Archive for February, 2010


Shooting a J Crew Catalog Look

Recently I did a photo shoot with Diana, an experienced model, a college senior and soon-to-be graduate student in English Literature.  Diana and I both like the look of some recent J. Crew catalogs, and so this shoot was about replicating the J. Crew Look.

This look is about pale colors, including pastels, fun poses and models that are smiling and having fun. The photography usually has very soft and flattering light.  Shooting in this style is a bit of a departure for me, as I tend to be drawn to bold colors.

But we had great fun with the shoot, and I hope you will enjoy these images as much as Diana and I did shooting them.

Before the shoot, I had just bought a huge white umbrella – 5 feet across – to shoot through. The large size means very soft lighting, and this was just perfect for the feeling we were trying to achieve.

This shoot took a lot of planning ahead of time – as do most of my shoots.  Diana, with whom I had worked before, spent a fair amount of time finding and putting together the outfits.  We talked ahead of time about poses  and the general setup for each shot. I bought some pastel colored background paper especially for this project.  On the day of the shoot, we had a good overall plan for the images.

As mentioned above, we liked the fact that the models in the J Crew catalog are, for the most part, smiling. It continues to amaze me that in most fashion magazines and fashion catalogs, the models tend to look bored and a bit imperious. Why is this? It’s done on purpose for sure. Does it sell more clothes? As a man, I’m not sure what motivates women (I have to be careful here!) to buy something, but to me, if the model seems to be enjoying herself, shouldn’t this make the viewer more likely to bring out the charge card?

I hope readers will weigh in with comments on this – I’d like to know what I’m missing here. To leave a comment, click on “leave a comment” just below the title of the blog.

Another part of the J. Crew look is motion. The model might be in the air, as in the shot on the left.

Thank you, Diana, for all the hard work you put into this shoot.


Review of Tap App

On January 6th,  I wrote about a shoot for an iPhone application, Tap App, which teaches tap dancing. here’s a video review of the application:

Incidentally, Eli Newsom, the talented dancer who designed and did the dance steps  in the app, is now starring in “The Full Monty” at Curtain Call in Stamford. here are the details:


Images for a Website

Part of my photography business is helping clients create images for their websites.  I recently did a project for Patricia Phelan, an attorney who concentrates in special education law and advocacy.  Her web designer had given us specific images to create for the website. The first one, above, was Patti having a conference with a client family.

The second image, to the left, was Patti sitting at her desk, talking on the phone with a client. The lighting for this one was fairly tricky. We turned off the fluorescent office lights (which tend to make people look green) . It was a gloomy day, and thus very little window light was available to light the image. So, we had to light the scene from scratch. I used three strobe lights, which had to be set up to be invisible in the shot, but also not bounce reflections off the diplomas, the computer screen or Patti’s glasses. This took a bit of trial and error.

Then, we shot Patti with her own family, in an atrium with lovely plants on the ground floor of her office building.  The clients who hire Patti are not just looking for an attorney; they are looking for someone who is compassionate and understanding of the issues around special needs children – and Patti Phelan has these qualities in spades.

 With these pictures, we are trying to show a bit of Patti’s personality, so that potential clients will feel comfortable approaching her for representation. 

Once the website is up and running, I’ll put a link to it on this blog. For me, this was a special and fun project, in part because Patti is a dear friend. If you, gentle reader, are thinking about photography for your website, please keep me in mind! Here’s one last image from our shoot, a headshot with a bit more of a formal feel than the other images.