Revisiting the Past

Dawn and Greg of AvalosPhoto sponsored a photo shoot at Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Museum.  The invitation went out to a special crop of  Northern Californian photographers and aspiring models.  The concept for this event was to provide themselves and other creatives an outlet to develop personal projects.   This was a good way to give back to the local industry as personal projects are hard to plan.   You meet really great people who are good in their craft and it’s real fun when they share the same commitment to excellence. Besides there is an incredible bonus, an honest recommendation.  Meeting and working with other established photographers, you get to know who they are.


Professional Studio lighting is not an inexpensive improvisational tool, this is why most photographers stay away from professional grade lighting when shooting on location.  Arriving at the location, a few hundred pounds of lighting gear were unpacked and properly calibrated.  This type of lighting is particularly important to get the commercial look desired.  The Profoto lights and modifiers contribute to the look that express the beauty, edge and color expected of this project.  It’s pure bliss to take on practical challenges and this site has it’s unique complexities.  This  personal assignment required the right color accuracy as the end result was important to capture rustic side of the antiques which expressed the good ole days, but with the contrast that says,  we are living them now.

For this themed location,  props were not required.  Often they are brought in to help tell the story, but not at this museum.  It is filled with forgotten memories that filled a childhood.  In fact, subtracting elements from the image was important to ensure clarity of the subject.   If the image has too many elements, it broadens the story too much.  As a client once said, “I am still looking at her smile and you are telling me about the details in the background”.  It’s the attention to detail that is part of a proper story.



The results of any photo shoot is immensely dependent upon the person being photographed.  If the person is unwilling to take the photographers direction, then no success will be achieved and the client will be unhappy.    Preparing a positive attitude is very important, and an honest relationship with your photographer can speak volumes. If you are having a bad day, everyone knows it.  If you bring someone, make sure they are encouraging and supportive of you.  If the person brings with them a wonderful attitude, the best portraits can be achieved.



This turned out to be a very hot summer day.  After all of the photographers had gone and the shoot was winding down. This was the last shot of the day.  Inspiration for this came from Ellen Von Unwerth. You might know her work if you have seen a Guess Jeans ad.  Her black and white work inspired us to bring more lights to compliment the unbearably hot afternoon. The strobes would cut away the deep afternoon shadows from their faces for this commercial look.  Thankfully our friends had beautiful skin, this kind of light turns a camera into the Hubble telescope looking at the lunar surface.