Creative Portrait Photography


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Photo Shoot Report: Nivi

I’ve been really busy this past week or two, and one of the things I’ve done is photograph the lovely Nivi and edit her images.

Nivi is a young actress from LA who flew up to Portland with her fiance. While up here, she asked if I’d photograph her. Ab. So. Lutely. I did some scouting around and selected a location for the photos, but when Rena Lee, the make up artist for the shoot, arrived she showed me a nearby spot that was even better. Thanks, Rena! It’s so nice to have people on the team who are better at this than I am.

With the classy urban location and the lovely subject (with AMAZING skin), I was spoiled for choice on final images. Here are some of my favorites. Which do you like best?








Multi-model Fashion Shoot

Just a quick post of images from a recent shoot we did with some local models. We were able to work with all these models on the same day in the space of a few hours. It was a lot of fun working with so many in a short span of time while also using just a few locations in the same area in creative ways. A few of these shots are okay, and a few I’m really pleased with. I absolutely learned a great deal, and can’t wait to do another shoot like this again.

Models: Shinel, Crystal, Kyla, Kelsey

Make up: Rena Lee

P.S. While uploading these images to the Web, I noticed some issues with various photo-sharing websites. I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing these things, so I’m going to do a little research and come back here to talk about it more later.

Hug Your Assistant Today (If They Say It’s Okay)

I am SO LUCKY in that I have a top-notch assistant to help me on shoots. Seriously, I hate shooting without him. The extra pair of hands, eyes, and ears is indispensably useful, and he also makes a fine stand-in for setting up a shot! This is a test shot of my stellar assistant Fox, from the portrait shoot we did of Dave, the owner of Fright Town and alter ego of Baron Von Goolo.


Making Good

This past week, I messed up big time, which led to a professional I respect very much messing up big time, which almost ruined a big, important, life-changing event.

That’s a really big mistake, folks.

I’ll admit, when it all went down my first reaction was shock, then my skin went icy with horror, then I pretty much just wanted to go to bed and cry until everyone had forgotten about me for all time. But we all have to wear our big-kid pants, right? I am happy to report that it was because everyone was wearing their big-kid pants that the situation was resolved with no one was blaming anyone else, and no one walked away angry. In fact, I think we all developed an increased respect for each other because of the way things were handled by everyone involved.

The professional, when she realized her mistake, immediately devoted herself to correcting it. Not only did she resolve the issue very quickly, she surpassed everyone’s expectations and left us somewhat stunned by the results. And she did it all with a great deal of compassion and class. That’s why she’s a professional.

When I realized my mistake, I made immediate efforts to assist in the resolution (um, where I wasn’t needed, because the professional had it under control), and I apologized sincerely to the professional and to the others affected by the mistake, and I admitted my wrongdoing. It’s a blow to ego and pride to admit failure and apologize, but I think it’s really important to show colleagues and clients that sometimes I mess up, too, but I’m going to face up to it and fix it the best I can. We’re all only human, after all.

Most importantly, I (and probably the professional) learned a whole lot about double-checking and verifying things with the right people well in advance of major projects. Because of this snafu, I’m less likely to make this mistake again, and I’ve developed a new attention to particular details and processes where I was, apparently, formerly deficient. If I had run away and hidden, I would be much worse off for it as a businessperson and as a human being.

May your week also lead you to greater professionalism and personal growth!

Weekly Wanderings

Some of the cool stuff I stumbled upon this past week. This week: camera flashes are really cool in a music video, and food rises from the dead.

Prepping Yourself for a Photo Shoot

Recently I was talking to a client about prepping models for photography. The client did not have a lot of experience with models or the behind the scenes of a photo shoot with make up artists and hair stylists. It reminded me of some questions I saw posted once by some young, inexperienced models on a forum. I thought it might be helpful for models, folks who hire models, and anyone who is going to have their photo taken to hear what one photographer has to say about getting ready to be photographed.

A lot can be done in post processing to touch up skin, hair, clothes, but if you do some prep work beforehand it saves your photographer a great deal of time and could, therefore, save you some money. It can also improve the quality of your images.

  • Clean your fingernails. Dirty nails aren’t hard to retouch, but it’s one of my pet peeves. Don’t ask me why! I dislike cleaning up dirty nails.
  • Show up to hair and make up with a clean face and clean hair–no products at all. This gives the stylists a clean place to start and makes the process go much faster.
  • If arms/legs are going to be photographed, ask the make up artist to tend to these areas to cut down on retouching time later. Often, make up artists only work on the model’s face, so be sure to ask!
  • Go a little heavy with the make up, especially the eyeliner. It depends, of course, on the image you are trying to get, but camera flash and studio lights can really wash out make up color, so laying it on a little heavy in real life translates to just right in the images. Again, it depends on the image, so talk to the photographer first. And we’re not talking about clown quantities here, just a little heavier than you would normally wear.
  • Shave your pits and use deodorant that won’t leave white residue on your skin or clothes. Cleaning out armpits is a little too personal for me.
  • Iron and de-lint clothing, especially black clothing!
  • Clean and polish shoes.
  • Clean your teeth! If you really love your photographer, have your teeth whitened prior to the shoot, but this isn’t by any means a must. Definitely brush and floss, though.
  • Prior to the shoot, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. This will help prevent red eyes and puffy eyelids that will need to be retouched later, and will help you enjoy the shoot a lot more.

This is the list I give my models when they ask how to prepare for a shoot. It’s worth it to ask your photographer what they prefer, and some won’t care at all about any of this. It depends on the shoot, as well. For example, for a gritty urban shoot, I won’t want polished and clean shoes and I may want the clothes rumpled. If you’re a model or just having some photos taken, take a moment to check with the photographer to help the photo session go more smoothly for everyone.