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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.