Portrait Session: Nicole Schuman & Schushine Communications

Nicole Schuman is a content curator and social media guru in Buffalo, NY. I first met her through her twitter handle, @buffalogal and met her in person at Social Media Day last June. She confused me with local twitter icon The Amherst Bear, which for some reason happens all the time to me. At any rate Nicole is extraordinary example if a young Buffalo entrepreneur simply looking to leave her mark in a city that is redefining itself. On a whole, Buffalo is a very old city. We still get our news from the daily news paper or nearest watering hole. We collectively sit around and discuss "the way things were" and stonewall progress entrepreneurs want to make.

Despite the uncertain economy and a job market that is flooded with fresh out of college "social media experts," Nicole decided to start her own business - Schushine Communications.  Her company will be assisting other businesses and organizations with copywriting, social media strategy, web content and other content curating areas of business. In my conversations with Nicole I quickly realized how sharp she is in these areas and she'll be able to bring a plethora of knowledge to share with her clients.

Being a new company, Nicole needed a new portrait or two  taken so she could update her website, LinkedIn, and to have one on standby for when she needs to speak at events and lectures. She wanted a portrait that was smart, clean, and classy. A portrait that could be used in a variety of ways and in several different settings. I really enjoy doing a portrait sessions, for a couple of reasons. It allows me to interact with a client in a very personal manner. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life and business people don't dedicate a lot of time to simply sit down and have a conversation. A portrait session allows me to have an casual, light-hearted conversation with a client and also give them a platform to blow off some steam if need be. Professional therapy is expensive, why not open up to your photographer for some therapy rather than pay a doctor who sits in a leather chair for 40 minutes and charges you $300/hour. But I digress.

During our portrait session, Nicole and I discussed social meda, photography for writers, the Buffalo Sabres and my dog. By keeping the conversation a bit light hearted it allowed Nicole to get comfortable getting her photo made. Keeping it casual allowed her to open up, get comfortable and allowed us to make a couple fun images.

From a photography standpoint this portrait shoot was a pretty straight forward. I have a 22in Beauty dish camera right angled slightly above and facing down on Nicole. I have a hair light just tossing a bit of flash on her hair to give it a bit of sheen. I contemplated lighting the back wall a little for accent, but ultimately chose not to go down that road. I also made the choice to leave the corner and trim in a few of the shots to give the setting a bit of an office setting, rather than a flat background. Post production was pretty minimal, just some simple color adjustments, and massaging of some stray hair.

I was asked the other day why I have a lot of black and white images on the blog and in my portfolio. I think I will explore this more in depth response down the road, but the long and short of it is I learned on B&W film back in Mr. Rizzieri's photography class in my high school days. Ever since then I've been obsessed with the look Black & White gives you. I think it's part of my dream to have a spread in an old issue of Life magazine. As soon as I get working on that Flux Capacitor, I'll make that happen.

All in all my portrait session with Nicole went wonderful. Please check out her new company, she really knows what she's talking about. She's given me some tips about marketing strategies that I've already begun to implement and see results.


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