Let’s set a play date!

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…..

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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…

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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!

All pictures are copyright of Photopportunist. DO NOT use,download or print in any form without our explicit written permission to do so.

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Let’s set a play date!

Life doesn’t stop for anybody

 Another small chapter comes to an end and a new one begins thus, with change at the helm. Change is the hardest truth to accept in life, though it is as inevitable as death and taxes. Change, in and of itself is the epitome of transition and a proven fact of life and yet it is a loathsome event as one ages. The price of stability is directly proportional to my age at this point. The gurgling in the pit of my stomach is a fair combination of the fear of the unknown, excitement for new prospects and adventures, sadness in leaving the known and loved, and the growing distance between me and all things familiar. Perish the thought, I should and dive head first, I must; easier said than done. The idea of relocating and reinventing the wheel of business in a new location is daunting. At this very moment these words are nothing but a ploy to evade the ineluctable, to sit in front of a screen and rant to strangers I have never met, but strangers who know this journey I am on, rather intimately. This is a peculiar sort of comfort that the world today provides, isn’t it? Strangers who are just there on the other end listening. So with a heavy heart , I shall soon be leaving New Jersey for the comforts of Big Ol’ Texas.  Change is upon me and I must embrace it for life must move on.

Moves are always a new chapter and with this move I shall be embarking on another challenging shift in my life. I am now a fully operational glamour and portrait studio. Am I worth the effort, you ask? Well the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so I shall leave here a taste of what I am capable of. All of these were shot on a day when the skies opened up and unleashed their fury on New Jersey, but there is nothing a V-Flat, some reflectors, an open window and some really fast lenses can’t achieve.  In case there are enough of you who are interested in knowing any technical details behinda particular shot, let me know and I will post the technicalities in a separate post. So with good news, I shall part now for Texas. And oh! in case I don’t see you soon enough – Happy Holidays!

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Model : Veronica Pickens

MUA : Angelica Rivera

Assistant : Kristen Auriemma

All photos and materials on this blog are copyright of Shruthi Venkatasubramanian/Photopportunist. DO NOT reproduce, print of download or use in any form without our explicit permission to do so.

Life doesn’t stop for anybody