The Miami Quince Photographers experience, with Travis Harris.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here is no doubt about it.. there are a ton of Miami Quince Photographers out there. While I don’t feel there is any point in saying that one is “better” then another (as this is such a subjective opinion from one person to another)
I will, and can say that the shoots that I do are of a very high “production value” and closely (exactly) match that of any high end commercial photoshoot for any type of media.
In other words, the Quince Sessions are much more then me walking up with a camera, and a simple little light. They are involved, planned, and have different moving parts in order to get the level of results that I show.
I feel that it’s really important that people understand the different types of shoots, the different “styles” among photographers that exist, and whats truly involved.
This, and this alone is also the best way to ensure that expectations are in perfect check.. and this all leads to a better “experience”, not just with me.. but honestly with anyone.
When I am not shooting weddings, I default to my “commercial” skill set and technical lighting abilities to really push the standard within my own brand of photography. In some ways, this “side” of my work is what keeps a nice balance between the volume of weddings that I shoot, and other sessions. It spices things up for me, and offers a different opportunity to apply myself to my work. I really enjoy that. I enjoy directing, and planning, and producing very high grade images that arguably are in a class of their own. Regardless of the content (which can be very subjective), the quality, the lighting, the level of execution truly is second to none out there. This I know for sure. Not many are going to show up to a shoot as well prepared as myself, and my team (at any price point I might add). When everything is all said and done, I bring a tremendous value to the table.
Okay, so this story with Sarah actually started back in 2013 when Jenny (Sarah’s mother) contacted me in regards to one of her daughters who was turning 15 (or maybe 16), I can’t remember now.. and loved my work. She was searching the web for Miami Quince Photographers and of course stumbled upon my page and made contact. Well, for whatever reason the stars did not align <cough, cough> and we never got to work together. They actually ended up going with another photographer (hey it happens LOL). Anyway… here we are THREE YEARS LATER, and I get a call from her out of the blue as her other daughter is now of the same age, and looking for a Miami Quince Photographer. They have closely followed my website / blog and were so excited to finally have the chance to work with me. I was honored, and really excited to finally make this connection! After contact, we setup a time to all meet in person (finally), we sat and I got to meet Jenny, and of course Sarah and we talked all about the ideas, the locations, and all of the little details that are so important on a shoot like this. After the meeting, I think it was clear that I was in fact going to be the best option for them, and what they were looking for.. and we set a shoot date!
Right out of the gate, I was truly very excited for the locations.. however, we ran into a snag.. and this is a good place to talk about it.. as it was a good learning experience for everyone, and anyone reading this can benefit too.. So, this kinda made it all worth it after all! LOL.
The first, and most exciting place was going to be at the Delano Hotel in South Beach. Jenny, Sarah (and I) just loved the decor, and all the stylish compositions that are possible in a place like that. They booked the hotel room for the night before, and even had the hair and makeup all set for super early in the AM, so we could start off working in the hotel before traffic would eventually pick up. A few days before the shoot I had confirmed with Jenny the times we were going to be meeting and all the exact details. She had mentioned that the hotel even suggested shooting in the early am to avoid other traffic, so I (and I think Jenny too) was fully under the impression everything at the hotel was set.
It was not. It was not until my assistant and I were in the car, driving to the hotel at 6:20AM did I have a funny feeling. While sitting at the Starbucks near my house I decided to text her, and ask about permission. I don’t know why, but all of the sudden I just felt like this is too easy.. generally hotels (all of them) will charge you a considerable amount (plan on $300 – $1000, with the average somewhere around $500) to shoot on their property. However, there are some hotels that just won’t allow it AT ALL. This was one of them. The reason? Copyrighted artwork, all though out the hotel. They have to comply with strict copyright laws from the artist that specifically state “no images of the artwork”. So, “photoshoots” there (at least at this level) are out of the question.
Great. I did not even finish my coffee and already this shoot was doomed! Well.. not exactly. Instead, we decided to shoot at South Pointe Park, which was close by and offered some nice outdoor options. Then, we packed up and moved to a studio space in North Miami called “Glasshaus Studios“. This allowed both some inside, and outside shooting options and gave a nice range of imagery in the end. Honestly, as it turned out we had more time, and more options in the studio space then we ever would have had in the hotel, even IF they allowed us to shoot there. So, at the end of the day this was by far the better option 🙂
So, the moral of this story is this.. if you want to shoot in a specific location (and to be clear you must choose the locations, it is not up to me) you also need to ensure that you / we have permission to shoot there and that everything is all set to go!
Now, lets take a look at some of the resulting shots from our session…
This is a fun shot (above). I have spoken about before the importance of brining along a friend to the session. This is a great way to stay relaxed, and it offers a nice dynamic all throughout the day. In this case, Sarah’s sister was begging her to do the “kiss face”, and LOL.. well.. here ya go! This was nice, because as much as I can pose someone, and offer very specific direction it’s shots like this that are just great. In fact, in this shot.. there is a basic “frame work” of a pose that I have already setup.. and then at the last second I got the reaction from her. So, it was kinda the best of both worlds.In this one (above) you can see all the specific direction that was given in the video.. it was really important to keep the legs separated so they they don’t “blend” together, and to clearly define the arms, hands etc. This is where posing can be very tricky for a lot of people. I wanted her to arch the back even a bit more, but understandably this was a very hard position to be in for more then a few seconds. This is why on the video you hear me saying “okay, hold that there.. hold it…” because I truly know how hard this is for them, and the “shot” comes down to all the little details, and staying in a pose long enough to get it right. I may snap the shutter a few times to keep the momentum going.. however, it’s not until I put the camera down do I know that I got what I was looking for.. in this case, the SECOND Sarah took her camera side arm / hand and moved it up to the hair, I had what I wanted and took the shot. Watch in the video, and see how fast that reaction was! LOL.Super pretty shot of Sarah (above). I love the lines, the flow, and the height of her. You can see too in the video what her (and most of us) natural tendency would have been.. and that would have been to simply lift the shoe straight up. Thats a mistake. The “shot” was to have her lift camera side leg just enough to separate from the other shoe, AND to create a small space between the legs to have her figure clearly defined. Then, pointing the toe down to enforce the lines, and to offer some more perceived height. This was the “frame work” from this shot, then I needed the “look” I decided to drop her chin (as you hear me say in the video), and get her to first look off camera (to disconnect from me for a second), and then while keeping the chin down, looking back / up at me. Not too much to say here.. this was in fact one of the first shots taken. Start simple is generally how I roll, and this is just that. A simple shot.Then.. she came out in this outfit! WOW. Really cool, fun, and made for some nice images. I was pretty impressed with all of the outfit selections (my fav. was actually the blue dress at the beach below), but this was a great one too, and the hat really give it that final touch. When thinking about Miami Quince Photographers, a big part of that comes down to the wardrobe. I know that there are very traditional dresses that people like to wear (the pink one below), but that does not mean the entire session needs to be just that 😉 At some point the session just turns into a fashion shoot with me.. and thats honestly what I think it should be!Hands down one of my fav. shots from this Miami Quince Session! The shot (above) just has a look that is priceless. Sarah.. you ROCKED this shot! Funny enough too, in the video you can see me quickly take this image, and it was not even one where I think she was paying full attention.. or I told her this was a “test shot”. Either way, it came out incredible. The colors, the lines, the pose, the look, the perfect placement of the legs, arms, hands, etc.. it’s just as good as it gets!Again, speaking of having the friend come along.. and having a nice dynamic to be shooting in.. here is another example of that (above). To be clear, I am not going to randomly say “hey, give me a wink” or “hey, um.. can you blow me a kiss”. LOL.. nope. That needs to be a product of a synergy that only happens when you, me, and others are all laughing, having fun, joking around etc.. and THEN the shots like this end up coming out. This by the way is another reason I think a lot of photographers “shoot them selfs in the foot” and offer the silly little “2hr” sessions, or “mini sessions”.. it takes TIME to get great results, unless of course your a professional model, and can strike a perfect pose, and reaction after every flash beep. I have yet to see that, even in Miami. 😉Here we go.. a nice, solid Beauty shot. Took me all of 3min to capture it too. LOL. Here it’s all in the technical setup, and lighting. The lighting setup I used is very common for cosmetic beauty ads, and is what inspired me to do it. Here, the eyes really pop (and it’s no silly Photoshop either LOL), they do this because of the control in the lighting. I was further able to make the skin flawless, and give a wonderful shine to her hair. I choose to shoot with a great background (light fall off) to keep everything very “mute” around her to not distract from her face. This (in my opinion) is a very solid beauty image for any standard, and would not look out of place in any magazine, or fashion ad. This to be clear is not something that is commonly taken on a Miami Quince Photoshoot.So, after we shot in the “studio” for a bit.. now what? Um, turn around. LOL. Thats about as easy as it gets. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the composition here, along with the architecture flowing both inside the studio, and out. Really cool, fun stuff.
Legs for miles. To be clear, this is how the image came out of the camera! Shooting low, and wide give me this effect. Yes, there is some image distortion going on here.. this is a product of shooting wide at this position, however.. did it.. Made her legs look long and amazing? Check. It gave a a composition that was clean, and distraction free? Check. It gives the impression of power, and strength? Check. I’m digging it! Something to note here.. keeping her camera closest leg bent over the other one was key. THIS is what really slimed down her entire figure (not that she needed it), but, it further flattered her, and really gave this image the power that it has.. compared to the one just above it. Still really nice, but not quite the same thing.Then, we moved outside! (above). The studio had a bit of a pool deck, and decided to take some images with the sky under exposed. At the last second I decided to give Sarah that life saver as a prop LOL. It was a nice idea, because it gave her something “to do” in the shot. I love shots like this, as it starts to depart what most Miami Quince Photographers are all about, and moves more into that of a fashion shoot.Yes, she really is in fact standing on a diving board in a pair of Christian Louboutin’s LOL. The pose was done to maximize height, and to define her every part. Nothing blends together, and it looks like a fashion ad. This level of photography is very challenging for the average (even advanced) Miami Quince Photographers out there.LOVE working at night! So many cool places you can use to make night shots look great. For me it’s about shooting with compression, and getting a very strong separation from the background.While the shots are really impressive here at night.. you need to know, that I was very worried about the possibility of her falling in the water. There is a TINY ledge here she is standing on, AND in high heels. So, this is not for the faint of heart… and I will accept zero responsibility if you get wet 😉 If this is what you want, it’s up to you! LOL. But, yeah.. the results I think were worth the risk!Loved this outfit! Here were a few shots (above and below) of the more “traditional” Miami Qunice dress that seems to be very common with many Miami Quince Photographers. I wanted to include the shots so that you can see that we did take them, and how they came out!I love very much this close up (above) of Sarah. The mix of pastel colors, and her darker completion just pops! Her hair was flawless too. So pretty.Just take a look at this incredible outfit (above)! WOW. So elegant! I just was shocked when I saw how incredible this looked in person.Now for this last, incredible shot. Check this out.. we were about done with the beach part of the session, and walking back to the car. Mom, sister, and Sarah all stopped for a second to use the bathroom, and sit down. Mean while.. I am standing there with my assistant and I look over and see this “water park” for kids. You know.. that little push button spray jet thing they have at parks.. well.. I got this idea.. I wanted to see if I could light the water drops from across the park with my powerful lighting. I did a quick test shot with my assistant Jorge, LOL, and I could! 2min later, I had this shot in my camera, and off we went to the car 😉
I want to thank Jenny for keeping my info for three years, and remembering to make contact when she was looking for a Miami Quince Photographer! Thanks so much to Sarah for being SUCH a wonderful subject for the camera. You took direction well, and it shows. You have some amazing shots to show, and one day look back on when your in a different part of your life. At that moment, you will know and fully understand just how important all this was LOL. Thanks to all who came out for Sarah’s shoot, and a special thanks to my talented assistant Jorge for helping me with all the gear, and for filming the behind the scenes video!