Behind the Shot | Mia

“Behind the Shot” is a series of blog posts where I provide a little insight.  Behind the camera thoughts sort of speak.  Here I’ll talk about some technical geek speak, camera gear and maybe my thought process to getting the shot.  Every picture has its story so here is mine.


Mia.  Mamiya RZ67 Pro II | Leaf Aptus II 5

In this particular shot the model is the gorgeous Mia of No Ties Management and her hair & makeup was done by Ty Marie Frost.

Within a couple days of shooting my first beauty test with the Leaf Aptus II I was hooked.  The files are so sharp, the level of detail and dynamic range is just amazing. I’ve never been a pixel peeper so having an ultra sharp file wasn’t a priority to me, all that mattered to me is that the file is “sharp enough.”  However shooting medium format digital turned me into a pixel peeper.  I think I’m ruined.  But I digress.

Just shooting with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II is a different process.  Since its a manual focus camera it slows me down.  Actually the process itself is slow to the point where I’m checking and re-checking the focus through the waist level finder then checking again in Capture One.  Once I know that the focus is on point then I can take just carry on and shoot as normal.

This beauty shot of Mia was taken in Ty’s living room.  Typically I’m used to shooting in studio spaces that are like 2,000+ sq feet of warehouse space, however all that space isn’t needed to shoot beauty.  Its nice to have but, isn’t detrimental to getting the shot.  To give an idea of the space we were shooting in it was big enough to fit 2 background stands, 15ft wide of seamless paper, a c-stand with a boom arm.  The ceilings were tall enough to setup the boom arm with one gridded beauty dish.  The seamless paper literally took up the width of the room on the short end and on the long end I was able to have enough working distance with Mia.  It’s amazing how much room or lack of was used to create this.  Granted a couple more feet of working distance between the background and Mia would of been nice, but not necessary.

When it comes to makeup for beauty shoots I’m not a fan of outrageous makeup looks that screams “look at me!”  My style is more of that clean, natural beauty that looks like a model is not wearing makeup, but actually is.  I find that this is a timeless look that will be stylish regardless of seasonality or time of the year.  On this day Mia we had a couple of beauty makeup looks.  One of my favorites happen to be Mia with a red lip, light smokey eyes and her hair up in a messy bun.

One day I was watching this documentary on Netflix about New York photographer Bill Cunningham.  Bill is a New York Times style photographer who is passionate about street fashion.  The documentary is a pretty good.  What Bill said towards the end of movie resonated with me. He cited a quote “He who seeks beauty will find it.”  And here I think I’ve found mine.  Look forward to shooting more with this gem.  Here’s another one of Mia just because.


Check out more of my Behind the Shot blog posts here.

-Rodney Alan

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