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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hannah West with BMG Models

I recently shot with Hannah West, model with BMG Models, Orlando office, and daughter to the owners of Charylis in downtown Winter Park. When the agency sent me her portfolio, most of the images were fashion-oriented, showcasing a full-length Hannah. I decided to go out on a limb, like I like to do a lot of the time, and photograph beauty imagery in studio. She looks so much like a porcelain doll, and her skin is just glowing.

We created the looks around headpieces from Hazel Faire. Typically promoted for bridal, the headpieces softened up the look of the entire shoot. They are super girlie, and somewhat "hippie-esque", which I love!

See more of Hannah's images at:

Thank you to our team:
Paula Abraham, Hair & Makeup
Lindsey Warren, Photo Assistant
Marie Llewellyn, Hazel Faire Accessories
BMG Models Orlando

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mel Weinberg, The Man Behind the Scam

It took me a while, but I finally had time this morning to pull up the Telegraph article in which my photograph of the very captivating Mel Weinberg appeared back in December. Unfortunately, my credit is misspelled and shows as "Betty Hansen", but I promise I was the one who took these photos. ;)

It was an interesting shoot, not so much because the photographs we took would blow you away, but because the stories this well-lived man had were straight out of a movie, literally. American Hustle, the movie, was based around this man's life. The Telegraph describes him as "the womanizing con artist enlisted by the FBI". His stories were just that. He didn't boast so much of womanizing, but proudly spoke of his undercover work and how he and his team took down corrupt politicians in 1980 in the states of Florida, New York and New Jersey. Originally a con artist arrested by the FBI for wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy, Weinberg made a deal with the FBI. His three year prison sentence would be turned into three years of probation in exchange for going undercover for three cases. He posed "as the representative of a fictitious Arab sheikh who wanted to invest in American businesses, buy stolen art, and bribe politicians in return for help with immigration issues."

The stories go on, and if you want to read more about Weinberg himself, pop over to the article where you can also find additional references with reading material:

As for the shoot, Weinberg being of elder age, could get around, but not easily. I tried not to take up tons of his time with portraits. Half the time I photographed him while he was being interviewed by the writer. The other half we staged the photos. The Telegraph requested images of him holding items from the Abscam days, but he was resistant to have anything photographed because, as he stated it, he didn't want to get into any trouble. My solution was to photograph him with the images on his walls, which consisted of a portrait of a young Weinberg looking confident and smoking a cigar, a drawing by actor Peter Faulk, sketches of his boat (confidently named Up Yours) and two images of him being interviewed by famous newscaster Mike Wallace for 60 Minutes. (See the interview here.)

My favorite images from the day were the very close portraits of his face. I love the detail and the fact that you can see so much. I find it fascinating that behind this man's face is a lifetime of unique experiences.

I am honored to have been in the presence of a man who made such an interesting notch in American history.

The Original Undercover Abscam Video:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Behind the Scenes, LMHL Mag

If you have ever imagined what a fast-paced photo shoot is like, you have not imagined one like this. Everything was planned down to the minute, just to make sure that we would be able to capture our final shot during the golden hour when the sunset was at its peak. Ten minutes to shoot, ten minutes for the models to change, ten minutes to shoot, and back again to change. No pressure at all considering the final shot was slotted as the cover image, the image that the entire issue hangs its fate upon.

With the largest crew for one shoot this magazine has ever seen, our amazing team systematically worked as one unit. The thirteen-person team consisted of a photographer, an art director, a location coordinator, three fabulous models, two hair and makeup artists, two wedding gown coordinators, a headpiece designer and a prop stylist with an assistant. We orchestrated seven final images in a four-and-a-half hour time period, which included thirteen designer wedding gowns totaling over $72k, a multitude of magnificent designer jewelry pieces and seven handcrafted headpieces shipped in from Phoenix. The photos happened in seven different locations on the Mission Inn Resort and Spa property.

We luckily had thirty minutes shooting the final image of the day, the cover. The sun was a beautiful shade of gold for only half that time, and I stubbornly continued to photograph as the sunset changed to black. I threw in the towel just as it was no longer light enough for the sensor in my camera to focus properly.

The final images are stunning and can be found in the February/March 2014 issue of Lake Mary Healthy Living Magazine based in Seminole County. Viewing the images, you’d never know it was such a bustling afternoon.

Tali and Stephanie with Solutions Bridal
Simone Rosas, Makeover Station
Shannon Tarrant, Mission Inn Resort and Spa
Jen Class, Styling Houz
Marie Llewellyn, Hazel Faire
Makaila Nichols, Wilhelmina Models
Hunter Denoyelles, Wilhelmina Models

Latrice Williams, BMG Models Orlando

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2013 Cover Trends

So, I can't be the only person who has noticed the cover trend this December. There's no way that these two magazines sat down to discuss their plans of bold design and specific color schemes, so how did this happen? W Magazine is top-shelf when it comes to photography, and even though Ocean Drive doesn't have the same circulation numbers, they know how to hold their own when it comes to imagery.

I'd call this mild calamity a funny coincidence due to a fantastic sales tactic.

December is a great month for magazines and their advertisers from a consumer point of view. People are feeling generous and will buy that magazine copy off news stands that they wouldn't normally treat themselves to. What a great stocking stuffer! Despite being the end of the year and a lot of companies having low budgets, it's the perfect issue to advertise.

Just because you put a magazine out doesn't mean that people will buy it though. You need that cover-appeal! Both black and white cover designs are bold, simple, and creative. I personally prefer the W cover out of the two. The inverted black and white button up shirt just gives it that little extra umph!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Using Natural Light in Photography

Whoever thinks using natural light as their main light source is a bad idea, think again...

Use strobes and use external flashes, but don't forget about the power of natural light. As a working photographer of more than a decade, my eyes are trained to see light and shadows. I know how lighting will transform in the camera, and having this knowledge helps me refine my images even more.

The above image is Janie with Ford/RBA modeling agency just outside of North Scottsdale, AZ. It was taken this past September at the Frank Lloyd Wright home located at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead. The sun was just setting, and we were scrambling to get our shots. The stillness and quietness that this photo exudes does not honestly reflect the business of the few hours just around sunset where we were trying our hardest to capture the beautiful sunset and it's saturated, glowing light.

The extremely soft light in the image is after the sun sank past the horizon line, so there was no direct light from the sun. This was the last series of shots that we did because it was getting too dark for even the camera to focus. It's beautiful the way the sky fades from pink to navy blue, and the golden light on her face makes her skin pop and look incredibly healthy. I'm in love with the reflection of the sunset sky in her eyes.

Below is a shot of us rushing back to the cars before we had no light to see the trail. You don't want to be stuck in the desert at night without a flashlight!

The earth thrives on the sun, so why can't we as photographers capture the free beauty that is given to us every day? I ask you to not forget about the natural beauty that is at your finger tips.

Betsy Hansen Photography
Jeneka K Wardrobe Styling