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.
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.
Tara (aka Ravensnow as she’s known on her new modeling page) has long been one of my favorite people to work with since we both started almost 2 years ago. Recently she’s been blowing up working with photographers from all over the state, making friends with a stellar makeup artist known as Stormie Steen and getting spoiled in the process by photographers and re-touchers.
Even though Tara has been making her way up the modeling ladder she still keeps in mind why does it in the first place, for the fun of it. Whenever anyone at our shoots (Me, Tara, my girlfriend Emilie ect.) comes up with an idea whether it be a pose, a prop or even a location or theme, the general consensus is always “fucking go for it.” That’s the kind of attitude that I love when it comes to shooting with Tara.
Everything in the shoot just happened to tie together almost perfectly. Tara’s hair and makeup (Done by Stormie Steen), her wardrobe choices, the location (just a stairwell behind the Albuquerque Convention Center), the prop machete and the corset piercing (Done by Scott Self) all blended together in a very horror-esque Gothic way that also somehow accidentally had a bit of Harley Quinn influences in there (don’t know how it happened but it did.)
On thing that I wasn’t expecting out of the shoot was how well the location worked out. Location scouting is always difficult and there is always a level of exploration that goes into finding the perfect area. When I was having the conversation with Tara about where we would do the shoot she said she wanted something that looked very dark and abandoned. I remembered the stairwell at the back of the convention center and how it fit that mold perfectly for what she wanted. The climate was very controlled, nobody was ever really around and there was a nearby outlet that I could hook extension cables to in to order to get my lighting kit set up.
What was also perfect was the location outside the stairwell. This was the part that took a little exploration. Right outside the stairwell was a well shaded are with lots of space, Some concrete and even some nature which allowed us to get some other aesthetics in with the set.
The best thing that came out of the exploration was this sort of tunnel are that ran along the street with it’s own walkway. The lighting that it gave off was unique and perfect for portrait shooting. Of course a lot of it ended up getting blown out in the highlights but in the case of these images it worked extremely well and it’s ads more of an ethereal feel to the images that the stairwell didn’t have. I intend on using this location again in the future, I just need to figure out what that will be.
Editing wise everything was very simple. Stormie’s makeup was so well done that there wasn’t much for me to correct and everything else was my standard contrast and color correcting. Tara of course had some input on the edits this time around. She probably has a more critical eye than I do. I tend to be very conservative with my edits and I’m trying to take in the models input more and more. I need to remember that I don’t necessarily have to follow the same rules for Photojournalism as I do for portraiture.
It was great to be able to work with Tara again and hopefully we both continue to do awesome things, together and separately+, well into the future.
This last weekend I had one of the most hectic weekends photography wise that I’ve ever had to endure. To give a little context to this story we have to go over why I was shooting. My tattoo artist had came to me earlier in the month of October asking if I would do photos for a costume contest he was hosting asking people (females particularly) to submit photos that he would do sketches of, and was offering free ink and piercings to the best ones. Being that many of the submissions were mainly going to be iphone selfies he wanted to contract a guy who could do quality photos and since he had seen my work he offered to do some free ink in return for my services. I’d done other shoots in previous weeks but this weekend is where it got crazy.; luckily a good friend of mine had a warehouse space that she was willing to loan out in return for some photos of herself.
Normally I would like to do photos at more candid locations to give a different graphic quality to the images- however some of the girls outfits weren’t necessarily appropriate to have out in public. For example one of the girls came dressed as a Playboy Bunny. Not quite something you want to be wearing downtown in the middle of the afternoon.
She was a bit frosty in the personality coming into it but she had been on camera before and so she knew how to do simple posing. The bunny ears proved to be a bit problematic when it came to compositions but over all I think I did a good job with them.
The second girl on Friday arguably had the more creative outfit. She had put together a peacock costume that was extraordinarily colorful and extravagant which opened up a lot of fun opportunities for what I could do in Lightroom when I started editing.
Other than the two girls that came in that day I also did a shoot with Francesca’s friend Monica who never been on camera before, but her significant other was going out of town and wanted some nice photos to remember her by.
Being that she had never done photos before it was nice having Francesca there to direct. Because god knows that directing models is not my strong suit.
So upon wrapping up the busy Friday I just went back to my place and dumped all the Raw files off the card so I could get editing in Lightroom. I like to get all my editing done very quickly and efficiently. It’s something I picked up in photojournalism. Get em’ in, get em’ toned and get em’ out.
On Saturday my friend Tyler (Who is one of the awful people responsible for me being a photographer) asked me to do some promo pictures for her cosplay group. I of course obliged and went with her up to a village in Placitas by a church to get some shots of her in her cute witch outfit.
Tyler is arguably my favorite person to work with. She’ll never admit it but her photos always come out amazing and she is incredibly good on camera. Also what she does with putting costumes together is nothing short of mind blowing. Once again got them done got home and got editing. I’m gaining a reputation of having incredibly quick turn around times on my work.
Now Sunday is when shit got real. Random shoots kept coming up and I didn’t know what to do or where I was going to take them but luckily Francesca came to the rescue. Now I originally didn’t want to ask her to use her space again mainly because I didn’t want her to feel like I was abusing her. But she had messaged me saying that she was having a photographer with a full lighting set up come in and do photos of her and some other girls who have never done modeling before and asked if I would tag along I said of course and asked if I could use the opportunity to get the other girl who needed photos done in on the same day.
Now before I did that I had already scheduled a shoot earlier that morning with a girl dressed as Rosie the Riveter. I took her down to the abandoned rail yard out in Albuquerque. If you ever look up photographers from Albuquerque you know the one. The shoot was very short and sweet. I didn’t want to spend too much time in a condemned building but the location did offer a lot of personality.
The later shoot at the warehouse where things got a little intimidating. Being that the other photographer that Francesca had over had a more complicated set up it didn’t give me a whole lot of room to work with. Especially when you consider that I shoot with prime lenses. None the less, it was kind of fun to get play with studio lighting and professional flashes. Granted flashes are a bit overwhelming at times but it gave me a few new challenges that I was happy to overcome.
The first girl Francesca had was quite the firecracker. She had a lot of energy and even though she had never done photos before she took direction very well and wasn’t afraid to play around.
Now when the last of the girls who did photos for my tattoo artist came in things got a little more difficult to work with. She was very stiff and didn’t emote very well. It was really just one of those situations where we just had to persist till she warmed up and we could get something out of her. Not every model is going to be easy to work with but you do what you can.
However the last of Francescas friends didn’t have this problem. In fact she had a very warm smile as was able to take direction quite well and it resulted in some very impressive photos.
This was indeed a crazy weekend of photography but it was a great experience and I got to deal with a handful of new and sometimes frustrating situations that photographers have to deal with all in the course of one weekend. That being said, I could use a vacation.