Over the years I have worked with Girls Inc of Holyoke to photograph key events or moments that are relevant to programs they have. I have photographed the State Senator as well as the Governor on their behalf as well as the many girls that are a part of their programs. The first time I became aware of Girls Inc being located across the street from my studio is when I saw a billboard advertising them in town. I passed by the billboard a dozen or so times prior to learning where they were located. I wanted to shoot a billboard, specifically I wanted to connect with Girls Inc and be able to shoot for them.
A year after learning where they were, I was asked to assist and make some photos on behalf of a friend who was doing some video work for them. I obliged his request and was introduced to the incredible work that Girls Inc does for the community, specifically the work they do for the girls that are part of the programs. It was a true eye opener and since then I have closely watched through the lens as some girls have transformed, grew, and become young leaders in their communities.
In 2012 I was asked to photograph some of the girls in studio. From the date of that shoot until recently they were able to utilize the photographs. Including the photo below, which shows the photos being used in newsletters, greeting cards, and thank you cards, among other printable materials.
This fall I was asked to photograph some of the newer faces of Girls Inc. They were ready for a new set of photographs and I was eager to have them in the studio again. Each shoot like this is required to be shot on a white background. Each photograph is to be delivered with a clipping mask, rendering the portrait available with a transparent layer. Girls Inc has a visual aid, kind of like a mood board, of how they want the photos, but there is always room for improv and trying some fun and new things.
I set the studio up with lights. I created a diffused bank and put a 7' parabolic behind the diffuser. I wanted a wide spread of light, but I did not want the harshness of the silver reflection from the parabolic. Basically I was mimicking a softlighter. I chose to use the parabolic because I wanted the light to be more focused towards the spot where each girl would stand. I used two other lights directed with umbrellas to the rear of the background. I pushed the power pretty high to get a nice white out. I wanted the main light to be wide enough for groups as well as individuals. The primary focus of the shoot was individuals but to also incorporate small groups of 2-4. Below is a photoshopped diagram of the set. It is a loose digital design of how I set the lights. The x indicates the spot in which each girl or group stood.
The following images are behind the scenes captured by Sarah at Girls Inc. Many thanks to her.
The following photographs are the result of the shoot.