Artful Figures®: Blog https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog en-us (C) Artful Figures® glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:47:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:47:00 GMT https://www.artfulfigures.com/img/s/v-12/u922229675-o529371535-50.jpg Artful Figures®: Blog https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog 120 87 Bobbi https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/7/bobbi

Earlier this week I had a wonderful photo shoot with a young model I had shot about two weeks earlier at a group shoot. At the previous group shoot we shot both Bobbi and her boyfriend Cam in a “couples shoot” scenario. This was the first time I had done any sort of couples shoot, but I found both of them very pleasant and easy to work with.

A few days later I arranged a one-on-one shoot with Bobbi. I got some great shots of Bobbi at the group shoot, but I didn’t get an opportunity to shoot many shots because of the way the group shoot was structured and because the group leader insisted on using a very harsh light reflector to light the models, which is something I strongly dislike. I ended up having to wait and shoot off a few quick shots during the brief seconds when the reflector was not blasting light into the models’ faces. When I shoot natural light, I want it to be all natural, no fake supplemental strobe lights and no reflectors. I feel that whenever such supplemental lighting is used, it makes the scene look somewhat fake and staged. You have this beautiful natural ambient light and then suddenly there’s this odd splash of light coming in from God-knows-where!

I was happy to have had the opportunity to shoot Bobbi again on my own using all natural light (no effing reflectors!) and at locations of my own choosing. She and I shot at a local park in Los Gatos, CA, just a few miles from where I live. During the weekend this same park is always packed with people walking, jogging, bicycling, and having picnic parties. However, since it was a late afternoon on a weekday, Bobbi and I were able to walk around and shoot with very few people around. It was great!

The park location had lots of little places to shoot including a cool-looking foot bridge, a lake, a small pier, a small train station, and lots of other places along the walking and jogging trail that winds around the park. I’ve been riding my mountain bike through this park for the past 20 years but I’d never done a photo shoot here until now. I’m definitely going to have to do more shoots at this park.

Bobbi and I plan to shoot together again before the end of August, just before she leaves to go back to college. She goes to school on the East Coast, but will be studying in Europe this fall. I love shooting with models who also happen to be college students because they’re not only intelligent, but they’re usually also very hard-working and responsible, as Bobbi was during our shoot. Thank you, Bobbi!

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glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Bobbi lake model outdoors park https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/7/bobbi Fri, 10 Jul 2015 07:11:09 GMT
Christelle https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/6/christelle

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!

 

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glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Christelle model outdoors park studio https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/6/christelle Sat, 06 Jun 2015 07:56:52 GMT
Gabriella https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/gabriella

Gabriella is probably my favorite model of all time. I've been shooting wih Gaby at least once a year for about the past five years now. She's a beautiful Hungarian model who just recently moved here to the United States. In fact, when I last shot with Gaby about a month ago she was still in the process of trying to find a place to live, having just arrived here from Europe days earlier. She is also one of the sweetest models I've ever worked with. She is a true professional. Always on time, always ready to shoot, and always 100% reliable (I wish all models were like her!).

I remember the first time I shot Gaby I was blown away by how good she was. She was not only beautiful, but she could pose like no other model I've ever worked with. Her ability to strike poses that look completely natural and that flow seamlessly into one another sets her apart from all other models. She is one of those models that can make any photographer look better than they actually may be, myself included.

Gaby travels the world modeling during most of the year, which is how I have been lucky enough to work with her so many times over the years even though she lived in Budapest until recently. Now that she lives here in the U.S. I'm looking forward to being able to work with her more often. I'll be shooting with her again in a couple of weeks. I can't wait!

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glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Gabriella Hungarian model https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/gabriella Wed, 18 Mar 2015 05:33:59 GMT
Vivian https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/vivian I met a new model named Vivian who I learned about from an online forum. She had posted a question to the forum community asking when it is appropriate for a model to begin charging for her services, as opposed to doing trade shoots. She had also stated that she had no desire to model nude as it's not something she feels is right for her. A bunch of idiots then started bashing on her accusing her of being critical and judgmental of nude models, which is not at all what she had expressed. For a 19-year-old college student who is new to modeling, I thought she made thoughtful, well-written responses to some very nasty messages some of the people had written. Since I was going to be visiting her city in less than a week, I decided to contact her and offer to hire her for a paid shoot. She quickly accepted and we made arrangements to shoot a few days later when I arrived in her city.

Vivian and I met at an outdoor shopping mall and spent the next hour or so walking around the shopping center taking photos. She was a nice, easygoing young college student who is majoring in Chemistry. Modeling is just a hobby for her and is something she wanted to do to build her confidence as well as hopefully earn a little money to help pay for college.

Since the shopping center we were at is private property I knew that we had to keep the shoot very low-key as to not draw attention and not look like a photo shoot. In these cases I always try to make it look like we're just two tourists walking around taking snapshots. It also helps that I shoot with a very small mirrorless camera with equally small Leica film camera lenses, so the camera doesn't look like a pro camera.  I made sure that after taking a few photos in one location to keep moving and not dwell for too long in one spot. I also kept an eye out for the mall security guy that I had seen walking around, making sure we avoided him. This outdoor shopping center had lots of cool little spots to shoot at. We just walked around and found random spots to shoot at.

We were almost done when another mall security guy on a mountain bike suddenly came upon us without warning. As I anticipated, he told us that we were not allowed to conduct a photo shoot there without a permit. I was fully prepared to just pack up and leave right then, recognizing that what the security guy was telling me was true and that we were shooting on private property. I explained to him that we were just shooting for fun and that this was not a professional photo shoot (which was technically true. I'm not a professional photographer and I don't sell my images for commercial purposes). To my surprise, the security guy thought for a few seconds and then told us we could continue shooting since it wasn't a professional photo shoot. Whew, that was a relief! I thanked him and he went on his way. Vivian the model was very surprised when I told her that the security guy said we could keep shooting and that we weren't getting kicked out of there. I had explained to her at the beginning of the shoot that we would probably get asked to leave the premises if a security guy caught us shooting there. Lucky for us the security guy that surprised us was totally cool.

We only spent about 5-10 more minutes shooting at the shopping center before we decided to go back to my hotel room and shoot interior shots. I was happy that Vivian felt comfortable enough with me, a total stranger before this shoot, to go with me back to my hotel room. I could understand why a model would not want to do that, especially one that is so young and does not have much experience working with photographers. I appreciated that she got a good enough vibe from me that she felt that I was trustworthy and wasn't just some creepy guy with a camera. When we got to the hotel room we spent another hour or so shooting in various spots within the room, with me rearranging furniture as we went along. I shot her in various outfits from fully clothed down to sexy lingerie. In the end, Vivian and I had a really nice time shooting together and getting to know each other.

I hope to work with Vivian again the next time I'm in her city. As much as I enjoy working with new models, I really enjoy working with models I've already worked with before as we have a built-in connection which we can build upon the next time we work together.

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glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Vivian model new model outdoors private property security guy shopping center https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/vivian Mon, 09 Mar 2015 02:31:44 GMT
WPPI https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/wppi I just got home from attending WPPI, the big annual wedding and portrait photography convention in Las Vegas. It was my first time attending this convention and I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot about the business of photography, which is what I wanted to take away from the conferences at the convention. I attended several seminars, along with attending the trade show exposition where I was impressed by the sheer size and breadth of the offerings by the vendors in attendance. I really enjoyed seeing up close and personal the wide array of print and display products available today. As a fine art photographer, I love seeing what amazing products are available for fine art printing and display. There's nothing like seeing your own work printed out large as a quality fine art print.

In addition to attending the convention, I also had the privilege of photographing two new models I've never worked with before. Both are local Las Vegas models and both were a real pleasure to work with. I was supposed to photograph a third model during my visit, but things just didn't work out, which really disappointed me because she is my all-time favorite model.  I'm a shy person by nature, but when I photograph models I surprise myself at how easily I'm able to connect and interact with them. Probably because most of the models I work with are all very nice people and are pleasant and enjoyable to work with.

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glenntokunaga@artfulfigures.com (Artful Figures®) Las Vegas WPPI convention models https://www.artfulfigures.com/blog/2015/3/wppi Sun, 08 Mar 2015 08:36:09 GMT