Today on my 42nd birthday, I celebrate my mother

I am 42 years old today. I never celebrated my birthday growing up and it has been only in the last few years that I have paused to acknowledge that it’s a way for those you love to celebrate the love they have for you.

I woke up today feeling very emotional. 42 years ago my mother brought me into this world. If you know her, you would describe her as fun, crazy, dramatic, sentimental and fiercely loving.

My mum had a very tough life growing up and she also survived breast cancer with a double mastectomy in the last several years‎. On February 16 of this year she suffered a massive stroke. She wasn’t found in that “ideal” 4 hour window to get her to the hospital to hopefully prevent long term damage to her brain. Melissa and I were in the US at the time when we got the phone call from my brothers. We immediately raced to the airport but we were told that by the time we land in Melbourne, she may have already passed away. It was the worst 14 hours of my life. I didn’t know whether she would be dead or alive by the time we landed. The good news is that she was still alive, the bad news is that as with most stroke victims, people are left with half their body paralyzed and with incoherent speech. I can’t tell you the sadness I felt seeing someone so close to me looking so helpless. My body literally ran out of tears that day as I suspect will happen again by the time I finish writing this post.

All our family have taken care of her in our own different ways over the years. When we are in Melbourne, Melissa and I used to visit her at least once a week and spend half a day eating, drinking, playing cards and laughing until it hurt. My mother lived for love. She wanted nothing more than time with her family. When Melissa and I would leave for the US, we would send her on a trip to be with our extended family in Greece.

Melissa and I made the impossible decision to return to the US to attend WPPI this year. We were told that she needed as much rest as possible and there was nothing more we could personally do in the early stages after the stroke. It would also be a much needed distraction. With all our responsibilities at WPPI, although we were smiling on the outside, we were dying on the inside. We returned to Australia immediately afterwards and spent quality time with her. We all very hopeful that she would recover her mobility and speech but it wasn’t looking good. It has now almost been 4 months since her stroke and there still has been very little improvement.

You may have noticed that I have been very quiet on social media for the last few months until about 2 weeks ago or so. How could I share my life with the world when I was only feeling pain and helplessness? I didn’t want to admit to myself that the state she is in now maybe as good as it gets. I’ve surpassed the initial shock of her stroke. I’ve surpassed that feeling of helplessness (at least I thought I did), and it was time to accept that she may always have half her body paralyzed and not be able to communicate for the rest of her life. About 2 weeks ago when we returned from a European trip, I felt refreshed and ready to accept the things I cannot change and to do what I love to do and that is make a difference in other people’s lives. In times of hardship, I find comfort in focusing on others rather than reveling in my own misery.

I woke up this morning with tears in my eyes. My birthday made me think of my mum. I don’t think I’ll ever swallow the pill to accept my mother’s predicament. All I can do is find comfort that I have no regrets. I treated her like a queen and spent quality time with her. I gave her everything she needed. Our whole family has. Although our family is extremely close, this tragedy has made us even closer.

Why share this publicly? Call it therapy. Although there is always hope, I’d rather accept what’s happened to her and have a pleasant surprise than let hope kill a little piece of my heart each day. Saying it out loud may help me. It may not. Either way, today, on my birthday, I celebrate my mother.

I have been in this industry for over 22 years and although I love it, I can’t stand the negativity and the constant pursuit for people to be “famous,” the jealousy and the misguided stepping on others to do anything to be successful. What does success really mean to you? For those starting out your journey in this industry and to the seasoned veterans, your success is right in front of you. Your health, family, friends and the time you spend with them should be what your version of success is. We spend our time as photographers immortalizing moments for other families at the expense of our own. Use what you do for a living to influence people in a positive way whilst fiercely protecting what your version of success is. Popularity, money, awards, notoriety etc. come and go. What remains constant is family. Self love and self respect is the key to loving and respecting others.

I know many of you have actually lost your parents and/or gone through a lot worse than me. I appreciate that. I totally empathize with you. I hope we find comfort in each other.

How important is photography? This photo was one of the last photos I took of my mum before her stroke. After spending hours with her every week she would smile and wave goodbye and you would know that she would spend the entire week looking forward to the next time she would see you and cook for you.


If I have influenced you in a small or large way over the years and you want to give me a gift, organize a time to have your family photographed. Cherish your family as you are already successful.

Thank you for sharing my birthday.

Life moves forward.

With a heavy heart,


6 thoughts on “Today on my 42nd birthday, I celebrate my mother

  1. Dear Jerry,
    I only learned of you yesterday, since then I’ve watched “Posing Everyone!”, as well as all of your movies on your website. I want to thank you for all that you so graciously share, it’s so helpful. I can only hope that the wedding I’m shooting this Sunday will benefit from your assistance.
    Then tonight I found your blog and it’s your Birthday! I truly feel like it’s my birthday with all that I’ve received from you. The timing is uncanny.
    I’m very sorry to hear about your mother’s condition. I can only imagine the joy you have brought her, throughout her life. It’s obvious that she’s a very special Mom to have raised such a special son. I understand her too, I’ve always told my children that the only gift I want is time, hugs & kisses from them.
    Your talent is amazing and again… thank you for sharing your joy & wisdom.

  2. Deat Jerry,
    I do not have those cruel experiences watching your parents or children suffering that you and others have.
    But I have to tell you here that you really touched me. I wish you and your family all the best. I hope you find joy and love at your birthday. Congratulations !

  3. Happy birthday Jerry,

    Sad but very profound story you share us here. Full of wisdom too.
    We are fortunate to have you and Melissa as mentors, not only as photographers but also in the real life.
    Yes you largely influenced us and Yes, we’re going to organize this birthday gift you asked.

    Thansk for all Jerry.

    From Madagascar

  4. Jerry,

    What a moving and thought provoking tribute to your mother, I was so sorry to hear of her condition. Please continue to talk to her when you visit – there has been research that indicates that people still can know what’s going on around them even though they cannot respond to you.

    Thank you for sharing your inner most thoughts, it just goes to show what a caring individual you are. What more could any Mum ask for than to have a family like yours? I’m sure that she is very proud of you and your siblings for being such great and appreciative family to her. I know that we’re all very, very proud of you! Please know that you remain in our thoughts and prayers daily, with special ones going out to your precious Mum.

    Happy Birthday & Hugs to you……

  5. Hi Jerry,

    Happy (belated) birthday! What a moving story and insight in your personal life. Sorry to hear your mom is going through these tough times (and you along with her). Keep up the hope and keep doing what you are doing. She might not be able to verbally express it, but she still enjoys your company. That will never change.

    I hope she will get better in time. Big hugs to you (and Melissa).


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One of my favorite images of recent times…

Yes, I’m trying to revitalize my blog. Check back in from time to time. I’d love to share some inspiration with you!

I’m so excited to share one of my favorite images of recent times. In an industry where most artistry is achieved after the photo has been taken there is nothing I love more than a photo that is simple but striking and achieved in-camera. I certainly use Photoshop to enhance my images but I prefer what I call “invisible” Photoshop. As in, what was done in post production is not evident. In this way the result is far more timeless and void of distracting elements that will almost certainly date. This photo, however, was created in-camera.

The bride, Sara, pictured below is a photographer and there is always that little added pressure that you are photographing someone with a more sophisticated palette.

I walked past the bride’s house and noticed a simple reflection of the white overcast sky against a silhouette of the groom who was walking next to me. I noticed that I could see through the silhouette of the groom and into the house. I thought, “How cool would it be to have the bride’s face montaged and merged into the groom’s face!” It would appear like an in-camera composite. It would be a perfect metaphor of when two people become one.

I asked the groom to stand in front of the window as I squatted down to see if I could get his clean silhouette against the overcast sky. The trees behind us were in my frame but I wanted to remove the distraction. Once you remove context from a shot, you enhance the mystery.

The groom needed to be higher off the ground so we found a little step ladder for the groom to stand on. All I needed to do was direct the bride who was inside the house and position her within the groom’s profile.

Here is a behind the scenes shot…

BTS shot reflection silhouette
Without a beautiful expression from the bride, the result would simply be a clever shot but I needed something more. I asked the bride to “say I love you” to the groom with her eyes. Her expression was perfect. You clearly see the love and respect that Sara has for Steve. Here is the result…

wedding silhouette reflection award winning

Nikon D4s
70-200mm VRII Lens shot at 195mm
1/320 sec
320 ISO

I love the way the shoulder of the groom could be mistaken for the bride’s shoulder. The groom’s hair could almost be mistaken for the bride’s hair. She is perfectly placed within the groom’s profile to complete the metaphor of when two souls become one.

I’m proud to say that this image came in first place in the Bride and Groom together category at the 2015 WPPI competition  beating over 350 images. As you may or may not know, Melissa and I took over as competition directors of the WPPI Print, Album and Filmmaking competition in 2014. A significant change we made was to disallow composites in the wedding and portrait divisions. Composites are certainly allowed and celebrated but must be entered in other divisions. So when the judges scored this print, there was no doubt that this was achieved in-camera. It certainly helped the judges to understand the degree of difficulty and vision required to achieve this image. A special thanks goes to the one and only Rocco Ancora from Capture to Print who completed my vision and brought the print to life.

If you appreciate and have learned from the example above, there are plenty more where that came from. I have been training photographers online for over seven years on my educational web site, the Ice Society. A new chapter is released every month with countless hours of wedding, portrait, fashion and boudoir shoots, tutorials, critiques and much more. There are a minimum of three “before and after” examples as pictured above featured on the Ice Society every month. As of June 2015 there are are a total of 90 chapters! So there are over 270 examples waiting for you.

A one year subscription usually costs $299 but I am happy to give you 50% off to celebrate the rebirth of my blog!

Click here to join for 50% off. Promo Code: blog150



15 thoughts on “One of my favorite images of recent times…

  1. Beautiful image!!!

    I’ve always wondered about the judging part – do the judges see the studio/photographer’s name when judging any particular image or is it a “blind judging”?

  2. Love your creativity! I would have never even thought to do something like this. Just one of the few things that separate the good from the great. BTW, love the behind the scenes shot!

  3. Esta foto, como tantas tuyas, reúne todas las cualidades de le expresión. Desde hace algunos meses te sigo en internet, por la web. blog y Facebook. He de decir que tu trabajo es admirable y tu visión de la fotografía de boda está en lo mas alto de la perfecta creatividad. Felicitaciones amigo!!

  4. You did a great job Dylan! If you can make someone who doesn’t even know this coulpe tear up and feel the joy and excitement of their day, then I can only imagine how you have made them feel!

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The Omega Reflector: The world’s first 10-in-1 shoot through reflector!

I am so excited to announce the release of a new invention of mine! Since the release of the Ice Light over a couple of years ago, my juices have been flowing to solve common problems when it comes to lighting for photographers.

I am proud to announce the world’s first 10 in 1 “shoot through” reflector, the Omega Reflector! The Omega Reflector combines the effect of a traditional reflector with the luxury of a beauty dish and a ring flash, offering the ultimate lighting control for gorgeous beauty lighting!

Using just one light source, you can produce a main light and a back/hair light and create gorgeous beauty lighting quickly and easily. Manufactured by Westcott, it’s unique design creates incredible catch lights that make eyes pop! Suction cups are included for quick mounting to glass and a durable travel case with a shoulder strap for effortless travel and portability.

We are doing a pre-sale for a reduced price of only $99 (Normal price $119.90) It will be delivered  in 8+ weeks. We will not charge your credit card until we ship your oder. BTW You will not get the Omega quicker any else in the world as we have the first limited stock. As inventory becomes available, other dealers will have stock in the upcoming weeks/months.

For more information, examples and to purchase, visit


Shoot through reflector

In the following video Jerry explains how to use the Omega and shows some examples of it in use including some RAW straight out of camera images to understand the power of the Omega.


24 thoughts on “The Omega Reflector: The world’s first 10-in-1 shoot through reflector!

  1. Jerry ,i would like to say that im a big fan of yours in greece as a photographer ,i have watched with admiration all your seminars ,and i would like to ask you cause i also yous nikon d3 and d800 dslr ,,i have noticed that you use allot of 70-200 vr2 lens ,,,what are your other lenses that you work ,,,,-eg (85mm 1.4 for portraits )-(14-24 mm 2.8 for wide angle shots ) mainly for wedding photography ,,the reason im asking this is that im amazed and dazzled with the great photos you take ,,,,,,in greece we dont have the opportunity of taking great wedding picture due to the lack of the prices here cause of the oikonomy crises ,,thanks for helping me allot in my work ,,,and i do hope to here fro you soon ,,,,

  2. Hi Jerry, please bare with me as you currently in the process of changing my life. I am in a unique place, I receive 100% of my income from photography, graphic design. I have found a niche market with my home town that has allowed me to make hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years. I am an expert in my niche, and i the lions share of the work. HERE IS MY PROBLEM. As i look back, I realized that i have sold my soul to an niche industry of mediocracy. I may have even sacrificed millions for the easy Hundreds of thousands. The photos I take get published for advertising all the time, I have a ton of returning clients because i produce profitable images for them. I can do this with my eyes closed and for years i never pursued getting better because i was getting paid. I ALSO NEW MY VALUE. Because of this, I knew that I was in an industry where they didn’t have or want to produce budgets for “the good stuff”. So I mastered giving them blah work. Now at 42 I have had an epiphany. 20 years ago, i was too naive to know what to do. 20 years from now I may be too weak to do it, therefore, NOW IS THE TIME. I have since started caring about photography again with the zeal of wanting a great photo. Searching youtube, found TONS of stuff I already do with my Eyes Closed. THEN I FOUND YOU…. I watched your 2 hour B&H light seminar. The first hour, I was with you and already felt the same way as you 90%. Then the second hour BLEW ME AWAY. I actually had just shot a model that same day earlier and love the photos. I then went back after your “enlightening conversaion” and realized I was so close, but not there, And I DIDNT KNOW, WHAT I DIDNT KNOW. I feel like Im 2o again, I have started keeping my camera on me all the time, not just at my studio. I plan to impregnate your world and be born to it thru your inspiration. I just wrote all of this to say “thank you” in advance. I hope these words find you. I will follow and soon purchase some of the benefits that you sell. F. Alan, Detroit, MI USA A professional Amateur…

  3. I must say that not having to setup a light stand that gets knocked over every wedding would be great!! I don’t always have a second shooter either. So, it’s a pain in the butt to keep the stands out of the way so they don’t get destroyed.

  4. This sounds really good for making some portraits during weddings. Because I have often problems in difficult light situations regarding direct sun or sun from different positions and I do not like to use the flash all the time. This reflector could help me in the future 😉 Great idea 😉

  5. Just ordered mine sounds amazing .we have such harsh lighting in the Whitsunday’s Queensland will be great for this

  6. Hi Jerry Sue Considine from the Whitsunday ‘s Australia I did a workshop many years ago in Brisbane ..I just was wondering what happened to my reflector I ordered it on the 17th May2105 and paid with paypal to be honest I forgot all about it until I was going through my invoices from Paypal I paid Anthropics Technology Ltd is that your company ..I paid $49.95 US for it Can you please let me know what I have to do to get my product ..My Address is 40 Chapman Street Proserpine 4800 Queensland Australia ..I have printed out all the details about the unit and I feel it will be great ..Many Thanks Sue

  7. Can I simply just say what a comfort to uncover someone that genuinely knows what
    they’re talking about on the net. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.

    More and more people should read this and understand this side of the story.
    I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you
    most certainly possess the gift.

  8. A softbox is what is rrrfeeed to as a light diffuser. You have a softbox in your house and probably don’t even know it. If your curtains are open on the window and the sun is shining in, you see very distinct shadows cast by anything in that light. If you pull the sheers closed, the light is diffused and the subject that was sitting in very harsh light is now more evenly lit by a softer light .A different type of softbox that I used in this photo is made to go over the strobe lights, and turns that small 3 wide light bulb into a diffused light panel that is 3 4 feet.The reason I used it was to give the smoke a little more of a chance of being seen, since the light would be coming from a very wide angle.

  9. such a awesome poohts, i love it, i like very much these types of childs poohts, i like your way of photography and sense of photography. well done. good job

  10. your post is an excellent elaxpme of why i keep coming back to read your excellent quality content that is forever updated. nice post and thanks for sharing. regards.

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4 thoughts on “How to Wow 33 city North American Tour Sep/Oct 2014

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Positivity vs. Negativity

As a prelude to the following post, the following statement is not about me personally but an observation I have witnessed over the years…

I don’t know about you but I often get disheartened at all the negativity in our industry. I see too many people dismiss successful people as lucky or undeserving of their success. Maybe it helps justify their own insecurities or shortcomings. Why not learn from these people? You don’t have to worship them. Simply understand what they have done to achieve their level of success in whatever form it looks like. We don’t know what people have gone through to achieve their version of success and what adversities or sacrifices they have had to overcome.

I recommend you don’t equate popularity with success. Rather than trying to be the flavor of the month, plan for longevity. I’ve always said that you should be kind to people on the way up as you might meet them on the way down. Rather than expend your energy on your fears, insecurities and negativity, focus on your dreams and relentlessly pursue what your version of success is. If you base your success based on the success of others then you will never be happy. All anyone can ask of you is to simply be the best you can be. True success is knowing who you are and surrounding yourself with positive people who love you for exactly who you are.

You can be negative and mighty behind your keyboard or you can contribute to someone else’s success by a few simple positive words. Try to see the good in people rather than leaning towards thinking that everyone has an ulterior motive. We all make mistakes but we all have something to offer.

Negativity is exhausting. Positivity is a gift that everyone can give and benefit from. If neither suits you, silence can be golden.

You, your creativity and your business will thrive if you channel all that energy into what you want out of life. The question is, what do you want? You have a choice…


10 thoughts on “Positivity vs. Negativity

  1. I’m so glad I just read your words of wisdom, Jerry, thank you! I’m in my first year of portrait photography and attending WPPI Vegas in February – AND taking one of your classes. Can’t wait. The Omega reflector looks incredible – thank you for that too.

  2. Very well said Jerry. I have encountered a lot of negativity in life, not just in photography, and my experience is that it comes from insecurity. The best thing you can do as a person is take a good long look at yourself and accept yourself, including your flaws. Then decide what you want in life, what is important to you, and go after it. Once you’ve done that you won’t feel threatened by other people, because you know that you are on your own path: the right path.

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