Into The Woods

So spring break is over.

I’m back in school this morning, and thats rather depressing from both a personal viewpoint, and a photographic viewpoint. Personally, I had a really nice time this past week. The weather was nice, I got to spend lots of time with my girlfriend, and it both those things led to it feeling just a little bit like summer. Just enough to tease a person so that going back to school would seem like the most unreasonale request possible. Photographically, for most of the break I was purely resting, but over the last few days I got to go out and shoot street twice, shoot a roll of film, and go on a portrait shoot. It was a pretty good break for photography, and since it’s diffucult to shoot during the week on school weeks, I probably won’t get that big of a creative outlet for awhile now. This post is primarilly about that portrait shoot, as I’d been envisioning it in my head all week and finally got to bring it to fruition yesterday.

I got inspiration from some of Evan Tetreault’s portrait work of Lorde in New Zealand. Something about the deep greens of the bokeh-blurred fauna behind her, the natural blowing of her hair in the wind, and the intensity of the look in her eyes were all things that I picked up on. As I looked at those images, I thought about places near where I live that would have the same sort of “in-nature” look and gorgeous green colors. A particular portion of the woods at the nearby Cranbrook Art School came to mind, and so I made plans all throughout spring break to go and shoot with my girlfriend, Anne. Since yesterday was a rather warm day, had decent light, and was the last day of break, we decided to go shoot.

I had her wear one of her floral-print tops that I really like, as it would go along with the whole natural theme and would go well with the deep greens of the background. She, being a stylish woman, decided to add in the white shawl and little white flower in her hair; both of which added to the shoot I think and served to provide some contrast from the background. After that all we had to do was go out and shoot, and shoot we did.

All went according to plan, and I was able to get the shot I had been envisioning pretty much straight off the bat. The light was even, her look was intense, the background was lush and blurred and the wind was blowing her hair. I was actually surprised by how easily I was able to really get the shot I had been thinking about. The last time I tried doing a dedicated portrait shoot I had a really diffucult time coming up with what I wanted it to look like in my head, and as a result I didnt know what to tell my model for how she should stand or where she should look. It was a mess, and I was floundering. Just the fact that I was able to envision a shot like that and then orchestrate it and capture it makes me feel a lot better about myself and portrait photography.

After that first shot was done, I started to worry a little bit that I wouldn’t be able to think up new shots to take and that I’d start floundering like the shoot before. Thankfully, that was far from the truth. I was able to find a few more shots and describe them well enough for her to know what I wanted from her, and I was able to get the shot. Even after those shots as well, Anne helped think up a couple shots as well which turned out really nice. I left Cranbrook really excited with how the shoot turned out and really looking forward to editing them.

I’d also been dying to experiment with the VSCO Film 05 presets and those deep greens of the forest. I’ve been waiting since the middle of winter when the film pack launched, and this is the first shoot I’ve really gone into concsiously thinking of a film and look for the shots. I processed the shots all using the Kodak Ultramax 400 Cool preset, and tweaked the exposure, highlights, and temperature on some of the shots to make the shoot feel consistant and cohereant overall. I really do like VSCO Film’s aesthetic and so the chance to finally get to use it with some of the natural colors I’ve been fantasizing about for months during the deep winter was amazing. I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I feel a lot better about my portrait ability after a not-failure of a shoot.

Even if spring break is over, at least the new spring color pallette is starting to appear, letting me get natural tones like this in my photos and not just the whites and greys of winter. It’ll be more diffucult to go out on actual shoots during the school weeks, but I’m going to keep trying just so I’ll grow more and build out my work.



( You can view the full set on Flickr here )