To me, personal work is EVERYTHING. If I didn't have time or the guts, (because it takes a lot to put yourself out there and to get down with your weird self) to create what I feel as an artist, I would probably not even bother with photography. Because I have always used my work as a form of expression, it's very important to keep creating from the soul. I love when I can take an idea and run with it. Twisting, molding and manipulating, is all the juice of the process! Creation in it's truest form.
Inspiration is everywhere! I get my ideas from moods, dreams, philosophy, science and music. Give yourself permission to create freely and as wildly as you like <3 What makes your heart race, your blood flow and energy move with inspiration?
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Last time I flew back home to Phoenix I got to work with model, Alexis with the Ford Robert Black agency and one of my favorite hair and makeup artists, Jessica Fierro. I love collaborating with new talent when I get a little time to myself. The shoot was pretty unplanned, meaning that I met with the agency, and I tested with Alexis that week. I didn't really have the opportunity to shoot a concept so went with an impromptu test shoot.
For my tests that happen as quick as this one did, I always have a mood board of generalized images that I like. I then pick elements from different photographs to create a certain mood and style for the shoot. This really works well when you have no idea where to start. The model brought her own clothes to the location at the Mesa Arts Center, we then went through and picked that best options and because I arrived early I knew exactly where I wanted to shoot. This helps me to make quick decisions with wardrobe when I don't have a stylist. We kept everything simple and shot in a fairly short amount of time for a test with 4 wardrobe changes and two makeup looks.
If you are the type of person who likes to plan everything out, I highly recommend doing an on the fly photoshoot, it may challenge your ability to think quickly and creatively. Or if you are naturally a non planner you may want to check out some of my portfolio building days where everything from models, concepts, wardrobe, hair, makeup and lighting are all taken care of for you!
Curating your work can mean the difference in having a mind blowing portfolio vs. an average portfolio. I believe that the most important job we have as photographers is to tell a story and to be able to use our eye to identify what it is about a photo or photo series that we like, feel and want to share with others. Identifying what speaks to you as an artist and knowing what you would like to say, is the first step in the curation process.
Let me use instagram as an example. We have all seen those instagram profiles that literally wow us and make us want to dive right in to their little instagram portal and live the life that they have taken the time to carefully curate or create the kind of images that make us feel that rush of inspiration. Or, we get down on ourselves about thinking that we cannot possibly create something so captivating... which is THE worst and simply not true. You need to pep up because the secret is in the process of WHAT images you CHOOSE to show your audience. Chances are, you have some gems that tell a beautifully curated story already sitting on your computer. You just have not taken the time to be able to see the whole story yet, or have noticed a reoccurring theme in the work that you create. After taking the time to go through your images. "Ask yourself, "what is it that I want and need to share with the world?" Sometimes the answer is in the images you have created already. Sometimes the answer is in new images that you need to go out and create. This is a also a great first step to following your authenticity as a photographer.
Either way, know that you are not alone in this confusing efforts to create a captivating portfolio. I help artists with this struggle all the time. If you would like to get personalized help with this, check out my consulting services page!
Below are a couple of different examples of curated portfolios. There is a underlying tone & mood set for both sets of galleries. They are also divided into different categories. They are all lifestyle, however, one is geared towards fashion and the other family portrait and wedding. You could possibly blend these two together if you choose your image pairing wisely :)
Josie and I met a few years back when a model we both worked with kept mixing the two of us up. I finally asked, "who is Josie?" She excitedly replied that it was another photographer that she had worked with and that we reminded her of each other. I had just moved here and I thought that it would be nice to make other industry friends and that, we did!
Josie and I clicked right away. We have worked on projects together and have been there for each other for much needed support. We have both had the opportunity to watch each other blossom into the artists we are today, so it was my absolute pleasure to create a brand film for her that showed her many amazing talents. Not only does she shoot the most inspiring, beautiful artistic portraits and weddings I have ever seen, but she has a such a friendly & comforting demeanor about her, you would think that you have known her for years. I am always truly impressed with her work and I can't wait to see what the future holds for her.
For Josie's marketing video, we decided on a styled couples shoot with two real couples that would take place in a remote location in Orlando, a.k.a. a dried up lake bed... it was absolutely stunning at sunset! I captured some moments of the couples getting ready, thanks to the amazing Karmel Design Team, and followed Josie on her journey to capture those real love moments. You can see on her instagram. Later we conducted interviews of the couples and how they felt about working with Josie, which I included with voice over into the film.
I love when I get to work with and share such amazing talent <3
I had the pleasure of creating this behind the scenes video for my friend and amazing hair and makeup artist, Tina Combs. You can follow her her here. For this brand video, I kept it very simple. I wanted to just show her amazing personality and of course her talent. I took some behind the scenes footage of her doing her thing, half the time she probably didn't realize I was filming her, she was in the zone. I say, it's short and sweet, just like her ;)
Recently, I took the plunge and decided to get my 200/hr yoga teacher training certification after doing yoga for over 10 years. I've learned a great deal and met some even greater people along the way, Caitlin being one of them! We decided to take her instagram to the next level and create her some beautiful yoga asana images + headshots for her social media presence. We started with a mood board on pinterest. Covering all the bases, such as location, style, hair makeup, poses, etc. We decided on a few locations. One of them being, my home studio, the other two, just outside my house, and across the street from my house, lovely Cocoa Beach. This was about a 4 hour shoot with wardrobe and location changes, not to mention we had to give the girl a break, have you seen her incredible yoga poses?!
I used all natural light, and the studio set up is actually in my living room. Nothing fancy at all. Just some style and prop planning paired with a great subject :)
Swimwear Brand Campaign for Rebekkah's Bikin's featured in LADEDA Magazine.
Photographer + Creative Director: Vania Elise, Swimwear: Rebekkah, Models: Modern Muse Agency Stylist: Argie Mitra, Hair: Lauren Tirado, Makeup: Karen w/Karmel Design Team, Accessories: GoldieLockes
Editorial-Behind the Scenes
Film + Direction: Vania Elise, Ve Visuals
Photography: Lindsey Morgan
Dress Boutique: Ashley Sipos - Lola Grace Bridal
Flowers: Andie Muller - The Flower Studio
Cake: Lindsey Bickford - Bickford Bakery
Hair & Makeup: Tina Combs
Invitations: Jessi Marshall - Letra Bohemia
Model: Christina Dominguez
Location: Maitlaind Art Center Orlando, FL
Music By: Galamatias & Alina Baraz
Song: Pretty Thoughts