Ok everyone, it’s official: I loooooove working with film photographers (insert all the heart emojis here).
I know some people think it’s just a silly hipster thing, but it really can make a huge difference in the outcome of your photos—whether it’s family shots, intimate portraits, or an artistic concept.*
Because film is expensive (and so is sending it off to be developed and scanned), film photographers are super attentive to details. As a makeup artist often working with small crews, I’m used to running around and adjusting little details on the models or clients—reminding the ladies to take hair ties off their wrists, straightening watches or necklaces, adjusting twisted shirt sleeves or hemlines, tucking a hair back into place, etc.
Film photographers CATCH all those details, because they know that missing them can mean an entire shoot (along with several rolls of film) has been wasted.
^ (Utah film photographer Heidi Ruh at work with her client)
In my experience, film photographers are also much more deliberate and careful about their shots, because they know they can’t just get trigger happy and hope they catch something good. So they really try to make every shot great and something you would want to take home with you.
I love the thoughts Heidi Ruh, an amazing Utah film photographer and the photographer behind the images in this post, shares about shooting on film:
“Without immediate sight, I’ve developed vision. Because analog cameras don’t have immediate access of the images taken, I must pay attention to how light falls before I compose the photograph. I love that using film encourages me to slow down and that my subjects help me to live in the moment.”
Heidi definitely is a master of light and composition, and I loved working with her. Here are some of the shots we created together at the Salt Flats.
Creative direction and photography by Heidi Ruh, modeling by Kerry Kalu, and makeup by me.
*Disclaimer: there are amazingly talented folks on both the digital and analog side of photography, so I’m not trying to tear down anyone who shoots digital—more just wanting to highlight what a film photographer brings to the table that clients may not have considered before.
Several months ago I put together a spring floral beauty shoot using the Pantone colors of the year. I coordinated this tropical and citrus fruit shoot the same day to try to get something that would work for a summer theme as well.
You can get a sense of the creative process I went through from some of my inspiration pictures and concept ideas out of my mood board below:
I wanted to keep the makeup dewy and fresh for summer, so I kept the skin clean and mostly just tried to play up the makeup colors in subtle ways to complement the colors of the fruit.
Also, it turns out working with fruit presents some of the same challenges as working with live florals—I went to at least 4 different stores the day before looking for fruit that was in season, the right color, and with as little imperfections as possible.
On the bright side, we got to munch on amazing fresh pineapple, watermelon and citrus in between takes ;)
All the delicious fresh fruit
one of the citrus looks
Photographer: Chaz Wheeler
Model: Paris Warner
Earlier this spring I wanted to push myself a bit and try my hand at putting together some spring and summer beauty shoots.
I researched and planned the concepts, created mood boards, went through dozens of models to cast the talent, made face charts, gathered props, and coordinated the logistics of the shoot. You can see some snippets from the mood board below:
Chaz Wheeler was kind enough to collaborate with me on the concepts and he shot and edited all the photos. And Ryan Ashlee Colton was our model for this set.
I tend to gravitate towards beauty editorials with clean, glowing skin and softer makeup, so I wanted to create something along those lines. My goal for these shoots was to create a few different series of photos that looked like they could be published in some sort of commercial, industry, or beauty magazine.
I mentioned this in my Instagram post the other day, but working with flowers and live plants is tough! I know pretty much nothing about flowers, but I had to work around what was in season and available, plus what worked for my budget, plus what fit the color scheme, plus trying to find perfect versions of every flower for close-up beauty shots. I must have gone back and forth to Ensign Floral in Salt Lake City at least four times trying to find the right things.
So my respect for florists definitely shot up after this shoot! I would have loved to work with a florist on this, but all the ones I know in Utah are in the wedding industry and aren’t super interested in adding a beauty shoot to their portfolio. Most of my budget was eaten up just by the flowers themselves, so I didn’t have room left to hire someone to actually plan and and style them for me. Hopefully I’ll get there next season though!