Monthly Archives: March 2011

Seeing Clearly: Backstage at En Vogue

So I walked upstairs and I saw a butt-load of gorgeous models standing around, having their photos taken.
Most of them were waiting in line to get Del Geronimized, while others were having their makeup done.
As three or so photographers were flashing away at the white backdrop, I looked around the room, and
started to think.

Hmmm…

Me: Excuse me, can I borrow you for a second?

Snap snap, and I take the shot above. Doesn’t she look so 1950’s domestic housewife?

Here’s the thing with models: They either have it, or they don’t. And by “it”, what I mean is, their ability to
listen to directions. I swear, sometimes I feel like some models are legally brain-dead. I’ll shout out
directions like “Okay Tommy, put your right hand over your chin” and instead, he’ll start breakdancing.

But of course, in the end, the photographer is responsible for the final product. You might be working with
top quality models like Sun Fei Fei or Rojam Wang, but if your photography skills are comparable
to that of a monkey flinging his poop, well then, you sir, are f*cked.

And part of being a decent fashion photographer is being able to see things. You need to be able to pick
from a sea of models, the right one, the perfect one – the one who you believe has it – who can deliver
the goods. If you can weave through the clutter and find that pot of gold, you’ll find yourself in a land
of good work. But hey!  That’s just my personal opinion ^_^

I‘ll be posting my video from En Vogue later this week –  so stay tuned, kids ;)

**UPDATE** The Video from En Vogue has been canceled. Sorry!

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Filed under Details, Fashion Shows, Models, Rants, Winter/Fall, Women

My First *REAL* Photoshoot! (Designs By Justin Jamison)

Over the past six years I have been a part 20 or so photoshoots. Now,
by “photoshoot” I actually mean my friend and I, in a park, with his mom’s
digital camera (on full Auto), trying to take pictures of me doing model-like
poses. These weren’t even amateur photoshoots, but rather, two kids
taking pictures for their Myspace profiles.

Even though I’ve spent a decent amount of time behind the camera, I’ve
never had the opportunity to work with real models, in real designer
clothes, with real hair and makeup. So when my designer, Justin Jamison,
and I decided to collaborate on a shoot, I was completely over the moon.

I mean come on! This was it! This was my big breakthrough! My debut as an
aspiring editorial fashion photographer! In order to prepare, I spent days
looking through Vogue editorials, trying to figure out what made their
pictures so great. Why were their photos so distinct, so amazing, and so right?

The initial plan was simple: we photograph 4 outfits outside The
Contemporary Jewish Museum, and we finish in less than 2 hours.
Bada-bing-bada-BOOM! Done and done! But as the shoot came closer and
closer, giant obstacles started to rise from the ground.

First off, instead of shooting 4 outfits in 2 hours, I had to shoot 10 outfits in the same time frame. Mission
Impossible or Mission HELLA Impossible? PFFT! Whatever, bro! I have my external flash with me, so even
if it gets dark, I’ll light up that building like a Christmas tree, so we’re good to go! With my camera in hand,
I fired off like I was Rambo shooting down a helicopter *SNAP-SNAP-SNAP-SNAP*

But then I realized something that would change the entire shoot: the
building we planned on shooting at was a total black-hole. In other words,
the building wasn’t reflecting light from my external flash, instead,
it was sucking it in. What this meant was that now, I couldn’t rely on my flash
to light the building, I actually had to work faster than the sun was moving.

To make matters worse, a security guard came over and stopped our shooting, claiming that the Museum
managers prohibited our photography, even though they approved us the day before. This set us back
another 30-45 minutes. *tick-tock-tick-tock*

“The Models are getting cold!”
“We’re hungry!”
“My ride is coming soon.”
“The sun is going down!”
“We still have 2 more outfits!”

It was insane. I was moving around back and fourth like a line cook in a
busy restaurant, trying to cook dishes quickly while still maintaining quality.
I was moving around so much I felt like I was doing a session of P90X!

At the end of the shoot, my mind and body was completely empty. Not only did I go 8 hours without food,
but my ass cheeks started hurt, and my eyeballs felt like they were gonna jump out of my head.

As I look back at the shoot, I think about all of the set-backs we had, and
then I looked at the final shots… and ya know what? It turned out pretty
damn good. I mean, I have quite a ways to go before I get on Mario
Testino’s level, but with time and experience, I’m confident I’ll get there.

In a way, I’m glad all of that happened. The screw ups inspire me to become
perfect; to improve and hone my craft. But most importantly, this
photoshoot taught me to never dwell on current obstacles, but instead,
push them outside the window, and keep shooting.

Designer: Justin Jamison
Hair: Kao Vey Saephanh
Make-up: Necia Whitmore
Models:
Hugo Lopez
Gregory Vaughan
Ethan Wood
Joy Mann

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Filed under Featured Designer, Men, Models, Photoshoots, Special, Winter/Fall, Women