#MODELMONDAZE W/ KAORI

Happy Monday!

I’m back, freshly rested, after a long weekend in SoCal visiting my BFF – and stopping by the motherland (Disneyland), and in the spirit of growth I thought I’d share some reflections from a recent shoot that left me feeling disappointed and slightly disheartened.

But before I go into the gritty details, below are some of the best shots from our 2.5 hour session.
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Bikini Tops: Target   |   Black Bottoms: Forever21   |   Shorts: Custom Collective

I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images.

I met Kaori after she responded to an ad I placed on craigslist looking for subjects to shoot with. She saw this shoot I did with Angela and wanted to create something similar.  I wanted to make sure the series’ didn’t look too similar so for Kaori, I had a more Americana-retro vibe in mind.

What went wrong?
1. Kaori’s not an actual model.
And I mean model in the technical sense. Models understand how to elongate their own bodies with out being told. They understand what positions and angles make their body look appealing. And ideally, they’re extremely facially expressive. Kaori did her best as far as positioning her body and following my directions, but she had a hard time creating unnatural facial expressions (anything other than natural smile, laugh, etc) and struggled getting comfortable in positions she isn’t normally in.

2. My set was tired. We shot this series at a local beach where I shot the boudoir series that inspired Kaori a few weeks earlier. The other shoot went so well, I thought it would be as quick and easy as it was before. But shooting such similar projects in the same location had me struggling to create new images that were different, compositionally, than the ones I got the first time around. Unfortunately, when I shot with Kaori, the tide was out, so that limited the types of shots I was getting even more. I couldn’t use the ocean as a prop or a background at the beach, which is probably the worst thing that could have happen.

3. I didn’t prep properly. I always prep for shoots, with good time in advance, but I’m realizing that what I’m doing may not be the most productive way to do things. For example, when I was figuring out the direction for this series, I looked mostly online for inspo, which I always do, when what would have been a better use of my time would be to meet with Kaori first, get a feel for her personality and what she can do and then go from there. This is much less of an issue when you work with an experienced models, but if you’re not, it can make a huge difference in the kind of photos you’ll get. (*Better prep probably could have helped with my empty ocean issue too)

The good thing is, this was a great opportunity for me to learn some valuable lessons. This shoot changed the way I plan and execute my personal projects from now on, and I feel like taking these 3 points into consideration are going to help me elevate the quality of my shoots. I used to take the Lil Wayne approach to photography; work fast and often and develop a large body of work, and you’re bound to get some quality images. Now tho, I see the value in taking the time to create work that is of a higher quality, rather than rushing to create a high volume of work.

What are some game changing tips you’ve learned from your past failures?

 

XO,

Jess

 

 

ADVENTURES IN CANDYLAND

A few months ago, I stumbled upon the work of a guy named Matt Crump. Matt has developed a unique photography style he calls ‘Candy Minimal’ which he showcases in his Instagram gallery as well as an account created exclusively for sharing amazing #CandyMinimal features from all over the world.

The basis behind Matt’s eye catching style is simple: Minimalistic shots with vibrant candy colors. I have become obsessed with his style. Candy Minimalism was at the forefront of my creative mind on a recent trip I took to, perhaps as close as we will ever get to experiencing a real, live, candy colored world: Disneyland.

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Disneyland lends itself well to the candy part of candy minimalism. It’s the minimalism part that requires a bit more work. BUT, its well worth it. I love Disneyland, don’t ever get me wrong about that. But all the things that make Disneyland a photographers dream: emotion, fun, youth, families, breathtaking scenery, once in a lifetime moments at every turn – can also make it difficult to create truly stunning images within the park. There is always a straggler (or 10 or 20) in the background; a pesky wire running a tangent through your photo, an absent minded stranger wandering aimlessly through your background. It can be excruciating. Focusing on #CandyMinimalism helped me to circumvent these common obstacles. Especially since, for me, photographing in Disneyland can sometimes be exhausting. There is literally too much to look at. I feel pulled in 50 million directions, creatively, when I try to shoot there. Should I be capturing candid moments street style? or documenting the amazingly detailed decor? or capturing my own memories via video? Just trying to figure it out can take a lot of the fun out of it. Finding focus often allows us to find clarity, both proverbially and literally.

Consider this next time you are feeling overwhelmed in any situation. What are you really wanting to say or show, or do? Defining this, in simplest terms, can help you to refocus on tasks that align more centrally with your core objectives and get you closer to your end goal.

Stay Inspired,

Jess

NEW HAIR, WHO DIS?

After months of letting caution get the better of me, I finally pulled the trigger on my blue hair! I seriously love it and my only regret so far, is that I didn’t do it sooner,

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The process was kinda intense tho and I did a rush job the night before a big trip, so I would recommend giving yourself a whole weekend to tackle a complete color transformation like this. I have pretty dark hair so the first thing i had to do was bleach the dark pigment away. I HATE BLEACHING MY HAIR. It feels like sacrilege or something because everybody knows how damaging it is, but it has to be done in order to get light colors to show on dark hair. My hair was partially bleached already from an ombre style I had before, but i made a pretty big booboo when applying the bleach:

SOOO,  it turns out you are supposed to apply bleach the midsection of your hair (from 1 inch from your roots to about 2 or 3 inches from your ends) LET THAT SIT for 5-25 minutes – depending on desired lightness – THEN apply it to the rest of your hair. I totally misunderstood this, probably because i was rushing and being poisoned by the noxious smell of developer and bleach. SAFETY TIP: Open doors and windows and use a fan if necessary to keep your space ventilated. I was literally suffocating with the bleach on my head and all over my hands trying to apply it evenly. Because of my rookie mistake, my bleach job is pretty rough. my ends are very light, my roots still pretty dark and my midsection a random green color which I’m thinking is left over pigment from when I dyed my ombre hair blue a few months ago. Thankfully, the shade of blue I use is pretty deep and vibrant and after 2 rounds of blue, the difference in bleaching is much less prominent. Instead, my blue hair is multi dimensional with different shade of blue and teal, which I love.

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Ideally, I would like to have bleached my hair at least one more time before adding the blue, which is why I recommend giving yourself a full weekend if you’re going the DIY route. Bleaching is so damaging, I feel like its mandatory to give my hair a breather and a nice deep condition in between bleach treatments. And although dye as a general rule, is less damaging than bleach, it’s still a lot of unnatural chemicals to expose your hair and skin to, and I think its good to give your hair as much time to adjust as you can.