Charleston South Carolina Fashion Photographer | Kate Benson | Studio and Lifestyle Model Test Shoot

If you’ve been following my product and model photographer feed on Instagram, you probably have seen a new face lately. This stunning model is Eliza, and I had the opportunity to help her with a model test shoot at the end of February.

Eliza is looking to attend school in New York, and wants her model book to showcase her versatile looks to the NYC market. In order to add more variety to her portfolio, her modeling agency gave her some art direction to move forward with. During our conversations leading up to the model test shoot, I was able to take that art direction and play with different ideas for the desired two studio and two lifestyle shoots.

We had a lot of fun shooting around my neighborhood just outside of Charleston, SC. It was supposed to rain, so instead of doing the lifestyle looks outside around sunset, we changed it up and did them first thing in the afternoon. We were just too excited to get photos from the marsh and around the budding foliage that we rushed around from location to location to beat the rain. Luckily, we wrapped up the second look just as it started to drizzle! Eliza was a trooper and worked around mud and no-see-ums to get us these images.

 

Once we got in from the rain, we moved into the studio. Eliza has beautifully long red hair, and I wanted to find a way to accent it. After looking for some inspiration, I decided to go with an untraditional two-colored backdrop, using red and blue. I also had a red chair to use as a prop. Eliza brought some great clothing options for the studio looks, and once I saw her amazing yellow jumper, I knew I wanted to play with the primary colors. As Eliza was getting her makeup done by the talented Rosa, I found my stellar large Christian Roth sunglasses and a yellow industrial fan and finished setting up the studio space. Here are some of my favorite, fun, over-the-top images from the first look.

After the playful first look, we moved to the second, more serious shoot. Some of the art direction from Eliza’s modeling agency was to have her modeling in menswear, with slicked-back hair. So we put her in a men’s blazer, sat her down in my red chair, and took a variety of shots. After a few images, Eliza wanted to finish her shoot without any makeup, and the results are stunning!

We all worked a little later than anticipated, but the results were definitely worth it. Eliza was able to add images to her book from 4 very different looks, and I hope she finds success in NYC! A special thanks to Eliza’s mom for being a great assistant and bringing plenty of fun outfits and props to use, Rosa for working hair and makeup magic and Chelsea for overall photographer assisting!

Lifestyle Photographer South Carolina | Kate Benson for Beija Flor Jeans

A little under a year ago I joined A Wonderful Machine and have really enjoyed working with them. This summer I hired them to do some consulting work as well as a bit of a rebranding and have to say hiring that out has been a great decision. As photographers we get so emotionally close to our work that it’s hard to see just the image without the story of shooting it. This morning Wonderful Machine sent me a sweet note to let me know that they are using this shot from the current season of my shoot for Beija Flor Jeans as their homepage image for a bit. I’m pretty excited and flattered of course.

Beija Flor Jeans is one of my favorite clients, based in the Carolinas and I have had the blessing of getting to shoot a few seasons for them now. The shoots are always very diverse and fun. If you love amazing jeans, here is the link to their website: https://www.beijaflorjeans.com and if you haven’t checked it out, Wonderful Machine is pretty cool as well: https://wonderfulmachine.com

 

Charleston Fashion and Portrait Photographer | Kate Benson | Meet Lily

If you follow my Instagram, you’ve likely already seen this new face on my feed over the last week. If you don’t follow me, what’s taking you so long? https://www.instagram.com/katebensonphotography/

Lily contact me a few weeks ago and had a pretty cool back story. About a year ago she was approached by two ladies (I bet I could guess who) from a local modeling agency DirectionsUSA and they asked her 3 questions, “how old are you? How tall are you? When are your braces coming off?” The answers were 15 (at the time), 5’8″, and in a year. Turns out, Lily had just had her braces removed when she called me. She needed a model test shoot and needed it ASAP. In addition to sending her images off to the agency, she needed to send them to Charleston Fashion Week for consideration for the upcoming event.

Shooting a 16 year old is a fun change for me, as is a first time model. There is something really amazing about fearless way a model will try different poses and expressions when they haven’t already learned what their looks are. Lily brought so much more character and fun to the shoot than I was every expecting. In this little series for example:

 

We shot these in the marsh in Mount Pleasant behind my friends house so for part of this shoot, we had an audience watching. Let me just add, in addition to being a new model, to have to model in front of strangers adds to the challenge. But she killed it. I intentionally started shooting her later in the day in studio so we could move out to the locations once the light was where it needed to be. With the help of my new intern Chelsea who was assisting this day, we didn’t spend more than an hour total on the marsh. I wanted to get a variety of locations in before the sunset (which is about 6:30pm now).

So we wrapped up the marsh and ran off to the beach racing the sun, because, did I mention, I have a thing about using natural light so we were going to be done no matter what once the sun was gone. We did two looks there, a swimwear look and another younger look.

 

Our last look was inspired by some beautiful erosion at Breaches Inlet on Sullivans Island. That and the fun beanie Lily had brought. As the last of the sunlight slipped away behind the island, we quickly shot one last round of images.

These had the most amazing Maxfield Parrish feel to them (one of my favorite painters of all time). I loved them so much I am pretty excited to get back out there and shoot again. Lily as of this shoot, was unsigned and starting to look for agencies. I have no doubt that she’ll find one and have many, many more amazing shoots. As for me, I hope to get another chance to photograph her soon! Extra thanks to Chris, Lily’s mom for being such an awesome assistant on set as well as to Chelsea for all the computer/lens/reflector wrangling, Phil and Sandi for letting us invade their backyard and always offering me their home as a location (again), and Sam for watching Moose extra late that night and making sure there were some takeout tacos for me when I got home. He knows the way to my heart!

Charleston Fashion Photographer | Kate Benson | Zacasha 2016 Boho

How do I talk about Zacasha? Do I write about the designs that you can’t help but want to collect all of? Do I talk about how fascinating a business Jennifer created and how it just exploded into something bigger and better than anyone ever imagined? I guess you have to know Jennifer the owner and designer to know what Zacasha really is. Working with her free spirit and creative mind is like chasing genius. You can try and follow along as best you can but will never catch up. She works and reworks everything she contacts and you can’t help but be swept up in the spirit of this creative process and applaud the art it produces.

I shot their 2015 campaign and this spring (yes, it’s taken that long to write about it) I photographed the 2016 campaign. Jennifer had 2 days of shooting, a Boho day and a 1920’s day. These are a few of my favorite images from the Boho day.

The colorful free feeling of the boho shoot mirrored Jennifer’s spirit. It was such a privilege to work together again. Jennifer on top of being a very talented designer and business woman also is a fantastic stylist and art director.

I have to start with those shots of Tamara from Elite Miami. Tamara really got excited at the casting, her boho energy matched the brands, and on set, she moved and danced in the true spirit of the shoot. She chameleons into the character you give her and won the hearts of everyone on set.

Our second model was the gorgeous Jade from Wilhelmina. Her exotic beauty was a perfect canvas for both our shoot days.

There were way too many beautiful shots to choose from, I shot close to 2,000 photographs that day. So as you can imagine, the idea of going through them all and choosing favorites has been overwhelming!

So here are just a few more, and maybe, with any luck, I’ll get to go through these later and find my true favorites. In the meantime, let me know which of these is yours. I’ll take any help I can get editing this batch!

 

This last shot really captures how I feel trying to pick a favorite.

Charleston Fashion Photographer | Beija Flor Jeans shoot | Kate Benson Photography

If you saw my post with my new business card designs (or my Instagram), you may spot a familiar shot or two here. These were shot for Beija Flor Jeans and the product is truly great. I’m anxiously waiting for it to cool down so I can wear my 3 new pairs (yes, 3!!). These flatter your behind like nothing I’ve seen before, and who doesn’t want that (sure beats that time I bought Burberry Jeans a size too small so my booty would look awesome and broke the zipper)?

I was on set in Miami when they called to discuss a new add campaign. They wanted to do something in the Charleston area but were still playing with ideas. Ironically, when they first suggested jeans on a boat, I was not on board (pun intended). However, the mother/daughter team behind Beija Flor patiently discussed the in’s and out’s of the brand with me so I could help conceptualize the project. There was no formal art director on this shoot so I wanted to make sure that I could deliver the company’s vision and energy. What came across to me clearly was that these jeans were something women had been waiting for. The cuts lifted and accentuated all the right curves and the waistline was high enough to move around in without being restrictive. The product is great and I identified with it quickly!

Part of what the ladies emphasized were their colors. Blues and whites dominated the brand’s palate and soon it became clear that a boat was exactly where to shoot.

Early morning I joined our model Brittany Harvey (with Directions USA), makeup artist Pamela Lesch (with Prime Time Pretty), and the Beija Flor Jeans team, Kathy, Emilie, and Anna at the hotel and then headed over to our fishing yacht.

Throughout the day, the rain held off and gave us some beautiful light. Brittany looked amazing in the jeans and did a fantastic job modeling. She really embraced the energy that fit the brand.

As always, I’m so excited to have new work to share and am really happy to have met and worked with Beija Flor Jeans. I love being a based in Charleston fashion photographer!

Fashion and Product Photographer | Charleston, SC | New Business Cards

As you can imagine, as is true every time a lull in my photo blog comes, I’ve been quite a busy bee lately (So you can be busy as a South Carolina Product Photographer)! A small preview of the time transpired since my last post in May is this: I bought a house (yay!!), moved, shot thousands of pieces of clothing and more than a few pretty cool products, travel to Miami a few times, met and photographed lots of beautiful models (in both Miami and Charleston) and somehow, finished a book. A single book. Since May. Because life is a spin of working and mom-ing with a bit of sleep and food here and there right now. So as I sit in my new office with boxes still very packed around me, I sit to type another overdue blog post. The boxes will have to wait.
A quick preview of some of my new photography comes to light in my new business cards. Last week on an impromptu road trip around South and North Carolinas to meet with some of the people based here that I’ve started working with (or would love to have the chance to work with), I was rather embarrassed as I handed out my very old, desperate for an update, business cards (I sit shaking my head as I write this). Let’s just say, they did not match my work at this point. So off to Moo.com I went and with the help of some restrictions (yes, I HAD to have gold foil on mine and no, there was no room in the budget for custom placement, so the templates were inevitable) I created a few pretty new cards to introduce my brand.

The cards will have 4 different images on the front, 2 fashion, one lifestyle and one product. Being a versatile product photographer and enjoying the crossing of thresholds that let me still play and explore creativity, I wanted cards that could be specific to the needs of each client. So without further adieu, here are 3 of my 4 designs (one will be shown and given out after the images release).

Besos!

First, a shot from a recent shoot in Charleston for Beija Flor Jeans:

Next, a favorite of mine from a photoshoot for Boca Terry:

Third, a sophisticated still life for Crown & Buckle:

Lastly and not nearly as exciting, my contact info:

As always, head on over to my website for more based in Miami and Charleston product photographer work!