Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Important important!

The importance of cropping:

Melissa 06

I really wasn't that keen on this photo until I gave it a new crop. Something was just off. But I cut a little bit out and all of a sudden I think this is the first change's best shot, the shot that will go in my portfolio.

Okay, and also, after having worked with a decent amount of models, I'd like to point something out. The importance of working with a good model. I think a lot of the time when we think of models we think of these pretty girls that just stand there and thus their looks become the number one most important facet when selecting a model. And I agree that you shouldn't shoot with a model whose look doesn't appeal to you or to the audience you're seeking with the photo.

Melissa - a great model

However, having a model who is genuinely good at MODELING will make any photo you take of her instantly exponentially better. I've taken some nice pictures of beautiful girls that still come out overly posed or stiff. And I think I am a decent posing coach, so it's not entirely my fault (obviously, I am sure I could be better at this). Girls that are talented models make shoots shorter and funner, and also just deliver the goods.

It's just something to consider. I'm trying to rule out all fresh faces or other girls with very little experience from my TFCD list right now...it's just not worth the trouble to schedule, style, and shoot a model who can't deliver.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Second Helpings? My Plate is Full.

Somehow my life has become exponentially more busy in the last two weeks. A month or so ago I applied for a freelance music writing position for an online rock website. I got the position, along with a few other people, but I only started writing last week because it took that long to get the ball rolling. In addition, a few months ago (I'm talking December here) I e-mailed a local non-profit organization volunteering my writing services. They didn't response until about two weeks ago, which was pretty shocking to me. I know it's for a good cause, so I agreed to do it even though my schedule is dramatically tighter than it was in December. I feel like they think I have a lot more free time than I actually do. I'm a bit worried because I have quite a bit of work to do for them by about Wednesday.

In addition, I am still shooting! More than ever! I'm hoping I go pro this summer! I have a shoot on Friday (5/1) and one the Friday after that (5/8), and I am trying to book a third shoot with Hannah and it looks like it May end up being Thursday (5/7). My birthday is (5/15) and then from 5/20 to 5/24 I will be in seattle visiting my friend Sacha.

And to top it off, they have actually been giving me more work to do at work these days. I know, that's what I am supposed to be doing right? But with gym, shoots and the rest of my social life, I may not have the time to do these extra-curricular activities. I was definitely counting on doing these writing projects at work.

But I'm sure everything will be okay and work itself out.

I had a very successful shoot with a visiting model named Melissa. Melissa is signed with AW models and hails from Alberta, Canada. She flew in this morning and practically came immediately to our shoot - what a trooper! Because she has a canadian number, we could only communicate through text, and there was a little confusion about which BART stop to get off at, but everything turned out for the better. My friend Shaz assisted me on this one, her first time doing so, but to be honest the light was pretty good. She was there basically to keep us company.

Melissa has a lovely personality. It was really a pleasure shooting with her. I have shot with models that were nice before, but all business - hard to get to them to laugh or crack a smile. Melissa was very easy going and cool. I think we all genuninely had fun. We shot in front of the deens shop which was just kind of funny and ironic. I came assuming everything had closed for the weekend but apparently a church bought the corner of the business lot, so they were in full swing when we got there. It was kind of funny and ironic. I had intended to shoot on their side, but I didn't know that there was a church there and that they operate on Saturdays. Every once in a while someone would come in or out and just kind of look at us with confusion. For a little while, a little boy was just standing there staring at us. It was hilarious.

Here are the days best shots from change #1:

Here are the days best shots from change #2:

Just Shoot 04
Just Shoot 03
Just Shoot 01
Just Shoot 02

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Mostly Unrelated Post

I just wanted to share some awesome music I recently discovered with you guys. First, Empire of the Sun, a rad band from Australia. I'm madly in love with their music and am surprised they aren't more well known. They seem to get some MGMT comparisons which I kind of see, but not exactly. If anything, they're better than MGMT.

Also, I am in love with the band Chloe Sebastian Oliver (yep, that's their name), headed by all-around-awesome girl Alexi Wasser, of the ridiculously amusing imboycrazy.com. They don't have any youtube videos of their songs, so I am going to direct you to their MySpace. My favorite song is "Girls Wanna Party All the Time." Can't stop listening to it!

Since it is almost 3:00 and I am blogging, I guess you guys all figured that my photoshoot for today fell through, just as I predicted (otherwise I'd be running around my house, freaking out, trying to find my forms, props, and inspiration). Oh well, whatevs. I have a shoot tomorrow too, everything is prepared, even though I know I'll still be freaking out beforehand as is my habit. Yeah, now you guys know. No matter how many shoots I do, I freak out before it, and if I am not freaked out by the shoot, I am freaked out by the fact that I am not freaked out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Everything Is (Beautiful Here)

I was in a pretty good mood last week, so I took some self-portraits. Generally speaking, how many photos I take is a good indication of how good I feel.

everything is
"Everything Is (Beautiful Here)"

I'm Finally Breaking Free
"I'm Finally Breaking Free"

Apple Oh!
"Apple Ohs!"

I also have been doing a little bit of still-life lately which is really, really not like me. I guess that's just inspiration! I really love "Wake Up Early."

Wake Up Early
"Wake Up Early"

My favorite shoes :)

annnnnd I also did some edits to some of the behind the scenes shots from my shoot with hannah back in November. I like them!

hannah or audrey?

Incredible Lightness
"Incredible Lightness"

I have a client shoot on Friday (assuming she doesn't just flake like my last two client shoots AND my last TFCD shoot), and a creative with a visiting model on Saturday. Pretty excited - it has been so long since I have had a fashion shoot. I am also planning something with Hannah which makes me happy because she is fabulous. I definitely want to book more shoots, but I have decided not to book anymore until after Saturday. I need to focus on my upcoming ones instead of trying to orchestrate more right now. I went to a certain park on Sunday with some friends as an outting but also to check it out as a location for my shoot with sharlene and ann on May 8th...but the park didn't really look as I imagined it so I was pretty disappointed. Back to the drawing board :-/

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I got my pair of novelty clear wayfayers yesterday in the mail. They by mistake came in the name of my brother, so he was obviously kinda sad when he realized they weren't for him haha. I got them to use for photoshoots but since I had them and was in the mood, I decided to take some new self-portraits. Hope you like 'em. I got that French Connection shirt off the clearance rack at marshalls for $1!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Wackness

I have always heard other photographers complain of flaky models. I had always been so fortunate as to always have good, dependable models...up until yesterday. I woke up at 7:30 in the morning to get ready to meet the model at 9:00. I loaded crap into my car the night before, I printed forms, I collected props and clothing, and at 8:45 I picked my friend up from her house because she was going to assist me. I waited for the model from 9:00 to 9:30, and she was a no show. Not only did she not show, she didn't tell me she wasn't coming so I could leave, and she has yet to respond to my model mayhem messages. The nerve!

I guess I understand why it is so frustrating for photographers now. Granted, it could have been a lot worse. Thankfully this was a shoot very close to my house so I didn't go all the way to another city to be flaked on. Plus, since I had my friend with me, we just made a day out of it. But I really wanted to shoot. It has been two weeks since my shoot with Brooke and I don't have another shoot for another two weeks. What a downer. I hope the model is okay...her port filled up fast which led me to believe that she didn't just flake for the sake of flaking. But still, an indication or a post-flake apology would have been nice. I have a policy of not rescheduling with flaky models (and I just made this policy because I never had to deal with it before). So that's it for Ms. Jessica. What a waste of time, money and effort.

My next shoot is on April 24th - a client, book-building shoot with a model named Emily. I'm also looking forward to working with my model-muse Hannah sometimes soon, though we're still figuring things out.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Current Obsessions: Interesting Sunglasses and Belts

In it inevitable that a great part of fashion photography is clothing. A lot of photographers don't seem to understand the importance of being on top of current trends when they shoot their models in whatever clothing they decide to bring. This is the exact reason that I style most of my shoots, so long as it is something I am capable of doing. Of course I don't mind when the models bring their own stuff, but it is not always worked into the mix.

I have two current obsessions right now, though one more for my shoots, and one more for me. The first is interesting sunglasses. First of all, I love vintage sunglasses - the weird kind and wayfayers. I know that wayfayers have been in for a while now, seen on everyone from the stylish Ashley Olsen down to the styleless Paris Hilton. Heck, even my big brother owns a pair of turtiose Rayban Wayfayers. I personally embraced the style after watching Breakfast at Tiffany's a few years back.

But it is only recently that I thought of using them for a shoot. Sunglasses easy add something to any outfit, as in my last shoot with Brooke.

I also have two pairs of vintage balenciaga sunglasses, one of which I used in my recent shoot with Brooke.

A Spring Thing - Brooke 09

I used my other pair if you recall in my fun, indie-inspired shoot with Danielle. Sunglasses are also a good way to help get portfolio-worthy photos with a model that isn't quite sure what to do with her eyes yet.

beautiful loser 04

In this regard, I have recently bought a new collection of novelty sunglasses to use for my models.

The first ones, the heart shaped ones, should ring a bell because they were a huge hit a few years ago when Luella started selling them and every celebrity and her mom had a pair. The other two pairs I bought because I love them, which is quite possibly because I think nerdiness = hotness (sometimes!). I have a lot of shoots planning using cool glasses coming up. The easiest, coolest accessory = sunglasses.

For my personal wardrobe, I have been increasingly into waist belts. I know the waist belt trend came in a few years ago but I never latched onto it until I recently stumbled upon some super cool belts at my local thrift store. It's more about adding some oomph to an outfit than simply cinching the waist. This will be showing in my photos very soon.

here is one of the belts I picked up, though I got this picture off ebay. It can also be used as a bracelet or necklace.

Overall, I love doing my shoots styling because I love fashion. It's also not so easy to style a stylist for every shoot, and I certainly wish i had more money at my disposal when I am shopping for clothing for a shoot. Thrift stores and bargain stores like Ross and Marshalls are always my styling winners, and I love getting props at the dollar store!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

a new love

Today I stumbled upon a lovely little website called FashionSquad.com. I like the weird mix of cool finds, awesome photos, hot shoes, etc. etc. My favorite thing I found on it were these photos taken by Isabel Watson for the s/s 09 Bik Bok campaign. Featured in it is the blogger herself (who is also a stylist and sometimes a model!) Ms. Carolina Engman!

okay, and how great is this picture of kate moss from love magazine (also thanks to fashionsquad.com):

Also, the fashion blogging world has been yes-yes-yes this for a while, and as a lowly fashion photographer, I guess that means it is okay that I am a little late. But I've seen a few examples of this and I can't get over how much I love it - studded denim, in various different ways. Check this out:

this one has been floating around on the net but I personally found it on Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Fashion.

From fashionsquad.com...totally different way of doing it right? I dig the shirt too.

This is my favorite example of the studded denim look - this is actually the first inspirational image I found. She got a little funky with it too. DIYed by Ms. Lidwina Grata, a student from Jakarta, inspired by alex wang, below.

I need these for my models! and for myself ;)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

two things

1. theSFstyle.com. Go there. Make love to it.

But honestly, I love this site because the outfits and locations hit very close to home - I'm from the Bay Area and I love, love, love San Francisco with a passion. I can't say find the outfits particularly inspiring because again, I'm from here, and I dress in the SF style too. But still! Go! Love! Win! I'm also pretty sure I saw Grace on there, a model I will be shooting with in early May.

2. This is hilarious. Hopefully it doesn't make you want to punch all babies in the face!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Mind of the Eye

Melissa Rodwell on what makes a great fashion photographer:

A great fashion photographer possesses one thing: a great eye. How does he/she get a great eye? Lots of experience, lots of training the eye, a little bit of God given talent and a passion for fashion. Being able to capture beautiful images during a shoot is what keeps a photographer working. And yes, you have to know how to light, you have to know how to shoot, but then you have to let all that go and go almost in another dimension and let your camera become one with your eye. And that! is what makes a great fashion photographer!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Feature: Joseph Tran

Joseph Tran is probably one of the most prolific, awesome photographers I know of. Although I for one love edgy, overstylized shoots, Joseph usually goes in the complete opposite direction. His photos seem raw - barely edited (though I am not sure), normal clothing, and he sometimes works sans mua. Just himself and the model - the results are astounding. The photos all come off as so natural and thus so beautiful. This is kind of what inspired my spring thing series (two more shoots, coming up!). I wanted to shoot just me and the model and nothing in between. I also love how so many of his shots are in black and white.