One of my goals is to be a versatile photographer – someone who can create whatever look is called for. By default my style probably leans toward more of a commercial look – crazy dresses, cool makeup and hair and dramatic poses. I can’t help it – I like that kind of thing but when it comes to modeling portfolio shots I have to go in a totally different direction in order to deliver what is needed. For modeling portfolio shots the goal is simple, clean and natural. Minimal makeup, minimal hair and very natural light.

Recently Ashley and I teamed up to try and create a look like this. I chose Empire Ranch as a location because you can create a lot of different looks all in the same location.

I’ve worked with Ashley several times now and she’s one of my favorite models because she brings a lot of energy and fun to anything she does. During this shoot my goal was to light Ashley in such a way that you could not tell I was adding light to the shot. For some of the “hard” light shots we just used the sun and nothing else I also wanted to create a softer look as well.  To do this my assistant used a Chimera reflector with a white fabric just to fill in some natural light into the frame and supplement the sun.

Later in the shoot as the sun started going down we simply didn’t have enough light to create the shots I wanted. So we added an Einstein studio light with a beauty dish to the mix. That worked well – too well in fact because I felt that the light was too directional at that point. In a moment of desperation I tried something new (for me). We setup the Einstein to bounce the beauty dish light off the reflector and on to Ashley. The final effect was better than I hoped for because it created a very soft and natural look that blended perfectly with the ambient light and it bought us another 20 minutes or show of shooting time.

I’m looking forward to trying this again and exploring more possibilities with this technique.