Lighting Challenge: Using Christmas Lights

  When I first started really getting serious about my photography, the one thing that really intimidated me was working with studio lights. Most of the time I tried getting away with just using natural or ambient light, which worked most of the time. However, there were photoshoots where I absolutely needed to use studio lighting. Before those shoots, I would suffer a lot of anxiety because I felt the pressure to get the lighting done right and in a short amount of time. I was afraid people would look down on me or judge me if it took me too many tries to get the lighting just right.   Taking classes on lighting was definitely helpful for me, but what has really helped me the most was practicing with my lighting kit over and over again and changing up the variables. It’s cool to check out what other photographers are doing, but, unless you have their exact kit, your results will be different. Instead, when I check out photographers on Instagram, I’ll adapt their techniques with what I have in my studio. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.   Confidence with lighting doesn’t happen over night. I have […]

Photographers Supporting Photographers

  When I first started to learn how to use a DSLR camera, I was amazed at how many photographers offered to help me grow and teach me some tricks of the trade. Stephen and Adam (pictured above) were two such photographers. Stephen was my first photography instructor, and Adam runs Global AZ Media. Thanks to Adam, I have covered several concerts that have come through the Phoenix area. Both of these photographers gave me opportunities to become a better photographer and photojournalist. When I started my first book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, I wanted to interview these two and include them in my book because they both impacted my photography.   No art is created in a vacuum. It truly is a collaborative process because we can’t help but bring in experiences and lessons that we learn from other people. I always try to be supportive of other artists because I think that there is room for all of us, and I want to be part of an artistic community. Competition is a natural effect that drives many of us, but it doesn’t have to become a negative force in our lives. Someone once told me that […]

Tarot Deck: The Moon

  It is usually at night that our fears and anxieties begin to spiderweb. When you step outside, the moon (especially when it’s full) illuminates some things, but not everything. What we can’t see with our eyes, we fill in with our imagination. Often, this leads to worry, paranoia, or making rash decisions.   The Moon has a few interpretations. This card can mean confusion, deception, or worry. Sometimes the best thing to do when life is unclear is to be patient and wait for or gather more information. This is can be very challenging because people tend to want to resolve whatever is bothering them quickly. However, there are some situations where there is nothing you can do but wait.   When this card shows up in a reading, take stock in what could be contributing to your confusion or fears. During the darkest of times we can learn a lot about ourselves. Strength doesn’t develop unless we are being challenged. Take a deep breath, observe, and listen. Eventually, the darkness will pass.  

Author Photo: Why you need to have one

Having a really good author photo is especially important because anywhere between 600,000 and a million books are published each year. That’s a lot of competition. Even if you’re a phenomenal writer, you still want to do everything you can to increase your chances of a potential buyer noticing your book. While you may think of the author photo as just the small square image inside your book, there are many other uses of your photo that you probably haven’t considered.   In this blog, I’ll explain why author photos are important and give you some tips on making sure you put your best foot — or in this case your face — forward. Why do I need an author photo? Some people just don’t like having their photo taken. I completely understand those people because I’m one of them. However, there are some things in life that you simply can’t avoid, and this is one of them. Creating your brand is one of the most important elements in creating a successful career as an author. Your photo is a part of that branding. You don’t have to have a bunch of photos of yourself, but I do recommend having […]

The Second Book: Lessons Gained and Lessons Learned

When I was in graduate school, a mentor told me that each book was like starting over. Each project has its own differences and challenges. I didn’t completely understand this until I started working on my second book, which explores the history of mannequins. Of course there were certain things that were easier about making this book because I had learned those lessons while working on Tattle Tales. However, when it came time to publish the second book, I realized that I had to do things differently. This meant another learning curve and a bit of frustration.   Being a writer, and especially a self-published author, means that you’re constantly learning. Besides developing your skills as a writer, you have to stay on top of all the new ways of marketing, publishing, and distributing. In the age of technology, the rules are always evolving and changing. Additionally, what works for one book may not work for the other book. I’ve listed some of the lessons I have learned from my second book.   The message of this post is to urge self-published authors to be flexible and open minded. I had a much different idea of my path when I […]

Playing with Color Gels

  During my last photoshoot with Angela Jordan, I decided to take a few minutes to experiment with color gels. I have never taken a class on color theory, but I frequently check out Pinterest and Instagram to look at other photographers’ lighting techniques. I’ve notice that photographers use certain color combinations, and I tried to incorporate what I liked in my photoshoot with Angela.   I think when used correctly, color gels can really make an impact on your images. I had so much fun with this shoot that it’s inspired me to do more shoots with color gels.   I also want to thank Angela Jordan for being my muse once again. She is one of the few models that I frequently use for my photoshoots. She’s versatile, and I’m always amazed at how she poses her body to portray drastically different themes.

Working with Mannequins

      When I was working on Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel, I purchased these two busts for an idea I had for an artistic photoshoot. I have not yet finished this project, but I have worked frequently with these two beauties.   As someone who likes to try new ideas with lighting, I like the idea of being able to practice before experimenting at a photoshoot. When I’m working with a model, I like to be fully prepared. It doesn’t mean that I’m not making adjustments during the photoshoot, but I don’t want to waste precious time. If I do want to try out an idea, I’ll wait until the end of the shoot.   Mannequins are great because you can practice your photography whenever the mood strikes you. They can’t talk back or complain that you’re taking too long. They are very patient and forgiving models. 😉 The names of these two mannequins are Melina and Monique.

How Fashion Shaped My Photography

  When I was eighteen, I invented the Bisadora Hip Purse, which earned an engineering patent. Being involved in the fashion industry taught me a lot about photography. There are so many genres of photography and, in the fashion business, I learned about product, lifestyle, and editorial photography. During my time as a handbag designer, I became more involved in photography and I ended up doing a few of the photoshoots myself.   Product photography taught me the importance of lighting and posing. Color accuracy is important for obvious reasons, but I also learned that the pose was just as important. I ran an online shop, and the models had to show how the purse would look on the body. In these types of photoshoots, the handbag was more important than the model. Product photography is more straight forward compared to other types of photography because the purpose is to show the product as accurately as possible. Also, there’s immediate feedback if customers feel that the website description is inaccurate.   When I worked on photoshoots for marketing campaigns and social media, I learned about the importance of storytelling. Without using words, I created lifestyle shots that I felt best […]

Tarot Cards

I love working with themes. Because I’m interested in so many different artistic styles, I enjoy immersing myself in a particular style for a period of time and then switching it up to do something else.   Many years ago, a friend introduced me to her Gilded Tarot deck, designed and written by Ciro Marchetti and  Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with the colorful artwork. Each card was packed with symbolism and meaning. Since then, I have purchased a few of my own decks, one of which is the Gilded Deck. Each deck has its own theme, whether it’s fairies, cats, Steampunk, or collage. I do go through periods where I use one particular deck because the artwork resonates with me at that time. In fact, the photo I’m using for this post is from The Steampunk Tarot deck illustrated and written by Aly Fell and Barbara Moore. I immediately fell in love with this deck because the cards look dark and mysterious, and I love anything that is Steampunk.   One of the most recognized decks is the original Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. In 1903, Arthur Edward Waite, who wrote the booklet, hired a young artist named Pamela […]