Melissa, the New Tattoo and the Studio

by | Jan 11, 2016 | 2 comments

In the Spring of 2012 I started dabbling in the idea of building a photo studio. But what did that mean? What is a photo studio? There are plenty of ways of answering that. What came to me was, I was tired of being freelance. A hired gun. I wanted to build an establishment that set us a part as photographic artists. It was evident, needed to pair down. I was tired of weddings. The moments were great, the people – fantastic, but the formula got to me. Some photographers enjoy the challenge of making magic amid changing styles and this weeks latest photography trend. For me, it started wearing on my soul, which was probably most apparent to the photographers I was assisting. I just couldn’t bear the thought of more closeups of wedding bans and Jimmy Choo shoes. I wanted more control. More styling. More Story. But where to start? I had no serious clients, and no rainy day fund to get things off the ground.

I developed my photography skills using available light techniques, but had studied from the masters who sculpted with ambient and strobe lighting primarily in the studio. I realized, if I was going to break out on my own, I needed my own studio space and a professional lighting setup. But where to begin? Before committing serious money, I bought a then $150 Impact kit from B&H along with two Smith Victor 710 lamps that the previous owner “borrowed” from a gig back in 1970 something.

Fast forward to Fall of 2013.

I was chatting with model and musician Melissa Danas over her photo portfolio after a gig, and we got to the idea of doing a Klimt style shoot. While that test proved to be a bit of a learning curve for both of us at the time, with the remaining 20 minutes we had left in the studio we decided to give her slender look, horn and new tattoo a whirl in the studio. Simple, elegant and sexy. For whatever reason I couldn’t get Helmut Newton out of my frame, so we went with it.

Horn-1We only took hand full of images, so these were the only two that made the cut. This first one is my favorite. It was a brief moment in time as Melissa adjusted herself and I caught it. As we close in on four years of this photography studio, I still get compliments of this image. It was the first image in the studio that made me think, “Ok, I think we’ve got something here.” Improvisation is the name of the game in photography.

The circumstances of creation are never perfect, but it’s those moments that force us to dig deep in our caveman-like brains and come up with something even better than intended on the fly. My hope is that, whatever you’re ready to dive into, you stick with it in the face of frustration. It works out in the end if you’re patient enough. This moment clinched it.



Ok, that’s it. Happy Snapping!



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