behind the scenes

Epiphanie Campaign - Behind the Scenes with Ale Vidal

So here is an inside look into our approach for the Epiphanie Fall 2014 campaign.

Before I ever begin ANY visuals, a significant part of my process is understanding my client's promise, values, and vision. And I don't mean understanding their colors or descriptive words only, I mean what their brand stands for. Sometimes I have clients that have a hard time verbalizing it, but they have a clear vision. I help them with this process too. It's deep y'all. I push hard for this because this is how I humanize a brand and make them stand out. I don't ever compromise on this because that would mean compromising on my client. This is what Maile, owner of Epiphanie, summarized hers as:

"BeautyConnectionAdventure. I am endlessly inspired by people who live unconventional lives, who go beyond the status quo of what is expected to find whatever it is that fulfills them. I'm inspired by passion, and by the general idea that it's possible to design your life, rather than just react to it."

Um, heck yeah.  I completely connect with this on so many levels.

Once I had this, Alex of AVE Styles and I collaborated on a Pinterest board to initiate what the visuals would look and feel like. My focus, as usual, is on mood and story. Alex's focus is on styling and art direction which are the tangibles.

From that, I created a story about a graphic designer/photographer that we would follow and experience parts of her really awesome day. Sort of like the journey that the epiphanie bag gets to go on - without focusing on the bag as a product, and more like an experience. These details also guide what hair, make-up, and location should look like. I also noted in the story that she had a connection with the guy in the film. That while they're "just friends" - they do things like having their own handshake. This gives the film a sub-story and more depth to play with :) Here's a look into my "bedroom scene" storyboard:

Once my team has translated the visuals right before me (models, clothing, hair, make-up) - this allows me to do what I believe I'm made to do: direct and connect. On the day of filming is when my brain goes into a world I can't describe. I guide the people in front of my camera to understand the character and how their movements need to feel authentic and true. I give them visual and emotional cues that occur to me on the spot, or I've thought about in advance, and capture it on camera. Sooo, that happens...

And after all of that - the inner soul searching, the visual planning, the tangibles, directing, and emotional cues - we get the point that I refer to as "bringing it to life." Sounds dramatic but I don't know any other way to describe it. The story goes from idea to tangible. It's in front of you as a character. It has emotion. It is ... alive. And the most thrilling, yet also scariest part, is YOU - the filmmaker must capture this and immerse your viewer into THIS world that you and your team have created. Phew.

I was able to do both the lifestyle photos and the brand film for Epiphanie with my incredible team. This is some of the content that our planning translated to:

And the film:

And that is a just a little glimpse at what I do and a preview into more of what I'll be doing this coming 2015. My heart has been set on campaigns for the longest time and I feel insanely proud of watching this bloom. Huge thanks to my team:

Styling: Alexandra Evjen | Video Assistant: Matt Hail | Assistant + Behind the Scenes: Audree Lopez |  Hair: Jenny Strebe | Makeup: Stephanie Neiheisel

Behind the Scenes

Karie and I dreaming up a collaboration. Per usual ;)

 Me... in motion ;)

A glimpse of what's to come this year.  I am referring to motion, collaboration, and lots - I mean lots - of imagination ;)

As Sue Bryce made her way into people's homes via Creative Live, the beauty photography sector just boomed.  Suddenly the inspiration to mix natural light with a studio based setting and what else? WOMEN.  But to me, it was less about focusing on 'glamour' photography and more about the message of self-love.  Because THAT is what will separate 2 photographers on the same technical level -- the ability to have human connection with your subject.

And that is what makes my heart sing.  To look at my subject's eyes and let her know that it's just her and I. No judgement. No expectations. Just wild ideas. It might feel funny at first, but you have got to trust that this is a process and I won't let you down.  Why? Because in order to freely love yourself, you have to be vulnerable.  And it's that vulnerability that I will delicately place into my hands, honored to hold it, and transform it into an image to be celebrated.  Let's celebrate :)

How to shoot in cluttered space

It wasn't until a year into photographing that I realized too many details could really detract from the photo.  OR -- how beautiful simplicity can be in a beauty shoot.  Sometimes we're lucky and the cluttered space is actually beautiful.

Let's take for example this particular commercial shoot I did for Leidan Mitchell...

And even with the space being so beautiful, I focused on tighter shots that would tell the story, cleanly.
Focus on very, close up details rich with color to tell your story if the space itself isn't pretty.
 Story shot:
But what if you are with a bride and the room is horrible? What if you want to convey a simple beauty?  Well, let me share a little secret.

FIND A CURTAIN.  Or a sheet.

I saw these sheer curtains in their salon and immediately moved the model and stylist over there.  I had the stylist hold the curtains around her so that it would create a "room" around our model.  I wanted to take shots of her putting her dress and jewelry on so she was literally facing the curtain as I took a few shots like this:
Isn't it incredible what a little change of scenery can do to set a mood?  This time it was a curtain, but next time -- I might need to put them in front of a doorframe.  Study your space and use it well.

A little peek at the curtain action...
I also took some of her with the salon in the background since the space had beautiful coloring.
Difference in tones:
One of my favorite things that Jose Villa said in his workshop was "one for thee, one for me." Basically, when you are in a situation that requires specific shots for a client, get one for them, but then get one for you as an artist.  And this one, was definitely for me ;)
Think about your style, the tones and colors you'd like to portray in your work.  This is how you begin to achieve a consistent style, no matter where you are.  Find them in your space and remember that subtracting details isn't always a bad thing.  Hope this helps & let me know if you want more of these! :)

On being in front of the camera

Thought I'd share some iphone previews AND my thoughts on being in front of the camera from my shoot last week with Buffy :)

In writing this, I realize I'm not the "norm."  Unlike most people, I get in front of the camera frequently for projects like Outfit Chronicles so my experience is a little skewed.


For most of those projects, it's Jose behind the lens.  So this perspective is when the person isn't a family member or spouse.  Someone you still have to warm up to, which was my case this past week.  I met Buffy Dekmar at the Jose Villa workshop last winter and have been in touch via Facebook.  When she mentioned she was going to be in town this summer, I messaged her about setting up a shoot for Jose and I.  I'm in love with the quality of film and trusted Buffy to do a session of Jose and I.  I definitely connected with her work and was excited to have a more romantic session of Jose and I.

1.  TRUST  -- It is so important to trust and connect with your photographer.  Why?  Because on a NORMAL day-to-day life, people don't just get lovey-dovey in front of a camera.  It's not really natural.  If you trust the person behind the camera, then you can let go and KNOW they will portray you in the best way they can.  If you have hesitations or are self-conscious about something, it's totally okay to express it to your photographer. As a photographer, I prefer if someone tells me something they are uncomfortable with because I'll be much more sensitive to it.  But once you express it -- let it go.

2.  STYLE  -- I will go ahead and admit ... this can be very stressful.  Uggggh.  I can totally see how clients get stressed out about what they're going to wear!  What helped me so much was 2 things.  Picking out my favorite outfits from my Pinterest Board that seemed very "me" and having the styling help of Audree from Simply Audree Kate to find these things in real life!  I was doing two looks: one bridal and one "normal" Jose and Ale look.  Audree and I went shopping for the "Ale" look and it was a huuuge success.  She sent me inspiration photos for Jose's look so I worked my magic as best as possible.

3. Get Your Hair Did  -- Nothing like getting your hair and make up done by a professional to truly feel confident that day.  This was definitely one of my favorite things because I wasn't doing it myself.  I was able to pick a really intricate hair style and know that the stylist would pull it off.  And let me tell you, Leidan Mitchell once again killed it.  The talent is incredible there!

4. Let Go & Laugh  --  I know that sounds cheesy, but I PROMISE if you just let go and tell yourself "I'm going to pretend the photographer isn't there" and TRULY embrace how awesome that photographer is going to make you look, you will have the best time = awesome photos!  Granted it takes two -- the people in front and behind the camera.  Buffy was SO good at directing AND at calling me out!!  Haha, seriously.  I actually learned a lesson from her.  There was a moment when Jose and I were looking at each other and smiling, then Buffy said "Ale, give me a real smile."  And I laughed and said "geez Buffy, calling me out!"  But she was so right!  Pose after pose after pose, your smile can start to look very forced or fake.  When she bluntly called me out, it made me genuinely laugh and be mindful of when I needed to relax my smile.

Another moment that sticks out and why I love my man.  Buffy told Jose to whisper something in my ear that she couldn't hear.  Guess what he whispered?

You smell like cheetos.

Yep.  And I died.  I started laughing so hard because that is exactly what I love about Jose.  Though he should've said "hot cheetos."  :)  Can't wait to see these photos and share them with y'all!

Behind the Scenes: Lipstick Series

Just wanted to show you how fancy we get around here.

The floppy hat Meilan was wearing started to suddenly lose shape.  We were having a hard time lifting one of the flaps, so Hannah had the brilliant idea to slide behind her and hold it up with a stick.  The problem?  Well, aside from the obvious was that I could NOT STOP LAUGHING.  I mean... look at this!!

Hot mess is what that is!  And what's crazy is that at the right angle, it can actually work!

But due to lack of controlling my laughter, we had to ditch the magic stick.  Fortunately this was also cracking Meilan up, which only made for even more beautiful photos...

The truth is, Hannah knew what she was doing all along...

See you guys next week!! Leaving for Vegas in a half hour (eep!) to perform and attend my first ever Salsa congress.  I'll be performing a routine with 5 other girls to a song called Boogaloo which combines cha cha and mambo.  Then Monday I will be posting a video from a project I've somehow kept on the hush hush.  Have a great weekend!