Cool People and Good Times at #PortraitMeetTO

In the social media realm, I consider myself well-versed and connected. Currently (for PAWELECphoto), I'm on 8 social networks and do my best on updating each with my latest photography work and these blog posts on a weekly basis. As if that wasn't enough, I am also a member and admin of various Facebook groups for photographers, models, and fellow creatives to collaborate and share one's work. One post in a group that caught my attention was that of an event called #PortraitMeetTO. Hosted by Samantha (a Toronto model) and Gina (a local photographer), the plan was to bring a diverse group of photographers and models (both amateur and professional) together for a day filled with unique street-style photography. Although street-style isn't my normal body of work, I was excited about the opportunity. Here's a selection of my favourite shots from that day - I hope you enjoy them!

After some brief introductions and a group shot was taken (see blog cover photo above), everyone split off with models taking the lead at various pre-determined locations around Toronto's Underpass Park. I immediately started looking around to see where my first photoshoot would be and noticed this smiling beauty with big hair named Shiva. Without hesitation, I locked focus on her and shot my first frame. The simple playfulness of her candid expression is the essence of street-style photography - at least to me that is.

My first real shoot of the day was with the beautiful brunette Violetta. Some (including myself - an actual Latino) thought that she was Latina, but it turns out that her ethnic background is that of Ukrainian and Korean - what a lovely mix. In keeping with the street-style them of this event, this was shot using natural light, the posing was kept to a minimal, and editing-wise, I went in favour of a warm filter with some de-saturation.

By early afternoon, the sun was very intense and many took a bit of a break below the underpass. At the time of this frame, Shiva was shooting with fellow photographer and incredible digital artist Justin Main, who had given a glass globe to hold. Another photographer who was using a Profoto B1 strobe (with the new OCF Beauty Dish) handed me the transmitter and I turned to Shiva. The result is a mesmerizing shot thanks to the soft light thrown by the collapsable Profoto beauty dish.

Having met Samantha a few weeks prior at another event, I was eager to get a captivating shot of her. Thanks to mates Lee Solo and Justin Main for holding a gold reflector while under the harsh sunlight, I was able to get this frame. The reflector is what adds that touch of light and sparkle in her eye.

As a fan of contrasting settings with the subject, I asked Samantha if she would pose while laying on a hillside covered in large rocks. Although there was soft natural light available, Samantha's face needed some pop. A silver reflector was used to fill in some shadows and soften her look. As for her ability to captivate the viewer with her eyes, that's truly a gift!

A big thanks to Samantha and Gina for setting up this great inaugural event. Shout-out to all the photographer and models who showed up, it was great meeting you all and I look forward to many more meets this year... possibly even one in my studio.

Photo Credits / Specs:

© 2016 Giancarlo Pawelec | PAWELECphoto
Models (Top to Bottom): Shiva Kay, Violetta Lisniak, Shiva Kay, Samantha Kim, and Samantha Kim
Assistants: Lee Solo and Justin Main
Location: Underpass Park (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Camera: Canon 1Dx
Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
Lighting: Natural Light (w/ Gold Reflector and Silver Reflector) and a Profoto B1 500 AirTLL strobe with Profoto OCF Beauty Dish.