Places & Spaces | Week 3 With Loreal

Inspiration for Week 3

Week 3 already, I can see this project is really going to make the year fly by, as soon as I finish shooting one session I'm on to scheduling the next one. It's a bit more difficult than I had anticipated, 7 days is a short amount time to find a location, find a model and figure out a concept, I see now why consultations and chemistry amongst the photographer and model are so important. To my defense I have yet to shoot any aspiring models, so when we get out of the field there's a lot to be done in a short amount of time.

This week my friend Loreal came into town from Atlanta, a simple "lets shoot" comment on my Instagram photo was a clear indication that she would be this weeks subject. I had an area picked out, and I was even inspired by a recent photograph I had saw. So I was already more prepared for this shoot then the previous two, only thing is was that I had one pose in mind. After we executed this pose I wasn't sure what else I would be doing, but that was okay, in my last session I freestyled, so I figured I would have the ability to improve when necessary. To the left you can see the shot I wanted to replicate, unfortunately I don't know who I stole this idea from, so if anyone knows please shoot me an email, or comment below so I can give this photographer his/her proper credit. I'm not sure why this shot called out to me, but when I look at it I felt like this scene just happened! It wasn't on planned, but it was the model actually modeling, something that I lacked in my shoot. Everything from her lips to her eyes just called to me, even her frantic hair. I'm not sure what the mirror had to do with anything, but it really added to the shot, it elongated her neck even though you can't, and it really brought detail to her bottom lip, which otherwise you wouldn't have been able to see. I've always been a fan of these type of shots, especially in black and white, so I was really excited to execute this.

Me and Loreal arrived to the location around 10:30AM, I had to do the shoot earlier because it was my only off day and I wanted to spend the afternoon with my family, only problem about shooting that early is that the sky is normally blown out, there were minimal clouds, but a lot of sunlight so I really had to be careful with shadows and my exposure.

I went inside the abandoned building, this one was located right outside of the Post Office on Chene in Downtown Detroit. The building was split into two and I had originally planned on shooting with my Super Takumar 135mm, but that later changed when I realized I would have to be up close to really blur the mirror out. I later switched to the 56 f/1.2 and fired away. My first thought was that this was going to be harder than it looked. For some random reason I couldn't get my image to replicate the photo above, solely because I had her holding the mirror the incorrect way, and like an idiot I never referenced the photo to correct my mistakes. After a few more I finally got a shot that I had liked in camera, not perfect, but it was suitable. I wanted to continue shooting but it was freezing outside, and when she couldn't take it any longer she ran to her car.

Loreal, Detroit MI | Edited In Lightroom 5

I looked through the shots and I just wasn't happy, I think I was trying to show too much of her body, as opposed to just focusing on what I originally wanted to execute. I was trying to add my own "sexyness" to shot, and I think that really took away from the photo. After a few attempts I gave up, Loreal was getting cold and she had other shots she wanted to do. I noticed later in post (processing) that the mirror was just too tilted to far. I was trying to reflect her whole face, when it should have just been her mouth, but in the results weren't HORRIBLE. Loreal was a trooper though, she was willing to pose as many times as I needed her too, I noticed that I was only shooting her from the waist up, and during those shots she was in her under garments, so I had her put her pants back on just to reassure that she didn't freeze to death.

We tried some different spots out in the warehouse, at least that's what I'm assuming it use to be. Loreal had brought some outfits of her own and we took a few next to some abandoned buildings, we really took advantage of our space. Unfortunately she wasn't happy with any of the shots, she said she looked dead, and that she wouldn't be uploading them to her social media. As a photographer that hurt a bit, but I liked that she was honest with me. I'm not sure what my excuse is for my poor execution, I didn't have a clear head at the time and I let some personal issues interrupt our chemistry we may have had, I was also pretty bummed out that I wasn't able to successfully capture my idea.

Detroit MI | Edited In Lightroom 5

As stated though, this project isn't about being a beast photographer early on, it's about comparing week 1's pictures and knowledge to week 52's and seeing how much I've grown as a portrait photographer and person over the course of the year. But I know that I can only use this excuse for so long, if I learn and don't learn to execute than any gained knowledge won't be beneficial to me moving on. I have ideas for my next shoot and hopefully I can provide something a little more exciting next week! Below you can find the entire Places & Spaces series, as well as directions to the location from this weeks shoot.



Gear Used