Something intrigued me about Brooke, she was a fresh face and one I hadn’t seen much; she had a gorgeous look and was tall. We soon became friends via social media and when I put out a casting call for my workshop, to my surprise Brooke was one of the first to jump on board. I really needed a model with some experience for the workshop, but I figured I’d give Brooke a shot. Photographers coming at you from every direction and fighting of cold weather isn’t an easy thing, but Brooke pulled it off. She worked hard and gave it her best; so much, that I knew I need to get some one on one time with her.
So in a rush before the holidays, I inked a shoot on the books. We exchanged ideas and a team formed. I brought on board the amazing and very trusted makeup artist Isidro Valencia. Also, Sarah Julien, the young and very hungry new stylist in the scene. I spent a couple of hours pulling some look ideas and we expanded on it.
When the day of the shoot came around, I setup two backdrops, the Oliphant canvas and a Fashion Gray seamless. Our first looks we played with real raw emotion and natural makeup. I wanted soaking wet hair and a very sultry attitude. We played “whip your hair back and forth” for about 30 minutes, until we had the right shot. I liked the drama of one light and the Oliphant canvas served as a perfect background as always.
I knew Brooke hadn’t served much time in front of the lens, but this was the time to really work with her and break her out of the shell. I worked her pretty hard and she was a real trooper. Brooke took direction well and listened, many models have trouble with that. After we knocked out the first look, we moved onto a more dramatic second look. Big hair, bold makeup and a very fashion forward selection of clothing.
I wanted to go with a strong black and white, full body, but really wanted to highlight Brooke’s legs. I knew I needed more than just one light to do it. So I setup a Profoto D1 with a large softbox camera right and then stacked two Alien Bee B800’s with stripboxes directly under for one soft tall line of light. This line of light put a strong shadow behind her for the very high fashion look as well as not to mention a sweet catch-light in her eyes. Once Brooke stepped on the backdrop we started molding poses. About 10 minutes in, Sarah noticed Brooke had locked in something unique, I noticed it immediately and we knew it was the one. We mastered it. Making sure the pose, clothing and light was perfect and I snapped 4 frames and set the camera aside.
I got up off the ground and walked outside. The studio was stale and we already nailed the shot. I didn’t feel the need to try and top what we had already shot. As I perused the surrounding area, I noticed a long fence line that we’re backed by some very ominous cloud cover. Although we didn’t have much options as we we’re right in the middle of a office parking lot. But, we got creative and used the fence in several different ways, until finally landing on a composition I felt would work well. I shot everything wide open at f/1.2 to blur the background and cranked the shutter to compensate. The aesthetic that was coming through reminded me of a London bridge or some sort of “Chanel” advertisement. Once we hit the pose and expression, we called it a wrap.
I always strive for imperfect perfection. Something that creates stimulation or mood. Editing plays a large role in that, but with these images, I wanted something that could square up with any major publication or advertisement. However, I really didn’t exactly know how I wanted to accomplish that. When I imported them in Photoshop, I just saw something in my head and did the best I could to replicate it. The point is; all it takes is a small vision or picture in your head, with that vision, do your best to bring it to reality. Once its reality, all of that hard work is instantly worth it.