Friday, April 16, 2010

Barefoot Glamour

It's getting to be warmer and drier here in the Pacific Northwest which means it's also getting to be weather for one of my favorite genrés of photography--Barefoot Glamour. I define Barefoot Glamour as  photographic imagery containing several essential elements: a girl-next-door look, casual clothing, an outdoor setting, and, of course, bare feet - though, I do find sandals acceptable as well. For me, another distiquishing element of Barefoot Glamour is that it is a planned photo shoot and not just a casual snapshot or image from another event.

When I shoot Barefoot Glamour, I plan the shoot as meticulously as I plan a full studio shoot. I meet with the model and discuss makeup, jewelry, and clothing and I pick the locations in advance as well as the time of day. I prefer minimal and natural looking makeup for the model, little or no jewelry, and very casual clothing. The idea is to create images that bring to mind a beautiful neighborhood girl enjoying a casual day in the great outdoors.

Of course, given my definition of the genré, I have a limited shooting window of good weather in the Great Northwest. I can get in a few good shooting days in April, May and June, but the prime shooting months are July through mid-October. September is a great month for this type of photography, especially during the weekdays when school is back in session and the shoot is less like to be interrupted by wandering families and children. While Barefoot Glamour isn't necessarily nude photography, some of the outfits can be quite skimpy and it's best to choose locations that offer some privacy and solitude. Fortunately, I know of several such places.
Sometimes Barefoot Glamour can combined with a fun roadtrip and often this results in some lovely photographic finds. For example, the image to the left was taken near Florence, Oregon next to an abandoned rail spur. There was a rusted old train car sitting near next to the track and leaning about 20 degrees off horizontal. My model and I had a great time shooting on the car, along the track and even on a farmer's gate to an adjoining pasture. We changed her outfits for each new scene, and I was particular fond of the gypsy outfit for the train car.

We also shot her in military camo, in casual shorts and tops, and as a pirate wench. It was a fun day and the model got lots of great images for her portfolio.

I suppose I started shooting Barefoot Glamour when I first began shooting models when I lived in Upstate New York. I didn't call it that back then, but the shots contained all the essential elements I described above. I shot with about a half dozen models in the 3 years that I lived there and though I had a small studio at home, I enjoyed the outdoor shoots far more than I did shooting in the studio. In fact, I still enjoy shooting in the great outdoors far more than shooting in the studio.

Upstate New York has an even shorter shooting window for Barefoot Glamour than the Oregon, but much like Oregon, it had some great scenery. Unfortunately, those were the days of film and the images I have from those days simply can't match the quality of the images I shoot today.

Models seem to enjoy Barefoot Glamour, so once they've shot a session with me once, it's not hard to get them back for future shoots. Sierra, the model you see in the image to the right, has done several Barefoot Glamour sessions with me. In fact, her first shoot was a Barefoot Glamour shoot underneath the St. Johns bridge in Northwest Portland. We spent about three hours shooting in Cathedral Park and along the Willamette River. We also shot at waterfalls in the Tillamook State Forest (as you can see in the image here), on Sauvie's Island, and on the campus of the local community college near my home. Unfortuately for me, Sierra is now in Dallas, Texas attending college, but that's great for her. I'm sure I'll get to shoot with her again from time to time as she still visits her family here in Oregon during the college breaks.

Cathedral Park is one of my favorite locations to shoot Barefoot Glamour. I've shot in the park a half-dozen or so times in the past three years. For a short time, I leased a studio in the building next to the park.

The park offers a variety of shooting backdrops; two large open areas, several small glades, numerous flowering bushes, a small beach along the Willamette River, a pier, and, of course, the buttresses and concrete arches of the St. Johns bridge that towers above the park.

In the image to the left, Holli is posing for me on the small sandy beach at the south end of the park. There are lots of large logs and pieces of driftwood scattered along the beach and the shadow of the bridge provides some great open shade for shooting even on bright sunny days.

In September the annual Portland Pirate Festival is held in the park and one can photograph many beautifully costumed pirate wenches along with many other characters and scoundrels.

So, as the weather turns warmer and cloudy skies become less frequent, I look forward to shooting in the park and in many other wonderful locations around the Pacific Northwest. Of course, I'm also planning on doing a lot more landscape photography this summer now that I have a new ride, but I won't be doing much transporting of anyone for a while.

I'll leave you with this final image of one of my first models from Oregon, Lynda. Lynda and I have done many shoots together, but none in the last 6 or so years. She moved from Oregon back to the East Coast some time ago, but for a while we probably did a shoot every couple of months or so, even when she was pregnant.

This image was part of series we took in a local park in a very populated portion of Portland. Lynda enjoyed surprising me, I think, and was comfortable with her body. In this image, she wanted to show off one of her tattoos. It wasn't the best lighting, but I really love the expression on her face as well as the dappled lighting in the background and on the trees.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

March Images

My good friend Mark K. from Florence on the Southern Oregon Coast just moved from a Pentax DSLR system to a Canon 7D. With, what I presume is his new camera, he posted a stunning set of low key images of a favorite model that we both use from time to time. He has more access to her than I do and is better than me at capturing her unique beauty. He really captured the light, tamed it, and bent it to his will. You can see some of the images here if you have  Deviant Art membership: Tripmoon on Deviant Art.

Mark has a great eye for composition and for putting his models into interesting and seductive poses. It certainly doesn't hurt that his primary model is a limber and beautiful woman, but he definitely supplements her beauty with his control of light and shadow. He and his lovely model are coming to Portland for a weekend and I'm wondering if I ought to reserve some studio time for us to play with while they're up. Photography just for the fun of it - for experimenting - for trying different lenses and techniques, such as infrared light painting just to see what we get. That would be an interesting and entertaining evening in my opinion.

While Mark was attempting low key images, I was trying my hand at high key images. I think his low keys were more successful than my high key - he at least had the advantage of a model that was at his heck and call and with he'd worked with many times in the past, whereas this was my first shoot with this model in this studio. Excuses aside, I do think my efforts were credible,

I think it would be great fun to get both our models into the studio for an afternoon of experimentation - I'd like to try light painting for a change. The results of that can be quite unpredictable and part of the fun is finding interesting "brushes" to shoot with. That's certainly and idea I'll have to run buy them before they head up to town.