I don’t often consider my photos to be very “High Concept” or even art sometimes. In fact i have to tell models I work with all the time that I am terrible with coming up with ideas and concepts. I sometimes even have a hard time calling my artist because of this. I get around this by thinking of myself as more of an improve artist making things up as I go along instead of having a ton of prep time behind something. Lucky for me the recent shoot I did with Mary Jane Monroe had the high concept feel to it because of her own ideas all I really had to do was shoot. One thing that I differently in this shoot was try to implement scenery a bit more in the shots which is something that I need to work on but came out quite well in the finished product.
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.
Anything can and will go wrong on a shoot, it happens and it happens to the best of us. On a recent shoot with Maxine things “went wrong” in that we couldn’t find the intended location, the area we were in had terrible weather and we were losing light pretty fast. When things like this happen it’s important to keep the spirit up and roll with the punches. With the initial idea being scrapped we drove down to Old Town Albuquerque to try and make up for a shoot that didn’t happen and the results were well worth it.
In the car ride (that got extended) Maxine, my assistant/girlfriend, and I had conversations about shooting women with curves (as Maxine obviously does) and how to get the best images out of it and we specifically talked about how it’s not hard to get great images with curvy models. Essentially when working with curvier models you don’t want to hide the curves, you want to highlight them and use them to your advantage. Curves can be incredibly flattering and work very well aesthetically but in order for get them to work you need to know how to pose the model. Posing is important for any model, it’s the basis of modeling in general and every model is different in what works but I’ve noticed that curvier models are very specific. You need to know where their curves are, where they look the most flattering and extend those areas out so that they get more of the attention than anything else.
Shooting curvier models is a lot of fun. It’s not nearly as challenging as you would think it would be and to be honest is more visually interesting to look at. If you want to get better at directing and posing I would recommend working with more models with curve because it makes you more attentive to what you are doing with your directions.
There are a couple of things that I take pride in as a photographer. One of those things is just always doing constantly solid work but there are a lot of other qualities that my clients and model friends appreciate when I work with them. Those would be my fast turn around times on edits and the fact that my shoots don’t last to long. On average a shoot with me probably only last about 30 minutes. In that time we’ll take well over 100 images and when I get into editing around 20-30 will make the culling but and then only a hand full of those will be posted, that’s just standard. This recent shoot that I did with Samantha was just that where, we met we shot, we got some solid stuff, I took it home to edit and that all took just about 3 hours in total work time (not including travel time too and from location.) Doing great work doesn’t have to take weeks to do. Simple locations, poses, edits and good work flow can offer a lot to making great images on a short time table and it always impresses people when you can do great work so quickly.
It’s very easy to get Cabin Fever when shooting in studio often with great frequency. It almost feels like my last couple of shoots have been strictly studio on account of scheduling purposes. Studio comes with like a lot of benefits such as controllable lighting, minimal distractions and a comfortable space to interact with your subjects. But nothing really quite compares to the visual interest created by an on location shoot. Maxine reached out to me having a very solid concept in mind for a futuristic pool shoot with the location already set up. Needless to say I was blown away by the location itself. The owner of the property showed great hospitality and even enthusiasm for the shoot we were doing. The location was nothing short of beautiful with excellent scenery, an incredible pool and perfect natural lighting once we hit golden hour.
Maxine as a model was a thrill to work with. The thing that made her so great to shoot with was her ability to communicate. She was able to tell me exactly what she wanted out of the shoot and I was able to give her direction and explain what I was doing without any problem. When there is a good amount of chemistry between photographer and subject it goes a long way in getting the best results out of a shoot.
Though I have been spending more and more time in studio shooting in that environment I still mostly think of myself as an on location shooter. I enjoy working with the natural light and the environment around me to get the best possible results so it was amazing to be able to take advantage of a stellar location and work with an incredibly bright model.
Photography is sometimes a very misunderstood medium and the laymen of the world would regard it as a very easy craft. Normally that kind of attitude would set me off. But this shoot that I did with Ave Kateri Machina did make it feel super easy. Every now and again you work with a new talent that is so good at what they do it just make everything so simple. Except editing, because I had a hard time narrowing down this take when I got into lightroom.
Collaboration is a very important aspect of creativity and it is almost unavoidable if you work in portraiture. Fellow photographer and over all enjoyable human being David Cervantes invited me out to a large themed shoot involving numbers models and photographers at a local pinata shop. It was a fairly hectic environment and experience of all individuals varied. However it was refreshing to be able to put myself in a mentor role helping new models and photographers understand the process that goes into making stunning images.
Albuquerque is the city that I have grown up in and it’s a city that has a personality all its own. When you talk to any of the residence of the 505 you’ll hear a lot of things but the most common statement is about how “diverse we are.” While it’s easy to mistake that statement for talking about racial demographics what we they really mean is that we’re diverse so many different things. Culture, Climate, architecture, personalities attitudes the list goes on and on. If I was asked to describe Albuquerque I’d have to tell them you’d just have to go and experience.
My favorite thing about Albuquerque (aside from the food, go get yourself a green chili pepperoni pizza from Dions and you’ll know what I’m talking about.) is all the creative individuals that populate the area. Muralist, Musicians, Hair stylist, Models, Photographers ect. All can be found in the area and they all bring something unique to their craft while at the same time being very identifiable as that Albuquerque style.
The other day Albuquerque was blessed with one of it’s few overcast days that photographers like myself only dream of and I decided to passive aggressively post that I wanted to shoot and to my surprise got a response from one of my favorite models Jacqui Daniels. Like many of my impromptu shoots, we put together a very loose meeting plan not really having any big ideas and met at her hair stylist, Martino’s shop so we could coordinate from there. Martino was one of those previously mentioned creative individuals who was as much of an artist as he was an entrepreneur bringing in other creative individuals to try and come up with new crazy ideas that stand out from the ordinary. In his studio his brother also does Tattoo work, there was another individual screen printing t-shits of a skeleton Billy the Kid and a Virgin Marry with the Zia Symbol. While I was there they had the off the wall Idea to Screen Print the Virgin Marry they had onto a white tie. Something so simple being done in such a New Mexican way.
Once Jacqui showed up we decided on having her put one of the freshly screen printed shirts and heading around downtown and shoot in front of some of the local street art. at this point a lot of the glorious overcast had burned off and I was left with some challenging lighting but I managed as best I could. We would later move on to City Plaza where I remembered a location that had very stellar lighting. It was almost a tunnel were at the end was spot where windows from a building was reflecting really soft light down which was nothing short of perfect. there was also a wall that had a reflective surface that called for some creative ideas.
Jacqui of course was nothing short of a perfect model always flowing to different looks responding to adjustments and over all just being good at what she does. The best part about working with someone like Jacqui is being able to bounce ideas off her and her openness to try different things as we go along. That openness to different things really helps the process along and over time can lead to incredible results. Like most shoots all the best shots came toward the end of the shoot being that we both figured out what was working and all that fine tuning eventually paid off.
My favorite thing about this shoot was how it started as just spur of the moment lets meet up and shoot kind of thing and it turned into a larger collaborative endeavor and that sort of highlights what I love best about Albuquerque. When people collaborate with one another amazing things happen.