Photo shoot location
February, 2009

Swimsuit photo shoots are usually done on the beach. For my February beauty and swimsuit shoot in the Dominican Republic I decided to do something a little different. My friend, location scout and photo assistant, Jim McPartlin, who lives in Santiago, the Dominican Republic's second largest city, recommended the Camp David Ranch Hotel and Resort. Located in the mountains just outside of Santiago, this hidden gem offers stunning views of the Cibao Valley and the city, oversized rooms and a restaurant with a wrap around balcony. After 5 minutes of scouting this location, I was sold. This is where my next beauty and swimsuit shoot would take place. Jim had already broached the idea to Ana Teresa Fernandez, Camp David's charming manager, and with just a few details left to be worked out, the shoot was on.

Fashion Model in yellow bikin in natural sunlight © Adrian Griffith 2009

Back in Santo Domingo, local agency Spot Group Models supplied the talent. Owner/Manager Kalsia Pimentel arranged a casting from which six girls were selected. A make-up artist/stylist was selected, wardrobe was arranged and transportation logistics were worked out. We were all set to go except for one tiny detail - the weather. Heavy rains were predicted for the area over the next few days and our target shoot date looked to be in jeopardy. Everyone was put on standby and asked to be ready on a moment's notice. After rescheduling several times we decided that Thursday, February 12 would be do or die. And, much to everyone's relief (we lost one model and an assistant due to delays), we were rewarded with the only sunny day of the week.

Model with curly hair in black swimsuit backlit

We arrived at Camp David at around noon, booked a couple of rooms as a staging and changing area and went straight to work. For the first shot of Johanna in the yellow bikini (top of page) I used the raw early afternoon sunlight with the shadows creating interesting patterns on Johanna's perfect 5' 11" body. From there we moved to the other side of the building and placed Dinorka in a backlit situation with fill. We shot until the sun went down and used a variety of locations and props including Camp David's unique collection of classic cars. The collection includes a '57 Chevrolet similar to the actual model in which the dictator Generalisimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, was assasinated. In the shot below left, Patricia poses on a '66 Cadillac that belonged to Joaquin Balaguer, who held the presidency no less than 3 separate periods during the 60's thru the 90's.

Girl with shapely figure poses on 1966 Cadillac    Young woman in pink bikini enjoys view of mountains

At 7 am the following day it was breakfast then on to the beauty shot. Each model was styled with hair back and a bare shoulder look for a classic beauty shot. The balcony of one of the rooms with its clean white walls created the perfect setting to complement the look. The light comes from the open sky and bounces around the white walls and ceiling . A 42' white reflector is placed on a table just out of camera view and fills in the shadows. After shooting each model individually, I posed them in groups and shot several poses. In the photo below, clockwise from top: Johanna de la Cruz, Dinorka Jimenez, Rocio Martinez, Jenisse Ripoll.

Beauty photo of four young latina women in natural light Beauty  and skin care photo of young latina woman with back turned to camera and face in profile

Some fashion shots are planned, others just happen. The live statue swimsuit shot below was one of those moments of inspiration. The models just positioned themselves with the mountains in the background and I fired away. I decided in post production to convert this image to black and white to enhance the surreal feeling. We wrapped up the second day of shooting with an indoor beauty shot of Rocio (above right) in one of the rooms. Rocio has the soft looks and great skin and complexion that could be used to advertise a variety of skin care products. Thanks to Ana Fernandez and the entire Camp David staff. And, once again, thanks to Kalsia Pimentel, Elizabeth, Jim McPartlin and the models of the Spot Group Agency for another successful shoot.

Fashion photo of five models in swimsuits posing as statues with mountains in background

From left. Johanna de la Cruz, Rocio Martinez, Jenisse Ripoll, Dinorka Jimenez and Patricia Solano,


Spot Group Models
Kalsia Pimentel, Owner/Manager
Tel/Fax: 809.560.9124


Camp David Ranch
Carretera Luperón km 7 1/2, Gurabo
Santiago, República Dominicana
Tel. (809) 276-6400 | Fax. (809) 276-6404




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