I've worked with models before, most of whom were amateur models who were just getting their feet wet. I've worked with models with years of experience, like Honey Baby88. But this was the first time I had a chance to work with a professional model who's got 15 years of modeling credits and publications under her belt.
I had a specific look in mind, a Greek theme, which was partly inspired by the work of Damien Lovegrove in his video "Illumination". I pictured a woman in a long dress, standing either at the oceanside, or amongst Greco-Roman-like structures. Enter Tiana Hunter, who is not only a professional model, but also a working photographer.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about this shoot. After seeing Tiana's credentials, I was a bit intimidated, but when she showed up at the Palace of Fine Arts with a bright smile on her face and a sunny disposition, all fears melted away and it turned out to be a really fun shoot.
It always amazes me how models can twist and turn themselves in such a way as to accentuate the female body and bring out interesting shapes. You know you're working with a pro-level model when, less than thirty seconds into the shoot, you've already got the shot you wanted.
All photos were taken in natural light, no flashes, speed lights, or reflectors. And I wanted to shoot wide open on my 56mm lens, so in order to make the shutter speed more manageable, I slapped on a B+W ND8 neutral density filter. This allowed me to not only control the ambient light, but also the colors as well.
For the above photo, there were some weeping willows that looked very pleasing. There was a bit of wind, so it took a few moments to get this shot right, but it did, I was treated to an explosion of colors, from both the green of the weeping willow and Tiana's golden hair, and her steel blue eyes.
Funny story behind this second photo. It was so noisy in this area that Tiana couldn't hear the click of my camera, so she just kind of went into autopilot and started posing, making shapes, and transitioning when she thought I had taken the shot.
It wasn't until I moved closer to her that I realized just how nice the shot would be with Tiana and the plant in focus, so I went for that look. She had the same idea as well, and maneuvered closer to the plant.
I love the shape she makes in this next photo.
The square shape of her arms, as well as the definition of her arm muscles make for a nice contrast to the stonework around her.
This next photo is one that I had been hoping to capture ever since I came up with the idea for this shoot. I imagined a Greek woman, looking off into the distance. It's sunset and she's waiting for her beloved, a brave warrior of Sparta, to return from battle.
Tiana nailed this look right away. And the structures behind her give a sense of a place long ago. There's a longing and perhaps a sadness in her eyes, of anticipation unmet, and yet the fire of hope remains within her.
This final photo is my favorite, and interestingly enough, it was actually the first set of photos we took. In fact, it was the fourth shot I took with my camera, and it was taken within thirty seconds after our shoot started. I saved the best for last.
I inserted a little bit of vignetting on the sides because I wanted to make it look like the sun was shining down just on her, admiring her, and she in turn admires the light of the sun. The shadows too add a lot of depth to her face.
This was the most fun I've had yet at a one-on-one photo shoot. I took about 300 photos and kept half of them. These five a just a sampling of the shots taken of an amazing model. Check out Tiana's modeling website and her photography website.
Gear used: Fuji X-T1 and 56mm f/1.2 prime lens with a B+W ND8 neutral density filter. I also used the 23mm f/1.4 for a few shots during the session.