Natural Hair photo

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair 2

Ashley Pratt MiCA Coiffure Project Natural Hair 3

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

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

Natural Hair Photo The Coiffure Project Zaruta

Zaruta Natural Hair Portrait Coiffure Project

Zaruta Natural Hair Portrait Coiffure Project

Zaruta Natural Hair Portrait Coiffure Project

The headband she is wearing in the photo is actually a vintage camera strap that I decided to include in the photo. I had a vision and the camera strap completed the look that I saw in my head.

Process

I shot this with a Nikon D700 and Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D lens. I dont have the 85 anymore because I sold it. I had to consolidate my photo bag and the 50mm works well for portraits.

Rants and Tangents

Her hair looks like a butterfly. This images has been one of the more well received images from the Coiffure Project. I actually got this one printed out super large and is a one of one. I think the final print size was 60X40 inches which is massive. It can sit upright on the floor with no support. The image was sitting in my basement for a long time collecting dust. I gave it to a friend.

This is a big tangent but I think I would be good at helping up and coming models build their portfolio and social media following. Like, I could be a curator of their Instagram and other social media feeds. Im good at sending images to the chopping block.

I see many great models of color on the web with so much potential. I think to myself that all they need is a little boost and they would be able to build solid careers in modeling. There are so many brands that need models but do not want to pay the crazy fees associated with an agency. I could teach these models to become entrepreneurs so that they can build their own business around themselves. So they can have control over the jobs they book. So they don’t get taken advantage of by shady people.

I would also encourage them to take a lot of photos with great photographers. The emphasis on great because there are a lot of good but not a lot of greats as I see it.
Just my thoughts.

Zaruta Natural Hair Portrait 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!

Zaruta-Natural-Hair

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project 2

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project 3

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

Here are some shots from the ongoing natural hair portrait series the Coiffure Project.
At the time Zaruta was a new model and she had the most hair I have ever seen.

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

Process

I shot these images with a wide angle Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D wide angle lens.
I was going through a Terry Richardson shooting style phase. I liked the slightly overexposed photos that he would shoot. They look so simple and real. I used cheap hot-shoe flash that was loaned to me by a friend. I photographed Zaruta on a plain white wall.

Zaruta was new to modeling so it was important for me to coach her through the process. It was necessary so that I could get the expressions that I wanted to achieve in the photos. I did this by instruction her to say her vowels while I was photographing her. A, E, I, O, U. The whole shoot was full of her saying the vowels and it really helped.

Free Thought, Rants, and Tangents

This was a fun shoot. A big part of learning how to create great photos is trying to replicate your idols. It is important to add something a little extra from yourself so that you are not completely ripping off someone else’s style. For me it was adding girls of color with lots of hair as apposed to super models and celebrities.

I learned a lot from this shoot and I was able to try out the A, E, I, O, U technique that I had read somewhere in the past. This is why its super important to keep learning from all places. You never know what tricks you can learn that me be applicable to your creative process.

Zaruta Natural Hair The Coiffure Project

Yoko Serious Natural Hair Portrait The Coiffure Project

Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson

Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson The Coiffure Project Glenford Nuñez

Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson

This was one of the first natural hair portraits for the Coiffure Project. The idea was still new and exciting.

I met Yoko at an art exhibit opening at the Reginald F. Lewis museum. She stood out from the crowd and I was super nervous to talk to her. Fortunately Courtney (the best studio assistant ever) was with me. I pleaded with Courtney to talk to Yoko and give her my business card.

Photographers have bad reputations so first encounters with women are less intimidating when I have a young lady with me. If I approach someone alone and say “Hello I am a photographer” you can see the color leave from their face. This does not happen as much when I have a young lady with me. Ive gotten a lot better about approaching people since then.

This was my fist time working with Yoko and we were both super nervous. She later became my muse. Yoko was always available when I wanted to try new lighting techniques.

The Process

This was shot with a beauty dish and a hot shoe flash unit against a white wall. The flash was a cheap brand loaned to me by my good friend Travis Johnson of Digi Artbox. I think he mentioned that the flash unit had exploded at one point. This meant that flash unit had the potential to cause a fire but it didn’t really matter to me because I wanted to get the “Terry Richardson” lighting effect. As you can see the photo turned into something completely different.

I shot this with a Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D but it was paired with a cropped sensor Nikon D7000. Using a full frame lens with a cropped sensor body creates a magnification effect. This means that my 20mm was more like a 35mm lens. Im not sure about the math but you can find explanations online. Currently I use a D700 which is a full frame sensor.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free thought

I was happy with the final result. I really like this image because of Yokos body language and facial expressions. I also like the pinky-peachy color of the image. All credit goes to Yoko for being such a great subject. Shooting with her really set the tone for future shoots done for the Coiffure Project. I worked with Yoko many times after our first shoot. Natural Hair Portrait Yoko Ashley Henderson

Lily Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

Lily Natural Hair Fashion Portrait Glenford Nunez

Lily Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

This is a fashion portrait of Lily Lightbourn a Bermuda native.
I met her though a model agency and we have been shooting together ever since.

Process

I used a Nikon 135mm f/2.8 AI-S which is a manual focus lens. The lens is super sharp and it is great for portraits. Its super sharp and not too sharp at the same time. I know its hard to explain but I really like working with this lens. I recommend this lens if you want your images to feel more dreamy.

We used natural day light from the window and a round diffuser. You can take the outer layer off of my round reflector and use it as a diffuser. The round diffuser was mad close to her face. The closer to the face you get the more of a glow is created. The trick is to get as close to the subject as possible without getting the diffuser in the shot. I learned this through trial and error but I also think the 135mm helped a lot with this because it is a long lens. Meaning that I can stand super far away from the subject and still get a tightly cropped shot.

Rants and Tangents

While writing this post I remembered how much I liked working with the 135mm. Im going to start shooting with it again.

Lily is an agency model who is doing really great things now. I reached out to her agency in NYC to see if I could do test shoots with some of their models. I am based in Baltimore so this can be a challenge. For some reason people do not like to leave the island of Manhattan. I guest it is understandable because they probably get requests from photographers all of the time.

I had to go to their office in NYC to present my portfolio to them even though I had already showed my digital one. I dont think it was about the portfolio. I think it was to make sure that I wasn’t a creep. All went well in the meeting and they allowed me to work with their developing models. Lily was one of them and I have been working with her ever since.

Lily Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait Glenford Nunez

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait

Natural hair portrait of Lily Lightbourn.

Process

I think I used a beauty dish for this shoot.
The lens was a Manual Nikon 135mm f/2.8 AI-s. This lens is crazy sharp. I recently put it back in my bag.

Rants Tangents

Looking through my old work and I realize that I like my older photos better. I think its a time when I was more into photographs and I was worried less about what people thought of my work. There was a roughness about the photos. I experimented a lot back then. I used different lenses and light set ups. I guess I was searching for a specific look.

It has been yeas since I shot this photo but I have learned a lot of lesson. One to the biggest is simplicity. The photos that stand out to me the most are simple. There are not a lot of distraction. Also the most powerful photos in my opinion always have some sort of subtle quark. A slight imperfection or lip twitch or eyebrow twitch or funny head tilt or something. Portrait photography is great because everyone is different and everyone has their subtle features. Its is my job as a photographer to capture them. Better yet its my job as a photographer to share those unique photos.
In the darkroom photographers encounter photos that make us think twice. We love it deep down inside but we wonder if the rest of the world will. It is important to post the photos that we are nervous to post.

Lily Lightbourn Natural Hair Portrait

An award winning commercial photographer on the East Coast.