Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

Welcome to my little Unsung creatives – Peter Nguyen post!

Hello hello!

As a photographer, you often scour the internet and photography sites to get inspiration, and to collect images that you can use as reference material when working with other creatives like models, makeup artists, stylists and retouchers.

Almost always in conversations with other creatives I’ll send through a few reference images so that we’re all talking about the same thing.

Peter Nguyen is someone who I recently found, although it looks like he hasn’t posted anything new for a year… but it looks like he’s taken frequent hiatuses with his photography… it’s tricky when it’s a total side gig.

Similar to my post about model Giselle Provocatrice, the story here is all about light.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

Personally I think Peter might have been a little heavy-handed on the skin retouching with a lot of his shots… but the lighting in the above photo is just spectacular. The dappled light on both the model (Kendall Mickal) and the background is just amazing. It’s super easy for dappled light like this to be way too bright and create way too much contrast between the lit sections and the unlit bits.

Peter has also lit Kendall with a flash or a studio light to get her skin light so nicely… it’s really hard to get that balance right.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

This shot looks like it’s from the same shoot with Kendall. It’s stunning. The sunlight is behind her, which gives the shot that really hazy look, as well as the angelic halo highlights in her hair. Peter is probably using a reflector to reflect light from the sun back onto her face… you can see the reflection of it in her eyes.

I love love love the skin tones in the above shot, and Kendall is doing an incredible job of that breathless look. I reckon Peter might have been lying on the ground with Kendall standing over him to get this shot… very creative.
The below is another shot with Kendall, but from a different shoot:

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

I’d love to see the original photo… I’d guess that most of this golden effect was done in Photoshop or After Effects… but the lighting, makeup and hair styling would have all been incredible before it got anywhere near Photoshop.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

Peter has so many shots in this exact spot, I imagine it’s just outside where he lives… but I love how casual this looks. This model (Raine) would have spent maybe 2 hours in makeup, hair and styling… and then he’s just plonked her on the path. The shot looks great, and I love how the path basically encourages your eye to trace it down to her face. It’s a great composition… and I’m sure it was weird for everyone else who wanted to walk down the path. I’ve done shots like this… where you spend so much time waiting for random people to get out of the shot.
I’ve had dudes deliberately just stand around to get in the shot, and that’s where you just gotta zoom all the way in to cut them out.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

I think this shot of model Vanessa Barnfather is spectacular. I’ve always loved having lights in the studio shot itself. If I ever built a studio again I’d definitely build in a way of lights in the background.

The sparkle of the jewelry is super cool, and really easy to do. I love how bright her eyes are (with a little help from Photoshop I’m sure) against her red hair. It’s a super simple pose, but so much when into creating this shot. It’s so great. I think here was at least 5 or 6 lights used for this image.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

This is another collaboration between Peter and Vanessa. I’d guess it was a different day because her hair is styled differently, but you never know.

The sun is peaking through a window with a sheer curtain and two much heavier curtains. I’m sure you’ve noticed, but the closer the sun gets to the horizon, the way more intense it is… hence why it’s so much harder to drive into the sun at sunrise and dusk. Peter is using that to his advantage here… but he wouldn’t have had long to get this shot right.
I love how simple and casual it is… and yet so striking.

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

I can’t even tell you how genius this is. It’s so simple… and yet I’ve never seen a shot like this ever before. It sets up a little mystery and an intriguing shot. The lighting for this would have been really difficult I think… the light under the door is so bright, but her skin is nicely lit, including shadows closest to the camera… so good. Also, we’re hanging out on the ground again… oh, and it’s Kendall again. Gotta love finding a model who is willing to try all sorts of wacky things to get that shot. Trust me, it takes a special kind of model to throw herself around…

Unsung creatives - Peter Nguyen

So I think this is the same curtains as the shot with the model in the Coca Cola t-shirt above… obviously this is more of that glamour/boudoir style that is very popular for models. Models almost always need images in their underwear so they can book jobs for swimwear, lingerie, runway, etc. Talent agencies always request it, and so I’ve seen tons of lingerie shots… most that I’ve seen (and many I’ve taken) don’t tell any sort of story, nor seem at all realistic. Models in their underwear standing in front of studio lights isn’t super realistic.

This shot is different for exactly that reason… also the model’s pose with her hair isn’t trying to be super “pretty” – she almost seems frustrated, and so it’s intriguing… which draws you in that much more.

Angelic lighting, angelic face, clean look… but gangsta shirt and pistol… confusing, intriguing with a whole lot of ‘what the’ thrown in. Who on earth would keep a gun there?

I honestly don’t know how Peter got the background lights so hazy… maybe photoshop, maybe a smoke machine, maybe a almost transparent curtain or perspex or something. Regardless I love the thin strips of light on the models arms, ribs and hair. It’s so great and model Brittney Boesch does of looking poised despite probably pulling her stomach in and tensing everything. It’s hard to do without showing that in the face.

Also, I never would have considered cropping the floor out like that. It’s an interesting move that I really like.

Hit me up on Twitter if you want to chat about photography. Thanks for reading this Unsung creatives – Peter Nguyen post… I think your photography and your use of light is just amazing Peter!

Sources : All photos in this post by Peter Nguyen Photography. Models, makeup artists, etc will differ with each shot.


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