What a difference it makes, working with a young, beautiful model. I’ve been experimenting with shooting friends and family for the past few months. I knew portrait work was something I really wanted to explore and have been having a good time playing with it. The tough part is that I do not know how to give direction. So most of my shots end up being pretty vanilla poses. I have more fun with my daughter, because she just a beam of energy and I can catch her being funny and goofy, and it translates well in photos. But working with others, I’ve just had no idea what to say, how to pose them, or really how to challenge my photography with them. So, I put out a call for help last month, asking for opinions on a path to take with this. And many, many of you suggested working with an actual model rather than pursuing street photography with strangers – as those get stagnant fairly quickly.
So, on your advice, I found Model Mayem and created a profile, uploaded a handful of photos of friends and family and eagerly awaited my approval. After about a week, I got the email saying I had what it takes to be listed as a photographer and began my hunt for models to work with. I only searched locally, and really only looked for models willing to work TFP (Time for Print). I added a handful as contacts to get an idea what they were looking to do to fill their portfolios and had email exchanges with a few of them. I set up several meets with one young lady, but they kept getting cancelled for one reason or another. So, I went hunting for more profiles and expanded to look for those working for pay as well as TFP.
My search stopped on one amazing profile. She was someone who really called out to me and I knew I had to shoot. I sent out a request and she got right back to me, agreeing to a time and place. This week, I began working with a very talented and very beautiful model, Anne Mary.
We decided to meet at a local apple orchard to explore the location and light. The sky had been threatening all day, but never broke loose. So, we met at the orchard just as mother nature decided to play a cruel trick and open up the sky with torrential down pours, wind and lightening. We didn’t want our meeting time to go to waste, so we made a break for a barn at the orchard to see what kind of light was falling in there. I have to say, the light was amazing. This photo to the right was taken right at the barn door, just outside the rain. As you can see, Anne Mary was very comfortable in front of the camera – making my job so easy. All I needed to do was point the camera at her and shoot away.
She brought several wardrobe changes and went through them all! From the jeans and raincoat shot, to the flowing skirt at the top of the page, to this “stop-traffic-in-its-path” red dress. For the shots in the red dress, the sun was kind enough to poke from the clouds just as it was setting. Anne Mary was bathed in this beautiful golden light that was so amazing to shoot in. We cranked off a few shots in the barn, some just outside by a fence and a few by the pond. But with the dwindling sun, we wanted to catch one more glimpse of light and made our way to the lower orchards (where we shot the pose at the top of the page).
We didn’t have a lot of time in our first session, maybe 90 minutes of dodging storms and chasing the light, but we made the best of it. We really had a great connection – both very comfortable with each other and both of us wanting to shoot the same style. We knew right away that we would be doing a ton of work with each other. (Oh, and did I mention that she likes to take photos as well and has quite the eye for location spotting?)
Like I said, I am really being spoiled by having her as my very first model to work with.
Anne Mary has a stunning, gorgeous, and all natural smile that I did manage to steal several shots of as seen to the right here (also, one below is titled “alternate processing”). I love seeing that smile and capturing it – though it seems any face she makes for me (yes, that’s including sticking her tongue out at me) is just as amazing and photogenic. And I find the more we’re working together, the more comfortable we both become.
Anyhow, I was able to get off one last shot before we ran out of light. One of my favorites, though the ISO was bumped a bit to 800 and the lens was almost wide open. My focus was off, but I am in love with this shot:
We knew we had to meet again to explore each others work even more. We quickly scheduled another meeting (just 3 days after our first) and returned to the lower orchards where we found an amazing Willow hanging over a small pond. While session one was entirely shot with Carl Zeiss 85mm glass, session two was entirely Carl Zeiss 35mm. This gave an wonderful new look and feel to the shots, allowing for nice wide framing and ultimate clarity.
We began shooting at the Willow – it was so majestic and beautiful. As you can see from this shot, Anne Mary nestled in so cozy and naturally here – this shot was just made for taking! There’s also a really cute swing here, but I’ll have to get those photos uploaded later.
The session here went nice, but once again, we were really short on time and began chasing the sun again. On the way back up to our cars, we spotted this really cool spot where the old country road wound off into the distance and grabbed this image to the right. (Played a little with the processing to give it a really warm feel).
We made the last few moments of light across the street near the top of a hill. There was some beautiful long grass to play in. Anne Mary had to wade through a little bit of swampy muck, but it didn’t seem to phase her in the least (man, she’s the best!)
She settled down in the grass and we played with what remaining light there was, giving this beautiful last shot of her. Though I have not worked with any other models, I don’t know that I want to as I am so spoiled by Anne Mary. I’d love to be her exclusive photographer one day – I really think this is a perfect match of model and photographer, if I do say so myself!
A quick note that I am planning for the end of the world this Saturday and the coming of the Zombies on Sunday (what else would you expect?). Sorry I have been quiet on here – been really exploring portrait work these past few weeks and actually signed up for a ModelMayhem account so I can work with some pros and upcoming models. Have a few appointments lined up for this summer (TFP – time for prints) work. A found a bunch of lovely models wanting to increase their portfolios in unique ways – so we’ll be exploring all kinds of new areas in the months to come. Stay tuned!!
About the Photo
This is my son, Nick. He wanted a “zombie” shot of him, so we went out by the pond in the back yard and took a series of shots with the Carl Zeiss 1.4/85mm lens. No makeup. I think went into Photoshop and did my own thing to transform him with pale skin, decaying flesh, dead eyes, blood splatter and bullet holes. You’re looking at about 15 layers. Process took about 20 minutes – not bad considering it was my first real attempt at this!