Posts Tagged: creative portrait

Kirsten Nelson: not just a headshot

For many working actors, the headshot can become outdated before you know it. Kirsten knew she needed that one basic look, but I wanted to give her more.

We discussed ways that we could maximize time and give her a variety of looks that she could use beyond the standard headshot… to be used for editorial as well.

We opted for

  1. Casual & Classic: A natural light white and wood background were the perfect accompaniment to her denim look (tech notes: natural light with fill from strobes & bounce card)
  2. Dark and sensual: Giving her a darker edge, the single light and darker color schemes help accentuate a different side.
  3. Pop of Commercial Color: Kirsten ended up having 2 outfits that we couldn’t decide between… so we shot both. (tech notes: By keeping the lighting the same, we could change out backdrop and wardrobe and create two different looks.)
  4. BONUS! Kirsten is such an easy-going person, that also knows her body in relation to the camera, so we had time for one more. This time, I had her bring whatever crazy props/wardrobe/ideas she could think of, and I’d roll with it and make something on the fly… thus “No Regrets” was made.

 

 

  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
  • NO REGRETS Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena
    NO REGRETS Kirsten Nelson shot by Jen Serena

I SCREAM for ice cream: photography campaign

 

“I SCREAM” was created for a Quenelle, a boutique ice cream shop that has been expanding their presence with new locations – and thanks to the quality of their product – has limited marketing efforts.

This creative commercial photography campaign would give them a high-end polished look worthy of their product, infused with the delight that ice cream brings. We were ultimately able to create a campaign over many different mediums from one half-day shoot. A delicious success!

 

THE SHOOT: We invited Quenelle customers (and brought in a few select models to round out the diversity) to join us for a day of screams and smiles in front of the camera. It was an infectious day of fun – and we added the element of animated GIFs to the setups to 1) expand the marketing usage and 2) increase the “fun” of the piece. The great side effect was that it helped the non-models feel instantly more comfortable as they had an action to complete.

2-girls 2Thumbs-up Updown Spin2

 

 

 

{click on the images to animate them}

 

 

 

 

 

 

We felt the GIFs captured the energy so well, that we used them to animate the main tiled images, which was an added benefit as so many of the shots were worthy of publishing, we needed 3 groupings to accomplish it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ON THE TECH SIDE: In order to quickly accommodate 32 people of varying ages and group sizes, we shot on white sic – enabling me to manipulate the color schemes more quickly in post for each setup.

THANKS: Huge props to Producer Pam Elliott for seamlessly scheduling model and non-model alike, and keeping the atmosphere fun and friendly. Thanks also to our intern Trevor Dalton and to Ric Serena who assisted on set, ran B camera grabbing some video footage of the fun, and were both forced to eat a few servings of ice cream as well. Kudos to Bobby Lory who quickly drew the Quenelle logo so that all participants could leave their mark .

And it couldn’t have been possible without Quenelle, the models and John, who hand-scooped each artistic serving.

A delicious day!

Jazz Violinist: classical to modern Nora Germain

Truly honored to have Nora Germain – jazz violinist  – and already a sensation at the age of 23 ask me to shoot her portraits. She’s hip, yet grounded and wanted to get a range of images to showcase her versatility. Youth, talent and style all in one package.

It was a quick session, but we managed to capture 4 setups and 3 different looks. She’s such a natural beauty that we didn’t want to go extreme with any of the processing or setups, but wanted to share her youthful vibrance with bold color, her sleek style with bright white, her natural easy-going nature with an outdoor setting and the classical stage vibe to harken back to her intense training and serious passion for her art.

 

 

  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena
  • Nora Germain by Jen Serena
    Nora Germain by Jen Serena

 

(Side note: I was stoked to finally paint a wall in my studio for a session. So far, we’ve brought in backdrops that have sufficed, but this time I went for a bold purple wall that rocked. I fell in love with the stage setup so much that I ended up using it for a later shoot with Stephnie Weir for her 1-woman show poster image. More on that zany and awesome project later! )

Read more about Nora and give her a listen here. If you haven’t heard of her, no doubt you soon will.

 

Contact Jen (jen@serenacreative.com  818.568.4976) for ideas on how to creatively tell your photography story within your budget

See more of Jen’s music photography here.

Musical Muse

There are these amazing moments when capturing someone’s personality, or trying out new ideas, when everything is working, and you just don’t want to stop shooting.

This happened when I got the chance to photograph KOTOMI recently.

(This also makes it SO difficult to edit down your selects.)

When listening to her music, I realized that she is able to be both transcendent and approachable, synthetic and earthy, and this beautiful blend works throughout her music. Hoping to capture those different sides, we ran around on-location and in-studio to bring out her vibe. I still believe that the images could use more layering – as is shown in her music – but I was so captivated by her presence in some of the shots, I didn’t even do any post work on them.

Take a look, and a listen, and I think you’ll be drawn in as well.

 

  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
  • Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena
    Kotomi: music photography by Jen Serena

 

A little BTS note: All of the fog was captured in-camera: a great combo of luck and timing. And the flowers were quick snips from our garden pulled into a mesh headband. voila!

 

 

 

Contact Jen (jen@serenacreative.com  818.568.4976) for ideas on how to creatively tell your photography story within your budget

See more of Jen’s music photography here.

HoMEGRoWN: KleanSpa

We’ve been pretty busy around here, but there are still more businesses to share from our HoMEGRoWN photo series! So, in honor of National Small Business Week, here’s the latest… this time on Jennifer Hardaway at KleanSpa.

First, I have to admit, I’ve been dying to make my own scent ever since I stepped into the shop. That DIY attitude, helped by a scent mixologist (I think I just invented a title) could only mean great things.

Jenn is an incredible salesperson. Not because she’s big on sales, but because she obviously LOVES her products. And they actually hold up to all of the excitement! From innovative scents in perfumes, colognes, soaps and lotions, KleanSpa puts you in the scentual driver’s seat.

I asked her for a word of advice on starting your own business, and here’s what she said:

 

Our conceptual image features a blending of Orange Blossom and Sandalwood.  Makeup artists had fun gluing on earthy materials onto our model, and the finished product is full of tiny details that beg to be found.

In her tiny workroom, it was a great challenge to keep everything as light, airy and colorful as she, and her business are. I think we absolutely got it! all the way down to incorporating her orange & green colors in the concept image.

 

KelanSpa_SmallBusinessOwner_ConceptualAd

 

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  • SCI 2014 06_Jennifer-266

PHOTOGRAPHER:  Jen Serena, Serena Creative

MODELS:  Elle Jane Hounsell &  Chris Pavlik

HAIR & MAKEUP:  Alexandria Storm & Miss Cassanova

WARDROBE STYLING:  Drelyn, Beyond Image

CONCEPT & SET STYLING:  Jen Serena

Learn more about the HoMEGRoWN project here.

Rockin the Home Town with Christopher Giles

There’s hardly a time – especially when traveling – when I don’t have my camera.

So, on a recent trip to our hometown of Sanford, FL, I was able to take advantage of the cobble streets and open spaces that our hometown has to offer – by photographing a talented, driven and genuine musician: Christopher Giles.

His social media following alone shows he’s business savvy, his responses to his fans shows he cares, and his latest single shows he’s ready to rise the charts. To describe his music, I’ll grab a line from his website, “Chris’s romantic and passionate nature led him to Soul and R & B, still being his favorite genre to this day. His larger than life personality, desire to move and be moved by the power of music also led him to appreciate the rock genre as well. These influential aspects of music have manifested into soulful, passionate lyrics with a powerful delivery.”

And now, we’ve crafted some visuals to match.

 

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And man… I sure do love a rusted out car.

(Backstory on the car… we were headed to another location when I spotted the rusted out car near a garage. Christopher was game, so we pulled over. I didn’t want to draw attention, so we shot with available light, and man, we really happened to be there at just the right time.)

 

Around Town with WeirDass

Just running around town becomes an adventure itself when you’re photographing dynamic comedic improv duo: WeirDass (Stephnie Weir and Bob Dassie.) The husband and wife team have such incredible chemistry that you can see it easily in their stage performances… like those at iOWest Theater and improv festivals, their on-camera appearances like their Eleven-Year Itch series (directed by our own Ric Serena,) and their day-to-day life as well.

Here are a few stills from our little run around town.

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Creative Collision

How do you capture a creative soul that spins in many directions?

Making creative, conceptual portraits (and a headshot) for Bob Dassie was precisely that challenge. He’s a writer, an actor, an improv performer, and a true family man.

After brainstorming several different concepts, we struck upon two that resonated.

 

Modern Man:

depicting the many facets of Bob’s selves (is that a word?) through a composited image of wardrobe, changes, props and expressions.BOB DASSIE

The Writing Process: 

This image represents pieces of the writing process as one image: 1) writing can be messy and sometimes you just feel like you’re throng things out, hoping something will stick 2) It can feel precarious and down-right scary to put your work out there for everyone to judge. 3) Bob wanted to remind us that you need to stay “grounded” as you compose. It’s literal here, but figurative in meaning.

BOB DASSIE 2

And lest you feel Bob doesn’t have  a serious side…

BOB DASSIE 3

I like to take headshots because you have a chance to help actors feel good in their own skin, but I love to shoot creative portraits because we allow more than just the person to do the talking. We create a story that brings people in and, hopefully, makes them want to know more.

 

And maybe I just wanted Bob to have to keep grabbing handfuls of tomato soup & alphabet noodles.

 

 

Don’t forget to check out Bob Dassie and his equally talented wife, Stephanie Weir, in their hilarious web series, Eleven Year Itch. Directed by our very own Ric Serena. My teeny tiny addition: I shot the title cards, which were then made beautiful and interesting through the talents of Chris Kneller. (And they could probably use me as a laugh track, because no matter how many times I watch them, I still laugh.)

 

A little more behind the scenes tidbits…

1)    I had 3 large plastic shower curtains positioned to protect me and the studio from flinging alphabet pasta.

2)   Those are Isola’s sweet hands in Modern Man.

3)   Please be careful when using rat traps in your shoots.

Composition

Photographing other artists both amazes and inspires me.

It happened again when shooting composer Tony Morales in Los Angeles. He’s humble and curious, crazy-talented and just an incredibly nice guy.

You’ve heard his work in films like Now You See MeIron Man 3, Hatfields & McCoys, and The Bag Man to name a few.

As a music photographer, this shoot gave me the opportunity to let people see the face behind the talent. We shot on-location at his studio and surroundings, and created some standard headshots, creative portraits and an awesome

conceptual photograph that shows all the roles Tony plays in his work.

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-Jen