While I was in Colorado Springs, I led a photowalk sponsored by Perfectly Clear. A group of us met up and photographed The Garden of the Gods. When nighttime fell upon us, we retreated to Applebee’s for a late dinner and a roundtable discussion. Waiting for our dinner, we snacked on appetizers as I answered questions on a wide range of topics. Showing an image from my portfolio, my new friend, Richard Firth, asked How did you create that look? I stopped in mid sentence, smiled as I quickly wrote down his question and made it the title for my new series. Richard, thank you for the inspiration, this first How to Create the Look article is dedicated to you.
An artist friend of mine wanted to collaborate on a photoshoot. She came over to the studio with her good friend, Shelby — who happen to be a nude model. Looking over Shelbys portfolio, I noticed she didn’t have a single headshot. Instead of taking her clothes off, I wanted to add clothes and accessories to stylize the shoot that would accent her character to create the look.
I started with a simple portrait to break the ice and to help Shelby feel comfortable in front of the camera. This also helped me fine-tune my lighting set up. Once I felt we were ready, I looked around the photo studio for ideas. I found a cheap pair of Ozzy glasses I randomly bought a few months back, so I decided to built the shoot around the glasses. I had Shelby put the glasses on and styled her hair straight with the part down the middle like Ozzy Osborne. It didn’t look right, so I had her try on hats my friend brought with her. I loved how the hat sat on her head, so we went with that. I added a jacket, which looked great with the knee torn jeans, and rings for the final touch.
Putting the Look together
We styled the look, now we needed Shelby to act the part and to get into character. I told her to imagine she was a singer/songwriter who just released her first album. She needs to look confident but also modest at the same time. Slightly tilting her head gave her the relaxed, yet confident look I was going for. Keeping her in a tight ball conveyed intimacy and closeness.
Currently he is teaching workshops, writing for Photofocus and creating tutorials for various plug-in companies and for the Vanelli and Friends series.
You can find out more about Vanelli at www.VanelliandFriends.com