I was thinking back to my favorite photos that I created last year, in 2016. While I didn’t do a complete analysis of my thousands of images, two come to mind. Two images that stand out in my head, which left an impact. Ironically, for someone who thinks of himself as an urban landscape photographer, both were portraits.
As much as I love design, architecture and shooting cities, certainly making a nice portrait of attractive women has its rewards. I don’t think I’m particularly a good portrait photographer, at least not yet. Portraiture is hard because it’s more than just photography. It requires connecting with the subject as a person — as a human being. It’s a lot different than shooting something in-organic, like a building. The two photographs, while both of beautiful women, were created in very different ways. Here’s the stories behind the photographs.
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I shot the first photo in early April at Precision Camera University. This model shoot with Eleya was one of those unplanned events that just happen to work out. We had a rough concept for the shoot, a model, shiny Corvettes and a setting sun. While I shot a bunch of typical model poses, I wanted to create something different. An image that had a story behind it. This is the photo where it all came together.
I used an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera with the beautiful 75mm f1.8 lens. It’s a long focal length for this kind of framing but it worked well. I have more details behind the story, as well as more photographs in this post called “Impromptu Photoshoot: Eleya at Precision Camera University”, if you are interested.
This photograph of Virginia couldn’t be more different from the photoshoot with Eleya. It was January 27, 2016. The Olympus PEN-F was just announced and I was lucky enough to play and review the camera before it was introduced. The PEN-F press event took place in Austin, and I was hanging out with the Olympus folks just after the announcement.
We went out to celebrate the launch on 6th Street, visiting a few bars. Already past 1am, we stepped into the Chupacabra Cantina and I ended up having a photoshoot with Virginia, a customer who just happened to be there. After a number of mini-sessions, I shot this image, which is my favorite.
The grainy black and white is straight out of the camera using the Olympus PEN-F and 17mm lens. The image really captures the mood of that night and the feeling that I wanted to convey. This is when I truly learned, it’s not the image quality that matters, it’s the feel. You can read about the details and see more photos in this post called “Olympus PEN-F: Street Photography on Austin’s 6th Street”.
While very different from each other, both photographs captures the mood of the two events and how I felt when I created them. Two very different photographs made during two very different situations. There’s probably many factors that came together to make these, including a health dose of luck. Certainly being an experience photographer helps, but it take a lot more. I only hope that more stars will align in the future, so that I can create more images like these.
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