With summer comes the flow of bikini photos populating the social networks and photo forums. Let’s face it; nothing says summer better than a girl in a swimsuit.
Where do I fit in this? This article is rather hard to line up in a very politically correct way as I know some might take offence reading it. Here goes nothing… I don’t consider myself as the “babe photographer”. I actually have a bit of discomfort whenever I see post accompanying photos following the track set of “Look at the babe I shot with last weekend”. I am not saying it is wrong; it is just not me. The guys (and gals) commenting this way on their work are not wrong, maybe they are not right for doing it though. I prefer looking at the chick I was working with as a client, even in TF situations because that it is, it is a collaborative work and it should not be neglected.
It is very trendy to refer of ourselves as a brand. Come on, everyone heard that before. “What is your brand?”
What is my brand? I am still having a hard time explaining it but looking at my portfolio, I think I can see it. My brand is definitely not the hyper-sexualized type. When asked why I shoot only women, my typical answer is “I don’t know..?”. I do think that I don’t know the answer but I do know that I am not doing it to collect pictures of babes. I was surprised a few months ago when a random co-worker asked me where I find all these girls, like if I am part of some kind of underground market for such resources. This is where I realised my blog was linked (and still is) to my Linkedin account. That question of his made me wonder if this is how I am perceived. Getting to meet people from the photography circuit on a very frequent basis, you get to hear stories about creepy photographers who really had one idea in mind: exposing their hunting trophies for the world to hit those Like buttons nonsense. I hope never to be one; I don’t want this to be my brand. This is where I guess some people are going “Who the f@ck does he think he is?” as they are reading this. I re-read what I wrote and thank god I don’t suffer too much of short term memory lost because I could be pissed at myself right now.
Hey! You are still reading? Good! Like I said, nothing says summer like a girl in a bikini. Going through my photos, I have not much of “summer” looking photos and thought to myself that it could be nice, given the right location, the right time, and the right people, to do a swimsuit shoot but you know, I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to be the guy planning a sexy swimsuit session. I needed something else. I came across Lana Del Rey’s Blue Jeans video clip a while back. There you go: classy, clean, vintage. All I was missing was a pool and luckily enough, my sister happens to have a rather nice one. All I needed was everything else and I knew who to call for. It felt like I could have walked out of the house and let a classic “TEAM ASSEMBLE!” à la Ron Burgundy; instead I sent a more subtle email to Nathy, Stephanie, Maude and Marianne who I worked with on another shoot this past spring. Shortly after, we were all on board, we had the models and the styles built up.
We met early Sunday to prepare and take advantage of the early light. As Stephanie and Nathy were working on the hair and makeups, I walked around with Marianne and Maude to talk about the different location I would be shooting Brianna and Alex. It was nice to see we were all on the same page. The morning was fairly strait forward. There were practically no clouds in the sky, making the light rather consistent. The temperature started to rise rapidly. It became obvious the heat would become a challenge really soon. After running through the 1st set of styles, we stopped for a quick fruits and cheese lunch, just before jumping in the pool to cool off. My sister was probably thinking all we wanted was to do a pool party at that point. As we were swimming, I had a bit of hopes the sky would get overcast as clouds were rolling in. The light was turning very soft, killing the hard shadows that were affecting the images in the late morning. Unfortunately, this glimpse of hope stayed no longer than 10 minutes. The sun was harder and harsher than before. The models were sweating, I was sweating, I was convinced the equipment would give up as smells of heated plastic were emanating of the flash head.
By 4pm, we were all done. We could have probably shot more but everyone was burnt out (my neck was literally burnt, thanks to the “I don’t need sun block” generation I was raised in!”) but this would have meant waiting out the light for a couple of hours as it was in the wrong spot now.
The shoot turned out to be as I expected. Marianne and Maude delivered to perfection with the styles, Nathy had once again worked her art on makeup, and Stephanie did an exceptional job with our short hair models. Brianna an Alex were brilliant in their poses and understanding of the shoot direction.
So, what is my brand? I am sure it is somewhere in these photos.