Dress to Impress with Nicole

My first pandemic shoot was a checklist of things I like. Flash use, check. Long dress, check. Wonderful, and gorgeous model, check. Warm weather, check. Me forgetting to remove a kid from the background of a picture during post processing, che…oh, wait, not that one. But everything else, check.

I never knew when I would be comfortable enough to start doing shoots again. I followed CDC guidelines and local recommendations/restrictions on gatherings. I was a little concerned that by the time it go to the shoot date that we would be back in a tier where gathering with someone from another household wouldn’t be allowed. Thankfully, things worked out okay. By this point, I think most people knew to mask up and social distance. I took a day off work to do this shoot since I thought doing it on a weekday would be better to avoid crowds. It ended up being busier than expected but it was still okay.


Shakespeare Garden and the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

The Model

The one and only @_nicole_alicia_

The Shoot

I feel like I bottled up my photography energy pretty well during the pandemic. I didn’t really have an itch to go out and shoot. But when we started planning this and Nicole told me about what she wanted to do, I had an idea for this right away. Then all the eagerness started coming back and I couldn’t wait to get out there and shoot this. There was some added anxiety due to the pandemic but people were fairly good about masking up and social distancing in San Francisco and I quickly got over that once we starting shooting.

As usual, the setup was pretty straightforward with the octabox right in front of Nicole, slightly at an angle. It was actually my first time using the AD 1200 Pro flash for a shoot since I bought it during the pandemic. It’s not much different than the RL 600 I used before except it has twice as much power, the light head itself is lighter but it has a separate power pack so the entire unit itself is considerably heavier. The plus is that the light won’t fall over as easy because it’s not as top heavy.

We stopped by the Shakespeare Garden first. I’ve walked past this park lots of times but I had never actually gone in to look at it. Once we got in there, the park didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t crowded, except for what seemed to be an outing with kids, a few people walking by. We shot by the entrance first since I thought the tress lining up the top made for some lightweight fairy tales vibes. I feel like we were just missing a crown for a Disney Princess shoot. I know it was very matchy-matchy with all the green, and that was intentional. I also leaned into more of a green tint with the post processing. At least to me, it just all made sense together and I feel like everything just fit with this look and location.

We then worked our way to the Conservatory of Flowers. We stopped by a spot overlooking the Aids Memorial Grove and fired off a few shots there. I knew the look I was going for with the lighting and this wasn’t it but I wanted to get some shots in with less strobe and more natural light mixed in. Once we got to the Conservatory of Flowers I went all in with the flash. Although it was sunny I knew I wanted more of a blue’ish sort of tone. I went full power with the flash and it wasn’t enough to fully overpower the sun, but it was good enough for the look I wanted. I got some shots in natural light after. Once we wrapped up and we were walking back, I saw this hill that I thought would look interesting so we got a few more shots there also. If you know me, I want to shoot everywhere and honestly, most of the time I just have to stop myself.

Overall, it was a great first shoot after the pandemic hiatus and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

Check out the shots and behind the scenes video below.

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