how to photography

Mountain Maker Session | Chautauqua Park, Boulder, Colorado

I love the mountains. And not just in the simple way, either. I mean… I need the mountains to survive. My parents first took me to the mountains (that I can remember) in the summer of 1999 and it’s safe to say I was immediately hooked. I spent my 6th birthday in the mountains that year, and I got my first camera (a 35mm pink Barbie camera with a flower on the front and a photo album that I filled with photos of Yellowstone). The mountains are where I spent my first summer away from home, when I moved to Denver with my sister for my Denver Art Museum internship. Whenever I’m feeling sick or unsure of myself, I run to the mountains. They have, quite literally, saved my life several times.

I think that’s the truth for a lot of people. I don’t know anyone who isn’t in awe of the giant rock formation jutting out of the ground, reaching up to the skies. And if you’ve never seen the flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, I’ve just described them. These incredible, larger than life, red rocks that emerge from the ground completely unannounced. So how could I not plan a photo shoot there? 

We started in downtown Boulder, over a few tacos and margaritas (my absolute favorite way to start any and all sessions!!).

One quick outfit change and a few minute later, we hit the range (like… home on the range??) for the real meat of the shoot! Here’s some tips if you’re looking to shoot at Chautauqua Park in Boulder. It. Will. Be. Busy. You can maybe even see some other photographers in the backgrounds of some of these photos (although maybe not. I’m pretty good at photoshop hehehe). When we arrived, there were FOUR other photographers within earshot. I think if I was still early in my career and still got nervous about other people watching me work, things could’ve gone poorly.

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Okay this was just the warm up for the whole reason we were there. Maybe it was the margaritas that made us totally forget hahaha. Nathan is A MAKER Y’ALL!!! Like a real life quilter (which I am just amazed by over and over again). He REALLY did make this quilt in these photos, and he makes other quilts too, and I’m sure that if you asked nicely he would even make you a quilt!!

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Four Photographers, One Model

The name of the game is Four Photographers, One Model, and here are the rules:

- There are four photographers (duh)

- There is one model (still with me, here?)

- Each photographer chooses one location and corresponding outfit

- Every photographer must shoot at least one photograph of the model in each other’s location + outfit

- You’ve got four minutes to get the shot

It’s a fun Youtube challenge based off of a series by Youtuber Jessica Kobeissi. Myself and three other photographers (all of whom will be linked to throughout this post!) got together to make our own version for Andrea Fonseca’s own YouTube channel! Our videographer was Bethany, and our model was Katie! Everybody was so lovely to work with, so if you’re in NYC and need a creative, you should check them out!

Okay! First location!

See that tiny little park right behind the man in the red (on the right hand side of the image on the left). I took a picture from inside of the park, and placed it on the right. It’s a teeny tiny green space outside of an apartment building. Natalia Wajda chose this location, and it was LOUD and tight! We were scrunched up against the exterior wall of Starbucks, and just as I’d get my shot… the light would change. This location was difficult, even though I do my best in front of greenery. I tried placing objects in front of the lens for the first time, too! See for yourself!

LOCATION TWO: A lush hidden garden space behind a TJ Maxx. Maybe I’m biased, because this was my chosen location! I was so excited to shoot here…. until I got one photograph in.

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An employee of the restaurant next door came outside to tell us that the garden was private, and we couldn’t photograph there. Total bummer. Read: what to do when your photo location falls through!! I started to panic, and was so thankful that I was shooting with a ton of generous, talented young ladies, because they were spotted a park right across the street, and I ended up getting some shots that are maybe even better than I could’ve hoped for!

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LOCATION THREE: Have you ever gotten stuck in the middle of a shoot? Like think about a very long shoot, with the same subject the entire time. Maybe your feet start dragging, you’ve put in everything you’ve got, and you can’t imagine giving more. That was me at the start of the third location. Sophie picked it out and it IS super cute, but I’m so tired by now. I decided to let all of the other girls shoot first, and I went last, so that I could get my creative juices pumping again. It’s okay to chill out and take a break!

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LOCATION FOUR: Y’all!! WE MADE IT!! This is a street in NYC that I know pretty well, but I’ve never noticed this little archway! When Andrea picked it out, I wasn’t sure how I could use it. I was already in the mindset of utilizing different angles, so while the other girls photographed ahead of me, I was thinking about how I could use this location to my own advantage. How could I take a location I wouldn’t usually shoot in, and make the end photographs my own? 

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Well I found a way. To show the model what I wanted, I threw my own booty up to the sky and laid my face on the bricks. Katie got it immediately and WOW!! So GOOD!! I only had that one shot in my mind, so the others were more of fillers. 

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Unfortunately, the YouTube video has since been removed LOL, but you can just take my word on it that it was very fun, and y’all should try one! Challenges like this can push you outside of your comfort zone and really force you to be more creative! Which location was your favorite? I think it’s pretty obvious which one was mine!