Second Chances

As I opened the door to greet Tara earlier today I could hardly believe my eyes. The beautiful woman with the flowing hair that reached beneath her waist now sported hair that barely touched her shoulders. It framed her face perfectly and brought out the glow in her porcelain skin.  The change added a layer of beauty that I hadn’t noticed before. There was something about her new look that made her seem warmer, more mature and open. The smile and hug made my nervous knots disappear.

The girl who came to me as a model last year was now blossoming into an actress. As we talked and sipped coffee we talked about the changes in both of our lives since our last creative collaboration. She seemed happy, focused and excited about the future. It was a cool and relaxed vibe that made for very natural shots. Our last shoot had it’s tensions due to some lateness on part of her makeup artist and perhaps a lack of planning on both our parts. Today’s session just felt right from the jump off.

The dramatic makeup and theme of last years shoot was replaced by minimal, self applied foundation and a chill urban feel. The only similarity today’s session had to last years was getting her to try some things that she might have felt, were out of her comfort zone. Later, when I went over the shots more thoroughly. I only noticed one or two that were decidedly similar to those of last year. As for me, I’ve noticed my confidence grow with each and every shoot. Overall improvement in preparation, lighting and ability to manage time are noticeable and I’m not quite as clumsy as I used to be. Not bad if you ask me.

At the Gallery.

I’ve been a member of SOHO Photo Gallery for about three or four years now. Displaying new work month after month alongside the many talented photographers that belong to a COOP who’s membership spans worldwide. Though I hate meetings and may not have learned a whole lot from the folks that were doing this before I was born. I have taken full advantage of the opportunity. Early this year I decided to take advantage of the amazing space and light gallery has to offer. The buildings white walls, old architecture and little nooks and crannies give me lots of inspiration. Not to mention the surrounding streets of Tribeca and Chinatown. I’ve been conducting shoots while the gallery is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Thus far it’s worked out extremely well. I’ve been entertaining the idea of booking night sessions in the future. But for now it’s working out pretty well.

Tuesday afternoon I met up with actress/model Janet before heading uptown to a pre meeting with next Tuesday shoot. Janet is twenty six but her look skus much younger allowing her to take on younger parts that call for more maturity. Though she was very business minded and serious. I was able to get some really good smiles and even a few silly images. As for my meeting later that night. I can’t say enough. The sample images she had sent earlier did no justice to her beauty or personality. Looking forward to our shoot.

Extras from my Shoot with Tara.

Once we were done with getting the head shots she needed.      Tara asked me if I could take a few of her in her leather jacket. I could immediately tell that the clothes she had brought fro the shots didn’t fit her or her personality. Once the jacket went on the real Tara came out. It was a pleasure to see. Such an amazing personality and fun person to work with. We were literally rolling on the floor with laughter.

Everything falls into place.

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IMG_0557Despite the humidity and heat yesterday couldn’t have gone better if I had wished so. The day started with a run to the city and in particular Calumet Photo. As noted in previous blogs I’ve had numerous problems with sync cords not working properly and being an overall hazard for someone as clumsy and accident prone as myself. After my session with Alexandra this week I was determined to trash my sync cords and finally go wireless. I stopped in to Calumet to talk with one of the sales associates about a wireless device called the Pocket Wizard II. I wanted to know more about how it worked and make sure it was compatible with my Canon 50 D and Genesis studio lights. After a short demo I was convinced wireless was my destiny and made the purchase. I then grabbed lunch and headed back home to get some work done before heading back in to the city for my late afternoon session.

Earlier in the week I scheduled two portrait sessions within a few minutes of each other. Risky considering the fact that people always seem to arrive late no matter what. I also seem to have to deal with a lot of last minute cancelations. Luckily my first session arrived right on time and we were able to get started. I had met Theory a few weeks prior and had already had a couple of mutual cancellations due to the non stop rain we’ve been dealing with. Theory is a pretty cool dude.

IMG_0614A talented dancer with a gift for humor and loads of personality. Our session took place around theold meat packing district on

IMG_0589the West Side of Chelsea. Theory being a lot younger and from the West Coast seemed to be surprised by the stories I told about how the area was when I was living in the city. How what is now a hub of galleries, boutiques and restaurants was once a thriving meat packing industry by day and a red light district by night. As for our session we were able to get a lot of great shots without taking all that many. Two of the things I’ve really been working on improving in my photography is consistency and attention to detail. I think I accomplished what I was looking to do.

Just as Theory had arrived right on time my next shoot was just as punctual. We had planned on meeting at the Apple store at 6:00. It turns out we were standing right next to one another and didn’t even realize it for a few minutes. My first impression of Hugh was right on target. Plain and simple this is what I would call a “Cool Cat’. Tall, long dreds and soft spoken. His prior emails where he addressed me as “Sir” led me to believe he was channeling a James Bond character. His sharp looking motorcycle jacket and Duccati bike only reinforced that image. Hugh is an aspiring actor who takes classes only blocks away from where I lived in Hells Kitchen. Our shoot would have went off without a hitch if it were not for some idiot knocking his bike over when pulling out of the parking spot in front of him. The hit not only knocked over the bike but broke his mirror and tail light. All while scratching his helmet. So much for accountability. No note was left. Other than that it was a stellar day. Hugh loved his shots and I’m looking forward to showing Theory his.

A nice surprise when I really needed it.

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I was kind of down in the dumps today. Trying hard to make this photography thing work. Trying to find a second job and a new home. Blah, Blah, Blah. I guess my head was just not in the right place. When I got home I checked my inbox and there was a really nice testimony that the woman I worked with the day before had sent. I’m posting it here because well, it’s my blog and when someone says something this nice about their experience and my work I’m gonna flaunt it. So here it is.

“James Damion is one of the most professional and encouraging photographers that I have ever worked with. He works to accentuate your best features and makes you feel like a super model during your photo session. I need to upgrade my online portfolio so that I can include more of James’ pictures of me in my gallery. These pictures are SO good I’m going to have a hard time choosing which ones! If your trying to decide on a photographer for your head-shots, portraits or pictures for your next project, let me save you the trouble of looking elsewhere. Let James Damion work his magic for you.” Erica Douglas, Actress