My photo
Josefina is twenty one year old East Coast Based Photographer with a fan base worldwide. Born an artist, she works to show the world what she sees when she looks through the lens. She's been working with cameras since she was twelve: including polaroid, analog, digital & black/white film. You can often find her throughout her hideouts on the web, on her Twitter, snuggling with her a cat, or collecting stuffed animals...."professionally." To her, "dull" does not exist.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

When It Comes To Purchasing A Camera

as summer fades
Model: Iryna Popova of Q Managment, NY
Creative Director: Lara Jade
Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012-2013

Hello Everyone,

I've been getting these questions a lot lately: "How do I know which camera to buy?" and "What do you think is the best camera for me?" So I decided that I would write out a general answer for everyone.

In this day, age, and time, it really comes down to what you can afford. Buying a SLR camera is not a cheap expense, therefore you want to make sure that whichever one you get is not only a good camera, but a good one for you & one that you plan on shooting with for a long time. Don't be afraid to test out cameras at a store. Ask the sales person if you can play with certain ones (Best Buy or a legit camera store are good places for that) and ask questions!

When I started photography back in 2009, I was shooting with a basic point-and-shoot camera that I bought for maybe $85 at Best Buy. Seriously. With that camera, I took photos for my school website, captured sports action shots & really focused on my practice of nature shots. Nearing the end of 2010, I got my first "real" camera. As I had several friends tell me then, and I'll tell you now: It's not about the camera that you chose, it's about how you use it. That's true. My first was a Canon Rebel T1i. I bought entire basic kit for $600. That gave me everything that I needed to learn, how I felt like I should be learning. I took that camera everywhere. Even on days when I wasn't "suppose" to be shooting, I was shooting something, anything, for fun and practice. And really, that's what it comes down too. Learn your equipment. Treat it like it is your best friend, a new partner, whatever it is that you need to do to learn all about it. How do certain settings work? Can I control my flash? What is ISO? Study it, watch tutorials, take classes, ask a friend, go to a local photography studio and spend even 5 minutes asking their main photographer questions. It all pays off in the end. Once you know the rules, you can break as many of them as you like. After all, that's what artists do!

When I switched my course of photography and took it somewhere new, we were talked into buying a Canon 5D Mark II. And while I love that camera, and it really is my baby - it wasn't a purchase I really needed to make at that time. Partly because it's a super expensive one. Some stores will sell the starter kit for $3,000USD, some will sell it for more, and some will sell it for less. We were lucky at the time to find a camera store seller on Amazon and buy it via their holiday special because I spent MUCH less than $3,000. And really that was the only way I could afford it. However, I still use the basic kit lens. I have one another lens that I bought two years ago, and that's the 50mm. I don't own a portrait lens (though I want one badly), I don't own a telephoto lens, or any fancy $4,000 lens. I have learned how to shoot with what I have. I'm not rich by any means and I'm a full time college student. I live on the college student budget, and can barely afford to feed myself and my pets half the time. Even though I know a portrait lens would help improve my work - you wouldn't have known that I don't shoot with one, if I hadn't told you. Because I have spent A LOT of time training myself how to shoot with what I have. And sometimes that's what it comes down too.

So, if you're just getting into photography and are looking for a camera, start by asking questions, going to a legit camera store & play around with the kit lens, or other lens, see what best fits you. I've heard great things about the Canon Rebel XS and I can speak for the T1i, I don't know much about the D90, or any of those, put go and play with them. Camera shopping shouldn't be a 20 minute (or less) purchase, it should be something that takes considerable amount of time. The camera will be with you for a LONG time, so you want to make sure it's one that you're willing to learn all about.

If you have been photographing for awhile and you're thinking about upgrading cameras, but you know that it will hurt you financially, take a step back and look at what you do have. You don't need the best damn camera that money can buy, you need the best damn camera that suits your talent. That might mean that you don't know your camera as well as you think you do. Watch some tutorials, go watch some free, rebroadcasts on creativeLIVE - never stop learning. Because when you give up on learning, and you think you know everything, you're actually limiting yourself as an artist. There are no more rules to break, once you set yourself in stone.

That's my opinion on cameras & how to shop for the one that would best suit you as an artist. It comes down to what your budget is, and what you are willing to learn about the "companion" that you just bought. I'm a Canon camera person, through and through, so I cannot speak for Nikon, but I'm not limiting you to just Canon's either. If you feel like a Nikon is better for you, go play with one of those - that's why I say it's best to go to real Camera Store. You've got literally hundreds of options once you're there and they would have a "specialist" in at least the top 6-10 main brand names in cameras. Go learn, go play, and chose what's best for you as an artist, and financially. Don't listen to all the media hype. Once you know what you're doing, you become unstoppable.

Peace & love.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Perfection, Retouching, And A Photographer's Eye

Retouching Work For Dr. Carla Johnson

"We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person, perfectly." - Sam Keen

It's been a long while since I have sat down to write anything, really. I have a good excuse, and I have a lame one, but I won't bore you with either. All I will say is that life has been good at throwing me curve balls lately, and they are the kind that smack you hard. I come back here today, to address the subject of "retouching".

For every photographer, how they go through the editing process is very different. Some adjust the contrast and the lighting that they missed on the camera - so it's good to go, some people run actions that they have bought off of other photographers, some people edit the skin down to a precise detail, some use photoshop, others use Lightroom (or some other program that I'm not familiar with), some change the backgrounds, and some strongly believe in fantasy edits. The point is, every artist is different, and therefore, they will see their work differently than how you do.

Before & After of "We're Not In Kansas Anymore"
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012
In my case, I don't just see the work differently, I see people differently. Part of this, you all can physically see when I retouch an image. I tend to have strong ties with people who I find beautiful in every way. You may not see yourself as beautiful (most people don't), but chances are, if I'm friends with you - it has something to do with a sight of perfection. So, when I work, I edit accordingly.

This also means that I see the sky, nature, and the beauty around us differently. The sight enters my eyes just like it would to anyone, but my brain changes the details of what is being seen. To you now, on the East Coast, you should see a pale blue sky, some softly painted-looking fluffy white clouds, and if you live in the mountains - a darker blue tint to those that are far away. I see a brilliant sky, it's the blue color that you can only find in Opals, the clouds look like paintings, soft white, and faded into the Opal's color, as though the artist was trying to make them belong. The mountains are nearly a topaz color, a harsher contrast to the sky - but with hints of green, almost calling you to come closer. The tree directly out of my window is both an auburn brown and an emerald green, and while the sunlight may come off to you as slightly yellow, or even white light, I see gold. So, like I said, I live in a very different world when it comes to how you see, and what I see.

Before & After of "Good Morning, My Love"
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012
This realm of vision applies to people as well. Within the last seven to ten images that I have put out for the world's viewers to enjoy, I have gotten both comments and private messages about the way I retouch. Some people are concerned that I am falling victim to the fashion world's plight of this undesirable need that everything needs to be perfect, some people feel as though I have made an image even more beautiful, some people have a hard time understanding why the colors were changed, or why makeup was added digitally. But the ones that really caught my attention, were the ones who were in shock that I could perform "age reversal" in Photoshop, and do it well.

It never occurred to me that I was performing any type of "age reversal," and it actually took me a good long minute of staring at the writer's words for me to comprehend what they were saying. You see, I retouch people to how they look to me. This doesn't mean that I go off and change their facial structure, or the color of their eyes. This also means that I don't add in implants, and (unless requested) don't sit there and knock off the pounds. I simply take the image into photoshop and recreate what my brain remembers, from the colors, down to a person's look, based off of what I know, I saw.

Retouched Work For Steve Brown, Dr. Carla Johnson & Lea Dodson
What does this mean for when I retouch other people's work? When I wasn't the photographer, and I wasn't there for the initial creation of the image, how would I retouch then? Simple. I retouch them how I view them, as though I was there. That takes an incredible amount of inward vision and imagination. I look at the photographer's request for the image, and I look at the people, and then I retouch them as I would, if I had worked with them. The above image is an example of that. I retouched that piece long before I knew Steve Brown, Dr. Carla Johnson (Dr. Lightness) & Lea Dodson in person. They wanted a story board of events, and sent the images in the order that they wanted. Then it was up to me to stitch it all together. It was by far one the longest projects I had ever worked on. Not only did the stitching if the images & the general color correction & light balance take roughly 8 hours to complete, I was also paying attention to the details of their faces, their bodies, their movement and their chemistry. All of this is factored into an editing an image that is not mine. In this case, not only did I have to pay attention to the chemistry with them, but I had to guess their chemistry with the photographer, or the retouching would never have worked. Sure, I could get the images stitched together, and the light balance and such corrected, but there would have been something off about the images if I didn't sit there and spend that time.

Many of you often wonder why I don't spit out images like a factory machine, why I don't "bulk-process" images in Lightroom, and how and why I can go days without editing, leaving everyone drooling for more. The truth of the matter is, I simply can't. My images are created with a particular vision in mind, and it takes more than just the props, makeup, hair, and .raw image to get it. Bulk-processing images would drive me crazy. My work is not to look the same in every image, some people like that, but I couldn't handle it. Especially because that fast process does't allow me to recreate what I saw. It ends up just messing me up, or even confusing me. Sometimes it takes time for me to find the energy to create what it was I saw, and therefore I need to step back, and take a minute, a day, a week to be able to create again. I can't really explain why it works the way it does, but that is just how I function as an artist.

Model: Holly Parker // Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012
As for the concern that I am "over perfecting" people, or I have been sucked into the fashion realm's swimming pool of negative thoughts and needs, I would like to assure you, my dear friends, that I am not and I haven't. I will always see people much differently than you do, and in some cases that means, that yes, I see them perfectly, as perfection. True beauty of every level within a person is truly hard to find, but once found, it is impossible to ignore. I strive to find that with the people I work with, so I can better capture who they are and the image that I hope to create. I have not fallen victim to society's standards, although I'm sure a few of you might say then, that I was born from it. (Haters, I'm talking to you). No, to put it very simply, I've been living in a visual parallel world alongside you for a long, long time. That will never change.

Goddess // Model: Dr. Carla Johnson
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Get Wild!

Back in December of 2012, I had the opportunity of shooting with a very wonderfully diverse model: Stephany Theys. When we were finally able to collaborate, we made some serious magic happen. One of the images from the Fashion set we shot was published in the March 1st publication of The Atlas Magazine's Wild Issue!

(Catch this image on page 83 & 84 of The Wild Issue!)
Model: Stephany Theys // Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina // Production Assistant: Amanda Sabet
To see this in print (in the future!) will be very rewarding! I thought I'd show you the rest of the story that didn't make it into those wonderful pages, as well as some behind-the-scenes from the shoot, overall.
The real fashion shot of the set!
The fiercest shot of them all!
I'm so thankful that the day was rainy and overcast, because I couldn't have asked for better (natural) lighting with this particular shoot!

Stephany working her fashion poses in an alleyway near my home.

Shooting Stephany for the "fiercer" side of the set.
Getting the "money shot" of the Into The Wild Series - which you can see in color above.
Showing Steph the work that we've already got, and what more I'm aiming for to complete the story.
A very happy Steph.

Please remember that all the work you see above is mine and has been copyrighted © Josefina Photography 2012-2013. The images in color were shot and retouched by myself. The black and white images were shot by my production assistant & behind the scenes helper, Amanda Sabet, under Josefina Photography. Please respect the art & create your own. Thank you. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Endless Pools New Marketing Image!

The Spa Series - Endless Pools New Marketing Campaign Image
Model: Dr. Carla Johnson // Photographer: Steve Brown // Retouched By: Josefina Photography

I have to say, I was very pleased that Carla asked me to retouch these images, and that I could be included in this wonderfulness. I never thought that [some] of my work would be used as a marketing image. That's crazy cool!

To quote Carla on our celebration: 
"As I mentioned in a January post, the CEO of Endless Pools and I communicated about a new thought on marketing the product. As a very pleased owner, I have relished swimming in my warm and Endless waters in a glass room as the snow falls outside. He liked the idea and suggested I have Steve Brown come back to shoot me relaxing in the pool on a snowy day.

Steve lives in a city 70 miles away and regularly makes the trip here for shoots. When the snow did not cooperate on his fist visit, he returned a couple days later, and we got what we hoped would be "the money shot." To assure we had it right, Josi of Josefina Photography edited our four best images.

When I slogged through snow to the mailbox on Friday, I found a letter from Endless pools in the box. One of our images will be used in their new marketing campaign, and there it was - a fat check. We could not have done anything more impressive if I lived in New York City and worked for a top modeling agency!" 

Here's some of the others:

This was the image that they chose - they reversed it, but that's okay. :)

I love how blue the water is in this one.

I actually thought they were going to chose this one, because of all the snow.
That, and it's my favorite! Haha

Just keep swimmin' swimmin' swimmin'

All of the above images are Copyrighted © Steve Brown & Carla Johnson 2013
Images were retouched by: Josefina Photography 2013
These images are not for use outside of Endless Pools and our portfolios. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Behind The Scenes

Catching up is a long process - or so I've noticed! I'm sorry that I haven't been around much - there's just been so much to do! In the course of these past 10 days I have been on a plane 5 times, have had 5 shoots (3 of which were editorials!), and I'm nowhere near done yet! I now have to go through and carefully select images for publication.

I wanted to show you all a few behind the scenes images from my massive shoot (and double day workshop with Lara Jade, in New York City!) - there will be more updates to come around soon!

Behind The Scenes - Lara Jade getting ready. Can you find me?

Iryna of Q Mangement, NY getting last minute hair treatment before the shoot.
Lightspace Studios - Brooklyn, New York

Lara Jade shooting Iryna of Q Mangament, NY
Lightspace Studios - Brooklyn, New York

Shooting on a rooftop in Brooklyn: Anna & Iryna of Q Mangement, NY 

Taking lessons from the Photography Queen herself, Lara Jade
(an inside to the second day of the workshop!)
We all survived the 110 degree heat! Here I am with the famous Lara Jade
after day 1 of the workshop! :)

As photographers we are told to be prepared for anything. Well, it was a really good thing that (almost) all of us remembered to bring something to drink. While the studio was huge (and had, many MANY industrial sized fans going - and many delicious refreshments), we still couldn't escape the crazy 100 degree heat that was New York that day. Making the studio roughly about 110 degrees. We were all moving around to catch the models, Iryna Popova & Anna Robertson of Q Management - who had to be suffering the most as they went from short sleeves to heavy long-sleeved fashion materials. Things got better when we were able to shoot on the rooftop - as there was a constant cooler breeze. From where we stood, we could make out the Empire State Building on the borderline of New York City itself. (I flew over the Brooklyn Bridge on my way in.) We all got brilliant images - and we can all say that we survived some unexpected summer heat!

(1st image taken by Lara Jade's Team. Images 2-5 were taken & edited with my iPhone on the app, Camera+. The last image was taken by Lara's boyfriend via my iPhone-retouched via PhotoShop.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seduced By Sunlight

"Seduced By Sunlight"
Model: Dr. Carla Johnson (Unbearable-Lightness) | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

"Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark, or the man afraid of the light?" -Maurice Freehill

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been transfixed on the idea of beauty. Some of which, comes from the exaggerated version of beauty that you see put out in most modern day magazines, or the selected forms of beauty that you see chosen for higher standard magazine's such as Papercut Magazine & Vogue. And this transfixion has carried on into my photography today. I explained a little about how I felt during a shoot in Carla's blog today, What We See Today: Iconic Images. But that's just the beginning.

The start of this idea what sparked by Cyranos's comment: "In other words, what I see is a woman where someone is, or very recently has, taken the time to make love to her beyond just sharing some sex." -Said comment was in reference to the above image. But Cyranos's really hit the nail on the head here, because I feel to some extent that's exactly what Art is. Almost damn near love making. Carla herself, once said that it's like making love to the camera - something of which, I suppose could also be a take on the above photograph. To me, making Art is a euphoric feeling that is more then the meaning of "making love" and sharing "some sex" with the subject, model; or the idea/thought. 

And this is where I find a lot of photographers mess up. They take this phrase far too damn literally. They feel that to make "beautiful art" they actually have to fuck their model. And that's not at all what I'm talking about.

The definition that I was going for was: an artistic feeling of doing something right.

By what Cyranos pointed out with that comment was: the Carla's personal connection with the eroticism of light, and my personal connection/attraction to and with beauty. One that is often connected to the light that Carla so loves. 

To those that can get lost in an image, or the creation of a piece of art - are the true artists and art appreciators.

To watch Carla slide into a "shared" erotic moment with light and my presence in the corner of the room - is one that cannot possibly be described in any other words but: the creation of beauty. 

With the image above, you can see that she's got those "bedroom" eyes, but if you could have only seen the images that came before this particular one, you could easily see why. That light was more than euphoric and erotic - it was, indeed an aphrodisiac. But that's a moment that even you artists might struggle to create in your head. It was a you-had-to-be-there moment.

Of course, not all of my shoots were as touching, magical nor nearly as erotic as the work that I have done with Carla. No, others are more focused on the the "beauty of the person" or nature and the surroundings - as what you would see in glamour and fashion. Which, is a whole different genre, in general. Every shoot has been different. Every connection that my models and I share, are very different from one another - but it all works out to create a new type of magic. 

And with that in mind, I'll leave you with a bunch of "light" images, where you can see my attention to beauty and attraction to light, both play a huge part in the general storytelling.

"In This Dream....We Float"
Model: Little Rey | Assistant: Samantha Ranck | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

Model: Kate Compton | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012
Model: Bekka Gunther | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

Model: Sitara Bird | Full Team Shoot | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

"In The Moment"
Model: Lea Dodson | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

"Don't Be Afraid Of The Light"
Model: Dr. Carla Johnson | Photographer & Retoucher: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

"Live in rooms full of light." -Cornelius Celsus

I was going to write on a totally different topic, but frankly said topic makes me angry & frustrated - and I'm quite tired of being angry and frustrated, so I walked away from that topic for a moment. If you happen to have a dA account, you can read the following blog:"OMG! She's Naked?!"

Monday, January 9, 2012

Life As A Theater

Daily Deviation on
Model: Laura Henderson | Photographer: Josefina
Copyright © Josefina Photography 2012

"Acting and writing go together. Actors write because they love words and becoming other people -we love to escape into other characters." -Susannah York

Have you ever casted your role in life? Told yourself that this is who you needed to be to get through something? Have you listened to the corporate mouth, telling you what to do? Or did some unseen force take you in life where you are now?