renee.

Yesterday, I had the fantastic opportunity of taking Renee’s headshots! We met up at Common Roots Cafe in Minneapolis. The cafe staff was super accommodating, giving us access to the private room in back for our initial photos. There was a huge window on one wall, flooding the entire room with light. Somehow, I keep lucking out in terms of weather for my important shoots. Once again, the sky was just overcast enough to give the world the perfect natural diffused light. It was a little windy, but at just over 50 degrees, it was the perfect day.

With portraits, especially headshots, it is extremely important to draw attention to the eyes. That was a snap with Renee. Her blue-green eyes are absolutely magnetic and are complimented perfectly by her big, warm smile. As soon as I got set up, we jumped right in. We utilized every aspect of that room that we could for our first set of shots. From there, we went outside to the vine-covered wall on the side of the Common Roots building. There was also a great alley full of interesting backdrops just a few feet away. As we started working more, we both started to relax and get more into it. It was great to watch her after I suggested she think of a few of her favorite roles she has played to use as inspiration for posing and facial expressions. That seemed to really loosen her up. She started taking moments to internalize, and then she’d come back up with a brand new look on her face. It was such a theatre thing, and something I can totally identify with. There were also just some great lighthearted moments. At one point, Renee was posing in front of a brick fence next to the back of a house. Next thing we know, someone is coming out of the wooden gate right next to the fence. We casually strolled away as if we’d never been there, but started laughing the second we were out of earshot.

After we finished up at Common Roots, we drove over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. There was tons to work with there. Staircases, windows, brightly colored walls, and more. This was my favorite shot, taken just outside the lobby. There were tons of these great red twig plants and they were just the right amount of texture and color to make the perfect backdrop.

We wandered all over the grounds of the MIA, plus went across the street to Washburn Fair Oaks. The park was totally muddy and gross (yay spring?) and we got a lot of weird people walking by, but we still managed to get some shots I’m proud of. I got over 700 photos total in the two hours we spent shooting, 400 of which made the grade to be sent off to Renee for approval. All in all, a very successful session.

I used my L series 50mm for the entire shoot. I played with my aperture and shutter speed a lot, but my ISO was hardly ever above 200. I used a reflector for a few shots, but for the most part, we didn’t really need it. The natural light was just so good. I do wish I had remembered to bring my ladder. While cumbersome, it is so useful for getting a variety of different angles. Live and learn, I suppose.

Thanks to the fine people at Common Roots Cafe for being so helpful, and for making tasty food. I tried a coconut lime tea cake and it was awesome. And of course, thank you, Renee! I had a blast working with you and I hope you like your photos!