Zaruta-Natural-Hair

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project 3

Zaruta Natural Hair Coiffure Project

 

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.