Each year, We here at Blind 7 try to do something we have never done before, or something we find challenging. 3 years ago I set out to do a Bathing suit shoot on a Hot summer day. Yeah those of you that know me, know I HATE heat and the sun. I’m perfectly content with the 50’s and cloudy. Now to most professional photographers shooting beautiful woman in bikinis on the beach is child’s play, however for me it falls just one step below Pin-up on the difficulty scale. (pin-up being a 10/10 lol) But I never like to shy away from a challenge, so I set out with a few models one day and went to Mentor Headlands state park in Mentor OH. It is about as beachy as you can get in Ohio. The lake is large enough to make it look Oceanic in photos (sometimes). After baking in the sun and a few wardrobe mishaps we fled to the nearest BP for slushies. Over the next few days I pealed off my sun burn and got down to editing, here is a selection from 3 years ago my first attempt at this series.
Last year right around this time I thought to myself, why not give it another try. I have learned a lot in a year and I wanted to see if I could apply those things. I set out to put together another group of models. This time around it was hotter, brighter, and on top of it all we had some major equipment malfunctions so as not to be defeated I went old school (for me at least) and just used a 43″ reflector. This time I tried to theme the shoot a little as not to make it so “HOT girls in Bikinis” vibe. I like my challenging shoots to not only take the style of there original form but to add my own style in to make them as unique as possible. So after a few hours in the blazing sun we went and grabbed those BP slushies again. Here is a sample of last years.
Now on to this years SIN IN THE SUN 3. As most of you know I love to shoot models that have curves and are not considered “normal” model sizes and I love the #effyourbeautystandards movement. Now this is not bashing anyone of any size I find beauty in ALL shapes and sized models, I just like advocating a message that you don’t have to be 5’11 96 lbs to be a model. Modeling to me is like a painters brush set, some have thin bristles some are shorter and thicker some are long and thin some are cut at angles and some are stiff its up to the artist to use the tools to best represent the art work he/she is putting forth into the world. So when I set out to put this years SIS3 together I chose to use a variety of “non-industry standard” models. Their is nothing more eye catching than a woman with confidence no matter her size, shape, or race! Now I must take a moment to address something that I hear a lot of people say and I know it comes from a place of kindness however the phrase “You’re so brave” when commenting on a plus sized person in a skimpy outfits is not the best thing you can say. You might say to yourself well “they are brave to me cause I could never do that” but think for a min about how that statement could make you feel. What they hear is “OMG you’re to big to be wearing something that revealing, Fat people should not wear those things” or something along those lines. Just think before you speak 😀 we all need to do a little more of that.
Their is nothing more eye catching than a woman with confidence no matter her size, shape, or race!
After setting out to hand select as many models as I could we picked a day and began planning out different suits, Makeup ect. Although this presented its self with a lot more difficulty than I had anticipated as most Bikinis for +sized woman are god awfully designed and SUPER expensive. Nothing like another industry trying to take advantage of a niche market and exploiting the hell out of it, Ahh but that is for another blog. So after a few weeks we had managed to put together a good look book and had found some very beautiful models to Rock this!
As the shoot day approached Ohio did what Ohio always does and throws a last min wrench into the gears, By having it rain all week leading up. 2 days before the shoot I checked the local weather and we were expecting heavy thunder storms the whole shoot day. I was worried once again the weather would cost me a planned day. But after a talk with the other half of my brain my beautiful wife, we had created a game plan to shoot no matter the weather after all the models will be in swim suits the only issue was water proofing the equipment. So we made the announcement in the Facebook group, we set one of these up for all the bigger shoots to help keep everyone on the same page and keep organized, its free and it makes sure everyone has access to all the information and a way to go back and see what is done what still needs to be done ect. We did lose a few models before shoot day due to it being Flu season in Ohio and with the rain risking unhealthy peoples well being is not something I like to do.
Now on the day of we woke up and headed out to the beach, its about 45 min from my place just up the coast. As I was loading the car it was not raining yet so I had hopes that it was gonna pass without touching us, Boy was I wrong! By the time I was pulling out of the driveway it began to drizzle. We managed to stay at the edge of the storm for the whole drive, never really seeing more than a drizzle but as we pulled into the parking lot we noticed there was no place to set up as the park had removed the few pavilions they had the last time we were there. Thankfully we had about a hour to set up before the real storm hit, however the Bathrooms were wallpapered in bugs leaving us only the open tail gate of Nikki’s SUV for cover.
My assistant Juliet began by cutting a heavy duty Law and leaf bag open and taping it around the top edge of the 43″ Wescott Apollo orb. thus giving it a rain jacket. It hung loose over the bottom and did not cover the front leaving the light projection unobstructed and allowing air flow to the Alien Bee 800 that was on the inside so it didn’t overheat. Then she took the Vagabond MINI and hug it around her neck after cutting a head and arm holes in another bag. She wore the whole thing as a poncho keeping the Portable power pack dry, ventilated, and fully protected. We had placed the Orb on a single boom arm so it had no stand and Juliet became the portable human light stand. We then ran the cord for the light out and then down under the poncho to create a drip point for the exposed wire it may have all looked pretty crude but worked like a charm! As for the camera about 7 years ago I bought a $6 disposable rain sleeve for my cameras from Vans Camera, I think I’ve used it 1 other time but it worked perfectly for this event, The only real problem I ran into was once we began shooting I was getting soaked and couldn’t see from the water dripping on my head so I had to have someone hold a umbrella over my head. The only one we had was a little tiny pink one we had gotten in Philly last year but never opened. We had no idea it was so little LOL.
Our good friend Nikki Nisly from Nikki Nisly Photography, LLC Showed up to take some Behind the scenes photos for us and even managed to snag a little video
Just before we were about to start shooting we double checked the weather and I’m so glad we did. The worst of the storm was about to hit us so we all took the opportunity to retreat to our cars and chill for about 25 min till the worst of it passed. Once it looked as if it were slowing down we began to make the trek out on to the beach.
We decided to make a pit stop at the Dunes to shoot a few of the looks
After we knocked out a few on the dunes we decided to head down to the beach for the rest of the looks
While this job has its moments of Glitz and Glam, As professional creatives like Photographers we have to be ready for anything and sometimes even though we doubt ourselves, we need to be surrounded with people and loved ones that will push us, encourage us, and help us do some of the crazy shit our mind can come up with. With out my crew and those models who braved a storm I could not have created this series. So a special thank you to everyone involved. There is this old adage that “If you do want you love, you will never work a day in your life” I think this statement is only half right I love what I do, there is no feeling like creating art. For me its the best. It fills me with joy, however its a lot of blood sweat and tears to get there. I have spent years working my ass off to get were I am and I love every min of it!
Don’t every be afraid to try new things no matter your profession. Honestly the only thing holding you back….is you!
Now onto the reason you are here
MODEL: Megan Courtney – MUA self – SUIT: Torrid
MODEL: Megan Courtney – MUA self – SUIT: Torrid
MODEL: Oshean – MUA self – SUIT: Sourpuss’s mini skull bikini
MODEL: Ms. Lavender Bitters “The Sultry Midwest Siren” – MUA self – SUIT: Brown
MODEL: Lakota Shekhar – MUA self – SUIT: Ebay
MODEL: Kivaeyla – MUA self – SUIT: Amazon
MODEL: Chelsea Rothstein – MUA Jules – SUIT: Yandy
MODEL: Amber D – MUA Self – SUIT: Ebay
MODEL: Chelsea Rothstein – MUA Jules – SUIT: Walmart
MODEL: Jules Marie – MUA Self – SUIT: Black one piece
MODEL: Emily Gerson AKA the Queen of VisualGrammar – MUA Jules – SUIT: Torrid