What’s your Story?

I lost a bet.
Face painting at the fair.
The new Avatar.


Laura Cook discusses in her blog post Visual Storytelling: Tips from Photographer Laura Cook how to go from capturing a single moment to telling a story through photos. I thought this article was helpful in determining the type of visual storytelling I want to work on as well as how to go about doing it. Laura gives a few tips on how photographers can tell a more compelling story.

  1. We must find something we are passionate about. What makes you excited and eager to tell the story? One tip Laura gives is to pay attention to facial expressions, quick movements, and subtleties when photographing people.
  2. Use the light around you. By focusing on the light you can get a more cinematic feel and bring a scene to life. Be aware of your light sources such as a back-light or front-light and the time of day, such as the golden hour.
  3. Keep it simple. Look for ways to convey the message in a simple way by using signs or symbols. You can also use shallow depth of field, zooming in, or even cropping to direct the viewers eye to what is important.
  4. Paint a scene with a photograph. Show context in your image to give the viewer an understanding of the location, culture, environment, etc.
  5. Look out for detail. What’s the story you are trying to tell? What’s the best way physically to convey that story? You may need to use different angles to give you perspective.
  6. Find your niche. What kind of story can you tell well?
  7. Find your niche – but also leave your comfort zone. Try a new style of photography that you have never tried before. Don’t be afraid to experiment with creativity.

An Icon – Part 2

The following is a prelude to An Icon – Part 1. The following information is based off of the Interview conducted by aPhotoEditor with Dan Winters. I admire Winters’ work and how he got there. As an aspiring photographer this blog post acts as my pen and paper. Get ready to read the notes!

Dan Winters worked in New York for a year as an assistant photographer. During that time he was working off hours to build his portfolio.  Winters says “I had one room and my darkroom was in my room and I slept on a futon so I could fold it up and shoot.” He says that their are three schools of photography: Geographic, Life, and Esquire. Photographers would rather conform to the style of the magazine in hopes to shoot for it one day, instead of a photographer establishing who they are and getting published.

At that time he had his portfolio in a custom box with loose prints, all black and white. He would drop off his portfolio and killed time at the news stands and see how his work could fit in magazines. His first assignment came from Metropolis Magazine. He continued to be persistent by calling other magazines and he landed assignments with Rolling Stone, Egg, Interview Magazine and Vanity Fair.

Winters didn’t try to replicate a style, but he was diverse and tried to hone in on a variety of skills. His first big break was an assignment with the New York Times. They wanted him to shoot Denzel Washington in color along with other guidelines. This was uncommon during this time because most photos were in black and white. He had to decide the color palette and figure out a way to make Denzel look like he was somewhere else other than Hollywood. Winters was a carpenter for awhile and decided that he was going to build the set for the shoot.  He was inspired juke joints. They were drinking establishments for black men in the South. Winters said” I built that set with the idea in mind that if no one knew where it was shot or what the conditions of the shoot were, and they just saw the picture, it would be up to their imagination where it was.”



An Icon – Part 1

Dan Winters Interview – Part 1

Image result for dan winters

Dan Winters has photographed for Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, TIME,  WIRED, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and many others. While he has an impressive resume, it didn’t come about over night.

He began his career as a photojournalist in California. One thing I really respect Winters for is his way of doing things off the beaten path. The article Dan Winters Interview – Part 1 says that while everyone else was shooting with a 300mm lens Dan was shooting with a 35 or 28mm. He says “If I wanted to get close on something, I’d run close to it.”Winters began to have an interest in editorial shoots and incorporated it into his photojournalism by bringing strobe lights with him to his newspaper shoots.

Dan Winters was then offered to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop which is a prestigious workshop that a select amount of photojournalists can attend. He developed a close relationship with Eddie by filling a trench with a bulldozer, long, but interesting story. While at the workshop, Winters made connections with Gregory Heisler who connected him with an assistant job with the photographer Chris Callis. Dan put in his two weeks notice at the newspaper in California and moved to New York.

Dan Winters is one of my favorite photographers because he has always done everything outside of the box. He incorporated his two loves of photojournalism and editorial styles to create his own work of art. I hope to develop a similar style for future assignments. Fear never stopped him from chasing his dreams. The interview series is a three part series that I will be discussing over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Memoir of a Photographer

I recently took a trip to Prague. I love culture and how it can be expressed in many different ways one being through music. The photo below was definitely a candid photo. The subject started a band with his comrades a few years ago. They play culturally sound music helping tourists get a taste of what the real Czech is like. I chose to get ground level with the man to photograph him playing. He was so into the music it’s as if no one else was around. I love his expression, his outfit, and the lighting. It was close to sunset and in the picture you can see it gives off a pinkish hue. I love how the top of the wall leads you to his eye level. There are so many things I like about this photo, but the best part is that it reminds me of the experiences I had being in Prague.   Euro022118

The Girl Behind The Lens


Hi! My name is Madeleine Figueroa. I’m a senior Visual Communications major with a minor in business. I always grew up surrounded by different cultures. My dad is from Guatemala and my mom is German and Scotch Irish so different varieties of food, music, and customs are my norm. Growing up this way led to my love for photography and how I can capture the memories I have with my eye in the viewfinder. I love being incognito while everyone else is in their natural  habitat.

I always have a camera with me. I have used many different types of Cannon cameras and Sony cameras, but you can always find me using my little Sony NEX-6 with my 1970s 50mm Cannon prime lens. I have had the pleasure of photographing and videoing many events for the University of South Carolina, local events, weddings, and even portraiture. I’ve worked with video production companies as well as freelancing on the side. When I’m not taking pictures for the money, I’m photographing events for churches and camps. I like to travel whether local or international and take pictures of whatever I find beautiful or interesting. When working with photos or videos I use software such as Photoshop CC, Lightroom, Camera Raw, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Audition. To look at a few photos I’ve uploaded over the years checkout my Behance account.

Photo 1