Meet the 2019 Senior Model Team

Meet the Members of Our 2019 Senior Model Team.

Our senior models act as brand representative for us to their class and since we work closely with them, they are able to tell you all about what getting your senior pictures at Dennis Kelly is like. Our senior models are featured in our online and print advertising, and also get the opportunity to participate in special themed photoshoots and charity events too.

Who would you like to see as the featured model on our first direct mailer?

Vote for your favorite model and the one who receives the most votes will be featured in our very first mailer for the class of 2019. Only one vote per email address. All votes must be received by Friday, May 18th 2018!!




Here Are Our 2019 Senior Models!

Amelia – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I love spending time with my family, friends and dogs I’m never bored as long as I’m with them. I play lacrosse and swim for the high school as well as playing lacrosse with the SJ Devils and swimming with Whitman Square in the summer time. My friends tell me I’m very spontaneous and love to go on adventures often.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I have always had an interest in photography so I thought it would be interesting to be on the other side of the camera. Dennis Kelly was also recommended to me by a friend!
What do you do for fun?
I love to play lacrosse and swim. Being with my team during tournaments and meets is some of the most fun I have all year. I also love going to the beach and boardwalk, Ocean City is my favorite!
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up is when my family, along with my aunt, uncle and cousins, went to Aruba for a summer vacation 3 years ago. It has some of the best weather everyday and there is always something fun to do.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I would like to go to college and play lacrosse there, majoring in Occupational Therapy I would go through graduate school as well. From there I would like to live somewhere close to the beach with some of my closest friends then see where life takes me!

Annalise – OLMA

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I love to travel, meet new people, and try new things! A few of my favorite things include my friends, my family, and my dog of course. I row crew and play volleyball!
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
Dennis Kelly Photography has such an amazing way of capturing emotion through pictures. Becoming a senior model seemed like a new fun adventure and a way to improve my confidence!
What do you do for fun?
Shopping, traveling, working out, spending time with friends.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
Going camping every summer with my family and meeting tons of new families on our adventures.
Do you have any goals for the future?
Becoming a doctor and raising a family is something I see in my future.

Tim – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I play baseball for Washington Township as well as recreational soccer and basketball. I like to play music on piano and saxophone and I have won multiple championships in each sport I play.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
A few of my sisters were Senior Models for Dennis Kelly and told me how much fun the shoots are and I really felt like it was something I would enjoy.
What do you do for fun?
I like to play sports with my neighbors, specifically hockey and wiffleball and hanging out with friends.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up was going to Disney World with my godfather. We would spend all day at the parks and when they closed, we went out and played mini golf at a new course every night. Then would would go get Taco Bell and go get ready for the next day.
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goals as of now are as simple as going to college,
graduating and succeeding in whatever it is I end up doing.

Hallie – Paul VI

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
im an allstar cheerleader
I skipped a grade when I was in elementary school
I was a gymnast for 11 years
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I always wanted to do something like this and I’ve been looking at his work for about a year now and its absolutely amazing I fell in love with it
What do you do for fun?
I hang out with my friends
I travel around the country
I go to cheer competitions
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
my best memory growing up would have to be when I went to Jamaica for a week with my best friend
Do you have any goals for the future?
I’m hoping to go to my dream school Penn state be on the cheer team and become a nurse for CHOP in Philly

Chiara – GCHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I play soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. School spirit is everything to me! I’m in student council for school! I have been on honor roll from 8-10 grade.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I decided to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly because the team seemed really nice, and it looked like a lot of fun!
What do you do for fun?
For fun I enjoy playing sports and being active
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My Aunt Renee would have an easter egg hunt every year with my whole family, and whoever found the golden egg got 50$.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I want to go to a 4 year college, i might play a sport not sure yet, get into the college’s nursing program. Ultimately i want to become a Cardiothoracic Surgical Nurse.

Miranda – Clearview HS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
National Honors Society
Varsity Cheerleading
Student Council
Key Club
Youth Cheerleading Coach
National Champion for 2018 UCA Cheerleading Competition in Orlando Florida
All-American Cheerleader
Varsity Cheerleadig It-Girl
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
Photography is one of my pashions. I love takig photos and being in them. I have seen some of your work and I love the shots I have seen so being a Senior Model representing you would be a honor.
What do you do for fun?
Work out
Shopping
Media Photgraphy
Being with my friends
The beach
Amusement parks
Going on adventures
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up was rescuing my cat Oscar from a cold rainy day outside at only 2 weeks old. He was stuck in a thorn bush all alone for hours so eventually I took him to a vet until we was well enough to come home with me:).
Do you have any goals for the future?
I would like to be a Division 1 Cheerleader and become a childrens Physical Therapist at CHOP.

Nicole – Homeschool

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I’m a junior soul mate for the Philadelphia Soul, as well as the 2018 Miss Universal Beauty teen. I take classes at Rowan college of Glouster County. One of my accomplishments is walking in New York Fashion Week 2.0 in front of teen vogue!
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
Through my experiences with fashion and modeling I found a new appreciation for the art of photography. Dennis Kelly is one of the many few that really understands the art and work that goes into photography. I’m beyond excited to work with Dennis Kelly and his artistic visions!
What do you do for fun?
For fun I enjoy hanging out with my friends and cooking!
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory has to be spending a week with my family on a Disney cruise!
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to further my modeling career, finish school, and travel.

Kaitlin – GCIT

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I will be a four year varsity starter and captain for both girls soccer and basketball. I am a national gold medalist in Chapter Business Procedure for SkillsUSA. I am the parliamentarian for the GCIT SkillsUSA chapter and the Southern Regional President for New Jersey SkillsUSA. I am a member of NHS and NTHS. I am currently number 10 in my class and will be taking all my classes at RCGC my senior year.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
Dennis Kelly is known for extraordinary and unique senior portraits. I felt my outgoing personality would only be shown in my portraits by Dennis Kelly.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy working out and playing sports for fun. Being in the gym or outside running is when I’m happiest.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
The best memories growing up is in the summer when I would be with my cousins and friends every day.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I want to major in forensic science and minor in biology to pursue a career as a forensic biologist for the government.

Olivia – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I’m involved in a lot of activities in school including managing girls and boys volleyball, yearbook staff, fbla and more. I enjoy being involved with school.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I decided to become a senior model because my older sister did it. She had an amazing experience and her pictures came out great!
What do you do for fun?
I like to listen to music and hang out with my friends.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
When i was younger i remember one day on the beach just staying there from the morning to sunset and you don’t always get good days like that so they’re really memorable.
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goal for the future is to definitely attend college and possibly going into the medical field!

Samantha – Williamstown HS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. One of my accomplishments are getting honor roll in school.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I wanted to try something new and it was something that looked really fun to be apart of.
What do you do for fun?
I love to hangout with my friends.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
Going to Disney with my family.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I want to become a special needs teacher.

Joanna – Williamstown HS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I have been dancing since i was three years old, and I took tumbling classes for several years. I played lacrosse for three years, but I gave that up when I decided I wanted to dedicate more of my time to dance. I also used to take martial arts, and I made it to the red belt. In school, I am a part of the allied health academy, and I am a new member of the National Honors Society. I have been taking honors classes throughout all of my high school career, and I even decided to take an AP class this year. I work hard to get straight A’s, even though it is very challenging.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
My sister showed me work done by Dennis Kelly, and I was amazed. I was willing to take time to experience what it would be like to be a Dennis Kelly senior model first hand.
What do you do for fun?
I like to dance and hang out with my friends for fun. As of right now, I only dance for the school, but I really enjoy doing it. I hope to continue dancing in the future. Along with my friends, I also like to hang out with my dog Ashton and my sister Maria.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up was when I went to the Beyonce concert. My sister bought me the tickets for my birthday, and I was very excited because it was my first concert. I had so much fun, and I was very happy and grateful that I was able to go.
Do you have any goals for the future?
After I graduate high school, I aspire to attend a University in Hawaii and study to become a marine biologist or a nurse. I hope to live in Hawaii, get married, and start a family after I receive my masters degree in my field.

Carola – Holy Cross Academy

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I am a part of the stage crew for my school drama club. I also work as a hostess for Bob Evans Restaurant. I am an honor roll student at a private academy, and and I take my academics very seriously.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get involved in more things during my last months as a high school student. I also think it will be super fun being a representative for a photographer as I love the art of taking pictures/modeling.
What do you do for fun?
For fun I love to just focus on self care, maybe listen to some music and test out new hair/skin products. I also love going out with my friends whether it’s eating somewhere after school, or having a group sleepover on our days off! My best friend and I really love to sing together and drive around jamming to music.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up would probably be the first time I went to Disney World. I love Disney, and when I was 8 I finally got to go with my sisters and mom. It was so much fun and I am so excited to go back for my senior trip next Spring!
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to go to college and study Communications/Media. I want to get a career in maybe Journalism or get some kind of writing job.

Caitlin – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I manage varsity boys soccer for the high school in the fall. I am on the girls spring track team for the high school and play soccer for Washington United. I like to spend my free time going out with friends and family.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I heard of it from my friend Alyssa Lombardi and the idea of representing a company and getting to show off great pictures got my attention immediately.
What do you do for fun?
I spend a lot of time with my friends and family. I like to go to different restaurants to try new foods and am always looking for something new and fun to do. I love going outside and being kept busy.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
I don’t have an absolute best. I like to think of all my memories as good ones. My favorite are usually ones with my best friends or family.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I want to get into the University of Florida to pursue my dream of becoming a forensic psychologist. I want to have a big family and live in a beautiful house and be successful.

Sophia – Paul VI

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I am a junior at Paul VI High School. I am a part of the Chamber Choir at my school and have take private vocal lessons, almong with piano lessons, since second grade. I am a member of National Honor Society and the Italian National Honor Society. I am a member of the Italian club, the Samaritan club, and the Ambassadors club. I love teaching CCD and Vacation Bible School throughout the year. I also volunteer and Saint John of God school at their dances. I have many families that I babysit regularly.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I wanted to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly because I live Dennis Kelly’s work and wanted to be a part of it. I knew that if I was a model, all my friends would not only get to see my pictures on my social media pages, but in the mail and many other places. I wanted my Senior pictures to be different and exciting, and that is something I can only get with Dennis Kelly!
What do you do for fun?
For fun, I love to spend time with my family and friends. I love to watch movies, especially older, romance movies. I am obsessed with my record player and love listening to all kinds of music, whether that be country, musical scores, or 70’s rock. I spend a lot of my time playing with my dogs, Otis and Smooch. They always put me in a good mood! I love traveling, whether that be to Ocean city, Disney World, or even California. My family likes to go to a new place every year. I’ve always loved shopping with my sister for clothes and our favorite, Lush!
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My favorite memory growing up is when my grandmom used to watch me while my parents were at work. We used to always go shopping and watch Gula-Gula Island together. Sometimes I would get to sleepover her house with my sister. She had a big pool with a play set that we would spend hours on. She also had two dogs that we loved to play with. My grandmom was an amazing cook so she would have cooking classes with my sister and I. After we learned a new skill, like how to make dough or crack an egg, we would move up a level in cooking school. I will never forget the time I spend with her.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I have many goals for the future. I want to graduate high school with honors and attend college in the fall of 2019. I want to have a profession that allows me to help those around me and make a difference in the world. I eventually want to get married and have a lot of children and hopefully, I can become a stay-at-home mom. I want to rescue dogs and have a pet rabbit. I hope to travel the world with my entire family and live an adevnturous life surrounded by the people I love.

Alyssa – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I am currently on the Washington Twp Gymnastics team. My first year on the team I was awarded the “Coaches Award”. The award is given to the gymnast who demonstrates leadership, positivity, responsibility. The second year on the team I was awarded “Most Dedicated”. Most Dedicated is awarded to the gymnast who is most dedicated and allowed gymnastics to be her top priority. With my third and final season approaching, I was just awarded the position as Captain for my senior year. Along with gymnastics, I am a Washington Township cheerleader. I have cheered the last three years on the team during the Winter season. I am also apart of the Washington Township Dance Company where I am in many ensembles for the end of the year concert such as, Lyrical, Contemporary, Belly Dancing, Modern, And Jazz.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
After seeing my sister, Gianna, go through the experience of being on the model team & getting her senior pictures done at Dennis Kelly in 2014, I knew that I wanted that same experience. The consistency of the quality of Dennis Kelly’s portraits really caught my eye.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I love going down the shore and to the beach. I especially enjoy doing my favorite sports, gymnastics, dance, and cheerleading.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
My best memory growing up has all of the vacations I went on with my family. My favorite one would have to be going to The Bahamas.
Do you have any goals for the future?
My goal for the future is to go to college, graduate with a bachelors degree in early childhood education, and be successful.

Javon – Deptford HS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
Track and field
New Jersey Group 2 State Champs
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I wanted more creative and exciting pictures for my Senior year
What do you do for fun?
Play video games and go out with friends
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
Winning a medal at AAU National Championship
Do you have any goals for the future?
To receive a full scholarship to a good university

Madison – WTHS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I have been dancing for 14 years now and I am on the dance team at my studio. I also assist in teaching baby classes at my dance studio and I have been dancing in school for the past 3 years.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I have been following Dennis Kelly on instagram for two years now and have always loved his work. I love everything he does and was very excited when the applications for the 2019 senior models came out. I decided to become a senior model because I love how there are charitable works being incorporated like the PADD walk and working with the animal shelter.
What do you do for fun?
For fun I like to go out with my friends and find new things to do. During the summer I love going to the beach and finding new places to eat and explore. I also enjoy doing makeup and trying new makeup looks and being creative.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
Growing up my best memories are spent in Ocean City with my family. Every summer my grandmom would get a house for all of my family to stay in for the week. My favorite memories are spending all day on the beach with my cousins till the life guards leave and then going back the house to shower and spend the night on the boardwalk.
Do you have any goals for the future?
After high school I want to get accepted into a bachelors into masters program for physicans assistant. Once I graduate I want to move to either Pittsburgh or New York City and work in the ER in hospital there.

Mackenzie – Paul VI

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
One of my greatest interests and hobbies since I was three years of age has been singing and performing. I’ve taken voice lessons for 6 years now and have performed in coffee houses, variety shows, recitals, and even at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia! Along with this, I’ve also auditioned for The Voice! I am an active participant in Paul VI’s theatre program, which entails performing in their annual plays and musicals. Along with this, I find enjoyment in being a part of the Ambassador and Italian Clubs at my high school. Various accomplishments of mine include becoming a member of both the Italian and National Honor Socieites, as well as the Peer Leadership Program at school.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
After seeing various peers of mine become members of the modeling team, I took interest in the program. Getting the ability to not only be a spokesperson for the photography company, but a “model” individual for others is extraordinary. I greatly appreciate the fact that the senior models aren’t merely selected based upon looks—for their interests, hobbies, and personalities take precedence over physical appearance. Over the course of this year as a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly, I hope to build a greater sense of self-confidence, as well as become friends with my fellow team members!
What do you do for fun?
One thing I like to do for fun is spend time with my friends. I would describe myself as an overall social person that loves being busy and having plans. Whether it’s shopping, trying new restaurants, or simply having a movie night, some of my most memorable times are with my closest friends!
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
Although I can’t think of one particular memory growing up, the best times I reflect on as a teenager would be the ones with my cousins. I have a very close relationship with my family which has grown throughout the years. My cousins and I are only years a part—adding to the reason we have such a great bond. Going swimming, playing outside, and being with them throughout the entirety of summer during my childhood would most definitely be some of the best memories I have. Although our varying interests and social lives differ with age, our strong relationship still stands.
Do you have any goals for the future?
As a junior in high school, I’ve recently set goals for myself in the future. I hope to obtain my M.D. and become a successful anesthesiologist in my career. I also love to travel, and have set a goal to visit every state in the U.S., along with various countries (such as Australia and the U.K.) !

Kali – Clayton HS

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
I used to dance, play soccer, and play softball. I now like to spend my free time with my friends and family. I like crabbing and fishing as well as singing! One other fun fact about me, is that I love to play video games.
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I’ve always wanted to model. It’s interested me since I was a little girl
What do you do for fun?
Hang out with friends, go to the beach and board walk, and play video games. I love goofing around on the boardwalk and meeting new people.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
I had a great childhood, but my best memory is probably dancing at my dance recitals. It was fun to be in front of an audience. I would get to dress pretty in my costumes, mom would take pictures, and then I’d perform. I loved it
Do you have any goals for the future?
I’d like to be a model or technician. My mom is a nurse and I’d like to get into the medical field just like her!

Olivia – Shawnee High School

Tell us about your activities, hobbies, and accomplishments.
My favorite activity is dance. My concentration is mainly ballet and I dance up to six days per week for a good part of the year. My dance school performs two full length ballets, each over a two week duration. In addition to my regular dance classes, I take lessons in Philadelphia and New York City whenever I get a chance. During the summer I attend ballet summer intensives, last year I loved my experience of living and studying in Manhattan.
During the school year, I am very busy with my classes and school clubs. I am involved currently in four clubs at Shawnee High School: Biology Club, Interact, Latin Club and The National Honor Society. In addition, my goal since freshman year was to take as rigorous as an academic schedule as possible. Some days I wonder why I have done this to myself and it certainly does not always go well, but I am proud to take the hardest route as I have learned so much about myself and my will power.
Downtime for me is a treasured time when I get to enjoy my family and spending time with friends. I am the oldest of four children and there seems to always be excitement or an adventure at our house. I also enjoy long paddle board rides on the lake, reading, watching movies, spending time with my animals and going on an annual summer beach vacation with my extended family of 30!
What made you decide to become a Senior Model for Dennis Kelly?
I by accident fell into modeling when I was a child. I worked for various clothing companies, QVC, Disney brand products and made some commercials. It was never really planned, it just happened and my mom, sister and I had so much fun with it. We got to trave to many places, once even to Disney in Florida! At one point it became too hard to dance ballet, go to school and model on the side, so I stopped. I always missed it and I still do little side jobs once in a while when I can fit it in my schedule. I think what has made this opportunity so special is that I will have some meaningful volunteer experiences with the modeling. I have always made time in my life to volunteer to good causes as it is important to have good values and important for my religious side. In addition, I am a NHS member which requires service hours. The service hours that I can attain through Dennis Kelly are all very honorable and beneficial to our community.
What do you do for fun?
My fun is dance, dance and more dance. When I am not dancing I am stretching. My ideal day would be eat, sleep, dance and repeat! My favorite weekend activity is to go see a dance show in Philadelphia or New York City. My friends and and I have been taking the train on our own to Philly since freshman year and it is a great time. I try to never miss our local Ballet X or Pennsylvania Ballet performances. I have danced with many of their company dancers and we have become friends over the years. I follow many ballet companies on Instagram and I try to go to Master Classes or events. Last May I got to meet Wendy Whelan when I attended her “Restless Creature” premier at Lincoln Center. She has been a great inspiration to me, it amazes me that she was a Principal dancer with the NYC Ballet for 30 years!
Broadway dancing has become a lot of fun for me. I studied under the direction of Max Baud from Joffrey Elite and I have really taken to this form of dance. It has really brought out better stage presence in me an I love it.
What is Your BEST memory growing up?
I have had 16 years of great memories, I am grateful to have had such a nice life growing up so far. My parents love being parents to the four of us and have really made our lives as magical as possible. When I was 5 my Dad built me a girl’s dream playhouse and when I was 9 my mom helped me to hatch my own duck from an egg and a 7 watt lightbulb. Watching my pet duck Daisy peck her way out of her egg was unbelievably amazing. I have had her for almost 8 years now. I have lots of memories with nature, we have raised triops, butterflies, tadpoles, chickens, rabbits, mice, fish and allowed to catch anything not too dangerous. My parents always let us explore nature, climb, run and be very free. We visit gardens every year from spring to fall and all of us love it.
Do you have any goals for the future?
I have so many goals in life but I am honestly enjoying the moment. I have never been in a rush to grow up too fast and I live each day as a blessing. As much as I would love to dance professionally, it is very important for me to get a college education. I am not sure exactly what I plan to study but I know studying will be in my future. I am currently looking at colleges and I Would like to go to one that has a dance program. I am thinking it would be really fun to go to college in a city but I am not sure of that yet.

Fitness Shoot with Chrisi

One of the really fun things I love about my job is the fact that I usually get to do something different almost every day.

One day I might be called on to photograph a senior hockey player on the ice, the next a pretty girl on the beach at sunset, and the next the exterior of a restaurant at twilight.

Being presented with these types of creative challenges keeps me on my toes, and forces me to think about each subject and situation I am faced with and how I can best employ my skills and knowledge to create something extraordinary.

Recently I had the opportunity to photograph a young woman, a nurse by trade, who is a real fitness buff.  Follow her social media and you will usually find her at the gym, working out. I’ve photographed her before, and I can attest to the amazing transformation she has accomplished with her body, all through hard work and dedication.

So, I was excited when I got the chance to showcase the results of her hard work.

In order to really accent her muscle definition and tone, I chose to photograph her with what we call “edge light” and a high ratio (meaning a strong contrast between highlight and shadow.) This type of lighting is challenging because it requires precision both in metering and placement.

Some tips I utilized to add impact to the lighting: I asked he model to lightly apply and rub in some baby oil on her exposed skin to add specularity. On some shots I lightly misted her skin with water to give it even more glisten. I added low lying fog from my chilled smoke machine for a gritty effect. And lastly, in processing my RAW files in Adobe Lightroom I gave my images a pretty strong boost in contrast and clarity.

Enjoy some of the images from our shoot.

Shooting at Eastern State

Shooting at unique locations often has the effect of jump starting one’s creativity.

As such, I try to take every opportunity I can to push myself outside my comfort zone and challenge myself to work in new environments.

Such was the case a while back when I got the opportunity to do a photoshoot with one of my favorite models and frequent muse, Tina, at the Eastern State Penitentiary.

From the ES website:

“Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including “Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone…”

Normally closed to professional photographers and models without special permitting and fees, I got the opportunity to shoot there on a hot summer night a couple years ago.

The conventional wisdom among photographers is that juxtaposing beauty with decay is a powerful way to create captivating imagery. There is certainly an abundance of beautiful decay at this haunting (and some say haunted) location.

There was a lot of ground to cover, and I wanted to be able to move fast and make maximum use of the limited time I had, so I opted for  minimum equipment. I chose a hand held DSLR and only 2 lenses, a 24-105 and my 70-200. I brought along 3 off camera speedlights, but mostly only used 1 or 2 on most images. My wife Bonnie served as my voice activated light stand… hand holding my main or accent light for 90% of my shots.

Working with an experienced model like Tina made shooting so much faster, as she required little direction. I could just explain my vision for the shot and she would nail it in just a few tries, then we could move on to the next series.

Below, please enjoy some of the many fun and awesome images we created that evening.

I can’t wait for another opportunity to photograph there. Unfortunately, Eastern State has discontinued their practice of opening the site to professionals one or two evenings per month. Hopefully, they will reconsider at some point in the future.

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Thought About Modeling?

As a well known senior portrait photographer, I get asked very often about how to break into modeling.

What girl hasn’t dreamed at some point about strutting the runway in a NY Fashion show or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated?  While that seems like a long shot, look at it this way, someone is going to walk that runway, and be on that cover… right?

There are lots of great articles on the web about how to break into modeling and how to get started, like this one from the Scouting Director for the Ford Agency.

Many top agencies now scour social media looking for new talent, so in some ways it’s easier than ever to get discovered. Here is a great article that describes how to hashtag your photos for various agencies that may notice you.

But, being a photographer, the most common question I get asked is what kinds of photos to submit to break into modeling. So, I thought I’d write a blog post to answer those questions directly.


First, you really don’t need to spend money on professional photos when just starting out. In fact, most agencies will prefer that you NOT send professional photos. What ever you do, do NOT send your senior pictures, portraits taken at the mall, or mirror selfies, no matter how much you like them. Modeling images have a different look and style and submitting “portraits” will not get you taken seriously!

Initially, all you will need is what the industry refers to as “polaroids”. Real polaroids are a throwback to film days when they would actually use an instant film camera… nowadays everyone uses digital (and some agencies will call them that) . What they refer to is simple snapshots taken with a plain, light background that clearly show your face and body without any retouching, styling, or special effects. Do NOT use any filters or retouching software. 

Simple Modeling Polaroids

You can certainly take these yourself, or have a professional create them for you, but a couple of things are important. No, or very little makeup, no props, jewelry, or hats, scarves etc. Don’t wear a padded or push up bra or anything that is going to alter your actual figure. Find a spot with soft, even lighting so you can get a sharp, clear image without shadows, and pick a background that is plain and uncluttered. A plain white wall next to a window is a good choice.

Wear an outfit that shows your figure… a swimsuit or  workout clothes is a good choice. Don’t wear anything baggy. The exception is heels. Wear heels! Take a few full length  pictures front, side and back with a plain, relaxed expression. Then move in and take some closeup shots showing your face, both smiling and not. Stand straight, but not stiff. Relax your shoulders, take a deep breath in and let it out.. Shoot lots of pictures so you have a variety to pick from. You want to look comfortable and relaxed. If you don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera wearing a swimsuit or workout clothes, perhaps now would be a good time to rethink your desire to model!

If you’re not good at photography, don’t have anyone to shoot them for you, or want to make sure your pictures are a good enough quality, you can hire a professional photographer to take them for you. Since these don’t require a lot of time, creative energy, or retouching, they should be relatively inexpensive. At Dennis Kelly, we offer a modeling “Polaroid” shoot for under $75 that will give you everything you will need to start.

Many top agencies have online applications on their websites where you can fill out a form and upload your pictures, so you won’t really need to go to NY and knock on doors. Read through the instructions carefully and FOLLOW THEM. Don’t send 8 pictures if they ask for 3. Don’t send a professional headshot if they ask for polaroids. Don’t apply to their fashion division if they say minimum height is 5’8″ and you are 5’6″. You won’t impress them, except with the fact that you can’t follow instructions. Make a list of agencies in your market area and check their websites for specific information on what they require before you take your pictures. This way you can make sure you will have everything you need before you start to apply. Many agencies now have petite and fitness divisions that are not as restrictive as far as height and weight as fashion divisions typically are.  Some agencies may require a short video showing you talking. You can shoot this with your phone, just keep it short and to the point, and record it in a quiet room without noise in the background.

If you don’t hear back right away, don’t get discouraged. Wait a few weeks and try again, Sometimes you just need to get to the right person, or wait for a time when they may be looking specifically for someone with your look.

Once you start to get some exposure, you may be asked to send a headshot. This is where you will need some professional images.  Your headshot is very important, and it is a place where you will definitely want to hire a pro. A good quality headshot will show your face and some of your shoulders. It is not unusual to crop into the top of your head. This brings attention to your eyes and keeps them in the upper 1/3rd of the picture, where they belong.

This is called a “Hollywood Crop” and it is not a mistake. More common today is something called a “Cinematic” headshot, which is composed in a landscape format… like a movie would be. The subject is usually placed a little off center in the composition. This adds the the dynamic look of the composition and is often used in ads where they need to leave “negative space” for ad copy and things. Again, not a mistake! Remember, modeling and commercial shots have a very different look than traditional portraits. It is important you find a photographer who is versed in current styles. Most important is that your eyes sparkle and your facial features are plainly visible.

The next type of shot you may want to hire a professional for is a classic glamour or beauty headshot. These typically have a more dramatic lighting style, and are often done with bare shoulders to really bring attention to your face, eyes and hair. These are often done in black and white, but that’s not a necessity.

It’s always a good idea to talk with some agencies who might be interested in you to get their input on what kinds of photos they think you need to have in order to market yourself.

If they are very interested and think you are marketable, they may even offer to pay for your photographs. Don’t expect this unless you are signing an exclusive contract with them though. They aren’t going to invest money in you unless they think they will have a chance to earn it back!

Only after you have been scouted, should you think about building your “book”. Your portfolio should ideally be more a collection of actual work you have done, rather than photos you have commissioned yourself. It is always a work in progress.

An agency may suggest you have some different shots done to show some variety in your look, and may suggest you have some “comp cards” created. These are kind of like your business card that you will leave behind whenever you audition for a job. Typically, they will feature your headshot, and 3-4 other images that show your body type, as well as the range of looks you can portray. It will have your basic stats and contact info on it.

Like your headshots, your comp cards will need to be constantly updated to show your current look.

I’d be neglectful not to mention that there are unscrupulous, and potentially dangerous people who may attempt to take advantage of you if you are not careful. Especially when promoting yourself online, be wary of predators who will try and scam you for money, or worse. Use your head. Never agree to meet someone you do not know for a photoshoot, or to be scouted without checking their credentials first. Never go to a photoshoot or audition alone. Unless you are trying to get scouted by Playboy, no reputable agency will ever ask you to send nude photos. No reputable agency will ask you to pay money up front for them to represent you.

There are a number of online networking sites, like ModelMayhem.com and OneModelPlace.com, and these may be a good place to network, especially if you want to book jobs yourself and bypass an agency all together. Just be careful that there are also trolls who use these sites to find people to prey on. Use your head and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Of course, if you need photos to get you started, or just want to see how you’d look being photographed by a real professional photographer who knows how to bring out your best… give us a call!  856-228-4399

 

 

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How to Shoot Small Items for Online Sales.

My wife Bonnie recently started on the task of cleaning out many years of collectibles that both she and her mom had accumulated. No small task, and she needed photos of all her items to post online.

If you sell or trade items online, like on Ebay, Esty or Facebook,  you know that having a good photo of your item or craft is so important.

Fortunately, this is something most everyone can do themselves using some common household items and your camera phone. Today’s smartphone cameras are plenty good enough to produce great quality images of small to medium items. You don’t need to hire a pro, like me, in order to get good quality photos!

Producing a sharp, clear photo without distractions takes just a little bit of knowledge and some common household materials you probably already have.

First, you will want to create a background that provides minimal distraction. What I did was create what photographers call a “sweep” out of a tablecloth.

This is done by draping an ironed sheet or tablecloth over a box or something tall enough to create a background that flows into a foreground without a crease or seam.

White is very common in professional photos, but be aware that if you are using your phone, a white background may cause your items to record too dark, so something of a medium color and mid-tone will be a better choice. Likewise, a solid black background will cause your items to record too light. A DSLR camera gives you the ability to adjust the exposure to compensate, but this is more tedious to do with your cell phone camera and you want to avoid having to do more adjustments than necessary, Avoid anything with a busy pattern or print as this will distract from your item. A solid, mid-tone cloth or bed-sheet will be perfect.

Next, locate a window, or even better, a bank of windows in your home that will provide soft, even lighting. Be careful that direct sunlight isn’t falling on your windows during the time you want to shoot your pictures, as this will cause harsh shadows and streaks of sunlight on your items that will be very distracting. Shoot on an overcast day or pick a window that doesn’t have harsh, direct sun hitting it while you are shooting,

Position your table top setup so that your window is about 45 degrees left or right of where your camera will be. If you put the window directly behind you, you will cast your own shadow on your items when you take the photos.

Having the window to one side gives some direction to the light which provides what photographers call “modeling” or dimension to your items.

If your window is small, you may find that you get too harsh a shadow from your items on the background. If that’s the case, prop a large piece of white cardboard, or even newspaper on the opposite side of the window will reflect some light back and lessen any too-dark shadows. In our case, we had a bank of windows running the whole length of our breakfast room, so the light was soft and perfect.

Position your items several inches to a foot out away from the background. This will help avoid shadows from your items falling on the background, and will also allow your background to fall gently out of focus, minimizing any wrinkles or textures in your fabric and focusing attention on your item.

Play with the positioning of your item to show it to its best advantage. If you get any glare or reflection on shiny surfaces, they can usually be eliminated by angling your item slightly left or right until they disappear. It’s important to make these adjustments while looking through your camera or at the screen on your phone as they may appear very different from what you see through the lens.

For most items that can stand up, it is also important to keep your camera or phone down perpendicular to your item. Shooting from too high an angle will introduce distortion that will be a problem. 

If your item can’s stand or be propped, you can always lay it flat and shoot directly down from over top.

In my case, I shot these pictures with a DSLR on a tripod, because.. duh… I’m a professional photographer. But if you doubt your phone can’t take just as good a shot, I shot this one with both my Canon and my iphone… can you tell which is which?

BTW, one item well worth the investment is a tripod on which to put your camera or phone. It will allow for sharper photos, make centering and composing your photos much easier, and free your hands for making minor adjustments to your items. Small light weight tripods can be found for around $20-$30 online and are well worth the investment if you do a lot of this stuff.

I found this handy bracket that holds your smartphone securely and allows it to be attached to any tripod for about $7. Definitely nice to have, but not essential.

Hope these tips help you to present your items or crafts in their best light!

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