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Birds of Paradise

21 Aug 2014 / 1 Comment / in Uncategorized

When everything comes together for a photo shoot, it can be like a beautiful symphony, with each section, from the strings to the horns and percussion, all in beautiful harmony. My most recent editorial shoot is a great example – although, as when writing a symphony, there were definitely road blocks to overcome on the way to the finished product.

I found out that Estela Magazine was publishing a swimsuit fashion issue. I contacted the editors and was able to get a pull letter from the magazine for my fashion stylist, Amy Auslander, so she could contact various fashion showrooms and get the clothing and accessories for the shoot. Sounds simple enough, right? I wanted to do a modern look to the shoot with color and cut outs and negative space. What I didn’t think about was that in mid-July all of the showrooms are already moving on to their fall fashion outfits. In addition, the Miami Swim Show was scheduled for the weekend before I had planned on shooting the story, so whatever wasn’t sent back to the designers was sent down there for the show.

Just a little background on the professional relationship that Amy and I have. We have known each other for quite some time, but we had never worked together. That being said, when I brought all the potential roadblocks to this shoot to Amy’s attention she simply replied, “I’m on it.” I knew from that tone of her voice that I would have nothing to worry about. I don’t know how she did it, who she called, what favors she called in, but DAMN! I could not have been happier with the styling this woman brought to the shoot!

Next was location and finding the rest of the team. The location was crucial especially since I didn’t want to do this shoot in the studio. There was an option for a house out in the Hamptons, I had done some scouting out on Fire Island but nothing was right. Then it dawned on me. My Uncle Billy and Aunt Noreen have a GORGEOUS house out on Long Island – as you can see from the photo below! Billy had said to me for years that if I wanted to shoot out there I could. I have no idea why I didn’t take him up on it sooner! The location has everything and was perfect!


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Here’s where the next speed bump came into play. Billy and Noreen were down in Ft. Lauderdalte and weren’t going to be home for the week of our shoot! Normally I would’ve tried to reschedule but the magazine had a deadline and I was not going to miss it. Thankfully, Billy made arrangements to come back up to NY and open up the house for us. Now that we had a location locked down, it was time to put together the rest of the team.

I reached out to MUA Tanya DeJesus. I’ve worked with her many times before and she nails it every single time. In addition to being so talented, she is hysterical and an absolute blast to have on set. I always try to work in new people when I do a shoot to continue to grow my network, but I keep pulling her back! Yes, she is THAT good!

Next was hair. As I said earlier, I try to keep a big rolodex of talented people and as I was looking through it I came across Kevin Phong. Kevin and I first worked together about 3 or 4 years ago. He had just moved to NYC and was starting to work as a photo shoot hairstylist. He was very new to the game and had a lot to learn, but he was huuuuungry and he had determination unlike anyone I have ever seen to become the best he could be in his craft. I kept tabs on his work over the years and he has become an amazing hairstylist. I figured it was time for us to work together again. After reaching out and discussing the concepts, he was in! All that was left was to find the models.

I reached out to modeling agent and friend, Meghan Williams at Elite Models. Meghan sent me a package with some amazing models to choose from. It was tough to decide but in the end, Azura V and Bianca G were the perfect models for this spread. As you will see below, they did not disappoint. Both are stunning models but each had their own style and manner of posing. The only problem was deciding on the final images since there were so many amazing photos from the shoot.

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We used just about every single possible location at my uncle’s house. Everyone was so amazing and the photos came out fantastic. I have to thank everyone one that worked on the shoot to make it such a success. Also a special thanks to my assistants, Trevor and Caroline, without whom the shoot would have been incredibly difficult to manage especially moving from location to location.

We finished shooting just 4 short days in advance of the deadline and I quickly did all of the post-production work and submitted the story to Estela Magazine. I’m excited and proud to announce that our submission was accepted and published as part of the August 2014 Swim Issue! I hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed putting them together.

Also, here’s a little behind the scenes video that was put together by my assistant  Trevor!

One Response to Birds of Paradise

  1. Tara says:

    NICE! I wonder if Uncle Billy and Aunt Noreen will adopt me? 🙂 Beautiful work! Great job to all involved!


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