Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Big Sunday

While I was walking back from breakfast at WPPI in Las Vegas I got an email from my good friend Jeannie Mai looking for volunteers to help out with Big Sunday. The event Jeannie was recruiting for was called A Day of Beauty. In her email Jeannie said they needed photographers to document the event and take portraits. I signed up knowing that I could put my skills to good use.

A Day of Beauty makes homeless women feel like a queen for a day using professional hair stylist, makeup artist, and a new wardrobe. After all of that the women get a picture taken of themselves and are given a print so they can see how beautiful they are.

So this past Sunday my wife, Victoria, and I show up at The Good Shepherd Center to serve some amazing women. When we arrived we checked in and were told we could use an office as a room for shooting. I was asked to bring a backdrop to do the portraits so I brought my a collapsible black/white background, light stands and my 580ex flashes to set up a portable studio. The Good Shepherd Center has a beautiful little courtyard with amazing light that wasn't being used that day. I asked if I could set up in the courtyard and not use a backdrop. I was told to do whatever I thought would produce the best portraits. It wasn't hard to make my decision. My wife and I were given a Epson 4x6 printer to print the portraits for the women and Ikea frames to put them in. While Victoria tested out the printer I scoped out the courtyard.

Here is a test image that I shot of my wife so we could test the light and the printer. The 4x6 we printed is on my desk in my office. You know it is going to be a good day when this is the first thing out of your camera.

Star Sargenti and Paul Redmond also donated their photography skills to document the day. It was blast to work with them to bring joy to some amazing women. Here are just some of the portraits of the women from Sunday. All were shot with my Canon 5D and my 85mm f/1.2L lens at f/2.2 in manual mode with some inspiration from Becker.

Margery and I had a great time talking about photography. She used to photograph with a Hasselblad and was very interested in my digital camera. She told me also about the horrors of skid row and her painting and other art she like to pursue.

Michelle usually doesn't like how she looks in pictures and was amazed that this was the first one we took. We took a few more but we nailed on the first shot. I think maybe she was more relaxed since I said let me take a shot to test the lighting, which was true statement. I am glad that I was spot on with the exposure on this test shot.

Victoria and I feel like you could see Pamela walking down the streets of Washington, DC while working in some high political role.


The best for last. I took this last portrait of Patricia before packing up. Patricia has a little trouble getting around so they were going to have me take her portrait inside under florescent lighting. I asked Patricia if she could make it about 20 feet so we could get to better lighting such as under the overhang of the building. She said she could make it all the way to the courtyard with my help. Of course I said I would help. We went out and she took a seat on the bench. I then did my thing and packed up and got my car to load it up while Victoria made a print. When I got back I saw a crowd surrounding Patricia. My wife said Patricia started crying as soon as she got the print and then she asked for a copy her sister. We printed off 3 more so she would have extra. This topped off my day.

And finally a group shot of some of the volunteers. This is only a handful of the people that made this day possible.

I am so thankful I could use my talents to bless others and make them feel special. You can count me in for next year!


Tira J said...

Hi Rustin. I found your blog through [b]ecker's blog. Wow! You have certainly captured some amazing images of these beautiful women. Each image has a unique story behind it and I am sure that at times, it brought tears to your eyes, as they did mine. Let me know if you ever do something like this again, I would love to help out. Peace to you and your growing family. Tira J!

Blog Archive