Today I had the pleasure of shooting a lovely model from Canada whom I had never worked with before. Christelle is from a small town several hours north of Montreal, Quebec. She is spending a few days here in the Bay Area, then is off to Fresno, Las Vegas, Reno, and then Mount Shasta before heading back home.
This shoot was such a welcome change from the string of bad luck I’ve been having so far this year regarding models and photo shoots. I have no idea why, but for some reason I’ve had the worst luck with models over the past 6 months. The majority of them have either flaked, canceled at the last minute, or have just plain stood me up. It’s been highly disappointing and sometimes infuriating. Until about 6 months ago, that had never happened to me.
I could tell from my correspondence with Christelle in the days and weeks leading up to today’s shoot that I didn't have to worry about her flaking on me. She had been very responsive to all emails & messages, and had been proactive about confirming with me days in advance of our shoot. I had a good feeling about this model, and fortunately I was right.
I was very happy to see that the weather this morning was back to sunshine and clear skies, just the weather I wanted for my photo shoot today. For the past 2-3 weeks every morning here has been cold and gray due to a thick layer of coastal fog coming in off the Pacific Ocean that hasn’t been burning off until around noon each day. Today was the first day in weeks that it was sunny and warm in the morning.
I picked up Christelle from the home she was staying at locally, then we drove through heavy rush-hour traffic out to a park I’ve shot at many times in the past, which is located right behind one of the largest and most well-known internet companies in the world. We quickly grabbed breakfast for her at a cafe there at the park, then we shot for about 90 minutes walking around to various locations around the park. There weren’t very many people around the park since it was a Friday morning, so we could pretty much shoot anywhere we wanted without other people walking through our shots or gawking at Christelle.
What I love about this park is that it has many different unique-looking locations including a beautiful old Victorian house, a couple of pedestrian bridges, a jogging trail, a small lake, and lots of small rustic spots where we can shoot in a semi-privacy. We spent most of our time there shooting around the old Victorian house, but we did manage to shoot some quick semi-nude images in a few of those more secluded, rustic spots around the park. I’d love to find some other locations in my area where I could shoot nudes outdoors without having to worry too much about unexpected onlookers or park rangers happening upon us.
We then headed over to a small photo studio nearby that is located in a residential neighborhood. The studio consists of a small one-car garage that was converted in to a tiny photo studio (a little too small in my opinion), an enclosed backyard patio, and a small backyard. The enclosed patio gets lots of beautiful natural light, which is why I like shooting at this studio. The room itself is very simple. Just white walls, white laminate floors, and a few pieces of mostly cheap, IKEA-looking furniture.
Christelle and I shot for another 90 minutes or so at this studio mostly in the enclosed patio. At the end of the shoot I set up the one strobe light that I brought with me, set it up inside the tiny garage/studio, and took some low-key nude photos. I rarely ever shoot using strobes, mostly because I don’t really like the look of artificially-lit images. I also hate lugging around all that lighting equipment and having to take the time to set it all up and then tear it down afterwards. Strobes and all of the gear that goes with them just kills the fun of photography for me. Most of the other amateur photographers I know and shoot with shoot with strobes for EVERYTHING, regardless of how much natural light there is available. I have no idea why they do that. Maybe it makes them feel more professional or something. I don’t know!
Christelle and I had a lot of fun both during the shoot and hanging out afterwards. She’s a lovely, charming gal. One of the most enjoyable models I’ve ever worked with. She reminded me a lot of a model friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas that I try to work with everytime I go to Vegas. As much as I enjoy shooting with her, I probably enjoy hanging out with her even more because she’s such a great gal with a very happy, positive spirit.
I look forward to working with Christelle again the next time she visits the Bay Area. She’s a keeper!