Sierra Skye Winter Sun Photo Shoot
Sierra Skye Shoot in the Winter Sun (Natural Light)
I photographed Sierra Skye in January and it was originally for an app, her own personal app and I was to create an exclusive photo shoot for her. Since then, her app deal is no longer and the images no longer had a home.
In this post I will talk about 2 main concepts, and I will tell you why I sat on this photo shoot for over 8 months before releasing them on my own. Who gets one of the biggest swimsuit models in the world and then does not release the images?
That’s why this post talks about the winter sun, model boundaries, and photographing with intention. In the #MeToo era, I did not want to release anything until I felt right about it. Anyhow, lets talk about the winter sun and why I think it’s the best of the year to photograph outside!
Why is Shooting in the Winter Sun Better?
If you live near a big city, you understand that the summer sun is hideous with the polluted skies, super orange glow in the late afternoon, and of course the overhead light which causes the gnarliest shadows on the person. You’re also sweating like a pig, it’s so bright the model is squinting and overall a miserable experience.
In the summers I try to photograph inside. However, in the winter I go outside like this Sierra Skye photo shoot. The winter sun is naturally at a lower angle, which means you automatically avoid the awful raccoon eyes shadows that plague many outside shoots. In addition to avoiding bad shadows on the face, it’s also coming in at an angle that looks similar to a beauty dish or parabolic umbrella. That’s the angle that many fashion lights are.
When you see the shadow under the chin/jawline, you’ll see how it gives a nice jawline. For older populations, this hides the wrinkles on the next and it lights the face beautiful to avoid many shadows that show the wrinkles.
I also find that the winter light is a cleaner light, maybe it’s the weather or the amount of smog present? I don’t know, but I do know that I prefer that light over the summer any day! I find that the winter sun also has more of a punchy light and contrast to it.
Understanding Model Boundaries
Gentlemen (and ladies too), we’re in 2018/2019 and the world is different. Being the midst of the #Metoo era, it’s vital that we respect everyone at all times. Yes, Sierra photographs in some very bare swimsuits. She’s confident in herself, her body, but that does not mean that a model who shows skin should be treated any less.
This is obvious right? I thought so, but I have seen many photographers not treat everyone with respect. We cannot allow anyone under our watch to feel disrespected, ever! That’s why you’ll see/hear me ask permission to enter Sierra’s closet. Even though she told me to look in there, I still ask permission to enter her personal space.
I also asked permission to go through the bikini pieces that she poured all over the ground. For lack of a better term, those are intimates and used to cover very private places. Whenever you go through a model’s personal garments, always ask for permission.
It’s obvious, right? You’d be surprised and that’s why I take a minute to mention it.
Shooting with Intention
Every time you pick up a camera, have your intentions set. Do you want to help the viewer explore a fantasy? Do you want to see music or a product? Are you trying to demonize the subject or raise them to a higher light? When you know your intentions, you have direction. If you don’t have an intention, you don’t have direction.
For Sierra, this would be my first time photographing a swimsuit model. I’m used to Sports Illustrated models, and they’re usually posed a particular way. As of late, we have another trend of swimsuit/sexy models who pose entirely different. Since we’re all adults here, lets talk about it honestly and with transparency.
I’m tired of girls squatting on top of a car, bikini and high heals. I’m tired of the rape culture that lets the female lay on the ground, almost like a victim. Strong words but that’s how I feel. I’m not interested in helping that type of abuse grow. It doesn’t empower the women in our lives and I want to be different.
I’m not judging the photographers that do this, but you won’t find those images in my book. If I photograph a girl wearing very little, I want to make sure that she NEVER EVER looks like the victim of a man’s decision. It’s a fine line… and you can make your own decision.
When you see the Sierra images, you might call me a hypocrite. I however photographed her with intention. I’m going to discuss each photograph below. Maybe my intentions don’t make sense to you or anyone else. However, those are my intentions and that’s how I shot her. She’s no ones victim and I find that in the field of photography we tend to put women in compromising positions. So many times poses are hinting at the woman having no control and the man/viewer is standing above her.
That’s not a message I want across my work. Look at my notes on each photograph. Maybe I achieved what I wanted? Maybe I failed big time? For that reason I never released these images until now. I feel confident that she came across as how I intended. I’m not against sex or sexy images. I’m against women forced to pose in compromising positions for the entertainment of men, and no plot line. You won’t see that in my work!
We’re in a sensitive time in culture, and in no way want my intentions mistaken as anything but positive.
WHY DID I HAVE SIERRA SKYE POSE THE WAY THAT I DID? SEE BELOW…
I found it important she blocks part of the view with her leg and that she’s taller and stands over the viewer. She’s in control and no ones victim. She towers over the viewer, strong and confident.
Again, her swimsuit is sexy enough. She looks in control, not anyones victim and staring right at the viewer. She doesn't look helpless. She’s in control.
Yes, her behind is high-up, but the focus and in-focus of the photograph is her face. She’s presenting herself with her arms, face and then behind. She looks confident and not looking for anyone’s approval. She’s also at the viewer’s eye line, and meeting them face to face…she’s not looking up at them as she lays on the ground.
That’s a behind view for sure, but I wanted to present her from the side. You don’t get the full behind. You don’t get the full view of the breasts. You do though, get full view of her face and she’s in control and not anyone’s victim. Also since she’s revealing a bit more in this photo she is taller than the viewer to symbolize that ultimately she is in control. Admire her beauty but she’ll tell you when it’s enough.
THIS is the type of pose, I’m talking about. They so often put women in this position, where it looks like arms are tied and they’re laying very vulnerable. For that reason, I had Sierra completely turn her legs to the side and give ZERO ACCESS.
If you want to see another photo shoot about natural light, and a late-year sunlight I would also suggest ALL SUN & NO BOUNCE with a male model.
You can also see me working with Yared, another model with natural sunlight. Beauty photo shoot.
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