This past Thursday I had the chance to work with Teegan on what is becoming my new portfolio. The New York by way of Florida model was a pleasure to be around. With my voice not holding up as much as I would have liked. My friend and current studio director Kevin provided much of the verbal communication. During shooting there would be moments where Teegan would just provide a look that knocked me off my feet. So much so that I had to shout out “Gorgeous” “Fantastic: or “Beautiful”. Each time her eyes and smile would light the room with an incredible smile and a thank you. Just pure joy to work with and be around. With each session I feel my anxiety lessen and my attention to detail grow. Making me feel grateful for the opportunity to get back to the things I love. Learning new things while adding new layers to the template. The left and middle images were shot on a new Fashion Grey seamless. The right was taken shot on the roof with a reflector.
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When I posted a shot of Friday’s session on Facebook over the weekend. It definitely turned a few heads. The attention was both positive and appreciated. It wasn’t until this morning that I was questioned about my decision to edit it. While I liked the original. I thought a ounce of editing would do it some good. Then came the critique about consistency and how, if something ain’t broke. Don’t go trying to fix it. It seemed harsh at the time, but when explained, it made a lot of sense. I had the perfect light and settings from start to finish. There was no explainable reason for the change, other than change. To close, I’m learning a lot and it’s not always easy getting over old habits. Learning that a critique is aimed to both help and improve one’s work. How, listening is often better than talking. Below Left is the original file. On the right, my retouch.
With the help of a good friend and fashion forward photographer. I’ve embarked on a new project that hopes to connect my rock and roll background with his years of experience in fashion photography. In the time II’ve spent learning from him. I’ve come to realize that I’m in the midst of starting over. In recent months I’ve invested in new new studio gear, software and as of yesterday. Purchased a new camera in the Canon 5D Mark III. Fridays session was shot tethered through Capture One and was shot entirely on a tripod. Shooting from the tripod allowed me to better communicate and interact with the model while spending less time fumbling with the camera. The choice more than quadrupled my production in half the time it would take otherwise. The path is set. Everything starts here.
During an open studio tour this weekend. We had the chance to visit many of the varied creative spaces housed in Mana Contemporary. One particularly memorable exchange came during visit to Omorphy Photos. Just minutes before, I ran in to my neighbor and friend Kevin. During an exchange that lasted all but thirty seconds. His eyes widened as he said “Go upstairs to have your mind blown. “Knowing full well our common interests in fashion and studio photography. I quickly made my way upstairs. As I entered the room my jaw began to drop as the drool rushed from the bottom of my gums to the tip of my lips. A deep, spacious studio with ceilings high enough to touch the Gods filled with a candy store of studio lights, equipment, backgrounds and enough inspiration to last two lifetimes. Against one of the walls, large prints displaying the results from that setup. I sighed as I confessed how, while I always loved working with black seemless paper and muslins. I never had enough room to distance the subject far enough from the background to create the separation needed without compromising the space needed between myself and my subject. Lessons, that for me, came the hard way. His warm, engaging personality and the patience he displayed while listening to and even laughing during my rant. While the exchange gifted me with a lot of inspiration and creative energy. It wasn’t until I got home until I began to recall some of the times when I really got to test the limits and boundaries of the space my apartment / studio space offered.
When my wife and I originally moved to Hoboken. We quickly realized the limits of the space. Though a two bedroom. The awkward layout and the simple fact that we only had two small, badly designed closets made had me run out to the town’s Gothic Cabinet Craft and buy an armoire for the bedroom. For years that piece held my entire wardrobe as well as books, portfolios and many other odds and ends.
During one particular shoot I decided to test the limits of the space and replace all the junk with a beautiful woman. Short story long. That dingbat idea made me feel just a bit more grateful for the 12 x 12 space I was shooting in. Since then my wife and I have moved from our shoebox size 400 ft. apartment to a spacious 1,400 loft. In the end I am incredibly grateful for the change of scenery and space. And while our space has more than tripled. We have less than half of the furniture that once occupied that space. Call it room to breathe.
If my calculations are correct. It’s been three weeks to the day since that Art of Portrait Photography ended. In hindsight, it was an experience that really had me in a twist. For whatever reason, I don’t think I ever felt comfortable or even confident at any given time during those four days. All that time I should have been having fun doing what I love most; I was busy trying to be perfect. It was a two weeks that shook my confidence as to what I’ve been doing and what I will be doing in the future. It was four days that even made me question if I really was a “good enough” photographer. Three weeks later I’m about to return from my trip to Japan. I return with countless memories, unique experiences and a hard drive full of beautiful images to share. I have a new confidence and appreciation for life and the people I’ve chosen to share it with. I’ll have lot’s to talk about and show in the upcoming weeks and months. In the meantime, I’d like to wish everyone that’s stopped by, followed and even left a message or comment in regard to a certain post or image. Don’t go crazy with those New Year’s Resolutions. I like you just the way you are. Here are a few images I took of out third model. She was by far, my favorite.
I had a chance to work on a few of the photographs I took on the second day of our Fashion Portraiture workshop. As I had noted, we used gels that day and I was really unhappy with the results. Though I’m still not crazy about the overall results of the session; The improvements I made will keep me from trashing the images all together.
Day two of the workshop was even more of a roller coaster than the first day. We had the opportunity to work with a different model and had a little more time to shoot and work with a team. My session started off with some technical issues which made me a bit uneasy. Our new model was just as beautiful and sweet but seemed to lack the experience of Saturdays beauty. For this shoot the assistants attached a red gel to the soft box. I’ve worked with gels before and to be honest, I really don’t like them at all. I come from more of a portraiture background and prefer to keep things as natural as possible.
Prior to shooting we sat in with the makeup artist and listened to his stories, advice and basked in the glow of his amazing sense of humor. He was engaging, friendly and had us in stitches with his quick sense of humor. He really set the tone for the entire day. When it was time to work with our model he assisted by working the studios fan around the models hair. Stopping to give it the touch up it needed from time to time. At one point I called out “Higher, higher!!!” “I want more hair!!!” to which he hysterically replied in the most bawdy tone. “I’m blowing as hard as I can!!!”
Though I wasn’t personally happy with what I had shot that day. I really enjoyed the day and loved watching the other photographers inject their personalities and creative energy into their sessions. Heading home with a lot to think about and a lot of ideas I hoped put to work. This workshop has been everything I could have imagined and more. Honestly, I can’t say I’m looking forward to the second week, To be completely truthful, I’m quite terrified. That said, this is what I wanted. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to be taken out of my comfort zone. Mission accomplished.
In my September 20th post “Just when I thought we were done” I wrote about my trip to ICP. (International Center for Photography) I mused about my portfolio review and signing up for the “Art of Fashion Portraiture” workshop. This past weekend I embarked on a two weekend intensive workshop that has been both an education and an emotional roller coaster.
On our first day myself and four other photographers (I actually expected there to somewhere between twenty to twenty-five.) gathered at a tremendously spacious Photo Studio and spent the day learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry from models, stylists and world famous fashion photographers who’s names I will stop short of mentioning.
It was a learning experience to say the very least. During the first eight hour day I absorbed more than I ever thought my puny brain could take on and changed my mind numerous times about attempting to enter and extremely competitive and tough aspect of photography. During the day we each had a chance to work with a model. Each given a matter of minutes to work our magic. Although I was nervous and had some performance anxiety due to working with close two ten photographers, make up artists and stylists just a few feet away. I had an amazing model to work with. She was sweet, soft spoken and completely understood what I was trying to convey. More on the workshop later.