Hello and Happy Tuesday! In today's post, we're going to talk about my recent shoot at Apex Studio with my friend and superb model Ryss!! This was my first film editorial shoot, and I was inspired by a beautiful riding jacket that I found at a vintage shop in Tacoma called Savoy Special Vintage. I was in Tacoma about two months ago for a woodsy portrait shoot and decided to stop by a couple of vintage shops on my way home. WOW, it was amazing!!! While there, I also picked up a cream lace and mesh slip that you will see featured in this shoot!
Ryss and I had been talking about another project after the Dunes Shoot, and I'm SO happy that it finally happened! I checked out a couple of studio options and settled on Apex Studio in NW Portland. The studio's owner, Deyla, was so sweet and easy to work with. There is a nice selection of furniture and props to use plus various backdrops and lighting equipment! As this was my first film editorial shoot, I had to be prepared for mixed lighting and have enough film. Guys, PLEASE learn from my mistakes- ALWAYS BRING EXTRA FILM. Bring more than you think you'll need!!
Side note: It's super fun to bring an instant camera for BTS shots! Enjoy the cute B&W Polaroid shots that I snapped below!
Let's Talk film!
For this project, I shot exclusively color film, specifically Kodak Portra. I used 160 and 400 films and rated them at box speed, using my Sekonic to meter for highlights. I shot with a Hasselblad 500 CM medium format camera that I am IN LOVE with. Like, wow. If you haven’t had the chance to shoot with a Hasselblad, you are missing out!! Shooting with it was so fun, and I have experience using professional medium format cameras so I knew roughly what I was doing. But seeing the scans come back was insane. I was like, “Holy shit! I made those?!” The way that the camera captured the images that I was creating in my head was perfect. It was so accurate to what I wanted and it made my heart soar!!
I’m one of those people that edits my film scans (if I feel they need it) digitally. Some people think that it’s blasphemy, but it’s really not. While I believe that film is a more pure form of photography than digital, it doesn’t mean we don’t need to tweak the images. Usually, my black and white images are perfect and I don’t mess with them, but I like to pull up the exposure on some of my color scans if they’re just a bit dark and adjust the warmth of my image. Kodak film tends to lean towards the warmer side, so I usually edit them to be a bit cooler. There is a huge amount of photographers that edit in the “golden hour” tone and while I respect that, I feel that it’s an oversaturated group of photographers. I prefer more natural tones that are bright and vibrant for my photographs!
For this shoot, I wanted a clean look with images that could stand alone or together as a collection. Creating images that are truly unique, that have a story, has always been what I love. For this shoot, I focused less on the story and more on the feel and look. How would these images appear to someone who randomly came across them? What would they think or feel? Would my images inspire them in turn? Creating art – whether that’s knitting & crocheting, draping & constructing clothing, drawing, or photography – is truly what makes me happy. All I want in life is to be surrounded by beauty and creativity. Because of that, I thrive on creating unique editorial images. The soft drape of tulle, the nubby texture of a popcorn stitch, the smooth feel of metal jewelry… each piece brings a shoot together carefully and mindfully.
Let's go back a bit...
With a background in fashion and design, going in the direction of editorial and fashion photography seems like a natural progression. However, I’ve had a lot of stops along the way. After I left school, studying at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies (BUFFALOOOOOOO!!!!), I wasn’t sure what to do. I left for mental health reasons, so I was pretty lost. After Redlands, I got a nanodegree in Front-End Web Development worked as a nanny and retail at Anthropologie (don’t do it), at Lush Cosmetics (yay!), Uncommon Threads Yarn (LOVED IT!), and then made a big move. I decided to move to Portland, Oregon during the pandemic because California was expensive and I didn’t have much of a life there. I wasn’t happy there, but Portland has made my life so full and happy! Here, my photography business really started to thrive and take shape, and now I’m working at Pro Photo Supply in Northwest Portland. DREAM JOB YOU GUYS. I get to sell camera gear and talk about photography all day!!!! The only thing that could be better would be to do destination/travel photography for a living. (Manifesting the shit out of that!!)
As you can see, there were a lot of unplanned and weird job experiences leading up to my working in photography full-time. I hope to be a full-time photographer at some point, but for now, I’m loving Pro Photo Supply. If you guys are ever in NW Portland, come see me and say hi!! (Except on Thursdays because I will be sleeping) Speaking of PPS, they are now my go-to lab for color development and photo printing. The scans are beautiful and I love seeing them come back and the prints are just stunning. Everyone I work with at PPS is wonderful, and I feel that I’ve grown as a photographer since working there. However, I still use The Darkroom Lab for some of my black-and-white scans. I’ve been using The Darkroom since I was a teenager, and I don’t want to let go (lol). So I will continue to support them while also supporting my local shop. It’s the best of both worlds!
Let’s circle back to my shoot with Ryss. I am SO glad I met Ryss because not only is she an amazing model, she is an equally wonderful human being. She’s super fun to shoot with and she has ideas that blend seamlessly with my ideas and the vibe of the day. The best part about having models that are experienced and easy to work with is that not only do they take direction well, but they also have ideas that benefit everyone involved and make my work better. Find people that make you better. Learn from them and hopefully, they can learn from you too!