February Faces // A Closer Look

March 14, 2019  •  1 Comment

February Faces // Recap on a personal project through the month of February 2019

This project started off as a personal need to do something creative - for myself. I wanted a project that would run for a short time, would force me to pick up my camera every day (in the dead of winter), and had a firm end-date. At first, February looked relatively open with only a few events booked for my regular clients. It seemed like the perfect time to take on a project.  What I didn't realize was how much time and energy a personal project could take. I had a few days where I felt completely drained of any creativity. Often times, that was fixed in the first few minutes of conversation with the person of the day. I had a reason to be there - and ideas started to come to life. 

Original plan: 

  • Personal project
  • Take one person's portrait per day following my strict "5-minute-portrait" style.
  • 28 people.
  • Shoot a new portrait style out of my comfort zone. 
  • Estimate of time it would take:
    • 2.33 hours of shoot time / 5 minutes per person (140 minutes of shoot time)
    • 30 minutes per day for commute / 840 minutes travel time
    • Forgot to estimate time for the edit, caption and posts each day. 
    • 16.5 hours total project estimate (because I forgot to add in the above...ugh)

What actually happened:

  • Personal project completed
  • I missed a couple days because, I was discouraged and couldn't get myself to pick up my camera.
  • 31 total people and one dog photographed
  • Times varied from 5 minutes to hour time slots. 
  • Shot portraits out of my comfort zone (some, not all)
  • Didn't keep track of the time I spent for the edit/posting. I would say at least 30 minutes per portrait. 
  • Total time:
    • 8.33 hours of shoot time / 17 minutes average per person (500 minutes of shoot time)
    • 880 minutes travel time (pretty close to the estimated time!)
    • Approx. 14 hours of edit, writing content for social media post, and posting
    • 37 hours

In each post below, I will break down each portrait set up and give a little story behind my thoughts of the session experience. I would love to hear your thoughts and personal experience if you were one of my subjects! Share below in the comments. 

January 23rd: Lauren // my first portrait. This photo was posted on February 1, but photographed on January 23rd. It was posted to launch the project and also helped get the word out to ask for volunteers. I wanted to purchase a new light - so I went to West Photo and rented the set up. I spent about an hour in the studio with Lauren to work with the light and the idea of doing some new portraiture. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 85mm 1.4, Studio space + Profoto b10 and octobox, south facing window light

Time: 1 hour

February 2: Willy and Kacia // Chinese New Year - I was invited to their home to celebrate Chinese New Year. Willy and Kacia were cooking up a storm for their family and friends. I had the chance to steal them away for a quick photo. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma art 35mm 1.4, natural (kitchen) light

Time: 1 minute (attended the part for 30 minutes)

February 26: Anatoly (left) // We just wrapped up with CreativeMornings/MSP at the Mia. We tried to find a couple of fun spots to go - but I was also a little paranoid that we'd get in trouble for photographing in the wrong part of the museum. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm 1.4, window light

Time: 7 minutes

February 20: Sierra (middle) // Fun fact - Sierra was one of my volunteers for my senior portrait project in 2010. For this photo, we met at Lake Johanna and played in the snow. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma Art 35mm 1.4, natural light outside.

Time: 9 minutes

February 3: Kelsey (Right) // Kelsey was due to have her baby in just a few short weeks. Although it was later in the morning, it was really foggy outside - and the paths were really icy. It was hard to focus on an extra creative shot - as I was fighting my urge to penguin walk and watch Kelsey's every step so she wouldn't slip. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV,  85mm 1.4, natural outside light, foggy conditions

Time: 5 minutes (shot during their full family session)


February 4: Sheri (left) // I had quite the cold that week and had thought about cancelling plans with Sheri. I'm glad I didn't. We spent time talking, walking and photographing inside Como. Although the photos were quick, our time together left a lasting impression on me. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma art 35mm 1.4, window light from the glass conservatory, shot through the ferns

Time: 6 minutes (1 hour 20 minutes spent at Como Conservatory) 

February 5: Brittany (right) //

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm 1.4, natural window light

Time: 2 minutes (2 hour total time for business shoot) 

February 5: Tom (left) // We met at Dogwood Coffee a few minutes before our CreativeMornings/MSP organizer meeting. I had it in my original plans to bring my new profoto light, but when I walked in to see how busy it was, I ditched that plan. I was really uncomfortable with how RED Tom is in this portrait - but then I realized how many times I've seen Tom wearing color. Color fits Tom so well. However, I do enjoy the black and white edit posted on my instagram. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma art 35mm 1.4, indoor RED neon light, glass window behind added extra element of reflection

Time: 7 minutes

February 14: Jon (right) // We met inside the foyer of his office building downtown. Long story short? I was asked to not take photos inside the building. Aka...kicked out. It's ok though, I stepped outside and shot through the window into Penny's Coffee's space...bending the rules just a bit. The glass reflection showed the action/movement outside - yet you can still see Jon as well as the barista and round lights from inside. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma art 35mm 1.4, shot from the street through the window

Time: 17 minutes

February 7th:  Mary (left) and Lindsey (right) // I wasn't prepared for how powerful this photo could be. Lindsey and her mother Mary were at this American Heart Association luncheon as their heart story was highlighted. Visit this site to learn more. I asked if they could step out into the hallway where the large letters spelled out "Life is why" - we stuck by the life. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70mm, there was a large window behind me

Time: 2 minutes (shot at the beginning of a 2 hour event)

February 21st:  Carol (left) // Carol was in town early preparing for her Tedx Minneapolis talk. I don't want to give away allll the secrets to this shot, but it's shot in a hotel room with natural light. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70mm

Time: 28 minutes

February 15: Jahna (right) // Jahna and I had mostly interacted on Twitter...that's right, we hadn't met until the day of the shoot. She invited me to photographer her in home. We landed in this great front porch using an oversized wicker chair and one of the green plants in the foreground. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm 1.4

Time: 24 minutes

February 12: Mitch (left) // it was a snow day for us both. We worked from home and I was determined to get out and take the photo. Mitch was a good sport and we drove a quarter mile over to the neighborhood park (it was ridiculously windy and cold). We originally planned to snowshoe, but then one of each our snowshoes BROKE! The snow was quite deep and I needed an extra hand to make it up the hill where we shot this photo. I had Mitch walk back and forth a few times. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, Sigma art 35mm 1.4, natural light

Time: 10 minutes

February 10: Bryan (right) // More snow!?! I sent a message to him asking if we could change plans a bit and meet in a more central spot because of all the snow we were getting. Bryan was up for it and we walked through the snow to find this cool bridge. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70mm natural light

Time: 5 minutes

February 6: Kjerstin (left) // I hadn't lined up a portrait for that day yet - and saw Kjerstin in her red coat and immediately knew how I'd create this portrait. I used this art display, created by Girl Friday Creative lived in Fourpost. It took a few times walking back and forth to catch her in right spot. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70mm, indoor light

Time: 6 minutes (during a 2 hour event)

February 11 : Megan and Koopa (right) // Katie Steller had invited me in to use her studio space - Steller Connect. Secret's out - I'm not usually comfortable shooting in a studio. While excited about the offer, I was anxious. Megan brought her rescue pup Koopa along and immediately my anxiousness went away. We grabbed one of the old stylist chairs out of the back room and pulled it in front of the white seamless backdrop. Many treats were involved. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50 1.4, Bowens single light with umbrella

Time: 38 minutes

February 21: Chloe (left) // We shot inside The Coven, a co-working space designed for women and non-binary folks. Chloe is a member! There were so many sweet spots to shoot in, but the chairs we found first were my favorite. Her bright smile lights up the room and made it really easy for me to photograph her. A couple days after the shoot, Chloe sent me a couple texts that were really powerful and influenced how I thought about this project. Finally, it was coming together (and the end was in sight!) 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm 1.4

Time: 21 minutes

February 11: Ben (right) // I also photographed Ben inside of Steller Connect. I had a few favorites where he was sitting in the chairs in front of the white seamless paper, but after a few texts back and forth after the shoot (and a profile photo change he made) I looked at this portrait again. I don't think I gave it enough credit at first. I thought, "cool - another portrait with window light". But, it wasn't about the lighting, the background or how he was posed. It was about Ben. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm 1.4

Time: 16 minutes

February 16th: Mary and John - wedding day! // Mitch and I attended and celebrated John and Mary's wedding day. We were "off" of official photography duties - but I wanted to get a quick portrait of the two of them. Ideally we could have gone outside or walked away for a few minutes, but this was about their wedding day - not my project. I let go of the control I wanted to have, and took their photograph in that time and in that space. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 35mm sigma art 1.4, indoor lights and 8000 ISO

Time: 1 minute

February 20: Melinda// Snowstorm! I had to be at a photoshoot in St. Paul later that day - and couldn't reschedule it. We had gotten quite a bit of snow overnight, and it was coming down through the day. I gave Melinda an "out" - but she was all in. She grabbed her husband's truck and made the trek downtown St. Paul. She was up for anything - and yes, that meant snow angels! Her red coat and blue hat popped out in otherwise very snowy conditions. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70, 

Time: 18 minutes

February 25th: Kit // Kit had done all the legwork ahead of time to make sure we had access to the top floor. When we arrived, we were told know. Although slightly deflated, we decided to take the elevator up anyways to see if the door might be open. It was! We were up on the 35th floor and had the Minneapolis skyline in the background. It. was. perfect. When I look back at how I thought this project would turn out - these images would be the example I had in my head. But, this fit Kit. It didn't fit every person I worked with. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 16-35mm, two Canon Speedlites with Magmod attachments - Magsphere. One light set behind and one light hand held triggered by remote. 

Time: 17 minutes

February 22: Kate (left) // I photographed Kate and Nadirah in the same time frame individually and together. This partnership is pretty special and I'm glad I could capture a few extra photos for the two of them.

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm - shot inside with a large window as the lightsource

Nadirah (right) // Nadirah moved naturally - changing up her posing click by click. I have a strong feeling she's done this before :D. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm - outside with natural light, mural in background

Time: 21 minutes total 

February 24: Ikram // I spoke with Ikram a few days before knowing that she might be attending the snowball fights between the two Minneapolis mayors. I thought it could be a fun spot to take a quick portrait. It was REALLY really windy and yes, it took some extra hands to hold this hood up (warmth + fashion!) This portrait made the news! Check it out here.

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70mm, natural light, multiple hand warmers in pockets and gloves

Time: 2 minutes

February 13: Charles (left) // This was the portrait session I was the most nervous for. There was literally NO reason to be nervous. Charles is great - and was comfortable in front of the camera. I just really didn't want to screw it up. I didn't want to waste his time. As I got over that, I realized that this nervousness isn't a bad thing. It fully prepared me to take this session seriously and taught me how to handle this creative energy in a controlled manner. I was exhausted after this session.  

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 50mm, in office space, natural window light on a very sunny day

Time: 43 minutes

February 27: Maygen (right) // we were introduced through a mutual friend and had only met the week before the shoot. At that time, we had interacted for all of about 5 minutes. Add on a few more minutes to schedule logistics and there I was, having breakfast and photographing Maygen! She brought me to a local favorite - Bryant Lake Bowl. As soon as I walked in, I knew where I'd shoot her portrait. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 35mm, indoor window light

Time:  16 minutes (we had breakfast first :D) 

February 8: Annalee (top) // I have a lot of favorite photos from this session. Annalee seemed comfortable in front of the camera. She moved with ease and was up for whatever art direction I gave her. I moved around the most photographing her. If you look at the lens choice for this shot, it was the only time I used my 70-200. I stood up on the second floor and photographer her on the main level. I gave a lot more hand signals than verbal cues for direction. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 70-200 2.8, indoors - but some diffused natural light from the large windows.

Time: 30 Minutes

*Bonus* February 21st:  Carol (bottom) // I regretted not bringing my tripod in for this shot. It's handheld, so if you look closely, it's blurry. It was a very public setting - and I didn't want anyone else in the image to be recognizable. I asked Carol to stay as still as she could. I brought my arms close to my body, held the camera up to my eye and checked focus. I held my breath and clicked the shutter. I took 12 shots in this style and this is the one that turned out to be the best. I'd like to try a few others in this style - but with a light to help freeze the subject's movement just a bit more. 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 16-35mm, 1/5sec at f/14, ISO 2500 (no flash)

Time: 28 minutes

February 28: Rebecca (me) // Well, this was the hardest portrait to take. I saved it for last - and when I look back, I maybe should have shot it first. I was so uncomfortable and couldn't figure out how to loosen myself up. I drove around Minneapolis and finally landed at the State Fairgrounds thinking it would be quieter (there were SO many cars on-site and I interrupted a Pokemon raid...). Either way, I found a spot I liked enough and just shot. I had started out on a 10 second timer and kept missing the queue. 2 seconds ended up working out better. When I got home to edit the images and get ready for the final post of the day - all I could notice was the new lines. The curved line under my chin. The line next to my cheek...and the lines by my chin where I'm carrying extra winter weight. Admittedly - these are the only lines I tried to clean up a bit in any of the images. I think that's why I like this black and white edit. The hair covers up half my face.


But now, three weeks later - I look at these photos with some pride. I shot some pretty great self-portraits - a task that is logistically hard in the first place. Add in the winter weather, a dying cell phone (that was triggering the shot), and a tired me post workouts on top of a 28 day photography project. I don't see the lines anymore. I just see me (in my favorite Woolrich second-hand coat). 

Set up: 5d Mark IV, 24-70, natural light, 2 second timer triggered by the Canon remote app on my iphone

Time: 70 minutes



Mary Lynch(non-registered)
I love all of these.
No comments posted.
January February March April May June July August September (1) October (2) November (2) December (2)
January (1) February March (2) April (1) May June July August (2) September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December