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Category Archives: Portraits
“Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell.” – Official Mad Men Site
I have always wanted to emulate the style that Don Draper epitomizes on this show, but, simply put, I don’t look good in a hat. Since I can’t dress like Don, I decided that taking inspriation from two of the primary female characters for this photo shoot would be more than satisfactory; the always discontent housewife Betty Francis (nee Draper), and everybody’s favorite office manager Joan Harris. I couldn’t have posted this with more perfect timing, as Mad Men starts the long awaited season 5 at the end of the month.
Special thanks to the impeccable Jessica Do for her hair styling and make-up skills that so expertly captured the ‘new-retro’ feel I was going for in this shoot. Thanks to Jamie for being my Betty Francis and to Cassie for capturing Joan Harris so well. This set was shot at the always awesome Candy Factory Studio in Fremont, California.
-Inspired by Betty Draper-
-Inspired by Joan Harris-
– Joan Harris and Betty Draper –
Special thanks to the ever so talented Jessica Do for her crazy hair styling and make up skills. Thanks to Jamie for being my Betty Draper and Cassie for capturing Joan Harris so well. This set was shot at the awesome Candy Factory Studio in Fremont, California.
“Yammer brings the power of social networking inside the enterprise in a private and secure environment. Yammer has the same level of usability as great consumer software like Facebook and Twitter, but its applications have been designed for business collaboration. Why waste time and money trying to mandate tools that your employees resist adopting? Yammer is productivity software that employees love to use.” – I couldn’t have started this blog entry any better than how Yammer describes their awesome product. I personally use Yammer at work, so I was super stoked when they contacted me to shoot their corporate headshots. Like most companies, Yammer had a vague idea of what their headshot should look but also asked me for recommendations. I gave them two options. One was a very professional looking style, similar to what you would see in the website of a Fortune 100 company and the other was an environment shot using natural light. Instead of choosing one or the other they decided to do both.
My first Yammer post featured members of the organization in a Jill Greenberg lighting set up. I didn’t do as much post processing work as Jill would have done to her subject and I also toned the accent lights just a wee bit. The second set of picture (shown below) is more modern and “hip”. I shot them right outside the company using natural light and I used some pretty gnarly graffiti art we found in the alley. I could not have been happier of how the pictures turned out.
Check out my work on their webpage: https://www.yammer.com/about/management
I’ve always admired the works of Keith Selle and other photographers who create a lot of images with models who are, for lack of a better word, “bad assess”. These photographers are able to capture the intensity of the tattoos as well as the beauty of model. Being mostly a corporate and headshot photographer, I rarely get the chance to photograph models with badass tattoos and piercings. Unless Mike Tyson wants a headshot, my chances of photographing someone with an awesome tattoo is very slim.
As I troll Facebook one day, I came across a set of pictures from my news feed and what do you know, it’s a set of pictures of some tatted up girl that I just happen to know. Her tats and piercings were so unique that I went ahead and contacted her to do a shoot. Long story short, we met up in Fremont at my friend’s awesome studio, The Candy Factory Studio, and due to some time constraints, we literally only had about 15min to actually shoot. My awesome MUA/Hairstylist friend, Jessica Do, did her hair and some of her make up. The shoot was, in my opinion, a success. I cannot wait to work with her again in future projects.
- F/6, 1/160, 5d mk2
- Alien Bee 86′ PLM on camera right
- Softbox on far camera left
- Both had Ab800 on it at 1/4 power
I do my fair share of wedding photograhy under a different company name (Nocturnalz Photography), and I’ve been blessed to befriend several talented florists whose constant creativity has pushed my photography to the next level. One florist approached me after a wedding session with an idea to do a “chiquita banana” inspired photoshoot but instead of using fruits as the headdress, she wanted to use flowers! She linked me to a slideshow from an America’s Next Top Model episode as a reference for our shoot.
I didn’t exactly have the budget ANTM has so I suggested inviting a few makeup artists (Audrey and Mimi) and doing more of a beauty portrait shoot with the flower headdresses she had in mind. Stobist information below.
After watching a multiple personality disorder episode of Law and Order: SVU, I got this idea of using the same model in 3 different distinct looks while staying under two hours. I contacted my friend Camille and we started planning this multiple personality disorder photoshoot.
The “looks” couldn’t be that dramatically different from each other because of the two hour constraints. I’ve been in some photoshoots where the make up and hair alone took two hours so I had to keep this one simple. I perused the websites of my 4 favorite portrait and headshot photographers (Vaney Poyey, Peter Hurley, David Muller and Alan Weissman) for inspiration and after several hours of looking through hundreds of picture, I finally picked 3 looks that are different but simple enough to do. Intense athlete, girl next door and seductive villain are the three looks we choose and I am pretty happy with the result. The strobist info can be seen after the pictures.
- Minus 2 Neutral Density Filter on my 85mm 1.2L
- AB 800 @ 1/2 power with a Vagabond Mini on camera left
- The sun @ full power camera right!
- 5d MK2 1/160 F11
- Black and white conversion done in PS
Girl Next Door:
- Natural lighting
- Mk2 1/80 at 1.8
- 85mm 1.2L
- Warmed up a little bit in PS
- AB800 @ 1/4 power with a Vagamond Mini on camera right
- The sun @ “golden hour” power on camera left
- 5d MK2 1/160 F8
- 85mm 1.2L
The order in which the pictures where shot also needed to be taken in consideration. It’s easier to poof up someone’s hair after straightening it or add more make up rather than wiping it off. The 3 shots are shown in the order they were taken.
A Master’s degree from Georgetown University… Good Job Jessica!
I consider Jessica to be one of my really good friends; she’s also one of the few people who can tell me to ‘stop it’, and I will actually listen! Jessica recently approached me and asked if I would be willing to take her graduation portraits; after much deliberation on what style we should use, we ended up going for a traditional set-up.
I should really just take pictures of the set-up so I don’t have to type so much, but for now, here’s a quick breakdown of what I used:
- Beauty Dish on a AB 800 at 1/4 power on camera right.
- AB 800 at 1/2 power pointed at the backdrop.
- Reflector at the opposite side of the BD.
I have always wanted to get a Master’s degree because I always have believed you could then put “Master” in front of your name, similar to getting a doctorage and being able to use “Doctor” in one’s signature… but alas, this is not the case. Either ‘Master Moses Sison’, or ‘Moses Sison, Master’ would be a pretty good salutation, right? *sigh*
Nature vs. Nurture… do people learn how to pose in-front of the camera or are they just born knowing how to pose? I am no anthropologist but a recent portrait session has me leaning towards “born with it”.
Accountant during the weekday and awesome lifestyle model during the weekend. Lynn was very professional and easy to work with. She had suggestions on location, clothing and poses. The portrait session went smoothly and we would have kept going but it started to rain in Baker Beach.
Nerdy Photography note… I actually had problems uploading this in WordPress because the color profile I initially used was ProFoto RGB. Apparently ProFoto RGB isn’t supported by WordPress and it completely messed it up. It darkened and desaturated the pictures making her look like a corpse. I ended up changing my work flow because of this and I’ll be using sRGB as my color profile from now on.
One of my favorite photographers is Jill Greenberg. I’ve always been fascinated with her “Babies Crying” headshot / portrait project. I wanted to recreate something very similar but I didn’t really have any babies lying round to shoot let alone make cry so I had to improvise. I asked my girlfriend and her friend to model for me one Sunday afternoon and below are the pictures we ended up creating.
I actually used a lighting break down illustrated in one of David Hobby’s blog entry but I replaced the ring light with a Lastolite Trigrip for fill. I actually won that reflector at the Flash Bus Tour in San Jose. I am probably going to use this headshot / portrait lighting when I shoot a couple of execs up in San Fransisco this weekend.