Posts Tagged ‘portrait’

Behind the scenes of a beauty shoot



When I’ve got a model in hair and makeup for 60-90 minutes there’s only so much that I can occupy my time with. Lately I have taken advantage of the time and shot behind the scenes video. The only downfall is that when hair and makeup are finished and I pick up a camera to start shooting stills, the video suffers.  The behind the scenes video covers the first of four different looks we shot.

Stacey Ellis was in for hair and makeup. She wanted to start with a finger wave of sorts. Since Adriana’s hair was going to have a very polished look we dressed her up in a little H&M tube dress to give it a bit more of a fashion edge.

The following photos show the progression for the rest of the shoot. We got a bit more dramatic and fashion oriented. Loosened things up a bit and then went up with the hair and back to traditional beauty portraits. To see more of Stacey’s work check out our previous work together or on her website:




Loose fashion

Beauty Portrait



Annelise Jorgensen





Developing a photographic style

My commercial portrait work has a definite vibe. It’s typically well lit;  there a sense of emotion and I always want my subject to look beautiful. It’s a style I’ve fallen into over the years. When I first started out in photography I heard about the need to have a style, but didn’t know how to get one. Without knowing it, my style found me.  In most cases when I am shooting portraits I want emotion over everything else.  I want sexy and sultry yet still commercial.

Every once in a while I look at other photography and ask why cant mine look like that?  I’m drawn to moody,  uncontrived photos; very spur of the moment, filled with life or mystery. Sometimes I go out and deliberately try to shoot in a style that’s not my own. But there’s this force-field that pulls me back.  My experience, knowledge and what I know resonates with the people I have photographed pulls me back to my comfort zone – well-lit and pretty.

This happened on my shoot with Taylor. I’ve known and been working with Taylor since 2006 . Unlike our previous shoots where I was driving the shoot, she called me with a concept that suited her needs as an artist and musician and the direction was out of my norm.  When  a client approaches me with a job that is a different style from what I do I always ask for reference photos.  When I saw her reference images I thought quirky, edgy, snap-shots.  Even though that’s not my style she felt comfortable enough to come to me with her concept knowing that I could take her input and produce photos that matched her goals.


2012 A Look Back

A few years ago I made a slideshow using  photos from every assignment I shot during the year. The idea stuck and has become a great way for me to reflect on what I did right and what I did wrong during the year. 2012 was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. All of those experiences brought one theme to the forefront – Family is Everything. And by family I’m not limiting myself to the family I was born into or married into. It’s the people that I have chosen to surround myself with. This year we have had the warm blanket of family wrapped around us when we needed it and we were able to be that same blanket of warmth and strength for others when they needed it. This year was life-changing for so many of our friends and loved ones.

Over the past couple years I’ve skipped using photos of my family in the slideshow, after all they weren’t paid assignments and so many were just snapshots. This year I’ve included them because my wife and kids are my world and are definitely the most photographed subject in my life. I also opted to include more than one image from the assignments. Limiting myself  to one single image per shoot didn’t represent the scope and the fruits of my labor.

As with every slide show I always struggle with music. Each year I want to use a song that I fell in love with during the year. This year there were a couple of contenders.

Mumford & Sons – I will wait
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop I dare you to not bounce your head while listening to this song. I was bouncing  my head for a couple weeks before I even listened to the words.
Ryan Adams – From The Ashes   In January NPR streamed a pre-lease of this entire album. I listened to it over and over until the day it was released. Go buy it directly from his label/website. 
Walk the Moon – Anna Sun  
This is probably my favorite song on the album but I opted for Tightrope becaue it matched the tempo I wanted for the slideshow.


For those of you that supported me and helped me create this year I owe you a world of thanks. Without you I’d be stuck behind some desk.

Year End Review Slide Show 2012 from Chuck Espinoza on Vimeo.



Environmental Portraits for Creative Professionals

I am a firm believer that professionals should have a good head shot. For executive professionals the image is usually used for speaking engagements, annual reports, websites and newsletters. Most executives come to me because they need  a head shot. I think it is even more important for service-oriented professionals to have a great head shot.  Creative professionals tend to come to me because they want  a head shot. That was the case with Tina. She wanted a head shot for her new website and marketing materials.

Tina came across my work in an ad I ran in a local theater production. As opposed to using safe and family oriented photos, I used images that were unique, interesting and fun. Those photos got me noticed. Tina is an interior designer and professional organizer. She also grew up in a family of photographers and knew what type of head shot she didn’t want; she didn’t want a typically business head shot.  Business head shots are usually warm and presentable but very static. There isn’t a lot of room to introduce personality in that type of photo.  Tina wanted a head shot that showed her personality in addition to being warm and personable.

When we talked about the shoot we narrowed down what she didn’t want. That was easy. The challenge was finding the right balance of creative + professional + personality. In order to make sure we were both on the same page in regards to the final look, I pulled some images I had shot for previous clients as well as examples from magazines to use as a point of reference for what I felt she was asking for. Once I knew we were on the same page the next step was to scout the location. Tina works out of her home and has a studio space that she wanted to be photographed in. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts shooting in homes always has it’s challenges. The location scout was to make sure I was prepared for and could overcome those challenges.  In addition to seeing the space and the light I was able to shoot some test shots. The test shots allowed us to look at the photos and decide where to focus our efforts on the day of the real shoot.  Going through this process before the actual shoot saves time and also prepares the client for the real deal. They get a chance to see what they will look like on camera. It also gets them thinking about wardrobe, styling and about prepping the space for the real shoot. Trying to shoot tests in addition to preparing the space for a photo shoot on the day-of is a stressful situation for both me and the client. Not only do they need to worry about their appearance, but now they have to worry about cleaning, de-cluttering AND making decisions about which photo will suit their marketing needs.  By scouting the location and shooting some quick tests shots we have saved time and reduced stress.


Location Scout - test shoot

Location scout – test shoot – environmental portrait of Tina Studier. K. Marie Design


The location scout was early afternoon and she warned me that later in the afternoon the sun blasted through the west facing windows in the background of the frame.  As far as spaces go, the studio was perfect for the shoot; it showed clients her work-space and her personality. Her unique wallpaper is such a creative and fun detail in the room. You can paste pictures and inspirations to your heart’s content and have it look interesting and planned out. Since the wallpaper was new we both realized it would need to be filled-in more for the shoot.  We also decided that a landscape photo would show too much of the space and not feature Tina enough. The final shoot was a couple weeks later and we ended up with these two final images.


Tina - K. Marie Design - environmental portrait

Tina – K. Marie Design – environmental portrait


Tina had prepped the space using the notes we had made with the tests. She filled in part of wallpaper that would be in our frame and she switched out the lamp in the corner.  The coffee table was removed and we paired down the objects on the cabinet camera left.  We shot a couple different outfits but kept coming back to this jacket. In order to give my clients variety and images that will be useful across all of their marketing platforms I knew we also needed to shoot a traditional head and shoulders portrait. The environmental portrait would not translate well on websites where  the size of the image was limited.  A head shot will scale down and look great on sites like LinkedIn where you are limited to a one inch photo. We both were happy with the results.


Tina - K. Marie Design - head shot/ portrait

Tina – K. Marie Design – head shot/ portrait


Beautiful transformation with the help of hair and makeup styling

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.

first look






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.


Devon Ogden – Beauty photo shoot from Chuck Espinoza on Vimeo.