Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Fomer Model

Not long after I moved to Oregon I started shooting models again. I had done a fair bit of glamour photography over the years, beginning in Connecticut and New York, but other than shooting my wife and a few of my friends, I really hadn't done much glamour photography in the 10 years prior to moving to Oregon. My focus on photography in those days was primarily family, events, travel and landscape images.

One of the first ladies I met and engaged as a model after moving here was Veronica. Once again, Veronica was primarily my friend, but she is extremely photogenic and loved to model. She is also quite fun to be around with her ready smile and sparkling attitude. A bit of an exhibitionist, Veronica, could sometimes startle me with her willingness to show some skin in public, but it was all good.

Veronica started modeling for me when she needed some shots for a project, and then our partnership grew from there. I shot images for her that got her published in a couple of national men's magazines, and for a few contests she entered. As far as I know, she didn't work with any other photographers here in Oregon, but we certainly didn't have an exclusive arrangement for photos.

While Veronica primarily enjoyed shooting outdoors when we shooting together, she is a beautiful model both indoors and out, as you can see from the images I've posted here.

Veronica is a natural red head with the fair complexion and freckles that are natural to those lovely women.  When I first met her, she had long red hair down to her bottom, but by the time we started shooting together, she had cut her hair off short and varied the length and style constantly over the years we worked together.

About 6 years ago, Lynda moved to the East Coast and though we exchange the occasional e-mail, I haven't seen her in all that time, but I am grateful to her for being something of a muse to me for all those years and for rekindling my interest in glamour and figure photography.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back to the Woods

This is Amy, my Woodland Pixie. You should be able to tell from this image that she is tall and slender with naturally brown hair. She is a bit of a nature's child, and as such, had just the look for this particular shoot.

It was pretty chilly in the woods where we held this photo session, but Amy posed for nearly two hours with only short breaks to wrap up in a blanket while I changed lenses. By the time we finished the shoot, her teeth were chattering and her lips were a bit blue.

The image was lit primarily by natural light with a reflector for fill and a touch of flash. We actually had to move around the glade quite a bit chasing the sun with the reflector since we shot later in the day and the sun was falling pretty quickly and the canopy was quite thick.

Unfortunately, Amy moved to Idaho shortly after this shoot, so I haven't been able to work with her since, but she did tell me that if she came back to the area for a visit she would get in touch with me so we could plan a new shoot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The weather here is getting to me a bit. It's not been cold, but it has been gray, windy and quite wet and not at all conducive for photography. I've been concentrating on post processing images from my last big photo shoot, but between work (my real job) and family it's been difficult to find much free time for that. Still, I've gotten a few more processed and at least some others identified for the processing que.

To the right, we have the quite lovely Nicole. This was my first shoot with her and I have to say she provided me with some great images. Nicole has a very expressive face and can pose with an elegant grace that belies her youth and experience.

I think she enjoyed this shoot nearly as much as I did. We had been shooting for well over 2 hours, but when I told I had plenty of images to select from and we could quit if she wanted, she politely declined and continued to pose for me since the next model was still getting into makeup and costume. She is an eager and collaborative model, and very fun to shoot.

During our shoot, I think she went through about a half dozen of the weapons I had acquired for the session. I particularly like the shots with the battle axe, but the other weapons worked just great too. The make-up artist, Lexxi, did a great job too, especially with the eyes. The image to the left is from the sorcery portion of the shoot, and as you can see, Nicole was brave enough to wear the more exotic chains provided for the shoot. This chain set is called the Raven Ensemble and features black and silver chains with an intricate weave. I've used this chain set for several shoots now, and it really works well for this theme.

The image below is also from the sorcery portion of the shoot and show the matching chain sandals that go with the outfit. The backdrop is black velvet with "fantasy cloth" lit by red gels.  I opened the barn doors on the background light to camera left to allow some of the red light to spill onto the sorceress's table, but angled the door enough to keep the light from spilling onto the model herself to maintain her fair complexion which went so well with this particular set up and costume.

Nicole has told me she hopes to work with me on the outdoor portions of my Sword & Sorcery shoot, and I look forward to working with her again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vanessa the Sorceress

I've been sporadically working on the Sword & Sorcery images as time permits. Between work and family demands, time to work on the project has been minimal at best. Vanessa is at the top of my list of models whose images need to be completed, and I've made significant progress on those images. I've completed the sword shots, picked out the sorceress shots, and processed about half of those. With any luck, I'll get the images completed this week and the CD in the mail to the model shortly afterward.

One lesson I learned from this studio shoot is that I needed more space between the model and the background for the depth of field I wanted to use. Given the studio space I had to work with, this wasn't really much of an option. Maybe I need to rent a warehouse the next time. Ideally, I'd like a space long enough to use a 135mm lens on a full frame camera and wide enough for a set of lights on either side of a 10 foot wide backdrop. By my calculations I would need a space of about 35-40 feet long by 15-20 feet wide. This would give me 10-15 feet behind the model and 5-10 feet on either side of the backdrop. I could live with that.  Of course, that's about 800 square feet of studio space which is not an inexpensive option, given the requirements for a studio.

I've seen a couple of warehouse/office spaces in the area that are renting for about $400/month through October of this year (the landlord claims this is 1/2 prices), but I simply don't shoot enough to justify a dedicated studio space. For the past few months I've been renting a studio on an as needed basis. There was a studio in the St. Johns area of North Portland that was my primary source of studio space, but the owner gave that up to move to a space in downtown Portland that's smaller and less convenient, so I'm not sure how often I'll actually use that space. Of course, if it's my only option, then I'll use it as I need it.

It really would be sweet to have my own space, though. That way I could leave the backdrops and lights set up, store all my most used props, and shoot anytime I felt like shooting, and it would save lots of hauling and set-up time. I've actually even considered selling my home and buying something that would give me decent studio space. I was serious enough about it that Wanda and I even went to look at a few houses in a nearby development. The only listing I've seen that would even come close to providing the needed (wanted) space is an older home in a small community north and west of where we currently live and would involve a much longer commute to work, so that's not really an option at this point.

So, for right now, I'll muddle along as best I can and I hope I can produce more (and better) images like this:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Samurai Warrior

Okay, maybe not a true samurai, but Cathy sure makes these chains and swords look good. I've shot with her several times, but this was our first studio shoot together. Unfortunately, she only had about an hour to shoot with me, so we had to work fast and didn't get in very many costume changes. I had intended for her to pose with the two black sai that I had acquired for the shoot, but we simply ran out of time (she had to get back to her studies as she had a big test coming up).

Cathy is a beginning model and as such is more modest than most of my other models. The chain mail top came in handy in this case as it allowed her to pose and be comfortable while staying within the theme of the shoot. The blue katana sword keeps well with the theme. Had Cathy been a little less modest and if she had had a bit more time, I think the shot would have been even better if we had used the Ice-Flame Blue Ice body chain sets. The blue crystals set into the silver chains would have been a great match for Cathy's skin color as well as as the background and the sword. Unfortunately, I don't have a chain mail top or g-string for that particular costume.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

More of the Sword and Sorcery Project

On New Year's Eve, on of the models from my Sword & Sorcery shoot came to my office to review her photos. It's an option that I offer all of my models who shoot with me in exchange for images. Some take me up on the offer while others are content to let me choose the images that best reflect their participation in the shoot. Melanie had worked with me before on my Fire Fairy shoot and had let me choose her images for shoot, but this time she wanted to look at them all and choose some herself. This also gave me an opportunity to explain to her how I would edit the images to better reflect what I wanted to do with the project.

One image she particularly liked had her reclining with the sword following the curve of her body. I probably won't use it for publication in my project, but I think it's a lovely image and provides a good example of the lighting and the set that was used for the project.

The other image uses a different backdrop and weapons set, as you can see in the image to the right. The black sai worked well as a contrast against the model's skin and the gold tone of the body jewelry provides an elegant counterpoint to the black weapons. We did several more shots with the black sai and the gold body jewelry, but I haven't yet processed the images that Melanie picked for her portfolio. They are next on my list after I finish processing the images of Vanessa who was first on my list.

One final image is a variation of a shot that I've posted here before, but it's a lovely image and I don't think anyone would mind seeing it again. When Melanie asked me to participate in this shoot, she asked if she could bring a friend along to shoot as well. Jenn and Melanie worked well together, as you can see from the shot below and I hope to work several more times with both of these ladies in 2010.

And here's one final image that I've complete processing from this set: