Sometimes we get away from doing certain hobbies or activities for one reason or another. Heavy work scheduled, lack of motivation/inspiration and sometimes just lack of opportunity all contribute to this. In Crystal Sedillo’s case having a Kid is a pretty legit excuse to getting away from modeling for a little while. I’ve known Crystal for years now and her husband Orlando has done a lot of my tattoo work so when she wanted to get back into modeling I reached out to help get her back into the swing of it. Crystal brings with her a list of Features that compliment my style of photography specifically her tattoo work and her Alt Model Style. Those things works well with the way I like to process my photos, especially the way I use contrast and colors it allow all of her tattoos to really pop. Over all I really loved this shoot and I hope that I get to work with Crystal again on something a bit more high concept in the future.
It doesn’t get much better than golden hour on a slightly cloudy day, and that’s exactly what I got when I had the chance to work with Joy again. This time she dressed up as Daenerys Targaryen from the incredibly popular show Game of Thrones to shoot out in the Albuquerque Bosque.
The lighting that we got on that day couldn’t have gotten any closer than perfect even if it wanted to. Slightly cloudy, about an hour before sunset it gave me the ability to essentially shoot any way that I wanted and so I decided to try something different than I normally do. Most of the time I’m shooting at apretures between f2.8 and f4 but I wanted to play with shooting more wide open. So much of the shoot was done between f1.8 to f2.5 on my 85mm 1.8g lens.
I shot at the larger apertures specifically to get the shallow depth of fields that created a very dream like quality to the images. I’m normally very apprehensive about shooting wide open because while the effect is beautiful it becomes very difficult to nail sharp focus. That being said it’s not impossible; while at f2.8 and f3.5 my 85mm is tack sharp I was still really impressed with the sharpness I was getting at f1.8 and f2 and I still got to keep the dream like bokeh.
When it comes to shoots, locations always have to make sense. Lucky enough for me Albuquerque has an endless supply of locations. The easiest choice for the character Joy chose was the Albuquerque Bosque. It looks fairly remote and lush and allowed for a very clear backdrop.
The thing that I consistently need to work on is directing my subjects. Directing is one of those skills that really take time to get good at and almost every situation is different. Joy is one of those wonderful to work with in that regard. She comes from a performance background so she’s uses to making small adjustments even when they seem insignificant and she has an understanding of the big difference those small adjustments can make.
One thing I want to improve in my portraits is making them more dynamic. Doing things compositionally to create a higher level of visual interest. Part of that is thinking differently about how I shoot and also about how I post process. I like to think of myself as a purist, with my shooting doing the bulk of the work in camera and doing basic and minor adjustments in Lightroom afterwards. While I still believe getting things right in camera is critical I’m trying to spend more time in post making images the best they possibly can be.
Almost a year ago I got myself a Nikon D5100. I had originally gotten the camera for video purposes so that I could film better quality YouTube videos but through associations and professional opportunities I learned to use it as a proper camera and learned the ins and outs of the camera settings, Manual operations and the rules to follow (and break) in photography in the Year that I had the camera I also invested in full frame, Wide aperture lenses and other pieces of equipment thinking that they will be good now and great when I choose to upgrade. Well I’ve officially upgraded and gotten myself a refurbished D600, full frame DSLR.
The day before the new camera was delivered I decided that I was going to send it off with shooting a random set with my close friend Yasamin.
Yasmine does not have any real modeling experience to speak of and as such is a very shy person when the camera pointed at her. That being said she is one of the more energetic people I’ve ever worked and this was an excellent opportunity to work on my directing skills which is one of my weakest tools in my photography utility belt.
Being that she is such a high wired individual I had to approach this as not so much as telling her what to do but more along the lines of how I wanted her to behave. When I’m shooting portraiture I don’t like to spend and extensive amount of time positioning the subject into exactly where I want them to be. Instead I like to have them just flow freely and position themselves while I look for the best spot and the best moment to get the shot I want. Does it work every time: No but it’s more enjoyable way to shoot in my mind. This method has been great when I’ve worked with models who have been doing this line of work for quite a long time and know how to control their body language and expressions well in front of the camera. However this method isn’t nearly as effective when working with a more inexperienced model and proved to be a challenge. However after some trial and error I started to get the best out of the subject by just harnessing her personality.
This shoot proved to be a very fun way to send off a camera that has served me well over the last year and we’re both ready to move on to bigger and better things. Although it can be a smart idea to keep your older bodies as back ups I’m selling my D5100 to a friend of mine who actually owns and operates a local magazine out here in the land of enchantment and has some big plans for the camera. Me on the other hand will begin adjusting to shooting on a full frame camera where my focal lengths are going to start looking quite a bit wider and the noise in the photos are going to be a lot less noticeable. I’ve enjoyed growing as a photographer over this last year and I’m looking forward to what this next year brings me and my new camera.