Women love to look their best, and for this reason I very much enjoy doing beauty shoots. The model is pampered: good makeup and impeccable hair. Add beauty lighting to makes her shine in the photographs. Being able to give someone a picture of themselves looking fabulous is a wonderful feeling.
I really like props. They give the model something to do.
Summer really relaxed when she was given the champagne glass, and sort of “forgot” she was being photographed.
I don’t know how many shoots Summer had done before, but I’d guess not very many. Working with an inexperienced model takes some patience. More than anything, she has to trust you are going to take good photos. A great advantage of digital is you can show the models some of the pictures on the LCD screen of your camera when you explain to them what you’d like them to do. And they can also give you feedback on what they like. I found it was a good way to establish trust, to show the model you really want to make them look their best. And it is fun to watch them gain confidence as the shoot progresses.
At this stage of the shoot, I could sense Summer was more comfortable modelling for me.
I then switched to another set-up I like. A black background. It totally changes the mood of the photographs. In this set-up I have the usual beauty dish flat-lighting the model, but I also like to backlight the model’s hair. By then, Summer was having fun in front of the camera and it was too bad the shoot had to end. I look forward to the next one.
Fun with hairspray!
Notice how different the mood of the photographs with the black background is compared to the pictures with a white background. Relatively small change in the set up, but big difference in the look of the final image.
My previous blog post, “Leopard Lips”, describes a beauty concept shot at the Edinburgh Fringe Salon in collaboration with Josh Sommariva, Chelsea Ross and Maria Carmela Chierchia.
Just having a good time.
The second concept for the shoot was a fun theme, “Candy Girl”. It is difficult to imagine how much work actually goes in producing a series of pictures like this. The hair and makeup were quite involved and took a few hours. Setting up the lighting equipment, getting good exposures and colour takes about half an hour. And I can’t remember how long I took pictures for, but it took quite some time. You want to make sure you get the best out of the model/hair/makeup, especially given the time and effort that goes into it. And then the pictures are retouched to make them look as good as possible.
It’s makeup time.
But in spite of all of the hard work, we had a great time with this idea. I think the photos speak for themselves. And our model Cerri seemed extremely comfortable in front of the camera, even though she is not a professional model.
In some of my previous posts, “Shelfie” and “Couch Potato” in particular, I explored conceptual photography using Photoshop composites.
There is a more traditional way of photographing concepts, which involves hair, makeup and styling. I say traditional because it dates back to film photography, i.e before Photoshop or to the days when Adobe only referred to the kind of clay used to build houses, to paraphrase photographer Joe Baraban.
The leopard lips are essential to the look, even though they are just a small part of the image
In a collaboration with Josh Sommariva, Chelsea Ross and Maria Carmela Chierchia, I recently did a photo shoot at the Edinburgh Fringe Salon exploring a couple of conceptual ideas with hair and makeup.
A slight tilt of the head can make a big difference in the look of a portrait or beauty shot.
The first such concept revolved around leopard lips. Our model, Saskia, was to play the role of the unattainable dream girl, in a Catwoman kind of way. The look I asked Saskia to give me was really out of character, because she was very approachable, friendly and a pleasure to work with in person.
Rebecca from Superior Model Management. The makeup artist and I loved the colour contrast between the model’s hair and her eyes.
A few weeks ago, I did a beauty shoot with Rebecca from Superior Model Management, a modelling agency in Glasgow. In the above photograph, you may notice the nice colour contrast between the hair and eyes of the model, and the flattering beauty light. You may hardly notice the makeup (save the lipstick). Yet, the makeup is just as important to the quality of the beauty portrait as the model and the lighting.
You might argue that the photograph looks the way it does because the model is a young lady from a modelling agency. Well, that’s what I used to think too. Now don’t get me wrong, a young lady with good skin is a must for a beauty shot like this, but there is a lot more than meets the eye.
I learned this when I first worked with a good makeup artist, a couple of years ago. Looking at the files on my big computer screen after the shoot, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The skin looked beautiful and there was very little retouching to do (a few skin blemishes here and there, but that was it).
A change in the hair style, makeup and head tilt can significantly change the appearance of a subject.
The makeup in the photos shown here was done by Maria Carmela Chierchia, who has been in the beauty industry for a number of years. It is not readily noticeable, yet it is a very important reason why the pictures look the way they do.