In the photography world, when you’re first starting out you have to do everything for yourself. I’ve been my own graphic designer, accountant, assistant, secretary, editor and stylist more times than I can count. Amid the never ending list of things that we do for ourselves sometimes we can forget what should be at the top — Shooting for yourself.
Shooting personal work is why I became a photographer in the first place. Back in 2008 (when I was still in corporate America) I used to have a routine. Study photography books, websites and blogs Monday – Thursday and apply what I learned on shoots Friday – Sunday. I would literally put ads on Craigslist and find random people to shoot with, for free (this was pre-Craigslist killer). For me, these shoots were not only great practice but also helped ease my fear of working with complete strangers. When I finally started making money from shoots I put personal work to the side. This was financially rewarding but creatively, it was very unfulfilling.
So this year I’ve rededicated myself to shooting more personal work and really getting a feel of who I am as a commercial photographer. My recent trip to Hawaii was a huge step in that direction. I’ve never been to Hawaii, so I was primarily there to location scout for a bigger shoot I have coming up in August. Luckily, I found some time and some models who were down for a quick test. I actually styled this shoot myself *gasp*, so don’t judge the clothes.
Day 1: My friend Erik and I hit the ground running. We combed the entire island in about 6 1/2 hours… hitting a lot of the less frequented areas of Oahu. The two shots below are from the West side also known as the “hood”. Who knew Hawaii had hood rats? Personally, I loved this area more than the tourist traps… it seemed a lot more connected to what Hawaii was historically.
Day 2: Headed back to the west side with Mahina, Malia and Jason. Much like everybody on the island, they were so cool and fun to work with.
*Side Note: Hawaii, has some of the BEST natural light I’ve ever shot in.