Monday, October 7, 2013

Building A New Photography Portfolio from Scratch - Hawaiian Style

What do you do when you move to Hawaii, leaving behind your portrait photography studio, giant reflector boards, makeup chairs and wardrobe? You create a new portfolio, of course!

When I first started photographing women, I was in Scotland and I turned the back room of our rental house (a bright white, big windowed, little square box) in my 'studio'. A year ago, I moved home to Seattle and took over my parent's basement, turning it into my glamour studio. Now, I'm on a tropical island in the middle of the world's biggest ocean .... studio-less, forced to work my photo magic in the great outdoors. Intimidated by bright sun.

It's the end of week 2, working as a staff photographer at Photography by Karma Hill. I've been shooting elopements at sunset on Maui's beaches. All of this outdoor shooting has got me pumped to try these new locations for my own photography — women's portraits on the beaches at sunset.... I want to see what I can do with these conditions... taking portraits to a whole new level. I'm thinking a dash of Sports Illustrated, a sprinkling of Vogue, and a whole lot of something a la Chamonix (yet to be discovered). 

I'm especially intrigued to see what I can come up with because when I was living up in the northern portion of the globe I was adamant about NOT shooting outdoors. I really didn't like it. I was a studio-bound girl fo sho. Let me just say, I did try shooting outdoors in Scotland & Seattle but the chilly scenery just wasn't feminine & pretty enough for my portraits. Something about the dark forest greens just made the photos fall flat. The scenery detracted from the beauty of the woman's portrait = not ideal. Plus, most women weren't very comfortable posing in skimpy clothes in the cold rain... wonder why? 

Hawaii on the other hand promises a much more feminine and sexy backdrop. I mean just look at it, instead of the prickly pine trees, there are voluptuous banana leaves! I want to get me some women rolling in the sand, posing beside palm trees and flipping their hair in front of turquoise colored buildings. 

So, to get this tropical creative sabbatical of mine on a (cinnamon) roll, I've been scouring Pinterest for inspiration and I've decided to focus on building a brand new portfolio FROM SCRATCH. This new portfolio is going to be inspired by Hawaii (obviously). If I love it, I'll start seriously considering how I can remodel my photography style & business to cater to these outdoor glamour portraits for Maui tourists. It's a whole new market for me and before I can sell, I have to figure out how to rock the tropical sunshine and pose women in water, sand and sugar fields. I'm here in Hawaii for at least 2 years while I work for Karma (I'll be shooting for myself on the weekends). I figure 2 years should be enough to figure out a new photography style &  business model, right? I mean, I first picked up my professional camera 2 years ago and look how far I've come since then! Bonkers.

PS: Any advice for shooting outdoors is very welcome!