How do we grow as an artist? By putting ourselves under pressure in a situation where failure is potential. Through out my career I have faced several situations like this, some where I have excelled and some where I have failed. Some situations have technical challenges such as how to light a scene or subject. Sometimes the challenge may be earning your client's trust so they open up to making a connection and you are able to tell a genuine story. Other challenges may be throwing your self in a situation that you don't have total control of. On Tuesday September 12th I did exactly that, I hosted a live photoshoot at the Louisville Bespoke Open House. It would be the first time I did anything remotely live, let alone with a packed venue. I planned to stream my live tether to the overhead projector but the images were blurry and distorted from lack of a wide screen aspect ratio, at this point I began to sweat. I always pre-light my sets before the models walk on to work, and in this case it couldn't of been more needed to get the shoot rolling. The strobes started to flash which attracted the guests, I could feel the crowd horseshoe around my set. I'm not going to lie, I was nervous, dozens of eyes were on me and it was nearly impossible to verbally direct the model because the music was overpowering my voice. At this point I took a deep breath then I rolled up my sleeves, drowned out the noise and owned my environment. The designer, Frances Lewis, had made all the final preparations on her design already, now I just needed to place my faith the model's experience. After I would envision a pose I would run up to her and explain what I wanted, give some direction and then run back to my camera to photograph her. I would do this every few minutes switching up my direction and the emotion I wanted the model to convey. Time appeared to slow down when in actuality we photographed for maybe 15 minutes. When it comes to selecting which image to retouch, I know the shot when I see it, and in this case, the team knew it as well. I could not wait to get into the digital darkroom and retouch!
Team work definitely makes the dream work and as the photographer we are looked at as the team captain, one to lead and direct. With that responsibility I’ve always felt the need to deliver more than one image on collaborations, so that the entire team can have a complete body of work. Initially I was only going to release one image from the Open House. Why? Because when culling for a second image I faced yet again another challenge, it was a matter of retouching a part of the image I didn’t think I could navigate my way around. After some thought, I talked with Frances about the issues I was looking and she was ok with just releasing one image, I could have been too… easily. But something inside me didn't feel right, something told me to keep trying, and although we learn from failure this was not a time I would let failure get the best of me. I had a team to represent who also donated their time and talents to the Open House. So I poured a bourbon, sat back down and was determined to deliver one more. This is Louisville Fashion and this is what we do my friends!
Now that it is all said and done with, I have a milestone under my belt that I can be quite proud of. I've never been fond of public speaking or working in front of large crowds, but with overcoming this challenge I have found a new level of confidence. It's been said that the reward is in the risk, my risk was putting myself in front of dozens of folks while I worked but the reward is this amazing sense of accomplishment and knowing that I can (and will) do this again!
Thank you to Yamilca Rodriguez of Louisville Bespoke for hosting me, and to the creative team Frances Lewis, Tiffany Nelson, Lisa Hickerson and Dominique Joy Thompson, your talents are greatly appreciate, for none of this would be possible if it weren't for each of you bringing your talents.
And a huge special thanks for two of my biggest fans and supporters, my parents Dan & Pam Barragan, thank you for coming out, love you guys!
Designer - Frances Lewis
Make-Up Artist - Lisa Hickerson
Talent - Dominique Joy Thompson
Assistant - Tiffany Nelson
"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." - Colin Powell
Left - Designer Frances Lewis, Right - Assistant Tiffany Nelson, Not Picture - Lisa Hickerson
Gear - Profoto Lighting, Canon 5D Mark IV and Oliphant Backdrops
Key Light - B1x w/Profoto Umbrella Shallow White Medium
Fill - B1x w/Profoto Umbrella Deep White XL
Kicker 1 - B2 w/Profoto OCF 2 x 3 Softbox w/Grid.
Kicker 2 - B2 w/Profoto OCF 1 x 3 Stripbox.
70-200mm f/2.8L @ 70mm
ISO 200 - 1/200 sec - f/5.6
ISO 200 - 1/200 sec - f/5.6
I have worked with Centria several times on creative collaboration over the past year, a true talent in her own right. Fun, energetic and commands presence when she's in front of the camera. Her manager contacted me about updated her portfolio with professional modeling headshots as she was preparing to head down to Atlanta, Georgia for some casting calls. She wanted her to be prepared with the best professional headshot images possible, so worked through several different looks giving her a range from both commercial and theatrical headshots. We even worked in a little character headshot set inspired by Janet Jackson before it was all said and done with. Lots of good vibes that day that included lots of trips down memory lane. Centria brought her newborn daughter who was named after R&B royalty Aaliyah, yes we got a few candids of them. Talking of those days when Aaliyah was on the radio led into other 90's R&B reminiscing. Centria, her mother Natasha and I had quite the candid conversation of old school jams such as Jodeci, Silk and Shai. What does all this mean? It means good music and conversation were healthy ingredients to this session which we all couldn't be happier with! I'll be looking forward to seeing her in action!
Character Headshot with Editorial Close-Ups
Towards the end of the session with Centria and I, her mother Natasha, asked me if I had another session that after. I did not have anything else on the books for the Saturday. So she tells me that her other daughter Jasmine is a budding model and needs a kick start to her portfolio and books her session right there on spot. Boom, as we wrap with Centria, Jasmine jumps in front of my camera. We decided to concentrate on getting a commercial headshot as this is what casting directors and agents prefer the most. After a little bit of coaching and direction we land this knock out smile below. 1st part done! Next we head outside and walk around the studio's neighborhood getting some lifestyle portraits for her portfolio, within a few a minutes she was warmed up and throwing strong poses and expressions at the camera left and right! We had a good time getting her career started on the right foot, now I look forward to watching her grow and having her step back in front of my camera again in the future!
Gary is the best. With my daughter Jasmine who is a beginner in modeling, he made her feel comfortable in front of camera and gave her some tips, while doing her headshots. Thank you, Gary we will be back for more photoshoots."
Jasmine Massey Commercial Headshot
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A personal journal about any given day in my photography career where I will write about anything from portraits and headshots to sharing my educational experiences. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, it's my pleasure to share my stories with you!