It's Gotta be the Shoes...or Maybe a Little Practice | Leighton DaCosta. Atlanta Commercial and Product Photographer

What do winners do when they aren’t busy winning? THEY PRACTICE!
— LD

Straight out of Camera Shot (SOOC) of a black bootie from Newport News.

As a photographer, one of the most frightening things that you face when moving to a new market, is not just the lack of clientele, but the status of idleness. Just not doing anything at all. It can become a very UNINSPIRING habit. 

While this past year's Super Bowl between the Broncos and the Panthers are quickly fading from memory, who can forget the ending to the previous Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Seahawks? "Hand the ball off to Marshawn!" You probably yelled. As we pass around the blame on the play calling, I think we lost sight of the bigger picture. We lost sight of how when the Patriots' defensive backs were running off the field, the coaching staff, realizing the personnel that was on the field of the opposing team, sent all the defensive backs back on the field. Why send pass protection for a 2nd and goal play on the 2 yard line when the opposing team has one of the best running backs in the league? Malcolm Butler knew.

Butler said after the game, that not only had he seen the formation and play before, but they had practiced it several times that week and he got torched EVERY time. So when he saw the formation this time, he was ready for it. He was so ready, that he jumped the route and had perfect timing to make that last second interception, which would end up being the game winning play. 

This is why practice is so important. We can tell ourselves, oh WHEN I GET THE CLIENT, or WHEN I need to know it, I'll learn then, but is that really the best use of our time? For our passions, our profession, our customers and clients? Probably not. This is why since relocating to Atlanta, Ga, I have been determined to not only shoot more personal projects, but to do more PRACTICE... 


Yes, PRACTICE. To go back to the school days where they gave you one bland or mundane project which made no photographic sense, but you would still be graded on it. Currently I'm going back to fundamental tasking and working on using slower shutter speeds with off camera lighting and flash. Today I was given some used shoes, and said, hey, why not shoot them and see what I would get. 

For all three of the shots, my settings and equipment are as follows. 

I could have used more modifiers, but my goal was to be as clean and consistent as possible. So for this tasking there are no other bounce boards, lights, or flags/reflectors used. 

SOOC of a black Zigi Soho Laney shoe

The image below was more of an experimentation in how to position the ankle clasp to make the shoe look more attractive. A simple piece of thread, and then held up by me while I captured the image and then removed in post. The only post work performed. 


I will begin to share more of what I am doing behind the scenes and these little practice Jam Sessions. I read some of what was in Prince's "vault" when he died. So much unheard music with him and other artists. Truly just practicing. I would love to share my practice sessions with you while I can receive your feedback to get better. Thanks for reading. 


Shoes may be discontinued, but here are some that I liked.

Leighton DaCosta

Hello, I'm Leighton and I help people around the world tell their story. Let me introduce myself. Whether it's for online dating, or a professional profile, it always seems that the "About Me" section is always the hardest to write. Not because you have nothing to say about yourself, but because you want to be sincere, genuine, interesting, and brief all at the same time. I have never been a fan of writing about me in the third person, like: "Leighton DaCosta, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Brooklyn, NY at an early age when his parents wanted to form a new life for themselves and their children. In the third grade, the family moved to Orlando, Fl, where Leighton considers his home town. After spending 3 tours in the Navy, he settled in Jacksonville, and now Miramar, Florida, where he now calls home. Today, still wanted by many, he does work as a fashion and wedding photographer. If you have a wedding(or photo shoot)... if no one else can help... and if you can find him... maybe you can hire... ok.. this is not The A- Team." But you see what I mean? What do you know about me? How can we connect? Did you know that my FAVORITE food is Pizza and Sushi? Or that my favorite color is Purple? When I go to the wine bars, I usually order Mimosas, because even the cheapest champagne tastes great with some good ole OJ. When I travel, I like staying in nice hotels. Not because of the name, (even though I AM partial to Hyatt) but because of the bathrooms. One of my favorite hotels is the Viking in Newport, Rhode Island. Small rooms, but AWESOME bathrooms. I LOVE TO EAT, and eating as much as I have, has led me to be about 100 pounds more than I was in High School... Yeah there is some muscle there, but if it was all muscle, I'm sorry folks, I wouldn't be taking photos, I would be retiring from the NFL. If you want to see some of my favorite dishes, follow me on Instagram. Because of that, I find myself now in the gym more than ever. Trying to stay fit and alive... I workout, so I can EAT! Well that's enough for now, if you want to know more about me, follow my blog. Better yet, I want to find out more about YOU. So let's talk!