Hey guys! It's been a while since I last posted a blog entry (and I was doing so well before - ha!), but I wanted to get one up today since I'll be writing about the last photo shoot that I did in December 2013. Overall, things are going well here. It's been a while since I did a photo shoot, but I've been focusing on on the full-time job and trying to do my best there. It actually worked since I ended up getting a promotion and will be overseeing some of our media and outreach projects at work. It's a little daunting, but I'm definitely feeling like it's a step in the right direction. Of course, the managing side of things may kill me, but it definitely feels like a step in the right direction.
I'm also hoping that the new job will allow to have some more time pursue a better work-life balance. In my previous position, I was usually putting in 10-12 hour days and working on the weekends to get projects done. Now that I'm over the new area, I'm hoping to leave on time and take my weekends back. Hopefully it will give me more time to work on photography projects and actually take some additional courses. Well, I hope since I've signed up for three courses in the upcoming fall semester. We'll see how it plays out. Either way, I'm definitely looking forward to the new job and the prospect of having more time for photography projects! It should be great!
Alright, on to the reason that you guys are here. As you guys know, December 2013 was a busy time for me. During that month, I photographed eight guys in the span of a week. It may have been a little on the overkill side, but I definitely needed a creative outlet after finishing the semester at graduate school. It was definitely fun since I got to work with a lot of amazing guys and further hone my skills with each shoot. I definitely loved each shoot for different reasons, but I will say that the shoot with Donye was definitely one of my more memorable ones.
Working with Donye was definitely amazing. He has done modeling work before and knew which positions showcased his body really well. It definitely helped that he had an amazing body as well as an easy going personality. We definitely bonded over music as we listened to the divas from the 80's and 90's, including Whitney Houston, Lil' Kim, and Tina Turner. Yeah, I definitely have an eclectic taste in music, but it definitely helped to get us more comfortable with each other.
However, I did have a moment of panic during the photo shoot with Donye. For the December 2013 photo shoots, I had book a suite at a local hotel here. It was pretty decent since it had some modern features that captured my attention as well as having a large amount of open space. It definitely suited my needs since my place was fairly small and wasn't really conducive for photo shoots. Anyway, during the photo shoot with Donye, I had decided to push one of my strobes to the max for some reason. Not really thinking about it, I continued taking quite a few pictures in a row. It's going well until I heard a pop and a fizzle! Looking at the lights, I saw that the maxed out strobe was smoking!
Yeah, I totally burned out one of my strobes during a photo shoot at a hotel! Of course, my first thought is great - I'm looking so unprofessional in front of a model by destroying my equipment. Then the panic set in! I freaked out internally thinking that the smoke from the strobe was going to set off a smoke detector and the whole hotel was going to be evacuated because I burned out a strobe during a photo shoot! I'm not sure how I looked on the outside, but I was freaking out on the inside and thinking of ways to explain and talk my way out of the situation. Luckily, I was able to dissipate the smoke and didn't set off any smoke alarms! Now, when I think and talk about it, I laugh at the experience since I'm sure that a lot of photographers have had that freak out moment when something didn't go to plan. I've learned from the situation and moved on with a shrug.
Donye was cool about the whole situation and didn't seem bothered by it. Either that, or he wasn't really aware of what had happened since I told him to take a five minute break while I dealt with the smoking strobe. However, I had to take stock of the situation since we were still fairly early into the photo shoot and I was down a light. I didn't let it deter me; instead, I just became creative and figured out how to get some cool images with just one lighting source. I will have to say that I love the lighting in Donye's images and that these are some of my favorite overall!
There are days when I thinking burning out one of my strobes was a good thing since it led to these images, but I still mourn the fact that I had depart with some cash to replace that burned out strobe! Still, burning out that light may have been one of the best things to happen to me since I had to think on my feet and become more creative with one light! Since then, I have tried to think back to some of the lessons that I learned from that shoot and play with lighting from a single light source.
Like with the other guys that I have worked with, I started the photo shoot with Donye modeling the clothing that he wore to the shoot. When he arrived, he was just wearing a t-shirt with Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. on it as well as a pair of gray sweats. I liked how comfortable he looked in the clothing and definitely was happy with the images that came from that portion of the shoot. Of course, he also surprised me when he voluntarily told me that he wasn't wearing any underwear underneath his sweats because he didn't want any indentation lines to show up. I definitely thought that it was interesting for him to tell me, but it also showed me how professional he was and how he wanted to bring his best to the shoot.
Of course, I love the image below and chose it as a highlight from this portion of the photo shoot. Like I said, I definitely chose to work with Donye because he has an amazing look and an amazing body. As I was looking through the catalog of images, I found myself stopping at this one because of the strength evident in his arms and hands. I liked how his arms seemed to be straining against the edges of the sleeves as well as how the t-shirt conforms to the lines of his torso. And, of course, I love the position of his hands and the visual element they created while being in that position. It's a definitely a great straightforward pose that shows off his body in a good light.
Additionally, I love the lighting on this image. Of course, this image was captured when I still had two working lights and could position one as a backlight to open up the shadows on the left side of the image. As you guys know, I'm definitely a fan of split lighting since it creates some dramatic highlights and shadows, but occasionally I like to open up the shadows as well. I definitely liked how that backlight helped to add some highlights on the right side of his face and seeming to fall along the lines of his face. It helps to give a sense of sculpture to his cheekbones and jawline. The lighting in the image definitely was one of the contributing factors to why I chose the image below to highlight.
Of course, I also photographed Donye modeling a variety of underwear throughout the shoot. As I mentioned, Donye definitely had an amazing body and knew how to position and highlight his body. It was actually pretty easy to choose the image below as the one to highlight for this section. Additionally, this is one of the images that came after I burnt out one of my strobes.
For me, I like the black and white Male Power briefs that he's modeling because of the visual interest created by the lines. As the briefs contour to his body, the pattern of lines are distorted to give a sense of shape and depth. It's evident in the lines of the pouch as well as those along his left hip. I also loved how these briefs look in black and white images due to the strong and basic pattern. The briefs definitely make a dramatic statement within the image and definitely standout as a point of visual interest.
However, I absolutely love the lighting in the image. As I mentioned, I had to get creative in my use of the single strobe to light Donye. Sure, I've always said that I've loved dramatic lighting, but I've also used two lights during each of my previous photo shoots. So yeah, I was a little nervous on how the lighting would look with just the one strobe. Of course, I shouldn't have been worried since I've always been partial to split lighting and cascading shadows. In the image below, I love how the lighting seems to mode itself across his body. It further accentuates the muscular planes of his chest as it gives hints to the strength in his pecs as well as highlighting his abs. I also liked how it picks up and highlights the details of the veins in his left arm as the light caresses it. Yeah, I absolutely am happy with how the lighting turned out in the image.
There was one portrait-like image that I wanted to highlight from the photo shoot. I ended up liking the image below for several reasons. First, I like Donye's facial expression. I like how his eyes were closed and conveyed a sense of calmness. However, there's also a sense of tension since his eyebrows and forehead are slightly furrowed. Through those elements, it helped to bring the viewer's attention to the details of his eye lashes and eyebrows. Of course, the lighting also helps to bring attention to his nose and lips as well. For me, it's definitely an interesting image visually as the eye wanders around and takes in the details on display.
However, I also like the edits made to the image. As you guys know, I'm a fan of black and white images and will usually present my images that way. Sometimes though, I will choose to present an image in color. While I do have a copy of the image below in black and white, there was something that spoke to me about the version below. Sure, it's not the colors that were captured in the raw image. After getting the image how I wanted, I went into PhotoShop and played with the opacity to soften the overall color quality of the image. To me, it definitely helped to make the image more interesting and draw the viewer in due to the softness of the colors. Either way, I'm definitely happy with how the color quality came out in the image below.
I'm definitely happy with the images that came from my collaboration with Donye. You can see several of them in the gallery dedicated to Donye at http://www.reyjphotography.com/donye. Working with him was definitely a pleasure since he was professional, thoughtful, and brought his best to the shoot. Of course, it definitely helped that he was gorgeous and had an amazing physique, but it was definitely his professionalism and personality that won me over. I still think there are some additional images that I want to capture with him, which means that I'm definitely hoping to work with him again in the near future. I am definitely looking forward to making that collaboration happen!
Again, thanks for checking out the website and blog! I also appreciate that you guys are taking the time to scope out my work!
If you want, you can also check out my Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/reyj.phtography.
If you are interested in setting up a photo shoot, you can email me at [email protected].