Tag Archives: Glenford Nunez

December 2013 Cover of PDN Magazine

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover December 2013

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Pitchfork Media hired me to photograph Janelle Monae for a web cover story. Some of the images I photographed for the Pitchfork article were later published by PDN Magazine.

The Process

I photographed the magazine cover photo with my FujiFilm x100s mirrorless camera. I have the silver model but I really want the all black edition.

I really like this camera because it is three times smaller and lighter than any of my Nikon DSLR cameras.

Sometimes it is hard for the subject to hear my directions  because the larger DSLR cameras create a barrier between me and the.

The smaller size of the FujiFilm X100s makes it easier to communicate with the person that I am photographing. I think that the photos come out better because there is a deeper connection made. The difference is like a face to face conversation versus a conversation through text messages.

Another great feature of the Fuji X100S is that it does not make any noise. This is a great feature  because the sound of the camera shutter can prompt subjects to change their expressions causing the photos to look unnatural.

I used the sun as my light source and and a round reflector for fill light.

Hair, makeup, and wardrobe were provided by Janelle Monae’s team. I must mention that her team was awesome because behind the scenes professionals don’t get enough love.

Janelle Monae PDN Magazine Cover

Rants & Tangents

I really enjoyed working with Janelle Monae because she is chill. She was quiet at first but she came alive when she stepped in front of the camera.

Sometimes (a lot of the time) celebrities arrive fashionable late to photo shoots. This means that I get less time to capture the shots. Fortunately, her management gave us more time to shoot.  I still had to get the shots really quickly but we got the job done!

 

Diandra Rose Portrait

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Believe in yourself.

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

Diandra is a great model and is a photographers dream. We have worked together before in the past. She loves the camera and she knows her best angles. She arrived to the studio photo shoot ready and all we had to do was snap the shutter.

The Proccess

We used natural light from the window. The windows were located behind me. I shot this image with a Nikon D700 with an Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D. The 85 is a great portrait lens but I sold it. I try to simplify my camera bag when I can but more about that later.

Ramblings, Rants, Tangents, and Free Thought

I have so many images in my archive that the world hasn’t seen. It is  time to start releasing it. I believe that we are all sent here to do that “thing”. The thing that makes us happy. Portrait photography is my thing.  Making images has always been in me. Make cool stuff and share it.

More on simplicity. If its not a definite yes then it is a definite no. I try my best to apply this mantra to all aspects of my life. This way of thinking is particularly helpful when you need to optimize your camera bag. I use the same equipment 85% of the time for all of my shoots. Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, round reflector, and natural light.

If I use strobe lights it is typically an Alien Bee 800 flash head or a Profoto flash head (if I am renting equipment) paired with a large octabank light modifier. That’s it! No mas.

I also take my cue from studying top photographers. The great image makers have very simple setups. They are not bogged down by excess equipment. They know exactly how to make the image that they want to make with the gear that they have.  How may knives does a great chef need?

Diandra Rose Natural Hair Portrait

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Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

EmoniBarakaNaturalHairGlenfordNunez

Emoni The Coiffure Project

Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

This is a natural hair fashion portrait of Emoni Baraka. Hair and makeup by beauty expert Jamaya Moore.

Process

I used the available light from a window and a circular reflector to capture this shot.
I used a  Nikon D700 full frame camera with a Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D lens.

I like to work with small teams. This means a great model, makeup, and maybe a hair stylist. Most of the time it is just the model and myself. They usually take care of their own makeup but I really prefer to work with models who use little to no makeup especially for the natural hair photos.

Rants and Tangents

This photo was taken at I time after I had given up on photography but Jamaya convinced me to dust my camera off and get into the studio. It felt good to be behind the camera again.

What made me put my camera down in the first place? Maybe it was arrogance. I did not think I was getting the “recognition” I thought I deserved. I have grown a lot since then. I know that I did not put in as much effort and hard work that I thought. I have also learned that hard work is good but smart work is way better.

I also left because I was tired of being broke all of the time. I didn’t like not knowing where my next check was coming from. I wanted to go back to computer programming because in my mind I thought it was more “stable”. Stability is a myth and there is no such thing as a stable job anymore.

The crazy part is, I made a lot of money as a photographer. The problem wasn’t making money the problem was keeping it. I spent like a mad man because I new that someone would call or email with a job. I would book 10K+ jobs and then be broke in a few months. I have repeated that cycle too many times in the and I had to change my thought process. I had to change my attitudes about money.

Im not sure what I spent that money on! I bought camera gear but that was only a minor dent in my income. I think it all went to things like dining out. I threw away a lot of cash. Fortunately, I have learned from these hard lessons.

The main thing I had to do was stop blaming the world. I had to look into myself and my habits. I had to change.

Jamya says that I never really quit I was just on sabbatical. She is right, I never really left. I just needed a break to figure some things out.

Emoni Natural Hair Fashion Portrait

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.

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.

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

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.