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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rants & Tangents
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!
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.
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