Hello, welcome to the website of Steven Stiefel, an award-winning lifestyle and editorial photographer based from Chattanooga, Tennessee.
If you are viewing this page, I take it that we have communicated about doing a photo shoot, either a portrait you seek to commission or a test shoot for my portfolio. Below are some tips and information to better explain who I am and what to expect.
ABOUT STEVEN STIEFEL
“Who is this guy?” you’re probably thinking. Well, I’m just an artist dedicated to using a camera to capture and share beautiful things in the world. If I’ve included you as one of the beautiful things, I hope you will take it as a supreme compliment. If not, no worries. I only want to shoot with people who are enthusiastic and have a good attitude about the process.
Let’s cut to the chase…
I have several photography projects going on concurrently. It’s possible that if I spoke with you about testing with me, I think you might be a good fit for one of them. If you’re curious, you can TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT I’M WORKING ON and give me feedback on which, if any, you might be a good fit for.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
It’s a dangerous world and you (probably) don’t know me at all. But I am strongly committed to providing you with a good experience you’ll want to recommend to others. That begins with making sure that you are comfortable and understand my intentions.
Safety: You are absolutely welcome to bring someone with you to our Photo Shoot. Preferably another female who is supportive and can help you with styling, etc. Boyfriends can sometimes get jealous, bored or both, but your call, really. I’m happy to provide a reference from someone I have shot with in the past.
Comfort: This should be fun, so I want you to be able to feel relaxed and enjoy planning and doing our photo shoot. I’ll do my best to explain what I want to shoot with you before we actually connect so there are no surprises. And while I love a bold image, I never ask a model to reveal more skin than he or she is comfortable displaying. My job is to gently nudge you in the direction of a more compelling image and your job is to give me feedback on what you feel able and totally at comfort attempting to do in terms of posing, outfits, etc.
If I’ve asked you about testing with me, I’ve done so that you are at least 19 years of age. If you are younger than that, I’ll need to talk to a parent or guardian before setting anything up.
WHY I DO TEST SHOOTS
I do test shoots for a variety of reasons, but mostly it’s a way for me to collaborate with new faces (you) while testing a new lighting technique, a new location, or a theme before I end up applying it on a paid client shoot (which is not the time to use an untested experiment or new gear). I’m more inclined to use a model I’ve tested with (if I get to make the selection) on those commercial shoots that fall into my lap.
If we are testing, it is more than likely a trade agreement. We are both contributing our time at no charge to the other. If you want to purchase something from the shoot, you are certainly welcome to give me money, but there is no obligation to spend one penny. I generally like to throw some free, edited JPEGs a model’s way to show my appreciation if he or she gives me an outstanding effort. Unless otherwise stated, you’re welcome to display those on your Facebook or whatever. I just request that you not tag me in anything unless I’ve had a chance to edit it so it reflects well on my photography skills.
When testing with me, I will ask you to sign my MODEL RELEASE giving me explicit permission to display your likeness in my portfolio and on Instagram, etc. Please read it before we connect and print it out, bringing the signed form with you. I may also ask that you bring two forms of government-issued Photo ID to verify your age if any nudity may be involved (your determination).
MY STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY
I focus on Editorial Photography and telling “stories” – each image being like a still frame removed from a complete movie. I like to have a clear concept in mind before shooting any images. My #1 rule for my images is “don’t be boring”.
I want you to feel the freedom to experiment outside of your normal comfort zone and become a bit of an actor portraying a part. Don’t be intimidated. I’ll provide direction. If it looks bad or stupid, nobody ever has to see it. More often than not, the results are striking.
I’ve had people tell me that shooting was very liberating for them and opened doors to parts of themselves that they didn’t realize existed.
I usually shoot for a couple of hours unless I am concentrating on one look instead of 2-3 outfit changes. Sometimes multiple settings can be involved. I usually choose a location based on what fits your outfits you bring with you and the theme of the shoot.
I find that using images from other photographers helps give inspiration to the concepts I find interesting. I’ve created this MOOD BOARD OF INSPIRATION IMAGES to help us narrow down the general look and vibe of the shoot we will do, if you so choose. I also value your creative ideas! Let’s have fun with it!
PREPARING FOR THE PHOTO SHOOT
Here are some TIPS FOR DOING YOUR MAKEUP and STYLING the Photo Shoot.
Generally speaking, I either want a very natural, minimal look or else more smoky and seductive (like you’d wear if you were going out for a trip with friends to a nightclub). We can discuss the specifics while planning the concept we want to explore. If you would like for me to bring in a Makeup Artist, this can be arranged at your cost. The more effort you put into preparing for your Photo Shoot, the more extraordinary the end result will appear!
If we plan a shoot and set a time/place to do it, please be courteous of my time. I respectfully request that you commit to showing up, as agreed, or else give me 24 hours notice so I can attempt to replace you on my schedule. It’s fine if something comes up or you aren’t feeling well, etc.
Please ADD OUR APPOINTMENT TO YOUR CALENDAR AND SET A REMINDER! It’s no fun when someone flakes on me, leaving me scrambling to find a last-minute substitute, or shows up hung over/bags under the eyes from partying the night before. Please extend the same courtesy to me that you would want provided to yourself.
Thanks for taking the time to read this page. It’s a lot to cover, but I hope it fully explains my intentions. I hope that you decide to follow through and do the Photo Shoot.
If you want to proceed, leave me a message in the form below so we can set something up.