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My favorite photographer: Irving Penn

The Metropolitan Museum of the Art, in New York, has a fabulous new retrospective of the work of one of my idols, photographer Irving Penn.



For 50 years, Mr. Penn was one of the foremost fashion photographers in the world. But, that was just the most well known part of his work.



His work documenting indigenous tribes and tradesmen and still lifes resonates strongly with me. I love his portrait series called Small Trades, simple portraits of butchers, fishmongers, and plumbers. His work is elegant, classic and timeless.



One of his trademarks was the use of a beautiful, beat-up, old backdrop that looked, to me, like an old, scarred concrete wall. In fact, his backdrops were remnants of old theatrical stage curtains he would picked up somewhere, probably Paris. Remarkably, they had one one of his actual “sweeps” in the exhibit.  I loved seeing the real deal, so I made a portrait of myself.


His work has always been an inspiration for a generation of photographers. In January, I asked a backdrop artist to paint me an “Irving Penn” sweep, with its splotches, “mistakes”, and scratches intact. I am using it to make new portraits and I love the way it creates an incredible environment for my subjects.

©Phil Cantor 2017

UPDATED w/ Photos – Ladies Night Out, April 7 6-9 pm


I was a special Event Stop for Ladies Night Out, brought to you by Montclair Center BID.  Ladies Night Out is part of Women’s Empowerment Week, which benefits SAVE of Essex. Start at 5 pm for special drinks at Pig & Prince Restaurant, then come across the street to visit my studio for my ever-popular STRIKE A POSE event:

Strike a Pose! Do you HATE posing for pictures? Phil Cantor, of Phil Cantor Photography, will let you in on the secrets of standing and smiling for photographs that bring out the best in you. He’ll photograph you using YOUR OWN smart phone – then you can send it to your friends or use as your new avatar!



For those who got their portrait taken by yours truly last Friday, please find yourself on the Facebook posting below!


Headshot Mini Marathon: Extra Day Added – April 22!

Social media and your online presence play a huge role in the success of your business or career. Be prepared with a great first impression… a professional headshot that will help promote your message. [See examples here.]

Saturday, April 1 & 22: Headshot Mini Marathon

rofessional Makeup
Usually $75-$100…FREE!!!


  • – FREE professional makeup
  • – Studio portrait session
  • – Multiple wardrobe changes

Space is limited…only 6 spots left!

Call the studio to learn more!


Read what people say about their headshots


The Great Masters

On a cold February night, I invited a group of intrepid friends to the studio to partake in a creative venture…Portraits in the style of the Great Masters. I sent out suggestions: dress up like one of Rembrandt’s (1606-1669) portraits, come as a patrician urbanite as painted by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), or figure out how to look like one of Pablo Picasso’s (1881-1973) Blue Period portraits.

It was a blast. People bought costumes, raided their closet for bits & bobs, went to thrift stores, or just came as they were. It didn’t matter. It was a collaborative process between the photographer and the models. It was a combination of dramatic lighting and chutzpah.

There were a couple of Blue Period Picassos, a couple of Sargents, at least one Rembrandt, a Vermeer, and a Grant Wood.  Some came as famous painters.  Can you figure out who was who???



Remember the Alamo!



What a blast! I just returned from a 5-day trip to San Antonio, Texas for the national convention of the Professional Photographers of America. 5,000 photographers from across the country attended. I took part in a dozen workshops ranging that ranged from Painting with Light to Headshots to Marketing. I enjoyed the chance to hobnob with photographers from different regions and specialties and to get my hands on all the new cameras and lighting.

Plus, I got to visit The Alamo, see the San Antonio Spurs play basketball and 3 consecutive days of Tex Mex food. Go Enchiladas!

Moonrise over The Alamo



College Kids #HomeForTheHolidays?


Has it been a year already since LAST Christmas??

Are you still waiting to get that family portrait? Now’s the time!

Your college-aged kids are returning for the holidays from their college and work-related adventures. Though their stay is brief, you can capture them in a family portrait that will last a lifetime! Before the kids return to their newfound sense of independence at school or abroad, get them together for one last family gathering before they hit the road.

The week after Christmas, I will be scheduling family portraits so you can finally get the photograph you’ve always wanted. Space is limited to contact me ASAP to secure your spot!

Call me TODAY! 973-783-1065