Shoot Breakdowns

I’m thrilled to share in-depth breakdowns of some of my favorite photographs.

This section is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the practical, real-world aspects of photography.

Each article is a deep dive into the entire process of a particular shoot – from the initial concept to the final execution.

I’ll walk you through my planning stages, discussing why and how I made specific creative decisions. You’ll see detailed lighting diagrams, providing a clear view of my approach to shaping and controlling light.

I’ll also list all the equipment I used for each shot, including cameras, lenses, and any special gear, giving you a practical guide to the tools of the trade.

Moreover, some articles come with behind-the-scenes videos. These aren’t just for show; they’re there to give you a real sense of the environment and workflow of a professional photo shoot, including how I tackle unexpected challenges on set.

Bookmark this page and check back often!

  • A woman in a red cloche hat with colorful beauty.

    Use an Accessory as the Creative Spark for a Creative Beauty Portrait

    Sometimes, the concept for a shot starts with an accessory, which was the case for this shot featuring an old-school cloche-style hat. loved this hat and the dark red color she brought to one of our practice sessions, but it is based on a style from the early 1900s.  I…

  • A woman with a colorful afro, radiating beauty in a captivating portrait - shoot breakdown

    How To Create a Colorful Beauty Portrait With a Truly Unique Hairstyle

    My goal was to create a colorful beauty portrait that showed off the unique hairstyle and ensured the subject was prominently featured. It is easy to get carried away with these images and wind up with an image about the style or the fu-fu, and the subject takes a backseat.

  • A woman wearing sunglasses poses amidst vibrant streams of red smoke, created by a smoke machine - shoot breakdown

    Create Colorful Beauty Portraits With a Handheld Smoke Machine

    The concept for this series of shots was to create fashion and beauty portraits using smoke and LOTS of bold colors. Smoke is a great way to generate interesting chaos, which can then be lit and colored in any number of ways to create mood and depth in the image.

  • A woman with a high ponytail showcasing her beauty in a portrait - shoot breakdown

    A Beauty Portrait with Gravity-Defying Hair

    The goal of a beauty portrait is to highlight the subject’s physical beauty. The challenge in adding the word ‘creative’ to the mix is that you don’t want the photo to become more about the photographer’s creativity than the subject’s beauty.

  • A woman with vibrant and artistic makeup, creating fashion portraits that incorporate cellophane as a unique element - shoot breakdown

    Fashion Portraits With Cellophane

    I’m always on the lookout for things that I can drape around a model, or turn into an outfit, or place over a light source to change the color of the light, or even turn into a background. As a result, I make frequent trips to local fabric stores and…

  • A woman is posing for a photo with the words shoot breakdown - shoot breakdown

    Your Best Shot Is a Mistake!?!

    Sometimes your best shot presents itself as a mistake, and if you are not paying attention you will fix the mistake and wind up with a less creative, less exciting, less interesting photograph. I want to show you an example from a recent shoot where this happened to me and…

  • A woman with stunning blue makeup and an elegant blue veil showcases a captivating fashion portrait - shoot breakdown

    Sci-Fi Inspired Four Light Fashion Portrait Tutorial

    What can we create with four strobes, some blue gels, a big fan, and a gorgeous model with incredible eyes? Two unique sci-fi fashion portraits. I’m going to show you how I did it and share with you why it’s important to emotionally LET GO of your work once you…

  • A woman in a bikini.

    Bikini Glamour Photography Setup

    My goal was to do a bikini glamour shot with some personality and energy. Keep in mind, though, that in a commercial modeling portfolio, you don’t want the photos to be too sexy. Mainstream advertisers are actually pretty conservative, so modeling agencies prefer that portfolios remain pretty PG.

  • A blond woman in lingerie striking a seductive pose, illuminated by alluring glamour lighting, in front of a captivating wall shoot breakdown

    2 Light Lingerie Glamour Lighting Setup

    I’m going to walk you through another one of my keep it super simple (KISS IT) glamour lighting arrangements that requires only two lights and a medium softbox. I also use the all-purpose box that I showed you in my DIY Home Studio blog article and showed you how to…

  • A woman with orange hair, illuminated by a carefully crafted lighting setup, proudly displaying black glitter on her face - shoot breakdown

    Halloween Inspired Three Light Beauty Portrait

    Today I have a Halloween-inspired three light beauty portrait tutorial for you, done with mixed light sources and with some cool orange gels for effect. Like many of my shots, the real credit for this one goes to my makeup artist. Her incredible makeup and styling combined with an amazing…

  • An asian woman with a large black hat illuminated by portrait lighting - Shoot Breakdown

    One Light & Reflector for Dramatic Portraits

    I have a really simple one light portrait lighting set-up that I use for beauty shots and dramatic portraits. I’ll walk you through it and show you how you can add more lights and gels to turn this simple arrangement into a bold and colorful set-up. Are you tired of…

  • A woman in a dramatic red and yellow costume showcasing a striking beauty portrait - shoot breakdown

    Dramatic Beauty Portrait – Shot With 2 Lights

    Here is a recent dramatic beauty portrait lighting technique that I did at the end of a modeling portfolio shoot. I did the shot with just 2 flash heads and one of them; was BOUNCED onto the ceiling. The model is a young 16-year-old from Cleveland, Ohio who traveled here…

  • A woman with yellow hair and makeup showcasing an expertly crafted lighting setup - shoot breakdown

    Lighting Setup for the Sci-FI Geisha Girl Shoot

    Sci-fi Geisha Girl! That’s the name that my makeup artist gave to her latest creation. Let’s take a peek behind the scenes at my lighting setup and I will show you how we did this beauty shot. Let me start out by saying that this is one of those pictures…

  • A woman with a purple scarf and beads in a unique lighting setup - shoot breakdown.

    How To Create a Dramatic 4 Light Fashion Portrait Lighting Arrangement

    My goal with this set of images was to be able to create lots of drama and make a bold statement while still keeping things pretty simple. As always I have included a lighting diagram and I am also going to show you some simple variations on this lighting setup.…

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