For anyone who follows my page, or knows me, knows that ever since I started modeling I try to work in different markets whenever I can. Miami slows down in the summer, and I like to travel to experience other cities and possibly work with my other agencies. Hopefully, I can work a few jobs, I try to set up a few shoots to create in between time, and ideally, my family can come visit me. Last summer, I spent a little over 8 weeks in New York City through my agency, Fusion. This summer, I chose Los Angeles to work with my agency, Vision.
By the end of July, I had worked one job via my Miami agency, had one casting, rented a car, made the commute to LA a few times, but thats it – no bookings from Vision, no test shoots, nothing. At this point, if this was a basketball game, I’d be having a horrible shooting night heading into the 4th quarter, down by 15 points. But the only way to change a bad shooting night is to keep shooting, and thats what I planned to do.
I started reaching out via Instagram to several locally based photographers. I was sliding up in DM’s like I was Yo Gotti, hitting up whoever had dope pictures featured on their timeline. Only three replied – Mike Lerner, Storm Santos, and Maxwell Poth.
People always ask me, “Do you get to keep the clothes on your shoots?” Well, sort of. I book a lot of jobs, where Im paid well to do something I enjoy, but 90% of the time I’m not keeping the clothes.However, most of my portfolio consists of my own work. Shoots that I’ve paid for out of pocket, which include the styling, and honestly, I rarely return the clothes. Backtrack to my luggage dilemma on my journey out to LA, and know I was trying to pack as strategic as possible – which meant my clothing options mostly consisted of plain t-shirts, a few pair of jeans, and some sneakers. I definitely wasn’t prepared to style three collaborative shoots. So I went to South Coast Plaza in Coast Mesa, one of the highest grossing malls in America, and I got to pulling clothes for myself. After five hours, and spending way more than I wanted, I pulled some great pieces from John Varvatos, Zara, Scotch and Soda, and Adidas. And for the first time, I was going to try to do my own make-up, so I dropped some change in Sephora too. I only had two and half weeks left in Cali, so I was determined to make it count.
First up was Storm! Storm (@stormshoots) is an award winning musician, cinematographer, and producer. One of the dopest photographers I’ve ever worked with. We shot at his flat in downtown LA. I didn’t really have a clear inspiration, rather just a desire to create. We chatted for about 30 minutes about life. He took me on a tour of his eclectic collection of superheros and action figures, which included several of my son’s favorites like The Flash. We shot some in studio and on his rooftop, which I found out, is next door to the infamous Cecil Hotel.
Next up, was Mike Lerner. Mike is cool ass Republican, and history buff, who used to be Justin Bieber’s tour photographer. Along with knocking out some great shots, we talked about why he’s a Trump supporter (he was actually pretty logical), talked about movies, and I was bombarding him with history questions. We shot around his place in Fullerton.
My last shoot, on my last week in Cali was with Maxwell Poth. Max was gracious enough to fit me in before he hit a surfing road trip down to Mexico. By this point, I was out of ideas, but once I saw his home, the place where we were going to shoot, I became inspired. We talked for about 25 minutes about our experiences, goals for the shoot, and went over wardrobe. I really wanted to knock out some solid body pictures since I was doing two-a-days (sometimes 3-a-days) and I was inspired by a few editorials from my contemporaries.