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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rags to Riches

My model is Chayneice Johnson; Chay for short. A newcomer into my arena. As with all newcomers I try to find their strengths and go into that direction with what, and how I will shoot them. My estimation is that I'll get stronger and stronger photos right? When I spoke with Chay and viewed her photos on the internet, she had a head full of natural beautiful hair. When Chay walked through the door my eyes went immediately to her hair.... cut. I loved it!! Jah (you all know who Jah is by now so I won't say my MUA anymore), and I had just been discussing finding a model with short hair and wanting to work with it. Here stood before me a girl with some height, some hips and this almost tomboy stance. I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it. Yet I knew I couldn't ignore Chay's other beautiful traits; poised, elegance, and this aura of "treat me like a lady" minus the diva attitude. She was 100% genuine and classy. If not a model, definitely a lady (with that splash of tomboy). This was my model for what I wanted to do, no doubt. I wanted to transform her, make her act like a boy, then bring her back to what she really is. As Chay and I talked and got to know more about eachother character, I knew she was going to have to overcome her shyness. I instructed Chay to wear something black and form fitting to the test shoot. I had her play with a few colorful scarves because I wanted to test out a lighting scheme I knew I wanted to use for my "boy shoot". This also allowed me to see how her face would look in that light and contrast that look with colors. I then dressed Chay in a male vest and cheap imitation leather jacket. She looked great in an outfit that cost about$5 at tops. For the next 45 minutes we had fun shooting, and I had a few other people come by because I wanted to work on Chay's shyness, and coincidently they happen to know eachother well. So now Chay was posing and getting into her zone in front of about 3 or 4 other people with only a small amount of nervousness. When I got home and looked at the photos, I loved them and posted a few online to see what kind of reviews and comments her look would get. Chay had become an overnight sensation. I knew our big shoot would be good.

Typically when I shoot, I also do some editorial video, but for this shoot I cancelled doing that for a couple of reasons. I wanted to keep Chay in her zone, and I also wanted my videographer, who is a unknown phenominal photographer that shoots more natural light and nature stuff, to use this opportunity to get more hands on with studio equipment and working with strobes. This also made Chay work a little harder because she was now posing twice as much as she would have been doing for just me. Gone was the imitation leather and goodwill test clothes. Chay now stood before us with perfect hair & makeup done by none other than Faces by Ja, and wearing a men style suit, shirt, and tie by Christian Dior. Chay pulled the look off flawlessly. As she did with all the other designer wardrobes she slipped in, and out of, ending the night in a very elegant, very sophisticated yet simple black dress. As simple as it had all begun for Chay, it ended that same way... wearing black.

How was it done:

4 light setup:

1 strobe light with red gel to model's rear

1 hair light strobe with blue gel and barn doors over models head camera right

1 snooted strobe to 45 degree angle aimed at model's face camera right (main light)

1 snooted strobe 45 degree angle aimed at model's chest camera left (fill light)

Camera settings: aperture: f11, shutter speed: 1/125th sec, ISO 250

Fashion shots:

86 inch parabolic umbrella about 10 ft away from model high camera right

350 watt daylight bulb high camera left

camera settings: aperture: f22, shutter speed: 1/125th sec, ISO 250

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