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On shooting Natalia: Portraits

Last Friday, I did the biggest shoot I’ve ever done. I worked with a model called Natalia Wiechowski and a makeup artist called Heba El Kaissy Abd and we shot from 12PM till 7PM. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?
Here’s the backstory:
During GPP2015, Natalia was one of the models for the workshops and she was photographed by so many amazing photographers and instructors such as Joel Grimes, Lindsay Adler, and Sara Lando. She was one of the models we had during Sara’s workshop, and I got so excited when I found out. But somehow I ended up in the group that had the other model. So I never got to shoot her. After GPP2015 was over, my friend TJ wanted to do a couple of shoots before flying back home and to my surprise, Natalia was one of the models he asked. He let me tag along and help out a little, but I didn’t take any pictures. I used it as an opportunity to learn a bit about studio lighting. I got to chat with Natalia and I kinda fell in love with her. In a non-creepy way of course. Let me tell you how much of a badass Natalia is: she jumped out of an airplane, she’s a dancer, model, life coach, and she’s working on her phd in Philosophy right now. Are you intimidated yet? I know I was. But soon after I started talking to her I realized how much of a nice person she is. I swear, I could talk to her for hours. She’s quite fascinating.
That was also the day I met Heba, the amazing makeup artist. Heba is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. She’s incredibly talented and can brighten up anyone’s day just by existing. She just has this wonderful positive energy around her. She’s also so supportive and always up for anything! We’ve been bouncing off crazy ideas back and forth and it’s just amazing to be around such a creative mind. TJ met her at GPP2015 as well, she did the makeup for all the models during the workshops. So he asked her to join in on his shoots and that’s how I met her.

So I’ve been in touch with Heba and Natalia since then, and we always said we’d make something happen. It took a while, but we did. And it was INSANE. Because I have so much to write about, I decided I’m going to be posting a series of blog posts, each one about a different shoot. But basically, we started off shooting portraits. Then Heba had to leave, and Natalia and I did a conceptual shoot. Once that was done, we jumped into the pool for an underwater shoot. That was SO much fun!! Then we took a lunch break, and soon after we headed out to a location I often go to for two conceptual shoots.

For the portraits, I wanted to go for a very soft and dreamy look, and also something a bit dark.
This is the mood board I sent to both Natalia and Heba:

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For the portraits shoot, I borrowed some dresses from an amazing designer called Orchid Ganji. Orchid and I went to university together, and I had no idea she was also a fashion designer! She now has her own boutique, and designs some of the most beautiful dresses I’ve seen. I contacted her about a year ago and she told me that she’d happily let me borrow anything, anytime I wanted. How awesome is that?! If you wanna see more of her work, check out her website.

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This was the first time I’ve ever done a portrait shoot. I’ve been watching Sue Bryce’s Glamour Photography workshop on CreativeLive to prepare for it. I was scared and nervous about not doing a great job, and had to remind myself to stop thinking about the fact that I’m photographing someone who’s had their portrait taken by Lindsay Adler. It eventually got easier, Natalia is so easy and fun to work with that we decided not to worry too much and just have fun with it. Here are some of my favorite shots:

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I definitely want to start shooting more portraits! I had so much fun shooting and retouching these and I’m excited to experiment more. I’ve been going through another rut or block or whatever you wanna call it, and I think trying out something new definitely helped get me out of it.
Stay tuned – part 2 is coming soon! ❤

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: On shooting Natalia: Seven Days A Week of Truth and Fantasy | Amani AlShaali

  2. Pingback: A Look Back On 2015 | Amani AlShaali

  3. Pingback: My first underwater shoot: Impressions & lessons learned - Think Natalia

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