Thursday, 26 December 2019

The Art of Collaboration with Sage G Actor & Model

I had already photographed Sage formally twice before being commissioned for this portfolio shoot. The first time was a portrait 'test' shoot of Sage the actor at the studio I was shooting out of in Balmain at the time. A creative photographers dream studio in fact, but that's another story.. And later Theatre publicity & promotional shots of Sage and her cast 'Art for Arts Sake' which Sage also wrote by the way. Actually there is another photo, this time informal. It's a portrait I took after the performance of one of her plays (Sage the writer) in the foyer of a small independent theatre. All of these photoshoots are quite different to a portfolio shoot. So having also watched Sage's parallel work as a fashion model from the side lines; I was quite please to be asked to photograph a portfolio for her too - of course being the hyper creative personality she is, this was always going to be a modelling portfolio shoot with a different perspective.
Reclining portrait of Sage on a table surrounded by law books. Portfolio photoshoot by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
The first difference was Sage wanted to shoot on location, not my usual beach location, an office location, a work share space. We were headed into full-on Magazine Editorial territory from the get-go and I knew this was going to be a different and enjoyable project. Now because I like to be as prepared as possible; I headed down to the location a few days before hand and got enough of a look at the place to realise I would probably need my location light kit, not just a couple of speed lights.
Images from my 'work' folder of Sage's shoot - shot one - Law Library location. Photography by Kent Johnson.
Images from my 'work' folder of Sage's shoot - shot one - Law Library
The day of our photoshoot was the one day a week the space is closed so we had full run of the place. Our first set up was in an area best described as a law library or reading room. That's the series immediately above.. and I was glad to have both scouted the location and to have brought my lighting kit with three heads. For fashion photography the 'law library' was dark, too dark and with overhead lights that would not flatter my model - I did need my own light!

To make it work this first shot needed all three heads to balance the exposure of the room and to make Sage the central focus of the shot while keeping a moody library feel. It did take a little while for my assistant and I to get the lights set up and then balanced, each lights output the right brightness in the right place. With Sage now on set and the key light right; it was time to start shooting; and this is where our photographer - model collaboration really begins. Sage is what I would describe as a high energy, fast tempo model, she moves quickly and often, which is fine. I however needed a bit of time to focus my compositions and for my vintage location flash pack to recycle it's power. To be on the safe side that's one shot, every couple of seconds. So we had to slow down and work together within the framework of composition (the pose) and timing - keeping Sage in the main light, and me and the cameras ability to focus accurately in harmony with the flash recycle. This is collaboration; Sage's location and concept, working with a photographer she trusts; both of us listening to one another, Sages concept, my direction, a creative fusion that brings something more to the final result.. It didn't take long for us to fall into the right tempo, to hit the pose, the look, the feeling for the shot; to shoot a sequence of variations and then start on the next series.
Model throws the racing form guide into the air. Modelling portfolio photoshoot by Kent Johnson.
To finish off the first look, Sage had a tricky shot in mind on top of the shots we had in the bag by now. Tossing the newspaper in the air. You've got to like the humour in this shot; an unusually attired - for a law library - a quite sexy woman, bum planted on the table and the newspaper flying through the air; but which paper? It's a horse racing form guide! Whatever the gamble.. I'm betting on Sage to win.

Sage did the styling herself on this shoot and her own make-up. I always pay attention to the fashion and usually have an opinion too, which is essential if the shots are to really work. The second Look is more a 1.5 than a complete change of outfit. We did of course choose a new office location. I loved the view out the window, wanted to keep it interesting but not to dominate, the additional flash lighting was just enough to bring up detail on Sage and prevent the background blowing out, the reflections add a little something too. (Click Horizontal shots to view larger..)
Black and white full length fashion shot of Sage reclining on the window bench of an open plan office. Model portfolio photography by Kent Johnson.
Next was a complete new outfit and a move to a meeting room with a long timber table. We returned to the law theme using books off the shelves of shot one as props on the table. I always find it interesting how a narrative evolves during a photoshoot. Sage had shown me a mood board but that was more about the garments than the location as such; so the fashion and location and Sage of course evolved into a narrative that ties the whole shoot together. Part of it is there from the start, the rest falls into place as you go - at least if you are looking for it - and I always am.

Looking though the glass partition into the meeting room, I just loved what was happening and decided to start shooting through the glass. Again I began by supplementing the light in the room with some flash which worked, but added to issues with reflections. I then decided to go with just the room lighting which gave a heavier shadow and a strong mood but looked great!
Bookwork lying down.. Sage, model portfolio photoshoot by Kent Johnson.
Bookwork lying down, moody lighting.. Sage, model portfolio photoshoot by Kent Johnson.
It looked like a bit of a late night study in seduction! Which I suppose it kind of was.. I finished off this look by simply jumping up on the table and shooting straight down. If it works, go with it.
Bookwork on the table lying down. Sage, model portfolio photoshoot by Kent Johnson.
Well that's three shots down and two to go. We now move to an elevated central corridor and a Boho Chic outfit. There's light but it's mostly in the background. I need one head up as high as I can get it and a second in alignment to make sure we have a good spread of illumination. On this shot I'm listening to Sage's vision for the image and working with her to deliver the shot. Sage is happy with the bag swinging shot edited below. For me, I think I would stay moody with one of the two (unedited proof) shots working off the railing. But everyones picture serves a different purpose, it's important to get the shots your client needs.
Boho chic office girl look, unedited model portfolio proofs by photographer Kent Johnson.
Final edited version, Boho chic office look. Sydney modelling portfolio by Kent Johnson.
Styling wise, shot five is variation on four; stocking and leopard boots are gone, the dress is retained a long camel coat and high heels are added, and we keep the hat. I've noticed a really cool shaft of light cutting through another part of the share space complex; it's getting on in the day and the light is moving fast. We have a narrow window of opportunity and work as quickly as we can to take advantage of the natural light. There's a few of these shots, Sage sitting in the chair direct light softened by the tinted plate glass window. The 'good problem', which ones to choose. Yes there's a few but I'm completely onboard with the choice made here and I delivered the edits in both colour and black and white - they work well both ways!
Black and white portrait of a seated model in a long coat with beautiful long legs for a modelling portfolio. Photographed by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Smiling portrait of a seated model in a long coat with beautiful long legs in direct light for a modelling portfolio. Photographed by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Although we knew we had nailed that 'final' shot, we decided to follow the light and do a few more variations, we lost the coat and Sage jumped up on the desks - in retrospect that seems to have been quite a part of the theme that day. We did however also end up with some shots that were a little more innocent looking.. a least as far as ladies on desks go.
Full length shot of model sitting across a desk with beautiful long legs in direct light for a modelling portfolio. Photographed by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
Tight shot of a model sitting across a desk with beautiful long legs in direct light for a modelling portfolio. Photographed by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
So that was it, we had our shots, we had our variations on each shot, we had our office story and it was like no office story I'd ever seen! But I had the strange feeling there was still one more shot to get. The direct light was gone but there was something in the space, the room the air; I honestly don't know what it was but I asked Sage if she would try one more pose, I had a hunch there was one more shot! She ended up in an uncomfortable position perched in a corner window. That same interesting background from shot two, a different angle, a beautiful mood and an image unique to our afternoon photoshoot, a fitting shot to end the day on.
Long shot of a model in a corner window with beautiful long legs for a modelling portfolio. Photographed by Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.

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0433 796 863

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Dreams of Modelling Do Come True

Many young people dream of being a model. The excitement and thrill of fashion, all those clothes, of photoshoots, special places and meeting new people. I does seem very glamorous and it really can be. Of course like many things, the reality is possibly, not always quite what one expects. I can however say that nearly every portfolio photoshoot I have done, and certainly those in recent years; that everyone enjoys themselves. The relaxed atmosphere, the fun of dressing up, the location and the theatre of a photoshoot. Even if you turn up worrying about what it will be like, how to pose.. You need not worry! Before you know it you will be modelling just like you always knew you could.  Yes I'm there helping out by giving you directions but I work with you, your personality, your mood, the you I see there in front of my camera and I get on with  capturing those wonderful moments.
Teen modelling portfolio on location, seated pose, white dress, panama hat and boots. Photography by Kent Johnson
Natalie's photoshoot was just like that. Exciting, but pretty laid back. Just Natalie's mum, and myself, on location; well and the other people enjoying the beautiful park. (if you are very nervous.. I recommend a studio photoshoot). Nat's an early teen so we dispensed with a make-up artist and went with the true beauty of youth. Yes you are beautiful! Well mum did apply a little lip balm. That was it, a brush and a comb. A pretty white dress, some active wear, a blue dress, a blue one piece swim-club style swimsuit and a pink cap. Oh, and a hat to go with those boots, I do love that shot! I help with the styling form the clothes you bring along, and we normally have a talk about outfits by phone a couple of days beforehand to be sure we are ready on the day. Well I love all these pictures and Natalie and her Mum did too. Once you have the edited pictures – which I send you in two sizes, print size + email/web sharing size that you can send to modelling agency  of your dreams. And dreams do come true. It starts with a simple modelling portfolio shoot like Natalie’s here. If you like what you see, just contact me to organise your very own photoshoot. More details here 
Natural portrait for teen model portfolio, red hair, denim jacket - Photography by Kent Johnson
Stretched out on the green grass - Modelling portfolio Sydney - Photography by Kent Johnson
Portrait in dappled light, white confirmation dress - Photography by Kent JohnsonWalking on the beach, activewear portfolio shot. Photography by Kent JohnsonBlack and white mid shot portrait for modelling portfolio, Sydney location. Photography by Kent Johnson
Mid portrait for modelling portfolio, Sydney location. Photography by Kent Johnson
Androgynous seated portrait Sydney location, Modelling Portfolio -  Photography by Kent Johnson
Black and white modelling portfolio head shot at the beach for a teen model - Photography by Kent Johnson

Portfolio shoots also make for great portrait shoot and lasting memories, young people change so fast, it's important to take the time out to make the pictures that save the memories forever.

Talk to me about your photoshoot today- or call Kent on 0433 796 863!

Top 10 reasons..
Studio Modelling Portfolio

Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863