Back in November of 2014, I got a FB message from a woman named Rachel Dawkins ( who suggested it might be fun to work on a project together. At the time I didn’t think too much about it until I visited her website. I about flipped out after seeing that she had worked with one of my photography heroes – Joel Grimes – for many years. She’s been published many times and worked with many better photographer than myself.

Due to timing and schedules and it would not be until the end of February that would we would be able to work together when we collaborated on a shoot for On Makeup Magazine’s Spring Photo Contest.

During the interim Rachel and I would talk extensively on FB before we ever met. We discovered that we have similar priorities and desires about what we want to do and how to best accomplish it. She also shared a tremendous amount of information and knowledge with me about the photography/fashion business, how it works and what to expect about different aspects of it. For this I’ll be forever grateful. It was great to be able ask questions and learn from someone who has been down those roads first-hand.

So when she suggested we collaborate for a photoshoot for On Makeup Magazine I jumped at the chance. Schedules were again a problem so we actually had to pull things together very quickly. Rachel talked to Arizona Model Management and they graciously  arranged for Kaley Moutrey and Megan Russell to model for us. Brittany Ariel Mazur agreed to help out as well. So our three beautiful models, met Rachel, myself and Joshua Reed one afternoon in my studio to see what kind of trouble we could all create together.

The plan was to create two looks for each girl – a subtle look followed by a more dramatic version. I stood back and watched as Rachel went to work on the girls to get the first looks ready and I have to admit that I was really impressed with the quality of her work and attention to detail. The makeup itself for the first look was very subtle but the hair was incredible.

As a photographer there are days where it all just falls into place. That day was like shooting fish in a barrel. It was almost impossible to take a bad photo. The makeup, the hair and the girls were all amazing and even though the shoot ran long the energy stayed high through the entire thing. My job was simplified since everything we were doing was shooting from the shoulders up.

This is where shooting the 70-200mm lens with a Nikon D800 is means that you are going to get incredible detail. We captured every pore, every eyelash and every individual fleck of makeup.

When the shoot was over I began doing what I could consider as my first serious beauty retouch. For a magazine as prestigious as On Makeup Magazine I knew that there could be no fudging, there was no where to hide in terms of editing. Everything had to be perfect. Subtle but perfect. Again this was where Rachel’s guidance, help and feedback were invaluable. I learned about the proper proportions for eyebrows, how they should arch, how makeup should contour various aspects of the face. It made me realize that if I want to be a good photographer I need to learn more about the principles behind makeup.

We edited and submitted the photos and after a month of waiting heard that we had not been chosen. Still I’m incredibly proud of these photos and the team that created them. Viewing them on on a normal screen does not do them justice.  I learned a ton and hope to have the chance to work with Rachel and the rest of the team again soon.