Ian Harris owns the Modern Pinups studio in Denver, Colorado. He loves photography for the creative process, working with a model to find a fun project that represents their individual personality, and hearing their reaction when they see the final product. Nothing is more energizing than the excitement and happiness of others.
MP tries to take advantage of the “Mile-High” lifestyle, and individuals representing a wide range of micro-cultures across the United States. #MPduckies, the models that have worked with the company, are ambassadors that are free willed but always keep it classy. The unique marketing approach and quirky photography is quickly putting the company on the map.
Tell us a little about yourself and your photography business.
MP “The Little Factory of Bad Ideas” was born from a desire to break loose from the current industry model, and belief if you build strong enough roots your tree will bear fruit. With less than a year in existence, MP is still young and focused on developing a brand and lifestyle that people are drawn to. We know that if we work hard and enjoy what we are doing, sooner or later we will have our own reality show.
You have a unique culture with your models. Tell me about that.
Every model that shoots with us becomes a part of a very exclusive club. To make that tangible each gets there own rubber duck and becomes an MP Duckie. We have found the best models are those that associate with the brand and truly want to be part of our team. We are proud of each and every #MPduckie and their accomplishments because they define who we are: fun, sexy, free spirited but always classy.
Your model photos are very clear and rich in color. What is your secret when photographing these free spirited girls?
The trick is keeping it simple and directing the eye of the audience to tell a micro story. MP’s footprint is almost exclusively social media, so grabbing your audience’s attention is key. Stop the thumb-flicking and get the user engaged. If an image is too busy it will get the pass. Color is a great example, I work hard to unify colors and eliminate others all together, not just crank the saturation. In a world of thumb-flicked filters in swims against the current.
How do you bring forward the character of a model?
First work with models with personality! Make it fun, create excitement and a burning desire to get that killer photo, from our next bad idea. Sometimes from weeks of chatting, brainstorming, and searching Amazon. Sometimes from models cleaning out their closets. Sometimes just from creating a fun situation and finding out what happens. Of course it helps living in Denver where everyone is a unique individual and free spirit aka America’s youth today. We don’t believe 5’10”, size 0, and no tattoos is an exclusive model.
What kind of a camera and lenses do you primarily use and how do you select your equipment?
I used a Nikon D3X, 90% of the time with a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. I normally shoot with a small aperture and ISO100. This keeps everything clean, sharp, non-distorted in-focus and with a good separation from the background. That is normally my starting point without fear of deviating.
Can you name some tips for those who want to start portrait photography?
Don’t be afraid to be humble but grow every time you shoot. Have an idea of where you want to go, and know you don’t have to get there overnight. Just make sure that each shot, each photo, gets you a step closer to that where you want to be.
Thanks Ian for sharing your Modern Pinups photography business.
Check out his work at the Instragram site: