fashion

Ashley Salazar and Learning How To See Light by Christopher Myers

If you’re a diligent photographer, serious about your craft, you’ll learn how to see light. It’s just a matter of time.

Some time ago, I was lucky enough to shoot with Ashley Salazar, the first Playboy Cyber Girl of the Year. I had about two hours with her before she caught a flight back to Saint Louis. It was late October and we decided to shoot at the beach. For all intensive purposes, this should have been a terrible shoot with no rapport, no MUA, no hair, no assistant, but by using my sense of light, we got some amazing images. Learning how to see light is something that all photographers do overtime. Study as much as you can, but you’ll have to be out in the field to properly develop your photo-senses. No book can prepare you for when you’re thigh deep in the ocean, tripping over rocks, sun at 6 o’clock, and the sea bluffs might add a beautiful bounce to your subject. Positioning your subject is a whole other topic, but goes in hand with learning how to see light (I will save that for a different blog post).

Practicing how to see light is all about observation. For me personally, light is best observed in its natural environment, meaning not in studio. In the studio it’s really easy to mistake how to see light since you know the source and it stays consistent. Outside however, there’s all sorts of light sources: metal buildings, floors, lamps, streetlights, parked cars, signs, everything is a light source. I can’t tell you how often I’m walking around an office complex and stumble across reflected light that ends up just being incredibly beautiful for photos. In the case of these photos, the sand from the very beach we were shooting on added a nice fill to Ashley when I placed her in open shade. The tan color of the sea bluffs also filled her in, giving a nice even light to all the pictures. In some of them, I utilized the direction of the sun to give her a rim light, but keep in mind the sand was still giving some fill.

If you’re a diligent photographer, serious about your craft, you’ll learn how to see light. It’s just a matter of time. Truly, this is what separates the masters from the amateurs. Working at the Palm Springs Photo Festival I’ve spoken to dozens of pro commercial and fine art photographers and one of the biggest points they emphasize is their visualization of light sources. They may not understand it entirely, but they can see it and know when it’s good. Nels Israelson even taught an entire workshop on the subject. Once you’ve accomplished this, you can take a decent picture virtually anywhere.

To practice try hanging out in public places in the mornings and evenings; notice how the light reflects and bounces off walls. Pay special attention to colors and notice how light bouncing is colored by everything it touches. Go outside on rainy days and see what happens to shadows as the sun moves around the clouds. And finally, spend the day in an old structure like a train station or library with lots of windows. Pay attention to the time of day and how the light is coming through the windows. Photography is a life lesson in how to see. As always, let me know if you like this post or if you hated it. Was I too vague? Do you need more examples? Let me know. Always happy to help.

Juliana by Christopher Myers

Months and months and months ago.

Although it was her first time, she wasn't nervous (I was, I always am). We took to the streets of Long Beach and found a nice spot. I squinted against the late afternoon sun embossing everything with an angelic halo and she stepped in front of the lens. Everything was magic. Working with Juliana was pure and simple. A lot of the so called "professionals" I work with aren't as fun to work with either. Maybe it's because of her background as a classical dancer, who knows, but shooting that day couldn't have been any more easy. It's people like this that make photography a worth while endeavor. Expect more from this one in the future.

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Here Comes the Fall Fashion with Slimskii.com by Christopher Myers

If anyone's looking to get a jump on the latest fall fashions, head over to slimskii.com and take a look at the updated inventory. Not only am I shooting it, but I personally love the style. Girls wearing these styles definitely turn my attention. These aren't up on the site yet, but here's a sneak peak at some of the upcoming pieces.

Slimskii likes their pictures a little more editorial then some of the other companies I shoot for. This time around I used a Westcott parabolic umbrella, silver, with the diffuser. At a whopping 7' this thing is huge, but I love it! The wrap from this light is incredibly creamy and delicious. I love it so much that I currently leave all my soft boxes at home, and haven't even touched my other umbrellas. The only down side is if you're a strobist, you'll have to rig it with a popper since it's so big that it hides the slave eye. You'll still love it to death. Maybe in the future I can do a comparison between the softlighter, Paul C Buff's parabolic umbrella, and the Westcott, but for now just know that I absolutely love the one I have. Look for a video update soon on my use of it.

 

The model here is Chelsea Gabrielle. She was great to work with, took direction well (but mostly didn't need it), and showed up on time! Pro. Follow her instagram here.

 

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Closing summer with Amy Roiland - @afashionnerd by Christopher Myers

I can't believe it's already September and I'm squeezing the last bit of summer out of the air. In just a few short months I've gained so much, but lost a lot too. If you follow me on facebook, you'd know that someone took the life of my beloved cat. At the same time, I put together an amazing computer with my own hands (which I recommend everyone to do), and have been happily shooting all kinds of things. As a result, here's some tidbits of an impromptu shoot I did with fashion blogger Amy Roiland. Honestly, I can't stress enough how AMAZING Amy is and hanging out with her is nonstop laughs, and sometimes dog bites. 

 

I will post the set once I get through them. Below you can see Amy sport a jumpsuit from BIBANDTUCK.com and a jacket from Skinny Bitch Apparel.  

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