Headdresses for Flirty Fleurs
“I have an idea. It’s crazy, yet I want a very artsy take on it,” florist Alicia Schwede told me. “I cannot believe I even want to do this because I do not like having my photo taken. Who better than you?”
Our mission: create a series of headshots for Flirty Fleurs, her popular blog on the art of floral design. Her readership stems from New York, London, and California. My response: “Let’s make it happen,” especially since she did such a great job on the florals for the Flatland test shoot.
Art in Biz
I connected with Alicia, a talented florist, while attending a workshop by Sean Low on the business of being creative (my workshop notes shared here). One thing Sean spoke about was the importance of working in art into business by getting not just what you need, but what you want.
Being paid in “your worth” becomes the delicate dance to gold, a path initiated by creating stuff that gets the creative juices flowing. Not every shoot produces for my portfolio, no different than a simple sketch by a new artist hangs in the MoMa. But lots and lots of sketches, with different tools, techniques takes that same artist a few steps closer. Herein lies the true value of test shooting: exploring concept with minimum risk in a collaborative environment.
Outside the Vacuum
For this particular shoot, I invited my dear friend Rachel Olsen. We shot in her back yard and garage in Fort Collins, CO, a perfect location for a headshot where most everything greater than f/4 won’t be seen (fences and the neighbor’s satellite dish). Creativity doesn’t work in vacuums, which is one of the reasons I love to collaborate. Rach does beautiful available light portrait work, focusing especially on that “lifestyle-look” magazines crave. I love having her along on any shoot… she would save me on several shots when time got time… like a pinch hitter in baseball. I can always count on her!
These wouldn’t be normal headshots, but portraits focusing on floral headdresses of the Viking variety. A bit of a challenge since most of the time I focus flowers on a table or bench, setting my aperture at f/1.4 and shoot away. Same goes with a headshot in the shade. However, getting depth of field appropriate to both subjects with a interesting approach to light is a bit different. Here-in lies the shooting challenge.
The Shooting Challenge
The thing about lighting is you can make it as difficult as you want. More isn’t always better… for example sometimes shooting available light works better than three studio strobes. Sometimes it’s a balance. There’s no right or wrong, just subjective differences, no different than sampling wines (which we are all good at).
A special thanks to the creative team including: Creative Design & Styling by Alicia of Bella Fiori, floral designs by Crystal Oleskevich, Makeup by Janine and my wife, Krista, for your loving support and help!
My Goddaughter, Brynn, jumped in on the action (what little girl wouldn’t?!?!?!):
Special thanks to the cast and crew for our backyard shoot (and Krista for taking this photo):
I’ve shared my journey into photography style in a past blog post on my evolution of style and lessons learned along with my tips on developing your own photographic style. But for me, it goes back to continue challenging myself by shooting with new tools, studying and employing new techniques, and keeping it real while having fun.