Most of you that are reading this probably do not know me personally, so you may not know that second to photography, music is the thing I enjoy most in life. I’m not just a causal listener of the radio, I am more into it than that, I have my own radio show once a week on KAMP Radio in Tucson, AZ. So what I am trying to get at is that I am a really big fan of music and just recently I got to shoot with the singer of a band that I have been a fan of for awhile, The Aquadolls. The Aquadolls are a really cool indie surf rock band from the LA area and play tons of shows around SoCal and have toured with tons of other awesome bands. Since I am a fan of their work, I was super stoked to set up a shoot with their singer Melissa Brooks!
We planned for the shoot to be at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport, I chose to shoot there because I was hoping to get some colorful arcade shots with her esthetic being so bright and colorful, plus if that wasn’t working out as planned we could always walk across the street the balboa pier and get some beach shots which I thought could be cool since they play surf inspired music.
When first telling my friend Baron that I was shooting with Melissa, he really wanted to come along on they shoot. Since he shoots film and wanted some practice shooting portraits, he came along and took some photos too.
We met up with Melissa by the Ferry at the Fun Zone, from there we first went to the arcade to try to get the shots that I had in mind. The shots from there were just okay, the arcade didn’t have enough lights or as many colors as I had hoped. But luckily I still ended up with a couple images I liked.
Since the arcade didn’t work out as well as I had hoped we still had awhile to shoot till sunset, so we walked around the Fun Zone for a bit more and took a couple more images around the area. After feeling that I had shot at all of the good spots for this shoot, we walked over to the Balboa Pier.
On the way over we walked down a back alley. In the alley we got my favorite image of the shoot with Melissa wearing an all jean outfit in between these two buildings in the alley looking back at the camera. It was great, the walls added this depth and symmetry to the picture and the outfit looked great.
After we finished shooting in the alley, we went on to the Balboa Pier. There we took a lot of images and most of them came out really well. My favorite picture on that pier came when we saw this seagull just standing perfectly still on one of those look out things. I had her stand right in front of the bird, the bird was not scared at all. So I snapped away a bunch of images of her with the bird and they were hilarious.
We finished walking around the pier and head on to the beach below. On the beach we shot a bunch of images under the pier, on top of this big sand mound, and on a lifeguard tower. Shooting on the sand was kind of a pain in the ass, the mound of sand was huge, so we literally had to climb and it was hard without having a bunch of stuff in hand, so with a camera in hand and Melissa wearing heels. I was a sight to see.
At least the time climb up the sand mound was worth it because we did get a couple nice images. Under the pier we took the typical images with her standing next to one of the pillars and then some with her in the center of the pillars.
Those always turn out nice, even though they aren’t the most creative shots.
Further down the beach we shot on the lifeguard tower, and that was pretty funny because it was surrounded by tons of tourists, so we climbed up the side of it since there was someone sitting on the ladder. And when climbing up accidentally we kicked sand on all of the people below. The shots on the tower were pretty solid, I didn’t plan for this but the tower we climbed on was the M lifeguard tower and since her name is Melissa it was a nice coincidence. Once we finished with the lifeguard tower we walked over to the ferry to get some pics on the water with the sunset.
We waited for the ferry, hopped on, took a couple shots on the way over Balboa. When the ferry stopped on Balboa we tried to get the kid working there to hold up for a second while we ran off the ferry to take some pics in front of this old fruit stand. But we took the pics and the kid didn’t wait for us. So the ferry left and we had to wait for the next one.
There we took the ferry back, I didn’t have anymore ideas in mind and it was starting to get dark, so there we ended the shoot. But since Melissa ended up parking far from where we were I drove her back in my golf cart to her car, then Baron and I headed back to my house to hang out for the rest of the day.
That shoot was really fun, especially since I got to shoot with an artist that I really like and who was also really cool in person. So if you like indie rock go listen to Melissa Brook’s band, The Aquadolls, they don’t disappoint.
Follow Mellissa Brooks on Instagram at: Melissabrooksla
Also, follow The Aquadolls on Instagram at: Theaquadolls
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