I have spoken a lot about my parents in general and my father on this blog, but my mother is a key figure in my life. Growing up, we fought like any other mother and “teenage-angst-riddled” daughter duo, but as I got into my twenties and older, she has been more of a friend and confidante. She retired as the Head of the Department of Psychology and had been a teacher all her life – so is it any wonder that a lot of life lessons come from her? Her greatest motto and life’s principle is to constantly learn and get better at whatever she does. I love the principle and I have done my best to imbibe this into daily life. Photography is obviously not exempt from this. In my “About” page on this blog, I spoke of this blog being a reflection of the journey I am on and I had the opportunity, recently, to revisit this blog’s memory lane. Sometimes its good to look back and see how far you have come, its a morale booster and you never forget your roots. I wouldn’t have dreamed those years ago that I would open a portrait studio and take pictures the way that I do. I didn’t even think that I would get into people photography of any kind. I am glad that evolution has brought me where it has.
I had a client recently who was willing to experiment and let me indulge in some whimsical ideas. I wanted to put her in something flowy like a tulle skirt and have her dance and be flirty. I also wanted to do something dreamy and wispy, with a touch of fantasy. So I started a mood board of images that I felt were close to what I envisioned. Something that felt like a disney princess but not quite so corny or run of the mill, something ethereal and evocative and oozing femininity. So I chanced upon on some work by Elizabeth Messina and it got me thinking about placing flowers and using a mild pastel color tone. I didn’t want to do exactly what she had done and I knew I wanted my pictures to convey a sense of peace and stillness. Off I went, hunting for silk flowers to match the color of my tulle skirt, got my client to bring a matching camisole top to wear and I suddenly realized my entire studio floor is carpet – which doesn’t quite translate into a beautiful background! My immediate response to that problem was to put her on my very sturdy and long, dark dining table , but the height was a problem causing some issues with limited angles to shoot at – so she had to be on the floor on something dark so that all these pastel colors can contrast beautifully. I found a dark brown table cloth that I had and covered it with tulle, with the brown peaking through in a very filtered manner. Now that I had an initial idea of what was going into the shoot, I had to come up with some poses and combinations of placement of person and flowers – am not a great sketch artist, so I drew stick figures to depict each of those “poses”! Here’s a look at a couple of pictures that we did on this theme…..
In order to contrast the stillness of the pictures above I wanted something with movement. My client was thankfully, also a tango dancer – yay!!! I have to mention that she was an enthusiastic client and absolutely willing to try ideas, to the point that we bounced a lot of ideas back and forth and she was part of the development process. I wanted black and white shots for this set, so I set her up against a black backdrop a.k.a my black V-Flats, switched on some sinatra and 40’s music with some pep to it and let her do her thing. I gave her some basic direction in terms of keeping her torso and face still, whilst she moved about the skirt and danced. I wanted motion blur but I still wanted to be able to see her. Just a subtle hint of movement. This was a portrait shoot after all, and not being able to see the face in a shot may actually be detrimental to the purpose. We set up a rhythm count within which she would move, land at a pose where her face and body were still and there would be just the slightest movement of her hand and skirt.Take a look and tell me what you think…
So if you are looking for a playful photo session, check me out at http://www.photopportunist.com and message me or call me. Let’s set a play date!
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