What do you do when you’re stuck on an island resort full of Americans? You rent a buggy and explore the island with a big appetite and your camera gear. Olivia and I found great secluded spots to just run around and take photos. I had my wedding gear, Canon 5D Mark III and an assortment of lens from 16-35mm to 70-200mm, and the nifty 50 with ND filters. I strapped my camera bag to the back trunk of the scooter and crossed my fingers that it didn’t fly off. All photos processed through Lightroom 5.
Kyla Gray gives us a glimpse of what it’s like on a night out of town if she were your girlfriend. I meet up with Kyla Gray and Mack Kuhr in their suite at the Oyster Point hotel in Red Bank, NJ. With the assistance and direction from another amazing photographer Olya, and my Fiilex K311 LED lighting kit, we mix up casual and sexy in the same scene. I think more couples should take sexy photos like this they can hang in their rooms, and also have a little fun in the bedroom in front of a professional photographer with memories to take home.
Yes, I thought I was directing Keanu Reeves with Kyla the whole time.
Day two of our shoot in Puerto Rico with Joli Robinson, we trek into the rain forest to find a waterfall. Quantum battery in my back pocket attached to my Speedlite, legs into the water up to my knees, I prayed that I didn’t trip into the water and shock myself. It was absolutely worth it watching the water soak through the white shirt. After surviving the hike, we made it across the entire island to one of the most amazing hotels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying in, the Horned Dorset Primavera.
I even traveled with both my Alien Bees, which I had setup in the suite. The evening shoots were lit with the modeling lamps, which I usually prefer over a strong flash. When I book a hotel, I will make the most of it, from shooting in the evening for dark intimate lighting, to using the beautiful morning light. Our last shoot ended in the infinity pool, making sure it was in the shade for a beautiful surreal look.
I was always inspired by Sports Illustrated style of modeling photography. There is something simple and clean about their work with models in exotic or beach locations. The model really shows her personality, her chemistry with the photographer, and the lighting just always looked natural. With my opportunity to work with such a talented and beautiful model, Joli Robinson, how could I not take the chance to travel to an exotic location to get the best photos I can, inspired by SI? While Puerto Rico isn’t exactly exotic, the beach and seclusion was just as good as the next island.
You may be wondering what equipment is best to bring to an island model shoot. Telephotos are always the top choice, as it creates the best bokeh effects and the least distortion for the model. The king of all lens for outdoor is still the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS. I’ve had this lens for nearly a decade and it’s still one of the sharpest lens I have. The Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L is good if you have to be closer and want some purposefully wide shots of the model and landscape. If you want extremely shallow depth of field, then go with fast prime lens with ND filters, I have a few NDX8 filters. A handheld wireless flash is useful to for fill flash in dark places, and a light duty light stand if you don’t have an assistant.
I hope these photos inspire you to go out on an adventure and shoot! What publication inspires you?
Maria and I worked together once, years ago, and we recently reconnected to start shooting together again. If you want to enjoy one of the most modern, beautiful, and sexy hotels in Manhattan, The Standard Hotel suite is the place to be. Floor to ceiling windows facing the west allows for amazing natural light all the way through sunset. Maria looked stunning in her lingerie with her full figured body, sexy mixed Asian features, and gorgeous hair. This first set is entirely natural light, thanks to three of the walls being entirely windows facing the public.
I met Hana on my first trip to Tampa. She was able to get outfits that were custom made and designed by Schantel Peterson. It was fun to shoot on the bay with calm waters right off the Gandy Bridge.
After finishing a previous shoot, I rush to Original Tommy’s for a quick burger and fries before meeting Michelle at my next Airbnb location to shoot. One great thing about the West coast is you can shoot outdoors all year round. I used all ambient and natural light from indoors to the back yard. Michelle is a great model with professional makeup skills and can easily be sensual and seductive in front of the lens.
She wakes up early in the morning, gets her hair curled, lashes on, pretty pink lipstick, a little blush, and some sparkling pearls. Instead of putting on the wedding dress, she puts on a white corset, white panties, and a garter that any guy would want to catch. It’s a bridal lingerie that is a very sexy compliment to the dress. When it all comes off, she teases with a darker seductive set. I try to express the pretty, sensual, and playful sides of every woman with the range of outfits which help bring out all sides of their personality.
Amy Fay indulges and teases us with denim shorts which she soon wiggles out of. I love shooting at the Rivington hotel with its neutral walls and foam king bed which allows the model to stay in sight without sinking in.
Regina is a cutie from Los Angeles that met up with me at a beautiful home in Hollywood Hills. She didn’t need to wear much on this private property, just some long hair and panties were enough. All natural light, playing with the sun and shade.
Andrea is one of the most beautiful non-models I shoot with, her sharp features, incredibly toned but sexy body and curves would put most other model wannabe’s to shame. She makes all lingerie look hot, which is why I took the liberty to play with her with some of every photographer’s guilty pleasure: body paint and lingerie costumes! Who says you can’t be cheesy and have fun, just make it look good. The amazing makeup was done by my wonderful friend Jennifer Kang.
I visited Cassie at her summer house to enjoy the sunlight coming through her windows. You can get different moods from the same light source just depending on your settings. I started with a dark shadow look which transformed into a high key scene. For the rest of the shoot Cassie didn’t even need to wear anything. That’s how I like my shoots.
Pei Pei is an incredible model that is totally unique in my books. Her cute smile and eyes matches her playful personality, contrasted with a voluptuous body, a great combination. She is a Taiwanese native who has become a successful actress here in the states, an even sexier feature! Pei Pei and I started on the rooftop for some cute casual shots, but she can’t stay still and is one of the most playful models I know. Going into her bedroom was even more fun as she decided to show off her Necomimi cat ears and doing things cats do.
Elyse gets comfortable in bed and eventually the bath tub for some suds at the Dupont Circle hotel in our nation’s capital, Washington DC.
Kyla Gray plays with a lot of shadows this time to tease the camera. We start from two lights down to one in front of a charcoal gray background.
Veronica has the most amazing chemistry with the camera even since the first time we shot together. You can see her eyes and body language how much fun she has teasing the camera. We had a quick session at the Monaco Hotel in Washington DC, playing with different light modifiers on my AlienBees like umbrellas, grids, and bare bulbs. It’s fun to experiment with the PocketWizard remote power controllers made specifically for the AB.
The following statements are purely my personal opinions based on my own experiences. If you don’t agree, the close button is on the top right.
Showing off only the final retouched-blemish-free-fat-free-glamorous images of women makes a photographer’s job seem like all fun and games, but viewers don’t realize the amount of planning, money, time, stress, aggravation, post processing and work that is required to make it all look seamless and natural. Through all of my amazing shoots, there are always a few that just make me want to throw in the towel. You wanna know what grinds my gears?
I met Jackie during my trip to Los Angeles, as my host for an AirBnB. I couldn’t resist asking if she’d be interested in modeling for me, which she kindly agreed to the next morning. Her property was beautiful and we had fun just throwing out ideas with her collection of outfits. It’s incredibly fun when both the model and photographer want sexy shots both would be proud to show off.
If you’re ever interested in trying pole classes or just want a private photo session with a pole, check out Body and Pole in Manhattan. I love having a private room with an experienced dancer ready to show me all her moves.
I met up with the super cute Joliesa in Los Cabos, Mexico for some fun shoots under the hot desert sun, and under a cool moon lit beach. Shooting on-location during a weekday low season is the best time to avoid any tourists, and renting a car allows you to have the beach all to yourself. All but one of the photos were 100% natural light, as I usually hate light modifiers. I want you to feel like you’re there, not on set of a studio.