Creative Portrait Photography


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.


Shoot Report: SweetCycle Apparel and the Alley 33 Fashion Event

Did you know Portland is brimming with world-class fashion designers? And did you know that many of those designers specialize in eco-friendly, wallet-friendly clothes? It’s true. This is such a rad town. It got even radder on July 23, at the Alley 33 Fashion Event down on Hawthorne Street. A runway was built in the alley and over 20 designers showed 3-4 pieces. It was really well attended, and was an astonishing display of Portland’s sartorial talent.

Alley 33

I was there covering SweetCycle Apparel‘s presence in the show. SweetCycle makes super cute clothes from reused, upcycled materials. What impressed me most about their designs was the attention to detail and the structure of the pieces–very well done. The models were also super cute (and eco-friendly, I’m sure). If you haven’t checked out their clothes, you should! Every piece is one of a kind.

So I’m really hoping to see another Alley 33 event some time soon. It’s a great way to showcase a niche of designers that are very Portland in their design philosophy.

Shoot Report: SweetCycle Apparel Launch Party

Life might not be a party, but sometimes work is. I recently photographed a party hosted by SweetCycle Apparel at The Beauty Bar. I’ve not been to The Beauty Bar before, and man was it cool inside. I’d love to do a fashion shoot there some time! The Fasters and the Hollywood Tans–friends of the SweetCycle Designers–provided some kick-ass music. Cool music, cool people, cool bar–doesn’t get much better than that.

Shoot Report: Emily’s Beauty Shoot

There is something of a persistent belief that models are moody, spoiled, vapid, and flaky. I must be a very lucky photographer indeed because all the models I’ve had the good fortune to work with have been sweet, intelligent, fun, professional, and punctual. Either that or the image of the dumb diva model is complete rubbish.

Emily is no different. She showed up to the shoot on time and having done all the prep I asked of her. We had a MIA MUAH, so make up and hair was left to me, and I am absolutely not putting down the camera any time soon and picking up a make up brush. Didn’t faze her one bit. She tolerated my clumsy styling, posed prettily, and was ridiculously easy to work with and to photograph. Easy peasy.

For this shoot, we asked Emily to sit on a stool inside a kludged together lightbox made out of foamboard on three sides and the top. We turned off the lights in the room, but still had some ambient light coming through the blinds in the room’s only window. Our other light source was a Metz Mecablitz 50 used on camera. Emily held a white reflector on her lap. The overall look was very clean and, paired with Emily’s delicate beauty, very classic. The make up was red eyeshadow powder and a shimmery pink lipstick and a little powder–that’s it. Simple shoot, beautiful results. All shoots should be so easy!

I processed each image a little differently, to give myself a variety to choose from. Which do you like best?


Shoot Report: Dave Helfrey, the Ringmaster of Fear!

Now this was a fun portrait to shoot! Dave Helfrey is the owner and madman behind Portland’s best haunted house attraction, Fright Town. Also known by his creepy yet sophisticated alter ego Baron Von Goolo, Dave is a staple in the Portland haunt scene.

I met Dave at the Fright Town warehouse where he stores the props and other materials used at Fright Town. The warehouse could easily be used as a haunted house itself–made of corrugated metal sheeting, with dusty floors and sharp-toothed scarecrows propped against the wall, boxes filled with decomposing women, coffins, eyeless ventriloquist dummies, twisted taxidermied waterfowl, and painted images of monsters and freaks. The smell of paint and silicone made me think fondly of last October when I served my time as a volunteer at Fright Town’s Elshoff Manor, covered in prosthetic scarring and blood and scaring the bejeebus out of grown men twice my size. Good times . . .

This image was taken as an entry for the Strobist’s Bootcamp 3 Assignment 1, so there were some very specific requirements for the photo. Specifically, I was limited on the type of lighting I could use to get the shot. I decided to go with something a little old school scary, like holding a flashlight underneath your chin and making ghost noises to frighten your little sister. I set up my Metz Mecablitz 50 flash to camera left and angled it upwards at Dave. We recruited some assistance from a lovely decomposing mannequin, a grotesque foam freak, and a monster mask. My assistant held a white reflector to camera right, and we killed the warehouse lights.

Ringmaster of Fear!

Dave is a natural in front of the camera, so I was spoiled for choice among the many dramatic poses he gave me. I settled on this one at the end–we get a little of the warehouse and the props, no reflection in Dave’s glasses, some dark and spooky shadows, and a pose that sums up Dave perfectly: a showman with a great sense of humor.