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Last month, I had the pleasure of working with the vocalist Sara Bielanski to create an image for her new album cover!
This portrait lay somewhere between a Modern Glamour session and a Personal Branding Session – as soon as we connected by phone to discuss the shoot, I knew I would love working with her and that the session (and resulting images) would be memorable.
I’ve really enjoyed working with performers, many of whom I’ve met through Opus Affair connections. From Lorelei Ensemble (both in ensemble and individually) to Christa Gniadek and others – working with professional musicians is quite rewarding.
Sara is a professional musician. Her background is versatile, having studied both the classical and jazz through her Masters degree program. She also improvises a lot. In addition to her vocation as a performer, she maintains a private vocal studio in her home.
When I asked her to describe what makes her feel good about her work she explained that it is liberating. Music allows her the chance to express herself in an honest way. She enjoys the collaborative part, the conversation and relationship with other musicians. She thrives on making an impression and inspiring others – as a performer, teacher, and mentor.
Although our callings are different (performance vs creating visually) we connected over being story tellers. She talked about the intense energy and sustained daily commitment necessary to be a rewarding performer and teacher.
As a performer, you are constantly tweaking your instrument, cultivating your craft. Practice is very important, and a very large and sometimes demanding part of life. It can be exhausting- especially teaching and conducting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do, and I love to share my knowledge with others, thereby helping and/or inspiring them.
In preparing for her portrait session, we decided that the feelings we wanted from the images were honesty, vulnerability and strength. Her album is aptly named FROM THE HEART – it’s an homage to the best of things in life – love, nature, the seasons, light, night, laughter- so many captivating gifts that can not be wrapped up in a box.
We chose simplicity in natural window light with a large soft reflector, a neutral background and simple yet dramatic dress. Hair down, makeup elegant and understated, an expressions of being present life, lived fully, and a ‘little twinkle.’ And it looks great as a square crop for the album cover!
You can check out and purchase Sara’s album here!
And here’s one that I loved that didn’t make the final cut for the album. Love how those red lips look in black and white!