With no studio, studio gear and just the basic camera body, flash and a couple of lenses available. I’ve had to get a bit more creative with my lighting and backdrops. And just as doing with less has created more opportunities than problems. Finding and booking test shots seems just as difficult in the Northwest as it was in New Jersey and New York. On my first shoot, I took photos in and around the corporate apartment I was temporarily staying in. Being that it was a sun soaked day. We retreated indoors, taking full advantage of the more subtle lighting its interiors offered. As we moved from point A to point B. I couldn’t help but feel relaxed and confident. Recalling the nervous knots I often get while working in the studio. And while I can’t wait to start booking more sessions with aspiring models, such as the one seen here. I’m not quite as eager to get back to studio work.
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.
Below are a couple of favorites from my final studio session of 2016. My two hour shoot with Angel was without a doubt, my favorite of the year. While Angel may be somewhat new to modeling, her beauty, grace and ability to change gears effortlessly should go a long way to insure her success. A second shoot is already in the works. One that we are both eager to bring to fruition. Stay tuned.
For years now I’ve been aware of Instagram, but had no idea as to what it offered or what I’d find. In all honesty, I thought it was an app. where people uploaded their selfies and pictures of meals from their mobile devices. Thankfully, through conversations with my brother and a close friend who’s been mentoring me. Not only was I open to investigation. I was flat out prepared to dive in to the deep end of the pool. Since opening an account, I’ve been posting regularly and building a small, but steady following. More importantly, I’ve found inspiration and ideas by following my favorite photographers, magazines and modeling agencies. And just as I’ve built a following with Photogeek over the years. I hope to grow and share with Instagram. Below is a link to my account. I’ll be posting work from my sessions regularly.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.