Styled Shoots involve more directing of subjects, which is a fun contrast to my regular shoots (Lifestyle Photography) that are more natural-flowing.
In this shoot with Crystal, for instance, I took her into a deserted building and a cemetery ==> NOT your typical photography locations. Some of that occurred on a whim because the other areas were occupied by another photographer. Instead of leaving altogether, I got more creative! It feels amazing to still achieve the quality of images I had visualized beforehand, even with the unplanned changes. Boo-yah!
Before diving into the behind-the-scenes (BTS) images, I’d like to share a phone selfie of me and Crystal taken before the shoot, so you can see what she looks like on a “normal” day. She is stylish, cute and gorgeous, right?!!
And, I know you’re thinking it, so I’m just gonna come out and say it for you… I need a tan! 😉 Alright, let’s get to it!
I chose this area because I liked how the green in her top (it was a silk scarf!) matched the leaves in the tree, so I placed her here. Since she has never done a professional shoot before, I gave her a branch to hold, so her hands had something to do.
(PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Sometimes hands can look awkward. They need to have “a purpose”. Don’t just let them fall to the side. I call that “a dead arm”.)
I also love her muscular arms and back, so finding ways to curve and bend her body highlighted those areas. It also makes the image more editorial than headshot-y. (Do you like my formal terms?!!)
What I Shot
[Specs: ISO 400, 1/1000 sec, f/1.4, shade.]
I started shooting her in different angles (straight on with the cemetery behind her, through the trees, etc), but none of those gave me the “wow” effect that I wanted. I ended up moving closer and closer, and shot her from the side, as you see below.
I found the side view more flattering. It showed off her arms in a feminine way and created a harder line around her jaw, which I liked.
Also, from this side view, I can see her wrist tattoos, which offers a visual detail that I find interesting.
What I Shot
[Specs: ISO 400, 1/400 sec, f/1.8, open shade]
I could see that the sun was hitting the bush with the flowers, so I knew I wanted to shoot through that for a cool foreground bokeh. To get into position, I am looking through the viewfinder the entire time, so I guess I ended up in a funky legs-all-twisted kind of position! haha.
The other image (below right) shows me giving Crystal posing direction.
What I Shot
I love this shot of Crystal. She looks flirty and fun! Her stance also shows off her athletic build. (She is a volleyball athlete!)
[Specs: ISO 400, 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, speckled light]
So at the end of the shoot, I looked around for a strip of light. I visualized a dark environment with a tiny bit of light, so I could create more of an emotional, storytelling image than just “a pretty” one.
I found this strip of light inside a deserted building that worked great, however, based on how the sunlight streamed in, the light was very low to the ground. I gave Crystal directions to sit, kick off her shoes, and bend forward into the light. I painted a story for her so she would have “activities”, so that the image would have a story…
She was a girl at a party who stepped away from it to be alone for awhile so she could think. The rest was up to her. Was she sad? Pensive?
What I Shot
[Specs: ISO 250, 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, super bright stream of light]
Then I walked up to her to get a close-up.
I wanted to highlight the shapes from the light and shadows on her face and body, so I had her body produce even more shapes by making her limbs bend and her body asymmetric.
[Specs: ISO 320, 1/5000 sec, f/1.8, bright stream of light]