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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Highschool Photographer picks up on shooting fashion early

NOTE: "These photos were not taken by me (except for the one photo of Ms. Ange Smith, the upcoming fashion photographer). These are her photos. Taken because she wanted to learn first hand what it would be like to do what I do everyday."
Reflecting back on my high school days, I remember our school photography class consisting of cameras made of cardboard boxes which you dropped in a mailbox and a few days later you got some dark, grainy horribly exposed photos mailed back to you which you turned in for a grade. The advanced photography class learned how to develop film, and worked on the school paper and yearbook. I never made it to the advanced class and today my business is photography. Ms Ange Smith, a highschool senior with aspirations to become a fashion photographer is suppose to begin a 8 hour session of "shadowing" me and observing how I create my art. But I wanted her to walk away with more than just an insight of being a photographer, so I gave her the best seat in the studio. Instead of shadowing Bluestill, she would become me, and walk away with the experience none of her classmates would have. A full understanding of what it takes to meet a prospective client, arrange a shoot, set it up, direct it, and shoot it. And if that wasn't enough, I decided to videotape the entire episode to give her some real bragging rights and one heck of a resume, because if my client liked the images, they would be used on their website and printed on their brochures and business cards. And young Ms Smith would not find out how much responsibility she was about to take on until she walked in the door to meet me.
I watched her eyes grow as big as saucers and then dinner plates as I explained to her what she was about to endure. "This is no reality TV show. This is real business and real serious business". She seemed a bit wobbly as we approached the client's store, but then she put on her game face and took her charge. The client did not hold back from telling Ms Smith her expectations and that the merchandise she would be shooting was brand newly arrived and she needed the images as soon as possible. Ange took notes every time the client spoke, as she had been instructed to do, and this pleased me. Ange then introduced Phoebe, the model for the shoot which she would be using to the client, and proceeded with wardrobe selection, accessory matching, and fittings. Afterwards, we left the client's store to discuss where and how we would shoot the wardrobe. Satisfied that we were ready, we called it a day. The next morning came quickly as I went down my checklist ensuring that I had everything ready to go. I picked up the model and proceeded to the shoot location, where Ange and her parent arrived only moments later. As we waited on the makeup artist to arrive, I took the opportunity to familiarize Ange with the Nikon D700. we then set up and metered our lighting for two of the three sets where we would be shooting. The third shoot was a possible outdoor shoot, but just in case the weather changed we had planned a third location as a backup. Finally the makeup artist arrived and he whisked the model off to get her ready. Ange took this opportunity to get used to the weight and operation of the camera by shooting photos of the makeup process. Then the moment had arrived and Ange placed the camera settings on the previously recorded settings from when we had metered the lights. Her nerves got the best of her at first, but as she calmed she begin to shoot some pretty impressive shots. Satisfied we moved to the next outfit and the next set, and she did even better shooting this session. As the model changed into the 3rd and final outfit, I checked outside and the weather was looking pretty ugly, so we made a split decision to shoot the alternate location indoor. And a good thing because before we finished it, rain was pouring outdoors. By now, Ange was used to the camera and metering the lights, and she moved around like a pro capturing her visions. Finally it was all over. As we broke down equipment, repacked wardrobe and took accountability for everything. We then sat down and had an after action review of the shoot, and viewed the images. Now it was time to edit. Ange was familiar with photoshop, but it is impossible for me to teach or even expect her to be able to edit these photos to the liking of the client. However, from looking at what she had captured, I knew that the edits would not be difficult because she had captured some amazing photos and taken highschool photography to the next level. I asked Ange a few questions which she replied " I thought the overall experience was a real eye opener. I didn't expect to be so involved with the makeup and wardrobe as I really was" "The first thought about the equipment I used, was really expensive, but I could tell that the more I got used to the camera and its settings that it got easier as the went along" "The biggest lesson I learned was how the equipment came together to make the shot happen. All the lighting and camera angles make a big difference". I then asked Ms Smith if she still wanted to be a fashion photographer, and she replied "yes, more than I did before this experience".
It makes me feel good knowing that this project turned out to be a huge success in inspiring a young girl to follow her dream, and I felt like I was giving back to the community in a really good way. In closing I would like to thank my client and very good friend Julia Jones and her employees at A Little Touch of Magick ( for allowing a future photographer to experience something she had only thought about but never had the opportunity to achieve until this act of kindness. I would also like to extend a special thanks to Jordna Peflr for the wonderful makeup job you did. The model and the photographer spoke well about your work and your skills.


  1. OK this is working again and I can post comments... good job on all parties involved. Gotta get up there one of these days to see ya in action.

  2. SINtimental whenever you are in the area just give me a phone call, and I'll bring you onto the set I am shooting.