Franklin Fitzgerald: Blog en-us (C) Franklin Fitzgerald (Franklin Fitzgerald) Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:26:00 GMT Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:26:00 GMT Franklin Fitzgerald: Blog 120 90 Senior Portraits: Xavier at Fort Monroe, VA

About 80% of my video and photography business is based on relationships. Not a romantic relationship, but lifelong friendships created in college or professional relationships established during my days in tv news and at NASA. As we live, learn and travel, the people we meet along the way become the customers that rely on you to capture their memories in video or still imagery. Serving friends, family and colleagues isn’t the end of the road. They eventually tell a friend, or family member and then those people call and request services. That was what happened with Xavier.

When I first started shooting still photography many years ago, Xavier’s mom, Genevieve, was a willing participant in my photo tests and trials that I shot all around the Hampton Roads area. As the years passed, she reached out to me for some family portraits as well as some nice individual portraits that I still use in my portfolios on the website.

Fast forward to 2021. Xavier is now a graduating senior from Kecoughtan High School. His mom reached out to me well in advance of graduation and asked me to get with Xavier to shoot his senior portraits. Xavier wasn’t really gung-ho about a senior pictures session, but he appeased his mom and got on board for the photo shoot. As we prepared for our shoot, I asked Xavier about his hobbies and what types of images he’d like to get from our senior portrait session. So Xavier, who is a lifeguard, an avid swimmer and longboard rider wanted to incorporate all of those aspects of his life into his senior portraits. He also wanted to represent his future university, Coastal Carolina, in the shoot. So we settled on 2 locations, his high school and the Fort Monroe beach.

We just rolled with the flow and knocked out a series of images in front of Kecoughtan HS, on Fort Monroe near the lifeguard tower, along the beach, and boardwalk. After each location, I showed Xavier what we captured and his enthusiasm about shooting senior portraits grew more by the minute. At the end of the day, Xavier was happy, and his mom was relieved that we finally got her son’s pictures in the can. Xavier has a little sister. I’m sure she will be ringing my phone shortly.

(Franklin Fitzgerald) Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:23:52 GMT
Podcast Production Services - Outsource Podcast Audio Editing | Franklin Fitzgerald My 4 years at Hampton University were some of the best days of my life. I met many good friends, many of who I am still in contact with to this very day. Staying in touch isn’t that difficult with social media and all the forms of technology available to us today as a society. But recently, one of my very good friends from Hampton, Brian Custer, reached out to me to see if I could assist him in producing his online interview driven show called, The Last Stand Podcast.

Brian, who is a seasoned sports anchor, reporter and play by play analyst, started this podcast during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As he felt his way through the growing pains of producing his own podcast, he decided to reach out to me to see if I would be interested in helping out on the show. For those of you who don’t know, I am part of a production team that produces a video podcast for NASA called. So when Brian called and told me what he was trying to do, I hopped right in and lent my expertise to his project. Most of the content that is seen on The Last Stand Podcast is boxing related. One of Brian’s main responsibilities as a sports anchor is to host Showtime boxing. He is host for all of their main events on the cable network including Showtime pay per view. 

Podcast production and management is no small task. It can be as basic or intricate as you want it to be. The production we do at NASA takes us around the country as we deliver the viewing audience a first-hand view of the game changing technologies born out of the space agency and its industry partners. With The Last Stand Podcast, our set up and production is on a much smaller scale, but the quality of the product is kept at a level that is commensurate to some of the well-financed talk radio/video podcasts available today. We are moving along together as a team to bring some of the biggest names in boxing to the public during a time when content in the sport is not plentiful. It has been a blessing to see how the boxing community responds to the content we produce. They wait patiently for the podcast to drop every Tuesday with the hopes to see and hear all the hype and bravado we can cram into one episode. 

Producing and editing podcasts, long form television programs, documentaries or any production that requires a professional touch is what we do. Are you interested in creating a podcast? Contact me and I’ll let you know what our production team can do for you.




(Franklin Fitzgerald) Tue, 16 Feb 2021 05:45:00 GMT
Video Production for Churches - How To Setup Church Media Dept | Franklin Fitzgerald Two years ago, my wife and I were on our phones sifting through different churches in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia looking for a new church home. We found a video clip on Instagram of a minister named Pastor Edwin Jones at The Bridge Church. We listened to the one minute clip that was posted and were impressed with the polished presentation and the quality of the solid information that was being delivered. The church happened to be right around the corner from our house. So we got dressed, grabbed our boys and went to church. We have been at The Bridge Church almost every week since that first Sunday two years ago.

My wife and I finding the church through social media may have been a foreshadowing of what was to come. It was apparent soon after we arrived at The Bridge that the church was lacking in the tools and resources that more established church media departments have readily available. My background is in television production. I have worked in local television news since the mid 90s as an associate producer, videographer and editor. I currently work as a producer for NASA at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. I also offer video production services through my own company. So, I joined the creative ministry to lead the church media team.

I knew from the start that I would be able to contribute to the creative ministry in a substantial way. My goal in the leadership role is to put out quality video production that will capture viewers the same way I was captured while viewing clips on Instagram. To try to reach that goal, we had to overcome a few obstacles.


Here is a look at our sanctuary pre COVID-19 quarantine period.


The creative team volunteers were shooting the service with 2 different canon T model cameras. They were inexpensive crop sensor cameras that didn't produce the best image since the worship space had low lighting. The cameras also had the 30-minute time limit that was standard issue with DSLR and mirrorless cameras at the time. The team had to cut to the 2nd camera at 30 minutes so that the primary camera could be stopped and started again to record the sermon for that day.

We also started with just a small audio board and audio for services was being recorded separate from video on an H4N zoom recorder.



Our first weeks of shooting exclusively online, we moved to a more intimate setting in the back of the church where there is a shiplap wall that gave some texture and an at home feel to the video. Beginning Easter weekend, we moved back into the sanctuary but didn't use the stage. Instead, we opted for the floor in front of the stage and I added in some light from both the sanctuary and a soft box I set up just off camera to give the pastor some good key lighting.

We even stepped out of the sanctuary to shoot on location in our city near the water.


Quality video production for churches has become a necessity for ministries to stay connected to their members and continue to spread the gospel during times when meeting in person is not an option. Setting up a church media department and streaming live church services, however, can be a daunting task, especially when the need is as urgent as it was when many churches had to close their doors during quarantine for COVID-19 in March of 2020.

Fortunately, I have had two years to help make improvements with the creative team at The Bridge Church. Today, we are using the following production tools that allow us to stream services online:

  • Behringer X 32 mixer
  • Black magic 4K ATEM production switcher
  • Two Sony A7III mirrorless cameras
  • One Panasonic P2 camera
  • New stage lighting


We stayed on the floor in the sanctuary well into the summer before we got new lights installed on the stage. We were set to get back on the stage to film because our light was more than adequate to create good images for an online stream.

(Franklin Fitzgerald) Mon, 08 Feb 2021 19:50:35 GMT
Family Portrait Session in Fort Monroe, VA - Family Lifestyle Photo Session | Franklin Fitzgerald One of the more rewarding opportunities that I have to shoot with my clients is when there is a family photo session. The unique family dynamics you capture are what make the images memorable. The sibling interactions during family lifestyle portrait shoots are priceless, and the care and love exhibited between parent and child is, in itself, a blessing to see and more importantly as a photographer, one to capture for future memories and sharing with extended family and friends.

I most recently hit the streets with the pastor of my church and his entire family. We took some time on a Saturday afternoon to visit the Phoebus area of Hampton, VA for some posed and candid photos. It always helps when you know everybody involved during the shoot. In this case, the kids knew exactly who I was and were mostly cooperative during the early going. As the shoot crossed the 1-hour mark, I could tell that I was losing them to the environment and to one another. But that was not an issue because I focused on their photos early on in the shoot so that the images I captured later in the day were a bonus. 


One thing with shooting locally is knowing what scenic locations are available. I know that in downtown Hampton, there is plenty of water to use as a backdrop for family photos, in addition to the beach and lovely home at Fort Monroe. However, there are times when you may run into some resistance from the park police at Monroe if they deem your shoot too involved/professional. We ended up at Fort Monroe but started less than a mile away in Phoebus. I did not do a site survey prior to the shoot, so I had to scope the landscape when I got out of the car and identified a couple of locations to photograph the family.

My favorite images came from the blue wall we used as a backdrop and Mallory Street. Images captured on city streets have character and depth and they are one of my preferred looks when shooting with clients. 


(Franklin Fitzgerald) Wed, 27 Jan 2021 19:45:00 GMT
Porch Portraits - Front Porch Photography Sessions Shortly after I started getting serious about my digital photography, I contacted one of my good friends, Mickael, to see if he was interested in modeling for me as I started to build my portfolio. If you know Mike, you know that he was down for the get down. So, we caught up with one another and shot at a few spots around town. One of those locations was my front porch. Mike, who is a fashion connoisseur, did what Mike does best, look good in everything he wears. Getting him to give me something to work with is like asking a fish to swim in water. Every pose, glance, head turn and nonchalant gesture he made gave me an image that I would hang on any wall in any house.

COVID-19 has been a burden on many families around the world. They have not been able to do many of the activities they had planned and are, for the most part, confined to their homes. For most families who have children in high school, they were unable to experience their proms, senior portraits, graduation and every other benefit that comes with crossing the finish line of their years in secondary education. It’s rough! I have twin boys and I can see the toll that the pandemic has taken on them as we manage our lives from the safety of our home. But the one thing that brightens their day is when I pull out my camera out and ask them to pose for a few pictures. The smiles that appear on their faces brings joy to my soul.

That joy and happiness is what I want to achieve with my Porch Portraits. This portrait session is perfect for families and/or individuals to simply take a seat or stand on their porch for a short photo shoot. This is a contactless and easy way to bring the family together for a professional picture to share with friends and family on social media or even as a Christmas card. Or you can just simply be like Mike. Just sit back, do you and let your friends admire your grace.

(Franklin Fitzgerald) Fri, 30 Oct 2020 19:54:00 GMT