Tag Archives: bay area modeling agency photographer

Johnny La – Portrait Session – Actor Headshots

I LOVE doing headshots for aspiring actors and actresses. Why you ask? Well let me count the ways:

1. They can take direction. Look up, look down, look straight into the camera, slight smile, no smile, are just some of the directions I give when shooting a headshot. Folks who have studied acting responds to these admirably.

2. On top of taking straight forward directions well, they can also understand “meta” directions. Directions such as look flirtatious, look villainous, look innocent and so on are never followed with, “What do you mean?” They know what I meant and they execute it flawlessly.

3. They show up on time… or even early. Actors and actresses tend to be very punctual or even early for the shoot. They don’t arrive 30min late then start acting like a diva demanding make-up and hair done ASAP! They are super humble because they understand how hard it is to work with someone who is a pain in the arse.

4. They are in The Zone with me! This is important because they know that it takes two to make a great headshot, the photographer and the subject. They live in the moment and match each other’s energy right from the get go. The Zone can be lonely sometimes so it’s always nice to have someone there with you from time to time. :)

With that said, I truly enjoyed my photoshoot with Mr. Johnny La several months ago. He’s a great guy who exhibited the 4 things I listed above. Here’s a preview of our shoot. Check out his website at www.johnnyla.com.

Edgy Bad Guy.

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Friendly Guy Next Door.

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High Powered Finance Professional.

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The lighting was inspired by one of my favorite headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. http://peterhurley.com/

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Eva Luna – Portrait Session – Model Development

Photographing a model who has extensive dance background is very different that photographing a model who grew up modeling. I had recently had the opportunity of photographing Eva Luna in my favorite studio The Candy Factory in Fremont, CA. Vince Gotti, the Director of Photography at GEV Magazine set the shoot up and contacted the amazing hair stylist Roy from Hairby Roy along with the always fabulous Prince Kaleo from The Armoire Closet to create a fantastic photography set.

Eva was so interesting to work with. Unlike most models who moves from pose to pose, Eva fluidly moved throughout the entire shoot. It was up to the photographer to guide the movement and capture an instance where the movement is at it’s most beautiful state.  Now I would never give this posing advice when I am doing corporate headshots or portrait photography here in San Jose / San Francisco area but for some reason, she was able to make it work. Maybe it was because she was a dancer maybe she was just really good at what she does; no matter what the reason on how she made “fluid posing” work, I am looking forward to working with her again in the future.

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Ulorin Vex – Portrait Session – Model Development

Did you know that your whole body needs to be fully lubricated in order to wear latex? No? Well neither did I until my last photoshoot with British Alternative Super Model Ulorin Vex!

I’ve never really shot an alternative / punk rock model in the past so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I checked out her website prior to the shoot and it was filled with some of the most creatively beautiful / crazy looking images I’ve ever seen. From doing mostly corporate headshot around Silicon Valley to shooting a latex wearing, red haired British model with nipple patches… the transition wasn’t easy. The most risque shoot I’ve done prior to this was when Adam Pisoni, the CTO of Yammer Inc, decided to take off his tie and shoot outside! *gasp*

After the initial awkwardness of me introducing myself “Hello ummm I am Moses… I’ll be taking your pictures today.” and her replying with (in an English accent) “Good to meet you.” Pip pip, cheerio, carry on.” – I added that last part; the shoot went great. We took some full body pictures, several headshots and a couple of portraits. Below are some of my favorite images from the shoot.

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Ohh and one last thing… huge thanks to the super sexy and talented Jodie Truong of JodieStudio for creating my new logo.

 

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Ashlee English – Portrait Session – Model Development

I rarely shoot professional models because most of my clientele are corporate folks here in the Bay Area who are looking for professional headshots. I needed to mix things up and I was lucky enough to be invited to one of CandyFactory’s meet ups in Fremont CA. The model for this meet up was Ashlee and she was amazing. She was so professional and needed very little direction. I usually tend to talk a lot during a photoshoot so that my subject would loosen up and show their personality. Ashlee showed her personality right from the start and literally shut me up. Aside from the occasional “chin up”, “move your hands” and “fix your hair”, I didn’t really have to say anything. Her make up was flawless, courtesy of Krytal Garza and lighting was fine tuned by Mr. Vincent G. If you’re interested in the camera settings and technical stuff, I’ve listed the specs after the pictures.

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  • Camera: 5d M2 ISO 100, f/8, 1/160
  • Lens: 70mm – 200mm 2.8L (most of my shots were around 135mm)
  • First picture was a beauty dish with a grid.
  • Second picture was a big soft box on top camera right with another soft box on camera left for fill.
  • Third picture was two huge softboxes on both side metered to be exactly the same.
  • Fourth picture was in a white cove with just one Profoto light.
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Phuong – Tattoos, Piercings and a Mohawk – Bad Ass Portrait

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.

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Strobist Info:

  • 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

 

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Floral Headdress – Beauty Portraits

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.

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Strobist Info:

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Camille – San Jose Headshot/Portrait Session

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.

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Intense Athlete:

  • 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

Seductive Villain:

  • 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.

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Ao Dai – Vietnamese Traditional Long Dress

I’ve always thought that the Ao Dai, the Vietnamese traditional dress, is one of the most conservative traditional dresses out of all the traditional dresses in Asia. It’s clean, simple and covers a woman from neck to toe. However, the Ao Dai is also extremely sexy. The almost see through material plays with one’s imagination and the fluidity of the fabric moves with just the slightest wind. It’s also often worn as the official uniform for students in Vietnam. I’ve read somewhere that the design of the dress is a “way of teaching students feminine behavior such as modesty, caution, and a refined manner”.

I am lucky enough to do several portraits of Vietnamese women in their Ao Dais for the past 3 years. This is due to my involvement with the Miss Vietnam of Northern California Intercollegiate pageant (HKLT for short… don’t ask) here in the Bay Area. I provided them with headshots and sponsored a photoshoot for whoever wins the title “Ms. Photogenic”.

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Many thanks to Jodie Truong for the art direction and post processing skills.

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Fashion Show – Lolita in Paris by KMABELLEMINA

Confession time: I am not really the most fashionable person in the world but I really enjoy going to fashion shows and I love meeting fashion designers.  Much like getting to know your clients before a headshot or portrait photoshoot, getting to know the designers before their fashion show makes a huge difference. I feel like I am able to really capture the artistic intentions of what the designer is trying to express.

I am lucky enough to attend a fashion show in which the two designers happen to be good friends of mine. KMABELLEMINA’s fashion line, whom I mentioned in a previous post, are simply awesome. They transform [vintage clothes] into modern and wearable pieces, while paying homage to the past decades. Mina and Kathy breathe life into  clothes, creating new styles and re-defining an aesthetic that would otherwise be lost. Their newest collection, entitled “Lolita in Paris”, while as a whole is a stunning collection, really shines in the attention to detail the designers have placed on each piece.

I’ve developed a certain style of photographing fashion shows and largely adopted Bill Cunningham‘s thoughts about fashion. I’ll expand on that after the pictures…

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Fashion shows in its very core are meant to emphasize… fashion. They exist to showcase the designer’s vision and to mark a pinnacle of the their work.  However, it seems like we’ve deviated from that way of thinking because we focus on the models that walk down the run way instead of the actual purpse; the clothes on their bodies. An example I can relate to would be having to sit in a media box. Photographers are huddled around the media box and the models are photographed straight on. Fashion never happens straight on in a static environment; fashion is dynamic, expressed when the subject is moving in infinite ways and combinations, so I wonder, ‘Why should we approach this from such a drasticly different intent from the designer?”

I personally feel that the best viewpoint is right in the front row with the other spectators; it allows one, as a photographer, to capture a much truer perspective of the clothing and the experience of the event. Don’t get me wrong, media boxes still have their place at runway fashion shows, but I think that both photographers and designers would be better served there there were several media boxes placed within the event.

On a lighter note, I met some pretty interesting people at this fashion show. A guy who worked at Facebook who was super proud of his girlfriend being one of the models and Dora Danh who writes a very interesting fashion blog.

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Fashion Line – KMABELLEMINA Vintage.Glam.Unique

I met Mina back in 2008 when I was just starting to get serious with my photography. I planned a crazy photoshoot involving 3 MUAs, 7 models and help of a very skilled photographer, Mark Sebastien. Mina happened to be one of the 3 MUAs and she did an amazing job with the models. After several months of our initial collaboration, Mina contacted me to take pictures of her new fashion line which she co founded with her friend Kathy. From their grass roots humble beginnings to their super awesome fashion show happening this Friday 10/21, KMABELLEMINA continues to impress with their vintage glam style of clothing that is truly unique.

Below is a sample of their Summer 2011 line:

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Strobist info:

  • Beauty Dish right above the model on an AB800
  • Huge white reflector on the ground infront of the model
  • 5d MK2 1/125 power to let some of the afternoon ambient light come in

 

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