Play No Games

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AdjaniBlowEDITED

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After a few failed attempts, I was finally able to connect with Adjani for a really fun shoot. We took these photos at a location I’ve been to a million times. It’s a low key golf course and arcade thats crawling with kids all summer. The place was packed when we shot, which I love Adjani even more for. There are tons of mirrors and neon lights and I knew I wanted her to have a bold but simple look.

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#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

 

 

#MODELMONDAZE: PLAYING IN THE SAND

Sooooo, I’m still tweaking my sites and content because I want to showcase a lot of my work in addition to my personal style. I see my work as being an even clearer depiction of my personal style. So to do that, and to push myself to work even more, I’m going to be revamping my content. The first revamp is a feature that for now I’m calling ‘Model Mondaze’. Model Mondaze will feature creative photo sets I’ve shot with different models. Mondaze are hard for me to get motivated and I know I’m not alone. So to help me, and maybe help some of you too, we’ll be starting off the week with some creative inspiration!

This beauty is Angela, and you have probably seen her on my site and social media accounts. She’s one of the first girls who really fucked with me creatively and she’s one of my favorites to shoot with. We make magic. The beauty of photography is that the pictures hold different meanings for every person that views them. Watching Angela grow and become more comfortable with each shoot is a beautiful thing. The first couple series we shot alluded more to the rougher side of femininity because that’s what I identify with most strongly. For our third collaboration, I wanted to do something softer and sexier.

My favorite thing about this shoot is that before we even started, Angela was having serious doubts about her ability to be sexy. WHAT?!  This presented a really amazing opportunity for me: to bring her sexy out. There is a huge part of photography that can’t really be learned traditionally, and that is the interpersonal aspect. People need to trust their photographer, they need to be comfortable and be confident that you’re not going to make them look crazy or unappealing. For women, this is even more crucial. Honestly, Angela’s reluctance made me even more confident in my ability to direct her. The moral to this story: Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone because amazing things happen there! and Jessica always gets what she wants 😉

p.s. these are the sexiest pics I’ve taken, so I’d say she pulled it off just fiiiiiiiiiiine, don’t you think?

THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY

In the frigid fall air in rural Oregon a pair of hikers wandered into an abandoned family farm. Hidden among the overgrown weeds and the remains of the family’s tattered belongings the hikers discovered 4 small children living as ghosts. The children, without proper care from an adult developed a survivalist lifestyle, becoming accustomed to the harsh weather and using the piles of broken materials and tools as play toys in their dangerous games.

The hikers were struck by the children right away and immediately started taking photos. The children seemed almost used to their presence, and led the awestruck documentarians  around their home.

 

This was one of my favorite shoots I did this year! I love shooting with my nieces and nephew. They are such great models and always down for whatever crazy idea I want them to try. The love scary stuff and The Walking Dead is one of their favorite shows. For this shoots, I wanted something like The Walking Dead meets Kid Nation, that ill conceived Fox reality show following the lives of 20 children abandoned in the middle of no where and forced to compete to survive.  The final product just screaaaaamed ‘Addams Family’, don’t you think?

XO,

J