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Soap Stars Stop By For A Little Flash Drama

January 20, 2010

Gossip Girl-One Life To Live Soap Star Tika Sumpter Photo By: D. Austin

New York has an energy that compels you to join in on all the fun! Jay-Z & Alicia Key’s new song, “Empire State Of Mind”, sums up the energy & inspiration New York generates. The song is a 2010 ode to Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. I was back in New York fresh off the plane from Atlanta where I just finished a shooting a campaign for Gromonics Natural Hair Care Products.  My mind never rests when I am here, there is always something to see, do, shoot!

Gossip Girl-Tika Sumpter Photo By: D. Austin

The photoshoot came about when Emmy Award winning make-up artist Julia “JSoul” Davis and I talked about working together when I got back to New York. She already had two stylists ready to go with clothing, props, and lots of wonderful ideas. Julia’s stylists were costume designer Ellen Stockbridge and stylist Dia Allyn. They are very creative & enthusiastic! It was my first time working with all three talents, but when we met at my Manhattan studio, it was like working with old friends. Lots of fun!

I didn’t know, till a few days before the shoot, Julia is friends with actors Tika Sumpter (One Life To Live) & Terrell Tilford (Days Of Our Lives, One Life To Live, Soul Food). Tika was very relaxed and ready to shoot.  I jokingly made a comment, suggesting Tika be our  “Gumby” for a few hours. Meaning Julia, Ellen, Dia and I were free to bend, pose and ask her to smile as needed. “Up until a point,” Tika joked. Tika’s smile and liveliness was  really inviting. With the clothes we choose, I knew we were going to shed her nice girl image just a little and give her a little sexy sizzle.

Gossip Girl-Tika Sumpter Photo By: D. Austin

Gossip Girl-Tika Sumpter Photo By: D. Austin

Terrell was quite witty. Ellen & Dia choose Terrell’s clothes and we all took turns adding a few props; a magnifying glass, Halloween masks, and classic fedora hats. Terrell improvised with whatever prop or clothing idea we suggested. He just rolled with it and had fun!

Terrell Tilford Photo By: D. Austin

The best shoots come together when you have a beautiful subject, great clothes, wonderful make-up, and the leisure time to relax and just create. It’s the stylist and make-up artist that help bring out my creativity and direction. Sometimes, the stylist or make-up artist on-set initiates some of my most popular images.

Terrell Tilford Photo By: D. Austin

I love the whole process of taking pictures, from the setting up of lights, choosing my angles and camera settings and meeting and working with creative people. Sometimes, I don’t sleep the night before a photoshoot. It’s the anticipation of what’s to come that gets me excited!  I love that feeling I get before a shoot, it’s a cross between the anticipation of a 100-foot roller coaster drop and making love for the first time.

Terrell Tilford Photo By: D. Austin

Terrell Tilford Photo By: D. Austin

My primary light for the shoot was a simple Norman strobe with a spotlight and grid combination. I shot with my Nikon D200 with Nikon 18-200mm lens. Using a spotlight added a little hidden symbolism. Since all actors live their lives in a spotlight, why not light it that way?  Subtle touches and hidden symbolism make great images. From the first few frames, we all knew we had magic!

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