SHEA HOLLAR

I am so excited to share my newest shoot with Shea.

She is signed to Rock Agency in Wisconsin and was only in Dallas for a week to train with John Benton (if you're a model looking for an amazing trainer, he's your guy!). I'm thrilled that her agency found me and asked her to shoot with me while in town. We met at my studio in Denton and put. in. work. 

Hair and makeup by the incredibly talented Heather Fitzgerald. 

I like to start with some basic beauty shots because it allows me to chat with the model and get both of us more comfortable working together. From there, we are able to get more creative with posing and wardrobe. 

We worked on getting more expression shots and smiling images for Shea's book. 

One of my favorite (and most awkward) things to do is ask the model to laugh out loud - like, actually LOL - as loud as they can. This allows me to capture real, authentic smiles. I always laugh with them, and Heather even laughed along with us.

It's typically so uncomfortable that everyone starts laughing authentically, and it creates the cutest images. See below :) 

For our next look, Heather switched it up with baby buns and starry eyes. I'm so in love with her work and how creative she gets with it. 

After shooting in the studio for a while (typically about an hour), I like to go outside and get full body, natural light portraits. My brain needs a change of pace after shooting indoors anyways, so it's a great way to switch things up and capture more movement. 

I love this next look that Shea brought – it's adorable and it reminds me of Wet Hot American Summer – so it's a win-win. 

FINAL LOOK

Model: Shea Hollar
Agency: Rock Agency
Beauty: Heather Fitzgerald
Location: Denton, Texas
 

MICHAEL SPERO

GET IT MIKE SPERO

Freshly signed to Dragonfly Agency, Mike was in town for just one week before heading back to his mother agency in Kansas City. We met at a location on Harry Hines that I had driven by last year and always hoped to use.

I wanted to play around with the shadows and structural lines, so I asked Mike to meet me at 11:00am when the sun would be really high in the sky. My assistant, Michelle Khan, helped by directing the light with a reflector (on the gold side). I simply used it as a fill light since everything was so bright already. 

The next three images were taken beneath the pedestrian bridge, where we were shaded completely. I had Mike sit against the handrail so I could shoot down on him, bringing out his eyes and increasing the reflections in his glasses. The street behind the railing was harshly lit by the sun, which I further brightened in post.

Having your subject sit in the shade, but allowing the background to remain sunny, is a great way to purposefully overexpose the background and draw focus to the foreground AKA your subject's face. 

To switch it up, we drove to Bachman Lake Park and shot our final outfit in a more natural setting.

I didn't realize it was so close to Dallas Love Field and was so excited to get a photo of one of their planes landing behind Mike! Talk about good timing. 

SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS SHOOT

Model: Mike Spero
Agencies: Dragonfly, Arizona Model Management, Moda Models Cape Town SA
Assistant: Michelle Khan @michellekhxn
Gear: Canon 5D Mark ii / 50mm 1.2L

BRADLEIGH GEORGE

Wow i'm so in love with this whole session.

Bradleigh is a lifestyle model with Dragonfly but her agent wanted us to get more fashion / editorial looks during our shoot. I always like to start with a basic first looks and then slowly move into more fun outfits and poses. 

I began our shoot with my white backdrop knowing I would want to change the color in post. This is one of my favorite things to do right now – it's so fun and allows me to get creative with the backgrounds.

These next photos are some of my all time favorites.

I really like smiling portraits that look natural and candid – I love images that evoke emotion and make it look like the photographer and model were just great friends, hanging out together and having fun. 

The majority of the time, when an agency requests studio work, they also want a few images outdoors as well. Bradleigh arrived at my house at 10am and it had been raining nonstop the whole morning. I thought the rain may go away before we needed to hop outside – but it definitely did not.

BUT WE MADE IT WORK.

& i'm super happy with the results. Bradleigh was awesome for being willing to shoot in the rain and I think it's pretty dope that you can see the raindrops in those first two portraits. 

JAMES SCOTT

James is a model with The Dragonfly Agency in Dallas and needed some updated portraits for his book. He is in their lifestyle division, so we needed to get a nice range of smiling, laughing, and serious images for his portfolio. 

We met at my house and started shooting outside around the neighborhood. I used my husband's moped for the last photos, and even though it wouldn't actually turn on, we had fun rolling it through the parking lot trying to make it look like it wasn't broken. 

Model: James Scott
Agency: Dragonfly
Location: Denton / Home Studio

We shot outside for about 20 minutes before heading inside to the studio. These are definitely my favorites and I loved experimenting with the lighting for a more defined look. 

omg, I love this next photo. So happy. 

And for our final outfit, we went all out. Our next shoot will be on Jame's yacht. 

SKYLAR EISENMANN

I've been having so much fun shooting in the studio lately. 

I recently bought a new white backdrop and have been having a blast changing the color of it in Photoshop. I don't have the space for a bunch of different colored backdrops, so this is a really easy and efficient way to change it up. Also, it means I have endless color options! YAY! 

(Scroll to the bottom for a before and after)

Model: Skylar Eisenmann
Location: My Studio! 
Makeup by me

The brown backdrop looks best with rich, dark colors. I loved Skylar's turtleneck and paired it with some deep blue, high-waisted jeans for a 70's feel. 

These next few were shot on the white backdrop, which allowed me to have fun with the colors and textures. 

The above photo is one of my absolutely favorites from our shoot, so I wanted to include a "before and after" to show my backdrop changes. I wanted to make it a pastel pink to match the Instax camera. I use the "Color Replacement" tool in Photoshop to get the result below. You can change the color of anything in the photo, but I've found this feature works best on solid, flat objects (such as the backdrop – doesn't work on hair / clothing as well). 

Kristen Breining

Kristen drove all the way from San Antonio to my home studio and we PUT. IN. WORK.

When she arrived, I immediately noticed how striking her eyes were and really wanted to highlight them throughout the shoot. I chose a white backdrop, which I then made a more subtle grey in photoshop – really helping her dark features POP. 

Scroll down a lil' bit to see the before and after of our backdrop color. 

If I told you this was Kristen's first try at modeling, would you believe me? Gosh, I almost don't even believe it. She was such a natural. 

NEW HOME STUDIO W/ AUBREY

I've considered a home studio for years but never had the space to set one up and keep it up. A few months ago, though, we moved into a two bedroom condo in Denton and I figured our spare bedroom was the perfect opportunity! I bought two lights and a backdrop stand off Amazon and anxiously awaited their arrival. They got here late Tuesday and I immediately texted my good friend, Aubrey. She came over the next morning and we got busy experimenting and practicing using the lights.

I didn't have any real backdrops, so I grabbed the biggest blanket from our closet and rigged it up. Holllyyy mollyy.. I never expected it to look at gorgeous as it did. 

The cool thing is, you don't have to spend a fortune to set up a studio. I paid less than $200 for my entire set up including lights, backdrops, the stand, and stools.

Cheap doesn't always mean low-quality. Don't let the idea that you will have to spend thousand of dollars get in your way. Just find an alternative route that fits your budget and make it happen! 

The rainbow effect was created by holding a CD against one corner of my lens!

I wanted to get some crisp portraits with a white backdrop, but since I didn't have one, improvised with a white sheet. We made a little fort with Aubrey and one light in the middle and managed to capture some of my favorite portraits!

Check out our setup below lol

& I'm just gonna say it one more time:

DON'T LET ANYTHING STOP YOU FROM ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS. If you don't have the money for a studio, nail a sheet to the wall and use external flash. If you don't have lights, face your model towards the window and use natural light. Have a friend hold a white poster board behind their head. Have your model lay down and use a cool rug as the backdrop. Make a fort out of sheets. DO ANYTHING! Stop making excuses and start making it work! 

Love you guys.

MELIANA HLAVAC

BEST SHOOT EVER

Meliana is a model with The Callidus Agency in Dallas and I was THRILLED when she emailed about setting up a shoot. I immediately fell in love with her look and wanted to find a really fun location for us to use.

I had driven by this weird UFO in Royse City a couple years ago and have wanted to use it ever since – this was the perfect opportunity! BTW I found out later these crazy things are called Futuro Houses and the history is fascinating. Definitely go check them out. 

I'm just so in love with the vibe of these photos. It was so fun to use the structure as one giant prop.

I wasn't sure how the interior would photograph since it was darker inside and the walls had lottsss of swear words everywhere (lol) – but it ended up being really beautiful lighting! The close up portraits we took inside are some of my favorites from the whole set. 

Experimenting during photo shoots can be intimidating because if something isn't working how I imagined, I get nervous that the model will think I don't know what I'm doing. But honestly, what's the worst thing that could have happened? If it wouldn't have looked right, we would have just taken a couple and moved back outside. No harm, no foul! 

Don't worry what people think. Play it cool and try new things. If you never experiment, you'll never grow and get better. 

BAM. Outfit change.

I knew I wanted to get some of Meliana in the field, without the Futura Home in the background. She brought the most amazing overalls and white, victorian style blouse that we just had to use. It was perfect with the tall grass and I love the Little House on the Prairie vibes! 

For the majority of my shoots, I like to change the model's makeup for our last look. It really changes things up and is great for versatility in their portfolios. For Meliana's last look, I decided to go with a full coverage, vintage style makeup and a "modern 70's" outfit. Doing makeup is so much fun and I love getting to play around with it.

I used a purple crystal (car keychain) to create the lighting effect you see in the last few images! 

Find her on social media below! 

Model: Meliana Hlavac
Agency: Callidus Agency

KELLI LAHMAN: SENIOR PORTRAITS

Kelli is graduating from college this spring and I could not be more excited that she asked me to take her senior portraits! She is such a sweet girl and has the best style. She bought two new (incredible) outfits for our shoot and they just worked perfectly - like wow.

We met in Denton at a fun lil' back road that I've always wanted to use. Kelli brought the cutest vintage bike and we just had the most fun ever! 

OUTFIT CHANGE LIKE BA-BOOM

Seriously, what a babe.