I recently had the opportunity to work with three incredibly talented and gifted professionals (Two of which live on just down the hall of my condo.) With the help of model / actress Nicole M. Carroll Word Press, makeup artist Stephanie Perez Website and studio manager / technician Kevin Link Website . I (Or should I say, we.) captured some amazing shots. Having worked together with Nicole in 2016. Her amazing personality and stunning features helped me mark a turning point in my studio work. Inviting her back with fresh ideas and an amazing team was even more rewarding than our first meeting. I just thought it might be a good time to thank everyone involved while I share the fruits of our labor..
Less than midway through our first session. Angel leaned in and asked “Do you like working with me?” “Of course I do” I quickly replied. Truth be told. Working with her had been the most stress free session I had worked on in recent memory. Secretly, I was glowing inside. Knowing we had laid the foundation for future collaborations. So when the need to work on something new presented itself just months later. I knew I had an ace in my deck with Angel. It’s quite rare when I am so eager to work with someone again so quickly. However, the chemistry and the results of our first session created the desire to work on new ideas and themes together. We’ve already set up a third and final shoot that I’m hoping will give us something useful for both of our portfolios.
It’s not often when I ask a friend to model for me. Let alone, strip down to her bare essentials to help me tests ideas, such as boudoir set ups I’d like to do in the future. So when it came to asking one particular girl to help me out. At the very least, I was fully expecting a flat out rejection. When she surprisingly agreed. I did everything I could to make her and myself feel as comfortable and pressure free as possible. My goal for this particular session was to project a sense of warmth and intimacy. A mix of subtle lighting, varied backgrounds and a great rapport with my model friend. I think we did a great job. And while my setup will need some adjusting. I’m grateful for getting the opportunity to work with someone I enjoy spending time with.
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.
I had so much fun shooting with Gia yesterday. Her laughter, smile and those incredibly expressive eyes. In the days leading up to our session. She sent me a couple of pictures of models dressed in flowing raps. (Imagine saffron robes blowing in the sahara winds.) While she never managed to track down the material. The idea stayed fresh even as we had begun our shoot. When it came time to change into the next outfit. She asked if I had any sheets we could use as a substitute. Thinking on my feet. I decided to use on of my photo backgrounds instead. Wrapping it around her upper . I had her friend hold the the ends. Creating somewhat of a loving tug of war. Notice the smile and the playful exchange she’s having.
When my long time friend and favorite expatriate messaged me that she would be returning to New Jersey for a short, yet important visit. I knew the odds of me seeing her this time around, let alone catching up on her three years in Germany were about as good as the Cleveland Indians winning the World Series. Still, any chance to see such an old and dear friend was worth taking. Imagine my surprise when she was both available and looking forward to indulging me in one of my truest passions, studio photography. The hours we spent together were more of a gab session with me sneaking in a shot or two whenever I could.
Having met Mandy in the parking lot of a strip mall adjacent to my high school when I was sixteen. The likelihood of us ever becoming friends seemed improbable to say the very least. Yet, despite being polar opposites we became trusted, close friends before long. Supporting one another through sickness and health.Through the good times and bad. She’s been a huge supporter and influence on me as a photographer and as a volunteer to worthy causes. She’s one of the few people in my life who crosses the lines between friends and family. One’s that, no matter the distance or time. Remain, unspoken, an integral part of my life. And as my Mother put it “Damn, that woman does not age.” Looking at this picture. I think it highlights both her beauty and unwaning strength. I’m incredibly grateful for having the chance to catch up with her. One of Jersey’s best, no matter where she goes.
Having worked with Tory on two separate occasions. We’ve worked towards creating some noteworthy images. Ones that displayed both her talent and beauty. Strangely enough, each of the two sessions left me scratching my head, thinking, she is far more beautiful than I’ve portrayed her to be. Far to beautiful to be hiding under all the clothes and makeup that only serve to mask any of her beautiful features.. Just an opinion, but one that cried out, begging for redemption on my part. For, in my heart of hearts. I had failed in not portraying her as the beautiful woman I saw her as.
Armed with ideas and a sense of determination I reached out. Much to my surprise and slight confusion, she not only agreed, but thanked me for the second (actually third chance.) Knowing, as well as accepting that each individual has their own sense of style and look that they’re comfortable with. It can make for a difficult task in attempting to have someone give in to a look other than their own. In Tory’s case, she made it incredibly easy for me. My suggestion to wear a comfortable tee shirt and go minimal with the makeup could best be equated to a less is more theory. Personally, I felt that those small changes went a long way to bring out her true beauty. I was finally given the chance to see the woman I always envisioned was under the makeup and clothing.
I can’t go without thanking her for both the opportunity and trust she gifted. I’m more than happy to report that I finally got it right.
The lights and backgrounds were all set up the night prior to the shoot. The pre shoot nervous knots were kicking and screaming and the beautiful woman scheduled for that afternoon arrived on time. The dye was set. Or so I thought. As the session began, the communication I shared with my model began to taper off. She seemed antsy and uncomfortable under the lights and during the moments I tried to keep a comfortable distance from my subject. She seemed to object, asking that I sit closer. Before long I realized it was the studio setting that made her feel overly self conscious and uncomfortable. Before I could suggest it myself. She asked if we could shoot in natural light. I wholeheartedly agreed and from there on we were cookies and milk.
After a short break we restarted. Finding a balance between window light and that of my external flash. And while I have come to detest using external flashes indoors. I found a nice way to bounce it properly to avoid those ugly shadows created when using it directly. I’m extremely happy with my new surroundings. The loft offers a nice balance and barrier between my work and living space. In the future, I’m going to have to work on defining and ultimately, separating the two. Until then, I have plenty of room to improvise.
I really wish more of my little studio sessions were as laid back and effortless as my day with Ruthie. Though this was essentially two friends getting together and just chilling out on a less than busy day. It allowed me some time to play around with my lights and take my camera for a walk. As the day quickly passed, we shared stories, listened to music, drank wine and smoked cigars. There came a point where she looked so relaxed and comfortable. A blissful moment that was shortly interrupted when she raised her head and told me how much she hated having her picture taken. It was a strange moment, considering how incredibly relaxed and natural she looked. The simple truth of the matter is she trusted me. She felt comfortable enough around me to allow herself to relax and feel beautiful. I was pretty humbled, to say the very least. You know, I’ve always loved taking more personal pictures of friends I’ve made along the way. Making new friends through the pictures I’ve taken seems even more important.