North Town light & shadow Part 2

Part 2 of my North Town, Chickasha Oklahoma series.

P O E T R Y with light & shadow

North town has such a beauty to me.  The colors, textures, lines.  Rust and faded tones create contrast.  

This train bridge has been here since I can remember.  My mother and I used to walk to Austin park and this bridge is along the way.  We would stop to rest and mom would let me throw rocks into line creek.  Sometimes the train would pass over while we were under the bridge,  very LOUD and exciting to watch it go over.  

Underneath another bridge, there's L O V E.  Spray painted stories on the metal frames under the bridge for only a few who know.   Makes me smile to think about how many people pass over the bridge daily totally unaware of the vibrant, poetic colors just below.  

At the end of the day, when things slow down.  It's quiet.  The birds are gathering in the trees, families are home, dinner is on the stove.  The t.v. is on.  A slight chill is in the air.  Another day is done.  

North town has so many great subjects to photograph!   

Gina Zhidov Photography | 327 North 6th, Chickasha |

And we photo folk ventured off into the woods

F I E L D  T R I P  Level 2 Photography class (behind the scenes) with guest photographers Johnny Trammel, Joe Donley and Wes Hallmark.  

Some of us met at the studio before heading out to the Parallel Forest field trip.    student photographers Ian E.  Serena G. Kenan Caldwell and Will Ford. 

Some of us met at the studio before heading out to the Parallel Forest field trip.  

student photographers Ian E.  Serena G. Kenan Caldwell and Will Ford. 

It was a rainy, stormy day with potential for even more rain and thunderstorms toward the evening, but that didn't deter the 2nd level Photography course students!    Several local photographers Johnny Trammel, Joe Donley and Wes Hallmark came along to partake in the Photography mayhem.   

And we photo folks venture off into the woods...  

And we photo folks venture off into the woods...  

Can you spot the Photographers?  

Can you spot the Photographers?  

2nd level Photography class Field trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, Parallel forest.  Photo credit Mika Smith.

2nd level Photography class Field trip to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, Parallel forest.  Photo credit Mika Smith.

There's a beautiful dry rock bed deeper into the woods past several pasture clearings.  This is such a great area to photograph form and contrast.   The Parallel Forest, the dry rock river bed and the Elk calling in the distance created perfect moments to capture images.  

The storms were moving in quickly, so we decided to go to the top of Mount Scott and photograph the storm.  

It was a really GREAT field trip!   The Wichita Wildlife Refuge in Lawton, Oklahoma is a magnificent photography location!   The students had a lot of photo moments to capture.  

Thank you to the the 2nd level photography students for their enthusiasm.  I look forward to seeing the images you've captured.  

Info on the Photography courses:

Level 1 starts Oct 4th.  $150.00 5 week course, once a week - two hours.  

Gina Zhidov Photography | 327 North 6th, Chickasha Oklahoma |



S E E I N G VERTICAL Landscapes

L E N S   10-20 Wide Angle  |  C A M E R A 5 D mkii  

I wanted to create thoughtful, dynamic images and I challenged myself to use my wide angle lens and shoot VERTICAL Landscapes.    

To create a dynamic image I needed a foreground, middle ground and background to create depth.   I looked for and angled myself with leading lines to draw the viewer's eye to the subject.  Using the Rule Of Thirds, I thoughtfully composed in camera.   

As I would approach a scene, I would look for leading lines in my foreground, find an interesting point of view, position myself and study the light adjusting my camera settings.   

I've only been to the Wildlife Preserve a few times and it seems I can only make it there during the 1-3 p.m. harsh sunlight.  This day it was partially cloudy which allowed me diffusion of the sun.  Timing is a crucial part of a creative image and today I would wait for the clouds to roll over my subject creating softness,contrast and rich hues.  

Using the wide angle lens, I chose to shoot as low as I could which most of the time it mean't I was lying on my stomach and shooting up toward my subject.   

The real challenge was shooting vertical landscapes.  In the beginning, I would approach a scene and automatically without THINKING start to frame up my  subject Landscape/Horizontal.   A large part of this exercise was to make me THINK about what I was doing.  Instead of quickly seeing a moment, raising the camera and taking a shot I wanted to make myself SLOW down.  Become part of the process of creating an image.   By challenging myself to shoot vertically I instantly became aware.  

Earlier in the year, there was a fire started from lightening at the Preserve and because of this there are a lot of burned trees and limbs on the ground.   I tried to use them as leading lines and interesting subjects.  

NOTE:  My wide angle lens creates a vignette when I use it on my 5d mk ii full frame camera which I cropped in Photoshop and by doing so, it does change the overall composition.  I tried to take this into consideration when I was framing.  There is some barrel distortion which I could fix in Photoshop but I kinda like the clouds being distorted.    And, I really should have taken a small tripod, because this lens NEEDS a tripod to focus sharply.  

 Overall, I'm happy with my images and I look forward to going back to the Preserve with the experience I gained shooting Vertical Landscapes.  








Will Benzel 2016

#WillBenzel #actor #theatre #film #headshots #actorslife #auditions #talent #cinema #model  #onelight #photography 

@WillBenzel Twiiter

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Glamour & Grit - Vanity Fair-esque Portrait booth 2016

This weekend I was hired to create a Portrait booth at a black tie event.  An amazing opportunity and I was thrilled to be able to do it.   Since the event would be upscale and guests would be in fabulous dresses and tuxedos, I instantly knew I wanted to create a Vanity Fair set.  Glamour and Grit was the theme.  I wanted to juxtapose the richness of tones and fabrics in the attire with the worn and faded patina of the furniture and props.  

It took about a month to prepare for this event.

 Researching prop ideas and the how to's in creating over sized pieces was a fun challenge.  I wanted this Portrait booth to be extra special, so I turned to Artist Carrie Chavers who owns The Chickasha Art Center to help me design and create the props and set design.    It takes a Village to raise a Photographer, Carrie and I created the over sized props.   Several of the antique furniture pieces were on loan from the Grady County Historical Society - Thank you Pat Cunningham.   The backdrop is custom painted by my studio and the lovely green velvet drapes are from Yesterdays' Antiques - owner Bobbie Elliot.  

BTS Photo Credit:  Carrie Chavers

Andrea M. Jones Entrepreneurs' Organization of Oklahoma Chapter Administrator was the coordinator for this amazing event.   She chose the Devon Boathouse in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma with it's modern architecture and furnishings.   It was an impressive and perfect venue.  

BTS Photo Credit Carrie Chavers   

BTS Photo Credit Carrie Chavers


Guests sneaking a peek of their images BTS Photo credit Johnny Trammell

Guests sneaking a peek of their images BTS Photo credit Johnny Trammell

CLICK on an image to scroll through the gallery below for Behind The Scene  images

I really had a BLAST photographing these awesome people.  So much fun.    It was a great time for them to Vogue!  I think they all look like STARS.  


It was my desire to offer the guests an after the Oscar's Portrait booth experience,  something you would see in Vanity Fair.  I wanted them to feel like they had won an Oscar!  Everyone was so elegant and handsome. And they seemed to really enjoy the custom made props!    It was a FUN and  stunning event.

  CLICK on the images to scroll through gallery below

Photo credit  Johnny Trammell 

I want to take this moment to give a big THANK YOU to Carrie Chavers, Rachael Brown and Johnny Trammell for the LOVE.   They really worked hard to help me make this happen.   A VERY special shout out to my dear friend Andrea Jones who gave me this opportunity.    You my dear are an amazing, brilliant, kind, hardworking, creative person in this world and I am very glad to call you my friend.  

A poetic tree and golden hour light, moments captured.

In our life we make friends.  

And like with any good friendship, bonds are created, memories are shared.  I’ve been blessed to know the family of Garry & Mika Smith for many years now, it’s a caring, tight knit family.  They truly care about each other, sacrificing and giving. 

Their son Chas Smith is a young man that I have really enjoyed getting to know.  He is a really good person in the world, a creative, gentle spirit.  

Recently, Chas contacted me to help him with a special moment in his life.  He asked me to do their, Chas & Shonnie's pregnancy shoot.    The images were to be a surprise for the family. 

Shonnie & Chas 2015


Chas had put a lot of thought in this, he had already picked out a beautiful outdoor area, a nearby pasture with the most poetic tree.    Chas and I scouted out the area the day before during the time of day that the shoot would take place.  The golden hour shone a perfect amount of warm sunlight through the leaves of the tree and cast a beautiful amount of open shade for our photo shoot.    

IMG_2835 Select.jpg


The very next day we loaded up props of big poppy flowers, a nice sized Kilim rug, pillows of teal and ruby red and headed to our soft pasture grass with the poetic tree and golden hour light. 

REALLY GOOD FRIEND Shauna helped me with props !  She's such a cool breeze.  

As we arrive we see a lot of cows, everywhere!  They were lovely cows, don’t get me wrong.  There was even the champagne colored, very handsome bull laying off in the distance.  A baby bull was a little more active, jumping around at the sight of us.


We unloaded the props and equipment, and quickly realized that there were a lot of cows resting in our perfect, open shade of the poetic tree.  Now, for those of you that have never been around cows, they have a tendency to poop.  Cow Patties the size of a dinner plate at every step! 

And so it is for the Photographer, you never know how an outdoor shoot is going to take place, so many unknown variables, but thankfully, I am a seasoned professional and am used to side stepping a lot of SH*T! 

We managed to slowly, thoughtfully step around the poop and find a clear, small area of open shade, position the poetic tree nicely in the background and capture some sweet memories. 

Click on arrows to view images in slideshow

Isn’t that what it’s all about, really?  Side stepping the poop, finding some open shade and feeling the warmth of golden hour. Gina Zhidov Photography 2014 Year in Review

2014 - A year of incredible photography growth

 Invested in equipment:  # 1 ) a Professional Canon 5d mark 2 camera

 # 2) Two - 7 ft Westcott Parabolic Umbrellas which create the most dreamy light 

# 3) A Paul C Buff power pack, with it I can  power my 3 - b800 Alien Bee strobes and shoot anywhere, a rooftop, a parking lot, under a bridge, in a field.  

 Studio - I rearranged the studio 3 times including painting it gray with the help of Brian & Henry.  

Vaughan-Coburn Wedding - I really pushed out of my Portrait Artist comfort zone by photographing my first Wedding with my Photographer friend Betsy Gillies.   This experience was so insane great. I am thankful!!  

Norman Transcript, Tail Gating Party - A big thank you goes out to my sweet friend Misty Westfall who I have a feeling was a big help in me getting the Norman Transcript gig!  It was a FUN experience, working with the models and setting up the scenes.  Getting a 5-page spread in the Norman Transcript was such a phenomenal feeling.  And I was able to get a full page advertisement which featured one of my photos with my friend Jessica Stark!  

AFRO Series 2014 - man all I can say is WOW!  I have always been into Afros, and my friend Cynthia saw my extreme need to photograph big hair.  Cynthia arranged several of her friends in Tulsa to do an  Afro photoshoot.  We were very fortunate that Living Arts of Tulsa kindly allowed us to set up a studio in the gallery.  We were living art as patrons of the gallery would walk over and watch us do the shoot.  I met some amazing, FUN people that I now call friends!  Josiah, Neke, Marcus & Jerica, all arrived ready with great attitudes and a willingness to make it happen! 

Cyrus & Brianna Shoot - This shoot was one of those that I just had a feeling was going to be good.  Cyrus & Briana are brother and sister teenagers!    They both are so awesome.  Cyrus has a theatre background and he just rocked it.  He seemed to have the right expression at the right time.    And SWEET Brianna, what a dear person to photograph.   She gave me some beautiful stuff.  I'm very proud of the images we created that day.  Whenever I get low or insecure about my Photography ability I return to these images... I;m very proud of them.  Thank you for the inspiration you two!  

Bedroom Farce - Thanks to the amazing Katie Davis ( and I really mean that, Katie is amazing!) I was able to do the head shots for the Bedroom Farce cast.  I am always blown away at the talent that walks into my studio.  REAL people with a great vibe who are incredibly hard working.  

Foolish Philosophy Project - What can I say.... I was asked to create some cool photos for a very cool, up and coming Vinyl record company.    It was a month long process of arranging mini shoots and then arranging the Main shoot photographing awesome people in Foolish Philosophy t-shirts and hoodies.  I had a blast, an absolute blast working with so many people who were willing to help out.    A huge thank you goes out to all of the models.  You guys are so great.  Everyone came prepared and just gave it their all.  So proud of everyone.    It takes a village to raise a photographer:  Damon Mantooth, Jared Ellis, Danja MacNeill, Cynthia Cunningham, Ford Filson, Cord Courtney, Russell Cunningham, Brandon Nalley, Emma Rose Kraus, Cyrus Heilman,  Dani Jimenez. and Chas Smith.  A big thank you to Eva Wilcox for working the video!   I am very thankful for having the opportunity to create.  


Paint & Shoot, Adam and Johnny's Art Show - These two turkeys,  SMILE are my friends.

 I have known Adam for about 5 years.  He is a down to earth GOOD guy who works hard and has a beautiful family and I am very glad they are part of our community.   Adam just happens to also be a very talented Artist.  When I first learned of his talent my response was  "his shit should be in a New York gallery."    It's different, in a good way.    You want to look at it, take it in.  he is able to capture his subject and allow the viewer to SEE them.  

I met Johnny Trammel a little over a year ago at a photography class.  We hit it off right away.  He makes me laugh, although a lot of times I don't think he means to. ha!  He is a really good Photographer with a creative eye.  I have enjoyed getting to know Johnny and it's nice to have another Photographer to bounce ideas off of, talk shop so to speak.  

When I heard that Johnny and Adam were having a duo art show and that it was both their first show I was thrilled!  As an Artist it is really important to have a first show.  It gives you much needed recognition.  It mean't a lot to me to do their promotional photographs.  It was a fun evening, silliness abounded and we got some great stuff!  

2015 - one frame at a time...  

2015 is lining up to be powerful.  Starting off the new year with some BIG news:  I will be moving into a much larger studio space in January!  As some of you know, I have been looking for a workable space a very long time, about 5 years.  This new space will have a dedicated studio, plus a PROP room, a private dressing area, and I will have an office.  This opportunity is really going to move forward in a big way.   I will be able to offer large group/Company/Reunion Portraits.  Large family Portraits.  Dog Portraits.   We can do real FASHION & Beauty shoots.   

This will be good for everyone.  I want to create a Photography HUB.  All things Photography. I would like to offer classes and do projects such as learn Videography.  I really want to learn how to create a quality video. 

I've been working on a new look for my business, creating a new logo and style.  Getting closer.  smile.  

I hope that everyone has a safe and great New Years Eve and here's to a beautiful New Year!  

Gina Zhidov


Afro Wisdom Collection 2014

Personal projects, I try and do at least 20 personal projects a year to push my skills and do creative work.  Afro Wisdom is one of those projects and was inspired by my friend Cynthia who is a beautiful human and especially beautiful when she wears her Fro.  A few months ago we did a Fro photo shoot, I wanted to test my lighting and black backdrop against her gorgeous big hair.   While shooting we started talking about the possibility of doing a series of Fros and Afro Wisdom was sparked.  

Cynthia went above and beyond organizing models.  She brought me fabulous people, Josiah a professional dance instructor, Neke a college student, Marcus a musician and Jerica a magazine publicist.  

Cynthia is from Tulsa, a 2.5 hour drive from me.  So when she was able to put together such talent I knew I needed to seize this opportunity.  Having no connections in Tulsa I reached out to one of my Artist friends Narciso Arguelles and he gave me the name of Amy Boewe at Living Arts.    

I want to say that the Living Arts in Tulsa ROCKS!  (  Incredible non -profit gallery.   Amy was so kind and accommodating.  We had a perfect space to set up a temporary studio, she even brought us bottled water!    

We had the best time with the photo shoot and I got a lot of great images that I will be editing throughout the month.  While I photographed, one of the models Neke, used my cell and took incredibly FUN behind the scenes photos which I love because they document the process, tells the story.  Thank you Neke!   (Behind the Scenes Photo Credit:  Neke Carey. )

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know everyone.  

A big shout out to Josiah Kelly, Marcus James, Neke Carey, Jerica Wortham and Cynthia Cunningham for all the hard work, ENERGY and FUN you all brought to the shoot!  

Please click on an image to scroll through the gallery.  More images will be posted soon.  

Ya gotta love em!

I really had FUN working with these fabulous people!   A brother & sister team, they kept giving and I kept capturing cool images.   We just let it flow, giving the shoot a Performance Art feel which I love.   Playing with props and using things that are important to them we gave the photos a voice.  Cyrus IS his electric guitar and Briana brought sunflowers from the garden.  As part of my job I wanted to show what a cool connection they have, brother let sister wear his iconic hat!  


Every time I see Will Benzel, an aspiring actor/model  I think "wow, look at those eyes, wow look at his jaw line, wow he has such a great smile!"    I met Will over a year ago while taking marketing head shots for the local university's Theater department.  At that time he had long hair, which was a really cool look for him,  yet it distracted from his handsome features.  

Because Will is open to new concepts he has changed his hair style and color several times throughout the year and he recently got it cut by my stylist Shauna Hutchinson.   This new hairstyle gave Will and I the opportunity to update his head shots.    I absolutely LOVE how these photos come across.  Will did such a great job and he always works really hard during his shoots.  

I am proud of these images and of YOU Will, keep up the good work!  


First official meeting Friday night of the local Photography group CLICKHEADS was a success. Organized by Photographers, CLICKHEADS is a group of 5 who meet once a month to discuss each other's current projects, review images, bounce ideas and learn.  

  Wanting to do a group project, Johnny, Tiffany and myself decided to catch some light trails and set up on a I-44 overpass near Chickasha which was a perfect vantage point.  White and red streams of light with the McDonalds sign or the Chickasha lights gave us fun backdrops.  

We had been shooting images for about an hour, when a car with very bright lights pulled onto the bridge stopping and talking to Johnny and Tiffany.  I was on the other end of the bridge and had no idea that it was a State Trooper who was responding to the "several calls" he had received about people on the bridge.  The next thing I knew Johnny and Tiffany picked up their tripods and headed quickly my way talking in a loud voice telling me that we had been asked to clear out now!   I guess I was a tad slow breaking down my equipment because the Trooper circled back and flashed his lights at me encouraging me to hurry up.  We packed up and headed home, laughing and joking about how CLICKHEADS almost got thrown into jail.  I told Johnny I was very glad an adult was with us (SMILE) because I don't handle authority figures well.    We were able to get some fun light trails and have a great story to tell.  

Johnny was able to capture the tail lights of the new Dodge Challenger, its tail lights go completely across creating a very cool effect.  See Johnny's Challenger trail light image at

Tiffany and my trail lights are below.  Please click on an image to scroll through entire gallery.


simple and effective

it was fun to do a photo session with Brandon, a fresh face on the actor/model scene who is compiling portfolio photos as part of his entrance into a master degree program.    Originally he contacted me to do his head shots.  Brandon came prepared and brought a lot of enthusiasm to his photo shoot.   It was a success with some great head shots and we also played with a few model poses which are an added bonus.  (please scroll through gallery for more images)