Q: When did your love of photography first blossom?
A: I became a writer almost immediately after learning how to read, having my first published poem at the age of 9. As a teenager, I experimented with various media for expression, and found that while I loved to write (and still do), that it was difficult to share with others. I began to draw the connection that photographs could be a way of telling stories. Starting in portraiture, I eventually expanded my wheelhouse to include fashion, beauty, and editorial photography.
Q: What inspires your creativity the most?
A: Beautiful cinematography in films, as well as music videos for Korean Pop artists heavily influence and inspire my work. High quality productions that are the result of masterful teamwork are very motivating to me, as it’s amazing to see what can be accomplished. Particularly in the genre of K-Pop, there is an insane level of detail that goes into each artist’s presentation, energy, vibe, and brand. This makes their music videos more akin to fashion films, and are a joy to watch and pull inspiration from.
Q: We love this gorgeous series! Please tell us a little more about the experience you had planning and capturing this photoshoot?
A: The models, Megan Coffey and Susan Coffey, are cousins, models, and artists. I have had the pleasure of working with Megan on a number of productions, and have been eager to photograph both of them together. Once we were able to work out the basic logistics, it was time to build a concept that played off of their close relationship. I wanted to shoot a story that portrayed them as royalty, draped in elegance and winter tones. In collaboration with Iva Ivanova of La Casa Hermosa, we were able to do a fitting for the beautiful gowns that would be worn for the story.
In all of my editorials, I strive to blend my vision with the talents of my creative team. I provided a moodboard containing inspiration images for the general look and feel of the story, and let my makeup artists, Celeste Vanya and Cynthia Lopez, dream up the specific looks for each model. A talented team is vital to the success of any production, which was accomplished with the talented hair stylist, Travis Starr, and the incredibly motivated wardrobe stylist, Collin Santini Adams.
Q: We understand that you are also an educator, teaching both aspiring professionals and young artists the business and art of photography and post-production. What are three quick pieces of advice that you would offer to our budding community of photographers?
A: 1.) Shoot as often as you can. Regardless of what camera you have (a cell phone, a point and shoot, film, a DSLR) the most important piece of advice I have for any photographer that wishes to get better is to practice. The more photographs you take, the more you will be able to identify the aesthetics that you enjoy, and the methods you employed to capture it.
2.) Seek out art and inspiration. Just as it is vital for an author to read as often as they can to broaden their scope, the same is true for photographers and visual art. Visiting galleries, museums, exhibitions, and actively viewing art online and in print are wonderful for feeding your muse. Sometimes it can be a color scheme, an imaginative set, or just the textures of a piece that can inspire you to create. The urge to capture photographs is what you want to bottle, so that you can keep your motivation in a steady stream.
3.) Never stop learning. Whether you are wishing to be a fashion photographer, a wedding photographer, or a landscape photographer, it is vital to understand a myriad of aspects about the genre. On a basic level, technical knowledge both in-camera and in post-production (for digital photographers) is important, in order to understand how to execute the image that you have in your mind.
Outside of that, as a fashion photographer for example, it is vital to understand branding, social media, trends, agencies, contracts, licensing, fashion shows, etc. I find that many photographers that are eager to dive into a particular field often forget that research and education never ends. Personally, I love that photography is one of those fields that is constantly evolving, for I love to learn something new as often as I can.
Q: What does an average day in the life of Kendra look like?
A: My favorite days are photoshoot days. They tend to follow a bit of a ritual. The start of the day is all about preparation, and doing whatever is necessary to get my energy up. My husband, and photography assistant, Chris Brodsky, works to setup lighting equipment and arrange the set itself. Once the team arrives, introductions are made, music plays (K-Pop if anyone is silly enough to let me DJ!), and the creative team sets out to accomplish the first look for the editorial.
I am very transparent with my team, as well as involved with them. Whenever shooting in-studio, I tether my camera to a large television, so that the team can instantly see the results of each shot. The creative team is encouraged to inform me of any adjustments that are needed (stray hairs, a crease in wardrobe, lipstick smudging, etc), and to jump in as needed to fix it. Fashion and beauty photography is all about the details, making it crucial to spot any aberrations as quickly as possible.
After every look has been captured, it is time for clean up and fond farewells to the talent and team. After the team has departed, I will review the film from the shoot, culling through the images and flagging all of the images that give me a strong first impression. The days that follow are for more careful examination of the flow and quality of the images, but I always find it important to record my initial reactions to the photographs.
After that, I make it a point to relax and unwind with some entertainment, and a rewarding meal.
Q: Lastly, what do you hope to achieve with your photography career in the not-too-distant future; do you have any upcoming, exciting plans that you would like to share with us?
A: Honing my skills both as an educator and a photographer are both of equal importance to me at this juncture. Continuing to network, grow my social media presence, and to shoot editorials and campaigns for larger publications and brands are my primary goals for my career as a photographer. In the vein of photography education, I will be continuing to mentor and teach, as well as write educational articles for great resources such as Retouching Academy.
Above it all, in the words of one of my favorite photographers and educators, Jerry Uelsmann: “My goal is to amaze myself.”
We want to thank Kendra for taking the time to share so much valuable information with us and encourage you to check out more of her stunning work by visiting her website, and following along on Facebook and Instagram. Enjoy!
Full credits: Photography: Kendra Paige @kendrapaigephoto | Models: Susan Coffey @ragdollsusan & Megan Coffey @starbuxx | Makeup: Celeste Vanya @c.makeup (for Megan) & Cynthia Lopez @cynthialopezartistry (for Susan) | Hair: Travis Starr @risingstarr | Wardrobe: La Casa Hermosa @lacasahermosa | Earrings: Stefanie Somers | Styling: Collin Santini Adams @xoxosantini | Retoucher: Svetlana Pasechnik @psretouching | Assistant: Chris Brodsky @chrisassist
Designers showcased: @jovanifashions, @lafemmefashion, @angelaandalison, @shailkusa, @stefaniesomers.