Thursday, April 21, 2011

Le Jardin - A Very Classy Day Spa & Salon

About a month ago I got a call from Anthony, the Marketing Director at Le Jardin Day Spa and Salon in Collegeville, PA inquiring about photography for a new website they were building. After discussing what he was looking for, I decided to go check it out and see what this place was all about. I must tell you upfront that Le Jardin (which translates to "The Garden" in french) is no normal, run of the mill Day Spa and Salon. It's an old historic Victorian building that was originally built in 1857. 1857!!! The place has had three additions since then and was fully renovated in 2002. This place exudes character inside and out! Everywhere I turned, there was something interesting to photograph. 

Not only that, the staff (see below) was super friendly to everyone who walked through the door.  From hair to nails to massage - they do it all at Le Jardin. If you want to be pampered and treated right...check them out. 

Some interior pics:

Le Jardin Homepage - Jackie Steel of Jack Tracy out of New York did an excellent job mixing photography and design. Mac and Dan handled all the web development.

That was the first phase of Le Jardin photos. After finishing up the interior shots, Anthony reached out again inquiring about photographing the staff for the website and for future marketing materials. I went to take a look around and fire off some preliminary shots. I found a nice red painted wall that peaked my interest and set up the shot below using a beauty dish and a backlight to illuminate the wall...

I tested out a few different light setups but the census (myself included) seemed to like the above set up. 
Unfortunately, after careful review, everyone agreed that it just didn't fit the mold of the new website.

The official shoot was fast approaching and there was no time for more preliminary shots.
Photography is subjective. It's something I have learned and learned quickly. But it keeps things interesting and challenging, nothing wrong with that! 

The first run of shots was kept relatively simple. 
Everyone dressed in white against a fabricated black backdrop lit by two lights...

For the next group of shots, Anthony wanted something a bit looser - he was thinking of having them sit on the stairs but that area was extremely tight. I spotted this opening between two doors at the end of the stair case and the girls seemed to really warm up to the camera here...

A Special thanks to the Le Jardin staff. They came in on a scheduled day off, were extremely cooperative and allowed me to complete my job in the time alloted. An incredibly friendly and photogenic bunch, they made my job quite easy.

-Stay Classy

Sunday, April 10, 2011

FLASH MOB (not that kind) - Old Abandoned Building

It was about a month ago that my friend Michael from M2 Photography asked me if I had known of any cool abandoned spots we could shoot at. Nothing came to me immediately... but then ...I recalled a spot I had passed numerous times on my bicycle. I had no idea how to drive there, whether or not we would get harassed there, or if it even possessed any real potential but I cool, calm and collectivity said, "Sure, I know a spot." (as if I had a list of awesome, abandon structures in my back pocket for years waiting for someone to ask)

We both have been very into off-camera flash lately... experimenting with different setups and building different light modifiers in our free time. So when we planned to go to this location, we were bringing it ALL. We had another friend and skilled shooter, Miguel Angel of Diamond Street Photography join us and he came equipped with his arsenal as well.

All together I'd say we had about 10 light stands, 6-7 flashes (with triggers to fire them), 4-5 umbrellas in every size imaginable, a nice sized softbox and probably 8 other things I'm forgetting.

What the heck were we shooting? A big THANKS to Michael's wife, Melissa (a fantastic photographer herself, and a fantastic model who allowed us to bombard her with flashes for a couple hours). Thanks Michael for sharing your model with us. My beautiful girlfriend Maria also stopped by later and modeled a couple shots. (just for me though, I don't share haha)

Sorry I cannot disclose the exact whereabouts of this place. I think it may become our new playground.
Ok enough rambling, on with some pics...

Photographer/Model - Melissa of M2 Photography

My beautiful girlfriend (and model) Maria, captured by just one flash.

Stay Classy