Creative Portrait Photography

Posts tagged “flash

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: 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.

Shoot Report: Kaya’s Birthday Portrait

It’s not everyday your young woman turns 10. But it is everyday that she’s cute as can be.

Kaya turned 10 at the end of June and celebrated with a sleepover with her best friend in the entire universe, a picnic at the gorgeous Hoyt Arboretum, and a Scooby Doo marathon. We shot her birthday portraits at the arboretum, using a flash and a reflector. Because of the tone of her skin, the gold reflector worked best, and for a few shots I bounced the flash directly off the reflector.

The day was very warm and nearly cloudless, so we shot in the shade as much as possible, but I didn’t worry too much about it. The focus was on capturing her sweet, happy personality as she played, wherever she might be standing at that moment.

Shoot Report: Meiling’s Bridal Shower

Deena’s house is nice, really nice, and it was the perfect place to host a bridal shower for bride-to-be Meiling and a perfect opportunity to break in my new Metz flash. Deena and gang went all out with the food–gorgeous little sweets were laid out in attractive arrangements, just begging to be photographed. Meiling was adorable in a pink-trimmed party dress, with a little veil set in her hair.

After a game involving toilet paper bridal gown couture, Meiling had to answer questions about her fiance Peter before she could open presents. I am pleased to report that she did pretty well, and any incorrect answers were Peter’s fault for being wrong in the first place. Not only did she ace the game, but she scored with the gifts, too, making off with some wine and a wine rack, a cute clock, lots of kitchen and party supplies, and enough cocktail glasses to host a party for most of Portland. Peter, Meiling, I accept your invitation to the cocktail party you will inevitably be hosting. 😉

Yummy food, good friends, and a cute dress–does anyone need more?