Valentine’s Day Photoshoot: Love Up In Smoke

2019.1.20 Aleisha Soto by StanChambersJr Photography 17 small.jpg

One thing I love about being a photographer is the ability to help clients turn their vision into results they cherish.

It’s even more awesome when those results involve a creative photoshoot.

I’m sure plenty of photographers were asked to shoot client boudoir photos for Valentine’s Day, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (I shoot those too). But Aleisha wanted something different that she could give to her husband as a framed gift. 

She wanted her love to go up in smoke.

I’ve been lucky to have a cool Valentine’s Day photoshoot for the second year in a row. Last year’s shoot was an alternative take on what it means to be happy on Feb. 14:

But this year’s shoot was an interesting challenge, for I’ve never used smoke bombs before – let alone during a cold January morning at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. The challenge immediately appealed to me because I see myself as an artist who creates using people, light, environment, and the occasional prop.

Photographers who only see themselves as picture-takers limit their creativity, their ability to grow as a creative professional, and doing a disservice to their clients.

One hilarious aspect of the shoot was that neither Aleshia or myself had ever used smoke bombs before, so we had to figure out how they worked (you just pull the string). Also, we wondered if we were going to set the park on fire (we didn’t).

We first tried placing the smoke bomb on the ground, which didn’t work well for us. Then I had Aleisha hold the smoke bomb while simultaneously posing, which garnered much better results.

And then there was the cold. Aleisha looked wonderful in her satin high red dress -but she was freezing.

Some may not realize that the client plays as much of a role in a photoshoot’s success as the photographer. The photographer may be displaying their creativity, but it is the client who must be receptive to the creativity in order for the shoot to work. 

Aleisha did a great job of that, and it’s not the first time Aleisha and I worked together - she was one of my first clients.

It’s satisfying when I can help clients bring their vision to life – especially when their vision involves expressing their love to someone else. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Investing in yourself is worth it

Yes, investing in yourself is worth it.

And yes, it's easy for I, a photographer, to say this.

But most, if not the majority of first impressions are visual. And irregardless of one's intelligence, a bad picture makes for a horrible first impression.

Such is what led me to Raleigh, N.C. last week for a quick headshot session with Lauren, one of my clients who is working on a few new ventures.

Having spent 12 years in North Carolina, including 10 in the Triangle, it was nice being back in familiar territory. 

She wanted photos that represented a professional in Raleigh, so we took a variety of shots around the state capitol grounds and on Fayetteville Street.

During our shoot, we discussed various business opportunities (of others) that were lost through bad headshots.

When you're selling yourself, there's no second chances to make a strong first impression.