Shortly after moving to Denver earlier this spring, I got on a plane and flew back to the East coast. But instead of going to Maryland, I landed in New York City. I was attending a Fashion Photography workshop run by the incredible photographer, Lara Jade. I signed up for the workshop on an absolute whim several weeks prior. Like many photographers, I gain much of my education from an incredible online photography resource called Creative Live. I had seen Lara Jade on Creative Live a couple of times, and was in awe of the success she'd enjoyed at such a young age. Starting her business at 17, she's truly made her mark in the fashion industry and when the opportunity came to study with her, I jumped at the chance. And by jumped, I do mean that I swiftly paid the deposit before I could talk myself out of it.
Hey there, NYC!
The first of two days started off great! I'm lying. It was terrifying and intimidating. Obviously. My social anxiety was out the roof, to be surrounded by so many talented photographers from all over the country. And seeing the gorgeous Lara Jade within several feet of me almost made me faint. But as the morning went on, I relaxed (thank Panera Bread). Lara shared with us her story and journey to becoming the photographer she is today. She showed her old work, inspiring us to never stop evolving or learning. And as we returned from our lunch break, the time arrived to work on our shooting skills.
Behind the scenes at the Lara Jade Workshop in NYC!
Side note: I do not understand why they couldn't have come up with a different, less violent word for taking a beautiful photograph. But I digress.
There were two models there that day, as well as a team to do the makeup, hair and wardrobe. It was exhilarating! Lara showed us her favorite lighting setups, as well as told us where to purchase the backdrops she uses. She had coached us on posing and composition earlier that morning, but nothing prepared me for the moment of truth when it was my turn to go. With everyone watching, I did my best to not drop the camera from my shaking hands and pretended to know what I was doing.
Luckily, I pulled it off. It was so absolutely fantastic working with the two models, and with one of my idols standing over my shoulder!
The second day was primarily focused on retouching. I found it incredibly informative and helpful, not to mention soothing. The process of high-end retouching is a lengthy one, and yet somehow the sound of everyone's Wacom pens on their retouching tablets put me in a near meditative state. Lara also reviewed everyone's portfolio up on the projection screen. It was both amazing and humbling to hear her critique my work!
We retouched ONE image for what seemed like several hours and before I knew it, the workshop had ended just like that! I said goodbye to my new photographer friends and waited for them to trickle out before saying thank you to Lara. Fangirling, I asked her to sign my copy of her book (DORK), and asked for a selfie or ten. We took several, making our best model faces.
So do I want to be a fashion photographer? Ha! No. That is not why I went to the workshop.
I went to the workshop to educate myself on the way fashion photographers shoot and retouch, as I've wanted for a long time to offer this kind of experience to everyday people who are not professionally trained models. After tons of preparation, I'm excited to say that it's almost available to my clients!!! This very week I am meeting with a Denver makeup artist/hairstylist whom I've admired greatly for quite some time. Just like the professional models in NYC, my Portraiture clients will receive an incredible makeover from an experienced hair and makeup artist. And every image will be retouched by me, using the high end techniques I added to my repertoire after leaving New York!
Stay tuned for the exciting launch of this new service from Mark Ross Photography! I can barely wait!!!!