Photography by Xiaoguang Tse
Beauty. It’s so much more than just a pretty face, especially when it comes to the world of beauty photography! Part portrait, part fashion editorial- it’s an extremely difficult niche to master as a photographer. Not only do you have to have superior retouching skills and a keen eye for detail and editing, but you also need to have a killer makeup artist and a powerful connection with the model. A great beauty shot is something truly striking.
Jenn Collins and her arsenal of insanely talented MUAs have got all of the elements of a perfect beauty image down to a science. Time after time, Jenn and her team have demonstrated that they are some of the best artists in their field. Here are some of the highlights of their best work with Nous Models:
Photography by Jenn Collins
You’re known pretty exclusively as Melis+Dainon; so you guys are some kind of a duo? What does that mean and how does that work?
Yes! We are partners in life and in business, and are often referred to as a “photography duo.” We share similar talents, and the other skills we have developed really complement each other, so we are a good team. We conceptualize shoots, work with clients, and select models and creative teams together. I (Melis) am the lead on photography, while Dainon is the lighting master. In post, Dainon is the primary retoucher, and I come in for the finishing touches. It’s a great balance!
What makes you different from your peers and competition?
Our photographic style is all about the search for authenticity. We take photos that are true to life and capture the best and most unique attributes of the model, design, and environment. Rather than adding stylistic signatures to the photos that identify them as ours, we preserve the integrity of the content through straightforward execution that is unfiltered and impactful.
We also took a very different path to photography than most. I earned my Master’s in Business Administration and worked as a Marketing Director, and Dainon earned his law degree and worked as an Executive Director prior to opening Melis+Dainon. Our non-traditional journey provides us with a unique understanding of the challenges that business owners face in developing their brands, as well as the ability to resolve these challenges through an integrated brand marketing and photography approach.
Do you have a specialty or area of focus?
We specialize in photography and branding for the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries. Business owners and individuals in these industries are especially affected by image-based branding and depend on quality, impactful photography as a vehicle to communicate with their target customers. It’s a natural fit!
What drove you to expand the scope of your services?
The simple answer is that we realized there was a significant need for an integrated approach to branding, and we were uniquely positioned to provide a solution.
After we launched our photography business, we met a lot of designers, entrepreneurs, and individuals (e.g. models, actors, personalities) who would inevitably discuss their experiences – good and bad – with trying to build their brands. We could see how passionate they were and most had a really clear vision for their value, position, and business. However, in many cases, the brand that their target customers experienced did not fit at all with their vision. The customer-facing materials – like website images, POS displays, catalogs, ads, etc. – either were not very engaging, or worse, engaged the wrong audience entirely. It was frustrating to see brands that we really believe in suffer from miscommunication or lack of clarification between business teams and creatives. So, we decided to do something about it.
What kinds of things have you added?
We now offer services that span the entire marketing process – from concept to campaign. We help businesses, owners, and individuals (personal brands) to grow and develop at all stages – from start-ups to established companies who want to launch new product lines or refine existing plans.
An example of our full-service process may look like:
Introductory brand consulting and strategic planning
Website content creation and structure, on-page SEO, and web images
Social media content creation, strategy, and promotional images
Advertising strategy, planning, implementation, creative direction, and campaign images
Brand direction & consulting – oversee the work of brand contributors to make sure the brand integrity is maintained
What’s the advantage to that?
When we are able to support owners and teams through the various stages of the marketing process, they can feel confident that their needs are heard, understood, and translated into quality and effective strategies. There is no gap in communication because we are with them from start to finish and handle both their marketing and photography needs.
#Goals; everybody’s got ’em. What are yours?
We love traveling and experiencing different cultures, so we aim to develop our business into a vehicle that we can use to explore the world. We already have clients in different countries and would like to continue to grow our network so we can work and live without roots. Shooting campaigns in beautiful, exotic locations with amazing talent, and helping to develop global brands would be the ultimate achievement.
KISS is the debut art book from Los Angeles-based photographer Maggie West. The book features 20 pairs of people kissing each other under colorful, surreal lighting. KISS takes a unique, abstract approach to a subject that has depicted throughout centuries of art. By placing a universal activity in such a dreamlike setting, the book causes readers to reexamine the energy and intimacy taking place with each embrace. The book features a foreword by artist and journalist Hannah Stouffer.
PHOTOGRAPHY – Maggie West
Maggie West is a Los Angeles based photographer specializing in experimental lighting and post production techniques. Her dream-like photographs have been featured in acclaimed publications and sources worldwide.
KISS is available for purchase here.
Read the interview in Bullett Magazine here.
See more Faith and Filip here.
Fashion designer Christian Siriano revealed his Resort 2016 collection today, and much to our delight, Siriano says that the entire collection is directly inspired by 1960s Palm Springs and Peter Moruzzi’s book, Palm Springs Holiday. The collection is full of great pastels, prints and silhouettes that hint at the past without crossing over into kitsch. See below for the full lookbook (including the most darling hand-painted backdrop of pastel midcentury buildings and palm trees, plus vintage lawn chairs!).
In a city filled to the brim with legendary movie stars, reality celebrity lifestyles and major ad campaigns everywhere you look (and the men and women behind those campaigns casually picking out produce alongside you at Trader Joes), even the most confident gal can oftentimes feel the pressure to keep up in Los Angeles. The fact that it’s (pretty much) always summer here, too, further ads fuel to the fire; there’s no fleece and cashmere to hide behind. But one longtime makeup artist to the stars is revolutionizing how women perceive themselves with an empowering fitness movement that combines feel-good endorphins, bikinis and a whole ‘lotta girl power.
Anna Branson is changing the game with Barely Hiking, an idea that finally came to life a year ago in Malibu and is quickly gaining momentum in LA and across the country; Branson even has girls on the east coast hashtagging and joining in on the movement. The original idea behind Barely Hiking was this: a pack of girls walking into Runyon Canyon in nothing but hiking shoes and killer bikinis. With the help of supportive girlfriends and clients who immediately thought this was, well, a kickass idea, Barely Hiking had its first hike this year. The result? Amazing.
“Five minutes after walking into the gate at Runyon, all insecurities were gone,” remembers Branson, who initially wasn’t sure the reaction Barely Hiking would garner from fellow hikers. The support she received from girls—and guys!—alike, however, was overwhelmingly positive and free of any cat calling or side-eyed-sneers. “It was so empowering.”
Runyon Canyon is a 160-acre park is situated in the heart of Hollywood and jam-packed with patrons daily (among them Justin Bieber, Vanessa Hudgens and many a Kardashian), making it a prime location for her movement to gain a spotlight from the public eye—and to inspire and empower girls to be proud of their bodies, flaws and all, no matter what shape or size.
If the concept sounds intimidating, she makes an excellent point that venturing to a pool party or to the beach is equally as scary. These insecurities are something Branson hopes to change by having girls embrace the beauty of their bodies in a natural element, free of the pressures of what we like to call ‘celebreality’. We have to admit that if there’s anyone we can trust, it’s surely Branson herself- the go-to makeup artist for a star-studded roster of clients and Beauty Editor of Darling Magazine. To find out when the next hike is, check out @barelyhiking on Instagram. We’ll see you (and your favorite bikini) there.
California namesake brand PacSun has always been a favorite among the West Coast cool crowd. And with its recent rebranding and new-age, modern storefront on the world famous Third Street Promenade, the beach-ready brand continues to solidify its place as one of the raddest retailers in town. According to CEO Gary Schoenfeld, PacSun took two years to restructure the store and now considers this Santa Monica location a flagship. The newly redesigned storefront features an eye-catching 22-foot billboard created by LA artist Tyler Spangler and is just steps from the beach, making a bikini purchase even more tempting (but justified). Head on over to admire the views and shop favorites like RVCA, Hurley, and Gypsy Warrior, and who knows – you may even bump into Kendall and Kylie.
Shop the new PacSun here: