Fantasy special effects fine art photo, in Denver, Colorado

Fantasy photo

I am often asked to create unusual, one of a kind photos for my portrait clients.  After all, that is part of why you go to a professional photographer.  To get something you can not create yourself and to associate your name with a memorable, striking photograph. 

Heather supplied the outfit. I created an unusual lighting, color and retouching. 

This image required hours of time to create the glow, colder color, blue highlights and get the fantasy effect just right. It cannot be created with a filter or by a casual Photoshop amateur. It is created by hand and requires great skill and experience to get the details right.

This kind of image looks best displayed large in a fine art print.  It is an art piece suitable for a gallery or a nice home.  It could also be used for an advertisement, book cover and more.

Vintage photo

Vintage black and white photo, sepia toned

It was a pleasure working with Bettie. She is very involved in a vintage lifestyle. She has vintage fashions and understands how to style her hair for a 1940s or 1950s look. Here she is being a 1950s waitress.  Can you imagine her on roller skates coming out to your car, like the TV show Happy Days?

It's a deceptively simple photo.  But the lighting has to be right and flattering.  A few scratches and a round, old TV style border, round out the photo.  Also helpful are the artificial eyelashes and heavier lipstick and eyelashes for makeup.

Vintage photos are so fun to take and help you stand out from the countless Selfies and snapshots most people show on Instagram and Facebook. And my clients find they are not that difficult to create.  Often all you need is an outfit from the thrift store or a simple prop like a hat. And you need a talented photographer to help you turn your ideas and fantasies into real pictures.

Men's portraits

Male fashion portrait

Although I am well known for my portraits of women, I also love working with men. Men can be very creative in taking photos and also express a dramatic side in their photographs. There is also a freedom that I, as a photographer, have in working with men.

Since most people do not expect the same perfection in a man's photo, that allows me to use more dramatic lighting, rougher locations and to occasionally show a crumpled shirt or other imperfections in the photos. Pictures can be more realistic with only minor retouching.  That means men can be "real" in pictures.  You expect them to be rugged, strong and it's ok if they have a crooked smile or a few lines on their face.

It used to be that 90% of my clients were women, but in the last few years, I have received more calls from men also wanting great pictures. Men need the photos for social media, business profiles and websites and also for their friends and family.  And more men are hanging great portraits on their walls in their homes and offices.

Black and white glamour photo

Black and white headshot

Black and white headshot portrait.  Taken for Cynthia, a model from Chicago, now living in  Denver.  Cynthia needed a new headshot for her modeling agency, as well as social media like Facebook and Instagram.

We decided to go with a white dramatic top, a light gray background and soft lighting to bring out her great features, as well as minimize any flaws. Shot with a digital camera and some minor retouching and adjustments for effect.

I prefer the black and white version, although the original was in color. Simple, classical and yet dramatic. We were very pleased with the result.

Unique fashion images for models and those that want dramatic photographs

close up portrait

I like to experiment.  It's a key to growing and creating new work.  Sometimes the work is great and sometimes it is not so great. It's subjective. But you learn from doing something new and seeing the result. And even if it does not work, you may be able to incorporate some new techniques into your work. 

Some of my clients have been working with me for years. They know me and trust me and doing something different allows my clients to be more creative too.  Perhaps they got a new outfit or hat and want to take photos that show their new style.  Or surprise their family and friends with new photos.

I will often get a call, "can we do a picture like the new style?" They tell me they want something very contemporary, sexy, or artistic, etc. 

This photo was created using several unusual techniques, all together. Three different types of lighting, including flash, florescent and tungsten.  The exposure was unusual too. And how I worked with this client was a little different.  A little more spontaneous. We had a great time taking the photos.

Of course this picture may not be right for you. That is fine. That's why I recommend that you talk with me and tell me what you want. I offer a free consultation, on the phone or in person to plan your pictures. Then I can help pick the right tools to create the perfect photo for you.

Holiday Gifts for 2017

Many of my clients want to give personal gifts for the holidays.  Something special and that only you can give for someone special.  

  • What could be better than beautiful portraits.
  • It's creative. After all, you create it.  You decide on fashion styling, posing, & pick the finished pictures to give.
  • It's one of a kind (no one else has it).
  • You can choose from a variety of gifts such as prints, books, calendars, a scrapbook and more.
  • It shows you put extra effort into finding and creating the perfect gift
  • It's fun. Be a model for a hour or two.

Call for pricing.  Mention this blog post to get special deals from November 10 to Dec 10, 2017.

Natural Outdoor Portraits

Natural Portrait

I love taking natural photos. Just beautiful lighting, simple outfits and a great smile. Part of why this photo looks so good is that it is photographed on film. Hard to beat real film. It does not exaggerate lines and problem skin, like digital cameras often do.  Also the color is outstanding.

The key to taking great outdoor portraits is to find a good location with appropriate, non-distracting backgrounds and match the clothes to the background. For casual clothes a park might work, but for something dressier, perhaps a building in downtown Denver.

And to get a great expression, it is important that you have a photographer who will establish rapport and help you with posing, clothing selection and wait for the perfect moment to take the picture.

Creative Fine Art Portraits

Multiple Exposure, 4x5 camera using Polaroid film

Many clients have told me how tired they are of the typical portraits they get from most portrait studios.  They want creative, beautiful and unique images to display on their walls and show to their friends.

Photographers get into the business to create beautiful images, but many quit trying due to how difficult the portrait photography business has become.  

Why is it so hard to find a real creative photographer to create fabulous pictures? The main reason is that most photographers are technicians, not artists. I sometimes give photography and Photoshop lessons to other photographers. 

Many of the people I give lessons to ask about cameras, even memory cards and adding effects with filters on their phone. Many do not want to talk about lighting, ideas, using film or an unique approach.

It is amazing how many people do not seen to have imagination.  I will ask, what are your dreams?  They look at me funny. What dreams they say?  I will ask how they want to photograph a model wearing a pair of jeans?  I get answers like photograph the model by a tree.  

I once suggested that a photographer spend a few minutes to find better locations for his photos.  He said it was too time consuming and probably would not add to a greater income for him. 

Calvin Klein made jeans famous, along with model Kate Moss. Guess Jeans had super models Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith.  They created something unique and used it to sell fashion.

Many photographers are caught up in the "high volume" style of photography.  They think that the only way to create pictures is fast and cheap.  I have actually had photographers call me crazy for even buying film for a few dollars. Not to mention the time spent developing the film, scanning it, printing it, retouching, etc. I was told that is profit you are throwing away.

What else is required for great portrait photography.  The photographer must be willing to be different.  I know it's an Apple expression from an ad.  But it's true.

Every person is an individual and they should be trying to express their unique talents. Not just fitting in and creating the same photos as everyone else.

I recently talked to one photographer who was planning to buy a certain camera. I asked why he decided on this particular model. Would it help him create unique images or fulfill his creative vision? No, all his friends had the same camera. Maybe he wanted his pictures to look the same as all the other pictures out there and have his pictures look like the photos his friends took.

Part of why I started to use film again, after years of working with digital cameras was so I could create the pictures that were in my mind.  To create unique photos that expressed the vision I wanted to show my clients. Something more classic, artistic and different.

A few years ago, I had a rather difficult photo session. A prestigious law firm had hired me to create photos for an ad they were planned for a magazine. It involved taking a group photo of about 40 lawyers. Many were older and a few used a cane, walker or wheelchair. 

They also hired a young man to art direct the pictures and be in charge.  When I met him and asked him about his ideas, he told me it didn't matter much. He would apply a "filter" to the pictures.  That's what he did for his own pictures. Luckily the law firm decided not to use a low end filter on an expensive ad. 

How can you find out if a photographer has a vision and if they can create a fine art portrait for you?  Please call and ask some questions. Also please come in to see the photographer in person, if possible. Discuss your ideas, tell the photographer the goal of the pictures, what you will use the photos for and tell them your artistic preferences.



Alternative models for fashion photography

Alternative fashion model

Fashion has relied on tall, thin models for many years. Ask any modeling agency and they usually say female models should be about 5-9 or taller, very thin, often white, mostly young and have classic features.

But a new type of model is making some headway into the fashion world.  Alternative models may have tattoos, be white or models of color, and have unique features and hair (or no hair!). Sometimes they are the most interesting models to photograph.  

Yet, I think that a different more dramatic approach is often required to get the best pictures of these models.  Sometimes it's dramatic lighting, like you see here.  Or it might be the props used, the background, etc.

I hope this trends continues. Many women and men, would like to see more diversity in race in fashion magazines.  But I think there are so many beautiful women of all races, sizes and types. And beauty can be extreme or soft and gentle.  There is room for every taste and person expression.