El Mayor Tequila

            You always need to make time for personal projects; it lets you explore in ways you otherwise would not.      

            Although I do enjoy working in a studio, being on location is my forte.  It’s challenging, and the nuances of a real interior are impossible to reproduce.  So I gave myself the task of mixing location and tequila lifestyle work. 

            I choose this combination because I produce enough bright interior images for architects already, and wanted to explore dark and moody.  Dark and moody would not work for designers, but it would for liquor.  (As for why tequila; because I like tequila!)  To keep with the dark moody theme, my idea was having a man and a woman being flirtatious at a bar at night. 

            I was able to get access to a dark French restaurant with an exterior terrace that was perfect.  I also came across an unique, but not overly ornate, tequila that would stand out.  I found two models, Joe and Victoria, who needed images in their portfolio and a MUA, Megan Ambroch, who was interested to work with other photographers.  My fiancé, Felicia, who is also a photographer, handled propping and recording any behind the scenes material.  Last, before the shoot I was introduced to Anthony Morrow, from Pixel House, who was also interested in working on the project as well.  I brought on two assistants and an intern who was very excited about the whole production. 

            After getting access to the restaurant, I scouted the interior for inspiration on what images I could produce and decided on three.  First would be a main product shot, focusing on the bottle, with the models outside on the terrace out of focus.  (To read more about this specific image, visit my blog.)  Second would be an image of each model standing on the terrace alone and “peacocking,” as Joe put it.  Last, would be the image of them flirting at the bar.

            Since I knew I would only have so much time, and you just never seem to have enough time for location shoots anyway, I planned out the lighting beforehand (right).  This way I would be able to have my assistants setup each shot independently while I focused on relating to the models and dealing with art direction.  After this, I coordinated a date with the restaurant and started sourcing props.  I also spoke with each model about wardrobe, picking the right outfit for each with complimentary colors. 

            At the end of it, the shoot went smoothly and I got four nice images for my portfolio.  Below are the images along with a brief behind the scenes video. 


            As with any project, I always feel it is important to look over the images after the initial zeal of the shoot wears off and decide what you could have done better.  Since this is a personal project and I do not risk offending a client, I decided to share my thoughts here.

            The main product shot I consider to be very successful and I would not change anything. 

            The “peacocking” images are also very nice, albeit Joe was more natural then Victoria.  I did shoot these with my technical camera, which does not have a viewfinder.  To ensure the models were in focus, I shot these at f/8.  If I did it over again, I would use a DSLR at f/4 for less depth of field, making the model stand out more.  I still would shoot it on a tripod though. 

            The last image I feel works with the other three but is not strong enough to stand on its own.  I wish I would had shot it handheld at f/4, or faster, focusing more on the models.  I tried too hard to make the bottle and room part of the image, distracting from the emotion of the flirting, and the one-point perspective is just too static.