Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

Janelle Monae Profile Portrait Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

Janelle Monae Profile Portrait

This is a Janelle Monae Profile Portrait. I shot this in NYC for Pitchfork Magazine. Pitchfork is The essential guide to independent music and beyond. The found me through my natural hair photo book called the Coiffure Project.

The story eventually was picked up by PDN Magazine. One of the top photo magazines in the world!
My images made it on to the cover of PDN Magazine! You know I was hype. It still feels like a dream for a dude from Baltimore. It was a moment were all of the the hard work appeared to pay off. But we know that its just the beginning and the grind never stops.

These images where shot with my FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera with a wide open aperture so that I could blur out the background. I cant remember but I think i was at f/2. Im sure I can open up light room right now to figure out the exact aperture but one thing at a time.

Side note. I have the silver FujiFilm x100s Mirrorless camera but I want the black one! One more step to being incognito!

We were located in a community garden in Tribeca New York. We did not use strobe lights for this shoot because the sun was just right so all we needed was a reflector.

The subject (Janelle) was really cool. She was a chill person. I wish we had more time to chat about the universe but we were on a tight schedule. Celebrities tend to be very busy so we had to get the shots quickly.
I think we established that we were both Sagittarius which I thought was kind of cool. Searching for some kind of connection. Maybe im over thinking things. Hahaha!

Janelle had a beauty staff making sure her look was crisp. Her makeup was on point and her natural hairstyle was a piece of art.

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Im not sure how I got in contact with Neji. It probably was on social media. I was in NYC at the time so we were able to link up and snap a few photos. Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

At the time Neji was just beginning to model but she already had the “it” factor. Neji is a tough woman with a strong personality and I really appreciate that. Her personality comes out in her images and I think that sets her a part from the rest.

The Process

I shot these images images with natural light in an alleyways in SOHO, NYC. I chose to do this because the mid day sun was too harsh to shoot in directly.

Well, im not totally sure why I chose the alleyway. I dont mind shooting in direct sunlight and there are ways to use the harsh sun to your advantage. I guess I shot in the alleyway because I wanted to avoid the massive crowds of people.

I shot this with a D700 partnered with the 50mm f/1.4G. I also used the 20mm f/2.8 that day.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free thought

Fashion models of color are becoming more accepted in mainstream media but not enough I think.

Im really trying to figure out why I chose to shoot in the ally. It wasn’t your typical alley. It was wide and clean. I guess I shouldn’t look at is as an alley. I was more of mini street. I don’t think garbage trucks went through there.

I do not live in New York and I think that was my first time shooting outside in the city. I know that probably affected my decision to shoot in that location but I don’t remember because that was a long time ago.

Nejilka Fashion Model Portrait

Jessica model portrait

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait.

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

This is a photograph of Jessica Chibueze shot in Washington, DC. I took the train to DC because it was the halfway point for Jessica and I.

Process

We shot this outside somewhere in downtown DC. It was in front of a building that was under construction. There was a black tarp hanging from the side of the building so I used this as the backdrop for the shoot. A security guard was watching us closely but it did not take a long time to get the shots I needed. Snapping the shutter only takes seconds once all of the pieces are in place. The son was in the perfect place and the model new how to move in front of the camera. We came away with a great portrait.

I shot this with my Nikon D700 and the Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D.
This is a great portrait lens but I have sold it because I have a 50mm that can achieve great results. I wanted to make room in my photo bag.

Rants and Tangents

I have worked with Jessica on many occasions for paid shoots but this was the first time we were able to work together for personal work.

We spent some time walking around the city looking for the perfect location. Usually I walk and talk with the model until they make an expression that catches me off guard or when the light hits them in a way that shocks me. If you are a photographer you know what feeling im talking about. That jolt of energy that shoots through your entire body the model and the light is perfect. I love the way that the sun is wrapping her brown skin.

We talked about life and photography and modeling and fashion and non profit organizations and humanitarian work. Jessica is very active in the humanitarian field. She does a lot of work in Africa.

Jessica Chibueze Fashion Model Portrait

Natural sunlight photography

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait Photography Best

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait

A photograph of Tanya Garcia Baltimore Artist Portrait. We met at the windup space Four hours of funk. I noticed her really great eyebrows even in the dark. Tanya is also a Baltimore photographer. You can check out some of here work. Tanya Garcia MiCA Portfolio

The Process

We shot this photo in the photo studio with natural light coming from the window. I chose to go with a white backdrop because Tanya has dark hair and I needed to separate her from the background to provide some depth to the photo. Depth is really important in portrait photography because we need to create a sense of reality in a flat 2D image.

Ramblings,Tangents, Free thought

I really like the softness that natural light can bring to the image. I am still experimenting on how to get the same effect with strobe lighting. I think its a matter first lighting the scene using natural light first. Setting up your camera the best way you can to take most advantage of the available light while still getting the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture you desire. Then when you get all that correct one would use the strobe light to add a little kick to the parts of the image you want to illuminate.

But! you have to be careful not to add too much strobe light to the image or you could run into the issue of things looking too artificial. You can control this by the distance of your strobe to the subject, the power of the strobe light and the use of grids and diffusers. Typically I keep the strobe heads very far away from my subject with medium to high power to get the effect that I want. This process still needs a lot of tweaking for me to perfect it. It also varies greatly depending on the complexion of my subject. People with fairer skin reflect and absorb light differently from subjects with darker skin tones.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

Janellle-Monae-Pitchfork-Magazine-Glenford-Nunez

Janellle-Monae-Pitchfork-Magazine-Glenford-Nunez-2

Janelle Monáe for Pitchfork Magazine Cover Story later featured on the cover of PDN Magazine.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story

I got a call from a guy at pitchfork media to photograph Janelle Monae. If I was not already familiar with the contact that reached out to me I would have thought it was a cruel joke. Pitchfork found me through my natural hair photo book The Coiffure Project which had gotten some press from major sites like The Huffington Post.

The Process

The setup was simple. Natural sunlight. I round reflector for bounce and fill. Shot with the Fuji Film X100s.

This was one of those situations that you never see coming. You never know what past interactions will manifest themselves in the present. The contact that reached out to me was a guy that I had a brief interaction. Long story short the contact reached out to me for a previous shoot. Unfortunately the company he was representing did not have the budget for the shoot. We both agreed and then went our separate ways.

A year and some months later I get an email from the same contact almost forgetting who he was. He said that he has changed jobs and now was working for Pitchfork media. He asked me if I knew who Janelle Monae was and if I wanted to photographer her. I was super excited but I had to play it off. “Yeah, Ive heard of her. I wouldn’t mind working with her.” Inside I was bursting.

The budget was in line for the project so everything was looking great. I caught a train or the Bolt bus to NYC and I shot with Janelle Monae.

Free Thought, Rants, Tangents

Ok! Tip. Create, create, create! Become great. Share your work in the process. People see your work and if it fits with what they need they will hire you. Stick to what you love and create the work that you want to get paid to do. Find out who else does the type of work you do. Figure out how that person does it. Learn from them. Borrow from them then make your own improvements. There is always room for improvement and the student always exceeds the teacher. No one is built like you. Only you can add the twist that you can. The most important things is to keep creating and never give up. You can take a break if you want. A long break even but always get back to you do.

There are no rules make up your own rules.

Janelle Monáe Pitchfork Media cover story by Glenford Nuñez.

baltimore portrait photographer

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait


Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait Glenford Nunez

Lily was one of the first models that I photographed for the The Coiffure Project. Lily is a great model and she moves very well in front of the camera. Lily’s eyes stood out to me when I was searching through the comp cards that her agency sent. Since this image I have worked with Lily on many different occasions.

This was a simple shoot with a simple lighting setup. I used a beauty dish and a reflector. This shoot (like most test shoots) was experimental. At the time, I was obsessed with the work of Terry Richardson and I was trying to imitate his look. I know that you can never successfully copy someone else’s work but you can make a lot of great discoveries in the process. All of the great artists started by trying to copy the masters before until they developed their own voice.

One trick I learned is to pop the lenses out of glasses when photographing them because the glass always has a reflection. Sometimes the refection can be distracting to the overall photo.

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait by Baltimore portrait photographer Glenford Nunez. Specializing in natural hairstyle pictures of black women with curly hair.

Natural Hair photo

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

These are photos of Ashley Pratt in the first MiCA Art Building on the Maryland Institute College of Art campus for the Coiffure Project.

Process

I shot this with a wide angle Nikon AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D. I did this because I wanted to capture the great architecture. The 20 mm is really good for two things. Shooting events and parties were space is limited or when your are photographing a person in a beautiful space.

With the 20mm you can focus on the model and still capture the environment with ease. Its important to frame your shot well because the 20mm is super wide and its really easy to get distractions things in the shot.

One mantra I follow in photography is focus and simplicity. This means I choose my subject, figure out what I want the image to say, then eliminate everything that does not help the message. Eliminate all distractions. This includes objects, people, distracting colors and shapes, and light sources. This can also mean eliminating less obvious things like too much white or blank space, objects that can throw off balance and harmony, and lines that point away from the subject. Maybe I will make a post about this one day.

The photos were captured using the ambient light of the building.

Rants, Tangents, and Ramblings

Ashely was attending MiCA at the time so we were able to get access to the building. I think it was my first time in there so I went nuts! The space is so beautiful.  Marble steps and walls and statues. All marble everything.

We used the natural sky light of the building.  The older buildings always have these great skylights. Why don’t they make buildings with skylights anymore? Forget electricity. Artificial lights cause depression. I have no science to back this up but humor me.

The architecture in the is building was so cool. I think her natural hair against the gold and marble was a cool contrast. These photos bring back memories because Ashley has since then cut all of her hair off. I hardly recognize her in these photos.

Change? Hair? Identity? Is our hair our identity? Is hair a metaphor for the human condition. We can try to change who we are but eventually the hairs of our personality will grow back. Or maybe it is that the new hair grows back healthier and stronger than before. Please forgive me for the bad poetry. Haha!

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

Photo featured on http://www.rockitnapptural.com/2012/06/baltimore-photographer-glenford-nunez.html

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Nikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project

Nikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project

NNikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project 2

Nikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project 3

Nikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project

This is a photo of Nikisha Riley one half of Urban Bush Babes. Urban bush babes is a natural hair, health, music, film, fashion, and art blog.

Process

When I was photographing Nikesha I used a Nikkor 20mm 2.8D Wide angle lens. I went through a wide angle lens phase for a while. I really liked the how the final images looked. If you were not careful the images could easily become distorted due to the nature of wide angle lenses. But if you get the angle just right you could come up with some really cool shots.

Rants and Tangents

The Urban Bush Babes Blog was one of the early adopters of the coiffure project.
When I was trying to promote the project I reached out to many natural hair bloggers and was either rejected or I did not get a reply.

Cipriana the other half of the blog and Nikesha took a chance on writing about the project. Things changed for the Coiffure Project soon after. A waterfall of blogs started to write about the Coiffure Project after being posted on the Urban Bush Babes site.

When the Huffington Post picked up the story after seeing the Coiffure Project featured on the UBB site everthing started to blow up. Shot outs from the natural hair community and a deluge of email from young natural hair ladies that wanted to be photographed for the project. Also the blogs that never replied started emailing me. And the Coiffure Project started showing up on the blogs that flat out told me no.

I have booked long lasting photography clients because of the press coverage that started with the support of the UBB site.

I am very grateful for Nikesha and Cipriana. I still have yet to photograph Cipriana but maybe she will read this.

Nikisha Urban Bush Babes Coiffure Project

Ashley Irving Portrait

Ashley Irvin Portrait

Ashley Irvin Portrait

Ashley Irvin Portrait

Test shoot portrait of Ashley Irvin from Ford Models. This was the fist time working with Ashley and I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. Working with a Ford agency model was intimidating at first but the shoot went great. Hair was done my Chicara Johnson and the makeup was done by Meagan Shea. Ashley Irvin Portrait Photography.

Process

I think I used a large Paul C. Buff soft-box for this shoot. The soft-box served more like a accent light because the studio space had really large 10+ foot windows. The light was coming in from the models left, my right. I try my best to use natural light when I can. Natural light wraps around the subject in a different way especially for women of color. The sunlight reacts with the skin in a beautiful way. I think there was a bounce panel on the models right side, my left but I don’t really remember. All that being said. The overall setup was very simple.

I used my Nikkor 50mm 1.4G which is great for portraits. I only really use two lenses. The 50mm and a 20mm for shooting in tight spaces. I will use the 20mm when covering an event. I don’t use zoom lenses. I like to be right in the thick of things  but I digress.

We shot this on a large white backdrop. I forget the exact size of the paper but it was mad wide.

Free Thought

Ashley was great in front of the camera. She had great studio etiquette and she knew her angles.  The great work by the beauty team is what took this shoot to another level. It was one of those days that everything flowed. It was one of those days that give you survivors guilt. Is this life? Life cant be this simple. Life is that simple when you are doing what you love.

On a side note I really miss that studio space. The goal is to get back in there before later. Listening to that new Kanye and Kendrick NO MORE PARTIES IN L.A 2016 while im updating this post. Fuego!

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An award winning commercial photographer on the East Coast.