Photographing My Muse and Favorite Model in Black and White


Why is Sylvia my muse? It is probably best to ask my pictures not me but one thing is for sure I could not ask for a more enthusiastic model. Or one with more incredible lips, deadlier eyes, depth and drama to her look and her personality.

Also because she trusts me, even if the setup or concept does not seem very promising she always have faith in me and the final pictures. We both know that not all ideas turn into gems but it is great to have the chemistry and support of the model from start to finish.

Black and White Portrait Photographed on the Lawn

asian model head in grass

Our first two photo shoot locations were the Pali rain forest and a lava rock beach nearby Hanauma bay. This third shoot took place in a residential house. It is both exciting and uncertain to shoot at any never seen location but especially indoors. Will there be enough space, enough light, enough character so the photos have some story?

Model Photography Concept with Stone Fish

chinese model stone fish statue

While the fantastic make-up artist BERTA was getting Sylvia ready I did location scouting inside and outside the house. I was looking for props, enough or interesting light, textures, angles, backgrounds with or without character depending on their intended uses. A nice variety and quite different images were taken considering we shot on a single location. As always we both enjoyed the shoot and the resulting pictures.

Casual Model Photography with Tube Dress on Porch

black and white asian fashion model tube dress

I have been trying to analyze how my most favorite photos were created. One dose of Sylvia for good measure is always a smart move! I do write ideas down in a notebook but due to my short attention span most of the time I forget about them and I hardly actually use them on shoots. But I believe they are in my subconscious not completely out of reach.

I improvise a lot and keep my eyes open for details that inspire me. In the past I have been trying to turn this process around to pursue a more organized work flow but it seems that it is better to let things flow naturally.

Edgy Black and White Portrait Photography Concept

black and white dramatic chinese model portrait

So to analyze further it seems like my most favorite photos came from unplanned unorganized chaos. This method or lack of method comes with its own rhythm and pace which can be constantly changing and confusing for the model or even myself.

Very controlling or “set in their ways” models will find that I may be all over the place or from time to time have no clue what will happen next or what I want from them.

Back-lit Black and White Portrait in a Bright Bathroom

black and white soft focus asian model candid moment

I try to express before every shoot that I have minimalistic expectations from the model besides her being herself. Everything else is a bonus because the last thing I want is uncomfortable or fake modeling. Nothing is a mistake and there are no useless photos. It is a process, a journey toward something unique not a series of carefully planned perfect moments and actions.

Intimate Black and White Portrait Photography

black and white chinese american model casual portrait

There are so many variables for successful modeling or fashion photography that at least a great deal of knowledge, experience, professionalism, patience and talent is required just to achieve at least mediocre results.

Fashion photography is just a small fraction of all of photography. Since I have been struggling with finding my muses maybe a different approach or a variety of approaches are required.

Beautiful Black and White Portrait with Shadow Overlay

shadows over gorgeous chinese model face

Keeping an open mind and open eyes is key. Lately I have been fantasizing about abandoning modeling and fashion photography. Because I like this genre so much it may not happen completely but I am keeping my eyes open to explore new ideas and areas.

Share and Enjoy