The Good Life - Nina Alonso

I wanted to photograph my good friend Nina who works as a model and be able to succesfully complete the "creative triangle" : Lighting, Composition, and Technique.

Nina is a really cool chick and has tons of attitude and really isnt afraid to push the boundaries, I tried to find a location that suited the edginess we wanted to explore. After shooting in a few locations we happened to find an old "abandoned" RV parked on a grassy hill out in the hills of Malibu that had old rusty barrels piled behind it. I say "abandoned" because I am pretty sure the owner was sound asleep in side and we snapped the photos a few feet away from his home using hand signals to direct my model.

I've really been focusing on composition and worrying less about technique since I have mastered the basics of photography up until this point in my career. Right now its all about looking at the back of the LCD and quickly realizing, oh her hands a bit cropped out, If i back up a few feet and move left I can get the subject as well as "The Good Life" all in one shot. 

The sun is at about 30 degrees to the right of the models left shoulder, ala camera right and I exposed for her skin via spot metering and shot this with my 135MM to further bring the subject and the background together.

I call this portrait "The Good Life," whats better than a beautiful girl in daisy dukes and sheer tank top? Finding an RV in a random location with "The Good Life" decaled all over it.

After shooting out doors we came back to shoot some moody stuff on a black backdrop. I wanted to shoot both digital and film yet did not have the resources to use flash on my Pentax 6x7 ii. Instead I chose to light the portraits with two Chinese lanterns with 250 watt bulbs, one with a dimmer that i could use for fill. Chinese lanterns are great because you can get a nice soft and very moody lighting source that you can physically see as you move it around the room and they are pretty darn cheap as well.

As for a mood board, I can attach a few images that Nina and I shared before the shoot... some are NSFW

Usually I set up a Drop Box in order to get a feel of what the model wants and what I invisioned to shoot with the model. I really recommend this because it brings both of you into the same mindset and allows a mutual agreement on what each other expects from the shoot and wants.

From these, I wanted to take the falloff, mood and feel from them. They all have a nice noir lighting scheme that draws your eye to a certain part of the photograph and gives you an emotion. I knew Nina wanted to shoot something edgy and with alot of attitude.

After tinkering with my lights and about 2 hours we finished the shoot and said our goodbyes.

I shot these on a 35MM and a 135MM, the first is supposed to be for an urban clothing line in New York so shes edited a bit less warm/more realistic whereas the second photo is warmer/dreamier and more sensual to me.


You can view more of my work on www.austinwinchell.com


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