Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Frankie & Johnnie – My Team!

Well, actually its Franceska and Jenna, but you get the idea of team... you know the old song??

Today I want to talk about my team – Franceska Lavaggi and Jenna Zedel. I find a lot of people out there have little idea of what it takes to put together a more comprehensive photo shoot. Yeah they may realize that it involves hair and makeup but do they know that it may also involve scouting locations, wardrobe meetings with the client, consultation on makeup and hairstyles with the client and / or models, set preparation, sourcing of accessories, prepping of clothes, ALL before a single photo is even taken?

Once a photographer wants to get into the types of photos that get published in magazines – the beauty and glamour fashion shots that you see every day, the game starts to involve more than just the photographer and his camera. Finding and choosing a team of people to work with on set is no easy matter, and almost the subject for another blog. But I’ve been fortunate to find two very talented individuals that I’d like you to know about and who have become a team that I am proud to be a part of.

I met Franceska through NUMA Models when the boys and I were out scouting for potential models on Granville Street one evening. She was immediately on my radar because of her bright personality. She is one of those beautiful women that you can immediately tell is also brainy – you can see the wheels turning!! She is quick and positive and up-beat and thinking ahead all the time. At that moment, I was not sure where Franceska would play in my work as a photographer. I thought and still do that she can be a great scout for potential models. She sizes up people very quickly and she knows modeling and fashion. But it turned out that she has a real passion for styling and she is on my team now because of her marvellous ability to put all the things together that make a “look”!

When people come to me for a portfolio shoot - whether they are being considered for agency work or not, they often don’t have the wardrobe that it takes to make a great look. Yes, even models can make bad choices in clothes! Franceska’s role in my team is to look at what the model has, bring together pieces that she has available, pull clothes from designers for a shoot, accessorize with great jewelry, belts, bracelets, shoes, hats, scarves, etc. and do it all in 10 minutes so I can shoot!! No mean feat. In one situation, one model that arrived for an agency shoot with no less than 2 large suitcases, a duffel bag and two shopping bags and literally had NOTHING in there that we could use that was right for her to look the part of an international calibre model! Another model came to us with NO dress that was usable and so Frankie made one!! She took a little black number that she herself sizzles in and turned it into an elegant evening gown using some fabric that was in the studio. The result was the photo at left – it made the model look elegant and like she was ready for Cinderella’s ball. Magic!

And Franceska has proven her worth on many occasions already – working with agency models and putting together looks for Nessa V’s shoots. Already I see such growth in Franceska – she is always thinking of the concept, the look and what we could do better. She is right beside me on set, looking at what I see, and making suggestions or stepping in to fix things without being intrusive. She has sensitivity about how the model looks on camera and makes suggestions to them about pose that maximize their potential. And she does it all with such personality and charisma, those models and clients immediately fall in love with her!

Franceska also has her own blog - and what an appropriate title – “Frank Fierce” – where she talks about styling choices – color palettes, the latest trends and how to make them work for you. Read it – you will learn:

Now Jenna came to me as part of a test. It is quite a normal thing for photographers to invite Make Up Artists to do a trial run with a model, so the photographer can see how good their skills are and to create some beauty shots for both themselves and the model. I’ve been a bit frustrated with this process, because it can be difficult to get the model and MUA together at the same time – really a good thing!! But Jenna was one of the tests I got done last year and from the get-go I could see how good she was. She’s professional, precise and buttoned down!! Now know this – I know NOTHING about make up – I know what I like to see, but I have NO CLUE as far as how they do it. And I must say that I see Vancouver being full of Make Up Artists who come out of the schools here in droves. But Jenna was one who stood out immediately. Her work is really flawless, and shows such potential to go further than the local market.

Jenna started out dong a test with me with one of my fav people – Melissa Whitney, and I’d like to share the diversity that she showed me in that test shoot: The goal is to provide me with two different looks – a clean natural “spa” look and a more dramatic editorial look where we can “play” and have a bit of fun. Jenna excelled at both and I immediately knew I had found one of the best and wanted to work with her on a regular basis.
Then Jenna worked with me on the big Nessa V shoot – (more news to come on that soon), where she created several really great looks for the already beautiful Nessa. This photo one of my favourites:
Now any photographer who does beauty retouch work knows what it is like to get down to the pore level with an image – you see EVERY flaw in the models’ skin. 
 There are some flaws that are there that you can’t do much about with make up – you are going to have to retouch them. But when you get a great Make Up Artist like Jenna- you don’t have to fight with the precision of lines, the subtlety of shading, or the balance of colors with the models natural skin.

You can see more of Jenna’s work at her own website: I love working with this woman and I really want to see her career grow and blossom.

Working with a professional Make Up Artist and Stylist is one of the biggest changes I have made in the past year. It’s not rocket science to figure out that a photographer’s reputation and status are directly linked to the quality of the images he or she produces. And most people understand that there are some technical skills that go along with that – lighting techniques, camera knowledge, and Photoshop skills. But what many people do not fully appreciate are all the many, many details and preparation steps that go into making what could be a good image because of the photographer and model into a great image because ALL of the team are working well together.

So here they are – Frankie and Johnnie – I mean Franceska and Jenna - on set and still smiling after hours of working with me!! That alone tells you volumes about them:

I’m proud to work with these two talented and intelligent women, and I hope for nothing more … or less … than the three of us growing together and pushing each other to new levels of excellence.

Soon to come – a video of the three of us actually doing the Nessa V shoot – can’t wait to see it myself!!

Always more to see at

1 comment:

  1. H! this a Beautiful! "THANG!" .......

    Loving U! ..........