Photoshoot: Leeah

Leeah has an amazing story. Last year on her way home from a friend’s house she was hit by a motorcycle that left her in a coma for weeks. Her family wasn’t sure she was going to make it however they prayed and asked God for a miracle.


Fast forward a year, she is out of her coma and is re-learn everything from walking to talking. Every week it seems as though she is getting better and better. Since her recovery, we’ve become great friends on instagram. I asked her if she would like to do a photoshoot with me. I wanted to capture her beauty that she often hides. She isn’t one to enjoy the center of attention but I knew my camera could help capture her unique style and display how pretty she is. It’s interesting to see that even being in a coma a part of her mind remembered her style and personality.

With every shot, the camera was pulling out a small part of who she is. At times I was directing her to pose but its when I left her alone did I finally find the mood I was looking for.

Before every shoot I usually have some idea of what I am going to capture. I thought I would try to get the girly side of Leeah,  I brought some make up and hoped maybe she would let me put some on her, but as I moved passed my ideas and just captured what was true I saw that who she is was more interesting than what I had plan. What good is a portrait if it doesn’t portray your subject.

We went to Kats Alley Record shop to take our final shots. I knew Leeah would feel right at home in this place. We walked around the shop together, laughing and talking about music.

By the end of the photoshoot Leeah had turned the tables and started taking photos of me. Photography allows us to connect with people, thats why its so enjoyable.

Photoshoot: Me

My older sister put the idea in my head, “Monica, you should do a photoshoot of yourself before you get old.”

In the house of every old woman is a photo of her when she was young. Her beauty displays the time she lived in and the person she once was. I wanted a photo of myself for this very reason. I want my children and grandchildren to know who I am. I want them to look at my picture and wonder about the young woman I once was.

The hard part was figuring out what style I wanted to do. I enjoy things that are vintage but felt it wouldn’t display who I am now.

I then saw the perfect dress with a pattern that reminded me of my culture. I then remembered Joshua Tree. How beauty and peace it was. It was all coming together. The theme would be, “nature, spirit, and earth.”

The interesting thing was that this photoshoot comforted me with the questions, “How much do you value yourself Monica?” From the choice of lens, to getting my make up done by Dez, to the awesome location of Joshua Tree. I even felt embarrassed to ask my photographer friends for help. I finally asked Michael who I have known for years. I told him how I felt vain, he then answered, “Its not vain, its art.”

Though I kept directing Michael and even called him my human tripod, he ended up taking some of my favorite photos when I let him do his thing.

Thank you to the two Ayala brothers that helped me. The conversation during the long drive was delightful.

Some extras we took cause we’re having so much fun:

Everyone should have a photo shoot of them selves.

Not sure which photo of these I will display in my house when I’m 60 years old until then I will enjoy my youth.

Monica Briano, video editor. photographer. dreamer

What is Beautiful

I don’t think we realize or appreciate the real beauty behind us all. We live life so fast, we don’t take the time to notice how complex and unique we all are.  We believe what is beautiful is what we see in advertisement or films, but what we all fail to do is ask the right questions about each other. What is beautiful to me is life. Through heartache or pain, celebration or victory, every event in our lives makes us who we are. It’s up to us if we let what happens in life destroy us or make us stronger.

I created these shots to suppose each thought in the poem. Enjoy.

 

Photography Portfolio

When I started taking photos it was mainly of cities, strangers and things. I wasn’t sure what kind of photographer I wanted to be but I knew I enjoyed fashion and capturing real emotions.

When I bought my HD HSLR I began to ask friends if I could use them as models for practice. I was soon asked to do portraits. When putting all of my work together I found there were some common factors. You can see what I think is beautiful: innocents, real emotions, youth, and being unique.

I’ve learnt that being a good photography is about growing and honesty. Strive to understand your camera equipment, your subject and your own heart.

Here is my 2011 Photography Portfolio

Jacob, The Listener

Months before my sister got pregnant with her second son I had a dream of him. I was carrying him on my back like the Native American women and taking care of him. In the dream I remembered thinking, “He is different, he is deep.” I woke up excited for this baby boy to exist. She soon announced she was pregnant and gave birth to him earlier this year.

Today I was spending time with Jacob and discovered he is a great listener. My dream was right, he was different. He is five months and I can already tell. We went outside to enjoy the fresh air and I found myself talking to him about all sorts of things. I told him about Central Park in New York, the streets of Sydney and how I loved it there but missed the family. I held on to his little hand and told him about the season change and the joy of Summer. I later wondered how he was able to get me talking like this. When his older brother, David was a baby, I never knew what to talk about. David would just look at me and make me feel so dumb. haha.

Jacob smiles every time I kiss him and even laughs at my jokes. He also doesn’t mind watching me edit on my computer. Call me crazy, but Jacob is one of the coolest people I know. I am thankful to be a part of his life.

Photo Shoot: Annie

Some friends and I got together to do a fashion shoot. I totally enjoy working with others and having them do what they do best. My friend Desiree Carrillo did the make up, Veronica A. Hernandez was the hairstylist, wardrobe Bianca Jimenez and I did the photography. Together we made our model, Annie look stunning.

Here are some of my favorite. You can see more on flickr by clicking one of the photos. I totally love the verity of looks Annie had. It gave me room to try out different styles.

And the end Annie came out stunning.

A New Style with Julia & Erica

The past few days I’ve been watching CreativeLive with professional photographer, Bambi. This woman is amazing at posing people and lighting her subjects. I was so excited with all advice she had given during the three day on-line course that I set up two photo shoots. You can buy Bambi’s course online at Creativelive.com.

I asked Julia to be my first model. As I began to direct her and pose her, I was astonished at the photos I was capturing. I kept looking at my shots asking myself, “Did I takes these?” It was amazing the dramatic difference in my confidences and language in directing a model. I finally knew what to do and how to say it!

The second photo shoot I kinda tricked in to happening. I was filming Erica sing a song for a special project her and I are working on and after the filming, I told her I was going to snap a few photos. She began to tell me she was horrible at taking pictures. I first tried to pose her but soon noticed she wasn’t feeling comfortable, so as Bambi would suggest, I took photos of the subject in an environment they were familiar with. I asked her to play her guitar and it was then that I was able to get some really nice shots of Erica.

From these series of photos you wouldn’t be able to guess that this week has been a very hard week for me. I guess this just shows the power of God’s joy in my life. He renewed my dream and therefore my heart can smile.

Personality Portraits

I use the city of Los Angeles as a character for my personality photo shoot. My friend and I found different locations and had some fun with the characters that each location created.

– Creating studio lighting with the Sun and the atmosphere around you.

A grass area near the cafe parking lot:

I had my model lay under a tree and place her face towards the sunlight. I wanted her hands to be over her chest to give  a hopeless romantic feel.

The Art Distract had lots of great back drops:

At noon the sun is the most harsh. I used it to my advantage and created a high contract colorful scene.

The cafe we stopped out for a break  had a great atmosphere with interesting lighting. I had her sit across the neon sigh and used my 55mm lens.

The cafe lounge had a small little light, I had my model point it at herself. The small light in the dark area created a high contract, highlighting only one side of her face.

– The atmosphere and clothes match to tell the story:

A run away bride escapes..

Lost in Paris..

The free spirited hippie…

A beautiful Mexican princess..

A young worried career woman..

The music indie lover..

The day dreamer…

Confident beauty…

The inner beauty..

At the end of the day, what matters is who she is when she is alone.

It’s fun storytelling..

The truth is, the story that I am telling is my own. Each character she played is apart of my personality. I didn’t notice that until now. My work is my personality. Neat…I am a real artist. 🙂

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Chapter 1: Portrait

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A friend and I were hanging out at the local book store when I said to myself, “I want a photography book that isn’t just about great photos but tells me how to capture my own.”  I then picked up a book “The Complete Photographer” by Tom Ang.  The moment I picked it up I knew I had to buy it.  After reading the first chapter I dramatically saw the difference in my photos.  I have also started a photography club with some young girls from church.  I want to impart in them creativity and to inspire them to capture some of life’s greatest moments.

CHAPTER 1: PORTRAIT

A Portrait: When the subject is the center of the universe they can be anyone and anything.

Here are some photos where I used different techniques.

Storytelling: To kick off the photo shoot I told my friend a story and explained the character she was going to play.  I told her to pretend she was a servant girl who had been working all day. When she sat in a pile of rocks she quickly began to role play. Her facial expressions began to come alive right before me.

Peeping Through: This creates a dramatic effect which conveys a sense of alienation.

Back lighting: In this pose that was created I noticed the great light that was behind her and told her to stand where her hair captured the glow.

Soft Focus: I used the technique Soft Focus for the Panda Mask so the viewer’s attention would see her reaction before they saw the mask.

Capturing Action: Even though the focus isn’t sharp, I didn’t disregard this shot. Her running added great energy to this fairy tale image that I wanted to display.

Lighting Character: I noticed the sun was peaking through the bushes so I had my model run over and stand right where it was hitting. It created this great dramatic look to her and bought out her eyes.

Unique Mannerisms: To deliver a sense of character and personality, I used body language and played with some unique poses.

Here is my favorite photo that I made into a poster and now hangs on my wall.   I love the purity and beauty that it displays.

I left the shoot feeling very proud knowing that I put into practice some of the new information that I had gathered from this amazing new book.

You can check out the complete set on my flickr where I used other techniques.

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