I love creating stylized portraits — images with a concept, a story, a theme. I never ‘snap’ photos, but instead I create opportunities to capture beautiful scenes, people, and elements in front of me. To say I love my job is an understatement. It fuels me in so many ways, and every time I’m on set seems like a day of reward for myself (and hopefully for my clients!). Obviously there are challenges, but these challenges tend to excite my mind and push my creativity.
In one part of my job I am a New York City fashion photographer. Whether I shoot a model for a cover of a magazine, an album cover for a singer, or a campaign for a beauty brand, each and every shoot starts by discuss concept, goals and visual style.
I never approach a shoot and ‘hope for the best’. For each shoot I discuss why my client is hiring me to create images for them, who the audience is for their images, and what the overall concept of the shoot should be.
This is true for EVERY commercial shoot, but it’s also true for every single portrait shoot as well. I’m often hired to create striking and memorable images for individuals who value my photography and want to celebrate something in their lives. Whether it’s a special birthday, a personal milestone, or an anniversary, I also capture portraits for ‘real people’… everyday people who want to create beauty with me.
In fact, the way I plan for a portrait is very similar (basically the same) to the way I plan for a magazine cover shoot or commercial client. We plan concept, goals, color palette, wardrobe, hair and makeup and more. During the consultation process with a portrait client, we dive into what they want their images to show about themselves, what they are passionate about, and the type of imagery they are drawn to. Through this process we develop mood boards, I gather my collaborative creative team, and give my portrait clients their very own ‘fashion shoot’. All the bells and whistles too!
Every shoot I work in collaboration with my clients in order to create something magical— not just the typical, everyday photography they can get anywhere. We create a work of art together! I wanted to take a moment to share two of my most recent portrait sessions to show the type of imagery I create, and how planning and concept-development play a role in creating memorable results.
Note: If you’d like to hire me to shoot YOUR stylized portrait session, I’m happy to provide you more information in our complete investment guide to walk you through the process, discuss prices and more!
Hope Coleman— High School Senior Portrait Fashion Shoot
Hope contacted me to shoot a highly stylized senior portrait session to express her individuality and creativity. In her pre-shoot consultation I discovered that Hope is an artist who loves fashion, rich colors (blue is her favorite!) and embracing creativity. These would be a couple of the elements I would put together in a Pinterest board for her to review, and together we would select the look to give her a variety of unforgettable senior portraits. Once we met, I realized just how much of a beautiful person she is, inside and out! She was warm, enthusiastic and the PERFECT type of client— eager to experiment and try something new in pursuit of creating beauty! We created several looks in the studio and then Hope was brave enough to get her portrait taken (with hundreds of onlookers) in the center of Times Square! Not only were the photos beautiful, but that definitely created some unforgettable memories!
I styled with rich colors and a pop-art flair to match her personal style, shot a floral scene in blues/purples to match her favorite color, and ventured into the streets of NYC to capture some high-fashion scenes to commemorate her visit!
I invited Hope to share a bit about her experience:
“My name is Hope Coleman and I had one of the best days of my life doing a photoshoot with Lindsay Adler and her crew. My experience was nothing short of amazing. As an artist myself, I love to observe others in their element. With Lindsay and her crew I realized that when you choose a career that you are passionate about it makes working a different experience. Everyone who worked with me was so insanely talented I couldn’t begin to describe it. It was so inspiring to see the different techniques and talent that had been developed in all of these hard-working people. This shoot gave me so much inspiration I decided I wanted to be a fashion design major, so maybe I could work with people like Lindsay and her crew in my future and experience the joy and passion doing something that I love as they do. This shoot gave me the utmost confidence in the field of art and in myself. To be transformed and to see the beauty that every young girl wants to see in herself gave me a more positive view of my appearance. I hope that someday I can inspire others with my work as incredibly as this shoot inspired me. I could not be more thankful for this shoot and I will be eternally indebted to every single person that made this happen.”
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Ashley Lindsey — Birthday Portrait and Couple’s Session:
My portrait shoot with Ashley and her husband was one of the most enjoyable session I’ve ever done— I felt like I really connected with the couple and we had a BLAST planning and shooting it! In the pre-shoot consultation I learned that Ashley is a portrait photographer who believes in the importance of existing in photos— showing that she values her own craft by have beautiful portraits taken of her and her husband Cody.
Ashley hired me to shoot her while we were both at a conference in Palm Springs, so we developed our concepts around the location as well as the couple’s personality. For the location, we would shoot some dramatic and cinematic shots in the desert (to reflect her love of fashion and dramatic imagery) followed by some more “Wes Anderson inspired” images to reflect the quirkiness of this couple. We only shot for a couple hours in the hot hot desert (in September!) but we were able to create a striking variety quickly, then go have a fabulous brunch together!
I asked Ashley to write a bit about the experience… and she was very enthusiastic. 😀
“So how does one end up at breakfast with their idol who happens to be a WORLD FAMOUS photographer? You just ask. 😉
I knew 2017 was going to be BIG for my photography business because I was going to make it BIG. But I wasn’t expecting it to overrun into my personal life. Silly me I know, they’re totally connected. Last spring another photographer I adore announced she was hosting a new conference just for portrait photographers. I was excited even before she told us the line up of speakers! I knew they’d all be the best of the best. And boy was I right. 8 of the worlds top portrait photographers and all Canon Explorers of Light, including THE LINDSAY ADLER!!!! This was going to be HUGE! When we found out the location was going to be in Palm Springs I asked my husband, Cody, to come along to hang out.
A year ago or so I read an article or post where Lindsay talked about going to her favorite photographer for her 30th birthday. I thought this was a genius idea! After all, I can’t preach #existinphotos if I don’t. My 40th is a few years away but I thought with the cost and planning it’s going to take me several years to line up everyone I would love to work with. Lindsay is on my top 5 list! When I found out she was going to be one of the speakers in Palm Springs I thought I would reach out and just ask if she would be interested in a session while she was out there. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure she shot regular people anymore! When she emailed me back herself I FREAKED out! No seriously. Like heart-stopped-didn’t-blink-called-everyone-I-know-freaked-out. Lindsay FREAKIN’-Adler just emailed me. This world famous photographer, who’s one of the reason’s I’m a photographer, who’s book “Shooting in Shitty Light,” was one of the first photography related things I ever bought, JUST EMAILED ME BACK HERSELF AND SHE SAID YES!
Once I got over the shock that I was going to meet her, going to be photographed by her, and going to be able to watch her work, I think I emailed back in a calm, not totally fan-girled out way. She didn’t fire me as a client so that’s good! We emailed back and forth talking about ideas and locations. She made it so easy. When you book someone like Lindsay you book them for their style. You are expecting an EPIC look, an EPIC shot. So it was very cool to be a part of her process. At some point she and Cody started texted about logistics and he was sold. Loved her wit and charm. 😉
I happened to be near reception when she checked in to our hotel so walked on over and introduced myself. Instantly it was like meeting an old friend. She was so kind and welcoming with a big ‘ole hug! the next day while I’m sitting in one of the lectures I get a text from her with the most GORGEOUS red gown. Bright Lindsay Adler red! It was a surprise gown she had made for me for our session! Try not freaking out in a room of 200 people when you get that text! Plus I was now texting with her! I was totally star stuck!
5am hair and makeup is early. But when you want an EPIC desert sunrise image you do what you must! The hamu artist Amanda, was so nice! She was professional, listened to what we wanted, and was so great to work with. Even when it was 103 degrees and I was dying, she didn’t care a bit! And Jamie, Lindsay’s assistant, was fantastic! Super kind and funny. We loaded up ALL of our clothes on top of her equipment and head out to the desert. I was planning on taking behind the scenes shots of all of this but I was having so much fun I forgot! I did manage to get a few on location thankfully!
The spot Lindsay found was perfect! The plan was formal look, Wes Anderson-esq theme, then casual. So glad we did it in that order, it got HOT quick. And that’s coming from a TX girl! It was amazing to watch her work. You could tell there was a plan in her head but that she was also going with what the environment was giving her. From a photographers perspective I was fascinated watching her pose Cody and I. He’s tall and slim and I’m average and curvy. I knew why she was tilting and angling most of the time, but I definitely picked up a few new things too! Her posing is one of the original reasons I found her years ago, she is so DANG good at it. It was awesome!
3 outfits later and we were done. It went by so fast, I could have worked with her all day, she just made it so easy and fun! I was a bit bummed, it was so cool getting to know her I didn’t want it to end. So when she asked if we had time for breakfast we both basically shouted YES!
Investing in photography is investing in memories. Investing in Lindsay is gaining a new friend. I highly recommend doing both! “
Here are some of the wonderful images that I captured for Ashley and her husband. It’s experiences like this – that truly make others happy as a result of my work – that make this all worth while 🙂
Click to enlarge photos