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Make Danny Pretty: Jenny Yee Photography

A little while back, I had the chance to meet Jenny Yee, a fellow dot-com professional who, like me, has also recently moved to San Francisco. I was impressed by the quality of some of the portrait photography she has taken. She explained that she was working to set up a studio at her new place. I have been thinking that as I become comfortable with single life and begin looking forward to finding that special lady, it will be more and more important to look pretty: to put my best face forward.

I am still getting in to the whole projecting-a-self-image thing, and I’m not ready just yet to pay much to look glamorous, so I approached Jenny to volunteer as a “test model” to help her get up to speed with her new digs. She smiled warmly and agreed, and it is time I returned her favor by sharing the experience online. I will start with a melodramatic before-and-after, of High School Danny versus Jenny’s Web 2.0 Danny:

High School Danny Web 2.0 Danny

I smile, because while my shoulders have filled out and I have grown the goatee, in both images I see the same basic, good-natured geek. Fortunately for me: geek is now chic! (Some even feel fondly toward the old Napolean Dynamite look.)

Fun, huh? Well, so was the time spent with Jenny. It was my first time as a “model” and she broke me in gently, moving me around to catch different poses and angles of light. She had some initial frustrations in her unfinished studio with “the post office look,” so we struck out on the streets of the Castro, to find good settings to work with.

Being a model is pretty chill: just do what the photographer asks. Move this way, and that, can you lean in a bit more, and such. The primary challenge was a gentle one: keep looking towards the camera, but not quite at the lens, and smile. Jenny kept up a friendly rapport, and we chatted and got to know each other as she focused her intensity on getting what she wanted into the camera, taking little breaks to seek out the next good setting. She wore a very nice dress, which helped me keep focused towards the photographer as she worked, daydreaming occasional smile-provoking thoughts to myself. I spent some amount of time focused on either of her slender, bared shoulders, which were constantly shifting as she moved this way and that.

After the shutter had clicked a hundred times or three, Jenny declared that she had had her way with me, and was satisfied. I wandered off to my next adventure, as she dove into her haul of images to work on assembling and post-processing out a good set from our session. Since we had not had any particular agenda in mind, Jenny arranged a fun sampling of different portrait types. She posted them on her web site, and I grabbed copies, uploaded, and annotated them in a Flickr Photo set.

I had a good time, and afterwards I came out looking good. I look forward to my next opportunity to smile indirectly at a camera lens, wielded by a photographer with a sharp, creative mind.

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