Around this time a year ago (late August 2014), I was in a dire mood to take some model photos. I had experimented all summer long with plenty of outdoor shots, mostly scenic photos, but I wanted to test out more of my photography skills and shoot something differently. What I wanted to do next was to take model photos of a gorgeous woman.
This inspiration came when I went on a tour of the Historic Loew’s Landmark in Jersey City. On this tour, I saw a gorgeous young woman wearing a beautiful vintage black dress. After the tour was over, I asked her if I could take her picture. She agreed nicely as I took her photo by a staircase.
I was absolutely mesmerized by the photo and I wanted to take more shots like this. So, I decided to contact some of my female friends to see if they would like their photos taken. One of them was my friend Chloe Coulson who I met in college through a friend.
We hung out a few times and she’s absolutely cool to be around with. I hadn’t seen her in three years, but we kept in touch via Facebook. It was actually on Facebook in which I saw a model style photo of Chloe that one of her friends took. It was one of my reasons as to why I contacted her.
I wasn’t too sure of Chloe was going to contact me back and/or agree to do a model session with me, but to my surprise she not only agreed but was all for it! She was just as excited as I was if not more to do this model session. We set a date for a Sunday afternoon in mid- September as we message each other and discussed the plan for the shoot.
We picked the location (Hoboken) since it’s the one place we could easily meet up in. As for clothes, I told Chloe she could wear whatever would make her feel comfortable.
She had planned to wear some high waist shorts. I also prepared myself by studying modelling and researching poses especially some outdoor ones by models online. I took some notes down in my notebook to take with me for the session. I even went to Hoboken to scout what areas would work best for setting Chloe in for our session.
Mid-September came as it was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon which was perfect because I feared it would rain since it was kind of cloudy early in the day. I arrived at Hoboken terminal via the Light Rail as I waited for Chloe to arrive from her NJ Transit train.
I waited for about a good ten minutes until Chloe spotted me as we embraced each other with a nice friendly hug after not seeing each other in years. Chloe was wearing her high waist shorts as she planned, but also had on a long sleeve black shirt and some beige boots. She was looking fantastic as I complimented on her looks and outfit.
We caught up for a bit then went inside the Hoboken Terminal Station to begin out model session. It was my first model session as I was bit nervous, but excited at the same time! I took over 60 photos for this session, but these following photos are my top 12 favorites. For this session, I shot mostly in program, but had some shots in aperture; ISO levels were set to 200 and 400 and the white balance set to daylight and shade.
The first thing I wanted to do for this session was to get a few practice shots and get my settings adjusted for the day. I had Chloe get comfortable and had her sit on one of the many benches in the terminal. I took out my notebook filled with model posing notes to see what poses I wanted Chloe to use. In this simple vertical shot (Photo Above), I wanted to get things going by just getting most of Chloe’s body with her feet just cut off (which I was fine with). I had her look to her right, away from the camera as I wanted to look as though she was waiting for someone at the station. This plays out even more as I had her place her bag next to her as though she was on the go.
After getting my feet wet and feeling confident with the first vertical shot, I decided to go with a horizontal wide shot of Chloe on the bench. This time I instructed Chloe to look straight at me and look at the camera while playing both her hands on the bench and legs first together and on the side (Photo Above). Her bag was place perfectly by her feet, again feeling as though she is waiting for someone and anticipating traveling. I decided to leave the left side of the frame and bench empty to symbolize the loneliness of travelling.
The Hoboken Terminal has this marble wall right near the bench I was taking Chloe’s photos with this amazing lion structure. I placed Chloe in the middle of the wide shot on the wall for the first standing photo (Photo Above). I instructed Chloe to just slightly tilt her head down and have her left arm to grace her and to close her eyes.
I also wanted her to slightly bend her left knee and her legs together to complete this gorgeous visual and calming tone of the photo. I went with a wide shot to get most of the green marble on the bottom part of the wall and to of course get the lion structure on the right frame.
Similar to the previous shot, I had Chloe this time move closer to the lion structure and pose the same way only this time tilting her head and looking straight at the camera (Photo Above). I zoomed in closer as well for a medium shot. I placed Chloe on the left side of the frame and the lion structure on the center right as they were the main focus of the photo. I love the dark tone of the colors in this shot as though Chloe has stumbled upon an ancient temple as the marble really showcases that along with the lion’s structure. I used the white balance, fluorescent daylight, to achieve this color effect in this shot.
After a few more shots in the terminal, Chloe and I decided to go back outside to start taking outdoor photos and take advantage of a gorgeous mid-September day. We left the terminal and head over to a brick road, one of the destinations I wanted to take Chloe’s photos. This is a great area to take photos except that it’s also by an intersection, a dead end and a row of yellow taxis.
I did my best to get a shot ready, but cars kept coming our way so we had to side step a few times. Chloe and I started to laugh because of the difficulty of this shot and the thought of unluckily getting hit by a car. At one point, a guy rolled down his car window and joked about not worrying about hitting me and instead worried about hitting my model.
Chloe and I laughed about that and we settled for one quick shot on this crazy brick road (Photo Above). I instructed Chloe to stand right in the middle as I walked exactly with her and placed my foot as the spot I wanted her to stand. It was great that Chloe had shades with her as she put them on to avoid the sunlight; it also prevented her from squinting.
Those magnificent shades would come through in later shots. As for her pose, I wanted to have her arms by her side, but also had her left arm just barely holding onto her bag and her right thumb placed inside her pocket. I had her look straight at me with her mouth just barely gasp.
Once she was placed, I quickly went with a full shot, capturing all of the brick ground, the yellow taxis and the cars parked on an angle (a Hoboken novelty). The building in the background adds a nice touch too for this urban-like shot. I really went for a full New York style fashion style. We try to go for one more shot on this deadly brick road, but Chloe was concerned for my well-being, so we moved on to the next location.
Chloe and I went through some backroads to take some narrow shots. What’s great about these alleys is that they have brick roads too. I scouted these backroads weeks before this shot, but for some reason I didn’t catch this gathering of planks of wood with the word “Hunter” spray painted on it with leaves over some fences and a random tire on a fence (Photo Above). When Chloe and I bumped into this, we thought this would be a great spot for some shots! To me, it was a perfect opportunity for a bad ass photo.
I had a lot of ideas running through my mind and what poses I wanted for Chloe to use. I ended up going for a simple shot and pose, but it worked perfectly. With a medium shot, I placed Chloe on the left side of the frame as I had her pose with her head looking to the left almost as though she is looking at the “Hunter” sign. I had Chloe hold her bag and had her legs apart; add in the shades and you had a bad ass looking model with the “Hunter” sign framed on the right side. It’s exactly what I wanted to achieve in this photo and it became one of my favorite shots in this session.
After walking around Washington Street and taking some photos at Church Square Park, Chloe and I decided to go to the Hoboken waterfront to finish off the session. Near Frank Sinatra Park, there’s this amazing Hoboken mural that celebrates the city’s 150th anniversary (Photo Above). It was one of the spots I wanted to take Chloe’s photo since I wanted to show where exactly we were taking these photos.
This one was a simple shot as I placed Chloe just in the middle of the mural right above the “O” in Hoboken as I wanted her to be the main focus while getting an entire wide shot of the mural which had sail boats docking at a pier, which we were actually nearby. I included the sidewalk in the frame for a nice urban aesthetic touch. I had Chloe just place her arms and hands on the wall while wearing sunglasses so that way she looked chill.
After the mural shot, we headed straight to Pier C Park which is a man-made park built right on top of the Hudson River and docks just off the waterfront. We took a lot of photos in this park, but I ended up choosing two of them for this article, including this one (Photo Above). I had my tripod with me and decided to finally use it. I had Chloe lay down on the grass and had her cross her arms and her hair spread out on the grass. She wore her sunglasses since the sun was beaming right at her, but it worked out.
Once I had her placed the way I wanted to, I had my tripod above her and titled the camera just down enough so I could get her upper body. I zoomed in close enough to get her torso up to her hair in the frame while having the grass fill up the rest of the photo. I then switched to black and white mode with only the color green left in, a great feature my camera has.
It was how I was able to get this shot without using Photoshop or any other photo editing software. I took this photo again in regular color, but I felt like this was the best one. One of Chloe’s friends on Facebook had commented that this looked like a cover for a rock album when I posted this. I couldn’t agree more!
In the second photo I picked for the Pier C Park shots, I just had Chloe sit on one of the circle/tum shaped structures near the edge of the park’s fence (Photo Above). I had her just look straight ahead of the NYC skyline with the Freedom Tower as I took this shot of her back.
I framed Chloe to the left as I wanted to have more focus on the skyline. I wanted to capture the feel again of the traveler which is why I had Chloe place her bag right next to her. I also wanted to capture how most people living in Northern New Jersey admire the wonderful skyline of Manhattan.
After taking photos at Pier C Park, I wanted to go back near Frank Sinatra Park to take a few shots of a long, narrow walkway on the waterfront. There were these lamps on this walkway that drew my attention and was a place I wanted to take photos of when I scouted the area.
For this shot (Photo Above), I wanted a vertical shot since the walkway was very narrow and I wanted to get all of Chloe’s body and the symmetry of the lamp posts. This time, I had Chloe turn her body towards me instead of just standing in front of the camera to get a different pose. She left her bag on as well as her sunglasses, but it worked well in this environment.
At the very end of this walkway, I took more photos of Chloe, including this lovely one here (Photo Above). Just like the shot of her with the Freedom Tower in the background, I placed Chloe in the right side of the frame this time as I wanted to have the Empire State Building on the far left side.
This time, though, I had Chloe on front of the camera, but not looking directly at it. With her sunglasses on, I had Chloe look to her right while having her place her right hand inside her pocket and her left arm caressing her hair. Just like the previous walkway photo, this adds well to the environment as Chloe looks like a gorgeous New Yorker and the outfit helps fit the description.
Chloe and I were starting to feel exhausted and hungry as the session was coming to an end, so we went to Pier A Park to finish things up. After a few shots, I decided to end things with an extreme close-up shot of Chloe’s face (Photo Above). I placed Chloe on the left side as I went with a close-up zoom just enough to get her face and shoulders.
This time I shot in aperture to get the blur effect of the Freedom Tower and the nearby people enjoying the gorgeous day. This photo pretty much sums up a gorgeous day and model in one shot. Chloe’s eyes sparkles so beautifully in this shot too thanks to the sunlight. I joked with Chloe later saying that she had anime eyes.
With the session now over, Chloe and I decided to finally eat and hit up a local Five Guys to enjoy some delicious burgers. I offered to pay, but she insisted since I took the time to take her photos. I did pay her back, though, with some Rita’s Italian Ices after we were done eating Five Guys. We actually took our Rita’s Ices back to Pier A Park to enjoy the scenery, chit chat about TV shows and comics and what we both had been doing since the last time we met.
Right before we parted ways, Chloe and I took one last photo, this time together as I set up the camera and the tripod and set it on a timer. After many failed attempts, we finally took this one where we made silly poses which came out better than all the regular pose shots (Photo Below).
At the Hoboken Terminal, Chloe and I parted ways as we gave each other a long goodbye hug and hopped on our respected trains back home. We haven’t seen each other since that day, but we still stay in touch. This had been one of the most memorable days of photography for me and I wouldn’t mind teaming up with Chloe again for a model session.