Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nylon Valentine

Although I'd like to make a few changes, it's officially official: My photography website is finally up and running. So allow me to shamelessly promote myself. In a way, it makes me feel like I've take a lot of pictures since I have first started doing this. And in a way, it also makes me feel like I haven't taken enough. So once again, yay for sarahjehan.com :) Also, dripbook.com finally decided I was good enough for them, so now I have my very own dripbook...at least until August 27th, which is when my free trial runs out.

I love this photo from Nylon. I think I may have to attempt something similar...it's so simple though, that in a way that may be difficult.



My best friend and I are currently trying to go to SoCal for a weekend, which should open up the opportunity for at least one SoCal shoot. Yay!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Everything is Inspiring

It feels nice to be back on track, but it's hard not to feel like it is problematic that every time something bothers me I bow out of my photography for 1-3 months. I want to shoot steadily, as opposed to having these surges of inspiration and then bouts of nothingness.

Joseph T., one of my favorite photographers ever, advised me to shoot through it. And he's right. It's all part of a growing process, isn't it? And if happiness is inspiring, shouldn't sadness be too? If love is inspiring, shouldn't hate be inspiring as well? And if you are feeling sad, or feeling hate, shouldn't doing something that makes you happy help remedy it?

You know how sometimes, something is really bothering you, and all of your friends are going out - you don't really feel like going, but you know it'll make you feel better so you go anyway. And then - imagine that - you end up forgetting your woes, at least momentarily, and have great time. And overall, it helps a little bit, doesn't it?

Shooting should be the same then, shouldn't it?

I'm fine now, but next time I am in a personal rut, I'll give it a try. I want to see myself projected into my work. I want a piece of me to be in it, and I want a little bit of it to be in me. Sighh, photography, you are the love of my life. I know guys, I am a nerd.

So no more three month breaks after just two months of shooting with three months of break before it!

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Yesterday I went to a Goodbye BBQ for my friend and her husband. She is continuing her dream and moving to New York to pursue Creative Writing at NYU. They're leaving in about two weeks, and she shall be sorely missed (she's a good friend of mine, and as Ann of Green Gables would say, a "kindred spirit"). She was giving people stuff from the trunk of her car so I picked up a few things for my room but more to take pictures of.

(1) Strange Box
(2) IKEA Star lights
(1) Chinese Print on Tin

I have to admit, as soon as I saw the box and lights, I knew I wanted to take a picture of them. The tin I am still not sure about. It was supposed to be a still-life photo but ended up sort of being a self-portrait once my legs got in there:

Opening Pandora's Box

Click to see it bigger!

I tried hanging the lights up in my room thereafter as a normal person would, but they just look odd to me. I think I am going to take them down, wrap them around more things and photograph them, and then eventually wrap them around my furniture and leave them that way haha.

This picture is called "Opening Pandora's Box." Yep, you should open it. Because while all the world's evils may be inside of it, all the world's blessing may be in there too. And you'll never know if you never look inside. And if you unleash something amazing - well, that's fabulous. And if you unleash something awful you'll survive. Living is worth the risk, isn't it?

In addition, my best friend and I went out for a late night coffee and chalking session. We haven't went chalking in soooooo long so I decided that I ought to document this.



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Lastly, Sarah asked me about how us poor photogs are supposed to do our own styling (Sarah, I commented after you on the last post in response). I figured I'd blog a little bit about it too.

I don't like letting the models do the styling, and this is for several reasons. One is that they don't like it and it makes you look unprofessional. If you let them do the styling, there is always a grave possibility that you won't like what they bring, or maybe it just doesn't match your vision. And isn't it a huge waste if you take a beautiful picture of someone in front of a lovely background and that person is wearing...an American Eagle t-shirt? I think that poor styling is the number one way new/poor photogs kill their photos. So I think it's really important not to skimp out.

The easiest and most sure shot way to get good clothing is to get a stylist of course, but in my experience they are few and far in between that are good and willing to do TFCD. Having a stylist of course also makes scheduling all the more difficult because it adds another person to the mix.

I have several methods of procuring clothing for my models. First of all, I scour thrift stores on a regular basis for myself, so if I find something cool I'll pick it up for a shoot. Sometimes the clothing itself inspires the shoot. I also sell crap on ebay and etsy as well, so sometimes, when the shoot is done, I sell the item on either one in order to make back the money lost, often using the photos from the shoot haha.


I thrifted Grace's dress for this shoot.

Hannah 04

I got this Pixie Hopkins top from a thrift store. It was originally sold in the victoria's secret catalog for about $48.

The Garden 07

I bought this beautiful vintage dress from the thrift store. I ended up selling it on etsy for $50.

In addition, I sometimes just use my own clothes. I can sometimes share my tops with the models, and I often have them wear my shoes or those of my best friend's. Most models range between 8-9, which is around what me and my best friend wear. Shoes are pretty important in an outfit and it is hard to thrift fashionable shoes, and you can't return them once they're worn. I also let the model's bring stuff if they want to because sometimes it is good to have the option.

A Spring Thing - Brooke 02

Brooke wearing her own playsuit, my shoes and sunglasses

Crystal 04

Crystal wearing my shirt and necklace and my best friend's shoes.

The one I try to stay away from but is the most cost efficient is buying clothing and then returning it. I just feel really bad about it and there's always the fear that if something happens to the garment you won't get your money back. But sometimes I do it because I do not wait to sacrifice the quality of the shoot to bad styling. This is especially true of bottoms because it is hard to procure pants that are long and yet are a size 0 to 2, as most models are.

To do this one can either leave the tag on or get a tagger from ebay for like $6. I do both. Another option is to slip the plastic thing through the hole (assuming the hole is big enough) and then slip it back in after the shoot. I wish I had enough money to keep this stuff or give them to the model so I wouldn't have to return them, but I just cannot.

And lastly, sometimes you just get stuck with stuff. You just have to buy them and keep them, because you got them off ebay or something and can't return them. At the same time you couldn't find them at a thrift store or borrow them from anyone because they're that esoteric.

Antique Dream 01

I ended up getting stuck with this gigantic petticoat I used for my shoot with Sharlene and thus lost about $25. The top was about $30, and I returned it after the shoot.

Just Shoot 02

I had to have these nerdy wayfayer glasses for my shoot with melissa. There was nothing I could do but buy them - $8 off ebay. As a consolation, I may wear them myself or use them for another shoot.


In relation to this topic and my shoot with Georgia and Hanh on Saturday, I did a lot of shopping last Saturday with my best friend Shaz and I have pretty much finished the styling for the shoot. It was really tiring, and the clothing overall came from three different stores. Seeing at this is my biggest change shoot ever, I spent over $100 on it. Hopefully it is worth it. I'm feeling rather proud of myself. I feel like Georgia is going to rock the look! We're all pretty excited!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Power is On! Again!

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaack :)

The break is over, the spirits are...well, back to normal at least. Here I am! Here we go! we're shooting again! And we're excited! I booked model Georgia and MUA Hanh for next Saturday, making it the shortest time frame for a shoot ever. I ran out today and did some shopping, and it was pretty successful - I'd say I have about 50% of the clothing I need for the shoot. Georgia is a lovely 5'8" model who is signed with LOOK, so she will be my first LOOK girl. We're doing a four change one look editorial styled shoot. I'm excited to be working, and I'm also excited to be meeting Georgia and Hanh because they both seem very talented and are also very local - I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to shoot with them!

So that's going to be August 1st. Wish us luck. I decided to do this sans stylist since that's usually where the scheduling problem arises from.

In addition, I've recently discovered that Brooke, the pretty brunette model I shot back in March, got signed to Ford - congrats to her! I am so proud!

As for inspirations, I had been digging this editorial of Kate Moss from like last winter's French Vogue. This was originally sent to me by Jennifer, owner of Funkin Junkie vintage, for a commissioned shoot we were supposed to do - before she bailed on me and refused to return my phone calls. So unprofessional. Still, I like the editorial.

In the same vein, I have been digging this Citizens of Humanity Lookbook for Nylon Magazine. Not going to lie, I also like the jeans.

Also, I'm really digging these photos from an Asian fashion mag. I love the setting, colors, styling poses, composition - ugh, I love it all. I can't take credit for finding or scanning these - I took the from Karla's Closet. The top two and bottom two are my absolute favs.








Annnnnd I am also way digging these scans from a recent vogue, also thanks to Karla's Closet. Again, I like the location and the styling, though the colors don't pop enough for me. While normally Bazaar is much more inspiring to me, lately they haven't had much in them that really got me, you know?





Lastly, Sarah Balderas, if you're reading this, something is wrong with your comment box on your blog and I cannot comment on your entries :(

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?