When I first started doing fashion and artistic photoshoots, I struggled with posing the models. If the model was experienced, I didn’t have any issues because he/she already knew how to use her body to create certain looks. Personally, I have a difficult time posing in front of the camera, so it would also make sense that I would have a hard time explaining what I wanted from the model. This was especially true in the case when I worked with people who were uncomfortable being in front of the camera. In a boudoir photography workshop I participated in a few years ago, the teacher showed us a notebook that was filled with different types of poses. The notebook was divided into categories, such as sitting, standing, and closeup poses. I thought this was a brilliant idea, so I created my own notebook. The next time I had a shoot, instead of describing the pose, I had the model look at some examples. It worked like magic. Since then I have always brought examples to my shoots. My goal with poses is to find something that looks “natural” for the model. We’ve all seen those awkward photos […]
In the past, I’ve been very grateful to other photographers who have shared locations they have used for their photoshoots. Location shoots are a lot of fun, but they do require some planning. For me, I’ve always looked for places that offer a variety of different looks. I also wanted to find locations in different parts of the greater Phoenix area, so that I could more easily accommodate the models or clients. So without further ado, here are my favorite places to photograph. Downtown Phoenix I have say that Downtown Phoenix is my favorite place to photograph people. There are so many cool graffiti and other textured walls that make for some awesome backgrounds. Since there have been a lot of construction and changes to the area, I do scout the location before a shoot. For example, there was a really cool graffiti wall and, shortly after I did a fashion shoot there, the art had been painted over. The area that these photos were taken were around Roosevelt and 5th street. This is one area where I haven’t really worried about it being too crowded because there’s a few blocks of nice photographic spaces. If you’re creative […]
I enjoy all my shoots, but I particularly had fun with this one. When I first mentioned doing a photo series for the 7 Deadly Sins, a lot of people told they thought it was over done. In some ways they’re right, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge to see if I could come up with my own interpretation, despite the fact so many people have put their own stamp on this theme. This photoshoot was Gluttony, which involves an excess of food usually. I got the inspiration for this shoot from an old Gwen Stefani video called “Luxurious.” There’s a scene where Stefani is lying on colorfully wrapped candy. I loved the colors and the concept, and so I adapted it to my shoot. I certainly did get weird looks at the store when I picked up bags and bags of candy. Though I bought quite a lot, it still wasn’t enough. During the shoot, I made sure to arrange the candy so that I would be able to go back into Photoshop and clone the candy so that the entire background would be covered. The editing was a little more difficult than I thought it […]
I have had the pleasure of working with Cathy on a few shoots. This shot was taken during a shoot where we were trying to get as many different looks in one session. In just a few hours and using only natural light, we were able to get many different looks. Being resourceful is an important skill as a photographer. I chose to shoot at my parent’s house because their backyard has interesting walls and lots of greenery, which is rare in Phoenix. Overall, the shoot was a success and we both had a lot of fun.
I’ve always struggled coming up with exciting or unique poses, and the fact that I put so much pressure on myself to suggest cool poses on the spot doesn’t help either. During the last Happy Hour shoot, I saw that the model had absolutely no problem coming up with different poses and expressions, and I decided that I should let her choose the pose and then I’ll compose the shot. Since my background is concert photography I’m more used to photographing things that are outside of my control. Unless there’s a specific look or idea that I have, I like to collaborate with the other person. In this case especially, our model, Lux Lacheln, had a lot of great ideas for poses that complemented the wardrobe and background. I think the results turned out pretty well.
I love going to the workshops hosted by Photographers Adventure Club. These shots are from the most recent Happy Hour Shoot at Parkwood Studios. I’ve never been confident setting up lights in the studio because it requires a high level of accuracy. Lighting, according to many photographers, is the most important element to good photography. So you can imagine why I’ve found it a bit stressful. I really appreciate how PAC sets up the lights and backdrop. Even though I’m not a part of the process, I still learn a lot from watching. The models PAC brings to these workshops are also really good. Since most of my work is the realm of photojournalism, I’m not used to coming up with poses on the spot. Every model I’ve photographed through these workshops has been amazing at coming up with poses. I imagine it’s tough trying to come up with different ideas, but they never cease to amaze me. I’ve actually learned the most from models when it comes to poses because they already know what works and doesn’t work for them.
Alanna is a model who I interviewed for my tattoo book. Here’s a snippet from that interview: What’s your favorite part about modeling? Everything I think. I get so excited from the moment we decide what the shoot is going to be like to what I’m going to wear and then the final product. And then I love sharing it with everybody. I think that’s why it’s become my passion and why I want it to be my career because there isn’t one thing I don’t like about it. I feel like I could go hours and hours and not tire from it. It’s just such a creative process. Because of your tattoos, do you model in a particular genre that is geared towards tattoos? No. I think I get away with a lot more loosey goosey with the genre because I fit so tightly into plus size, and they’re very open about what you look like. They want you to be trendy and spunky. So that’s the first thing they notice about me. They don’t necessarily notice the tattoos. It’s just like a cherry on top for them. I haven’t been forced to do one style.
I’m naturally a really shy person, but I’m also very curious. Photography has afforded me opportunities to learn about people, various cultures, and different perspectives. As I come to the end of my book, I’m revisiting some of the earlier shoots, when I didn’t know for sure how this project would evolve. I’m so grateful and honored to have met some incredible people through this portrait series. It’s easy to think that we’re all so different that we feel we can’t connect. If anything, this project taught me that no matter how different our lives may be, there’s is always a place to connect with people. We just have to take the time and listen. The black and white photo is from the very first shoot for my book. Angela taught me a lot about what it’s like being a tattooed woman in today’s world. I have been lucky to have worked with Angela on many shoots, and I’m very honored to have her in my book.
About a month ago I had a fashion/senior portrait photo shoot with a very sweet girl named Alex. She’s a senior in high school and an aspiring model. Based on her look and the fact we were trying to get some fashion as well as senior portrait shots, I chose the Riparian Preserve for our location. This location is wonderful for photographers because there are so many scenic spots. I’ve done three photo shoots so far at the Riparian Preserve, but you wouldn’t know that all three shoots were done at the same location. The other reason I like this area is because, even when it gets busy, you can almost always find a quiet area. I had a lot of fun at this shoot. One of the reasons that I enjoy outdoor and concert photography is that I don’t have to set up lights. That’s not to say that I don’t encounter lighting issues outside or at concerts, but I resolve those challenges by either changing camera settings or, in this particular case, moving. Alex loved her photos and I’m really glad that I was able to help her build her portfolio with a couple of more natural looking […]
I’ve reached a point in my photography where I actually need a physical portfolio. Most portfolios, I have read, include anywhere between 12 to 24 images. Even though I have shot countless photos, I found the process of selecting images to be quite painful, and that’s not because I’m in love with all of my photos. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who can pick myself apart to the point of tears. I’m extremely self critical. A little self-critiquing is good, but I happen to be a zealot. In the end I had a couple people I trust give me their suggestions as to which images they think I should include. Sometimes when I’m too close to a project I ask others for their opinion. Oftentimes, they see things I haven’t picked up on because I’m too distracted with the technical aspects of the photo. Building my portfolio taught me that I need to appreciate the journey just as much as the final result.