It's January 25th, 11:09 am. I need some photo candy. I check out Brooks Blog at blog.ayola.com to see what he's up to today.
Cool. He shot a cover for Dayspa magazine today. I see a gorgeous picture of Marisa Petroro decked out in a rock star t-shirt and black-rimmed glasses. She's that model who holds case no. 18 on "Deal or No Deal." Hmm, I wonder. How did he take this stunning portrait (see image, 3rd from bottom, right).
I read today's blog entry and learn he used a Canon 5D, 85 mm lens at 1.8 and lit her with two fluorescent tubes in custom fixtures. I also read that Brooks teased her all day because she pronounces her name wrong and that she’ll be in a new movie, "Reno 911."
This is an example of the stuff you'll now find on Brooks Blog version 2.0, the photoblog of California-based shooter Brooks Ayola. Every few days he updates the blog with a new photo, instructions on how he took the shot and the story behind the image, if there is one.
It may sound like a bit of self promotion and it is. It's an excellent way to get exposure, whether it's new clients, new resources, mentors or even new friends. In fact, his site has had as many as 550 uniques in one day.
His blog is an extension of his personality and his work. Lines often get blurred when you're passionate about what you do. The best place to begin finding your identity in the business may be through a blog.
Brooks' studio is located in the San Fernando Valley, an area fertile with beauty editorial and product clients such as Dayspa, Nailpro and Beauty Launch Pad. He has created brochures, ads and Web sites too.
While product photography was his spring board into photography, (he apprenticed with Terry Sutherland who gave him his first break after an assistant left), his passion is taking portraits. His digital studio is admittedly spare‑ Brooks prefers to use a few good products such as his Canon 1DS Mark II and 5D and Speedotron lighting. His Horseman 4x5 with Polaroid 55 film is his baby though.
"My favorite thing to do is to shoot with this camera. It's deliberate and slow. You have to plan for it. And you have to have a patient subject," he says.
The best fodder for his photoblog is via Polaroid, which he rarely uses for actual jobs. Before a model walks into his studio, he is a man with a plan to get the images he loves. "I do the personal work at the end of the job. I ask the model if she can hang out for a while after the shoot. They usually will."
Remember Petroro, the beautiful Deal or No Deal case holder? She simply changed back into her clothes for the post session. Luckily, she wore glasses. Brooks is working on an ongoing project on people wearing glasses concentrating on the personality of the eyes and the lighting variances depending on the lens prescription.
To be an effective photo blogger, Brooks believes it is important to be a good editor. "I only show one frame of anything I ever shoot. I only want to put my best stuff out there. I don't want to dilute the impact on one by showing more than one," he says.
As a self-proclaimed Internet geek from early on, it was easy for Brooks to be lured into cyberspace.
"Well before I bought a domain name, I was in AOL chat rooms and I always liked to comment on things," he says.