When I have downtime while traveling, one of my favorite things to do is take a walk around the city with my camera to see what I can find. Her are a few of my favorites from NYC.
Fred came to my studio after his New York agent recommended that he work with me. Fred needed updated actor headshots and and couldn’t have been a more unassuming and down to earth guy! We got to chatting a little about his career and he told me he used to work in LA. I love to hear people’s stories so I asked him what type of work he did out there, assuming film. He told me he actually was in TV and did a little shot for a while. Curious, I asked him if it was a show I might know. He casually replied, “Oh yeah, a little show called The Love Boat.” Blank stare. The.frickin.Love.Boat?!!
Turns out that not only was Fred “Gopher” on the Love Boat for nine seasons but he was a member of Congress, College Professor, TV and Radio host, former President/Captain/CEO of Goodwill and is a Harvard grad (!) What?! Who knew?!
Of course Fred didn’t mention any of this during the shoot (my assistant looked up his bio for this post). He wasn’t about bragging, just getting the best shots and his years of experience in front of the camera showed–he knew exactly what to do to get the shot! He really impressed me and I could tell he was a seasoned professional in front of the camera.
Fred and his agent were thrilled with his photos and he started booking work with his photos before they were even retouched! Score!
When I go on vacation I am always at a crossroads between being a vacationer and being a photographer. On one hand I want to bring my camera and shoot everything I see. I want to dive into the world of creativity and play all day long with shapes, color and textures. But then I end up being and thinking like a photographer, which bothers everyone around me. My mind is occupied with looking and spotting great things to shoot. I'm continuously looking for what I can shoot next.
Then there is always the option of NOT bringing the camera. The option of looking and seeing my experience without thinking about f-stops or shutter speeds. But, then I get this sort of anxiety of not being able to capture the things I see. Yes, I'm enjoying a nice relaxing time, but I always find myself saying, "Wow, look at that, I wish I had my camera." I could always just take my iPhone, which I've done in the past but the experience just isn't the same, and usually ends up with me thinking like a photographer again, not a person relaxing on vacation.
Nevertheless, on a recent trip to Hawaii, I played Mr. Photographer and I got rather snappy with my Sony NEX5 16mm 2.8 toy. Luckily, I was with another photographer, so I was easily forgiven. Here are a few of my favorites.
Cedrick Dbn came to me from Paris. Well, not literally. He happened to be in town visiting from France for a week and really needed some updated images for his modeling agency. Photographers in Paris are a dime a dozen, Cedrick wanted an American photographer to shoot his images because we often have a different eye. He requested a European style (obviously) with the clothing, but with an urban edge. I knew just the stylist, my good friend Will Lawry couldn’t say no. I purposely choose Georgetown as the shoot location because the forecast called for rain. I knew an ideal spot where rain wouldn’t even be noticed... under the K Street bridge.
This was a very small shoot. Cedrick. Will. My D3/1.4 85mm and me. No reflectors. No lights. No rain. It was a bit of a tough shoot in that Cedrick's English isn't perfect. Soooo shouting, “look to the left” or “chin down” proved to be difficult. My French is pretty much limited to saying, “oui oui, stupid American” while pretending to ash a cigarette. Speaking of trying to be somebody I'm not, whenever we get cool clothing at a shoot I always like to try it on. You know, just to see if I can make the clothing look as good as the model does. Of course, it never plays out that way and I always end up looking inferior. See below.
After the shoot was over and we lost daylight, we headed over to the studio for a few clean body shots, something Cedrick was very familiar with. Speaking of body, his is offensively perfect with seemingly little effort. While breaking from the shoot, he ate exactly two bowls of dry Fruit Loops, 3 pieces of bread and a handful of Smarties. Not to mention the Burger King he told me he had the previous day. Life is just not fair. C’est la vie.
Overall this was a very smooth and easy shoot. I think it proves that you can do a lot with little resources. A good model, great styling, a little planning and you’ve got yourself a shoot!
Just got a thank you email from Cedrick. Found out that his agency loved the images and he just got booked for a Calvin Klein job. Not too bad! I have also decided I’ll be visiting the Eiffel Tower in January and will probably shoot some models while there. Need to visit RosettaStone.com, quick.
Below are some of the shots Cedrick added to this portfolio.
Most people wouldn't guess that one of my favorite places to hang out in is a graveyard, they are always quiet, peaceful, calm (unless of course there is a funeral going on - then lots of crying). Most of the crew were pretty creepied out by the concept of shooting in a graveyard, but I was excited about it! What can I say, I like things that are strange, unusual and fascinating.
This shoot had a few firsts for me. I had never shot in a graveyard and before it was over our model Leanne, was laying in an open grave. At the same time, I was taking photos while sitting on a dead guy's tombstone. Hope he didn't mind.
The vision of the shoot was deathly, with hair messy and disheveled. Vintagey, ghostly fabrics were draping from the model. And the makeup was to be fairly clean. I wanted to keep the lighting really simple for two reasons. 1… I'm lazy. And 2… we didn't have permission to shoot there, so we needed a quick escape should something go awry. We took a risk with this one because there was no backup plan or location.
Call time was 5 am. NO ONE's favorite time of the day. But, after five years working on a morning radio show, 4 am wake up calls were not new to me. We arranged to have these fabulous 8 inch nails put on the model. We were all super excited about it! However, the nail tech called at 5:15 and said she wasn't coming. Actually, no, she texted me. Ick. So the fabulous assistant Jackie had to rush to CVS and get acrylic nails, and paint them black. Quickly… and in a graveyard. Happy Halloween Jackie!
It's no surprise that interesting characters would pop up at a graveyard. But, always a great opportunity! While shooting, we met a gentleman (maybe my soulmate?) taking his daily walk through the graveyard with a beautiful white Great Dane. I thought the dog would be a great element in the shot and the owner was cool with shooting. The dog?… not so much! There are probably 50 outakes of an uncooperative canine. Eeehh, another shoot maybe.
Though I only had 3 days to edit and retouch the images, I was happy with the end result. I loved creating something new in a place with so much history. We were shooting next to tombstones that were hundreds of years old! Aside from the nail snag (get it?), the rest of the elements really came together--great team, amazing weather, strong clothing and an unusual and fascinating location.
Miami is one of my favorite cities! It's a city, it's a beach, it's relaxed, it's energetic, all at the same time. I promise I could lay on the beach (in the shade of course) for hours. I was down there shooting some fashion editorial photos and video for Explore Modeling and I asked some of the photo assistants to get snappy with the camera, and by camera I mean iPhone. This trip was actually one of the toughest trips I have done in a long time. Just before the trip I injured my back (doing something stupid) and was really having a hard time getting around. The crew were absolutely wonderful and didn't seem to mind me hobbling around or laying on my back in between shots. Luckily they didn't get any shots of that!
The top modeling agency in DC, The Artist Agency, came to me needing a real makeover on a cute 17 y/o girl. The owner of the agency wanted something updated for her hair and a look that would make her stand out. So of course I got my best hair and makekup talent, James Cornwell, and we went to work! Here is the before... and after!
Ok, not really but doesn't it look like it?? Here are the shots I took for My First Time - The Play. They are being used on posters everywhere in DC. The Off-Broadway play opens tomorrow - see you there!