The Art of Directing

Last week, on my birthday, I flew up to San Jose with two lovely friends, Ala and Mary. It started as a trip solely for a workshop that took place the day after my birthday, but eventually became a birthday celebration where I felt so incredibly loved I almost didn’t know what to do with myself! It was an amazing couple of days and the best way I can think of to ring in my 30s. ;)

I’ll tell you about the workshop first. Tanja Lippert is a photographer based in the Bay Area whose work I’ve admired for a while. She shoots film exclusively, which is something I really admire, and she’s got an editorial style to all of her work that is just heavenly. I’ve never been to a photography workshop before, but when I found out Tanja was teaching a workshop on posing (or directing, as she calls it), I jumped at the chance to expand that area of my work by learning from someone I consider a master. The fact that Ala was planning in going to the same workshop only sealed the deal! The workshop is called the T&T Dynamite Art of Directing Workshop and it was awesome.

Tanja’s right-hand woman is Tia Reagan. She is a stylist and photographer and she works with Tanja and her clients to style many of her shoots. Together they are a force to be reckoned with and it was amazing to see both of them in action. As students of the workshop we were able to take advantage of Tia’s amazing skills when we practiced what we learned on a few models. It was a lot of fun!

I’m looking forward to using many of the tricks I learned from Tanja on my upcoming shoots. For now I’ll share a few of the shots I got at the workshop. The point of the workshop was to learn how to better warm our clients up, how to interact with them in a way that relaxes them and make them feel free to let loose a little, and how to get your clients to trust you. Because of that I spent more time interacting with the models than I did shooting them. I don’t think I took more than 15 frames the entire day, but I LOVE what I got, so it didn’t matter!

First up is Sam. He’d never modeled before but he was AWESOME and totally made our jobs easy. I took exactly three frames of him and loved them all.

backlit child portrait

Annie and Kevin are a real-life couple and also not models. They are wedding client’s of Tanja’s and have only been married a few months! I watched other people direct them in more sultry and intimate ways so when it was my turn I decided that I wanted to go in a different direction. I only had a minute to get them to switch gears and turn on the laughter and they totally nailed it!

couple back to back laughing

And finally we got to work with Sarah, who IS a model. I didn’t get a chance to direct her myself but shot from the sidelines when a few others did, and still adored what I got.

model photos

model in a warehouse

dimly lit model shot

model shoot

While waiting for my turn I turned the camera on Ala as she practiced her “fire eyes.” Nailed it!

ala cortez

ala laughing

Mary didn’t go to the workshop with us (she just came on the trip to spend my birthday with me because she’s awesome like that) but I had to share these shots from the night before as we were getting ready to go out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. They’re my favorite!

spotlight on mary

mary in the mirror

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  • mary - these are so lovely, Heidi.

  • alisha - Awesome! Next time we’re together, you’re gonna make me look amazing, right? ;-)

  • Heather Kincaid - Va va voom! Love the shots of Mary and Ala! Well, they’re all fantastic! So glad you ladies had fun up in the bay!

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