Grace Ronnfeldt, Sunshine Coast

Today my friend Grace turns 18, so I thought I would write a little something about her, our friendship and how she is as a model, whilst trying to show our improvement as a team.

For young girls looking at becoming models, please see this as an example of how to go about it (in regards to the attitude towards other creative professionals in the industry).

Note: before I start I would like to say I become good friends with most of the people I work with and I don’t want anyone thinking I favour Grace over my other friends. I love all my friends the same and as you will see if you read further, I’m writing for Grace’s birthday because of a very particular thing she does very well.

Please also note not only Grace got better over time, but I believe I also improved my skills not only in photography but on coaching models.

Who’s Dat?

First time I noticed Grace on social media was by the works of BJ from Evocative Light. BJ is an awesome guy, his photography is stunning and the work he does with the young models is amazing!

Here are some of the photos of Grace by BJ that I saw (you’ll easily understand why Grace’s beauty and BJ’s stunning photography caught my eye):

Paul Tran’s Shoot

So I was really hoping I could get to work with Grace at some point and one day my good friend Paul Tran invited me to stop by a shoot at the Warehouse Studios. Paul had Grace and Tina as models so he could try some lighting setups. I went there and while he was shooting with Tina, I snapped a few shots of Grace (and some of Tina when he was working with Grace).

She was as stunning as I expected – if not more. I didn’t stay there for long but enough to have a chat with her and Tara, Grace’s mum. It took me less than a second to realise they are people I want to be best friends with! I’m not gonna get into how amazing they are on a personal level right now as this is about Grace’s modelling skills.

But above pictures were quick snaps with Paul’s light already setup. Grace is stunning in them, of course, but this is not 100% my work. And although I love these photos, the one on the right is what I then called “Grace Face”. As I was looking back at her previous work, I realised she had that same face in most of her photos. I needed to properly shoot with her so I could challenge her to give me more.

First Shoot in my Studio

So we organised a shoot with the amazing makeup artist Neeka Dewar.

The shoot in my little studio started as any other time I shoot with a model for the first time: I let the model do what they like and I see what they can give me with little to no direction. Grace could move, she knew her angles, etc. But still all I was getting was Grace Face. I’m not saying Grace Face is a bad thing, but I don’t like to picture my models as everyone else does.

So I started to push her out of her comfort zone a bit and we got a completely different Grace.

I was very, very happy with this shoot and how much she changed from when we started to when we finished.

Grace and Nature

But then, Grace decided to completely change her hair colour, so I needed to get her back in the studio. This time she did her own makeup as I wanted something very light and natural, and Grace’s dad Ian came over as well. I met Ian in a meet up he went with Tara and we had a great time, so it was really good to have him in the shoot!

To start with, we went straight to a “having fun” kinda shoot, to get Grace to smile and be silly 🙂

Grace wanted some CK photos so we did that too!

And before getting her hair wet for the final part of the shoot, we just went outdoors quickly to shoot under a car park.

I was of course always pushing Grace to change all the time. Silly, fun, serious, the whole lot.

After the outdoors shots we came back to the studio to get her hair wet and do a darker moodier look.

Grace was killing it but I wanted more of the light, so I got the strobes down and went all natural light.

She nailed it. Every little bit of it. I love these photos so much this became my signature look when shooting in my studio. This day I finally got to photograph the real Grace.

Marcus Beach

And so it was time for me to go visit the Ronnfeldt family in their new Sunshine Coast place. I wanted to try a photo using the drone on the beach and this was the perfect opportunity for it!

But the drone shot above was not the beginning of the shoot. We shot quite a bit before (on the beach) and after (in their swimming pool). This time I didn’t have to push Grace out of her zone as she was ready and knew exactly what I expected.

And after the drone shot, some swimming pool.

Then we all just sat down to chat (while Grace was warming up in the sun haha).


At this point, Grace has showed me she’s not afraid of a challenge and that she learns how each photographer works, what they look for, and she finds ways to be ready for it when working with that same photographer again.

That was in January. Next time we shot again was in August. Life happens, people get busy and Marcus Beach is not exactly a 15 minutes drive to/from Brisbane. But my good friend Paul organised a fun shoot day at the Warehouse Studios with Gary and models and makeup artists and hair stylists.

Warehouse Studios with Friends

I wanted to take this opportunity to try some new things with lights in a bigger studio so it was perfect for me.

Grace was my first model that day and we started playing with some high key lighting and I got her moving a lot when I realised I could actually challenge her again. She had her hands up the whole time, so the challenge was to keep her hands down. At first it was very hard for her, of course, as the brain gets used to the things we do all the time and trying to change is tough. But eventually she succeeded, as she always does.

The bloopers from this part of the shoot are pretty nice too 🙂

Knowing Grace, I can expect her to keep her hands down quite a bit in our next shoot!!!

We had some more fun after that! Some stunning images with the wooden box thing I stole from Gary and Paul…

Some dark moody photos with a grey wall…

And finally some shots by the doorway, which I really, really love!

Why am I writing about a particular model? Because Grace is a perfect example of a model that learns something new every time she’s in front of my camera. I can challenge her a lot and as she struggles, she has fun with it until she nails it! Also, Grace is the first model that gave my life not one, but three new friends! And because it’s her Birthday 🙂

Any photographers wanting to book Grace for a shoot, you should definitely do so, you are in for a treat!

And for the young girls thinking about becoming a model, take Grace as inspiration and learn a few things from her: ALWAYS be nice to people, learn how other creatives work so you can be a team player, don’t be afraid of a challenge (even if you don’t succeed at first, if you enjoy being challenged you will at least have fun). By doing these things, you can surround yourself with amazing people who will help you evolve and make the ever so challenging creative road a little bit easier!


Featured image by Paul Tran.