Posts Tagged: music photographer

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.

CZAPPA: TV Repairman and Artist

In the ten years we’ve lived in Burbank, California, I must have passed ARC TV & Repair over one hundred times.  The handful of art pieces in the front window always caught my attention, but I assumed the artist was a friend of the shop owner.
After Jen wrapped up her HOMEGROWN photography project, showcasing small business owners in Burbank, she received a phone call from Bill Czappa, owner of ARC TV & Repair, asking if he could be included in her next round of photography.  She returned to our office after shooting with him and urged me to meet him and consider shooting another [ahr-tuh-zen] project installment on him.
I didn’t have lofty expectations for the end product when I made the commitment to shoot a short piece on him, mostly because I didn’t know how much time I would be able to commit.  However, during my first b-roll shoot with Bill at his garage studio, we got to talking unofficially (I didn’t have location audio with me that day because I hadn’t intended to shoot interviews), and Bill mentioned that he’d always thought Van Gogh had it easy compared to some artists, including himself.  With this passing comment it became very clear the direction and tone the documentary would take.  I was hooked.
In the month that followed, I spent a few hours here and there with Bill. At his garage studio. At his repair shop/gallery. For one of Bill’s recounts about a gallery experience, I wanted to come up with a clever way to visually tell the story.  His retelling was lengthy and required quite a bit of trimming to make it fit.  Because I only shot his interview with one camera, I didn’t have the luxury of a second camera to cut away to.  In addition, I felt like cutting to random b-roll during this story felt unmotivated.  So I took a cue from Bill and decided to use a “different material” than video to tell the story.  I decided to tackle stop-motion animation for the first time in years.  With our awesome intern, Odessa, we cut characters and shapes out of construction paper and created a rudimentary animated sequence to accompany Bill’s humorous art gallery story.
There is nothing like watching an animated sequence come to life.  The icing on the cake was hearing the sound design from my long-time collaborator, Durand Trench of Sasquatch Sound.  All of us were in his office laughing like children.  I have a feeling it won’t be our last animation.
The next step was a crucial one and somewhat fortuitous.  I had been editing the film with no music.  It’s been an exercise of mine recently as I try to avoid temp love (the notion that some producers/directors/editors fall in love with their temporary score so much that they’re unable to appreciate the novelty of an original composition), and I wanted to provide the composer an opportunity to come at it with a fresh perspective.  For this project, I asked Paul Bessenbacher (PB) of Emoto Music to consider scoring the film and gave him the first right of refusal.
Near the end of my picture edit, PB released a track from his then forth-coming solo piano album titled, Equilibrium.  On a whim, I played the track against a section of the film and was blow away.  Everything worked.  Timing.  Tone.  Moments.  PB had independently and coincidentally created the perfect piece for a film he’d never seen.  From there, PB provided some of his other existing tracks for me to place against my sequence to help him determine the tone I was going after.  I was willing to forsake my exercise at the request of the composer, especially considering it was his music.  Eventually, he composed an original score that differed significantly from the temp music he’d provided earlier (save that initial piano track, Bloom, which we both felt was perfect for the film).  I will admit I had a brief moment of temp love the first night, but it only required one more listen of the new score to appreciate the creative approach and cohesiveness it brought to the film.  The musical collaborative process is one of my favorites in filmmaking, and I’m fortunate to work such talented composers like PB.
We went back to Bill’s garage studio to record some additional sound effects for the soundscape of the film, and from there Durand tackled the mix.  This was his first mix for a theatrical setting, and he nailed it.  Sidney Lumet wrote he hated the mix process.  I’d have to disagree with him.
Passion projects can be a bit tricky.  There is a balance you must strike between making something the best you can make it and respecting the  time of your creative collaborators.    At the end of the day, you want have something you all can be proud of.  I think CZAPPA is a prime example of achieving that goal.

-Ric
PREMIERED: 6/2 at DANCES WITH FILMS
PRESS: MY BURBANK
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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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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.)

 

The Beat Goes On

When Canadian drummer Jeff MacPherson contacted me to create stylized music portraits, I asked him to send me some of the images he was drawn to, so that I could get a sense of his style preference and offer up some ideas for the shoot. We knew our time was somewhat limited as he was in the Los Angeles are touring with Book of Mormon, and as always, wanted to maximize our time for the shoot at my Burbank photo studio and on location.

Together, we honed in on several concepts, (I love to provide a wide range for my clients so they can have multiple uses and campaigns,) that would show him in action, with the drum kit and as an artist, aside from his instrument. And then I threw in one more (the flaming drumsticks… just for fun.)

Jeff has a great look. He’s definitely a rocker. So, for some of his images we concentrated on a classic cool. In studio, we shot on a grey on grey set for a monochromatic feel with dimensions in corners and angles.

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This drum set is a personal favorite of his, so it only made sense to show them in action and keep them on set for his headshots as well. Even with a single setup/props, we were able to create 3 different looks thanks to our light sources: 1) bright contrast in studio lights, 2) moody fog with constant lights, and 3) natural light streaming in through the doors. Plus, he’s sponsored by Zildjian so we highlighted the cymbals in another quick shot right outside.

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Finally, we moved on location. Lines were even more important to me in this shoot as they helped echo his drumsticks and bars of music. We were again able to focus on one of my favorite things: just go for the cool.

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At the end of the session – From bright, poppy, white, commercial images, to clean and personal headshots, to moody creative portraits – we gave Jeff a diverse set of music photos for his portfolio. And the icing: we had a great time doing it.

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