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
Being a photographer that is always working in and out of the studio, I'm constantly looking for ways to make the system of packing my gear more efficient. One day, I'll be in the studio doing headshots, then the next day I could be out working a wedding, and having to pack up strobes, their power cords and external batteries can become quite the choir. It gets bulky, it gets heavy, and it becomes time consuming in an industry where time is money! My goal for the past couple years was to transition from my Profoto D1 Airs to their wireless system with the B2's and now their B1x's. I've owned the B2's for about a year and they have been life savers, especially at weddings, where light and nimble strobes are what I need (see what I did there?). But sometimes I just need an extra stop of power, enter the new Profoto B1x, an upgrade from their B1's. Knowing these new bad boys had the ability to do High Speed Sync (also known as HSS, where you can shoot at shutter speeds greater than 1/200th sec) across the whole power range, I was intrigued to take them out for a trial run to see exactly what they can do. After getting my set from B&H, I reached out to my extremely talented friend, Krisitna Kubrick, who had been teasing a custom parachute dress. I seen her trial runs for this design on social media which in turn inspired not only a creative vision but a technical challenge for myself as well. Knowing the signature style of her line is working with vibrant and flowy fabrics that posses lots of movement, I knew I would want to use the B1x's in the harsh afternoon sunlight while we purposely introduced movement to the design's train. Enabling the HSS feature allowed me to increase my shutter speed to 1/2500th sec. which performed with two desired results. The first was being able stop down the ambient light (the sun) while still having enough power to illuminate the talent, creating a straight out of camera dramatic aesthetic. The second was ridding any blurred effects on the fabric from the movement we introduced from flipping it around and catching it in the wind. Beyond technical game plan which I would tackle, was our creative team. Mallory Mims, the talent who had actually did the test fitting with Kristina, was the only rightful choice to be asked on board for the collaboration as she already familiar with the motion capabilities this piece had to offer. Rounding out the team, we brought on The Beauty Patrol's Michelle Villareal for hair and Lyndsey Elliot for Make-up, a dual threat from one of the best make-up teams Louisville has to offer. Within the first few shots, we were seeing the fruits of our work come together, with natural flairs of drama straight out of camera. The teams styling was perfect, the lighting was perfect, our day... was perfect. On behalf of our team, I am excited to share the finished work from our collection "A Flare of Drama"!!
On a small final note, aside from creating a beautiful entry into our portfolio's, I've also realized through this trial that the days of hoping for an overcast to cut the harsh light down was no longer an issue.
Original Designs - Kristina Kubrick of Kilika Couture
Make-Up Artist - Lyndsey Elliot / The Beauty Patrol
Hair Stylist - Michelle Villareal / The Beauty Patrol
Talent - Mallory Rose Mims
Canon 5D Mark IV w/16-35mm f/2.8L II
Images 1 & 4 - Profoto B1x w/White Umbrella XL and Diffuser Cover.
Images 2 & 3 - Profoto B1x w/OCF White Beauty Dish and Diffuser Panel.
f/2.8 - 1/2500 sec - ISO 200
f/2.8 - 1/2500 sec - ISO 125
Photoshoot and Retouch Timelapse
Although the price tag for the B1xs are high end, I definitely feel they are worth the investment. I tend to be loyal to brands that are dependable and perform when I need them too, this is why I invested in the Profoto system (I am not ambassador nor am I getting paid to write this). I just want to share my experiences with industry standard equipment, that has proven it's reliability time and time again.
My Top 5 Benefits for Profoto B1x's
1. HSS, if you need to control the ambient light (overpowering the sun), the B1x will perform.
2. Quality of light, as with all of Profoto's strobes I've owned, they are consistent, period.
3. Brighter modeling lamp, this is what I need for headshots and getting the pupils to dial down.
4. Modifiers, Profoto's speed ring design, allows me to use my OCF and RFI modifiers I currently own.
5. Wireless, this is liberating both in the studio and on location. Cords can be tedious and sometimes a tripping hazard.
KMAC Couture V, it has come and gone full circle now, but that's not to say the story ends. As with any milestone, it's only the close of one chapter and the beginning of the next. It has been one exhilarating ride, from the discussions that drew the first breaths of the concept to capturing the last team to grace the runway as they stepped down off it. Every year the designs become more intricate and the talent becomes more fierce, and as always it was a humbling experience to capture this evening. Now, on behalf of the entire KMAC Staff, designers, talents, hair stylist and make-up artists, I'd thrilled to share the official production photography of KMAC Couture V! Thank you again for making my job something to live for!
You can read the other blogs here...
KMAC Couture V, Part I of III
KMAC Couture V, Part II of III
Below is the link to the Dropbox for social media sharing, please feel free to download and use at your leisure. I only ask that when you post your image to please credit your team along with myself as the photographer. Thank you!
Sometimes as a photographer, one becomes conflicted with priorities... should you be sticking to the task at hand of producing a final image? Should you be documenting the process by capturing behind the scenes? Should you be a liaison between the production coordinator and designers? Yes to all 3 and a lot of times even more! But thankfully, we have teams to spread the work out which allows us to deliver a dynamic range of content. In this instance, I want to concentrate on the BTS which was captured by one of the two production coordinators Emily Miles. Naturally, I can blog about the technicalities of the shoot such as lighting and camera settings along with before and after images, but to document the start of a day to the end is something I simply can not do by myself. Of the three blogs I'm releasing for KMAC Couture V, this one is my favorite as it encapsulates all the elements of the team work that is dedicated for a cause greater than any one of us, Art. Whether it's at an event to reveal the image, on a billboard alongside a highway or a savvy social media campaign, and yet to an overwhelming reception, a lot of times only the final image is viewed and the details of what it takes to create the art leading to that moment are left out. As a photographer who earned his stripes in the community by covering BTS, I simply feel the need to make sure this not left out. I now hope this can give an inside look into what all is put into creating one image, one campaign... one piece of art... because Art is the Big Idea!
Special thanks to the following teams, for with out them, none of this would of been possible!
Designers - Zach Lindsey, Kriss Pettit, Frances Lewis, Gunnar Deatherage and Wende Cudmore
Talent - Gia Combs, Kaelyn Joy Lyverse, Shantay Chandler and Katya Estes
Hair and Make-up - The Beauty Patrol, Pam Jean, Isidro Valencia, Louisa Kleinert, Brooke Meadows and Anastasia Sky Gerdes.
Production Coordinators - D'Ante J. Tinson, Emily Miles & Theresa Carpenter Beames
Read Part I to see how we achieved the official campaign image that was shot on Main St, downtown Louisville KY.
Behind the Scenes
KMAC Couture V
The Valiant Pastiche Collection
Canon 5D Mark IV w/50mm f/1.2L
Key - Profoto B2, Umbrella Shallow White M w/Peacock Blue Gel.
Kicker - Profoto B2, Barndoors w/Rose Pink Gel
Runway Tech Schtuff
Canon 5D Mark IV w/70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II
Canon 5D Mark III w/16-35mm f/2.8 L II
Light - Available
Link - http://bit.ly/2dXFfAX
This right here are the results of inspirations and collaborations. After covering this year's KMAC Couture, I happen to cross paths with the talented artist who's design was used for the 2016 campaign, Frances Lewis. The image I captured at the show of this design had me so inspired, I felt it needed it's own shoot, so we chatted up some ideas and made this happen! Cheers!
Photographer - Gary Barragan
Original Wardrobe Design & Styling - Frances Lewis
Make-Up Artist - Keisha Mink
Hair Styling - Natasha Curtis Carter
Talent - Centria Kapris
Assistance - Kirstia Renee Drury & Anima Ri Bella
Backdrop - Oliphant Studios
Special thanks to Angie Fenton for featuring our work in the October/November issue of Extol Magazine!
Photography - Gary Barragan
Hair Stylist - Matthew Tyldesley, Redken Artist
Make-up Artist - Isidro Valencia, The Beauty Patrol
Fascinator - The Hat Girls
Dress - Patricia Bonaldi
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!