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Artos the Bear – Model, Photographer & Friend – Test Shoot

November 03, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Shoot Date: June 15, 2010

This blog entry comes late and way out of order. Why? Because friends are awesome.

Friends say, “Sure, I’ll drive down from LA to pose for your test shoot.” Then, even more lovingly, they say, “Don’t worry about processing the photos now. I know you’re super swamped, so wait until you have time. And take care of the edits for your other models first.” So, to my friend and lovely model, Artos the Bear, I tip my hat in gratitude. Your patience is superhuman. :)

I’ve shot Artos in the past, but this was our first shoot together with my DSLR camera. It was really fun for me to work with a friend while my camera was still relatively new to me. She was patient while I fiddled with manual focus…

….she followed direction as I ordered her in different directions to play with light….

…and she held her beautiful poses gracefully throughout…

Modeling isn’t easy, ladies and gentleman… even if the model is good enough to make it seem so!

It’s also helpful that Artos is a photographer as well, so she sees her poses from both perspectives. Her style is mythic and storytelling, so her poses usually have a romantic and ethereal feel to them. I must say, I’m perpetually jealous of the slender sleekness of Artos’ figure. She has the muscle and body of someone who really moves as a part of daily life, rather than just hitting the gym once a week. And her modeling practice allows her to twist and twine her body into beautiful designs:

She also has these really gorgeous, piercing, golden eyes. I absolutely love this photo. It’s just so…. raaaawwwrrr!!!! I love it when a model can convey so much to the viewer through his or her expression:

This next one is always going to be one of my favorite photos. I love her spunky attitude (“You just try to stop me from whatever delinquent act I’m about to do, little puppy!“), love the light that’s burning amber on her cheek, and perhaps I love the most the feeling I got when I first saw the photo on the computer screen. There was something about this photo that proved to me that I could really be a photographer, and I won’t forget that feeling. Thank you, Artos. :)

And of course, when you’re shooting with friends, you have to be sure to get a silly shot or two…

Later, Artos changed outfits for some experimental night shots. This was my first attempt at nighttime shooting with the new camera, and I didn’t really have my settings down. But I like what we caught, nonetheless, and it was amusing trying to time the open shutter with the passing cars for optimal headlight blur:

To see more images from my shoot with Artos the Bear, view the slideshow:


Yessie Lopez – Model – 80′s Punk Shoot

September 10, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Shoot Date: July 1, 2010

After working once with Yessie and Phi, I was definitely looking forward to our next shoot. This second shoot was actually Yessie and my originally scheduled shoot, but Yessie had been great enough to come out for an impromptu shoot a few weeks earlier, resulting in the photos in the link above.

This shoot was more punky/edgy than the pinup romance and rockstar glamour of our last shoot. Of course, Yessie, being the gorgeous girl she is, injected plenty of glamour into her punk style, while still pulling off the edge I wanted. Niiiice.

I had this concept that I wanted to convey with Yessie on the railroad tracks. I saw this young, punky thing… either hanging out on her own after classes, or possibly even trying to get away from home, but not because she was just blindly rebellious, but rather because she was inspired: a reader, a thinker, a dreamer… wanting more from life than she was currently getting. I asked Yessie to use some books as props, and though I think it was an odd concept for most people to vibe with (and perhaps felt a little after-school special, lol), she worked with what I asked of her, and gave me a shot I love:

Another thing that always impresses me about Yessie’s modeling is her ability to fill the frame. I kept noticing throughout the shoot how every pose she’d strike created a beautiful balance of form and negative space within my viewfinder, and I had only to frame and capture it. Definitely a valuable sense of self awareness (or natural gift) to have in a model. :)

Shooting Yessie is a delightful experience, because she really knows how to move and can pose easily for hours with very little direction. She naturally shifts her body and expression from moment to moment, providing the photographer with plenty to capture. Sometimes it’s hard to STOP taking pictures of her. I am very fond of this photo… we had the most amazing golden light that evening:

Just a few days ago, I decided to sit down and make sure I had edited the photos I wanted to post from this set (moment of uber-frankness: because I wanted to finally get back on track with this blog after my vacation, lol), and I found this last one that I finished up and simply adore. I can’t even put words to why I love it so much, but I do.

I tell ya, it’s certainly rough working with someone with such excellent bone structure and flawless skin </sarcasm>.  As we were shooting, and as we walked back to the car afterward, Yessie was getting plenty of male attention and car honking.  After one of the final car honks, I told her she just had to go out on the town and have fun that evening, since she was apparently already rocking the heck out of the look.  ;)

To see all of the frames from Yessie’s 80′s punk shoot, please view the slideshow:


Sandy Moore – Dancer and Actress – Wilderness Shoot

August 03, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Shoot Date: June 27, 2010

Sandy Moore arrived exactly on time, and had interpreted my wardrobe desires perfectly. She greeted me with a huge, sweet smile, and we chatted amiably as we walked from the parking lot to the wilderness area. I was so excited to see her in person: Many of her profile photos had a glammed-up style, but as soon as I saw her face, I thought of nothing but “bohemian girl in golden, rustling, tall grass.” I had to do a bit of scouting to find the right location, so I was very pleased when she showed up and proved me right as a perfect natural, bohemian model. :)

Since early morning assignments are not my MUA‘s favorite (she’s got kids!), and because this was a very natural-beauty themed shoot, Sandy provided her own make up, which was lovely shades of brown and neutrals.

We walked out into some tall grass, right off the bat, and the funny thing I noticed: when I had scouted the location a few days earlier with my best friend, I was pretty nervous about actually entering any of the grassy areas and whatnot, since I am a first.rate.PRISS! But once the camera was in my hand, and the model-photographer magic started flowing, I found myself tromping through grass, sitting in dirt, sticking my face through plants to get close ups… it was pretty amusing.

And Sandy was right at home in the wilderness! Within minutes she was sprawled out in the grass for me, providing that shot above, which I absolutely adore. :)

At one point, both the model and I heard a sound that sounded enough like a rattlesnake that we both, wide-eyed, did a “Did you hear that?”, “Yep… you did too?”, “Yep. Let’s scram!!!” I’ll tell you, that (be it snake or not) was my closest experience with a rattlesnake. Ever. Oh, how I hate snakes. But oh, do I love photography. ;P

I had really wanted to do a shoot in a field, where the varying depths of field are evident in the flowers/grass that surround the model. I got exactly what I wanted:

I’ve been told the photo would have been more striking with a portrait lens, rendering the background blurrier, but personally, I really like the bokeh as it is.

My scouting buddy and I had found a dried up creek bed, but assessed it a little too dangerous to climb into, since the rocks were unsteady and whatnot. But did that stop our Sandy? Oh no. She saw a prime location and she was not about to pass it up!! She found a path and jumped on down, and I followed, yet again amused. We got some great shots in there!

The lighting was beautiful:

And we’ll just ignore the fact that we found a dead bird carcass while there. Because, you know… that would taint an otherwise lovely story. ;P

As you can tell, Sandy and I had a really miserable time. And here’s the photographic proof:

I kept snapping candid shots of her laughing, and she told me I could post them and say, “See? Proof that I’m funny.” So there you have it. I’m funny. :)

In addition to mailing me her model release (since I, in my morning stupor, forgot to have her sign one!), Sandy was even sweet enough to contact me the next day, when she fell unexpectedly ill, to warn me to take a bunch of vitamin C. Adorable!!

For more images from this wilderness shoot, view the slideshow: