love having a laptop on set whenever I can.

What current projects are you working on?
I’ve done lots of editorial work in town and so every now and then I’ll have a magazine project come up. I’m also working on some projects involving 3D. It’s an area I had a little work in a long time ago, and I’ve been working on some fine art images that blend photography and CG images. I also do fun holiday card images for clients every year at They take up a lot of time starting around October, and it’s always a challenge as every client is unique! Additionally, I just launched an Introduction to Compositing e-book with Peachpit Press. It’s a great deal at $5, and they have several for sale at

Who is your dream client?
A lot of creative types will say that a dream client is one that will let you create whatever you want. I’ve found, however, that I like a little bit of constraint. I’d rather have a client give me their input about what they think would work, because more often than not, it sparks new ideas and directions that neither of us would have envisioned on our own.

What is your favorite thing about living in Austin?
I love the fact that everything is usually no more than 20-30 minutes away. We’ve been here since 2002 and we love it. We can’t imagine living anywhere else. There’s always a new restaurant to try.

Favorite restaurant?
This is tough. Really tough. I’m just going to rattle off a few of my favorites: The Grove Wine Bar, Hop Doddy for burgers, Perla’s for fancy stuff. Magnolia Cafe for tasty breakfast. I’m also looking forward to trying out the new food trailer area off 360. Oh – and any place that will sell me a real copper mug with a Moscow Mule drink. If they serve it in a glass, it isn’t real. 🙂

Who: Joel Salcido

What: A ten page photo essay on tequila

Where: Texas Monthly: Photo Editor Leslie Baldwin, Creative Director T.J. Tucker.



Who: Ben Sklar

What: The New York Times Travel section

Where: Morocco

Read below for what Ben had to say about the shoot.


“I spent about a month doing three travel stories and then one story for the Styles section for The New York Times that took us on a boat from Casablanca to Barcelona. It was super fun, but very different to rent a car and drive around northern Morocco, but I was well prepared after touring with countless bands, walking across Spain and hitchhiking through parts of the middle east to name just a few previous experiences.

The assignment was open ended giving us the opportunity to explore what we wanted and eventually tell it in the first person. So we avoided snake charmers like you see in Marrakesh and instead we went for own adventures like going home with 80 year old animal horn carvers for a family meal, secretly following strangers to leather auctions or smoking Hash with fruit vendors in the market. The influence of globalization on traditions in an ancient city was fascinating, it is after all a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest urban area without cars.  For example, there was only one remaining camel butcher in the old Medina (a moroccan delicacy).” – Ben Sklar.

To see more of Ben’s work click here.


Who: Austin-based photographer, Nicole Mlakar

What: Whole Foods new pet food line Whole Paws

Read below for what Nicole had to say about the shoot.


“This past January I had the pleasure of photographing 25+ dogs and cats for Whole Foods new pet food line, Whole Paws.

The casting included tons of great cats and dogs, almost solely from Whole Foods employees. We all knew the challenges of photographing real pets, as opposed to animal talent, but luckily I have quite a bit of experience in that arena. Whole Foods also wanted natural environments for our pets so all dogs were shot on location at a downtown park and all cats were photographed in their homes. The cats had the better end of this deal since we unfortunately had a very chilly and cold two weeks of shooting. We created so many fantastic images and I’m really happy with the end result!

You’ll have to check out the product yourself to see even more adorable images on the back of each product. I love that they even talk about how these are “Real Pets – Not Actors” and every pet’s name and age is included. My own cat, Tuna (the long-haired/long-whiskered Calico), even got in on the action and she’s totally let the whole thing go to her head.

There’s also some really great in-store marketing in the pet aisle that utilized many of the images as well. Each store is a bit different but I know the flagship store here in Austin, TX has a super cute cutout bone that features Finch, the French Bulldog.

I had an amazing crew on this shoot and the Whole Foods team was absolutely wonderful to work with.” – Nicole Mlakar

Who: Eric Doggett

Where: REAL Magazine

What: Shoot with Rob Thomas (the creator of the show Veronica Mars)

Watch a behind the scenes video and read what Eric Doggett had to say about the shoot below.

Rob Thomas Photo Shoot from Eric Doggett on Vimeo.

“Earlier this year, I was asked by the people at REAL Magazine if I would be interested in photographing Rob Thomas. “Whoa”, I thought. “Not that Rob Thomas,” I was quickly told. As it turns out, Austin has its very own Rob Thomas, and he’s the creator of the television show Veronica Mars (a show that I remembered my wife being fond of during its run from 2004-2007).

Rob decided that he wanted to turn Veronica Mars into a big, fancy movie. So, he came up with the idea of using Kickstarter to help fund the production, starting the campaign this past March. The original goal was to raise 2 million dollars, but by the end of April the project raised an amazing 5.7 million dollars, smashing through at least 5 Kickstarter records in the process.

REAL Magazine wanted to profile Rob and his success with the project, so I started sketching out ideas of what we could do. Rob was open to any kind of humor spin we wanted to put on the production, and I came up with an idea to have Rob running a lemonade stand, where he was selling props from the tv show to help fund the film. Who doesn’t remember having a lemonade stand when they were growing up? And thinking (if you were like me) that all you needed to do was sell a few cups and surely you’d have enough dough for a brand new toy.

We scouted out several locations around Austin and settled on a beautiful yellow house. It had a very neighborly charm to it and was the perfect fit for our lemonade stand scene. Rob brought along several personal items he he’d collected from the show to serve as our for-sale items. I also thought it would be funny if a kid was scootering by, acting indifferent to what was happening and going on about his day. This critical role was filled by my son, Trevor, who had no trouble scootering around as long as we needed him to. We also thought it would be funny to make the fundraising seem more dire for Rob by adding the Ferris-Bueller-inspired water tower in the background. You should always leave room for 1980’s film references in your photos.

After the main shoot was over, I took some individual shots of Rob that his public relations team could use for his promotion. This can be a great way to get additional money from a shoot to cover various things (like a behind-the-scenes video crew, which I used it for). Everything is pretty much as we shot it on location, although I did scale Rob and the table up a little bit, plus added the text onto the poster board.

This was my favorite shoot so far this year. It’s not often that you have a blank canvas staring at you for a client, and I was happy were able to turn it into a fun, memorable image!” – Eric Doggett