Posing, Lighting and Working Alone – Tips from Cherie Phelps [Part Two]

Yesterday, Cherie gave us tips on creating incredible images without an assistant. Today she kicks off Seniors Ignite TV with a training video from her model shoot in Palm Springs.

Have you ever photographed someone and thought to yourself, “It would be hard to top this location, this image, this moment I am experiencing right now”?  That you honestly feel the diversity of images being consumed by your camera could cause you to fall into a bomb-sauce induced coma?

As a bonus to my time in Palm Springs, I had the GREAT fortune of being able to utilize Toni Marie as my subject at the Ace Hotel, when Seniors Ignite approached me to film a training video about how I shoot alone.

I have been photographing Toni Marie for the past three years, and during this span I have experienced photographic nirvana while ‘shooting’ her, several times.  But NOTHING compared to what I experienced in Palm Springs.  The trifecta of location, model, and creative inspiration was quite simply:  a.ma.zing.

Back to the video we shot with the gorgeous (did I mention she was gorgeous?) Toni Marie at the Ace Hotel in beautiful Palm Springs: I tried to demonstrate just how I find light, and how I harness it using my reflector by either holding it in one hand while I shoot with the other, or propping it up against a random object in the path of the light.  I always to make sure to pose my subject in a way that I can ‘bank-shot’ the light into their eyes.   Focusing on getting the light into my subject’s eyes, even at risk of what I call ‘burning their retinas” is what I have found makes the images electric.  Then I think about side-lighting, rim-lighting, back-lighting, short-lighting, of course (the lighting list goes on and on), but in reality my moms don’t purchase an image because Susie was perfectly short-lit.  They purchase the image because her eyes are on fire and her expression is spot-on.  And I have found a way to effectively do this without the use of assistants.  I do hope that you will have some grace with me as you watch the video of this demonstration, because as I said before, while I can keep up with my brain, my mouth sometimes can’t.  And with that said, I am sure that there will be times when you need to WATCH what I am doing, and not LISTEN to what I am saying.  Til next time, I hope you make it simple, try new ideas, and go burn some retinas!

Model: Toni Marie Bentley

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