We live in a small suburban community in Southern California. There are no walls surrounding our vast 1700 square foot estate to protect us from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. People walk the sidewalks in the evenings with their kids and pets, and neighbors routinely visit just to say hello. One of our neighbors is a lovely lady who has become our children’s adopted grandmother, since their actual grandparents live out of state. She is a sweet and generous woman who lives alone, but has become a part of our family. We regularly share holidays and homemade meals with her, which is delightful because she is an amazing cook!
I’ve been looking for willing subjects to photograph, since I’ve recently acquired some strobes and a small bit of other portrait gear. She seemed like the perfect
victim volunteer. She thought the idea sounded fun (she obviously had never posed for an amateur photographer), so we set a date for the weekend to take some shots.
My goal with this self-assigned project was three-fold: 1) take some photos of my friend that wouldn’t embarrass her or myself, 2) learn a bit about running a shoot and working with models, and 3) figure out how to work the darn strobes and radio transmitters.
Helping me was a very capable none-year old, my son. He was given the task of holding a reflector, which, based on the volume of complaining must have been the heaviest reflector in the world. Good help is hard to find, especially at the rates I pay.
My model was an amateur photographer’s dream–patient and interested. Never once did she call her agent or need to be coaxed from her trailer.
We spent about two hours shooting in several spots around her home and garden, laughing as we tried different silly things, and ultimately capturing a few images that I think represent the kind spirit and good humor of this very special person in our lives.