Sometime around the Christmas or January time frame I discovered Mert-Marcus, a team of fashion photographers that were new to me. I found them because of a striking ad campaign they did for Gucci with Abbie Lee Kershaw. High contrast, deep rich colors, white skin and lots of dark blues, blacks and purples I feel in love with it and wanted to try something inspired by that.

Kayla instantly came to mind as a model that would be the perfect fit for this. I had met Kayla last Oct. when she agreed to be a part of the Halloween Poster Project I was planning. Kayla nailed that so I knew I could work with her and that we’d be able to create something good together. She’s got a real laid back style on set but she is all business when she steps in front the camera. The fact that she’s got absolutely amazing cheekbones is beside the point.

For hair and makeup I turned to my friend Kristopher Osuna. We’d want strong colors and contouring to make this work and he’s a pro at this kind of thing. Joshua Reed of Joshua Reed Photography graciously agreed to humor me and help with assisting duties.

Clothing would require something special. I was looking for shimmering fabrics and textures with strong, deep, rich colors that would reflect the light. Shalon Morris does an amazing job with this kind of things and she agreed to be a part of this shoot and bring not only her clothes but her eye for detail.

On the day of the shoot it was almost like a reunion a way – a chance to see people that you like and who you know you will enjoy working with. This would be my second time working with Kayla and from the moment she stepped in front of the camera I knew it would be even better than the first time we worked together.

I used a lot of higher contrast lighting because I knew that Kayla’s features could not only handle it but that they would be enhanced by it. So it was beauty dish mainly as the primary light with a gelled blue light on the background. In some shots I put a strip box off camera and and slightly behind Kayla to create some highlights or would use a softbox for a fill light depending on the dress and the pose.

In the end we didn’t get shots exactly like Mert-Marcus. That’s actually good. I admire their work and I’m inspired by it but I don’t want just re-create that. With everybody adding their influence we got shots that are similar in some ways and totally different in others and I absolutely love how they turned out.

It’s always a team effort. Nothing happens without everybody pitching in and going all out and so I’m very appreciative of all of the work that Kayla, Kristopher, Shalon and Joshua all contributed in order to make it happen.

One of black and white profile shots got picked up by Dark Beauty Magazine’s Facebook page so that was kind of fun too.