Tag Archives: model

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: Amanda – Fitness Model

Amanda's First Shoot (2010)

Amanda’s First Shoot (2010)

We are more than halfway through the year and I think it’s time to turn this “behind the scenes” view from the past to the present. This week’s post features a look at the final images from a recent shoot I did with the talented and beautiful Amanda.

The story of Amanda’s modeling “career” is definitely interesting and I have to admit now: I’m totally responsible for her addiction to being in front of the camera.

Shortly after I graduated from college back in 2007, I started going to the gym with a good friend and former college roommate. We hit the Body Pump classes like we knew what we were doing there and that’s where I met Amanda.

It turned out that she and I both worked at the same place in our day jobs, as did a few of her friends, and we all quickly became gym buddies. Since that time, my college roommate has moved on as have I from that particular gym, but Amanda and I still remain good friends. About two years ago, I was starting to build my portrait portfolio and asked her to join me and help me practice my technique. She’s a good friend and therefore was more than happy to help out.

She was very nervous, but quickly relaxed after some direction from me and realizing that it was only for “educational purposes” anyway. We wrapped that shoot and we went our separate ways, but that’s not where this story ends.

I received a message from Amanda a few days later telling me how amazing she thought it was to be photographed and how much fun she had and “when can we do that again?” Since then, I’ve been honored to not only capture Amanda in some amazing portrait sessions, but I also captured her maternity photos as well!

Her baby boy is doing well, I’m happy to report, and Amanda is back helping me out from time to time. To help her ease back into things, I thought it would be fun to do a short hour shoot in an urban/industrial spot I saw on a recent drive through the downtown Peoria area. And yes, I swear to you, she was pregnant a year ago… she’s a gym nut and she looks great, doesn’t she? Enjoy!

The Dark Side (2012)

There’s nothing like a chain link fence to really give a portrait session a “grungy” feel so we started there. It’s also great for models and posing; you can have them loop their hands through the fence behind them, have them grab the fence and look over their shoulder at the camera, or even hook a heel up as they lean against it.

I didn’t do much in post to these images other than standard retouches (skin softening, whitening eyes, deepening eye color, etc.), but I did tweak Amanda’s eyeshadow color and saturation a dash to really make her eyes pop, a technique I learned at Photoshop World this year! Who says education doesn’t pay off?

This black and white shot is probably my favorite of the series. The pose, the look on Amanda’s face, the composition, and the contrasty treatment all comes together quite nicely. The color shot shown here is also one of my favorites for the use of bokeh (the way the point of focus falls off her face and blurs the background) and the pose; while it may feel unnatural to the model, getting her to turn her body away, but bring her head back and rest the chin on her shoulder is a great way to capture that “Who? Me?” look.

Last, but not least, another one of my favorite shots from the day. This was the last shot of the evening as the light was fading fast and so was my model; being a Mommy can wear you out, but Amanda is a trooper! When I shoot a woman on a staircase like this, I always try a pose with one leg stretched out; as you can see, it works well and helps to give her the “long legs” look while sitting down plus creates an extra “line” in the image for your eye to follow up to the main point of focus, Amanda’s face.

Want to see more of Amanda’s amazing work? Check out my recap of our May Strobist workshop!

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