Posts Tagged ‘fashion’
This week I had Devon in for another shoot. This is the sixth time I’ve worked with Devon over the past three years. I love working with her because she’s amazing at what she does. When someone is that good in front of my camera it makes me look great. For all our previous shoots Devon did her own hair and makeup. Most models have enough exerience that they know what’s needed to get a certain look on camera.
A few months ago I saw some dramatic before and after glamour photos from photographer Sue Bryce. Sue’s business is a bit different than mine in that she is a modern-day version of glamour shots. Remember the store in the mall that your mom or aunt went to? Sue’s take is modern and beautiful. Real women + great hair and makeup + an amazing photographer and her clients leave with amazing and timless glamour portraits. Hearing Sue speak and seeing her photos sparked enough interest in me that I wanted to do something similar. I wanted to see a transformation. My starting place is quite a bit different than Sue’s “average woman” client. I chose Devon because she is amazing in front of the camera. She epitomizes what I want from every model I work with; confidence, beauty, emotion and sex-appeal; and she’s got all that without the fancy hair and makeup.
I enlisted the help of Sura Radcliffe to help with hair and she recruited her friend and colleague Stacey Ellis to help with makeup. My reference point and inspiration was the glamorous portraits of both modern-day and past film starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Bridget Bardot. We wanted a vintage feel to start with; knowing that we could build on the hair and makeup and bring it to a modern day glamour look. The following images reflect the progression of the day.
During the 45 miinutes that Devon was getting her hair and makeup done I shot some behind the scenes video. The following shows the progression from start to finish.
As I mentioned on my post about the Elinchrom Ranger, when I get new equipment I take it out and test with it. Up until my shoot with Kiana I had only managed to shoot a handful of images of my kids and was blown away at how new the Mark III and settings were. The Mark III is my seventh Canon digital body. With many of my previous upgrades, the upgrade was based on the image quality and size upgrade. The Mark III is a giant leap in quality, focal points and provides me with a full frame body that I have been missing for months.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I’ve started to scratch out a couple blog posts over the past month but each time I start a job comes up and takes precedence. This week I vowed to shoot for me. Shooting personal work keeps me sane. When I end up working on shoots for other people for weeks at a time I can feel the itch to go out and shoot a concept I have control over. Family portraits, TV commercials, architecture, Galas, receptions and pretty much every other paid job means my client is running the show. I often have creative input on my jobs but photographing people giving speeches and shaking hands doesn’t give me the satisfaction of going out and making great photographs.
This week the stars lined up and I got to shoot with three of my favorite models. I enjoy working with them because I know we’ll get great results and I’ve developed friendships with them over the years.
Eva was in town visiting from Germany. We’ve tried getting together for a shoot every time she’s in LA, but it’s only worked out once since she moved away a few years ago. I met Eva in July 2004. To put the history into perspective; I got my first DSLR in August of 2003. I looked back at my archives and she was the 17th model I worked with. Needless to say in the summer of 2004 I was green. Despite being a novice we got some great shots that still stand today. Since 2004 we’ve worked together a handful of times and I’ve always been happy with the results.
This week I wanted to shoot and I knew if we got together the concept for the shoot would work itself out. We ended up with some great fashion images and my style of a beauty portrait. If you call it a head shot and I take offense. I tend to think most head shots aren’t true representations of the person. Head shots are sales tools, portraits are personal. I want my photos to be true to the subject.
I also got to work with Tiffany Selby this week. We met in April 2009 after spending months trying to get together to shoot. When the day finally came it proved to be challenging. We were scheduled to start with swimsuits on the beach and then head to my place to work on fashion and portraits. We were blessed with beautiful blue skies but the temps had dropped down into the 50s. We figured since we were there we’d give it a shoot. I got my first shot off at 8:20 AM and by 8:44 we had shot two looks and were packing up. One of those shots ended up as a centerfold in a magazine.
This week we made the same plans. Start on the beach and then head to my studio (read my garage) for fashion and portraits. After our shoot she did makeup for a friend’s niece, an aspiring model.
I also managed to shoot with Neyla. She is in town visiting from London and, like Eva, we’ve tried to get together when she’s in LA. This week our schedules matched. I met Neyla in April 2007; at the time her name was Stephanie but that’s her story. In 2007 I shot a friend of hers who referred me to Neyla. We had a great shoot and vowed to do it again. A few months later she saved my ass. I had scheduled a shoot in Pasadena and enlisted the help of a makeup artist and a wardrobe stylist. The model flaked. A complete no-show. I didn’t want our efforts to go to waste so I called Neyla early that morning and asked her help me out. She rallied and the results were amazing. Like Eva and Tiffany the images from that day still stand.
Neyla’s trying to get a new portfolio together and when she showed me her concepts they were in-line with what I wanted to shoot. We had a great time and came away with a lot of amazing photos.
Relationships make for great photos. It’s one thing to meet a perfect stranger and work together as professionals with the same goal of great photos. But when there’s history and a relationship between the model and the photographer the level of comfort and trust help to make the images even better. Add the fact that all three of these women are great models and I had a great week.
I get the pleasure of of meeting and working with a lot of talented people. Since I started giving photography a shot (professionally) in 2004 I’ve worked with hundreds makeup artists, stylists, models, musicians, chefs, designers, architects; business owners, and of course actors. Witnessing the growth and success of these people is an incredible experience.
Last night, while watching Jeff Bridges introduce the nominees for the actress in a leading roll, I was blown away when he introduced Jennifer Lawrence for her performance in Winter’s Bone. I met and worked with Jennifer in 2006. At the time, she was all of 15 years old. With the help of Valerie Noble on hair and makeup, and wardrobe help from Elmer Ave we made some amazing images that still stand today. Congratulations Jennifer.
Thanks to all my clients, friends and family that helped to make 2010 a great year.
I have been reading a book by Michael Lewis called “The Big Short” about the sub-prime mortgage mess and the related meltdown. It starts with him describing his work as a broker at Salomon Brothers straight out of college and how as a 24 year old without any financial experience was paid a lot of money to give financial “advice”. He later talks about the investment banking business and all the shenanigans involved. He put into words what I had not been able to describe about my work as a sell-side analyst. We were paid to sell dreams. As much as they paid me I could no longer continue hating my job day after day. Leaving that industry, despite my passion for the market, was the best decisions I ever made.
Now I get paid to take pictures and I love it. As you’ll see in the video it’s not always glorious. Not everyone is a super model, not every house is a beautifully decorated mansion but to me it doesn’t matter. I’m my own boss, I set my hours, I pick my jobs, I get to sleep at night and as a result of my career and lifestyle I’m a different person. Thanks. Thanks to everyone who reads this or took part in one of the shoots. Your help and support allows me to continue doing what I love.
This is the third year I’ve made a year-end review slide show. The video is a slide show set to a song I found and fell in love with in 2010. It includes a photo from every assignment and photo shoot I had in 2010. Like I mentioned above, they are not always glorious photo shoots but I’m grateful for all of them. My main areas of work are real estate, architecture and interior design, children, weddings and family, head shots and executive portraits and shots of and for models. Last year a friend noted that it seemed odd that there would be a photo of a baby followed by a swimsuit model…..so this year instead of chronological order I’ve grouped the images by type. I’ve also omitted the great majority of the photos of my daughter Grace. This year she’ll get her own slideshow. For those of you who can’t view flash you can see the video on my site: http://chuckespinoza.com/#/Year%20End%20Vids/2010/1. I also re-edited last years video organizing the images by subject. http://chuckespinoza.com/#/Year%20End%20Vids/2009/1
Music is huge to me and every year I’ve agonized over what song to use. This year I went with C’Mon by The Soft Pack They are an indie rock band out of San Diego. I found and fell in love with them because their music takes me back to the time I started taking pictures. They remind me of the music I was listening to in middle school which was when I first picked up a camera.
A few weeks before Christmas I was presented with an offer I couldn’t refuse; a great deal on the upgraded version of my camera, a Canon 5D Mark II. With most of my photography purchases I do quite a bit of testing to get used to my equipment and how it reacts and behaves in different situations. I figured since this was just version 2.0 of my existing camera it would just be bigger and faster. I was wrong. I’ve spent the past couple days testing it out and I still have a lot to learn.
Lessons learned so far:
Shooting with L series lenses (read heavy) without a vertical grip feels horrible unbalanced (I bought a grip)
21 megapixels equals 28-30megabyte RAW files. Add a layer or two and the edited PSD files get huge
My old compact flash cards are useless, a 30 meg file at 50x or 80x is painfully slow
An 8 Gig cards fills up quick
It reads and reacts to light a lot different than my old 5D
Editing and shooting video (it shoots HD video) requires a whole different skill set
Here’s a couple of edits form my shoot with Sheree.