Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Women in Chains - The Latest Shoot

I had the pleasure of working with Audi and Holli this past Sunday. That was my first time working Audi and my first studio shoot with Holli. I had done a test shoot with Holli in Cathedral Park last summer in preparation for a studio shoot in the fall, but that shoot fell through at the last minute and we didn't reconnect until earlier this year.

Both models were shot for my Women in Chains project, but as you can see, I also threw in some swords as well for my Sword & Sorcery project. I shot for about 4 hours with Audi and for almost two and half hours with Holli using various chain outfits, weapons, and colored backdrops.

Audi was especially fun to work with and quite photogenic. She has studied dance for a number of years and the grace and poise of a dancer, as well as the expressions of an actress. She was both adept and innovative with her poses and managed to convey the various concepts I wanted her to portray. I'm looking forward to working with her again this year for some outdoor glamour shoots.

Holli came to the studio later in the day and we had less time to shoot together, but we still managed to get quite a few great images. Holli has modeled longer than Audi and I had at least had the advantage of doing a test shoot with her, so I had some feel for how she could pose and express herself.

The poses for Holli, I kept less elaborate and designed more to show the curves of her body. Like most models I've worked with so far, she was especially delighted with the various chain jewelry I had her wear for the shoot.

As with Audi, we also shot with a couple of different swords, but I don't think Holli was a comfortable posing with them as Audi. Holli did enjoy herself though, I know, because she called me today wanting to shoot again soon, and to include a friend. I'm sure we'll be able to work something out in the near future.

Here's another shot of Audi and you can expect to more of both Holli and Audi in future posts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Model Works

I've had experience working with a great variety of different models of all shapes, sizes, colors and experience. Obviously some ladies, from experience, are more skilled and adept at modeling than others, while others seem to have a natural talent for the camera that exceeds their current experience. Veronica, from the previous entry was like that. She hadn't modeled much, but she knew how to play to the lens and the poses she struck seemed to be just a natural part of her personality.

The key to modeling is facial expression and body language. For that reason, experienced actresses make great models  When I learn that a prospective model for one of my shoots has some acting experience and knows how get into and then stay in character, then I'm pretty confident we're going to have a great shoot where the expressions and body language match the thematic purpose of the shoot.

These two shots of Kristina exemplify this concept. Kristina has some modeling experience, but she has more theatrical experience and was quite easily able to pick up the ideas I pitched to her and run with them. It helps that she's quite lovely, but more importantly, she is able to match body language to facial expression and carry off a total concept.

Working with experienced models is also fun, but sometimes a very experienced model has a rote set of poses that she moves through for a shoot without much variation from that set unless the photographer asks for and directs her to something specific. This is good since the model knows from experience what poses work well for her and which ones do not, but those poses may not go well with the concept the photographer want to convey. Pushing the model out of those familiar and comfortable poses can create some great images or can produce disaster, and you don't know which you'll get until you try.

In Kristina's case, however, we were able to establish the concept, the supporting character, and then produce poses and facial expression that were consistent  with the concept.

When I interview beginning models, one of the first things I tell them is to get a mirror and to practice their expression. Too often new models focus on their body positions and neglect their expressions, whereas those with a natural talent have the ability to link both expression and body language without thought.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shooting at Home

I've used my home extensively for shoots. As part of our decorating efforts, my wife and I have designed parts of our home with photography in mind.  I don't shoot much at home anymore simply because we've had to accommodate our grandchildren and that has meant baby proofing, and that's likely to remain the status quo for a while.

You can see, however, from the photo to the left, shooting at home can produce lovely results. and hey, it's cheap and there are no props to lug around. This image was taken in front of my bar using an octobox as the key light. By keeping the shutter speed low, I was also able to catch the ambient glow of the lamps that sit behind the bar. I used a Canon 135mm f/2.8 Soft Focus lens to create the dreamy effect (it's not a Photoshop filter).

I can't say that I've shot in every room of my house, but I have shot in the family room, the living room, the dining room, two bedrooms, one bathroom, the stairway, the garage, my office, and the foyer and the upstairs landing. I've also used the back yard, the front yard, the hot tub and deck, as well as the side yard for shoots as well.  It's really all matter of choosing the right angle and the lens to make the shot work.

The image below is from one of the upstairs bedrooms. The mirror makes a very effective prop and the soft window light has help to create many a lovely image.