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!

Feelin’ blue, but in a cool way

Moving to a new area can present real challenges for creatives, for it’s not easy coming across people you can truly vibe with.

Luckily, I found someone who lives one apartment complex away.

It was by chance that I met Kumiko, who also happens to be the first Tampa Bay model I reached out to since moving here.

And her turning blue was the result of a willingness to experiment.

The vibe of the shoot was sexy and seductive, and I definitely wanted that illustrated in the photos, from the dark background to the temperature of the pictures.

While lowering the temperature of the photos, I wanted to see what the picture looked like in black and white.

This was the result.