One of the not-so-hidden treasures on the east side of Los Angeles is the LA Arboretum and it feels great to getting back into my rhythm. The sheer variety of scenery takes you on a journey across several continents in a single visit. If the park is good enough for a Katy Perry music video, it’s good enough for me.
Admittedly, the days following this shoot were full of muscle ache accompanied by expletives. Even with regular exercise in the last year, indoor and out, I had simply forgotten what it’s like to walk for hours with an extra 20 pounds of pendulous weight on me. Funny, though. I don’t remember ever getting ripped from doing this regularly.
During the infamous year of 2020, I had a chance to revisit past works and brainstorm what an outdoor engagement session should be about. It all works out since we still have a lot of work left in curbing the spread of a certain headline-hogging virus.
When I met Jennifer and Jordan, they had a clear idea of what they wanted before they even hired a photographer. However, they had not yet found a wedding photographer who could do more than just environmental and available light portraits. They liked the way that I use shadows in my wedding work, but they did not know I had a strong studio foundation as well. To go off on a slight tangent, shadows are important. They define our visual selves – our faces, our eyes. The use of shadow is the same as the use of light, the very foundation of what makes photography possible. Our couple wanted a studio session instead of your typical outdoor portrait shoot, but they also wanted it in a certain style.
As fans of old Hollywood glamour and film noir, they wanted a certain classic finish to the final product. I knew I could do it. I’ve had years of experience on commercial and studio jobs. The catch though was that I’ve never been asked to shoot something like this. How many photographers actually deliver old Hollywood glamour portraits? How many fans have what it takes to pull off the look? I was excited for a challenge. These unique opportunities are what I live for.
This was also an amazing chance to put my Mamiya RZ67 to work. After Jennifer had her hair and makeup done and picked out her favorite dress and jewelry in the studio. Jordan donned a timeless tweed jacket and pants combo that complemented Jennifer’s vintage style. We put on a playlist with tunes from the 1920’s and 30’s. With a couple of rolls of Ilford HP5, getting rich shadows and grain on black and white was a perfect tool for executing Jennifer and Jordan’s vision.
Hair and makeup – mariaaspegren.com