Shooting Georgia


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Georgia Borkowski

It’s funny how things work out, and how one thing can lead to another.

You may remember back in April, when I had the chance to shoot some events at the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.

Of course, getting the chance to shoot Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and Little Steven was a huge thing for me.

But something else happened too, which I’m excited to share now.

Screened at the APMFF was a documentary called Just Before The Dawn. It traces the rise and fall and rise of Asbury Park, and how music has played into that.

Here’s the trailer:

Featured in the film is a young musician named Georgia who learns and practices her craft at the Lakehouse Music Academy, a progressive music school in Asbury Park.

In between the screening of the film, which Georgia is featured in (and sings over the closing credits), and the Upstage Jam, I was standing in the aisle of the Paramount Theater checking out the scene.

A woman came up to me and said “Hey, don’t you go to my church?”

I said “If you go tot Allentown Presbyterian Church  in Allentown, I do!”

Turns out she does, and she recognized me as half of the husband/wife team that is always shuttling his brood of kids in and out of Sunday Services. She told me that was her daughter in the film and she’s a young (15) musician and that this summer she’s releasing her first album, with the help of the Lakehouse Music Academy and on the Moto Records label.

She also said Georgia will need promo shots for advertising, poster, website etc. I gave her my card and so our partnership started.

We traded some calls and emails and settled on a date, a Friday evening, to do the shoot. I started to think about the shoot and what types of images Team Georgia will need.

The Friday came for the shoot…and it was a lousy day. Chilly, drizzly. Not a great day for an outdoor shoot (cloudy I don’t mind, it was the chilly rainy I didn’t like). But I got ready for the shoot nonetheless. I’ve recently invested in expanding my gear list to better suit a mobile studio per se. I’ll be doing a post on what this all entails soon, but judging from the photos I got for this shoot, I think it’ll work out for me. Budget-friendly, too!

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Anyway…the Friday came…and something happened I didn’t plan on: Our babysitter was a no-show. Like, never called nothing. My wife was working and I had no coverage. So, in addition to it being a lousy day, I was in a lurch. Had to call Georgia’s mom, apologize profusely, and cancel. Aaargh!

Luckily, they were understanding (though she had done her makeup and got her outfits together). We rescheduled for a couple of weeks later, another Friday Georgia had free.

The worst part, for me, was that I had rented a 70-300 f/2.8 lens from that I love to use for portraits (and also a corporate gig I had planned for the same week).  While I used it for the corporate gig, I couldn’t extend the rental any more than I already had ($$$) so I had to send it back before this shoot was rescheduled. Frankly, I don’t know that I missed it, which is good to know. My Canon 24-105mm was great.

This time, we had babysitter coverage and the weather was MUCH better – still overcast, but warmer. Georgia lives very close to me, and her house sits on a the main lake in Allentown. We wanted to incorporate this setting – the lake and the dock in her backyard – into the shoot to emphasize her roots. Asbury Park has been a huge boost to her, and we had talked about doing the shoot down there (like a ton of other musicians) but Allentown is where she’s from.

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The dock is where we started, and spent a good 30 minutes in various poses there. As my mantra, I was shooting entire-to-detail. Wide environmental portraits and closer detail shots. Full body to headshots

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Once we finished on the dock, I wanted to do some portraits in front of a black muslin background I had set up. Here’s a BTS of what that looked like.

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I set up a LED light and a shoot-through umbrella to give me a bit of fill light. Shooting my Canon 70D and my FujiX100T, I was really happy with what I got.

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We even got Flo into the act. From the Great Wall of China, to the markets of Mumbai, to the curve of a Taylor acoustic guitar…Flo finds her comfort zone.


Another little BTS…makeup and styling assist from Mom…



By this time, we were starting to lose some light, but we wanted to go across the street to the Old Mill and see what we can get there. Georgia works in The Moth Coffeehouse there, and has played there as well. Certainly plays into her musical history.

So, after a wardrobe change (for her, not me) while I broke the set down, we traveled a good 300 feet to our next location.

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While shooting on this bridge, I asked Georgia to play something for me. Since she had a Johnny Cash t-shirt on, I asked her to sing Ring of Fire.

I got chills while I was shooting. Watch it here. (and disregard my big ol’ head getting in the frame)

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BTS of this one….

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By this time, we were in darkness, she was tired and so was I. After some big hugs, I packed up my truck and Georgia and her mom walked across the street.

A couple of days later, I delivered the images to Georgia. In addition to these color and B&W images, I also provided some “editorial” images – some unique takes using different filters to give them an idea how they can use them for advertising purposes down the road.

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From what I’ve heard, the long history of the Jersey Sound is in good hands with young musicians like Georgia. She’s a bit indie, a bit alt-country, but all New Jersey. A very sweet girl too boot.

I learned a lot on this shoot (I hope we all learn something when we get behind the camera. There are somethings I’ll definitely work to do better (missed shots, better art direction) but also things I’ll definitely do again (loving the solid black background and it gives me other ideas of how to use it)

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I was very pleased to hear that Georgia loved the photos. and I’m excited to see how these images will be used, and hopeful that I can continue to be part of Georgia’s career.

Keep an eye on her!


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017

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9 thoughts on “Shooting Georgia

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