The  gold reflector  creates a beautiful bronzed summer look

The gold reflector creates a beautiful bronzed summer look

My newest photo shoot is with an up and coming model Yared, from Wilhelmina Los Angeles. The goal was to give her and the agency images that would book jobs not yet in her portfolio. Yared had catalog but nothing that was about beauty and fashion. I wanted to create a summer beauty shoot, something that sizzled like the vintage 80's vibe, have her makeup shimmer in the sun, and allow the model to strike bold poses. The 80's were big, so we went with the biggest light source in the world..the sun!

The problem with the summer sun is that it's overhead for far too long and we needed the right fill light to combat its harsh elements. Lets break the shoot down to see the HOW & WHY.


My makeup artist, Cassie Lyons helped create a beautiful look for our model Yared. I told Cassie that since we're going minimal, I'm using the sun. To work with that hard and severe light, we needed to go bold on makeup, which is a tactic I always try to use. Take your negative and make it your positive. I asked makeup and hair make sure that what she does sparkles in the sun. If we're stuck in the hard light, lets make it seem like it's the best light in the world.

I wanted lots of contouring on her cheeks and shoulder area. Finally, I wanted dewy skin. I asked her repeatedly for this, I want the model to look sweaty. I want her to look natural sweaty and not wet like a wet-tshirt-contest. It's a fine line!


In the previous section I mentioned that I asked for contour makeup. The reason for that are bolder features like toning, shading, and obviously contouring body parts. Any contouring we do with makeup is increased 10X by the hard sun.  Contouring makeup does that!  I also knew that I wanted her face to shimmer in the summer sun. If I picked a more matte type of makeup, it wouldn't fit with the hard sun. Bold sun requires bold make up! To further push this agenda, I asked Cassie to keep a spritzer bottle nearby. Because we have the hard sun overhead, I could use it to justify a sweaty body. Now the entire image shines! So we keep the bottle nearby and use a light mist to keep her sweaty look up.

We met at Cassie's home (Makeup/hair) in Long Beach. She has a charming apt where we all met, picked the model's wardrobe, decided on makeup looks & colors, and then I decided that we'd photograph nearby at Sunset Beach in Orange County. While we used the sun to enhance the makeup and toning, I also had the issue of erasing the raccoon eyes created by an overhead sun. Without bringing strobes into this shoot, I decided the best modifier is a reflector that has both a silver and gold side. Gold is a powerful statement in a photograph. If we're going with bold makeup, a dewy face, "sweaty" body, then a golden bronzed light just seems appropriate.  In addition to the reflector (if you see the images) we decided to ask the model to look up. When she looks up at the sun, or raises her chin slightly we reduce those harsh shadows. See the final images below and then keep scrolling to see behind the scenes images, and a list of gear that I used. My crew was myself, my assistant Brandon, Makeup/Hair and model. Because I wasn't using any strobe, I didn't need a big crew and sometimes those are the best shoots.

The equipment was a Canon 7D camera, 24-70 L-Series Canon lens, and 70-200 Canon Lens. Light modifier was a golden bounce and that's it. That's what I mean by keeping it simple and mobile.