Simon Gerzina Shoots Ford Models

Simon Gerzina writes:

The shoot was a test shoot for Ford Models here in NYC, who I shoot for somewhat regularly. The models were Jennifer and Davina - both of them are with Ford and it turns out they're both from Belgium and have mostly worked in Europe but were being rotated through the New York market. My team was Anita Nouryeh on makeup, Annie Reynor on hair, Marissa Adele on wardrobe, Evan Lewis assisting me. Evan also handled the video camera when he wasn't busy with anything else. Shoot took place at my studio in Brooklyn.

We went into the shoot with no real plan: I know what kind of looks Ford likes for their models, so it was just a matter of working within that framework and figuring out what each model's look called for and what we had the wardrobe to support. My brief in advance to the wardrobe stylist was "bohemian chic", which is clearly pretty vague. As each model walked in we tried stuff on her, decided what fit and what we liked, came up with the matching hair and makeup direction.

I tend to keep lighting really simple on these kinds of shoots, mostly because we have to move really quickly and Ford (and most other agencies) prefer that the production is kept fairly simple and inobtrusive. The studio looks were all lit with a 5' octa opposing a silver reflector panel, both of which moved a bit from setup to setup. The head was a Profoto Acute/D4 powered by an Acute2 1200 pack, triggered by PocketWizards. There was another studio look that wasn't cut into the video, and which the agency hated, that was lit really moody with just a pair of gridded strobes for a spotlight effect. The outdoor images were lit with a Profoto AcuteB pack and head with just a Zoom reflector, all handheld by my assistant. In the walking shots he was walking along behind her, just out of frame, and we did the motion 6 or 8 times.

I shot everything on a Nikon D300, mostly with a Nikkor 17-55/2.8 AF-S lens, though the Nikkor 85/1.4D was used outdoors. Processing was minimal, with initial balancing and tweaking in Adobe Lightroom and finishing in Photoshop, though no major retouching was necessary. B&W conversions were done in Lightroom.

Check out Simon's site at and check out his Profoto bio at

Fashion shoot with Ford Models from Simon Gerzina on Vimeo.

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Patrick Hall's picture

One thing this video really showcases is the quality of work you get when you work with professional models. If you've ever worked with Ford before you can really appreciate watching these girls strike poses without the photographer having to coach them much. Great work Simon and can't wait to see more of your videos!

Pratik Naik's picture

Simon is one of my favorite photographers to work with, his style is timeless and demands attention. Best of all, he has a great business sense and a personality to match.

Beach's picture

I've never used an agency but without a doubt, having a professional model makes all the difference in the world. I'd highly recommend amateur shooters looking to improve pay for a couple hours of a real models' time. One, the quality of your pictures will almost automatically improve simply due to that professional aspect. Secondly, you'll learn a lot just from watching how it should be done, and if you can communicate some of that to less experienced models you work with it'll make your life a little easier.

jonathan's picture

Cool video, nice watching a pro at work. What was the video shot with? Also do you have to have extra permission to video the models? Thanks.

Simon Gerzina's picture

Hey guys - that's my video and photography in the post.

Thanks to Solstice/Pratik - he's a terrific retoucher and all around nice guy!

Beach - I can't stress highly enough how much a killer model makes the image. It's not just about look, it's about the performance - the posing, the fluidity, knowing where the light is, giving you something more than just standing around looking pretty. I always tell people that getting a great model and great styling means that 90% of your job is done!

jonathan - The video was shot with a Sony HVR-Z7U camera kit that I use for video work, edited in Final Cut Pro. It's definitely good to get permission from an agency if you're going to be shooting video as well, even if it's just for self-promo purposes. Only once have I had a model take issue with it, but that's one time too many.