TIME LAPSE
A beautifil hybrid of stills and motion

“Michael this is just fantastic.  There are so many wonderful moments in this film, not only the time lapse, but the motion control shots, and it looked like some tilt shift moments too, just exquisite. Your photography of this construction on its own is great, but the expansion of your work into time lapse is just exciting to watch.”
–Don Hahn
Academy award winning Disney animated film producer

“Michael was well-suited to this job.  He became part of the team, investing much more time in the process than we had understood would be needed up front. He was always present and prepared when those interesting events occurred, moments that were never precisely scheduled. And he seemed prepared with the equipment that suited the shots. Michael dedicated more effort than we expected, but the results were a greater than expected product.”
–Jim Folsom
Director of The Huntington Botanical Gardens

“There was pressure inside the organization to find a lower cost provider but I resisted because of Michael’s experience, know how and high-level ability for making the right decision in the field. I’m based in New York and too busy to manage someone on the West coast. Michael made it easy to work with him and I always received high-quality photography in a timely manner.”
–Rebecca Taylor
VP, Photo Services. Madison Square Garden Company

“Michael’s attention to detail is tremendous and is safety conscious in and around our active construction site. He’s also very prompt with appointments, kept us in the loop, has a great work ethic and always wants the best outcome for our project. We especially love his rover and aerial work. Michael was up front with his costs and expense and that made it easier for us to engage his services.”
–Jeffrey Baran
Chandler’s Sand & Gravel. Assistant Real Estate and Planning

“Michael Stern is a professional undaunted by unique challenges.  Our coverage of the building of a replacement for the Gerald Desmond Bridge has been bolstered tremendously by Mr. Stern’s creativity and ingenuity.  He doesn’t need a comfortable spot to install his equipment and will literally build whatever kind of bracket or platform is needed to create a perfect vantage point for stunning time-lapse photography.”
–Sean Horejs
Long Beach TV

“Michael has a great eye and an amazing toy box that can bring any project to life through the beauty of motion time lapse photography–from short demonstrations to long-term, large scale projects.”
–Ken Winkler
Media 360

“Michael not only has an incredible sense of creating visual narratives, he is a professional in every sense of the word. We contacted him with our project starting only weeks away and Michael jumped right in. He visited the site a number times before filming then returned weekly to capture shots from more angles than the main camera he set up. With limited information and direction he was consistently proactive and thorough in his filming. We could not be happier with our finished product and would certainly recommend his services.”
Sean Warner, AICP | Placemaking Manager
Downtown Long Beach Associates

PORTRAITURE
I find faces and personalities fascinating

“Michael is efficient. For our initial photo shoot, he set up a studio in our conference room to provide a smooth schedule for our staff. As we have added staff and/or updated pictures, Michael has invited us to his personal studio, which is a clean and comfortable environment.”
–Haley J. Eckhart
VP, Freeman & Mills

“Michael Stern’s portraits fuse the current state of immediacy with the discerning eye that few compose these days. My first introduction to Michael’s work was 30-years ago and to this day, his portraits still mesmerize me. They grant the sitter a sense of presence and a sense of strength, making the sitter a powerful subject.”
–Laurence Gartel
Digital Media Artist

“We have engaged Michael to do work for several of our books over the years shooting high-level executives, including Roy E. Disney, and other people important to our company and our projects. I had a wonderful experience working with Michael and our subjects were delighted with both his professionalism and the quality of his work. He’s very creative and really understands the personalities of his subjects and connects with them in a way that results in beautiful, natural portraits.”
–Wendy Lefkon Editorial Director
Disney Editions, Synergy & Special Projects

 

TEACHING
The interaction with students informs my work in ways I never expected

“Michael’s education and experience in photography makes him an outstanding teacher. He’s a dedicated professional with a wide variety of personal and interpersonal skills.”
William Gray Project Manager
California Industrial Education Consortium (CITEC)

“Skillful, conscientious and a dedicated teacher, Michael Stern thoroughly understands how people learn. He has a wealth of experience in working with graphic arts technology, specifically Adobe Photoshop software, printers and both digital imagery and 35-mm film camera skills.”
Teri Tsosie Director of Technology
Hermosa Beach City School District

“What I found most valuable for our students in his classes, was the inclusion of the business aspects of commercial photography from self-promotion, working with clients, costs and pricing a job, workflow to professional output.”
–Joan Watanabe
Glendale Community College

“Michael expertly taught our Photoshop class for four years. He developed the class syllabus on digital imaging and served on our ROP Advisory Board for Photography.”
–Tim Brehm
Photography Instructor, John Burroughs High School

“I have always found Michael to be most pleasant in any of our communications and over the past years I have gained an impression of him as a committed, diligent and professional person.”
–Mark Galer
Senior Lecturer, RMIT University, Photographer, Author, Adobe Ambassador

“As someone who has taught at the university level for many years, I am well aware of the skills and talents needed to teach at the college level. Michael Stern has them all!”
–Dr. Marilyn Winters PhD,
California State University, Sacramento Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

“Michael was my favorite instructor at Brooks and I feel that I learned multitudes from him in the short time I was in his classes. Patient with his instruction and generous with his time, Michael’s clear delight in the subject and his enthusiasm for teaching were infectious and inspiring.”
–Vanessa Hutchinson
graphic designer

 

BUILD A BETTER PHOTOGRAPH, A DISCIPLINED APPROACH TO CREATIVITY
My first book

“Mr. Stern writes in an easy-going style that makes the reader feel that they are in the presence of an out-going teacher who enjoys sharing his techniques and learning experiences‚ both the good and the bad‚ and he is not ashamed to admit to mistakes made in that they provide part of the lessons learned that he would share with the student. It is no wonder that he has had a wide and varied teaching career in addition to his studio work.”
–Dr. Michael N. Roach

“Michael Stern has been a seasoned professional photographer for over 30-years. His meticulous concern for creating an image translates far back beyond the digital tools of today. He brings his expertise to the forefront demanding that a photograph be perfect in every way. Mr. Stern is a perfectionist and anyone who wants to make great pictures should read his book and see how an expert approaches the new visual language.”
–Laurence Gartel
Digital Media Pioneer

“Throughout this book his sense of humor is alive and apparent. Even though some of the subject matter could be considered “heavy lifting” Michael Stern keeps it professional, but light. He understands human nature as well as he knows cameras. His writing style makes reading and studying his concepts and techniques pleasurable and palatable.”
–Artie Alinikoff

“How often are we able to get inside the head of a photographer these days without them thinking we are trying to “steal” information for our own gain? With Michael’s book and dvd, he does just that. I have always wanted to sit down with a really talented photographer and discuss in depth how to do more complicated set ups. With this book, now I have the tools to take my photographs to the next level. I appreciate his humor and candidness throughout the material. These techniques are not for the person who just picked up a camera for the first time. This is pretty advanced stuff that can really make a difference in your photos. Thanks for letting us “see” how to be a better photo “builder” for our clients.”
Anne Marie Lord

“This is one of the more interesting photography books I have read during my sixty years doing photography. The four chapters of the book are; The Environmental Portrait, Compositing Techniques, 3D Scanning of Found Objects, and Great Product Photography. When just considering the topics, one might think this is a real potpourri of subjects. But this is more than just a book of technique. The four chapters are autobiographical and reflect his philosophy and approach to developing a better photograph. In one sense, he allows the reader to “get into his thinking process” and that is important because it allows one to better understand how he has been successful.”
–Charles Heisterkamp III, M.D.
Photographer

“So far, your book is great. I’ve highlighted the heck out of most of what I HAVE read. I think the mix of tech talk and your personal stories makes it a very identifiable read. You’re not just telling me “A+B=C”, instead you’re telling me “I thought of A, added it to B, that didn’t work the way I had hoped (learned from it) tried “B2″ and that = C”. In my young career I have had to deal with a few problems creatively, it’s in YOUR personal experiences that I am finding a lot of inspiration to reboot my thought process on some internal traits that slow my move forward. For me, the pre-visualizing, “the creative continuum” concept and reading and re-reading the Compositing Techniques section are going to be such a great new tool set. I once said that you were my most quoted professor. This will easily be one of my most quoted books throughout my career.”
–Abiel Hoff
Photographer

“Build a Better Photograph” has inspired me in the digital darkroom.  Stern offers wonderful techniques, methods and personal insight that have helped me hone my craft.  I discover new gems every time I pick up his book.  I went back through my archives and applied some of his techniques, I learned a lot and produced some of my favorite images.”
–Garret Baquet
Photographer

 

COACHING
I get a real kick out of helping others

“What I found the best is what you said about thinking and dreaming about your project. How you work backwards. I am an artist who has taken up photography as a medium for my art. I paint from my head and that is what I do, I think about what I am going to paint, I dream about and then I project it on canvas or paper. I had no idea I could do that with photography and there you are, this great photographer, I have seen your work online, does that…wow! I want to personally thank you so much for bringing that out, it means the world to me. Thank you.”

–M. Pau

“I went to bed early with a headache (migraine) undoubtedly because I recognize the truth in your message and don’t feel I have the solution just yet. Years of self-neglect, self-denial, self-deprecating humor to compensate for the initiative to improve this part of myself…. You are the right counselor to meet at this point in my career development. An artist with the right skills to share, to end my cycle of continued poverty. You have pointed to the solution, but I’m gonna need a road map to lead me out of the woods. Thanks Again Brother, I think my lucky occurrence was talking (and listening) with you on Sunday. Maybe there’s a new book building in this “Dinner with Andre.”
–T. Egan

“I met Michael through our mutual industry groups on Linked In. Am I lucky that we have met! Michael’s vast knowledge in our industry is extremely apparent and accessible through the many outlets he offers in which you can learn from his experiences. Here on Linked In, his books, blogs, videos, and radio show are all filled with no nonsense yet personable takes on so many aspects of being a “successful” photographer. In my book, anyone who can make a respectable, informative, and entertaining radio show about a completely visual industry is pretty amazing. I’ve got the chance to use Michael’s personal consultation services to help coach me through some of the most important aspects of being a creative professional, and truly helped me get through my own negotiations. Let’s just say I’m on a smarter more confident road because of it. I truly respect his insight because of where he has been and where he is at right now in our industry.”
–M. Ufnal

 

PUBLIC SPEAKING
Boy do I love to talk

“It was a pleasure hosting Michael E. Stern at the Torrance Public Library on Wednesday, July 14, 2010. Mr. Stern discussed his latest book; Build a Better Photograph, a Disciplined Approach to Creativity. He shared how he built some of his signature photographs and provided the audience with a behind the scenes view of how he acquires clients, manages the relationships and prices his work, all be using a disciplined approach to creativity. Mr. Stern’s presentation was excellent and received praise from attendees who felt his information was accessible enough for novice photographers while being engaging and thoughtful enough for experienced professionals. Mr. Stern was extremely easy to work with and is very passionate about his craft. We look forward to working with him again in the future.”
–Dana Vinke
Torrance Public Library

“Your presentation to our camera club was really top rate and enjoyable. There was a lot to like; your pictures are simply amazing. Especially in light of the fact that many were composed in camera and on film! Colorful, full focus and 3D comes immediately to mind looking at your photos. And I think you conveyed your love of photography and the challenge of capturing a great image by the anecdotal stories behind the image. I learned a lot, and appreciate more fully the hard work, dedication and creative problem solving required to capture a great photo image. I should add that I especially liked your sequences of lighting techniques to produce a single composite photo. Keep up the good work.”
–Agust Agustson
South Bay Camera Club

“Michael Stern has a talent for creating and telling stories. With words. And with pictures. With humor and with honesty. In addition to his creative talents, he is above all a master teacher, always ready and generous in sharing his knowledge. We all left the lecture knowing much more about what really goes on behind the scenes, both on the business side – and on the creative end. It was an eye-opener and we look forward to more stories in the future.”
–Christian G. Founder
Los Angeles Photoshop User Group

“Michael had a grace on stage that made him approachable and relatable, but it was his presentation’s content that inspired many ‘take-aways’ that our attendees are still buzzing about.”
–Sam Benner
Co-founder EDGE Seminars & Workshops

“Another BRAVO evening with Michael Stern.
I wanted to send you this note the following morning but Internal Affairs intervened.
You were great…loose, cool, incisive. As always we learned a great deal from you. Best of all, you had fun. Don’t deny it, Michael, you had fun.
So I, representing the club and guests, again say BRAVO.
Will you be able to do one or two sessions with us next year?I know it is a long haul from Pasadena, but you could consider moving!
Thanks again and best regards”
–Bert
F/Stop Camera Club

“It was great. Michael is always entertaining and I always learn useful things from him. I’m looking forward to the next meetup.” In response to a Photoshop Meet Up group held in Hollywood on July 25, 2012.
–A. Ross-Greene

“You did great and you did what you said you would and I know that the vast majority of the people appreciated that. I never saw so many people surrounding a presenter as they did when we went on break. The night was a very good one.” In response to a Photoshop Meet Up group held in Hollywood on July 25, 2012.
–C. Gaspar

“I greatly appreciated the insight you provided into your work and the level of detail you used and the manor you delivered it.  As humble as you may be, you are very talented and have a great aspect on life!
–T. Schuh