Sunday, January 11, 2009



I worked with JA in the studio last Friday.  We were to make a series of intimate portraits as a gift for her boyfriend.  Unfortunately, the makeup artist who I had booked for the session called in sick early Friday morning.  JA had booked the day off work and was driving in from out of town, so rescheduling her appointment was not an option.  I put out calls for help to a half dozen other makeup artists in the area.  Those who got back to me were – not surprisingly – already booked for the day. 



Those of you who follow my blog can probably guess the punch line.  In the end, it was my good friend Marie of Beauty on the Go who came through for JA and me.  Even though she was on vacation, had prior commitments, and was faced with bad driving conditions, Marie offered to come out to my studio as soon as she could, so that I could fulfill my commitment to JA. 


JA had arrived mid-morning but Marie was unable to get to the studio until mid-afternoon.  I wanted to use my time with JA productively, but makeup and hair styling are normally a prerequisite for glamour and beauty portraits.  So the delay in makeup and hair services created a challenge for me. 


Here are the workarounds that I came up with.  I photographed the shadow of JA’s body, as seen through a rice paper privacy screen.  Then I photographed her silhouette.  It turns out that JA is a dancer, so we did a series of low key, rim lit, dance-inspired full length poses, on the floor and on a loveseat.  We hadn’t originally planned to do any fine art style figure studies during her session, but this is where the unusual circumstances took us.  It turned out that JA was well suited to being photographed in this style, and that she liked the outcome. 


At this point, we had captured a lot of striking images, but we needed to get some which showed more of JA’s personality and character.  So, despite the absence of makeup and hair styling, we proceeded to make some close up portraits.  JA had strong enough features that I felt confident that we would yield some worthwhile results.  In fact, we did better than that.  These portraits celebrate her natural beauty, and we were both really pleased with the results.

Seldom do things go exactly as planned.  This is just an extreme case in point.  Any portrait and wedding photographer had better be able to roll with the punches and find the beauty in chaos.   Personally, that challenge fuels me.


Just after we completed the natural look close ups, Marie arrived.  I was very excited about this phase of the photography.  Anyone who can look beautiful in close ups without makeup, is bound to look amazing with makeup.  I set the lights up for head-and-shoulders only, since we had already captured a lot of 3/4-length and full length portraits.  It is samples of this last set from our session that I have posted in this blog entry.  The “no makeup” portraits that we made previous to these are more intimate.  With JA’s permission, I may post  some of these in a future blog entry.

And, as usual, it is early previews not finished portraits that I am posting here.  No touch up work has been done on any of these portraits at this stage. 



I am able to post these ten previews today because Marie went out of her way to respond to my plea for help.  I am fortunate to have a colleague and friend like Marie.  She is one of the best family portrait photographers in our area, as well as one of the best freelance makeup & hair stylists.  That is not ad copy, that is my experience.  I have worked with many local photographers and makeup artists, and I have found no better craftsperson in these fields than Marie.  I can recommend her services without hesitation or qualification, and I regularly do.  If you need artistry, integrity and dependability, she is the one to call.  Her sites are Beauty on the Go and Memories by Marie.


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