A year ago I wrote a blog entitled "How do I improve my photography" in which I discussed the idea of joining a photo group in order to gain experience and step outside your box to try new things, meet helpful people and learn more about photography.
One of the funnest photo groups I belong to is the ProvoCreative Models/Photographers Group. This group, led by Pete Hansen, consists of a wide range of experience in both the models and the photographers and gets together at least once a month. These meets are generally intended as a great opportunity for networking (photog to photog, model to model or model to photog). Plus, it's a great way to get to know each other in a photographic setting which allows for learning techniques from experienced photographers, sharing what you've already learned with other photographers and meeting models who may be beneficial to your goals, etc.
Some of the reasons I like this group are:
- Working with a model allows me to experiment with photographic styles or techniques that I might be afraid to try "for the first time" with a paying customer. So while I'm a little more conservative with a paying customer (knowing that I need to guarantee a set of useful images), I'm a lot more "out there" trying something I've never done before with a model.
- Working with a model generally means that I can concentrate more on the photography and worry less about poses. That's not always true - some models are a lot more experienced than others. But with a good model I can spend a lot more time thinking about angles, lighting, composition and technique.
- On the other hand, it's also a great time to work on poses because, again, there is no pressure from a paying customer to deliver. So I feel greater freedom to experiment and try new things.
- I also love to share what I know. My philosophy is that "What goes around comes around." And so by helping others, I figure we all benefit.
- And one of the biggest reasons I love working with this group is the opportunity to visit new places, to try them out and see what it is like to shoot there. I may bring a paying customer back to the same location later based on my experience from the group.
This past week I had the opportunity to go to Utah Lake with the ProvoCreative Models/Photographers group for a Trash the Dress/Suit photo session.
I've blogged about this subject before. My first Trash the Dress photo shoot was a little over 2 years ago with Heidi (a friend/co-worker) who volunteered to go to the Great Salt Lake and be photographed by over 50 photographers. More recently, I talked one of my co-workers, Tyler Willey, into helping out with a Couple's session (he in a suit and Carolina Castillo in a wedding dress). We went to the Grotto (up Mt. Nebo Loop near Payson) for these pictures, which is the same location where I shot Laura just a few weeks prior.
So for me the Trash the Dress idea was not new. But the location ProvoCreative had selected was brand new. A new location is always high on my "want" list. So we went to Utah Lake, about a half mile south of the Lindon boat harbor. And these are some of the pictures that we got:
The group invited models to come dressed in wedding attire or a prom dress or any kind of fancy clothing they would like to use and abuse out in the lake. So here are pictures of a few of the other models:
Photographers and models alike should realize that these meets are NOT about getting the perfect picture or building your portfolio. Why? (you ask in shock) Because the situation is not ideal. With 50 photographers or models surrounding you it's hard to get the perfect shot without someone being in your frame. And with the model trying to pay attention to the other photographers, it's hard to coordinate the perfect pose, expression, composition or light.
But as I mentioned above, what the meet is good for is networking, socializing, learning new techniques or new locations.
Having just experienced a photo shoot at Utah Lake for the first time, I wanted to quickly return and try it on my own - in a more controlled situation where I could pay more attention to my model and my surroundings.
I met beautiful Alyssa VanLeeuwen probably almost 2 years ago and had talked to her about doing a Trash the Dress photo session almost that long ago. Well, it finally came to pass yesterday!
Pete Hansen volunteered to help me with lighting. And so back to Utah Lake we went. And these are some of the shots I got with Alyssa:
Photographers, please note: The above shot was done entirely "in camera". No special editing has been performed. The secret? A CTO Gel (orange colored gel) on my flash. With the CTO gel on the flash, and the flash lighting up Alyssa, I set my in-camera white balance to Tungsten to match the CTO gel. The camera is then subtracting orange from the scene - which makes Alyssa look normal and sends the already bluish colored background (which is not lit up by the flash) into a deep blue.
At the last minute, we tried to find a Groom to model with Alyssa because I love couple's sessions (a natural extension of my wedding photography). But not having found someone in time, Pete volunteered to help out!
Thanks Pete and Alyssa. And thank you ProvoCreative for the awesome opportunity to get together just two days prior to try out this wonderful location!