Hey guys! I'm hoping that 2017 is treating you guys well. For me, there have been a lot of work projects that are keeping me busy. Even though I'm managing those projects, I'm not feeling as stressed as before. I am taking advantage of my improved work-life balance by taking several photography courses this semester. I may have overdone it though. At the moment, I'm taking three courses: History of Photography, a software class furthering my skills in PhotoShop and Capture One, and a Portrait Photography course. I'm a little concerned that I'm going to feel overwhelmed as the semester proceeds, but I'm enjoying the classes at the moment.
Of course, I'm excited about my Portrait Photography course. It will help me with posing as well as lighting. If anything, it will give me time to actually experiment with lighting, posing, and image processing while have some instructors to critique my techniques. I'm also hoping to further develop my artistic vision this semester, but we shall see how that ends up going. Nonetheless, I'm definitely excited about having the opportunity to work in a studio on a weekly basis with access to a lot of photography equipment. That is definitely feeling like a dream!
As we roll into February, I'm definitely hoping to set up some additional shoots with some male models. I'm actually planning a trip to San Antonio next month and hoping to work with some guys from the area. So yeah, if you're in the San Antonio area and would like to shoot, send me an email and we can see about getting something set up.
Anyway, on to the reason that you guys are here - Erik. I will say that I absolutely loved working with Erik. He was a first time model, but took cues extremely well. It was definitely easy to talk with Erik throughout the shoot, including while he was completely nude. Of course, that signaled to me that he was completely comfortable with his body. Of course, he told me with a smile that his wife talked him into responding to the ad. I'm definitely glad that she sent him my way!
Like with the other shoots, I began by photographing Erik in the clothing that he wore to the shoot. Yep, he wore a black t-shirt and a pair of nylon track pants. I will say that I normally find track pants to be annoying, but Erik actually made them appealing. I ended up liking the overall look as presented in the image below, but I definitely took several images of Erik shirtless while just wearing the track pants. The clothing definitely fits with his overall athletic look.
Of course, I love the pose in the image. I like the subtle curve in his body as he rest the majority of his weight on his left leg and how the illusion of a counterbalance is present in his right shoulder. I also like the natural positioning of his left hand on his hip and the angle created by his arm. Finally, I like the tilt of his head to continue the slight s-curve created by his body in this pose. Of course, I've seen and used this pose before, but I definitely like the way that Erik highlights the pose in the image.
Additionally, I like the lighting in the image. Like usual, I'm using a two light system for the shoot, as evident in the catchlights in his eyes. I will say that I like how the light falls across his body and picks up some interesting details, such as the veins on the back of his hands and up through his forearms. I also like how the light falls across his face and makes his eyes pop. And, of course, I like how the light falls on his clothing and separates it from the black background.
For those reasons, it was definitely easy to select the image below to highlight in this section.
I will say that I'm finding myself in a unique position. As I'm working through my Portrait Photography course, I'm redefining my meaning of a portrait. What I may have once considered portraits are not necessarily true portraits. Well, portraits in the classical and accepted definition. Because of that, I'm taking a hard look at my portraits and evolving my definition. Of course, I'm hoping to have some improved portraits by the end of the semester, but I'm still going to highlight some of my favorite portraits, in my opinion, from my previous shoots.
The image below is my favorite portrait from the photo shoot with Erik. Starting with the pose, I like how his arms work to direct the viewer's eye towards Erik face as well as the framing that is created by both arms. Additionally, I love the shallow depth of field in the image and how both arms are out of focus while his face is completely sharp.
Of course, I love his serious facial expression. More importantly, I love how his eyes turned out in the image. As you can see from the catchlights, I'm still using a two light system. It definitely helped to make his eyes pop, but also created some interesting highlights, mid tones, and shadows throughout his face. It also helped to create some separation between his arms and the dark background. In the end, I loved how the lighting highlighted his features.
I will say that I'm a fan of the Papi underwear brand. I love their bright, bold colors and patterns. More importantly, I love how those intense patterns translate into black and white. Sure, I love how certain models can do justice to the name brand briefs, but I love starting with the briefs and figuring out how well a model will look in them.
Of course, Erik pulled off the look well. I love how the pattern of the Papi boxer briefs highlighted the curves of his lower body while also highlighting his trim waist. Like I said, I was definitely happy with the way that Erik filled out and modeled the boxer briefs.
More importantly, I love the pose in the image. Starting from his lower body, I love the slight turn of his lower body. It helps to provide some depth to the image, especially as it creates some separation from the background. Moving up, I definitely lower the slightly further turn of his upper body towards the camera. It helps to create some interesting diagonals, particularly across his shoulders and collar bones. And, finally, I love that he's look start at the camera with his intense stare. Yeah, I'm definitely a fan of the pose and love how it turned out in the image.
Like my previous shoots, I photographed Erik completely nude. As I mentioned in the beginning, Erik was comfortable being and posing completely nude. Of course, it helped that he was completely comfortable with his body and in his skin. Because of his comfort level, I was able to get some great shots of Erik as he posed in the nude.
Of course, I love the pose in the image below. I like how his arms work to guide the viewer's eyes up throughout the image, especially how his tattoo helps to direct the viewer's eyes up towards his face. Additionally, I like how the curves of his body stand out against the dark background, particularly on the right side of the image. I absolutely love the line created by his upper back and arm, down into his narrow waist, and back out along his glute. It's definitely eye catching.
For me, I absolutely love the image below. Starting with the composition, I like how he's off center. It creates an interesting dynamic between the positive and negative space as well as the lightness of his body and the darkness of the background. Additionally, I love how his left arm and tattoo are at the center of the image and serves to guide the viewer's eyes up to Erik's face.
In addition to the dynamics of composition, I love the pose in the image. There's definitely a sense of modesty present in the image as Erik shields his genitals from the viewer's eyes. This further accentuated with downward cast of his face and the closed eyes. Additionally, I love the slight turn of his body as evident in his thighs, stomach, and shoulders. That turn helps to create some visual depth and interest.
With all of the elements coming together, it was definitely easy for me to select the image below as my favorite image from the photo shoot.
I absolutely loved working with Erik throughout the shoot. He was a little on the quiet side, but very polite and took cues extremely well. Of course, I'm definitely happy with the images that came from the photo shoot and several of them have become my favorites from my entire catalog. Like I said, I'm extremely happy that his wife talked him into answering my ad! I'm definitely hoping to work with Erik again at some point this year! I'm definitely looking forward to creating some new impressive images with him! You can see of my work with Erik at http://www.reyjphotography.com/erik.
Again, thanks for taking the time to check out the blog entry and the images from my photo shoot with Erik. I definitely appreciate it that you guys are taking the time to scope out my work!
If you guys want, you can also check out my Instagram account at http://www.instagram.com/reyj,photography. I tend to post images daily!
If you are interested in setting up a shoot or letting me know what you think about my work, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!