Photography is all about light. And so the slushy grey days of mid-winter can seem like the death knell of creative inspiration. We produce commercial shoots every week, and I find it really challenging to stay inspired to keep shooting every time February rolls around. Where are the splashy bright puddles of golden summer sunshine?! But there is always beauty to find if you slow down enough to seek it out. In the slow, calm, cozy days of winter, there is beauty in the muted colors of dimmer days and the pastel effect of lower contrast light. Photographing in winter means finding warmth in a window and tracking down each sliver of sunshine. And my favorite of all, because the sun is lower in the sky, you can find delicious hazy flares even in the middle of the day. Anyone can take a pretty picture in golden hour on the beach, but it is deeply satisfying to discover the more subtle brightness in the stillness of mid-winter.
Next up in my totally random series of color galleries: PINK. I don’t think of myself as a real girlie-girl, in fact when I had a baby girl I went out of my way not to succumb to the overly pinky pinkification of everything and made a real effort to dress her in any other color possible. But I do find over and over again that I’m drawn to the right pop of fuchsia, blush, rose - peachy and creamy or bright and neon. It kind of makes me want to get some pink leg-warmers and go rollerskating with Beyoncé (that’s totally what I look like rollerskating, by the way). These are a few favorite pinks, mostly from the last few years.
The images I love best are full of energy and bursts of emotion. To elicit that kind of moment (especially when you’re photographing models, who likely haven’t met you or each other before) you need ways of creating an environment that’s up-beat and free. Music, of course, is one of the best tools for setting a vibe, whether it’s moody and soulful, toe-tappy and happy, or anything in between. In 15 years of shooting, we’ve gone through plenty of different playlists - there was that year that Marisa and I ODed on Christmas Carols before Christmas ever came. And that month or so we had Beyoncé’s “4” playing on loop. Usually, our studio tunes are a mix of upbeat indie rock with a strong current of girl pop running through. And Beyoncé. Below is one such playlist, which I’ve been bopping around to lately. May it bring you happy, jump-around shoot day vibes suitable for twirling and laughing in the most photo-worthy ways!
Click below to listen on Spotify!
I am clearly partial to these models- one of them I birthed, the other I’ve known since she was just fluttery kicks in Marisa’s belly. Honestly, we avoid hiring 2 and 3 year old professional models for commercial work, because the age is just so unpredictable - it can be damn near impossible to produce much in a day, much less stick to a shoot script. So rearing your own models for this age group is preferable…it takes the pressure off to produce a lot, you can just get what you get and quit when they say so. Here’s what we were able to grab from a shoot day with these buddies last week. And here’s a tip for shooting 3 year olds: letting them throw Cheerios all over the room piques their interest for a bit :)
When I have a chance to stop hustling and constantly looking forward at the next things to shoot, shoot, shoot, it can be really satisfying to look b a c k over the archive of work I’ve created in the past, to cull through my body of work and see how images play differently next to each other. Instead of always pouring over Pinterest and Instagram, I can inspire my own damn self for a change! Ha. For no apparent reason (or for the best reason ever, of just entertaining myself), I decided to blog a series of galleries of my work organized by color. A lot of these were taken in 2018, but some are from a few years past. First up, B L U E…
A few favorites from our commercial shoot in Brooklyn last week, finding pops of color to brighten the day while we wait for spring to really kick in!
I'm having a major love affair with Campari these days...the crisp and bitter punch of flavor is the perfect antidote to a grey winter day. A splash of Campari topped with seltzer is a lovely little aperitivo to whet your appetite while you cook up something warm and cozy- but my cocktail of choice, when it's time for something more festive, is a negroni. It's uniquely bitter and citrusy and bright - and editing the images from this recent commercial shoot has me counting down the days til Friday. Cheers!
1 oz. gin
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Combine the ingredients in an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Stir well until chilled, twist a thin piece of orange peel over the drink, for aromatics, and use the peel as garnish.
I endured a few major changes in location last year - after my lifetime in NYC, my husband and I moved with our kiddos from Brooklyn to the suburbs (eek!) and after 10 years shooting in the same loft studio in Jersey City, Marisa and I packed up our props and said goodbye to our headquarters. Change is not my forte, and I was dreading the move on both fronts...but I have to say, I think I'm blossoming in the 'burbs! One perk to 'burb life is that living in a house is super lovely. When I pad down the stairs in my slippers for coffee in the morning, I feel like I've rented a quaint airbnb. And the house kills two birds with one stone, because it's also a perfect built-in location for the commercial photoshoots we do each week. We still miss our prop shelves and our Jersey City lunch orders (you forever have our hearts, Little Sandwich Shop!), but it's been a nice change to shoot in a home instead of building sets every week. Here are a few favorite images we've gotten from some recent commercial lifestyle shoots we've done in my new home:
Warmer(ish) days mean glasses of rosé, bbqs, cute summer dresses...and outdoor shoots with favorite models! Here are a few favorites from a recent commercial shoot around my neighborhood...