“Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.”– E.V.
This session is not just a celebration of Pride – it’s also a celebration of summer, of nature, of individuality and the art of expressing yourself. As we wrap up those last golden days of summer and reflect on the art that this community has created coming out of quarantine, we wanted to highlight this wonderful and stunning session!
Jennifer Alsabrook-Turner from Bang Images captured her model Kyle so well. They play with colors and textures and poses in such a unique and fun way. We loved seeing the natural beauty featured and the floral theme happening here. You’re going to love hearing Jennifer’s thought process in this interview, including precautions she took to capture these photos safely with COVID-19 concerns.
Tell me a little bit about where your inspiration for this session came from?
After photographing Kyle briefly several months ago at a local model/photographer meetup, we talked about getting together for a longer session in the future. I was inspired by Kyle and all of his sassy wonderfulness and the richness of summer colors in nature. It was serendipitous that I got to photograph him on the last day of June, glorious Pride Month!
How did you find your location and what do you love about it?
The location we photographed in is one I have used many times. It’s a large park in Birmingham. One of my favorite things about it is that along the perimeter of its manicured hills, beautiful stone amphitheater, and lush vegetation, is a wild, unkempt area that changes with the seasons. In the spring and summer it’s very green with a variety of foliage, some even resembling tropical plant life; in the fall there are sparks of yellow and rusty red-orange shoots that are at least waist high; and in the winter, there’s a thorny undergrowth with fuzzy weeds that shake loose when you brush against them and blow playfully in the wind. I’m more of a wild woman myself, but since my clients’ tastes vary, this location is wonderful!
What is your favorite image from the session and why?
One thing I loved about photographing Kyle was his enthusiasm and willingness to try any idea I suggested. He was masterful at posing already, and with the combination of my instruction and his artistic input, we created some pretty interesting images. I think my favorite one from the session may be the color image of him with the yellow flowers in his mouth. It presents a duality with its whimsical flair and his come hither eyes. I also love the placement of his hands and the way the yellow flowers compliment his vintage tuxedo shirt. The bokeh in the background is a real bonus too!
What did you learn from shooting this session? (anything big or small….ex. how you triggered your camera for self portraits, a new pose you tried and loved, something new you noticed about light, editing tips etc)
I think this session helped me develop a stronger bond with my 70-200mm lens-a lens that rarely made an appearance at a portrait session before Covid-19. Because of our current health crisis though, we’ve had to alter everything in our lives from the way we buy our groceries, to how we visit with friends and family, and apparently how we photograph people. As a photographer, I’ve had to adapt by changing my style a little. I won’t say I’ve been happy about all the changes, but some have been nice. I’ve traded in my beloved 35mm for a lens that puts a safe distance between my subject(s) and me. I’ve rediscovered my 70-200mm, and I must say that I love the images, specifically because of the distinction created between the subject and background. That lovely background blur is so dreamy!
Did you struggle with anything during this session?
I was slightly intimidated by this session for a couple of reasons. I am truly at home with women and thrive on empowering them through photography; most of my individual portrait work is of women. I feel comfortable posing them and have almost no hesitation during a session; but I have a little less experience photographing men and tend to second guess myself. In addition, Kyle exudes confidence, and although I am normally drawn to self-confident people, I felt apprehensive about directing him through a photo shoot. I just really wanted to do a great job. It helped that Kyle was an absolute sweetheart, receptive to posing ideas, and easily picked up on cues. It didn’t hurt that he was also incredibly secure and quite elegant in front of the camera. I’ve found it’s easy to get comfortable in repetitive patterns. This session felt like “growth” and taught me to take more chances!
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My website is www.bangimages.com
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