I recently spoke for Adobe at the two big national photographic conventions, PPA in Nashville and WPPI in Vegas. The week leading up to the second convention I photographed Jessica, and used her shoot as my demo for the crowd in Vegas to teach workflow and retouching. It worked great because it was a fun photoshoot that involved some problem solving.
We had a batch of warm weather and planned something outside, but it turned out to be a very cold day in Utah instead. And because of time constraints, our first choice for a location shoot fell through and we instead met at a parking lot between us where there was no “traditionally great” place to shoot. But we set out to find something that would hide the brown, dead, winter look of Utah, and also possibly block some of the heavy and cold winter wind of the day. And with some creativity and lighting skills, I know that any background can work.
Jessica spotted this awesome bright red double-decker bus and we set up. The wind was cold and pretty heavy, I believe hitting 20 mph that day. But the wind was blocked on this far side and the sky was on a great angle from the sun to really go blue when mixed with some lighting techniques that would also knock down the harshness of the sun.
Jessica is great in front of the camera. She’s relaxed, she moves well, and she responds perfectly to direction. I love the emotion and action between these images in this trio above. The deep colors, her hair blowing, her laugh – it all really makes this set incredibly interesting.
We also did some work on the side of the bus to put the sun behind us, but the wind was a lot stronger here so we didn’t last long. But here is one of my favorites with her hair blowing in the wind. And with the warm beautiful colors, you’d never know it was freezing cold. However, between setups, she was bundled up in coats. She was a good sport.
We didn’t have much time left, so I thought of finishing up inside somewhere warmer. There was a nearby hotel where a friend used to be night manager, and so we walked over and asked to use their lobby for a few minutes. This is Jessica as we were walking in, wearing my down parka backwards on top of her own layers.
We took about 20 minutes or so in the hotel’s lobby, and got a great variety of amazing images. There is a lot of expression and changes of mood in these images, and notice too how the lighting changes from shot to shot to constantly highlight her cheekbones as she moves. There were so many fun images and every one shows a different side of Jessica and I couldn’t cut any out. In fact I thought they worked great as a series so I used them all and created this square collage.
Though my program for Adobe was on retouching techniques, the big secret is to of course do everything with lighting so that no retouching or adjustments are required. And then when you retouch, it should be subtle so that everything looks natural. That’s what really makes women look great.
But as a side note, none of the images in these collages have had any retouching or adjustments. And yet her eyes pop, her skin glows (and isn’t gray or muddy), the angles of light and the color balance are all right on so she looks great and the background colors pop – and add to that Jessica’s graceful movements and her fun personality and we have one killer shoot.
This colors of the couch and wall worked great with her outfit so I made a trio (above) and felt this one long shot below was really interesting and captivating, so I used it as the basis for a painting.
And here is the final painting.
And on the way out of the lobby was a big leaf mural. I shot a few closing images by it and did some texture work to the background.
Well there you go, one great shoot created on a very cold and windy day while finding new and unique places to shoot.
If you were a photographer who attended my speaking event then you can see how the collages and and other ideas all came together. If you’re a model or a high school senior and want fantastic images, now is the time to book. And if you’re a bride and want to look great no matter where your wedding is located or what the weather is like, give me a call. 801-728-3317. I know just how to make women look great, so call me and let’s talk about your dream portrait.
And until next time, America.