Sweet Sixteen Photoshoot!


Years ago when I began shooting portrait photography I started working with a model / make up artist / hair stylist / all around amazing woman named Jenine.  Over the years we have shot together on many occasions and it is always a blast.  She is brilliant.

Recently Jenine contacted me about helping her out with a birthday present for her cousin Tamara.  The plan was to give her a surprise sweet sixteen photoshoot, with three different looks (natural, high fashion, “rocker chick”).  I didn’t need to hear anything else to know I was in.  Jenine spends her time working in the film industry and instructing hair and make up…. I knew she’d be cooking up something awesome!  We were to be assisted on this shoot by a brilliant wardrobe gal named Claudia, Tamara’s mom, and my niece Meghan.

Tamara arrived at the studio the morning of the shoot with a perma-grin on her face:


During hair and make up we occasionally got this:

DSCF2531-1But, it was much more of this:


This proceeded into the first third of our shoot, the natural look.  Tamara was a little bit nervous of course as she hadn’t shot like this before, so we decided to do some basic head shots to get her warmed up.

For every one of these though:


We got two of these:


This was a seriously fun start to the day, and by now everyone was warmed up.  It was time to return to hair, make up and wardrobe for the “high fashion” look:



What sixteen year old girl wouldn’t love this?  Being pampered, made up, and dressed by professionals in the industry?

For the actual shoot we moved into a different part of the studio that had a fantastic look and some great old furniture.  With posing tips from Jenine, Claudia and myself we shot another series of images:





Finally, after another round of hair, make up, and wardrobe, it was time to play with the “rocker” look for a bit.  For the first few images I set up two off camera lights behind Tamara to mimic stage lighting:


Then we moved outside into one of the alleys:



It was a very fun day shooting and spending time with family and friends.   There is so much that goes into a shoot like this… planning, studio rental, organizing wardrobe, hair/make up, the photographer, etc.  This was a fabulous gift that Jenine gave her cousin, and of course HUGE props to Tamara herself for stepping up the way she did.  I hope she loves the images!


All candid images during hair and make up were shot with the Fuji X100s with the TCL-X100 adapter.  This converts the native 35mm field of view of the X100s to a 50mm equivalent.  The Fuji X100s is the perfect camera for use during candid moments as the leaf shutter makes it virtually silent and unobtrusive.

The main portraits were all shot on the Fuji X-T1 using either the 18-55 or the 55-200 lenses.  I love this camera.

All candid images were shot with natural light only.  The only lighting used for the portraits were two small off camera flashes and a 43″ reflector (often only using one of these).  The flashes were triggered via pocket wizards.  For most of the portraits a single flash was used in a 43″ umbrella on a stand or floated directly overhead.


In closing, never say no to an opportunity.  This shoot came right in the middle of an insanely busy month for me, but I wouldn’t have traded the time doing it for anything.  I got to help out a friend with a present for her cousin, I got to work with a remarkably talented young lady, I got to meet new wardrobe talent (thank you Claudia!) and I got free reign to try out some new ideas and grow as a photographer.  That is a win all the way around!

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