In my “favorite photos” folder, all of my favorite photos for December 13 are from photo shoots with Sarah and Lela Rae, two of my favorite models to work with.
Sarah, above, is the very first professional model I had the pleasure of working with. For this shoot we were doing Christmas stuff at several locations around Columbus Ohio. This particular image was created behind COSI, shooting across the Scioto River at the Columbus skyline. We were down close to the river to get the reflections in the water.
I used an old National Geographic trick of combining a flash exposure with dragging the shutter to get a slight sense of motion. You can see some of the river reflection through Sarah’s red dress, and some of the lights of the city through her right arm and hip, and through her left wrist and hand. The camera was on a tripod to avoid blurring the city lights during the longish exposure of 2.6 seconds.
If you have been following this series for a while, you’ve seen Sarah before.
I met Lela Rae, another professional model, thanks to a recommendation from Sarah. At the time of this shoot she lived in Michigan and she came to Columbus to work with me, and also to see Sarah. This image was created with one studio light to camera right, high and angled down at her face. There was one white reflection board to camera left. I like chiaroscurro, the contrast and alternation between light and dark in a painting or photograph. This photo alternates between light and dark tones. Very dark to the upper right, then the light on the face and left shoulder, then the dark hair and dark right shoulder, and finally the light on the background to camera left. We experimented a lot with the position of the light, the angle of her face, and the position of the white reflection board to get this look. We took a lot of photos to end up with this image. This is one of my all time favorite portraits. If you have been following this series for a while, you have seen Lela Rae before.
Both of these photos are my favorite photo for this date.
Professional models have this remarkable quality about them. When you meet them they are pretty much like all of the rest of us. They are, after all, real people, and away from the camera they might seem ordinary. You might not even pick them out of a crowd if you passed one of them in the mall or on the street, except to notice the face. But put them in front of a camera and something magic happens. And unlike the difficult prima donas you see on the modeling reality shows on TV, the models who are my favorite people to work with are really nice, thoughtful, people.
One of my good friends met one of my favorite professional models. She said to me later, “I can’t believe the very nice young woman that was sitting on the sofa visiting with me is the same person in the beautiful images you have shown me of her.” It really is magic.
Series: Favorite Photos by Date – all about this series
Favorite Photo, August 10 – another image of Sarah
Favorite Photo, November 8 – another image of Lela Rae