Graduation Day

04-30-17 Montoya7729AMAfter Sunday’s nude session I was both eager and anxious about sharing the results with my friend and mentor down the hall. He’s been a great teacher who has made it a habit to share his positive thoughts before sprinkling in any much appreciated criticism. I say “appreciated” because if it were not for those much feared critiques. I would have never grown or learned to improve on the things that have been holding me back. Imagine the combination of relief and glee I felt when he remarked how good the pictures from that session were and why. Going as far as saying that this was the best work I’ve done to date. Declaring that, as I move forward. This should be my portfolio. That school was out and I had graduated. The End.

All the Right Ingredients

Having worked with Iya numerous times during my years of shooting in my cramped Hoboken home studio. I’ve been eager to have her over to the Loft to close out my new portfolio in a much more open and for lack of a better word, lofty space. Having someone who was both a friend and an experienced model at my disposal initially felt like a no brainer. However, her inquiry regarding my providing a makeup artist and/or stylist threw me in to panic mode. And while having one of the industries best makeup by stephanie perez living in the adjacent loft went a long way to ease my tensions. Trying to book her only days in advance  was a bit of a challenge. In the end, the m.u.a’s assistant Karen not only stepped in. She amazed. As beautiful as Iya looked walking through my door. *&^%$% had her looking like an absolute goddess. Going forward as a photographer, I hope to incorporate the use of a make up artist and stylist. Knowing that I have such fantastic options at arms reach is very reassuring.I highly recommend you take s look at Satephanie’s site. I assure you, you’ll be inspired.
07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4356Iya.jpg07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4610TeegaN07-06-2016b Emily Mercado4533Emily

The Best Things are Worth Waiting for.

When I originally posted a casting call on Model Mayhem back in early May. I had no idea I would be getting such an overwhelming response from models interested in being a part of my upcoming portfolio. Yet, as I sought through the thirty or so candidates. I found a seldom few that really fit the overall feel and aesthetic I wanted to convey. As I worked through May and June with the people I had chosen. I kept in mind the ones that I was unable to immediately book due to their busy schedules and location. There was one by the name of Emily whom I would wait patiently for the right time to come.

Almost two months later, to the date, that time would come. When I went downstairs to greet Emily. I immediately noticed she was even more beautiful than any of the images in her portfolio would tell. Her big smile and upbeat personality were a welcome sight on what had already been one of the most oppressively hottest days of the early summer.

As quickly as our session started. I knew that the wait and a more detailed description of what I was looking to accomplish with the session made for an even better session than I would have ever hoped for. Her ability to move and change expression effortlessly was incredible. Emotive, expressive and flat out gorgeous. She put life in to all of the looks and vibes I was hoping to convey. Along the way we explored new lighting techniques, utilized my new canvas background and even found some use for my almost extinct CD collection. Thanks to Emily for making every image count.

Getting There

Last night I sat down with a friend and fellow photographer to navigate last week’s sessions and decide on which ones were best suited for social media. The two pictured below really put the hook in me. Not that they were the best or they fit a specific project or portfolio piece. What really caught my eye was that their close resemblance to the photographs and artists who first inspired my love and appreciation for art and photography. The basic lighting and concepts that seemed so out of reach back then.

In my recent months of shooting I’ve been urged to google images and visit sites such as Pinterest and Instagram to create look books.Forming ideas and creating templates for photo sessions have become blueprints for getting exactly what I need from each session, model and shoot. Telling a model in advance, “This is what I want to shoot.” or “Can we do this?” has been a great way to inspire both myself and the person I’m working with. In the end, it allcomes down to good communicstion, preparation and proper execution.

Adding to the Blueprint

In building a new portfolio I’ve been trying to show consistency in both my lighting and settings. The blueprint started with using a two light set up consisting of a beauty dish and a fill light fitted with a 72′ inch umbrella. As the sessions have progressed. I’ve tried to add a new element to each session. The project started using a seemless background for the majority of the session before quickly moving to a concrete column (L) that separates the kitchen from the living room. On to the foyer which features a giant black / chalkboard wall before finishing up with a few outdoor shots, typically on the roof. It’s a pattern that’s built from one shoot to the next. One that’s rendered improving results with each try. Today’s session with Kristina was more than I could ask for. Great looks, makeup, style and personality to match. On top of all the studio fun. She helped me overcome my fear of heights by simply showing her own.

Thursday Session with Nicole

It’s been over a week since I had the pleasure of working with Nicole and I’m still buzzing over what was one of the most positive experiences from start to finish. Prior to our session there were numerous emails exchanged regarding the overall look and feel I was looking for. During those brief exchanges we seemed to bond. Building a trust as well as an overall excitement regarding the session. There was an energetic, yet laid back nature to the two or three hours we spent shooting. The studios energy was kicked up a few levels as Kevin and eventually his wife Dawn worked as assisted in various capacities including lighting, style and wardrobe. As for Nicole. She was a total rock star from start to finish. Everything for her “Go For It” personality to her fiery red hair to her startling blue eyes. Made this particular shoot one to remember. Thanks to Nicole and the best neighbors a person could ask for.  The far left was shot on a seemless background using a beauty dish and a 72′ umbrella fill light.The center image on a floor to ceiling concrete pillar the same lighting. The far right image was taken on the roof using a white reflector.

Results from a not so Fun Shoot.

Results from Friday’s  grueling two and a half hour shoot. There was zero chemistry between myself and the model. No adherence to the sessions theme or goals. Just one angry looking model.