Professional Grade: CapoNata LookBook (photoshoot)

I packed up the kit and headed out to Invicta Gym to shoot the lookbook for Capo-Nata Apparel. The freshman athletic apparel line is making waves with a line of practical sports and lifestyle pieces, and the most effective ‘water-shedding’ sports top that I’ve ever seen. The patented design is made out of neoprene… yeah. I’m so getting one.

I don’t want to attempt a butchered misspelling of this lovely model’s name… but she was so much fun to work with. And she’s got the most amazing set of abs… omg it’s totally not fair. I wanted to hit the floor and do some pushups just on general principle. LOL. The designer wanted her to look bronzed (and slightly flushed). She had a tan everywhere but her face, so I darkened her skin a full two shades to match the rest of her body. In addition to a darker foundation, I used Gleam in Rose Gold and Bronze Gold to give her that healthy glow. I finished with individual lashes, a light line around the eyes, and a nude-pink lipstick.

Hair Diva Edica Casanova hooked up her hair by working with her curl and texture, to make her curls more defined and boost the shine.

Her final look called for a more defined eye and a red lip.
My second model was the lovely Jessica Minter (who is also  Gleam Girl… yayy!!). Her look was more dramatic, so I defined her eyes with By Terry Ombre Blackstar and some homemade demi lashes. On her lips, I mixed a combination of MAC’s Candy Yum Yum and Dior silver lipgloss.

I brightened her lip a bit as the shoot went on…

Nine hours later, we wrapped and I headed home. I can’t wait to see the final photos!

Professional Grade: Channeling Tia Carrere

I got the opportunity to shoot with a model who is a dead ringer for actress Tia Carerre.

This is Edo. She says people tell her all the time that she looks like Carrere. Edo is based in New York… but decided to take a trip to our sunny state and hang out with photographer Nadirah Bahar and I for quick photo shoot.

Checking test shots with Nadirah

Edo was incredibly easy to work with. I had such a ball enhancing her fantastic natural features with contour and highlight. Eventually, we even added a bit of color…

All in all it was a good shoot. These are shots from my little pocket camera… I know that Nadirah’s shots are going to be loads better. When I get the final photos, I’ll share them!

Professional Grade: Colorful color

I was supposed to take a nap today. I rose before the sun… squeezed in a workout… and was supposed to do a quick practice photo shoot for my company.

And then I got a message: “Model confirmed… see you at 10:30!”


Here’s what happened: Friend asked me to do a ‘colorful lashes’ shoot earlier in the week. But he never heard back from the model… so we scrapped it. Until she confirmed… THIS.MORNING… about half an hour before I was scheduled to leave for the product shoot.


This is Erin. She was an amazing sport… and it turns out she had a really legitimate reason for confirming at the last possible second. So I put on makeup, she smiled and posed, and we got some amazing shots.

Then we got on with the business of shooting for the company. And since Erin was already on set… well…

She made up for the last minute confirmation:

So it was a good day. We even wrapped on time for me to make a few HABIBI deliveries… so I’m not too put out.

But I AM exhausted. So I’m gonna go to sleep… until I wake up. Ciao for now!

Professional Grade: Sue Wong

I teamed up with the incomparable Kaylene Peoples (Agenda EIC), Bianca McMillan (hair) and Nia Dennis (stylist) for a photoshoot for Sue Wong.

We got to work on the lovely Isabella for the shoot:

I used the Armani Face Palette in #1 (Neo Black) to create this look. I used Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #27 as a base, then patted matte black shadow on top. I softened the edges with the shimmer charcoal green through the crease and under her waterline. I then put Armani Waterproof Eye Pencil in her waterline and applied Velour False Lashes (They’re Real). I contoured her cheeks with Chanel Notorious, and blush from the Armani Palette. On her lips is OCC Liptar in Memento.

Throughout the shoot, I only changed her lip color. The eyes stayed the same.

We also worked on a gorgeous male model (who’s name escapes me)…

…with stylist Nia Dennis.
From the set…
Photographer Ash Gupta
I LOVE this picture. I don’t think Ash was too fond of it, but I love it. So I’m keeping it. 🙂
I had SO much fun on this shoot. Afterwards I crawled home and fell straight into bed. Today I got lovely texts from Isabella and the rest of the team. We work well together. Hopefully, we’ll do it again soon!

Tales from the Set: Night Shoot

I type this with  a minimal amount of sleep, but a maximum amount of satisfaction. I’m alive after a last minute photoshoot that meant pulling double duty… playing makeup artist and stylist… and maintaining some direction for the crew to get us in and out at a decent hour.

This is Onna:

This gorgeous young lady is of Egyptian descent… and was perfect for an upcoming spread for Agenda magazine. After many emails and a little coaxing, she agreed to pull an ‘all nighter’ with Alex Barakat (Studio 838 Photographer), Bianca Lauren McMillan (hair), and myself (makeup/styling/shoot coordinator).

She hung in there like a champ while we painted, pressed, pulled and adorned her for the pictures. She has such a great personality and was ever so patient as we coordinated multiple looks for the editorial.

 My goal was to get everyone wrapped by 11pm. We shot the final frame at 10:58pm. Success! We’re exhausted, but happy. I shot these ‘behind the scenes’ photos with hubby’s camera… but I got a preview of the ‘professional’ shots, and they look AMAZING.

Thank you to Bianca Lauren McMillan, Alex Barakat, Onna, Ash Gupta and everyone else on the crew who made this shoot possible, and so beautiful. You guys are AMAZING. I have no idea how we’d have gotten it done on such short notice without you.

Professional Grade: Behind the Scenes of a Photoshoot

I didn’t participate in the shoot for the above photo, but I’m using the image from Agenda Magazine it because it helps to illustrate my point.

The above credits belong to the following team:

Swimsuits: Beach Bunny Swimwear, Maaji, We Are Handsome
Jewelry: Devon Leigh, Miss G, Nissa Jewelry, EZZA Exlusive, Blonde Ambition
Designers: Alo, Paul and Joe Homme, Brian Lichtenberg, Body Glove, EZZA Exclusive, Vintage, Backstage
Accessories: Mother of London, Agent Provocateur, Brave,

Stylist: Juliet Vo
Makeup: Pavy Olivarez and Maria Barrios
Hair Stylist: Sonia Resends

*The rest of the photos in this post are mine, from a recent editorial shoot.

Lots of times, people only get to see the finished images of any given editorial or photo shoot. Most folks have no idea HOW MUCH goes into getting everything right. Contrary to popular belief, the secret does not lie in the retouch. And as a professional, you don’t want to have to rely on retouching anyway. You should be committed to getting everything as perfect as possible, so that it can be seen with as little retouching as possible.

Although most, if not all professional photos are retouched (save for the Make Up For Ever campaign photos), there is an entire team of people who come together to make those images possible.

Stylist: Nia Dennis
Model: Polyanna

There’s a reason that I harp so much on the professional nature of a team… from models, to photographers, to stylists. Everyone has to be working for a common goal: to get the BEST pictures possible for the project. There is no room for selfishness, diva behavior, crappy attitudes and general tantrums. I’ve come up against my share of divas of late. But I’m always super excited when we’re all working together and making each others jobs easier. None of us would be able to reach our intended goal for the shoot, without the help of the other.

My mantra is, BE ON TIME, DO YOUR JOB, AND DON’T BRING YOUR PERSONAL ISSUES TO THE SET! It’s incredibly refreshing (and worth noting) when everyone else on the team has the exact same mantra. That’s when true magic happens.

Yes, the model still has clips in her hair. I take pictures with the primary goal of finding out how the makeup will look through the lens (which can sometimes differ from how it looks to the naked eye). Since we were shooting in natural light, I took her pictures in natural light as well.

The makeup is worthless without the hair. I’m always amazed at how Bianca can whip up the most FABULOUS of styles in record time. She’s a genius with a comb and a curling iron.

Sometimes I take a moment and look around, and watch everyone doing their respective jobs. It’s truly something to see. No one is laying about or getting in the way. Everyone has a function, and if they’re done with their particular job, they’re helping you with yours. When the crew is considerate, courteous, and consistent… everything runs so much smoother. That, for me, is what helps make the perfect photoshoot.

Professional Grade: Curlie Girlies

I headed a photoshoot for AGENDA Magazine over the weekend. I was working with only 4 hours of sleep… OMG. It probably could have been a nightmare. But once again I am reminded of the joys of working with professionals who show up, exceed all expectations, and don’t bring any drama to the job.

The models were PERFECT. The first pictures are mine… I took them with my little bootleg camera.

Meet Brittany…

…and Briana:

Both models were STUNNING, and have a head full of truly covet-worthy hair. Even our Hair Stylist Bianca was like: That’s it… I’m wearing my hair full and natural!  LOL

Photographer: Jeff Linett

I told both of the models that they are now in my permanent roster. I’m not kidding. It’s rare that you find such a combination of beauty and professionalism. I’m so thankful to everyone who participated in the shoot… you truly made it worth the time (and lack of sleep). We’ll definitely do it again soon!

Professional Grade: Cold Beach Shoot

(Model: Yonah Eveline
Photographer: Bryan Frank)

Mother Nature decided to just fog things up for my photo shoot over the weekend. I got to work with the lovely Yonah again… such a JOY. She’s the consummate professional. Despite the crappy weather, she took the most lovely pictures.

With Bryan (photographer). Look at how OVERCAST it is! SMH. I was too through.

 I was busy playing photographer’s assistant, so I only snapped these pictures. We got done in record time (I was able to make all of my appointments for the rest of the day with no rushing). HUGE thanks to Bryan and Yonah for braving the craptactuar weather for me.

When the finished photos are ready to be published… I’ll share them here. Ciao for now!