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 

Tutorial Tuesday: Portrait Photography

B&H, a company long known for its great service to the photographic industry by providing gear for us, has recently started providing insightful videos for photographers, by photographers. While there are a ton of awesome videos, perhaps one of the most interesting is the hour and a half long talk by portrait photographer Brian Smith. 

La Primavera

Polaroid has always held a special place in my heart. I used to go around with a Polaroid camera all the time when I was kid and take snapshots of everything around me. Even though I still have that original camera (and few others picked up along the way), digital has dominated my professional shots and my iPhone has replaced my polaroid camera.

When the opportunity came in last quarter's Large Format class to work with Polaroid again, I dived right back in!  Polaroid went bankrupt and Fuji no longer makes 4x5 sized instant film, so the results were hit and miss at best. It took a lot of my patience to get the shots I wanted but the results are just as stunning as I hoped. 

Check out "La Primavera", an in-blog exclusive release. 



 Model: Christina A. RISE Model Management 
Stylist: Caress Genelle
Make-Up and Hair Artist: Katherine Taylor 
Wardrobe: Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier, Vintage 
Assistant: Lewis Davis 


David Leventi: Photographing the World's Opera Houses

I first heard about David Leventi when he came to SCAD to present a lecture and showcase his work. I made the mistake of not going, thinking that an architectural photographer wasn't of any interest to me. Now, having once again been fatefully reunited with his work (thanks Tumblr) I present a small selection to you. 


Leventi's website can be found here. All Image are © David Leventi.  

Real Life

I’m going to be frank with you. People, they tell you that when you get a “No”, you just have to keep trying until you get that “Yes”. Well, I’m here to be a reality check. 95% of the time, you aren’t going to get a “Yes”. You are going to keep hitting “No” after “No” after “No”—and that’s OK.

You know what you do? You change. You go back and look at your work and see where you can move forward into something else.

It’s OK to change your dreams.

— Me. 

'Black Swan' Intern Lawsuit Wins Skirmish

It’s important for us college students to keep being informed about what is going on. This, while not specifically targeting the Photography and Advertising market, does point out an interesting point that has been made by several politicians over the years. 

Do unpaid Internships cut into the entry-level job market? 

I’d say yes without a heartbeat. As an unpaid intern myself, several times over, you not only have to get luckywith an internship, but also be darned good at finding a place you can actually learn. When you get only lucky to find one, often you find yourself putting in far more than you get out of it. 

Unpaid interns are now doing more and more work that entry-level employees would be doing. I don’t know any photographer that hires a 3rd assistant. They simple find an unpaid intern to do that kind of work. So it’s very interesting and revolutionary to see interns standing up for themselves and getting what they really deserve from the companies that they work for. 

Is it worth it? What do you think?