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The Girl with the Tribal Tattoo…

One of the shots Menat wanted was a picture of her new tattoo.   The tattoo is an exact replica of Angelina Jolie’s shoulder tattoo,  Menat, wanted the tattoo immortalized photographically.  So in creating the shot, we had to come up with a concept where the tattoo would be the focus.  I had her look over her shoulder and centered the light on the tattoo to emphasize it as the main character.   I chose to make it a black and white to give Menat a little mystery hiding her face in the dark, but leaving her shoulder in the light.  I like using this type of lighting technique on a black background because the light cut off is so instant it looks like she literally stepped out of darkness.

Persian Beauty…

I created this one in the midst of a marathon type shoot. Believe it or not she was the seventh one I shot that night. The challenge with shooting so many in one night is keeping it fresh and not being formulaic. I like for each model’s personality to show individually. In this shot I wanted to show Persia Paressa, the model, up close and personal. So regardless of what angle you look at this photo I wanted her beauty to shine through.

Like a shoe ad…

Amanda, pictured, approached me about doing a shoot with a track and field theme. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. Nothing tells the stories of triumph or the agony of defeat as well as sports. When I approach these shots I like to show the athlete in their environment perched like a king or queen sitting on their throne. Because we are creating the shot, I tend to tell the story of triumph and heroism, versus defeat. At the end to me this picture looks like a shoe ad. Nike are looking? If so go to the contact page, I’m only a phone call away.

On the move…

When asked to shoot portraits for “On the Move Fitness”, Manny Alexander ask me if I could shoot him some shots that were dynamic, showed movement, and had a mood different from regular pictures.  Manny’s training style is very extraordinary.  While he uses many of the same equipment many other trainers use, he does so in away much different than I’ve seen.  Here he’s doing push-up’s balanced on three medicine balls.  In creating the shots I went through extraordinary means to capture the looks he desired.  Instead clearing out space for the shoot, I shot around the equipment to get the perspective of dumbbells on the floor.  I wanted the lighting to be high contrast to show the grit of the gym.  We shot with the air condition off to make the shoot as uncomfortable as a workout.  I tried to take shots from angles to show the difficulty of the exercises.  As you can see below, these training sessions aren’t for the weak at heart.  It’s called a work out for a reason.  I wanted the photos to come across with the same edge and intensity.

So far, so good…

There’s nothing like shooting a new location with a new model. Many photographers only like working with models that they have shot with before because the time it takes them to get in tune with each other and the environment is shortened. I too appreciate working with someone I’ve worked with before because they start to learn my habits and things move a lot quicker. Then another side of me loves working with someone new in an unfamiliar environment because it takes me out of my comfort zone, and makes me less dependable on my habits, and thus not as predictable. It keeps the process organic, free flowing and a fresh new experience. It didn’t take long for the model, April Herrera, to get in tune with me. This was one of the more mystical shots of the shoot. We will definitely shoot again, and I will definitely post more shots from this shoot. I’m still adjusting to the new camera, but so far so good.

On location…

Two of my most favorites words in photography. For years I was convinced that the studio was way to go. Get a white drop, a black drop, a set lights and all my problems would be solved. That worked for a while, that is until I was introduced to the words on location by Aubrey Williams.

He said, “Man you need to get out of the studio, and shoot outside.” I never realized how helpful this advice would be. While on location presents many challenges, for me it renewed my love for photography.

For every challenge I had to learn a new solution. The reward for these challenges are great textures, colors, and compositions you simply can not create in a studio environment. Even a basic pose like this looks so much better just because of the location. Who knows, maybe I’ll never shoot in a studio again. Well then again, the winter is drawing near.

Ina Owens an ANTM hopeful…

She came down to audition for America Next Top Model, while she was here she shot with me. Three shots into the shoot I knew it would be a good shoot. By the time we got to this shot it felt like we could make every shot a money maker. I’ve never watched ANTM, but if she makes the show I do know who I’m voting for. We will definitely be shooting more pics. Great work Ina!

Beauty in the rough…

The concept was simple: a pair of heels, cut-off shorts, and a tank top in an industrial area. I lit the scene and Chelene, the model, struck a dynamic pose and the rest of the work is left to your eyes. You can choose to focus on the color,composition or the model. Either way this shot captivates. Good job by all.

Back in stride…

Sometimes with shooting so many genres I get a little lost in my way. In my effort to not copy myself and others sometimes I wonder off and lose my rhythm. As a photographer you have so many tools at your disposal: lights, lens, time, theme, and photoshop. At times it’s hard to decide which directions you want to go. Eventually you end up stopping and just looking around. From there the challenge is to start again and find your rhythm.
One of my favorite artist Bootsy Collins always spoke of doing it on the one. A concept he got from James Brown where they would always emphasize the first beat of the rhythm. When Bootsy joined Parliament Funkadelic the concept then moved on to meaning all the people coming together as one. While I am not a musician, for me, the one is the theme. When I am out of rhythm I start with a good theme and just go from there. I don’t go any with any plan, expectations, or anything. Sometimes just looking and feeling is better than talking or even listening.
This shot came about as Chelene was watching me shoot Amanda. We were just starting out and didn’t really know exactly where we going with the shoot when I turned my head and saw her siting in this pose. I told not to move a muscle, adjusted my light and then turned my camera towards her, and like that this shot was created. From there the rhythm was back. Because when I pointed my camera back to Amanda this is how she was posed.
Amanda Manez

So how do you want me?

This shot has always been one of my favorites. The model, Dalida, is very demure and shy, but in this shot she exudes a quiet confidence in a simple look. The shoot came about when she responded to a late casting I placed on a local modeling website. As luck would have it she was new in town and had nothing to do for the evening and decided why not take pictures. She was brand new to modeling and had very little experience posing. So like so many models have said before she softly asked, “So how do want me?” That simple five word question to me is like music to my ears. It’s like a mound of clay asking a sculptor to mold me. So many times models would come in with there standard three or four poses that they do every shoot, which usually results more photos that look like previous photos they have taken. Instead of that, this model was giving me an opportunity to create an image completely the way I wanted to see it. So I posed her. I had her turn and tilt her head they way I thought was right for the lighting. I then had her make a few adjustments with her hands. And lastly I made sure she gave the camera proper eye contact. If the eyes are the window to the soul, then I wanted to make sure that the windows were open wide enough to let her soul shine through. To this day this is still one of my favorite images. The posing, the lighting, framing and eye contact were exactly the way I wanted them to be. And it all came from five little words.

A simple beauty…

I didn’t want to make this shot too complicated. I liked the way her skin blended with the door. The colors combined to produce a very warm feel. Just a simple beauty in thought.

Just like music…

Sometimes photography is just like music. You can’t force a shot. You can’t guarantee a hit. Sometimes you just have to be patient. Other times you may have to walk away from it, and come back to it a little later. I like the shots this shoot, but had no idea how I would approach the post production. So I waited…about three weeks to be exact. I think I woke up around 1:30am when I felt inspired the edit this one. Once I got to work I let the processing happen organically and this was the result.