Setting the Stage
It was Saturday, February 24th, 2018. My wife and I had flown from Dallas into LAX the morning before. We were flying in to spend time with my long time friend and his family. But also to photograph The Beauty and The Beach, (This is what I am calling her now).
There were original concerns of possible poor weather, maybe some rain and cooler temperatures. Which would be very poor luck considering we were in California. Coming from Dallas in February anything less than a full blown rain storm and anything more than 50 degrees would be a beautiful day for a shoot.
Either way though, it was going to be okay because we planned on studio shots as well as location. So worst case scenario we rock the studio for her.
However, our concerns were completely washed away with the beautiful California sun. The weather was perfect, around 68 degrees and if there was a cloud in the sky, it was overshadowed by The Beauty and The Beach.
Who is the Beauty
She is by far one of the sweetest people I have ever met. Her name is Leira Vangeem and that is not a name to be forgotten. If you have ever met someone that you just instantaneously love and feel warmed by, this is her. She is grateful, kind, caring, generous, and genuine.
On top of all of these wonderful personality traits, Leira is absolutely beautiful. While shooting her photos and showing her family the photos, the uncanny resemblance to many beautiful celebrities was mentioned. You may even see it for yourself.
Leira is currently employed in the health industry working in medical records but certainly expressed her interest in the modeling industry. I can honestly say that in my experience her dreams or goals in that industry are not far fetched by any means. With the right management she could be very successful in a modeling career.
With that being said it is my absolute pleasure to introduce to you, The Beauty and the Beach, Leira Vangeem!
Inside & Out
Leira Vangeem is by far one of the most beautiful people I have ever worked with.
Our Day together
Started out great! Molly, my wife, started with her makeup and wardrobe at about 10am. We setup shop, so to speak, in the garage at her parents house in Thousand Oaks, California. Studio shots can happen anywhere, as you can see above. She needed very minimal makeup as her beauty is truly natural, as were her actions in front of the camera. She really made this very easy for me. We spent about an hour or so shooting our studio shots and then spent time with her and her family, had lunch, hung out and talked while gasping over the photos we had already taken.
Speaking of lunch, her Dad is a fabulous cook! (Just a little side note)
After all was said and done it was time to move out on location. We all piled into the car and took off to a beautiful park and horse ranch down the street from her house. Any photographer will know that by now its just slightly past high noon with an elevation higher than we have here in Dallas. So lighting can be a challenge. But I am always up for a challenge. So while we didnt spend much time in the park we did get a great shot while we were there.
Right before embarking on our hour drive to the selected beach, we got this shot!
Where is the Beach
I know what you're thinking.
"Okay, we have seen the beauty and she has yet to be on a beach, so why are you calling her "The Beauty and The Beach"?
I guess I don't really know if you're thinking that or not, but let me tell you. It took an hour to get there, at least a half an hour to find the right spot to shoot, and then waiting for the right lighting conditions took what seemed to be an endless amount of time.. SO, you can just hold your horses, I still have more to this story.
Anyway, so we get to Malibu, find the perfect shoot location, and then go to get gas, as we have plenty of time to kill to let the sun calm down a bit. Me being the brave soul that I am, goes into the convenient store to grab water for everyone and I see this package of beef jerky cleverly named "ring of Fire. "Yum!" I foolishly think to myself. So I get the snack and eat a huge junk of this Designer Malibu Gas Station Jerky on my way out to the car. Believe me when I say, by the time I finally choked down that chewy, properly labeled treat, I wasn't sure I was going to live long enough to photograph Leira during the Golden Hour on that beautiful Malibu Beach.
Luckily though, she wanted to go to the Starbucks conveniently located down the street to get what she, or maybe everyone (Im clueless) calls "A Pink Drink". It was at that moment that I learned Hot coffee and water will clear your mouth of an eternal burning from the "Ring of Fire".
Thank you, Leira, for saving my life!
At this point we head back to the location that we had perviously scouted. The sun was still a bit too high for the Ideal shots and we were really waiting for the Golden Hour which is when the sun is setting on the horizon. It happens very fast but offers the perfect light.
We had about an hour to soak in the sun, the sound of the waves, and the beautiful scenery. With that being said, while we waited, we didn't waste any of it. Here are a couple shots that we got while waiting for "Perfect Light".
What Made the Shoot a Success
Leira did. She is what made this shoot such a success. When we started shooting at about 10:30 that morning it only took about 15 minutes for me to recognize and vocalize the fact that she had no inhibitions in front of the camera. She was comfortable, confident, and happy to be where she was in the moment.
When Molly and I expressed this to her she replied by saying, "I am not scared. If you're scared then you miss out on opportunities."
She is exactly right. Be in the moment, be comfortable with who you are, and let your fears and inhibitions go. Because if you don't, you and your fears will be the leading cause of all the missed opportunities you wish you would have experienced.
And nine hours later she was still on point, with no fears, confident as could be, sitting on a beach in Malibu, California, under the Golden Hour.
The Beauty and The Beach
Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my day with Leira Vangeem. We appreciate your time in doing so and look forward to any and all comments or questions you may have.