Bryan Tran

Portrait Photographer

Easing in a New Model: Heather

Inexperienced models are often the most rewarding subjects for me. The process of making the model comfortable, and the conversations the happen between the frames are one of my favorite parts of the shoot. Heather was an acquaintance that I was looking forward to working with for a while, and she was quite inexperienced in front of the lens and as a result she was a little bit stiff. I think the shoot really changed when I noticed Heather had a tendency to blow hair out of her face. I simply asked her to do it again for the camera.

This brought on a ton of laughter, and a few more frames afterwards it seemed like Heather became really comfortable in front of the lens.

Whenever I find myself having trouble getting a model comfortable, I draw upon my experience as a school portrait photographer (glamorous I know). The things I've learned from getting 500 kids to relax in front of the camera, as well as the way to communicate with them has directly impacted my portraiture.

1) First impressions are everything. Models, like students can sense the energy that you're putting off. If you're stressed out about the shoot, if equipment fails or there are some unforeseen circumstances that's putting you off your game, try to hide it, or talk through it

2) If a Model is relatively new, narrating your actions - explaining what you're doing and why, this can help them understand what you need from them 

3) Do a few ridiculous photos. If you're sensing that model is getting self conscious, requesting a few photos 'for fun' before getting down to business might be the perfect ice breaker. 

Featured Model: Italo Borelli

Italo is an enthusiatic and easy going model that understands how to find his light, and to create intensity within the image. Working with him is an absolute delight, and I look forward to conducting more shoots with him in the future. If you are interested in working with Italo, please contact him to arrange a meeting (

Jamming with the Dead Oaks

I recently had the opportunity to take band pictures for some local talent: the Dead Oaks. This was most definitely outside of my usual clientele so, I was very excited to see what would develop from the shoot, and what I could learn from the experience. Although there are a lot of resources for taking band photos at a live venue, there didn’t seem to be any hard and fast rules for a jam session. So I took the time to listen to their music and had a quick chat with the band on what they expected and what they found to be really cool. When I consult a client, I usually get them to send sample images of the kinds of photos what they expected from the shoot. What unfolded was a sort of symbiotic practice session where we both jammed out and honed our respective trades. I ended up choosing a modified rim lighting setup with two gridded soft boxes to either side f the subject. Since the band was playing in a circle, I moved the lights around to get each Band member. space was rather limited so I couldn’t really replicate the same effect for the drummer but, for my first time dealing with bands, I think we were both happy with the results. Very cool experience, and I’d love to work with them in the future for their album art. We’re already planning a creative shoot sometime in the summer (look forward to it!) If you want to listen to their music, its can be found here [link]