The internet is super cool. Who'd've thought that Phonte and Nicolay had never shaken hands or hugged until after their first album release?

Being the proverbial fly on the wall while two strangers meet for the first time is... thinly unnerving. The babbling Bernice in me broke ice upon meeting both Basma and Rebecca by asking how it was that they initially met. Then they told me that me being there was the meeting.

I couldn't help but shriek at the top of my lungs... in my head. I think my body let out a quick chuckle to match my raised eyebrows.

One of them elaborated that while this was, in fact, the first in-person meeting, they'd already recently connected via Instagram and had since been chatting away to the point of fast friendship.

So. Good job, AOL Instant Messenger. You really paved the way for life as we know it today.

Anywho, let these images tell it, Basma and Rebecca have known each other for years. And I had a blast photographing them. Enjoy the magic from our brief afternoon spent together, as well as a treat following the gallery (click on an image to see it full-screen): 


I'm fairly certain that I can't stress enough the importance of making sure, as a portrait photographer, that your subjects are comfortable. The more comfortable you allow your subjects to be, the greater the quality of images you take will be. This is true whether you're in the act of capturing old friends, newlyweds, chat room buddies or literal strangers you've psychotically nabbed on the street at random.

Going beyond creating safe spaces for the people that you interact with, it's imperative that you as the camera-wielding person become more comfortable in communicating with the person sitting or standing in front of you. Your guidance in how they should pose for the images you are taking is paramount, whether they are professional models or not. Lastly, reinforce the productivity of your portrait session with positive feedback for your photographees. They will appreciate it, both in the moment and in the gallery reveal.


Here's a slightly closer look at how my favourite image from this set came about:


For those who don't photoshop, imagine an arts and crafts project where you use different pieces of colored paper in a stack. 

Each paper has a different shape cut out of it; when you stack them back up, you'll see the different colors where you've cut the paper in the negative space. In the case of photoshop, this is called masking. 

In Photoshop's masking system, anything that's black indicates hidden pixels -- or cut paper, to continue with our stacked sheets of paper analogy. Conversely, anything in a mask that's white indicates pixels that you can see -- you may have guess correctly, this means uncut paper, or where the color shows in your paper stack.

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