To say that this was one of my favorite photo shoots is somehow an understatement! Leisa Howard, owner of the Columbia, MD studio had this idea for updating the images in the studio. Although I have photographed MANY dance events, this would be a very different collection of images. The goal was to make Arthur Murray Silhouettes using the staff at their studio. Since it would be easier to set this up at their location, I brought all my lighting to do the shoot there.
Compared to dance events, these photos were made under much more controlled circumstances. As a lighting setup, I had two flashes firing into a white seamless background. This is not typical for me but on this occasion, the goal was to completely separate the subjects from the lighting. With this in mind the dancers are moved far from the background lights so that they fall into darkness. In effect they become silhouettes in an extreme contrast of subject and background. Afterwards I boosted the contrast even more to be black and white. This look mirrored some retro images of Arthur Murray posters of the past which is very appropriate for their walls.
Andrew shows through these photos what an excellent event planner can do. For this reason, he setup an entire wedding reception table complete with linens, tableware, decorations, and dessert! Not only was the room setup, but he had two models to stand in as bride and groom!
In effect, he prepared an entire wedding reception at Malmaison in DC for this shoot. While this shows what he can do from a design standpoint, it also shows the capabilities of his team. Given that this was a completely empty restaurant room, he produced a beautiful space for a reception. In the event that you would are planning a wedding or corporate event in the area, Andrew and his team should be the first call you should make!
Having talented friends is a blessing! This shoot was for Nam Nguyen, hair and makeup artist in northern Virginia. Previously, I knew Nam for his fashion expertise. He worked for a client of mine as the inventory manager and stylist for a ballroom dress company. While I was there for photo shoots, I was impressed with his talent. Not only did he excel in styling dresses for imaging on the website, but he was great with customers. Being that dancers will be performing in front of large crowds, they want to look their best. If Nam approved of your look, you would be ready for the judges!
On this occasion, Nam had some ideas for a stylized shoot. Since his days at the dress company, he studied hair styling. When I heard that was his plan, I knew he would be successful. Together with his overall fashion aesthetic, I knew he would be a sought-after stylist. We collaborated on a few photo shoots over the years, and I enjoyed having these images in my portfolio.
These models offered to help him create marketing materials for his hair and makeup services. Of course the hair would be done nicely for the camera. Then, the makeup would color match extra props that would be added to the hair. In particular, blue makeup with grapes, yellow-orange makeup with yellow birds, and red makeup with hydrangea flowers.
For this purpose, I setup a plain white backdrop. Along with the Eyelighter to make the eyes pop, a large softbox created a soft light on their faces. The lighting worked with this setup for all three of the models. Given that the photos were sent right to a large TV for review, we hit the goals of what Nam was looking for! I wish him the best of luck with his growing business!