What a great shoot! Now what?

You planned meticulously, assembled a talented team, secured the perfect model and pulled off a fashion shoot you absolutely love! Now what?

You send it out to the world through your website, blog and the thrones of social media outlets. Your website gets a surge of traffic and praise comes pouring in (if you’re lucky from more than just your wife and mother). You make a push to get published and receive traction on a few fashion and photography sites. And then… crickets. No sounding horns and thunderous applause. Lanvin representatives don’t contact you to purchase your work for their upcoming national campaign. And top booking agents aren’t fighting over the limited free space on your calendar.

It’s possible at some point in your career the photography gods will align and the perfect shot will open up the doors that lead you to fame and fortune. Or even just the coveted, “I’m now able to make a living as a full-time, professional fashion photographer” door.

In reality, there will be no single shining moment. A great photo story might lead to one new relationship. That connection might open a door to a new agency, which gets you your next model, which leads to your next shoot, which in turn may open another door.

That’s the reality of the fashion photography business. Great opportunities are out there… Just don’t sit back and wait for them to come to you.

Behind The Scenes Video – Barnyard Beauty

Here it is, behind the scenes video of our latest fashion shoot with Kazia from L.A. Models.  Special thanks to Jason Ward for capturing the video footage!

Fashion Shoot – Barnyard Beauty

Fashion photo shoot at old barn

This shoot had a theme of ‘second time’s a charm’ scattered throughout it.  It was the second location we scouted for this shoot, after the owner of the first property we looked at said no.  (As it turned out, that no was a blessing as this barn was amazing!)  It was also my second time working with KC Witkamp who gave us beautiful hair and a great natural make-up.  And it was our Model Kazia’s second professional shoot ever, after being discovered as a sweaty mess scarfing down greasy food at Coachella (her words), although you would certainly never know it from the way she works.

Headshot with fabulous vintage glasses

We were very fortunate to be working with Cedros Soles on this shoot which is located here in Northern San Diego.  The wardrobe consisted of pieces from Free People, Ever, Georgie and Thrive which I thought worked perfectly with the model, location and theme of this shoot.

Fashion photo shoot in a field

Many Thanks

As always, a shoot of this caliber would not be possible without a strong group of people working together to make it happen.  The aforementioned KC Witkamp on hair and make-up, the talented Jason Ward on video, and last but not least on styling and assisting we have the very lovely Chassie Bell and Alexis Ward!  (Yes I did just announce everyone like we were a band.  No it will never happen again…)

I would also like to extend a special thank you to  LA Models for providing the lovely Kazia for this shoot.

Fashion photo shoot in an old barn

Fashion photo shoot in an old barn


I mentioned before that this was Kazia’s second professional photo shoot ever but now that you’ve had a chance to see some of her work I feel like it bears repeating.  She was a joy to work with.  We spent the afternoon talking about her mom sneaking backstage to see Radiohead, our love of music, living a healthy lifestyle and did a lot of laughing.  I love my job!

Fashion photo shoot with Ever clothing

We captured some great behind the scenes footage from this shoot.  Video coming soon…


Just Ask

Saying that the best way to get something is to ask for it is not exactly a ground breaking thought – whether it’s a shoulder massage from your partner, a raise from your boss, or a fierce model.  So why is that concept so difficult?

There are some people who have the gift of asking freely.  In fact I can just about guarantee that every one of us knows someone out there that takes this “gift” a bit too far.  But these are also the people who end up with knot-free backs, bigger paychecks and fabulous talent to work with.

I, however, am not one of those people.  It seems even when the opportunity is handed to me, the voice in my head starts up with excuse after excuse to not to pick up the phone or send an email.  “I’ve asked them too many times already and don’t want to be a pain.”  “I need to get three more great shots in my portfolio so they will take me seriously. After all, there’s only one chance to make a first impression.”  And on, and on, and on…  And we all know where that gets you.

I’m proud to say that, at least temporarily, I have joined the dark side and the results have been fabulous.  (In the spirit of full disclosure, much credit should be given to my wife who can confidently start the conversation, and once flowing my brain and mouth both begin spontaneously working.)

The aforementioned results: a stunning model from LA Models, a great location (photo above) and a fabulous store to pull clothes from.  There were a few no’s along the way and that’s to be expected.  And best of all, I survived them.  Imagine that.

I am thrilled to have several great shoots on the books and even more in the works.  All because I / we asked.

I want to shoot this!

When Olivier Theyskens (formerly of Nina Ricci) joined Theory as the new Art Director, the fashion world was a buzz.  And the collaboration has fully lived up to the hype.

Theyskens upped the volume of the Theory classics, with sharp lines and tailoring that creates looks that seem casual and effortless while touting a little intrigue and romanticism.  Throw in a color palette featuring mostly blacks, whites and grays and I’m sold.

Below are some of the looks from the Theyskens Theory Spring 2011 Ready-To-Wear Collection.  shop Theyskens Theory here

Theyskens Theory

Theyskens Theory

Theyskens Theory

I’m not a landscape photographer

I just don’t have what it takes.  I’m not willing to wake up at 4:00 in the morning, trek miles out to a remote location loaded down with gear and wait for the perfect moment to appear.

But sometimes you get lucky.  The ocean’s morning mist sticks around until 10:00 am and the picturesque landscapes appear just steps off El Camino Real.  That I can do.

I am, however, a fashion photographer and view almost everything through that lens.  With every step I could see a great fashion shoot unveiling itself in the mist. And now I’m on the hunt for a model who exudes a solemn grace and a complimentary wardrobe to transform my landscape inspiration shots into a moody fashion reality.

As soon as San Diego delivers another soft morning mist that lasts well into my morning hours, that is.

Photography Resolutions

The Artists Way

I’ve always found the start of the new year to be an exciting time; a blank slate on which to script the perfect year to come.  For my wife and I, that usually includes trying to shed a few holiday pounds (this year we are torturing ourselves with the Insanity workouts), refocusing our dog training efforts, and trying to simplify our lives.

I also take the opportunity to make a series of photography resolutions.  This typically starts with reviewing the previous year – successes, accomplishments and any areas where I may have fallen a bit short.

SB Photography Business CardsI also like to give myself and my business a thorough review.  What is the state of my (print portfolio, website, blog, branding, marketing materials…) and what can I focus on during the coming to year to take myself to the next level?  I also like to consider thing such as pricing and the overall health of my business.

From this foundation, I can usually craft a pretty specific set of goals for the coming year.  For 2011, that includes things like working with new agencies, establishing new clients, landing print campaigns, shooting personal projects to keep the creative juices flowing and a series of continuing education opportunities.

Lastly, I like to take a stock of my photography gear.  What is the state of my gear?  Are there items that are not being utilized and should be sold?  Are there any items that would be truly beneficial to my goals and plans for the new year?

At the end of this exercise, I usually find an overflowing list of goals and a renewed inspiration to tackle them all.  Now it’s time to make it happen!

Photographer’s Holiday Wish List

‘Tis the season to dream about all the new gear you wish Santa will bring you this year. Although we photographers certainly don’t limit our gear lusting to the holidays… Along with sugar plum fairies, here’s what’s been consuming my thoughts this holiday season.

Fixed Lenses
Have you ever purchased a product that promised to do ten different things? “You can use it to wash your car, walk your dog, clean the house and take perfectly tack sharp images every time!” Odds are it won’t do a single thing remotely well…

Now that’s not to say quality zoom lenses don’t take great pictures, but if you really want the butter shots it’s all about fixed (prime) lenses. They’re engineered solely to do a single job – and that is take fabulous looking photos at their set focal length.

Canon Fixed Lenses

I’m fortunate enough to own the Canon 50mm 1.2 lens and it has successfully done two things: take silky photos and make me want every other fixed lens Canon makes. Currently topping my list are the 24mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2 and the new 100mm 2.8 (great new image stabilization for DSLR video).

Video Lights
While video lights are obviously used to shoot video, they can come in very handy in any kind of photography work that could use an extra little kiss of light to make a photo sing. And the new LitePanel video lights are amazing. Small, light, portable, cool to the touch and with the ability to control the color of light from cool to warm. Certainly a tool I’d love to have in my arsenal.

Lite Panel Video Lights

Wacom Intuos S4 Tablet
My lovely wife bought me a Wacom tablet a few years back for Christmas and once I got past the initial clumsiness with the pen, I’ve been hooked. When it comes to retouching photos, there’s no other way to get the precision and speed that a tablet provides.

The only problem is my tablet is a bit of a dinosaur. It’s so large that it almost requires its own table. Wacom has also made some great improvements over the years to their tablets that have me starting to crave a shiny new one.

Intuos Wacom Tablet

Nik Software – Silver Effects Pro
I try not to use Photoshop plug-ins too much as they end up just making your photos look like everyone else’s. That said, I think Nik makes perhaps the best plug-ins and I’d love creating fabulous, moody black and white photos with the speed and precision Nik products allow.

Nik Silver Effects Pro

Fashion Shoot – Behind The Scenes Video

I love behind the scenes photography videos – the chance to see how a photographer works with a model, a sneak peak at how they use lighting / reflectors / angles to get their shots, a feel for how the photo looked straight out of the camera versus after post-processing…  I love it all.

Given all that, it only seemed natural that I would create and share some behind the scenes videos of my own.  So without further ado, here is the first ever behind the scenes video for SB Photography.  Enjoy…

Not too shabby when you consider it was both the videographer’s (my good friend Jason Ward) and editor’s (yours truly) first foray into the wonderful world of DSLR video.  Well mostly wonderful – stupid codecs and transcoding gave me a few headaches along the way.  But now that we have it figured out, there will be many more videos to come.

Fashion Shoot: Bird Watching

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

This post could have also been titled ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ as this was my first time working with LA Models and the ultra fabulous Kelli Ilves.  Everyone at the agency has been truly wonderful to me so I wanted to deliver something we all could be proud of.

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

We were very fortunate to shoot at one of the most incredible homes I’ve ever seen.  Tucked in the hills of Rancho Santa Fe, the beautiful grounds, architecture, colors, textures and light make it a photographer’s paradise.  Although you certainly don’t need to be a photographer to fall in love with this magnificent home.  My wife and I loved it so much we had our welcome dinner there when we got married.  And I feel like we barely scratched the surface from a photography standpoint so I can’t wait to go back!

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

The shoot was styled with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Milly, Juicy Couture and Leifsdottir.

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

Very special thanks to my rock stair hair and make-up artist, Desi, who made the trip up from Las Vegas to do her magic, and the entire team we had that day.  My good friend Jason got some great behind the scenes video footage (so stay tuned for an upcoming video), his wife Alexis contributed some incredible ideas (as well as some masterful reflector work), and my wife Chassie helped style, kept us on schedule and put together a fabulous lunch for the whole crew.

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

SB Photography - Fashion Shoot

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