Play No Games

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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

 

 

MONOCHROME

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Ever since I saw NotJessFashion kill her version of a Power Suit in a badass head-to-toe red look, I’ve been obsessed with monochromatic outfits. My personal style fluctuates often, but right now I’m loving the easy sophistication of the monochrome trend.  This dusty blue blazer is one of my favorite pieces. It’s the perfect shade of blue to pair with light or dark colors and it’s oversize style makes it east to wear and move around in. Perfect if you want to look good and without sacrificing comfort.

This look was easy to put together, which is great if you struggle to get out the door in the morning like I do. And it feels really polished so I don’t have to worry about looking as frazzled as I feel.

Blazer: Forever21
Top: Similar
Bottoms: Similar
Shoes: Similar
Accessories: Anne Klein

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.

Intergalactic: Galaxy Jordan XII Editorial

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Today I’m excited to share some shots from my first published photography series. (eeeeeek) Back in May I designed and photographed a pair of Retro Jordan XII’s. I was lucky enough to have my photos accepted for the November/December <i>Street Style</i> issue of StyleEquation Magazine. This is extra special for me because  not only was I the photographer, I was also the designer so it almost feels like having two things published. Screen shots from the digital mag and original shots included.

 

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Thankful

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Hey loves! Hope everyone had a great holiday and a successful Black Friday. (I didn’t partake this year cause I just can’t take the huge crowds and long lines anymore.) I have a lot to be thankful for this year: friends and family, my first published project, health and motivation and much, much more. This year, my parents and I decided to do something a little different so we headed over to SF for Thanksgiving dinner at Ruth Chris, a luxe steakhouse in the city.

Wearing: VestApt. 9 | TopLoveCulture | JeansH&M | BootsKathy Jean | SunniesDollarTree