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live event photography - book of souls, an iron maiden tribute band - photo copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - book a photoshoot at adrianfeliciano.com

Live Event Photography with Book of Souls

Heavy Metal Photography: Band Practice

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached by an old high-school friend of mine, Jason, about photographing his new heavy metal band, Book of Souls, an Iron Maiden tribute band during their upcoming public debut at the Strange Brew Pub in Norwich, CT. During our conversation, we discussed my coming down to photograph one of their band practice sessions, in order to get some usable promo photos with the promise that I would be as unobtrusive as possible in order to avoid disrupting their practice.

The photos that came about as a result turned out to be a complete change of pace from the usual electronic dance music event oriented photography I’ve been immersed in for the past few years. Heavy metal has always been my musical home, so to speak, and it was refreshing to hear the first power chords as they plugged in!

live event photography - book of souls, an iron maiden tribute band - photo copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - book a photoshoot at adrianfeliciano.com
Book of Souls‘ Jason Berube on bass

Event photography with the Black Foamie Thing

I wanted to share a little bit of the flash photography technique that I frequently use to light photos like the one of Jason, above. To date, it has never failed me.

For starters, before photographing any scene with additional lighting, I always underexpose the ambient a bit. I want the main subject(s) to pop within the image. To do that, the main, or key, light needs to dominate the scene. Ambient, or background lighting, can become fill-light, back-light, rim-light, or eliminated all together. The key to lighting (Haha!) a photo well is seeing and then controlling the light in a scene.

So, after a quick test exposure to get a measure of the room’s ambient light levels and setting the camera to under-expose the photo, it’s time to add my light to the scene. It’s always best to get light off the camera and from a higher angle, cuz “natural light” is always above-axis to your lens.

Flash photography 101, right?

But what if you’re in a small studio space, how are you supposed to get a speedlight raised and angled well when there is already barely enough room for you to stand?

The simplest solution is to attach the speedlight to your camera’s hotshoe, but direct flash on-camera flash can look rough unless, of course, you know how to use direct flash effectively.

headshot of blonde female model with dark red lipstick against a red wooden background - copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - visit adrianfeliciano.com
Direct flash headshot of Liz Arruda of apogeeflowtoys.com

So, bounce the flash, right? Advanced flash photography technique 101. Bounce. The. Flash.

Sure, it helps, but it also tends to throw light around haphazardly and you risk flash-punching and annoying the people around you (like people trying to practice for an upcoming heavy metal gig).

You can improve bounced-flash in a variety of ways (non-affiliate links):

  • ExpoImaging sells their Rogue Flashbenders for about $45 for use as a flag or snoot,
  • you can go completely Gary Fong chaotic and use his Lightsphere® — which throws light everywhere, uncontrollably, for around $70,
  • or pay more with the MagSphere for about $50 plus the required MagGrip for $25

Enter The Black Foamie Thing.

It’s a simple piece of black art foam cut to size and then held in place on the speedlight with a hair tie, or rubber band, or a ball-bungee cord, or a Velcro speed strap. Go as expensive as you really want with whatever you use to attach it to your flash. It’s your money to spend.

If you use hair ties, all told, you’d probably be using what amounts to maybe $2.00 to simulate a larger flash modifier like a good soft box that can easily cost around $60 to begin with.

Flash settings are crazy easy. Set your flash to eTTL, and point it to project the light onto the surface you want your “key light” to come from while dialing your ISO to higher than base settings (100-200, depending on the camera) or setting it to auto ISO.

Yes, really — you can get soft, simple, directional light with just an on-camera speedlight, a piece of cheap art foam, and a hair tie!

It’s how I lit nearly all the indoor and some outdoor images I took while at the newspaper:

portrait of an older black man wearing blue collared shirt, suspenders, and beige tie in front of a darker beige wall and city of holyoke massachusetts flag - published by the daily hampshire gazette - photo copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - see more at adrianfeliciano.com
DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE / ADRIAN FELICIANO – 2011 Portrait of Holyoke Police Chief, Anthony Scott (Ret) next to the City of Holyoke Massachusetts flag

It’s how I light a lot of the event photos I take when I am in a smaller venue:

live performance image of Black woman wearing headphones at DJ decks with multicolored red, yellow, orange, and green background lighting effect at elements, a local Boston drum and bass weekly, held at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA - Photo © Adrian Feliciano, all rights reserved | Adrianfeliciano.com
Mizeyesis performing her birthday set at elements, a weekly drum and bass night held at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA.
female bodied DJ wearing a tank top and headphones spinning music - copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - adrianfeliciano.com
Artemis on decks at New England Junglist Massive
square format image of female dj on decks with an excited smile - copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - contact adrianfeliciano.com to book your next photoshoot
Marianne / Glowworm on deck at elements, a weekly drum and bass night held at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA.

It’s how I’ve lit impromptu portraits:

black and white photo of tribal fusion performer wearing a skull and spike headpiece and thin veil - copyright adrian feliciano, all rights reserved - visit adrianfeliciano.com to book a photoshoot
Portrait of Nicole at Wonder Bar in Allston, MA

Boudoir photography:

boudoir photography with woman wearing a corset and putting on white lace stockings copyright adrianfeliciano.com
Boudoir photography with Angil Love
Boudoir photography session with anonymous model

Nude photos:

From a nude body painting photoshoot in NH

Even some still life fine art photos:

From a nude body painting photoshoot in NH

And it’s how I lit a heavy metal band practicing in a studio space no bigger than a small bedroom:

In summary

Flash photography does not have to be a complicated or unnecessarily expensive affair. $2.00 – $3.00 and a surface to bounce light off is all it should take to vastly improve the look of your photography without resorting to trying to “fix it in post.”

Want to see more of my photography?

My photography portfolio presents the best of my headshot, portrait, boudoir, nightlife event, and fire performer and flow artist photography.

Want to schedule a photography session?

If you’re nearby and would like to schedule a photo shoot together, please visit my contact page to send me a message so we can get started!

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live performance image of Black woman wearing headphones at DJ decks with multicolored red, yellow, orange, and green background lighting effect at elements, a local Boston drum and bass weekly, held at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA - Photo © Adrian Feliciano, all rights reserved | Adrianfeliciano.com

Photography and an Eye on Electronic Dance Music

I was approached by Ryan Eisele a week or so ago about licensing a photo of Mizeyesis that I took while she performed her birthday set at elements, a weekly drum-and-bass event held at The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge, MA., for a pandemic interview series. The website is a newly launched community resource, and is centered on an electronic dance music community calendar.

I thought it was important to make sure that the licensed photo had the best possible edit I could create, compared to the earlier edit, so I made sure that the final version remained true to the original photo while bringing out greater detail in the lighting and LED screen in the background, highlighting (har har!) Mizeyesis’ hair, and balancing a touch more warmth with subtle vibrancy to her skin tones. The final version I sent out is high-resolution and un-compromised by Facebook’s brutal compression.

(I still didn’t use Photoshop to do it. 😀)

Thank you, Ryan! I am grateful and humbled by your outreach and am glad we could work something out that helps to support all three parties involved.

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My Photography and My Mental Health

Time for some mental health talk.

For starters, I can assure you that, no, I am not a danger to myself or others.

I was diagnosed with bipolar II a few years ago. It’s a combination of hypomania (mania-lite) and major depression (Depression, Xtreme Edition!). What made it very apparent was a combination of two factors. There was noticeable pattern in posts from my old Livejournal account where I would write about how great everything was, have lots of quick posts, and a flurry of activity for a month or so and then, suddenly, posts about how horrible I felt, how down I was, and how much I was withdrawing. There was never any “trigger” for it and no event that I could point to as the direct cause of the swing. It just happened. There’s about ten years of activity that got documented, and the up and down pattern is very distinct.

The second factor that came into play was my growing photo library. At the time I was using Apple’s Aperture to collect and organize photos. I think I was accidentally in a “Vew by Month” setting, where each month had the total number of images listed. Some months were really busy, with hundreds of images (sometimes thousands) and other months were drastically different with maybe a few dozen images at best, and zero images at worst.

What connected it all and made bipolar II an inescapable conclusion and diagnosis was realizing that the same exact pattern existed in my Livejournal account. For giggles, I compared the two side-by-side and the up and down pattern — the floods of activity followed by long periods of very little to no activity — lined up perfectly.

Photography has really been the one thing I could always fall back on through these ups and downs.

About 2-3 weeks ago, I noticed the hypomania was coming back. It’s the part of bipolar II where I suddenly look to any nearby observer as if I am suddenly back to feeling like “my old self” again. Sometimes, it feels like I am REALLY caffeinated. I grow more outgoing, talkative and animated as I talk, restless and wanting to do stuff. It doesn’t matter what, it’s just an intense urge to do something, anything.

It also never lasts long. The depressive swing came back a couple of days ago. There’s never a point where I can say I am at a baseline “normal,” that anything above it is “hypomanic” and anything below it is “depressive.” It’s just feeling highly caffeinated for about a month followed by a sudden and immediate drop to immensely depressed for months on end that gets interrupted a sudden spike in energy for about a month, and the cycle continues.

There is never a specific trigger.

Mix all that with cPTSD and a non-specific dissociative disorder (I am de-realized most of the day), and you get me: at best, a weirdly entertaining combination of Chidi and Jason Mendoza at best or an incredibly misanthropic shut-in who wants nothing to do with the world for months on end because People, at worst.

My brain is fun…

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Back to the Basics

After taking some time to look closely at my website and evaluate what I want to accomplish with it, I decided it was time to give it a complete make over.

What started me on this process was that there’s a lot of talk about missing Livejournal among my friends and so I want to bring back that sense of conversation and community as much as possible. I think that for my website’s re-design, I am going to go for a much more radical simplification and will strip things down to the basics while putting the blog’s content front and center.

The pages it will contain will also be stripped down to the basics: About, Contact, Policies, and a basic Shop (it, too, will be simplified). It will also include re-working the back-end, reducing plugins and functionality down to the absolute minimum needed.

It will remain on a managed WordPress installation with Dreamhost (Affiliate link) rather than reducing it down to a shared-host account, mostly because of the attached WooCommerce shop and server-level caching and reverse-proxy that the DreamPress account provides.

If it means tearing out the page-builder and it’s myriad modules, so be it. If it means reducing the topics and categories, then that too. If it means removing or re-writing past posts, then I’ll do that, too. Switching themes to a default theme and working within it’s limitations is completely an option, too.

Minimal, functional, and deceptively simple.

I feel up to the challenge.

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Shopify, WordPress, WooCommerce, MAGAts, and Trust

FTC DISCLOSURE:

Adrianfeliciano.com may contain clearly identified affiliate links to different products or services. You can help to support this website directly by clicking on the link and making a purchase or signing up for a service that I linked to. I may earn a small commission for each referral. You may rest assured that if I recommend it in an affiliate link then I have personally used it or verified it.

Even though the links are sponsored, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

-Adrian

I’ll get right to the point. Shopify has lost my trust. Here’s how.

This week, Shopify had a data breech. Though it is currently small in scope it looks like this may be the final factor to really take into account while I consider the benefits and issues I can face if I decide to migrate American Bogan™ away from Shopify onto a WordPress site.

This website is built with WordPress and hosted on Dreamhost (Affiliate Link). Originally, it was under a different domain existing on Squarespace. Migrating away from Squarespace onto WordPress was a project that was more complicated than it needed to be, and highlights the risks involved in subscribing to a full website building platform instead of a building a site on a real webhost’s infrastructure.

Fact is, I have been mulling it over for a bit, now, based on little things that have been popping up. Shopify’s data breech will most likely the final factor.

Beyond the data breech, which all providers are at risk for from multiple attack vectors, I am noticing how much each Shopify based store is used to promote Shopify, without necessarily informing their users about it. Some people are fine with this. I am not.

ConsentMatters and #PrivacyMatters

You can see “Powered by Shopify” links in the footers of Shopify based websites, for example. Some users leave it because they do not know how to change it. Other users can remove “Powered by Shopify” (Google Search) through Shopify’s backend to read “Powered by Clown Farts and Dick Blisters,” but it does not change the actual hyperlink. The average user won’t necessarily know how to change the hyperlink through editing the theme’s code, but they can look up how to change it on the backend.

Problem is that any text you change it to, using Shopify’s backend, will still link back to a campaign-tracked back link to Shopify. Back links remain a classic SEO component. Nearly every Shopify store is coded with, what amounts to be, a hidden back link that isn’t easy to get rid of for most users.

screenshot of Americanbogan.com showing "powered by shopify" anchor text changed to "RemoveTrump #BlackLivesMatter #FuckTrump" and displaying the hyperlink behind it. adrianfeliciano.com
I temporarily changed the “Powered by Shopify” anchor text on American Bogan™ to “RemoveTrump #BlackLivesMatter #FuckTrump” to demonstrate the tracked hyperlink behind it and then deleted it all together once I took this screenshot.

One can argue that isn’t an issue BeCaUsE iTz ShOpiFy’s SeRviCe aNd PLatForm, and that is an absolutely correct and valid argument to make. In the end, it IS Shopify’s platform. Not yours.

I’d be lying if I said that I don’t care about Shopify’s willingness to platform MAGAt oriented shops. Trump’s campaign, and Breitbart’s webshop come to mind right away. To be fair, Shopify also hosts shops whose values are much more in line with mine; however, by using hidden backlinks in the footers of websites, Shopify is giving their subtle endorsement of that particular web-shop’s policies and politics, as far as I am concerned.

screenshot of breitbart webshop showing "powered by shopify" anchor text and displaying hyperlink behind it. Also, #FuckTrump #RemoveTrump #FuckMAGA #FuckAltRight and #FuckNazis adrianfeliciano.com
Shopify is using “Powered by Shopify” on Breitbart’s webshop to track the backlink and benefit from the SEO effects it can have.

Beyond the monthly hosting fees and transaction fees (depending on your payment processor), Shopify’s SEO is benefiting from those sites by using them for their SERP-enhancing backlinks.

The biggest factor, however, comes down to trust in the platform and control over my own content. In a nutshell, if I lose trust in one service provider, how easily can I migrate to a new one? As a corporation, my trust in Shopify has always been tolerant at best, and nearly non-existent at worst. This data breech, how they’ve responded to it, their use of un-disclosed backlinks, and their willingness to give a platform to (and use those backlinks to gain additional benefit from) the MAGAt cult, and multiple other minor limitations and factors, which I will get into below, have really started to pile up on top of each other.

I’ve already seen how complicated of a process it was for migrating my website away from Squarespace when it was primarily a blog and portfolio based site. I am now looking at rebuilding a fully functional e-commerce shop because the products, themselves, won’t easily migrate away. Printful, the main print-on-demand vendor (Affiliate Link) I am using, cannot re-connect one shop to another and push all product data back to the new platform.

Once the migration and rebuild is done, several things become possible:

  1. I can have daily, weekly, and monthly backups of the entire website and can restore them at anytime. Shopify does not have backup functionality available for users. This is an enormous risk.
  2. WordPress has more than a few free themes that include backlinks in their footers. No big deal. If I decide not to dig into PHP and CSS code snippets to change it, I can always install a different theme that doesn’t include backlinks in their footers.
  3. SEO can be improved greatly — Shopify SEO is notorious for its poor implementation.
  4. Not that any product I create needs more than three options and 100 variations, but they’d be unlimited under WordPress.
  5. I can create multiple pages and blog posts to look pretty much how I want. With Shopify, the homepage is where most of the ability to alter the design is, at least for the free themes. Separate pages and blog posts are rudimentary, at best, and are very basic in design.
  6. If Dreamhost ever lost my trust, migrating to another WordPress installation on a different host will take, at most, a day if I am feeling lazy. Two if I am feeling exceptionally lazy.
  7. I can add on a support forum or other social features, up to and including a full blown social media site, if I really feel up to the challenge.
  8. Speaking of social features, both platforms allow for guest-checkouts. You can order a product without creating an account. With WordPress, I can help increase the overall security of my customers by requiring a social media account to checkout. That way, no user password is ever stored on my servers.
  9. Product reviews are already built into a WordPress based shop
  10. All of this for about $30 less per month.

Things that I will be giving up are minor, to me:

  1. If I want live shipping rates, I can only use one fulfillment vendor. With WordPress and WooCommerce, I cannot have products from Printful and Printify in my shop and use live-rates from both vendors. I’d have to stick with complicated shipping tables, or just use flat rates and price accordingly. I do, however, have to pay Shopify an extra $20/month just to turn on live-shipping if I don’t want the full $80/month plan.
  2. Shopify does have multiple channels available to sell through, integrated nicely by default, and you can add more. If I want to create Facebook ads, I can do it from within Shopify but they are limited in scope, and not always very efficient. I’d have to do them by hand, through Facebook.
  3. That’s not really an issue, since half of my stuff gets hilariously auto-rejected by Facebook’s algorithms, anyway.
  4. Shopify has integrated a rudimentary abandoned-cart email function. I’d have to find an effective one under WordPress (Adrianfeliciano.com uses a free one that is already more functional than Shopify’s),

In conclusion

What I’ll be giving up, realistically, is only the convenience of a well integrated e-commerce backend and a highly competent front end, for the ability to fully own and control all of my website’s content on a webhost that I trust (Affiliate Link) where I can build it to be whatever I want, to help better protect the privacy and security of my customers by having backups and the ability to improve on our security posture, and to reject a platform that tacitly endorses and benefits from dangerous, anti-American, ideologies.

What do you think?

Given the line of thinking in the post above, would you still consider Shopify for your e-commerce shop? Please me know in the comments below. You can leave comment after securely logging in using your Social Media account. It helps to greatly reduce spam on this website.

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Is Cloudflare Necessary With DreamPress?

FTC DISCLOSURE:

Adrianfeliciano.com may contain clearly identified affiliate links to different products or services. You can help to support this website directly by clicking on the link and making a purchase or signing up for a service that I linked to. I may earn a small commission for each referral. You may rest assured that if I recommend it in an affiliate link then I have personally used it or verified it.

Even though the links are sponsored, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

-Adrian

This is just quick entry about using DreamPress behind Cloudflare.

Some very broad observations:

Turns out that putting Adrianfeliciano.com behind Cloudflare didn’t seem to have a huge impact on improving overall performance and responsiveness on the public facing end. Originally, my purpose for using Cloudflare was to add another layer to help reduce the overall impact of heavy traffic on my website’s servers, including DDoS attacks, while blocking traffic based on country, to help significantly reduce comments from spam-bots.

Problem was that, in someways, I felt as if Cloudflare actually slowed down initial page loading, from the backend. WordPress is incredibly finicky as it is.

As a result, I removed Cloudflare, and saw an immediate improvement in responsiveness to my website’s front end. I use DreamHost (Affiliate Link) as my webhost and domain name registrar. They already have a solid proxy-cache in place built around NGINX, via my DreamPress Hosting Plan, that can take on a MASSIVE traffic load. Rather than blocking entire countries through Cloudflare or marking individual comments one at a time, I decided to prevent spam-bot comments by refusing guest comments all together. One is now required to be logged in to an active account in order to leave a comment.

If you have something to say, and it is important enough, then you can say it with your name attached.

The only other thing that Cloudflare helped with was domain privacy. By using them as a proxy, Cloudflare also blocked my domain’s registration information from being exposed publicly. Thing is that DreamHost already does this with every domain you register through them (GoDaddy and Hostgator charge extra for domain privacy).

Bottom line is simple:

I trust DreamHost (Affiliate Link) to host my WordPress based website.

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Swapping Domains for Better Branding

FTC DISCLOSURE:

Adrianfeliciano.com may contain clearly identified affiliate links to different products or services. You can help to support this website directly by clicking on the link and making a purchase or signing up for a service that I linked to. I may earn a small commission for each referral. You may rest assured that if I recommend it in an affiliate link then I have personally used it or verified it.

Even though the links are sponsored, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

-Adrian

Switching from one domain name to another is not all that easy, but worth the effort.

Switching domains was relatively pain free, with a couple of exceptions. Apparently, I just could not find the correct incantation for 301 redirecting via .htaccess at the old domain; however, after bashing my head on it for over an hour, it was easily fixed via my webhost’s control panel anyway. Then I had up update a hostname within WordPress to reconnect to the existing database which was only made apparent by the website NOT coming up online after the switch. Changing Google Webmaster Console/Analytics was trivial, and apparently I did not have to rebuild store inventory since connecting was just a matter of re-syncing via API (a nice surprise). I’m in the process of updating email addresses, and logins, but that is nothing major to worry about.

A few things about this process:

  1. Yeah, it’s a weekend project since I am taking my time about it, but the majority of it switched over just fine. There was some manual changing of the domain within actual pages and blog-posts, but that is easily cleaned up one at a time.
  2. The switch is NEVER as simple as “we do the heavy lifting for you, and everything is fine,” no matter what your webhost claims.
  3. WordPress exposes you to EVERYTHING that gets hidden away from you on Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Shopify, etc. That has its own pros and cons, but after finally figuring out what was causing the backend to choke on itself and fixing it, the website is much more responsive on the backend and does not drown in PHP-FPM processes. Seems a lot of server RAM hovers around 700MB at night, but 125MB during the day, but never gets tied up at 75MB or less and stuck until it all comes to a screeching halt.

All of this might sound much more impressive than it actually is, but it isn’t. I still can’t code, but I can at least follow basic instructions and cut and paste as necessary. Conjuring up 301 re-direction incantations in a dot-file is some next level logician-ship that may as well be me trying to translate Sumerian cuneiform tablets to English in order to speak Russian, in French…

It took a few years, but I finally exist as my name online, and will use adrianfeliciano.com as my primary branding and personal hub. Everything else will be tied to it.


About my current webhost

In case you’re curious, this website is hosted by Dreamhost, my current favorite webhost, on their dedicated WordPress plan, DreamPress.

I chose them after migrating away from Squarespace and comparing different WordPress hosting plans on Hostgator, SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, and Pressable among several others.

For a variety of reasons, I refuse to touch GoDaddy.

American Bogan, my e-commerce shop, is also hosted under a second DreamPress plan after I decided to migrate it away from Shopify. The combined costs of both DreamPress Plus accounts ($24 each, per month) runs just under one single Shopify Basic plan ($30) with Live Shipping Rates enabled ($20.00).

I also have a shared hosting account with Dreamhost. On it, I am currently hosting three websites: one for Zoe’s chainmaille and scalemaille webshop, her best friend’s handcraft shop, and one for Artemis’ official website. I can host as many websites as I wish without worry.

Dreamhost has been the right combination of price, storage, un-metered bandwidth, expertise, and support for me (I swear, I learn something new every time I contact Customer Support with a new question).

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for a good webhost, please consider Dreamhost (Affiliate Link).

I’ve been very happy with them for a few years, now!

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I Exported My Website Away from Squarespace

FTC DISCLOSURE:

Adrianfeliciano.com may contain clearly identified affiliate links to different products or services. You can help to support this website directly by clicking on the link and making a purchase or signing up for a service that I linked to. I may earn a small commission for each referral. You may rest assured that if I recommend it in an affiliate link then I have personally used it or verified it.

Even though the links are sponsored, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thank you, as always, for your support!

-Adrian

The Problem With Exporting Your Website Away From Squarespace

I finally — FINALLY! — managed to pull the rest of my images and blog posts off my older Squarespace website, get them imported correctly into this WordPress based site, hosted by Dreamhost (Affiliate Link) where all the images are now correctly imported into and served directly from the media library.

Formatting for some image galleries is off, but that can easily be fixed. The important part is not having to chase down broken image links that point to a defunct website as the source and having to re-upload them one at a time, per blog post, to fix them.

I let it sit for nearly a year because I didn’t want to deal with it while editing single blog posts whenever I felt up to it.

What a ?!*#%$&!?! pain in the ass it is to migrate data I own away from Squarespace! And, as I understand, with Squarespace’s newest templates, exporting away is not even supported.

If you are looking to build a website and want to choose between an integrated website builder platform like Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, Shopify, etc vs building with WordPress, Drupal, Concrete5, or some other open source CMS, consider how important your content is to you, and what your options are should you need more functionality or resources than what you started with.

If you hit that point, will you be able to easily take ALL of your content with you to another platform or website, if at all? What happens if you export everything into an XML file, only to find that all of the images you had posted didn’t import correctly and now you have to fix dozens of broken image links.

Or what if you want to export everything but find out, at that moment, that you cannot because the platform will only export certain things or won’t allow you to export out at all..?

Choose carefully.

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red haired woman wearing headphones behind dj mixing equipment artemismusic.art copyright adrian feliciano adrianfeliciano.com boston massachusetts

Photography Featured by LiveMusicNewsAndReview.com

My photography from “Manifest Entertainment and The Reliquarium Present: Duality” was featured online in a review written by Christopher Gallagher!


“Sometimes, the people working on an event have a deep sense that what is being prepared, though it looks a certain way from a certain perspective, is way more than a party. The Reliquarium are these people; an artist collective founded by Ivy Ross, Logan Cole Will, and Justin Jannone and populated by a wide array of supremely talented artists, sculptors, designers, fabricators, projectors, and other assorted creators has spent the years since their 2015 founding carrying their vision—a singularly enlightening view of the world rooted the group’s deep reverence for life and death and the natural cycles which accompany it—to every corner of the nation”

Christopher Gallagher for LiveMusicNewsAndReview.com
Kaminanda on stage at “Manifest Entertainment and The Reliquarium Present Duality.”

Want to see more of my photography?

My photography portfolio presents the best of my headshot, portrait, boudoir, nightlife event, and fire performer and flow artist photography.

Want to schedule a photography session?

If you’re nearby and would like to schedule a photo shoot together, please visit my contact page to send me a message so we can get started!

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woman in white dress tying hands of woman in white dress with purple rope photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano

Portrait Photography in Greenfield, MA

Portrait Photography, Bondage, and Interview – The Premise

This bondage friendly portrait photography and interview session was my final project for Dennis Vandal’s Photojournalism 101 class at The University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

2010-11-30, GREENFIELD, MA – Dennis gave us regular weekly photography assignments that basically consisted of going out into the community and finding “interesting people” for an editorial photography session and then conduct a sit down and interview session, all while increasing the requirement load per week. Our first photography assignment was to just photograph people. The next week was to photograph people and put together a slideshow. As time progressed, we would do things like add an music track. Then transitions. Then add a voiceover track. Then add narration. Then weave things all together, for the final project: Photos, voice, audio/music, narration, slideshow, in whatever way we felt told the story of our subjects.

I was inspired to do this photo project mostly due to another classmate’s approach to her presentation a week before our final projects were announced when she timidly asked if nudity was okay to show in her weekly assignment. It was a tastefully done shot of man-butt for the second to final frame in her slideshow. I felt that it would be a good idea to push the envelope just a little more, so when Dennis asked what our final photography projects were going to be about, the following week, I said “I know someone who sells sex toys for a living. I was gonna interview her.”

There was a moment very awkward silence in class before Dennis replied, “Uhhhh. Before you actually submit it for review, would you mind sending it to me first, so I can be sure you don’t end up just taking photos of someone waving dildos at the camera?”

More awkward silence. 

Someone behind me whispered to another while giggling, “Oh my God, he actually said ‘dildo!'”

“Sure,” I replied. “If it doesn’t measure up, I already have another project done that I can submit.”

“Seriously? Why not just turn THAT one in..?”

“I want to see if I can handle a potentially questionable topic tastefully, even IF it involves dildos. Also, there would be more than one person interviewed; I wanted to see if I can handle two women at once.”

More awkward silence.

“Well, since you obviously put SOME thought into this already…”

Portrait Photography, Bondage, and Interview – Multimedia Project

So, that weekend, Amber and I set up for an editorial portrait photoshoot and an interview in Amanda’s nightclub basement in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

This would have been my first portrait photography session where I would be making full use of multiple radio triggered flashes, and using colored gels to create splashes of color on the background for separation, and figuring out how to properly key-light in a small confined space. It would also be the first interview that I had done that would need clear pauses between questions and answers since there would be the potential of an interview turning into a blended three way conversation — it’s really difficult to get good soundbites isolated that way.

As the interview progressed, I found myself more and more fascinated by Amber’s enthusiasm, and clear passion for what she does. She likened the exploration of sex to discovering the kinds of food one likes and that “the bedroom is no different than the kitchen, especially if you have enough counter space. ha!”

Selling sex toys for Athena’s was just one aspect of Amber’s belief that sexuality, and the open exploration and expression of one’s sexual side, is crucial to one’s own mental and emotional health. For her, it’s a world view that she takes very seriously. “I’m someone that wants to show other people that it is okay…when it comes to sex. It needs to happen. It’s a world I really want to live in and that’s why I do what I do.”

Not that a conversation with two women about sex was a hard thing that required my personality to remain stiff for long in order to handle them well. The three-way between Amber, Amanda, and myself had moments of playful innuendo, energetic back and forth banter, genuine laughter, and true wisdom.

God gave us a clitoris and we should use it!

Amber

Looking back, I am glad for deciding to explore this topic, as it provided some specific challenges. First, it was a my first attempt at using multiple remote triggered Speedlites in order to light a portrait session. Secondly, it was both a portrait session and a documentary photography session that involved multiple subjects interacting in a live setting. It was also conducted in the equivalent of a small nightclub complete with the random lights, dark walls, multiple sources for highlights, different textures, and surfaces. Finally, it was a topic that can carry some unnecessary stigma especially especially because it involved women discussing sexuality, empowerment and healing through the consensual exploration of sex. Is there anything wrong with women, specifically women, being sexually empowered, and comfortable as human beings with sex and sexuality? Is the expression of sexuality, something to be gasped over; wink-winked; admonished; objectified; lusted after; shamed; considered repulsive, salacious, scandalous, and scary, especially when expressed by women? Is it gross, sinful, harmful, or dirty or is sex just sex? Is sex Okay?

Portrait Photography, Bondage, and Interview – Aftermath

I intend to go back over older photography projects, from time to time, to see if there are others that I’d be inspired to re-visit. What would I do differently? What did I see then? I feel that it’s an important element of my photography to occasionally review my past work in order to see where I’ve come from in relation to where I currently am. 

These images are my attempt to re-cull, and re-edit, an older environmental portrait photography project with the intention to do so in the manner that I would do so, now, seven years later. It was a fun challenge to try and see what I saw then, compared to how I would see things now. There was some over lap, in terms of photos that I chose — you’ll see that in the accompanying photo slide-show — but even with the same photos, I edited them in order to better showcase Amber’s colorfully vibrant personality, and infectious laughter. 


Portrait Photography, Bondage, and Interview – Photo Gallery

  • portrait of woman in white dress black belt eyeglasses white necklace holding athenas brochures photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • purple and orange braided rope portrait photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • portrait of woman in white dress black belt eyeglasses white necklace standing over purple and orange braided rope portrait photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • woman in white dress tying hands of woman in white dress with purple rope photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • woman in white dress tying hands of woman in white dress with purple rope photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • close up of tightly bound female hands with purple rope photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • woman in white dress tying hands of woman in white dress with purple rope photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • woman in white dress tying body of woman in white dress and red hair with purple rope criss cross pattern in red room photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano
  • woman in white dress giving thumbs up and holding woman in white dress and red hair with body leash tied with purple rope criss cross pattern in red room photography and interview session greenfield massachusetts copyright adrian feliciano

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