Isac Malmgren Photography

Modern Vintage Spring Fashion Show

I had a great time at the modern vintage fashion show Friday night, although I’ve been in Plumber’s Hall quite a bit they did a very good job of choreographing the show to make good use of the space that was familiar to most. I also liked the incorporation of Bond music as part of the main theme since Bond movies speak to both the vintage and male fashion aspects.  Something else that separated the show was the interactivity. There was time allowed for the audience to come close and observe the fashions as the models posed before show continued with an elaborate fan dance.

Here’s a shot of Aubrey the model I styled


and here is the album from the rest of the night

Spring Fashion show

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Kasey & Kevin Rock It Out on Their Sweet Sixteen

Last week I covered the mother of all sweet 16’s in Chicago, this party had everything: A live DJ, dancers, trendy night club, red carpet and sliders on silver platters, not to mention about 500 people.



Kasey and Kevin Album

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Randolph Street Holiday Market

Eclair was a great booth at the holiday market that I stopped by while I was at the early shopping session last Saturday at the market. I had promised a friend that I’d show her around the market and hopefully convince her to get a booth at the market to sell her pearl jewelry sometime in the future. As we went around meeting people I couldn’t help but notice the very delicious looking apple pies. I really love trying new and interesting looking foods. This often leads to discovering new favorites, but also resulted in me eating half of a silk worm when I was visiting Korea. These tiny pies at Eclair was a much better discovery. Delicious and a great morning snack.
Check out the pictures of the other discoveries I made at the market, including a really cool faux vintage sign shop.
Randolph holiday market

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Holiday Market Table Setting

I just got invited to put together a table setting at the Randoph street market, please check it out on Nov. 17-18th during the weekend market.


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Fashion Vs Portrait

Last week I had the interesting opportunity to look into my technique and try to create a fashion shoot as opposed to a portrait shoot. Fashion as opposed to portrait or even product photography has it’s own mindset, feeling and style. What might be a great fashion picture would be a horrible wedding picture and vice verses. The best way I’ve learned to separate the two is to have your goal clearly defined on every step of the process. Planning, shooting, selection and editing. I also think it’s a good idea to clue in your model as well. I’d actually say fashion photography is more of a challenge than portraits because you’re looking to have more extreme lighting and angles, and then it ends up being hit or miss a lot of the times because you can’t relax back into your normal well-worn poses and techniques. I’d have to say though, I feel like I have a lot more experimenting to do, because there were a lot of firsts for me on this shoot that I was adjusting to. For example I love using natural light, but since a lot of fashion shots are done indoors (and Shannon didn’t bring any dress shoes back to Chicago with her) we decided to work in my apartment with lights. This is why as you can see in the picture below there is an overlap of halogen white balance in my apartment with natural light outside. (this is why the light thru the windows looks blue).


This also made me realize how much I’ve relied on backgrounds to entertain and engage people in my pictures. It was a little frustrating to work with such a limited background, but on the other hand, the simpler the background the more someone can concentrate on the lighting, pose and model. I have never really been a big fan of controlled lighting, mostly because my experiences with it had to do with horrible studio portraits (honestly, I think they try to make you look the worst you possibly can in most of those pictures). But I think it also might be because they’re so wrapped up in technique they loose the artistry aspect. Just because you place lights at a certain angle and have your lens a certain distance away, and the model shows a 3/4 profile doesn’t guarantee you a good picture after all. But when someone who knows how to control lighting takes a picture with purpose it can be breath-taking. For this time around I know I was still working my way up the learning curve, but I was still happy with the results.

Another aspect that I didn’t foresee until it was right on top of me was skin smoothing and blemish removal. I prefer to adjust pictures on aggregate, work with levels and exposure but from what I studied in my reference pictures everyone had impeccable skin. There are of course two ways to get this, one is use so much make-up that all blemishes and pores are caked over, but without a professional cosmetologist that  could run the risk of looking awful. The second is to apply a smoothing factor in post processing to only the skin to reduce glare, pores, blemishes etc. things that EVERYBODY has, and the camera always notices. I decided on the 2nd and used a masking surface blur, that way I could “paint on” the smoothness to areas that I wanted it.

I could also leave other areas in full detail. I’d prefer to leave things unadjusted because Shannon looked beautiful either way but if I was going for fashion the pictures would come off as unfinished in my opinion.

Shannon was great to work with and really comfortable with trying a lot of different poses looks and attitudes with confidence so I was able to get a good set of pictures with her. There were plenty of other pictures that she looked awesome in that aren’t included in this album, mainly because it was more focused on fashion looks

Here’s her album Shannon

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Modern Vintage Fall Fashion Show

I’ve often asked myself “why do I like to live in Chicago?” as opposed to a small town or the suburbs, and usually the best answer that I can come up with is the city is where the action is. However, for me, honestly, most of my “action” involves going Walgreens to get a Redbox, or getting Thai food delivered while I work on my computer. So what really makes the city so special if most of us never tap into that action? I believe it really comes down to one thing, the people. When you get enough people together in one place all the sudden these little groups start to form made up of individuals who all like the same thing, and the bigger the city gets the more peculiar, eclectic, and unique these groups get.  Although it might seem hard to imagine, all of human culture started at some point from a small group of people who decided to think differently than everyone else.

Modern Vintage is just one of those little groups that could only be started in a place like Chicago. This weekend I had the opportunity to join them at their annual fall fashion show, and had a great time.  Sally Schwartz who had invited me described the group as feeling like a family and right away when I got there I could see why, it was just a group of people who truly loved vintage clothes and fashions. They wanted to share that love with the people around them. I think it was because of this, even though they were targeting a specific niche, the show itself seemed accessible to anyone regardless of their experience in vintage or fashion.

The team did an excellent job in picking a location that seemed true to the overall  event, giving a sense as I commented to my friend when we arrived “This almost seems like one of those secret parties that you know exist in Chicago, but your never cool enough to get invited”. There was a speak-easy feel in the minimalistic atmosphere with played well to the vintage atmosphere.

Now, speaking as a guy for a moment, sometimes when a fashion show isn’t done right it can be straight up boring, I’m not sure what holds women’s interests at some of these shows, maybe it’s imagining themselves in the clothes  (it must be the female equivalent of a sports game or something). But on Saturday Modern Vintage presented something that was equally fashion and show keeping me entertained the whole way thru. In my opinion, the difference was the interactivity and surprise factor. I enjoyed both the obvious attention grabbers like the burlesque and swing numbers, but also the more subtle connections the models were making with each other, like the high-fives to support each other and the general light-heartedness. The fashions themselves were quite unique, inventive and cool, reminding me that there’s a reason why some of these looks are making a come-back. Modern Vintage definitely has its own unique style, culture and voice, and all those things came thru in spades this Saturday. I can’t wait to see what they do next, they really are one of the reasons I like to live in Chicago.

Here is the gallery from that night: Modern Vintage

here’s the Pabst spokes-model

I was really hoping this was a tri-wolf shirt, maybe next time


I was quite amused that she used a cell phone in 40’s attire, she broke character, shhh don’t tell anyone.



Let me know if I forgot anyone and I’ll add them



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Two Mini-shoots in Cleveland

While in Cleveland this week to visit my sister I did a favor for a few of her friends in a mom’s group and scheduled a mini-shoot with them, they were also there to pick up her latest crochet hat creations. Although the day was cold and a little bit rainy we decided to go outside to take some pictures. The kids didn’t mind the rain too much as long as their mom’s kept making them laugh, and my sister was able to even keep them in their hats for the most part, until Maddie decided she was going to try and make a break for it


For a shoot with bad weather and limited time and energy I’m glad how the pictures turned out, and so is Kaia’s mom Lindsey here’s what she wrote: “Isac these are all amazing! You are sooo talented! Thank you so much, for your beautiful work! My husband and I can’t pick out which is our favorite we like them all sooo much! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”


Here are the Albums Kaia and Maddie

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While I was at the Randolph street market I met a pair of sisters from Decatur that had a very unique booth. along with some antiques one of them had made some found art sculptures, that looked like little robots. They were very fun and creative and reminded me of when I was a kid and everything was a potential robot, toy, or spaceship. The two sisters reminded me of the type of people I knew from my small town growing up, they were just as fun, friendly and creative as their sculptures. I promised them that I’d post up a special album just for their pieces so here it is. ROBOTS 

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Randolph Street Market

The Randolph Street Market is a very unique kind of event in Chicago, often there are festivals out there that sound cool but when you get there they’re actually quite lame, I’m thing of you Cleveland’s 2nd annual Garlic Festival. The Randolph Street Market is the opposite of that if anything. I was plugged into it by a good friend and antique aficionado last year when he was shopping for a work bench. All of the booths there have have interesting collections that are sometimes surreal, or humorous, or eclectic often all three. It’s not your typical flee market where you have to hunt thru garbage to find one cool thing, the sellers know exactly what catches peoples’ eyes when they go out antiquing, and they bring plenty of it. This time around I ran into someone very fascinating  who used old kitchen utensils to make little robots. I even made a separate album just to highlight them in a later post. The artist is from Decatur IL. and was telling me about some of her pieces she sent over to the American Folk Museum. I think she really typified the type of unexpected things you can find at this market.  see the gallery


If you’re interested in going yourself check out their website to find out when their next even is.

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For One Chicago

For One Chicago is a community service event hosted annually by Park Community Church. Its purpose is to renew Chicago communities thru volunteer service, and support of community projects. I had the ability to go around to the sites on the near north side and document the service being done. Here’s a link to their page .




It was really great seeing multiple churches come together to serve communities that weren’t even their own. One of my sites was actually the same site pastor Bertsche mentioned in his message on Sunday.


Here’s the full gallery For One Chicago

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