Portraits | Molly Strohl

If you haven't met Molly Strohl yet, you should. Molly is an incredible gifted fine art and conceptual photographer from Alabama, who just happens to be in the same program I am. I'm constantly in awe of Molly's work and so it was a great, great honor to photograph her. It was also nerve wracking. It does help that Molly is probably one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. 

This shoot was also one of those times where I wanted the shoot to just be between the sitter and I. Every now and then, I harken back to the days when I first begin shooting where it was just a model and I traipsing through miles of forests and fields in search of the best spot to photograph her. Simpler times, I suppose. It made me feel much more connected to the subject – to take the time to get to know them before the clothes and makeup went on. 

In a way, I have always treated my fashion photography a bit like portraiture; getting to know the subject before the shoot. It is definitely something I miss in this day and age. 

© 2014 Ayden Grace

© 2014 Ayden Grace

© 2014 Ayden Grace

 


Portraits | Lauren

Lauren is one of those rare souls that is so exuberantly happy it's catchable. Normally I don't encourage my clients to smile unless they want to but with Lauren it was exactly the opposite – I had trouble getting her not to smile. I met Lauren in my college's printmaking class, back in October of 2013. She is one of those people that when I meet, I know I have to photograph them. Luckily, when my portrait project came up, Lauren was willing and available to help me out. 

She is not only a great model, but also a brilliant painter. Her paintings always reflect her life while simultaneously making the viewer experience her art. If you're interested in her work, I highly suggest a stop over to her Facebook page,  Lauren Pizzi Fine Art, where she showcases most of her artwork. 

© 2014 Ayden Grace

© 2014 Ayden Grace

© 2014 Ayden Grace

Portraits | Brianna

I find that it is sometimes the most difficult thing to capture a person's personality when you've only known them for the few minutes that they sit in the makeup artist's chair. I'm usually pretty good at it – when a model walks in (or in this case, a sitter for a portrait) I can immediately tell a bit about them. I watch them interact with my team and learn from it. It is an important skill and one that has kept me from making friends with people I would regret. That is not to say that I am right all the time, but it is a developed skill, not guesswork. 

Brianna is one of those people that I knew we would hit it off right away. The first time I photographer her it was for a small personal editorial project. Since I've been in Savannah, I've photographed her a least a dozen times over the years. Each time is a new experience and I learn a little more about her and how amazing of a person she is. For her portrait, I wanted to make sure to get as much of her personality as possible – even her modeling side. It was a pretty big task.

We spent the first half of the shoot trying to tame the "model" – which is common when trying to photograph models as "not models". I thought I'd bombed my concept. We'd consistently gotten beautiful photographs of her, but they were shallow and fashion oriented that did nothing to showcase her personality. It was only after she had changed back into her own clothes and had plopped down on the set to put on her shoes that I took the shot that would encapsulate everything. 

I had forgotten my own lesson: when in doubt, go back to the basics. 

© 2014 Ayden Grace

© 2014 Ayden Grace

Portraits | A Lesson in Beauty

Over the summer I studied with the amazing Neox Image photography. Michelle and David, the owners, are amazing people. During the internship Michelle and I got hooked on this amazing photographer, Sue Bryce. An Australian portraitist by trade, Sue recently moved to America and joined the Creative Live team to teach the rest of us how to capture beauty. 

We went through Bryce's 28 Day program which is meant to jump start photographers into Glamour Portraits. Now, when you normally think of Glamour portraits, I bet you're thinking of the 80-90's photographs of women with big hair and shining, glowing skin. Yeah, me too. What Bryce does moves beyond that into the true definition of Glamour; 

"Glamour: a malevolent shapeshifter (Scottish); to enhance the allure of the subject; the appearance of enhanced attractiveness" 

She skillfully makes the everyday woman into an enhanced version of themselves. Through her mastery at posing she needs only two minutes in Photoshop to reduce some wrinkles or errant strands of hair before printing them out as a reveal to clients. 

She's inspiring. 

Either way, I had some time to sit on the idea of portraiture until my seminar class this Winter. I wanted to do something other than fashion. So I set off into the sunset to try and do some portraits of women. It was a lot harder than I expected. 

I thought that breaking into Portraiture would be a cake-walk. After all, I fell into fashion so how hard could switching genre's be? Well, apparently, it's a trap. It's a deceivingly simply trap. 

I'm still learning about portraits and what makes a good one and how to capture the personality of the people I photograph, but I'm gaining ground with each new opportunity. Below, you'll find Danon, a sweet, amazing animator and costumer. When I photographed Danon, I never realized until that moment how much of a chameleon she is. Every image was like seeing a new facet of her personality come forth. 

 

© 2014 Ayden Grace  

© 2014 Ayden Grace  

© 2014 Ayden Grace 

© 2014 Ayden Grace 

© 2014 Ayden Grace 

© 2014 Ayden Grace