Back in August, I was approached by Christan Turner of PinnacleTen to shoot a series of images in effort to re-breathe some life into her brand. We set a date, got a model and discussed ideas. The major vision was to create a “evolution” of fashion, which would eventually become the 10 image - 10 look composite.
For me it started out just like any other shoot. Fortunately, I had friend and master makeup artist Isidro Valencia by my side and I had worked with model Courtney Blanton on a few occasions. The day started with Christan lugging in hanger after hanger and shoes for days. It looked like a fashion bomb had gone off in the studio at Outdoor Photo Gear. What I found most interesting is that all of this wardrobe came directly from Christan’s closet. Initially I was shocked, but not surprised. What’s a stylist without a closet full of awesome clothing? Working with Isidro and Courtney was familiar ground, but I really didn’t know what to expect from Christan. What I came to soon realize; I adore her styling and respect her attitude for an original idea. She knows what she wants and that is the kind of player I like to have on my team. I had also never worked with hair stylist David Hudson, I was impressed with his energy and more importantly his work. Despite Courtney having short hair, he brought an edge that was much needed.
Once hair and makeup was complete Courtney jumped into the first look with a bang. When she steps in front of my lens, I never have really worry, she knows light and always plays the camera well. With our composite in mind I kept the same light setup and explored poses. Look after look we knocked out a series of portraits, experimenting with motion and unique positions. When all work was complete, we gave hugs and high-fives in celebration. But, the real work was about to begin.
Months passed and and the majority of the editing was completed, I decided to tackle the composite. With the help from my friend Chris Miske we made a “panoramic” style of image carefully position each model in our frame.
We quickly realized the issues, hands were in odd places, faces didn’t quite work and it was an uneven mess. I came back to Chris and we re-worked the entire image and made sure it was right, back and forth, back and forth. Blending the shadows is never an easy feat especially on a gradient background. When it was right, I knew it. A few hours and a lot of pixel peeping later, we had a solid composite.
I couldn’t wait to get it online and share it to the world. But, by the time the final image was delivered to my desk, the day had come and gone. I had to wait another 20 hours, if there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to be patient and wait until everything is right.
This is an image I won’t forget, it plans to be a staple in my portfolio.