Makeup Artist Rachel Lane

It's pretty cool how the first makeup artist I started following when I moved to the DC area now only lives 10 minutes from me! I was very pleased when  Rachel Lane agreed  to come help me test lighting in my new "studio" space.  Really it's just our guestroom/ my office with a single window and no overhead lights. But we did a lot with a little space. 

Even when my cat crashed our shoot, she rolled with the punches. Honored to be working with Rachel on a few upcoming projects. Keep your eyes peeled and check out her work in the link at the top of the page. 

shooting your own boudoir...

As many of you know I spent some time in front of the camera professionally;  modeling on and off since I was twelve actually. At about 15 year old I met a real big leader in the Asian market. My peers from my mother agency piled into a  hotel room and stripped down to our swim suits as the casting agent picked us apart one by one, pointing out each and every one of our flaws right out there in the open. My flaw, my hips were far too big and my chest too small. 

The chest thing I knew about, I had been getting teased for being flat chested since 5th and 6th grade, but the hips too big (translation: ass too fat) confused me to no end. Being our group of models were all from the south where the populace is notorious for being more plump, and we were constantly being told to eat, and other ignorant insults. Our agent prepared us to hear these types of things when going to open calls. Rejection for any reason at all was pretty standard. 

As I got older it only got worse, too big, too small (while I was pregnant), too old (at 24), hair too short, on and on. Through it all I remained pretty confident. I loved my body, I took care of it, watching what I put into it and worked it out to keep it strong. Then i gained 30 pounds in one year. I did not work out, I did not watch what I ate. The weight of the world, my marriage, the brothers death, stresses of relocation, and  being a parent became the weight under my flesh. I did not feel confident. 

As I praised other women who wore their curves with pride, I spent time being a whiny baby getting used to being in the category of a medically healthy weight. I tried to stay out of photos, selfies became face only, and shopping became the most depressing because the weight is never where you want it, and every time I would put something on and look in the mirror the little comments that family and friend have made about the gain would linger.

I started staring at the mirror as I would get undressed, I would say mean things about my body, sometimes out loud. Then I would reevaluate that as if I heard it from someone else. Oddly enough when I imagined mean things coming from someone else, I didn't take them to heart.  I remember compliments. If you know me in person, I am always complimenting women. It was time for me to practice what I'd preached. I started noticing things I liked about my new body (I love my new, even bigger butt) and thinking if I wanted to I could change what I didn't. After looking enough times at myself I realized I like it all. 

I have remembered the boudoir and nude photos I have shot of other women throughout the years, knowing what I know now about lighting and most importantly the power of shadows. I let go of the past body and the fear of the new one and stripped down for myself. I am only sharing because I feel good. And as a photographer I think I can do this for other women too.

When shooting boudoir comfort is key. If you want to go full nude, implied, or t-shirt and boy shorts. whatever makes you feel sexy is sexy. For me basic all black, and a silk robe. Then there is lighting, lots of shadows, lots of mystery. Lastly, soft hands, fingers on your own skin shows you are comfortable in your skin, it also leaves a lot to the imagination if this is something you are doing as a gift to your s.o.  

We shot the series with  a canon 6D with a canon nifty fifty (1.8), shot both in monochrome and faithful mode. We used both self timer and human tri-pod (husband). We brought the remote trigger but I swear I can only get it to work half the time.  Manual settings are key, you want to have the ability to change exposure and really bring out the shadows (i'm not a do it in post kind of girl)

The power of monochrome: everyone always wants to change in post but I feel shooting in a high-contrasted mono can help you better understand light. Enough shadow and the right highlights can make something with more coverage that a bikini seem so provocative by providing hints of curve and skin. B/W images also tend to be more timeless than whatever editing style is currently in season. 

 

Vintage World Rocks- Online Store

Number one: I LOVE INSTAGRAM.

Not only is it how I share my life most often, this has become the number one way I find clients, models and collaborators.  Insta is also how I got my kitty, so...

I found online retailer Vintage World Rocks. They operate out of D.C. and were looking to shoot their first look book. I love vintage clothing and the practical application in modern style.  We shot in Georgetown at a unnamed hotel.  We worked with a great team of women and had pretty perfect weather. Here are some of my favorite photos here, you can see and hop the look book at the link above.

Styling: Vintage World Rocks

Models: Sarah Armstrong, Christian Gonzalez, Karmin Brown, and Diamond

Hair: Hair Styles by Satira

Make Up: Sammi C. Garcia

Vintage Vagabond Wardrobe House- Washington D.C.

A couple of weeks ago I got to pop into Vintage Vagabond Wardrobe House for their fall preview event. I was lucky that they had a live model that I could shoot with, as she served as the main focal point for the evening. I generally shoot in natural light but brought out my new flash and such to practice.

It was awesome to meet the styling team and see all of the great pieces in store. I really look forward to a planned shoot with them. If the impromptu images ( literally only let them know I would attend the event an hour before hand) turned out this great, then I am sure a little planning could make things epic. I showed up barely introduced myself to the model who was already posing on the store roof top,  I started snapping and directing immediately.  We started shooting around 6:30 and wrapped at 9 pm. 

For the second look we left the roof top and hit the crowded streets of D.C. I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful golden light and the loud colors of the street. We found a greenery on the sidewalk across from the store and used that as an additional backdrop. 

For the third look we had a vintage velvet black dress to shoot and the sun had gone down. Time to bring out the flash and make some popping imagery. Most of these were shot in black and white in the halls of the store for a real vintage feel. 

The last look we made our way into the store itself and set up shop in what I kept referring to as "the pink room." They had a beautiful vanity that provided plenty of beautiful light for us to work with. 

A huge thank you to all the wonderful ladies at Vintage Vagabond Warehouse for inviting me to your event and welcoming me to the area! 

Model: Andrea 

Styling: Team at Vintage Vagabond Warehouse - 1833 14th ST NW 3rd floor (D.C.)

Hair: Alix founder of The Unicorn Tribe in Alexandria VA

Germantown, MD- Pretty in Paint with Kat

I met Kat a couple of years ago at a shootout in Charleston, SC. We actually both lived in Beaufort and despite both of our efforts we never managed to be able to shoot together. Luckily for me her father lives near by and she was swinging in town for a visit. Kat can be easily identified as an alternative model. However we wanted to start with something soft and sweet at our local park and then come back to my place and get a little messy.

For the first shoot we simply took to the foot path of the park at Ridge Road in Germantown. For the second shoot we used a Love Is Art kit to get messy have some fun in my tiny living room . Generally the company sell these kits as to use for lovers. They have become my go to wedding gift. However no lovers were involved in the making of these photos, just the love and appreciation of the female figure and fun. 

kat-37.jpg


Germantown, Maryland- Ellen (Musician)

Yesterday I had the pleasure to finally work with my husbands cousin Ellen. Ellen is a talented young girl with a passion for music and production. She is embarking on her senior year and has decided to hit the studio for her first time to record her first album. 

We got together with the words -innocent and beauty- in mind for the album cover shot. No word as to which image will make the cover but I posted my favorite 10 below. Ellen hits the studio in a couple of weeks and we want to take this time to wish her luck, but who needs luck when you have skills?


Germantown, MD- Test Shoot with Katie

A couple of weeks ago I got to work with Katie. Katie is a multi-agency model based both in DC and Philadelphia. She drove up to my townhouse so we could play around and test some ideas. I didn't have much of an angle, but wanted to test some lighting situations, one of which didn't work so much but we ended up going to Ridge Road Park which is practically around the block from my house and ended up most of our shoot there. We got lucky it was a cooler day and she could wear long sleeves without melting. 

While the first location was completely unplanned it turned out to be my favorite. After the park we came back to my place and got weird in the alley behind my place... with a wagon and goggles I painted as she was on her way over. The first image actually made its way to the Vogue Italias- Photo Vogue Best Of list.

Lastly I borrowed a couple of 80's showgirl headdresses from Stage and Screen in Frederick MD and wanted to go for this weird  old school makeshift studio shoot with harsh lighting and a sad showgirl. 

We ran a little over our two hour estimation, but that tends to happen when you are chatting and making a connection. We had fun and with no direction we made some really interesting and diverse imagery.