Tag Archives: glamour photography

Portrait Experience – Ivonne

Ivonne as a zombie reaching through a fence

As a client or new model, it can be pretty nerve-racking to pick a professional photographer to work with. How do you know you will get the best price or if he or she has a few screws loose? Most importantly, how do you guarantee that this person will capture the emotions and the moments they’ve been hired to capture?

While I could sit here and tell you all about how I approach my craft and my art, it’s a whole other ball game from your side of the lens. Try as I might, I could never fully describe those thoughts and feelings. That’s why I’ve asked some of my past clients and models to share what it was like to shoot with me and how they felt before, during, and after the portrait session.

Ivonne’s Portrait Experience

I met Ivonne a couple of years ago while I was still into the club scene. We started talking photography and modeling and our friendship grew from there. Not only is she a gorgeous and talented model, who is willing to explore exciting new opportunities, but she is also an up-and-coming photographer herself.

  1. Ivonne standing in brush with a leg up on a stump

    Ivonne (2011)

    How did you feel about the shoot before we met?
    A little nervous. Always am when shooting with a photographer for the first time.
  2. What made you want to do a portrait session with me?
    I really love your work and your creativity with pictures. Even before talking with you about a session, I could tell how passionate you are about photography. You don’t just take a picture for picture’s sake; you capture a moment, a feeling, and a unique view-point.
  3. What was the session like?
    It was fun and relaxed. You didn’t mind me asking a ton of questions and really explained all the different techniques and angles I asked about.
  4. How did you feel when you saw the final images?
    I LOVED the final images. You did a fantastic job of capturing the moment.
  5. Would you do another portrait session with me?
    Yes, I plan to do several
  6. Would you recommend me to friends and family?
    Yes, I would and already have.

Tuesday Viewsday: The Inner Zebra

It’s a beautiful sunny morning here in central Illinois… the sky is blue and the temperature ain’t too bad just yet. As for me, I’m getting excited and nervous at the same time this morning. I didn’t realize it until yesterday, but in just a few minutes, I’ll be heading over to the Testing Center at Illinois Central College to take my Adobe Expert Certification exam in Photoshop!

What does that mean? In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit of a photography, and therefore, Photoshop, nut. Assuming that I am going to pass, which I’m pretty hopeful since the practice test was a snap, I will have documented proof that I am a full-time geek/nerd/dweeb/spazz Photoshop guru! And this certification comes straight from the guys who invented Photoshop… Adobe themselves! Pretty geeky sweet, right?

Update (11:30 AM): I passed… yours truly is now an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop… oh snap!

Anyway, I know you didn’t all stop by on this lovely Tuesday morning to hear about my endeavors to dive headfirst in the world of geekdom so, without further adieu, here’s a beautiful image of a beautiful model!

The Inner Zebra

Jenny (2011)

Jenny (2011)

I met Jenny for the first time last year when I was in the process of developing my new model shoot policy. I was still on the fence about rolling it out until 2012 so I decided to float the idea past her to get her thoughts. She thought it was brilliant and we agreed to do a shoot.

I put the ball in her court when it came to concepts and Jenny, being a zoologist in her day job (no, really… she is!), texted me on the day of the shoot and said, “I’m thinking we should do a Zebra shoot.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant until she showed up. As you can see, she’s a class act. I swear to you now that I had no idea what she was bringing/wearing/doing and that I offered no advice about any of it earlier; I let her mind do the walking and talking and boy, did it ever! Not only did she show up with matching jewelry and dress, but she did all the face-paint and hair styling herself. And yes, that is a styled “mane” and it took her almost four hours to do! Isn’t that crazy?

And this was only our first shoot! Oh, and did I mention she was pretty much a newbie to modeling at this point? Anyway, the shoot was a total blast. We put on some Lady Gaga (I’ll admit it was my playlist and I was inspired by Jenny’s face-paint) to which we both were rocking out and did both high key and low key studio shots.

For this shot, Jenny had a small, over-the-shoulder jacket that I thought was a great way to start the session. We eventually did some shots without it, but with the jacket, I was able to pose her hands like they are, giving a very bad-ass feel to the shot. This was one of my first times trying some blown out background images with lighting and I’m pretty happy with the results. I have since replicated this type of shot with clients and it works wonderfully.

Unfortunately, Jenny moved north to the Chicago area before we could do any more, but I’m looking forward to shooting with her at some point in the future, whether there or here. She’s a total rock-star and professional.

What do you think? Was this a pretty fun shoot? If you could do an “animal” portrait, what would you go for?

Tuesday Viewsday XXV

The fiancĂ© is on her way back from vacation this afternoon and I’m trying to finish up some projects both at work and here at home before she arrives so today’s post is short and sweet!

Over the past few days, I have read Joe McNally’s LIFE Guide to Digital Photography. This book, wrote as a project for LIFE magazine, shows Joe at his best: preaching the gospel of simple, easy, understandable photography. The small piece I was reading this morning focused (pun intended) on off-camera lighting or the use of a flash/strobe. Joe states that the beginner shooter pulls out the flash, uses it without any knowledge, doesn’t like the look of things, and puts it right back in the box, swearing to themselves “I’ll only shoot natural light!”

I have to admit that I was in that same group when I started, but then, I only had my pop-up, on-camera flash available and if you ask any photographer worth their weight in gold, they will tell you to never let that tiny box of light attached to the camera see the light of day (again, pun intended). As anyone who knows me can tell you, I don’t back down from a challenge, especially one self-imposed. I wanted to learn this strobe thing so I saved up and bought a Nikon SB600. To this day, it’s my go-to light machine.

That’s enough of a history lesson, but I told you that story to tell you this: when seeking out a photographer for portraits, weddings, or pretty much any reason, I would make sure to look at their use of flash. I’m not saying that those who shoot only natural light aren’t capable and can probably make some very beautiful images, but if a shooter has the ability to use off-camera lighting and use it well… then you have yourself a well-rounded, open-minded photographer.


Alexis (2011)

Alexis (2011)

I took this photo during my very first outing with Alexis. I’m not really sure how I stumbled upon her as a model (Facebook, maybe?), but I contacted her to look at doing a test shoot. I enjoy doing test shoots to feel out the personality of a model, their professionalism, and the look/feel/emotion they can bring to the table. Alexis had just graduated high school and was looking at a number of choices from college to careers and wanted to try modeling for fun and, if anything came of it, even better.

I have to say that every first-time model with a new photographer is shy and nervous as is the photographer. (Shhhh! You aren’t supposed to know that!) After the obligatory discussion/question period I have with all my models, we headed down to the location: a small park on the opposite side of the Illinois River that had flooded over a few weeks. What drew me to this place was the way the river water wasn’t too deep (definitely walkable with water shoes on) and the miles of tree groves sticking out of the water plus the sunlight, as you can see in the image.

Over the next couple of hours, Alexis and I had a total blast wading through the knee-deep water and shooting among the fallen trees, small “islands,” and still waters. I vividly remembering this was one of the first shoots where I felt comfortable with both the concept and the execution of the shots; they matched each other perfectly.

This image here is probably my favorite. It shows off the sweet, but mischievous side of Alexis and her sparkling blue eyes. Her pose is classic and the backlight, sun flare, and small spray of controlled strobe light mix together to bring out the color in the background plus the focus on Alexis’s face in the foreground… nicely done all around.

Since that first shoot, Alexis and I shot a couple more times and had fun every time. Her “career” as a model took off quickly (she is a phenomenal model – professional, takes direction well, and knows what she’s doing to boot!) and she has been featured all over Peoria in different venues. Her career took a different spin, however, after that summer when she enlisted in the Marine Corps. Wait a minute… that gorgeous girl is a Marine now? You betcha!

I’m very proud of what she does now, especially with my father being a Marine, and I’m definitely glad she is on our side. I’m also happy to have shared these modeling/photographic experiences with her in the short time that she participated. So, here’s wishing the best of luck to Alexis and her travels around the world; may all roads you travel lead back home.

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