Early on in my Photography, I was lucky have a professional photographer as a friend and mentor. Jenna Brie Henderson is a great professional photographer based in Tennessee who photographed the wedding of two of my college friends. When starting photography I would stay in touch with her, receiving advice and feedback of my images. I had shown Jenna my first portraits and after critiquing them, she gave me a photography "homework assignment” to complete before the next time we spoke. She explained, “I'm always practicing, challenging myself, giving myself homework assignments…"
As I continued to photograph, I adopted that idea/mindset. I would study my most recent set of images and think, "Okay, what can I change or improve upon next time?" I quickly noticed a recurring theme and habit in my compositions: I liked close-ups a little too much. There was not a great deal of variety in my sets in terms of scale. Every image started to look and feel big and flat. When my friend, Megan, and I decided to work together and create these images , I gave myself a homework assignment, something to work on during the set: depth and scale.
I challenged myself to back up, and make sure that I intentionally achieved a sense of depth in these images of Megan. In particular, I was looking to capture images that showed perspective lines with planes and surfaces extending into the distance/background of the image.
We began at Shippan Point in Stamford, CT with the thought of using the coastline as a strong perspective line. Megan, decked out in a really fun pink and purple theme started to roam the beach innocently and I began to capture her and do some “homework.” I have to compliment Megan on her modeling skills. I believe she modeled when she was younger, and again, she's a fan of the fashion world/industry in general. She has been the costume designer for local theatre productions in Stamford, CT for years. I liked how she was able to hold her gaze effortlessly while I was shooting. Confident eyes.
After the beach, we headed to Czecik Marina Park (Stamford, CT). Though they were fun, Megan eventually shed the jacket and umbrella for a few looks that were more casual.
Similar to what I mentioned in Dana's set, this afternoon of walking, talking and photographing had a few therapeutic and cathartic moments for Megan. We were chatting about her life while shooting and a few things had been weighing on her mind. It came through in her facial expressions, making some of the images much more realistic and tangible. My favorite images are certainly those towards the end of the set. Megan had scaled a small hill with a tree for a few poses, and though it had been overcast for the majority of the day, the sun came out and seemed to illuminate just the spot where she was standing. Add in a gust of wind and it was pretty serendipitous, divine timing:
A few behind the scenes trivia tidbits…
Note: I am not sharing these to embarrass Megan, but just to show you how she was a pro and kept it together. Also, it pays to keep shooting no matter what happens:
1. There is a slate in the middle of this set that contains two images side-by-side. They are of Megan holding the umbrella, her hood up, and her smiling and looking off into the distance. The first of those two images, the image on the left, is actually a reaction by Megan to a dog barking in the distance. There was a residence near the beach and the dog was interested in what we were doing. The bark actually startled Megan, so if you can believe it, in that first image those are scared eyes and a nervous smile. But she pulled it together right afterward, creating that darling smile for the second image.
2. The slate following the one described above contains an image of Megan in laughter, hood up again, and her left had slightly against the wall of the stone pier. Her right had is slightly extended/floating. She’s such a good sport and has a good sense of humor about herself, because about 4-5 shutters before that moment, she tripped while walking and almost lost her balance. The shot you’re seeing is Megan laughing at herself after she caught her balance. I’m tellin’ ya...she kept it together like a pro :)