KI Comments: Mariah and Savion

When approaching the building of the collection of images I was going to present for one of my classes, I decided I wanted to shoot with couples in urban settings. I began by shooting with Mariah and Savion in Sumner, Washington.

The images were cute and edgy, and I think that their urban vibe fit really well for their personality as a couple, as well as the way that they have grown together and as individuals. When you add factor in their confidence alongside the urban setting and feel of their outfits, you can almost feel the energy from the shoot coming through in the images.

The first place we went in Sumner was a gray brick wall, however it did not compliment their outfits in the way that I preferred. As was the case with the final smooth red brick wall we ended up shooting with for the final set of images from this shoot.

However, we did find that the second wall was perfect for their aesthetic. This wall was classic red brick, but with a rougher texture and a little more brown than most red brick tends to be. We started shooting with the two of them together. Mariah is a photographer, and Savion is always modeling for her, so between the two of them, they are pretty good at posing on their own. I occasionally adjusted them slightly or reminded them to tilt their chins down or directed their facial expressions as far as whether or not they were serious or smiling.

The next thing we did was have Savion pose for his solo shots. He is very serious in front of the camera most of the time and has a real “cool guy” vibe. He was posing as if he is a professional model, which Mariah and I both think he could pull off.

We then had Mariah model in front of the camera for her close-ups. She was very excited and had lots of ideas on poses she wanted to try out. Between her photography experience and my adjustments, we found multiple poses that worked well for her, including my favorite, where she is holding up the hood of her jacket.

This shoot was super fun to do, but the vibe of this shoot didn’t fit in with the images I would continue to shoot for my final collection of images. Due to this, I decided to offer to shoot with them again in downtown Walla Walla, Washington, and style their outfits to fit in with the other displayed in my collection.

I began by styling Mariah. We met up and chose her outfit together. I wanted to stick with the muted tones, so Mariah wore black sneakers, black leggings, a white tube top, and a light gray hooded cardigan. She wore natural makeup and her curly hair was down on her shoulders.

After that, Mariah and I helped style Savion to compliment her outfit. We had him wear light wash jeans, a white short sleeve shirt, light gray sneakers, and a gold chain to compliment his gold watch. This was the perfect balance to compliment Mariah’s outfit, as well as fit in with my final collection of images.

We started by shooting images of them together to warm them up to being in front of the camera. By this time in the process, I had already established that I wanted either shots in front of the off-white wall, or in front of the white garage door. We began shooting in front of the white wall, and they were posed very well with only minor adjustments from me.

After that, I shot some solo images of Savion. I had him lean against a green lamp post, and I thought the images looked pretty good from that. So good, in fact, that I included one of them in my collection.

Following this, I posed Mariah in front of the brick wall as well, before moving on to the garage door. I only really liked the images of Mariah against the garage door. For some reason, the back drop didn’t work as well for these images, and I felt like the brick was a better aesthetic for this shoot.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the images that resulted from this shoot. The way that they look compliments the others in my collection without distracting from it, and also shows the bond that Mariah and Savion have built together over the years, and the confidence they have inside of them. If you want to see the rest of the images from this shoot, visit the Mariah and Savion section under the My Work tab.

KI Comments: Allison and Sienna

Have you ever had a little hiccup with your scheduling for photoshoots? I think it has happened to most of us. When it comes to scheduling shoots and models, it can be a little difficult, especially as a student when shooting working professionals and college students.

As a student, finding people who are willing to model for me during random pockets of time in my schedule can be difficult, especially when living in a place like Walla Walla, where the weather can be very unpredictable.

It is rare that I find a free pocket of time where the weather is right and I can find a model. I am very fortunate to have people in my life that are willing to come shoot with me when needed, and two of those very people are Sienna and Allison.

I have shot with both of them separately multiple times, and this time was no different than those other times, other than the fact that this one was more spontaneous.

Allison

When I asked Allison to model for me, she immediately accepted. We then spent time creating the look I wanted for the shoot.

Due to the fact that this would be an addition to the collection I had already began shooting for a project for class, I wanted to make sure that I created a look that was simple and more muted in tone. We ended up going with black leggings, a white tube top, and a light wash denim jacket. This outfit was paired with minimal makeup, all white sneakers, and a messy bun.

When we got downtown for the shoot, I started off with the standard brick walls. While I was excited for this, and I thought it looked really nice, I didn’t think it would work in the long term with the photographs that I had already shot for my project.

After that, we moved to the place I almost always shoot when I have photoshoots downtown, the off-white brick wall. I thought that by shooting at that wall, it would provide some consistency in the shots, especially since the shoot I did with Liza and Kurt also used that wall, and that was the shot I was going to use for my collection, the same one that would feature these images of Allison.

After that, I spotted a pure white garage door a little farther down the block. Well, pure white is relative, considering the fact that it was covered in grime. Nevertheless, the tone of the white was a pure tone, not an off-white, and I thought that this would make Allison stand out more, and I also thought it fit with her outfit nicely.

We made our way to the garage door, and it created a beautiful backdrop for Allison. Her light wash denim jacket really stood out against the white of the door.  However, this garage dcoor had three black windows and dozens of lines on it, making it a difficult backdrop to keep straight in order to create a more geometric and balanced image.

Overall, Allison did very well, and I think the images turned out very nicely. I even created a TikTok video to show off some of the images.

Sienna

Sienna showed up later, and we had almost lost all of the light. She was working but managed to show up just before the sun had set. Due to this, we didn’t have a lot of time before completely running out of light, making the pressure even higher to get the perfect shot.

Her outfit was composed of a white short sleeve shirt layered over a black long sleeve turtleneck. She also sported a bandana, light wash mom jeans, black high top converse, and a black belt.

We started in the same locations that I had began shooting with Allison, but faster paced. At this point, I basically knew I wanted to stick with fairly light backdrops, so I did not shoot that many images on the traditional red brick, but the ones I did shoot did turn out pretty cute.

Once we moved on to the off-white brick, the light was almost at twilight, which meant my ISO was high, and we had to work fast. Due to this, the poses were less organized by me, which meant Sienna had to freestyle her poses. I adjusted as needed.

Her outfit fit better with the white brick than the white garage door, so we didn’t shoot against the garage door. Plus, we were losing light fast, and wouldn’t have time to add another background.

Overall, I am thankful for these two beautiful women that were willing to model for me on short notice, and I am looking forward to working with them again in the future.

KI Comments: Liza and Kurt

What do you do when you shoot with a couple that has been together for nearly a year? For me, I lucked out with this couple. Liza and Kurt were close to celebrating their anniversary, and I reached out to do a photoshoot with them.

I know that most people probably would be more specific about what they would want their models to wear, but with Liza and Kurt, I never worry about it too much, as I have shot with them before and I knew they would be able to successfully pick outfits that fit in well with the location I had chosen, downtown Walla Walla.

When I met up with them on a Monday morning downtown, they were dressed in a more business-casual look with high neck shirts and muted black, white, and gray tones. This made choosing the more specific backdrops for the shoot way easier since I knew that I could pick walls that varied in tone, as well as experiment with color if I chose to do so.

This shoot was part of my final project for my advanced photography class at Walla Walla University, of which we shot a subject that we had chosen. I had previously shot another couple as well thinking I could match this downtown urban location with another urban location on the west side of Washington state.

However, once I saw how different the shoots ended up being, I decided to keep the top image from this shoot for the final product, and reshoot with the previous couple again in downtown Walla Walla to better match the aesthetics and vibe of this shoot.

This shoot was very technically challenging for me, and I honestly started off being pretty discouraged with the images I was getting. The lighting was an odd mix of soft and harsh, creating weird shadows on the faces of my subjects. While I had an assistant on the shoot who came to help hold my reflector, the reflector seemed to be ineffective in the mixed lighting.

Due to this, we had a difficult time shooting at first. We traveled to various different walls downtown which dressed up or down the outfits based on the backdrop. Then we eventually traveled to a slight off-white brick wall, which has been featured in many of my other shoots and creates a beautiful plain backdrop with no distracting elements.

When we started shooting, I just let them pose naturally, but as thing progressed, I began to position them more intentionally. This created this pose here, which still feels natural while being structured.

One of the poses I did was have Liza stand in front of Kurt, kind of staggered. Since Liza is much shorter than Kurt, his head was not blocked by hers, and it created a more interesting stance between the two of them. Kurt put his arm around. Liza, she turned out to face me, and hugged his arm.

Another stance I had them try was standing side-by-side and then angling their bodies in toward each other. This angling worked well due to the almost triangle formation they. Made with their bodies, and it showed their closeness while still being able to view them as whole and not a squished package.

While I was shooting photographs of Liza and Kurt, my friend who came to assist me with the reflector, Naomi, shot a video of me, where I was in the middle of the road trying to get that perfect shot.

This is not an uncommon thing for me to do, as my favorite lens to shoot with is a 50mm. This makes cropping challenging, but it makes for gorgeous photographs, as well as a bit of a challenge in the shoot, which I actually enjoy quite a lot.

Once I edited the images, I reminisced over my favorite shoots with Liza and Kurt. In honor of their anniversary, I decided to make a TikTok video to post highlighting some of my favorite shots of the two of them. It took a while to make, but I loved the end result.

I have been so lucky to have returning clients that are willing to let me capture so many special moments between them. I love that I have been able to capture their love as it grows throughout their time together, as well as how they have grown and changed as individuals.

If you would like to see more from my shoots with Liza and Kurt, visit the My Work page and click on the tab with their names on it.

KI Comments: My Top 3 Shoots of 2019

We all have those shoots that just stand out above the rest as far as how many images you just love from those shoots. I happen to have many of those, however picking my top 3, especially in just 2019, is a struggle for me.

I wanted to share this post with you due to the amazing amount of people I have been blessed to shoot with over 2019. I shot events, groups, couples, solo portraits, and so much more.

My favorite shoots of 2019 have to be, in no particular order, Liza and Kurt (Walla Walla); Jenn, Alyssa, Hope, and Lexi; and Brielle and Daniel. (I know I have two couples on here, but I just LOVE love.)

In this post, I am going to break down those shoots and tell you what made them so special.

3. Brielle and Daniel

Brielle and Daniel were my very first engagement session! I was so excited to shoot with them. They were both very kind and very much in love.  

I met up with Brielle and Daniel originally at a local coffee shop in downtown Walla Walla one afternoon where we planned on beginning our shoot together. Unfortunately, the place was so packed that we were unable to shoot there, but lucky for us, there was a Starbucks around the corner.

Brielle, Daniel, and I all walked to the Starbucks where we found a great little table for two next to some beautiful windows. They were all smiles, and Brielle even brought along some beautiful yellow flowers to use as a prop.

The looks of love between the two of them were so precious and fun to capture. They purchased a drink to use as another prop (and enjoy as a refreshment), which really added to the shoot as well.

Of course, the prop that definitely won the shoot was the gorgeous engagement ring that Daniel had given to Brielle. It fit her style very well, and was super elegant and dainty while still maintaining a modern charm.

The classy clothes and yellow pop from the flowers were so gorgeous, but something about their love just felt so genuine that it really just exploded out of the frame when put in black and white. It was almost like the connection between their two hearts was made for the old and romantic black and white films.

2. Jenn, Alyssa, Hope, and Lexi

When Lexi contacted me saying that she wanted to do a photoshoot with her group of college friends, I jumped at the opportunity. These gorgeous ladies were so fun and vibrant to shoot with. All of them are education majors who have shared many of the same classes over the last few years.

At the time, Alyssa was about to go to Zimbabwe to teach as a student missionary the following academic year and Hope was about to do her student teaching, meaning next year would be her last year. By the time Alyssa returned, Hope would have graduated and moved away to join the workforce.

They wanted to capture how close they were in that very moment and how close the four of them had become. I was more than honored to do this for them.

They all coordinated their outfits to wear white and light wash denim, and all got ready together doing their makeup. It was super fun to see them bond and make each other laugh. I think one of my favorite parts was hearing whoever was sitting on the sidelines at the moment cheering the people in front of the camera on.

1. Liza and Kurt (Walla Walla)

I had the privilege of doing two shoots with Liza and Kurt in 2019, which is why I specified that I was speaking about the one in Walla Walla. 

This shoot was the very first one I was able to shoot with them, and I was so excited. Earlier that day, I had two other photoshoots, and this was going to be the last one for the day.

We shot close to golden hour at Bennington Lake, and it was stunning. They planned out their outfits very intentionally, and they looked super classy for an evening shoot in nature. They matched their shoes and made sure the color of their clothing complimented each other’s outfits.

I think what I loved most about this shoot is how I was able to see their personality as a couple shine through. They were happy and playful, which made for some super fun shots. We have some of them dancing, smiling at each other, and one of Kurt giving Liza a piggyback ride.

Overall, 2019 was a great year for me and Kirsten Images. I can’t wait to see what 2020 has to offer.

If you would like to see more from my shoots with Liza and Kurt, Brielle and Daniel, or Jenn, Alyssa, Hope, and Lexi, be sure to check out the galleries under the My Work tab.