In my portrait work, I always try to capture the spontaneous moment.  In many studio pictures, there is a posed, stiff feeling.  We don’t want that!  First, I’m going for a relaxed, natural and comfortable pose – really a non-pose. Then, if possible, I look for ways to add some spark – perhaps saying something  goofy to get a laugh – and then capture that fleeting moment.

Jolita (pronounced “Yolita”) is a professional model and an aspiring pop singer.  She’s very comfortable in front of the camera, which is tremendously helpful. To some degree, this image was planned – a very careful makeup job, soft “beauty” lighting, the position of her arms and the bending in of her shoulders, her dress and earrings, the dark background. So we had a general concept for the shot.  At first, Jolita was looking straight at the camera, but the idea came to me to suggest she look away and then laugh out loud – really loud.  To me, this brought real sparkle to her eyes and some good energy to the image. I shot her right in the middle of her laugh.

There’s a small detail about this picture I really like.  While Jolita’s hair is lovely, it’s not perfectly coiffed. There are a few stray stands, especially on the left side as you look at the picture. In Photoshop, I could have cleaned up the hair – made it look like the old Breck magazine ads.  But I close not to – I think the not-quite-perfect hair adds to the spontaneity of the image. In some sense, we’re seeing Jolita at an unguarded moment, that works with the turn of her face and the smile.  So many pictures we see in fashion magazines are too perfect – lovely images but no personality.  With my work with models, I’m trying for a sensibility that is a bit more natural – an image that looks like a real person. Real people often have a few stands of hair out-of-place!

Look closely at the picture.  How does it work for you?

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