lighting

Desert Mermaid with Mary Jane Monroe

I don’t often consider my photos to be very “High Concept” or even art sometimes. In fact i have to tell models I work with all the time that I am terrible with coming up with ideas and concepts. I sometimes even have a hard time calling my artist because of this. I get around this by thinking of myself as more of an improve artist making things up as I go along instead of having a ton of prep time behind something. Lucky for me the recent shoot I did with Mary Jane Monroe had the high concept feel to it because of her own ideas all I really had to do was shoot. One thing that I differently in this shoot was try to implement scenery a bit more in the shots which is something that I  need to work on but came out quite well in the finished product.

 

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Maxine’s Curves.

Anything can and will go wrong on a shoot, it happens and it happens to the best of us. On a recent shoot with Maxine things “went wrong” in that we couldn’t find the intended location, the area we were in had terrible weather and we were losing light pretty fast. When things like this happen it’s important to keep the spirit up and roll with the punches. With the initial idea being scrapped we drove down to Old Town Albuquerque to try and make up for a shoot that didn’t happen and the results were well worth it.

In the car ride (that got extended) Maxine, my assistant/girlfriend, and I had conversations about shooting women with curves (as Maxine obviously does) and how to get the best images out of it and we specifically talked about how it’s not hard to get great images with curvy models. Essentially when working with curvier models you don’t want to hide the curves, you want to highlight them and use them to your advantage. Curves can be incredibly flattering and work very well aesthetically but in order for get them to work you need to know how to pose the model. Posing is important for any model, it’s the basis of modeling in general and every model is different in what works but I’ve noticed that curvier models are very specific. You need to know where their curves are, where they look the most flattering and extend those areas out so that they get more of the attention than anything else.

Shooting curvier models is a lot of fun. It’s not nearly as challenging as you would think it would be and to be honest is more visually interesting to look at. If you want to get better at directing and posing I would recommend working with more models with curve because it makes you more attentive to what you are doing with your directions.

Short and Sweet with Sam.

There are a couple of things that I take pride in as a photographer. One of those things is just always doing constantly solid work but there are a lot of other qualities that my clients and model friends appreciate when I work with them. Those would be my fast turn around times on edits and the fact that my shoots don’t last to long. On average a shoot with me probably only last about 30 minutes. In that time we’ll take well over 100 images and when I get into editing around 20-30 will make the culling but and then only a hand full of those will be posted, that’s just standard. This recent shoot that  I did with Samantha was just that where, we met we shot, we got some solid stuff, I took it home to edit and that all took just about 3 hours in total work time (not including travel time too and from location.) Doing great work doesn’t have to take weeks to do. Simple locations, poses, edits and good work flow can offer a lot to making great images on a short time table and it always impresses people when you can do great work so quickly.

On location with Maxine… In a Pool

It’s very easy to get Cabin Fever when shooting in studio often with great frequency. It almost feels like my last couple of shoots have been strictly studio on account of scheduling purposes. Studio comes with like a lot of benefits such as controllable lighting,  minimal distractions and a comfortable space to interact with your subjects. But nothing really quite compares to the visual interest created by an on location shoot. Maxine reached out to me having a very solid concept in mind for a futuristic pool shoot with the location already set up. Needless to say I was blown away by the location itself. The owner of the property showed great hospitality and even enthusiasm for the shoot we were doing. The location was nothing short of beautiful with excellent scenery, an incredible pool and perfect natural lighting once we hit golden hour.

Maxine as a model was a thrill to work with. The thing that made her so great to shoot with was her ability to communicate. She was able to tell me exactly what she wanted out of the shoot and I was able to give her direction and explain what I was doing without any problem. When there is a good amount of chemistry between photographer and subject it goes a long way in getting the best results out of a shoot.

Though I have been spending more and more time in studio shooting in that environment I still mostly think of myself as an on location shooter. I enjoy working with the natural light and the environment around me to get the best possible results so it was amazing to be able to take advantage of a stellar location and work with an incredibly bright model.

Batmanda Out of Costume.

I love shooting cosplay. It’s where I got my start in photography but it’s also good to do other things. I’ve shot a lot of my Geek friends in costume as well as in street clothes but I never got around to doing it with Batmanda until now. We picked a grungy almost goth theme, she brought a couple different outfits and we just played around with it. The big thing that I wanted to do was brush up on my directing a posing skills. Batmanda is easier than most to direct and pose simply because we’ve worked together so much already and in terms of personality we are relatively on the same page in terms of sense of humor and attitudes. That kind of connection makes for some amazing images.

First Shoot of 2015 Tara Noir.

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The first shoot of this year I wanted to do something that was super stylized and different from what I’m used to doing. I came up with the concept of a classic black and white portrait session in a sort of neo-noir setting.

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Most of the shots that were done inside of my apartment using a 1k light with a soft box balanced for daylight as a key and a 60 watt lamp with a indoor balanced bulb as a back light creating some contrast. Now some of my images came out a little on the under exposed side, but by shooting in raw and making sure I was at least close enough to retain detail, it wasn’t hard to save files in Lightroom where I tone all my images.

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A ballsy move on my part was trying to shoot at f:2 on my 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.8 in an attempt to get the depth of field as shallow as I could so I could blow out the backgrounds in order to keep some of the things in the background from seeming out of place. The reason this is so ballsy is because you run the risk of not getting your photos in focus properly making images look soft. However I feel like I managed that problem well.

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What I wanted to accomplish with this shoot was to actually have a solid concept and style for me to shoot for as opposed to doing what I normally do which is to just show up to a location with whatever the model is already wearing and just messing around until I find something that works. I believe that goal was reached and I hope to take this experience and try and apply that into future shoots by already having a concept in mind. One thing that I can improve on though is keeping a better attention to detail and making sure everything in the scene fits as so that way I don’t have to shoot at f2 to make the image look right.

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Tara at Home

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Tara has a familiar face if you follow any of my photography work. Ever since we first met about a year ago for a costume contest she participated in, we’ve continually worked together. Whenever I have a new piece of gear I want to test out or if I just get the itch to shoot, Tara has always been willing to pick up the phone. This time around we got to do a style of photoshoot that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time- to photograph a model in their own home.

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Ever since I got a new set of studio lights I’ve been trying to get an excuse to use them. They come in handy whenever I have to do any kind of video work but not having a studio space makes it difficult to justify using them for shoots. Since Tara agreed to do a shoot at her place I wanted to take advantage of the resource.

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Another side benefit of shooting at a models own home was the ability to do wardrobe changes on the fly. In retrospect there was a lot more that we could have done in terms of wardrobe but time played a factor on top of trying to keep everything with in Tara’s comfort zone.

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We didn’t spend all of our time indoors. I don’t know who’s idea it was but at one point we all went about a quarter mile out to the Sandia Mountains to do some more out door photos as well… Because why not.

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You can really see what a difference controllable indoor studio lights make. When you’re out doors you don’t get nearly as much control and you have to work around what the daylight gives you both in how you’re shooting and in post processing.

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Now for a quick disclaimer for models (especially starting out.)  You shouldn’t just invite random photographers you barely know over to your place to do photoshoots. Tara and I have worked together many times before this and have developed a rapport together and has established a certain level of trust. On top of that both our significant others were present during this shoot not only to help out but to mingle with each other and have a good time. Photoshoots are always a fun thing to engage in but you should always be careful because unfortunately there are shady, and sometimes even dangerous people out there  posing as photographers.