Collaborating with Kirk on a Portrait Shoot

Anna with Kimono - Austin, Texas

Anna with Kimono – Austin, Texas

I know enough about photography to know my strengths and weaknesses. Street, travel, architectural, and even event photography, sure. Professional studio portraiture, not so much. I don’t have the skills for it or the equipment for that matter. I don’t own or have the space for backdrops, softboxes, and reflectors.

When a friend of mine wanted me to take portraits of her daughter for a special event, I demurred. She was getting a professional Kimono fitter to dress her daughter in the fancy version reserved for special occasions. There are apparently many levels of kimonos, from casual to formal. What you see on Anna is the formal version.

Ayako, Anna’s mother, had seen my Drink and Click portraits and liked what I did. I explained that those portraits were of professional or wannabe models who knew how to pose. I truly didn’t have the expertise to do what she wanted.

Anna and Ayako - Austin, Texas

Anna and Ayako – Austin, Texas

On a whim, I asked a friend and professional photographer Kirk Tuck if he was willing to make the portraits. I was thrilled when he said yes, and he even allowed us into his studio. I called this a collaboration, but the truth is, Kirk did all the heavy lifting. He set up the backdrop, lights, reflectors, and did the primary photography. My role was to document behind the scenes photos of the kimono fitting and the portrait shoot. I just sneaked a few portraits for the purposes of this post.

Of course, Kirk’s portraits are a lot better than these. He had his big full-frame Panasonic S1R locked down on a tripod, and he shot with two softboxes and a couple of reflectors. It was an impressive setup, and it was awesome to see a professional in action.

Beyond the image-making skills, Kirk can put the subjects at ease. This is probably just as important or even more important than the photography.

Anna with Kimono - Austin, Texas

In the next two posts, I’ll show you the behind the scenes images that I documented. My street and available light shooting experience were more conducive to this kind of photography. Between Kirk’s wonderful portraits and my behind the scenes photos, mother and daughter seem to be really happy.

It was a fun experience for all, and I had a great time watching a true professional in action.

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