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Shoot and Be Shot + Being a finalist in the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards

One of the most rewarding parts about being a photographer is being able to document the important moments of my life. While you rarely see me take a selfie, a self portrait - on the other hand - is a different story. And I think it's probably time I embrace the selfie game anyway. But back to where I was going...when I first started taking pictures in college, I often had to use myself as the subject for assignments. As anyone knows, being in front of the camera is a lot different than being behind the camera. I think doing both is important. Ever see a model become a photographer or a model/photographer? There must be a good reason for that, right?

Being in front of the camera will make you a better photographer and picking up a camera will make you a better model. It allows you to step into the other persons shoes. For instance, after being behind the camera I am much better at communicating and directing my models. I learned that models need feedback. A successful shoot has plenty of communication. Saying the model does everything perfect, repeatably, will become insincere and loose its authenticity. Which is not going to make them perform their best. But, not enough communication leaves room for questions - What is the photographer looking for? What should I be doing? What do they want? Not to mention self doubt might creep in! Ah!! Same for the other side, those individuals that shoot in addition to modeling, know things that help make the shoot go smoother. They know how important light is and how it works. They play their bodies to the light. They might even know what a photographer is going to say before they say it!  It is just like another form of practicing, practicing from a different angle, a different perspective.

Now, after school, I found myself not as frequently in front of the camera. There were no friends calling me to shoot last minute assignments and my fashion work definitely did not call for a 5 and 1/2 of an inch small fry. But I wanted to get back in front of the camera to remind myself how the models feel, to sharpen my communication. So, I started shooting a lot of self portraits again, and mostly with my daughter to document our relationship and her ever-changing growth. Today, I wanted to share an image I took of the two of us that was chosen as a finalist in the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards. As a finalist, my image will be exhibited in the Berlin Biennial 2016! I feel so grateful and excited to be honored alongside such talented artists from around the world. Check out the galleries of the awardees and finalists here. Now, if only I can get over there to see it all. I got time though, maybe it will happen...

SidneyKraemer_SelfPortrait,Motherhood

LA Winter Fashion Story

Everyone, I'm pumped to share this story with you all. Shot in Los Angeles Art's District, Model Lily shows off some california winter basics for any budget.

Forming a relationship with the subject of your lens has great benefits. While I often think photographers are worried about shooting more models, shooting with someone you already have before has its benefits. Where do you think muses come from? There's a level of trust that is there and often a smooth flow, like dancing. Having a level of comfort is essential for me when shooting. I'm asking someone to be vulnerable. I might ask them to show intense emotion or do something that might seem really silly to them. If they don't trust me, it will show, seeming forced or unnatural.

This is preciously why I like to speak to my models as much as I can before shooting. I try to have everything ready even before everyone's arrival, if its possible, and that way I can talk to my people. Get to know them a little bit before I start directing them from behind the camera. I find this is especially helpful for new faces.

Shooting with Lily again, I wanted to do something very different from the beauty shoot we had done previously. Her own personal style influenced my choices and this sort of vintage street style became the movement for the shoot. I was super inspired by the makeup trends for winter this year. I've always been a fan of the classic looking cateye, in the hands of my makeup artist, Crystal came out so beautiful.

I'm a big fan of Zara and they show up a few times in this story. Proving fashion does not have to cost an arm and a leg, Zara has become a major staple in many women and men's closet. I can still recall my first time in their store. I was in high school shopping with my sister at one of our favorite places, South Coast Plaza, known for its luxury designer stores, and she exclaimed that we just had to go in to Zara. Previously, I had always looked longingly at the dressed mannequins in the window and continued on assuming it was one of those stores I could never really purchase anything at. She led me in and years later it is still a must visit during shopping excursions. Oh my goodness and now with their kids line! I can safely assume Billy's closet is over half of the Zara brand. If you haven't checked out their kids line I order you to do so right now. For some more adult looks check out our story below.

Shirt: Leith

Skirt: Zara

Coat: H&M

Shirt: Ella Moss

Earrings: Leith

Shirt: 1.State

Ear Cuff: Leith

Blouse and Skirt: Zara

Shoes: Zara

Turtleneck: Zara

Model: Lily McCune

Makeup by Crystal Martinez @ Iconic Artistry