One of the reasons I like photography is that I meet people I would never meet otherwise. Sheila got in touch with me through my Facebook page and asked me if I would consider working with her. I realized pretty quickly that she had the soul of a performer and was an artist at heart. Ironically, I had seen a photo she done on an Alice in Wonderland series that another photographer that I admire very much (Dominic Arizona Bonuccelli) had done with her.

As we talked on FB about working together and general concepts she made the comment that it had been a while since she’d done a photo shoot but that she “still had it” and wanted to be able to use the photos to help her re-brand herself for some of her other art projects.  This comment to me betrayed the sense of uncertainty that almost everyone, no matter how good looking or confident they are, feel when stepping in front of a camera. It also made me determined to do everything I could to set her at ease and work with her to create something we’d both be proud of.

To help us do that I enlisted the help of Kristopher Osuna ofPerfection Artistry for make up, hair and the headpieces. Shalon Morris of Shalon B. Designs stepped into provide wardrobe and styling. They both delivered in their usual amazing way.

In thinking through locations I suggested that we start in my studio and them move outside up on on Mt. Lemmon. Once we got started in the studio  it became clear that Sheila had trained in dance  – she had very graceful way of moving which I don’t normally see. We worked with a lot of veils and flowing fabric in the studio to get a sense of movement and action then we drove up Mt. Lemmon for the 2nd half the of the shoot.

Two things happened that were a good learning experience. First, it was colder than we had expected  and I did not bring a coat for Sheila. There was snow on the ground the shadows and that made it harder for Sheila to relax although she did a great job. The upside is that the overlook we were shooting on had an amazing view.

My second mistake was trying to take a shortcut with the lights. I had purchased a polarizer to use to get a different look and was eager to use it. However, I tried to get by using small flashes instead of my bigger studio strobes and that turned into a struggle since the polarizer was darkening the image by close to two stops.

I was forced to use two SB-900 flashes together firing at full power as close as I could get them to her to get the right lighting and even then it was just barely enough. I burned through a set of batteries for each flash in a very short amount of time. I overheated my SB-900 and got the SB-910 really hot.

Still Sheila pulled it all off and I managed get some good shots anyway despite this hiccup thanks to some help from Ivy who was assisting that day. Still, I learned my lesson and will take the big lights next time.<

Sheila moved not long after our session together but I hope the photos will remind her that she’s capable of delivering an amazing performance whether on stage or on an mountain overlook.