Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Solstice UNLEASHED – Editorial

Back to the drawing board I go but before I do, I wanted to tell you guys on my 2 part editorial I have did for Tony D. This editorial was supposed to be for my portfolio and his personal training portfolio, but later on I found out about 4 publications wanted to pick it up, including my magazine. It's really funny how things turn out in the end because when you first have this creative idea everything is always subject to change indeed.


I was on Model Mayhem looking for new talent that can help me become a better photographer. I came across Tony D. and had him on hold for a while. Unsure in the direction I wanted to go about branding and marketing myself, I had to get my business together first. Generating some ideals, I had a list of models I wanted to shoot in winter, spring, summer and fall 2013 and I needed at least 6-9 different faces for each. Tony D. made the cut as I gave him my concept in mind that the online publications needed to run the editorial. He understood my trade for service as I understood his. Tony was in great shape indeed, but I was worried on some many levels.

1. What if he can't move? 2. Can he open his eyes? 3. Is he to masculine? 4. Does he have a great personality? 5. Does he have any knowledge about Fashion itself?

Some photographers might say that all these details are not important because it leads to stress and doubt, but as a photographer and being responsible for the final image, I need to know more about the model; for this may affect my shots. Tony and I started to communicate little by little until we grew comfortable with each other. In my portfolio, I needed more masculine men, chest shots, and more sex with a fashion twist. Most of my shots in the past have been too serious and I need a lighter touch on my portfolio. I created my shot list with the looks I wanted to shoot with visuals for me and him to understand. Why do a trade for service with Tony D.?

1. His Masculinity will enhance my portfolio 2. Already has a brand 3. I can give him great quality images 4. Great communicator 5. Understand the business


Everything was falling into place until I needed a team with this shoot. In the past, I look to my team to make me look good but in reality, they are supposed to help and enhance your talents and abilities. I needed a strong team to achieve great photographs. I wanted to use my dear friend/ co-worker Erica Z. for the shoot because she is really a treat. She doesn't have a focused creativit outlet and that's what I love about here. She is more of a creative director then most titles but titles are just titles right? I needed her to fill in where needed through this journey. Meaning,

1. Become my wardrobe stylist assistant 2. Be in control of his hair 3. Be my second creative eye during the shoot

Just giving her 3 key jobs, this would make my job very easy. Knowing this shoot was not focused on FASHION but PORTRAIT and BEAUTY the worry of wardrobe lessened. I became the leading wardrobe stylist as Erica Z. backed me up if I fell short. She was also introduced to the concept days before the shoot, so she already knew what she was getting herself into. Since the first winter shoot with Kyle M., I had time to manage my time wisely as we all now shoot in the AM. I then called my friend Carlos B., who is in school for hairstyling and does personal photography work on the side, to become my assistant. Normally I don't use an assistant, but I needed to in this shoot.

1. Location shoots have its challenges. Having a supporting hand when need it will bridge the gap 2. lighting outside is tricky. I need someone to keep the light in check 3. Need a third eye in this shoot. Photography wise is the image quality good? Is the model posing good?<,/P> As you can see, worrying about all this can make you lose your mind in a heartbeat. By Carlos B. already having a CREATIVE EYE, I knew he wouldn't let me down from the start. So I have 2 creative people covering 2 to 3 jobs while I can focus on the final images. They allow me to become a photographer and do what I love to do.


It was shooting day and we all met up around 12:00 at Cosi to go over the concept again to make sure we were all on the same page. I wanted to shoot around a location that was 4 or 5 blocks around a park. I have shot there in the past (back in 2010) and I always felt like I could have done better if I went back to shoot. Little did I know, I had succeeded that challenge. AGAIN, we had a time constraint because it was literally 30 degrees outside. So we had to work fast and efficiently as possible to get some great shoots.

We set off to our first location with look 1 and 2 to get it basic and simple as possible. I shoot the 1st look with my 50mm-20mm 3.5-5.6 lens because I wanted the photograph to be somewhat harsh/soft and flat. I bought that lens a couple months ago and I never use it until this day. Talk about a waste of money, but I knew I would use it one day. Ever since, I use it on my entire shoot. I needed TONY D. to keep moving with me as I kept moving with him also. He gave me what I wanted and needed and I never thought he would actually do just that. I have ERIC Z. shouting out great ideas as CARLOS B. assisted me photography wise.

Then we froze and had to warm up at a near Starbucks. When I shoot, it's kind of a high to the point that I’m not hungry, hot/cold, mad/sad or anything negative that would stop me from being me in general. I literally became more and more excited as he change into his next looks. Move further from the last location we shot, we had to produce some great work. I hate to see my troops bored ,so I get them more involve in the shoot as possible. How?

1. Cheer the model on. Models love encourage while shooting. 2. Give me crazy ideals and FAST. The more they get creative the better the shoot can be. 3. Communicate with the model on a personal level. Sometimes I don't have time to engage in a conversation about the model life story. Have the model talk about what he loves to do best. 4. Create positive auras. Everyone loves to laugh and smile. Bring the spirit on a high.

Sometimes shoots can be long and draw out when you are not seeing a spark or sensing the mood to be dead. I normally make sound effects or play music to set the mood and groove. Life is always trying to hold you back and bring you down, but if you smart like me you will drink pure water for now. It's something about being in your element that makes the journey that much special.


Scouting is pretty cool to do to pass time, but it's that time that can be very time consuming. So what do you do when you see a location that inspires you out the blue? SHOOT IT DAMMIT! I’m a risk taker and I know what looks right and what looks wrong. Already having a preset concept in mind, I’m able to shift it a little without killing the editorial/story. I found a location between stress that was a truck loading dock and had to shoot it. Nearby the loading dock, it had pretty wooden garages that I also had to shoot. Since backgrounds tend to out shine the subject changing to my 50mm 1.8 with a 500 shutter speed can do the trick indeed.

As my model was getting ready to change to the next look, I spotted a nearby garden that I wanted to shoot in. I literally ran up to the owner and ask him can I shoot? Sometimes people get really sketchy about it, so I always make sure I say 5 important phrases to convince people in situation like this.

1. State your name, Location, Education and background 2. Your job, title and responsibilities 3. Importance of the location of person 4. How can it benefit you as a photographer as well as the person/ location? 5. Give contact information

In this situation with the mini garden, I pretty much said 1-3 and he was already sold. I showed him my team and we began to shoot. We literally had 20mins to shoot before he had to leave so I had to land the shoot. By frame 24 I already have and went off to the next location.

I also got inspired by the garage that went underground some houses. I knew I need some light, so I kicked in my Nikon SB-700 and we achieve some great shoots. I was so inspired by this whole I actually shot there an extra hour to get some more shoots for some promotional and branding.


So I’m reaching his images like I will normally do 3 days after self-editing them in my mind when 4 publications decided they wanted to run the story. They saw the INSTAGRAM BTS and wanted to see more and in my eyes I was excited. Later down the line, one sadly didn't work out due to copy right laws, but hey it happens right? Anyway, it came down to 2 major publications, and so I had to retouch them in the way it fitted everyone portfolio. So I decided to slit the 2 editorial; THE SOLSTICE & THE SOLSTICE INFERNO CHAMBERS. One of them was conservative and the other not so conservative. I submitted images based on the online publications wants and needs and BAMM! They love it and the editorial are up and running publicly. I’m sure if you Google it you will find it. The publication is up and running on Flickr, 500px, Behance and SECDUM. With all this said, I had to not confuse myself with SUGAR AND SALT. Meaning Sugar won't get you far in the business. Tell me what I need to know and I need to work on smiling. I’m not going to lie but there were a lot of salt tossed to me, which is fine because it can always make me that much better. Besides that I have been getting a lot of positive feedback from both editorials.

Even TONY D.’s former photographer wanted to chat with me for what every reason. I don't understand why everyone is so pressed about telling my secrets on landing a shot because there really is no secret. It is what it is. After this shoot, I got a lot of respect, fans, and support through this. Honestly, I really don't need it because I know I’m going to keep doing my thing regardless of Sugar and salt . All I know is all the SALT I got from shoot turn into something amazing in my next shoot.


CAMERA- Nikon LENS- 50mm/55mm-200mm FOCAL LENGTH-50mm/85mm SHUTTER SPEED- 125/500 ISO- 100/400 APERTURE- f/1.8, f/3.5

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