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February 27, 2011
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One of best, but painful, parts about watching American Idol is getting through the first several episodes. You know, the ones featuring the casting auditions around the country. The show’s ratings thrive on highlighting the not-so-great singers and their sour notes. But the sad thing is a lot of these people *think* they are really, really good.

I may not be American Idol status, but having gone to school for and trained in voice and classical music and having been a singer nearly all of my life, I can honestly say that I can carry a tune much easier than some people. I’ve tried singing off-key on purpose just for fun…and it didn’t work. Call it near perfect pitch or the result of having been trained all my life…it is hard for me to suck. :)

Well, the other day, I tried my hardest to suck. And I think I was successful.

Suck is an exaggeration. But I did try my hardest to make pictures look less than pretty. For a guy that shoots mostly polished fashion and glamour images, it’s hard sometimes to get that gritty, realistic, grungy look in photos. I appreciate photographers that have a polished gritty look when it comes to shots that are dirty, in a good way. :)

My buddy, Monica Renee approached me last week saying a UK-based magazine was in need of some images of her…so we set out to do some shots for them. We looked at their website and put together a shoot that would suit their style, which is more of a real, natural, and unpolished look.

In preparation for the shoot, we thought simple wardrobe was best…vintage tees, booty shorts, knee socks. We got some simple props for the shoot like some 45s and decided to shoot at my house with some crappy hand-me-down couches that I got from a friend of mine. I live with two other guys…so needless to say, our apartment is pretty crappy. :)

My thought process was also pretty simple; I was going to use one light to get the job done. Most of the shots on the magazine’s web site featured what I like to call “the boyfriend shot.” You know…shots that look like a guy with no photographic experience grabbed a camera and started taking pictures of his girlfriend…trading expensive lighting equipment for simple, on-camera flash and trading the studio for cheap furtniture in small living room.

I played with a couple different variations: first, on-camera flash. Then a speedlight on camera. I also tried a beauty dish right above my head. I ended up settling on the ringflash since the position of the flash was straight on and harsher than any of the other methods. All the others, including the on-camera flash, looked too “pretty” and professional. The ringflash looked pretty too, but I think it gave me the edginess that I was looking for.

In post, the editing was simple too…basic, but minimal skin retouching, and a few filters to add a little warmth, desaturation, and tinting for a vintage look

And here are the shots. Enjoy. :)

Also, check out Monica’s Facebook fan page when you get the chance. :)