Recently we had the opportunity to work with the Spring Theatre, located right here in downtown Winston-Salem, on their promotional imagery for their production of The Secret Garden. The marketing director, who also happens to be an incredible designer at www.carrieleighdickey.com, approached me about photographing their lead (Mary Lennox) in a manner for which she could be then superimposed on a digital background they had purchased.
After examining the lighting in the original photograph of the desired backdrop, I decided I could replicate the light.
We had our session and I sent the final 6 choices to Carrie, who then presented the photographs to the producers. Carrie then edited the photograph of little Mary Lennox onto the digital background.
Watch the video below to see how we mimicked the look and what the final poster looks like.
She came in poised, intention in every movement. She was the kind of woman who automatically commanded a room with quiet leadership. She smiled as we exchanged greetings and then sat on our dark velvet grey couch, setting a folder squarely to her side and then briskly folding her hands in her lap. Meeting her expectant air, I began to ask her about her needs.
Upon determining her need for portraits was specific to her profession, I asked “What do your portraits need to achieve?”
”I am not sure what I need. I know what I don’t want. I don’t want to be too corporate,” Rebecca replied swiftly. She was always straight to the point.
As I continued learning about her, I determined that, with her move to a director’s position at a new company in a new state and the different leadership and potential speaking roles she would be filling, she needed branded headshots to represent her fully. After expressing my assessment, she then handed me the folder.
I smiled. It was clear upon opening the folder that she had been assessing me much as I had been assessing her. She’s the perfect fit for her new director’s role. Inside the folder were magazine clippings of professional women’s portraits that were professional and just corporate enough without crossing into rigid territory. Off-handedly, Rebecca mentioned that there was a clipping in the folder of a pose which we had already discussed. I was glad for her scrutiny to make sure I was the photographer she truly wanted.
Her session ended up being wonderful! We achieved several different headshots to be used in a variety of forms, from her speaking gigs to her everyday office use.
The door was ajar and a chorus of laughter greeted me even before I knocked on at my clients’ suite at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina. Upon my knock, Lauren, the team liaison, ushered me into the bustling room. Hairspray clouds burst in the air as lipstick colors were mixed and cut across mirrored pallets. Against the wall, a team of stylists was hurriedly at work on the hair and makeup of several women.
As frenetic as the room was, if you stepped back to take it in, a symphony of beige, browns, blacks and dusty reds blurred together to create a cohesive, grounded color palette. It was a minor detail but somehow displayed just how well all 13 of these women formed together. This was the eastern division of Lancome. All these powerful, type-A women in one room working together like a well oiled machine. It was hard to not observe and admire.
The group of us briefly chatted. I’d been brought in to photograph their team headshots and team portrait. As I’d only had contact with the team liaison thus far, it was important to me that I gather as much about each person and how they interacted with each other as quickly as possible as well as dictate what could be expected from their time with me.
I worked with each woman one-on-one, focusing on their individual personalities. Then, we also did team portraits, feeding off of each others interactions. There was hair flipping and top-model smizing going on by the end, finishing out the session with just as much laughter as there was to start the day.
I can’t not mention these ladies below either! We had some extra time in our session. So, I made a point to photograph the style team who made the ladies above look awesome!
The air was thick with anticipation. I kept sweeping the studio floorboards to keep my mind and body focused. The soft rhythmic rustling of the stiff straw strands of my broom against the floor’s grooves has always soothed my thoughts. I’d never met my client or her daughter - the one being photographed - in person before. We’d talked over the phone and through emails but we’d be meeting face to face for the first time. It’s always exciting to meet someone new for the first time. A streak of light flashed across the floor where I was sweeping. I looked up, out through the sheer curtains to see a car pulling up.
April entered first, Sophia slightly behind her. Their soft presence was lined with their own anticipation. As we sat to talk, Sophia’s meekness became apparent. She was quieter than a mouse - not even figuratively. In fact, I barely heard her speak two sentences the whole time I spent together. Her intent, listening eyes were left to tell her story. April was great about asking Sophia questions, relaying information and reassuring her. I considered the best ways to bring a level of comfort to Sophia’s nerves.
We walked through her leotards and decided on the best one to start with first. Sophia chose a simple black leotard to wear and went to change. April suggested she stay out of sight while Sophia danced and I agreed that if she wanted, she could make herself comfortable in our salon. Then Sophia came out, ready to start.
Within seconds, Sophia’s reserved, meek disposition melted away and the bold, strong girl she is revealed herself. The moment she began to dance, she was a thriving, lively spirit. She threw herself into every dip and twirl with grace and strength. It was mesmerizing. A few times I just took in the movement of her dance to truly appreciate the heart with which she danced and watch to capture it the next round we did. Her strength, boldness and confidence shown in every move. It was beautiful to see such riveting contrast in one human - spectacular in all forms.
By the end of her session, Sophia returned to her meek demeanor, though the confidence she’d connected with could be clearly seen. She stood shoulders squared, intently watching. As they left, not an inkling of anxiety was left, nor a need to be soothed. I did, however, return to sweeping the floor - because great sessions always create messes!