This past weekend I had the chance to step out of the headshot space and do something a bit different. My friend Marie asked if I could capture some images with her Viola. She will be playing with the Nashville Symphony next year and needed some updated images to provide them. I was instantly on board and excited to be getting into a more creative and dramatic area for this shoot. Marie arrived looking fantastic and during the static poses she just knocked it out.

The real treat for me was when I asked her to play while I shot some frames. The viola is something you don't often get to hear by itself so this was very cool for me. The viola is larger than the violin and has a slightly deeper and almost "smoky" tone to it. Marie is a wonderful talent and hearing hre play while seeing how effortlessly she does so is, well, kind of magical. I'm so glad Marie asked to do this and the overall shoot was a great experience.

Click the images for a larger view.

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KatieG 0109I've been shooting a lot of headshots lately and while I love this work I've been wanting to break out into some other areas of portraiture. One of my favorite styles is that of the classic Hollywood portrait from the 1930's and 40's. Images from this period combined high the contrast of strong, direct light with a softness and glow that gave the subject a larger than life appearance. The look also was also a product of the film stock of the day along with dodging and burning in the darkroom.

Yesterday I took the plunge into this style with help of the amazing Katie Galaz. Lighting and post processing is only part of the recipe. You have to have a model who knows how to work the camera with her face, hands, and posture. This is Katie's wheelhouse and the resulting images from yesterday's shoot speak for themselves. The lights are modern Godox strobes behind a gridded 22" beauty dish and an 8" grid with some tight barndoors to create the powerful and focused lighting. A large flag using black foam core board was put to use to help augment the falloff and enhances the "mood" of these photos.

Once processed to grayscale in Camera Raw, where the lightness of the reds was dropped in the grayscale mix to make the lips dark and glossy, the images were taken in to Photoshop and treated to two separate layers of softening and glow. These layers were in turn drawn in (or out) by hand on a mask to "paint" light to taste. All these techniques would have been wasted without the fantastic model work of Katie. Below are just a couple of shots from the session and you can see more by clicking here.

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Kay Ninja 0101“So I’m thinking about bringing a sword and some other toy weapons. What do you think?” came the question over the phone.

“Sounds like fun, Kay. I’ll see you tomorrow evening” I said, and truly believed this would be a fun shoot.

The client on the line was my friend and insurance agent, Kay Cordell. Kay has a thriving insurance business near Old Hickory, TN and she was looking to create a fun persona for her company’s Facebook page and she came up with the Insurance Ninja.

To create the Insurance Ninja, we had to strike a balance between “Professional by day” and “Ninja by Night” so a black suit worked out perfectly. Kay, being  Kay, and having two small children had several “Ninja-esque” toys like swords and sais and she brought a variety to my home studio.

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