Grey Day Photoshoot

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Some days are a bit blue. Life gets a bit too much and your outlook matches the grey skies above. I’ve had my fair share of such days, especially as of late. But rather than continuously wallow in my room, I decided to get out and shake off said melancholy. My friend Vania over at VLC Productions had a free night, so I played guinea pig for some lighting and post-production techniques she wanted to try. These pictures are a couple of the results!

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Here’s a behind-the-scenes selfie from the photoshoot. You may think that’s my hair, but nay…if you’ve been around my blog or social media sites long enough, you’ve more than likely heard my tales of hair woes. This is actually beautiful lace front wig I scored for $60 at a local beauty supply store (I pushed the wig back a little to let me actual hairline show through). Now I can galavant around looking and feeling like a proper elven maiden with long flowing locks.

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2015 in Review

2015
Today marks the last day of 2015, a year’s end that I meet with mixed emotions. In some ways, it’s been a good year. In other ways, not so great. I had more lows than highs overall, so here’s to hoping that 2016 will a better sight than the last one. For now, here’s a review of the year – the good, the bad, and the well…not so stylish.

BLOG
Alas, things have not gone as I had planned with The Lady Nerd. I started out strong in the beginning of the year. Big plans. Good consistency. Then things petered off as the year went on and I fell prey to the usual pitfalls of freelancing – the need for work to pay bills (that would dry up, flood in, and dry up again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.), health issues, personal dramas, and just plain fatigue. I’m still trying to figure out how professional fashion bloggers do it. From the finances needed to create new outfits to the time needed to plan and shoot outfit posts (especially the more creative, the more planning needed), it boggles my brain how they find the money and time to do it! I’m also not sure if anyone really reads this blog besides a couple of personal friends, so I haven’t had a ton of motivation to keep it up like other social media.

But on the positive side, I did manage to eek out 65 posts this year (so a little over one post per week). While that’s not anywhere near what I was hoping to do, it certainly is better than previous years! I actually got a self-hosted WordPress blog started and this happened…
The Lady Nerd trademarkKind of a big deal. :)

Next year I hope to do more posts, redo my blog layout, garner a wider reach of audience, and extend more into the fashion community.

COSPLAY
Cosplay2015
Not much happened this year on the cosplay front due to recovering from the car accident. (I couldn’t return to any sort of work until July of this year due to my disabilities and even then, only in limited capacity.) But here’s what I did manage to accomplish…

– Started back into the game with a simple classic Lara Croft portrait shoot.
– Visited my old faire, the Tennessee Renaissance Festival as a faerie
– Started Rey cosplay
– Continued working on Spider-girl (almost done!)
– Started The Katniss Project
– Brought out Tomb Raider again for Dragoncon and Cosplay in the Kitchen

FASHION
Fashion2015 As with cosplay, not a whole lot happened on the fashion front due to recovery. Though I actually managed to do a few actual geek outfit shoots! I’ve not done the majority of my geek fashion ideas because I don’t have all the pieces for them (and I’d rather get it all right than do it halfway just to get something out there).  But I did try and that’s the important part. I still got out there and tried to model. Just recently, I walked down a runway in a full couture gown and heels. I didn’t expect to be saying that so soon after getting off my cane. :)

But here’s what I did get accomplished this year…

– Helped fund the new Nashville Fashion Alliance and was dubbed a ‘founding member’
– Found the perfect spring maxi dress and hooped in it
– Did a business outfit inspired by Tony Stark
– Met and test shot with my new favourite photographer, Kyle Matthew Williams
– Finally finished my Katniss Catching Fire-inspired dress!
– Did a sci-fi shoot with NYC photographer, Richard Scalzo
– Did a casual outfit inspired by Grand Moff Tarkin
– Darth Vader leather outfit (photos coming soon!)

I also got my ears pierced, which while that may be a silly thing  for some. But it was huge for me! (One, because I was big wuss about it. But two, I get to wear earrings now!) So it opens up alot for me in terms of outfits and modeling items.

ART
Art1This is the year I discovered the wonderful world of Copic markers for fashion/costume illustrations. I’ve been slowly practicing those skills in between storyboard jobs and physical therapy sessions. I hope to do many more next year! In 2016, I’ll be focusing on developing my style and using my costume illustrations to draw out my geek fashion ideas (since I don’t have the finances or resources to compete with regular fashion bloggers and cosplayers).

One unexpected occurrence this year was how popular my drawing of Rey from The Force Awakens turned out to be (even to the point of some thinking it was actual concept art!) I love doing costume turnarounds as way to figure out a costume when there aren’t references of the entire costume out yet (as it happens, I got the back view of Rey’s wrap dress wrong. Ah well).
ReyTurnaround


HEALTHHealth2015
As friends reminded me recently, most of this year was still spent recovering from the near fatal car accident I was in late 2014. I got off the walker and crutches by the end of 2014 when I was cleared for rehab to learn how to walk again. By January of this year, I was on to a cane.

I’m off of the cane now (though I keep it in my car for days when I feel weak). My left leg is still weak, though no longer atrophied. I need some more physical therapy to get my leg back up to full strength. Hoping that next year I’ll be strong enough to get my first mermaid tail! (Spandex, to start. I would need to get stronger at swimming before even thinking about silicone.) Swimming therapy is good for building hip and leg muscle…right? Right.

More tests and recovery are coming for other health issues not related to the accident. Here’s to hoping that I don’t get knocked out again like I did this year with multiple bouts of digestive distress, flu, cold, pneumonia, etc. I used to be a very healthy gal, but it all fell apart a few years ago. So here’s to better health in 2016!

Number of followers for 2015 (not as a bragging point – hardly! I have very few compared to most fashion bloggers and cosplayers. More as a way of documenting growth compared to next year.)

Facebook: 6,537
Instagram: 560
Pinterest: 72
Bloglovin: 35

Sci-fi Photoshoot

Sci-fi HeroineAlas, I’m still holed up with pneumonia over here. This past year has been one of the worst years on record for me health-wise, from a near-fatal car accident to catching some major bugs going around (I’ve had this latest one for almost a month). My immune system is rather shot.

So alas, my days of creating and modeling have been at a standstill. But I just got in some pictures from a shoot I did a couple months ago with visiting NYC Photographer, Richard Scalzo. One of my favourite makeup artists, Dustin of DSL Design and Talent was also on board for the shoot, so it was a fun team to work with. There were a few different looks done (corporate, fitness, etc.), but this one was by far my favourite (bet you can’t guess why…)!
Sci-fi HeroineI got to reuse my old Catwoman suit, donned a pair of light-up cyber glasses from Illumi Nation (which I’ve been eyeing for a potential Ingress Resistance costume I’m designing. Yeah yeah, I’m a nerd), and stepped up to shoot as a sci-fi heroine. I loved Scalzo’s lighting scheme for this, rather reminiscent of the new Star Trek posters. It made me feel like I was doing a promo shoot for a sci-fi movie or TV show. :)Sci-fi Heroine(And with Exhibit A here you can see how ridiculously long my torso actually is! Finding tops and dresses long enough is a real joy, lemme tell you.)
Sci-fi heroineFun fact: The gun I’m holding is a prop blaster from the 1980s show, V. I grew up knowing the show from my Dad and enjoying the new series (although good heavens did it end badly when they discovered they were being cancelled. ‘Twas a pity).

Test Shoot – Kyle Matthew Williams

Kyle Matthew Williams Briana photoshootA month or so ago, I finally got to meet up with Kyle Matthew Williams after months of us trying to schedule a photoshoot. It was a hot, muggy summer day in Decatur, but we were determined to shoot. We kept it simple, only one outfit (as we weren’t sure how long I’d last since I haven’t done many shoots since the accident).

A notable thing about this shoot was it was the first shoot where I wore heels post-accident (where I actually walked around. I was wearing heels for Femme Tony Stark, but I was seated or in static poses). It was oddly easy. I’m not sure if this is scientifically accurate, but it feels almost easier on my hip to walk in heels as I’m walking on the balls of my feet and not rolling through my entire foot (i.e. my entire hip socket). I could be completely anatomically wrong on that, but that’s what it felt like.

Kyle Matthew Williams Briana photoshootI’ve had black and white photos of me done before, but not quite like this. It has a wonderfully raw, journalistic quality to it that I’m quite taken with.

Kyle Matthew Williams Briana PhotoshootKyle was alot of fun to work with, quick, but picky with lighting (which I see alot of photographers not take into consideration when shooting outdoors). A kindred artistic and geek spirit, I look forward to working with him again!

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Female Tony Stark

Natasha StarkEnter Femme Tony Stark.
 
Also known as Natasha Stark in an alternative universe known as Earth 3490. (In comic lore, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four went searching alternate realities for a universe in which the Civil War did not happen, thus avoiding the atrocities that came after. (If you don’t know what the Marvel Civil War is, don’t worry, you’ll find out next year when Captain America 3: Civil War premieres in theaters! :) In the meantime, if you can’t wait that long, check out your local comic store for the comic bearing the simple title, “Civil War.”)

Natasha StarkBut how would a female version of Iron Man look?Probably with the same air of arrogant sex appeal that Tony Stark does. As my makeup artist put it, “Stark looks like he bought a $5,000 Armani suit, went home and slept in it. Then got up the next morning and walked into a photoshoot. All that money, a bit of bedhead, marinated in scotch.”

Natasha StarkAlas, I don’t have Stark’s bank account (or Marvel’s movie financing division either) so I had to settle for a little less on the expensive scale. I’m relatively new to the brand H&M (as a store only recently opened near where I live), but I’m already a fan. They have good-looking clothes for half of department store prices (and less than my usual go-to place, Express). Although, I wouldn’t mind if they started carrying size 0 for teeny gals like me, H&M’s size 2 tend to do the trick.

Natasha StarkI’m always on the lookout for a well-cut blazer on my meager budget. H&M didn’t fail to deliver. I went to simply browse the store’s summer collection only to walk out with not one, but two sharp blazers. (I had to break a few hearts when friends asked where I got the khaki and black leather blazer, only to reply that I had bought the last one.)

“Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.”

Natasha StarkAlthough they’re not pictured here, the khaki and leather blazer perfectly matches my Express slacks (seriously, it almost looks like they’re cut from the same fabric). It would appear the black blazer also has the same advantage. This pleases me greatly.

Is it better to be feared or respected? I say, is it too much to ask for both?

Natasha Stark“…What are you?”
“Genius, billionare, playgal, philanthropist.”

Natasha Stark

Natasha Stark I’m female.
FE = Iron.
Male = man.
Therefore, I am IRON MAN.
Photography: RBC Image
Hair: Abraham Saucedo
Makeup: Courtney Walters
Khaki Blazer with Leather Sleeves: H&M
Black Blazer: H&M
Arc Reactor: Custom made by Pixelbash Props
White tank top: Forever 21
Black tank top: H&M
Watch: Target
Belt: Target
Pants: Express

En Garde

Swordsman with katana by Bang NguyenSometimes I get to model with props I’m actually familiar with. Back in my college days I was a fencer (albeit not a very good one) both at my home university and abroad in New Zealand. My mother was an incredibly talented fencer trained under Ralph Faulkner (some of you might know him as the master who trained Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone how to fence). Alas a nasty injury kept her from ever fencing again. Even though that happened before I was born, swords still had a strong place in my household. All through childhood, I grew up around swords, with exposure to different kinds of fencing.

Fencing foil by Bang NguyenBack in 2005, I picked up my first epee in my school’s fencing club, then dabbled in foil and saber overseas. Then, in 2007, I was trained in SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors) stage combat with rapier, whip, and various props.  Alas, I gave up fencing due to it being one expensive hobby and a wish to return to my first love (and better skillset) – kung fu. There are times where I can be a paradox with the body of a dancer, the mind of a martial artist, and the heart of a fencer. Certainly makes workouts interesting!

Fencing foil by Bang NguyenAnd each man stands with his face in the light. Of his own drawn sword, ready to do what a hero can.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Swordsman by Bang Nguyen(And yes, I am aware that is not how a katana is properly held. But fashion is not known for it’s love of technique.)
Swordsman  with katana by Bang NguyenNever give a sword to a man who cannot dance.
– Confucius

Swordsman by Bang NguyenThere are only two forces in this world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.
– Napoleon Bonaparte

This was a test shoot with local Georgia photographer, Bang Nguyen, who’s gone on to become quite the professional fashion photographer (and now budding fashion film videographer). Rather than do just straight-up portraiture, we decided to add in a little edginess with expensive fashion (the black leather jacket alone was $1,000, though the brand name escapes me) and a sharpened katana. The real trick was trying to keep the look fashion and not costumer-y. There is still some debate whether or not I succeeded in doing that. But if nothing else, it was definitely a fun learning experience!

Photographer: Bang Nguyen
Hair/makeup: Veronica Hernandez-Zapata

Jacket:
Skirt: Forever 21
Leggings: Forever 21
Boots: Guess Maeve boots via Ebay
Katana: Borrowed from a friend

Femme Noir

Noir
A beautiful woman is a beautiful woman. But a beautiful woman with a brain is an absolutely  lethal combination.

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The way she listened was more eloquent than speech.

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The femme fatale ‘neath the guise of a damsel in distress… Lucky me… she had my number…

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How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

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Pour yourself a drink. Put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.

I had an itch to do a vintage-esque portrait shoot so I paired up with the ever-polite and gracious Brownlee to try some black & white fun. It was a truly lovely evening as his wife helped with my hair (I’m an absolute dunce when it comes to doing anything with my tresses outside of a ponytail) and Brownlee made the most delectable snacks for us to eat. I can’t even pronounce the cheese and smoked meat he put in front of my wide eyes, but I truly felt spoiled. Brownlee is not only a good photographer, but a most excellent foodie.

I also got to meet a new makeup artist friend, Courtney, who I promptly began to geek out with (that’s now my new deciding factor of “oo, you’re a crazy human like me. Come be part of my equally crazy social circles!“) After makeup and hair were finagled into place and lights were set up, off we went! (Though about halfway through we had to do some more finagling of the dress as, alas, it’s wee bit big for me. Thank goodness for clothespins! I imagine I’ll donate the dress back to Goodwill so it can be put back on the racks as a treasure for someone else to find. :) )

Photographer: Brownlee of RBC Image
Hair: Gretchen Jacobson
Makeup: Courtney Walters

Dress: Goodwill
Floppy hat: Gifted (friend bought it at Patagonia in Nashville)
Wide-brimmed hat: Gifted
Gloves: Ebay
Earrings: Ebay

The Elements Photoshoot

Just before my accident last year, I partnered with Vania of VLC Productions to do an elemental-themed photoshoot. It was definitely a challenge to come up with and shoot all 4 looks in one day!

AIR
Elements photoshoot air modeling red dress

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.
                                                                                                                                             – J.R.R. Tolkien

WATER
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I want to be like water. I want to slip through fingers but hold up a ship.
                                                                                                                – Michelle Williams

I am in pure love with how classical Vania made this photo feel; from the pristine shapes flowing into the water currents to the cool blue-grey hues. It harkens to a Pre-Raphaelite painting or perhaps a watery Maxfield Parrish (while oodles of fun, there was lots of runaway fabric that kept getting caught in the current and oh that water was COLD!).
The Element Photoshoot Water

EARTH
The Elements Photoshoot Earth

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
                                                                                                                                                           – Unknown

FIRE
Alas, our fire experiment didn’t work out so well. (We were trying to do a sparkler scene at night to mimic fire. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out. But it was a learning experience!). In the meantime, here’s a portrait Vania shot of you as she was testing the lighting. Not a bad portrait for having just spent the previous half hour jumping about on a trampoline!
Portrait of me Briana Lamb

Inspire Magazine Photoshoot 3 – Masks and Glitter

jraglin_secretspring_321_lo I had the privilege of shooting with Jerrica again for Inspire Magazine in Atlanta in November of 2013. We dubbed this the “faerie geisha” shoot. The hair and makeup sessions were a lot of fun (even if I was cleaning up glitter from where I was shedding it in my room three days later)!jraglin_secretspring_080_lojraglin_secretspring_317_lojraglin_secretspring_335_lo
BEHIND THE SCENES
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It ain’t a photoshoot with me til there’s derp face. Ta-dah! :)

PhotographyJerrica Raglin
MakeupDSL Design & Talent LLC
HairBirminghams hairgawdstylist

Scar Photoshoot – Contact Sheet

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My scar photoshoot, while originally inspired by an article on disabled models, was also inspired by Coco Rocha‘s new book, Study of Pose. (Coco is one of my personal role models and utmost inspiration for modeling. It’s because of studying her growing up that I honed the craft of dynamic posing. She is the dynamic model of all models. It’s amazing to see the ways she poses in clothing and expressions, even characters she delivers while most models tend to have the same blank expression and wooden posing. She’s a good-natured soul to boot who actually cares about other folks, especially young girls in the fashion industry. )

61+PuSx+tULCoco-Rocha-《Study-of-Pose》

You can check out Coco Rocha’s book here –>http://www.amazon.com/Study-Pose-Poses-Coco-Rocha/dp/006232814X

You can see my photoshoot here –>http://theladynerd.com/?p=538

You can read about the accident that almost cost my life here —> http://theladynerd.com/?p=512

UPDATE:

I posted one of these pictures on my Instagram and Coco responded! (Forgive me, I’m still new to Instagram, so having a celebrity or someone I admire respond is pretty rad. :)10407791_878049438914326_6605686856830486037_n