I tell photographers who ask me for advice they need to be shooting personal work as often as possible. If there’s a company or industry you want to get work in, fill the holes in your portfolio with the style you want to shoot (not just what you think will get you hired. Companies want to see fresh takes). It’s been a second since I’ve taken my own advice. I spent the summer in Chattanooga, TN and I was struggling to be inspired to shoot: I missed the expansive landscapes of the western US. I wanted to be building my auto portfolio, but couldn’t see past the dark & depressing tunnel of deciduous trees.
I decided I had to make something happen and come up with a solution, and the answer I came up with was water sports. I need to be able to show people recreating in their adventure vehicles in places I am not as inspired by as the west. I put out a request on some social media groups and got connected to Priscilla Brown in Bryson City, NC who had a new Ford Ranger, using it to move her full size raft around to the many rivers around the area. I scouted a location on the upper Nantahala and everything came together.
I didn’t have an assistant for this shoot, so I had to have Priscilla’s boyfriend, Baker, drive my Passat wagon while I hung out the back with the hatch open. I wish I had BTS footage of the drive – I made a makeshift seatbelt out of climbing gear and kept my feet on my bike rack. Worked like a charm and was totally safe…
To get the final shot of the Ranger next to the river, I put my tripod on the roof of my car, Ansel Adams style, triggering the camera with the Canon app and firing a Flashpoint XPLOR 300 in a Glow octabox all around the truck.
I have a tendency to not take photographs of the place where I live. I recently broke through that in Chattanooga, flying my drone for a bit, then photographing the beautiful downtown area. I haven’t been shooting for myself enough recently, I’ve been busy with UXUI design. Time to get back on the making stuff train.
I came across Charlotte Haertling‘s instagram and approached her about doing a yoga shoot. When we met up to go over ideas, we jumped on AirBnB to find potential locations to shoot. I found a gorgeous property with wonderful natural light and was about to write to the owner when we read the description: built by Boulder Architect Charles Haertling. Charlotte laughed to herself and said, “You know my last name is Haertling, right? That’s my grandfather, the architect. I’m named after him.” You can see Charles’ beautiful and unique structures all over Boulder. I relayed this information to the owner of the house, and she graciously agreed to let us use it for our shoot! Talk about serendipity!
I met Lorry almost a decade ago (that is weird to say…) back in Indiana at a friend’s going away party, and we did a photoshoot when she was just starting as a model.
It was great to catch up in LA after all these years. She agreed to do an active lifestyle/running-ish shoot, and we decided to head towards downtown LA to find a location. Downtown was far too busy, but after driving around for a while we came across the Staples Center, which had the architectural elements I was looking for. We started shooting before we even left the parking garage!
Thanks, Lorry for being willing to run and jump around all over the place, and I’m thankful no security guards kicked us out!
And here’s a friendly reminder to make sure your models are safe!
I recently took a trip to Los Angeles for portfolio reviews at Fotoworks LA. I didn’t just want to be in LA for 2 days, so I booked an AirBnB for 7 days and set up a few personal shoots to fill out my week.
I met Natalie Duran (@Ninja_Natalie , frequent gold sequin-wearing, always excited American Ninja Warrior and Madrock professional rock climber) at a Madrock dinner during an Outdoor Retailer Tradeshow several…(6?) years ago. She liked the mood board I’d created on Pinterest and agreed to meet me for a shoot. We decided on the Petersen Automotive Museum and LACMA in Mid-Wilshire.
The red wall on the shade side of the building immediately struck me as the obvious location to start on, and Natalie started running and jumping, expending her endless supply of energy while wearing her new and very sparkly Bell Bullit helmet.
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I felt like I’d sufficiently covered Natalie jumping around like a Lara Croft video game, and she had just froggered her way through traffic to climb on construction scaffolding, so I thought we should move on to the LACMA where she immediately found steps to use the wrong way.
It was super fun shooting with Natalie! And it was great to see my buddy who moved to LA part-time, Parker Rice (aka Cinema Raven), who braved LA traffic to help out.
I’ll be posting a few more from my personal shoots. Keep checking back here!
I’ve been friends with Naomi for a long time now, basically since I have been in Boulder, but it took us this long to finally work together on a creative project. Naomi Duprey is a makeup, hair, and clothes stylist that I asked to collaborate on a shoot with Israeli Olympic runner, Maor Tiyouri. I had seen Maor running around Boulder, and when we connected on Facebook I asked if she’d be interested in doing a shoot. After working past scheduling conflicts, I got everyone together in my Boulder studio.
We only had a few minutes left, but I wanted to do something decidedly different. Naomi pulled out her favorite dress, and we got Maor to jump around the studio.
I love collaboration, something that wouldn’t have happened if any one of us was not involved.
On Sunday, while hanging out the back of my car, I shot Dan Lehman riding his motorcycle up Flagstaff Mountain. With the back hatch open and my feet securely bracing against my bike rack, I was able to get the angles I wanted with Dan following super close. Dan’s friend, Samantha, held onto my Flashpoint Streaklight 360 (my favorite portable strobe!) completely safely held in by a makeshift seatbelt made from Alpine Draws. Had a lot of fun playing around and definitely learned a thing or two about what I’d do different next time.
This was one of those happy accidents. Camera got stuck in a weird mode, dragging the shutter for .3 seconds.
For this last shot, I was stationary and had Dan ride past me a few times. Melissa is hiding on the other side of the curve with the Streaklight.
I love doing personal work like this, playing around to see what works.
As we were leaving I saw these stairs and wanted to shoot Whitney on them. This guy, Mathew, ran up the stairs past us and stopped at the top to take a breather. I asked him to join the shot, and thankfully he obliged! Awesome to have the perfect model just run into your shoot.