Friday, November 22, 2013

Fashions in the Studio

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help a new, and upcoming Fashion Designer start her portfolio. Sahro Hassan is a 17 year old Senior at Lewiston High School and is designing clothes for her Somali Community. She not only designs the outfits, but chooses the fabric and sews the clothing. I saw her work at one of the Lewiston/Auburn Art Walks and let her know I would be interested in photographing her designs and models.

Sahro brought 8 of her friends/models and 16 outfits to the Studio on a Saturday afternoon. We began with a solid black background and two studio lights. I wanted simple and elegant to not only show the models off, but to highlight the clothing. Black worked well, except for the designs that consisted of mostly black material. They were lost in the background. So we tried a printed fabric over the Black muslin. This worked well for several of the designs.

Some of the printed fabrics were too busy and clashed with this background. The lighting was working well as the models were well lit with no, or little, shadowing. For the rest of the shoot we decided to try some high key lighting and put up the White cloth background. I liked the results, and found that I actually need a little more lighting to render the background pure white in the photographs. This resulted in some post-production work in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements to bring out the white. This was a good lesson for me, and one I will remember. I prefer to get as much right in the camera as possible, to cut down on the hours of post-production.

Sahro's friends did a great job with the modeling and took directions very well. The two hours of shooting was well worth it, and we ended up with very nice images for Sahro to use in her portfolio. As it turned out, the timing could not have been better. Sahro had an interview with the Massachusetts School of Design on Wednesday, following the photography session. I hope these photos help get her accepted in the next step on her career path.

Let me know what you think of the results. The full shoot can be seen at:

A special thanks goes to Brenda Giasson, my partner in the studio, for her help in organizing and setting up the shoots. Her help was instrumental in the shoot going so well.

Until next time, keep shooting and enjoy the world around you.


  1. Your photos are fabulous Jim. I have studio lights and no models!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I have been a photographer for many years, and recently decided to open a small Portrait Studio. Getting someone to model for you can be a challenge. Start with friends, or friends of friends. Trade photos for their time in the beginning. The hard part is attracting paying customers, but that will come with time, and as your expertise grows.