In 2015, I started a 52-week project based solely on portraiture. It was entitled Places & Spaces. The concept was simple, each week I'd shoot a new client, in a new area. But I never actually made it to the 52-week mark. If I'm not mistaken I believe I stopped the project around week 36. I simply just didn't have the passion for partaking in the project anymore... Or portraiture work period for that matter. I wasn't 100% sure why I no longer enjoyed this aspect of photography, but after months passed I came to the conclusion that I wasn't producing work that I actually enjoyed looking at. I learned this from Gary Vaynerchuk, in one of his videos he mentioned that you need to market the same way you are sold. By that he meant, don't invest in billboards... If you don't fucking look at billboards. That's essentially what I did with my portraiture work, I shot a lot of urban styled shoots that didn't really satisfy my needs. They were more hipster based, I tried to incorporate clothes and looks that I thought would appeal to a larger audience... When that didn't work I tried removing almost all clothes too. I was shooting the Tumblr-esque shot when I really wanted to create something more dreamy and angelic.
I got a taste of this type of work shortly after I ended my project. I was no longer pressured to create a concept, find a model, shoot and edit in a weeks time. Instead, I had two-three weeks to put something together, show examples and really capture this look I desired. The inspiration came from Emily Soto, so when I adjusted my model I did so hoping I can emulate her style, to my surprise the shot came out beautifully. Here is the final result.
After this shoot, I was hooked. I wanted to do more, I just didn't know how or with who. I eventually found another individual who was looking to expand her portfolio. She was down to do a concept that I had in mind and though it wasn't perfectly executed we made the best of it... Many of the shots came out below average, but it was one in particular that I enjoyed... I saw potential in it, I saw potential in this style.
However, it didn't have that edginess of Emily's photos. Now I'm not seriously trying to create an exact replica portrait from Emily's work, but I was highly jealous of her perfectly/imperfect approach and I'd be lying if I didn't say she was a huge inspiration behind this. I took it upon myself to figure out how could I add the features she possessed in her photographs. I came to the conclusion that her, as well as Lindsay Adler, were doing a lot of their post work in Photoshop... I absolutely suck at Photoshop.
This lack of skill that I possessed forced me to find a batter way. Side note, my creativity really comes into play during this kind of situations, if I had to guess I'd say I developed them from the times when I was younger and we had no food. We never had dishes that complimented each other, thus, I had to create something in order to have a full course meal, it didn't sound good on paper and probably would have gotten zero likes on Instagram... But boy was it delicious. Back to the story... So I Googled a few things, I came up with nothing. I then went to Instagram to check out my feed, I noticed my friend had tagged Mextures in one of his mobile pictures (the picture was stunning) so I downloaded the app. At the time I believe it was free, so there was no hesitation. I opened it and at first glance I wasn't really impressed, it seemed as if it was another filter based app, I had enough of those, but after playing around with it I really saw the potential it had.
What Mextures is, is an overlay application. It allows you to add textures to your original image, but unlike most apps, it allows you to add several layers to the image, this makes the possibilities and outcomes almost endless. If you're no creative, then the app even allows you to utilize formulas created by other users. My favorite part about the app is that it allows you to control the opacity of the texture, this allows for the image to still shine while the texture itself remains an addition to the photograph. This was the app I needed, the app that would help me apply the final touches to my pictures. Here's how the picture of Gessica looks after the Mextures edit.
This was the app I needed, the app that would help me apply the final touches to my pictures. Here's how the picture of Gessica looks after the Mextures edit.
It's been nearly 6 months since this shoot, but I'm happy to inform you all that I'm back doing portraiture and this time I've made a promise to myself to only shoot something I'd actually enjoy looking at. This work won't be as frequent as my other work, but whenever I have some downtime or I'm paid to do a gig similar to this style I'm going to jump all over it. The reason behind this particular shoot was because I have a lens review to finish (I actually have another portraiture lens on the way!).
This time around I wanted to really capture a dark grungy type of style. I linked up with a follower from Instagram and decided to do a shoot that was based on this style. It wasn't 100% planned out, but we both had a general idea of the concept. A mute kind of looked with a woodsy area in the background. I didn't have to go far for this style of shoot, in fact, I did it in my own backyard, but I'm really happy with the way it came out.
I'm not going to get into too many details about the shoot itself, but more so the app. This time around I had a general idea of how Mextures worked, so I shot with the attention to edit afterwards. The shot below was on of the earlier pictures taken, Rieli has a full body of hair, so it was my goal to capitalize on that, now, when the audience views the pictures they aren't extremely distracted by the Mextures I applied to the picture as the hair and one eye instantly captures their attention, however, the effects used are still appreciated as they add another element to the photograph.
Just to give you all a general understanding of how the app works, I provided a photo of Rieli showcasing some of Mextures preset B&W filters applied.
My final edits were actually far more subtle. I edited the picture initially in Lightroom, then I imported from Dropbox right into Mextures. I wanted to go for a vintage effect, but I didn't want it to take over the viewers attention. The best thing about Mextures is that you're able to tone down the effect, though at times, making it more apparent can be benenficial as well. Below I included some of my final edits from the shoot, I'm excited to hear what you all think!
To view the full session of Rieli at Lafayette Park, then follow the link here.
This app is going to be the new foundation for my work, each portrait session will eventually be imported into Mextures and will have effects applied, this includes light leaks, as well as various textures. For fun here is a preview of my next shoot, as you can see I applied several of these elements to create the photograph.
Oh by the way, for those who made it to the end then you're in for a treat. Below I've provided two of my Mextures formulas, simply open the app, select manage and then hit he + sign, once promoted enter in the codes as listed below