Category Archives: Makeup

Beauty Shoot – Evolution 10 Salon

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.

Beauty show of model holding a champagne glass in front of white background

I really like props. They give the model something to do. 

Beauty show of model holding a champagne glass in front of white background

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.

Beauty show of model holding a champagne glass in front of white background

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.

Beauty photograph of model holding a can of hairspray in front of a black background

Fun with hairspray!

Beauty photograph of model holding a can of hairspray in front of a black background

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.

 

 

 

Photo Shoot in the Forest

I really believe in personal projects. They give me the opportunity to hone my craft and try new ideas and techniques, so I can better serve my clients.

I recently did a photo shoot in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh. My collaborators for this project were Electra Gouni (actress/model) and Miriam Wilson (makeup artist).

I wanted to try a number of techniques on location for this project. But I always make sure that I take some photographs that the model and makeup artist can use, in case the experimentations don’t work out.

Edinburgh model leaning against tee with a forest background and texture added in Photoshop

I asked the model to wear a red dress, because it provides the best colour contrast with the green forest background. I added a texture to the photograph in Photoshop

Close-up portrait of model with tree bark as background, taken in the forest of Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

I shot some close-up portraits for the makeup artist. I decided to pose the model against a tree because I liked the contrast between her soft skin and the rough texture of the tree bark.

In a previous blog post, “Gravity”, I described an experiment with levitation photography in my flat. I wanted to try that technique on location. I’m relatively pleased with the result, but I need to make the levitation effect more striking. This is part of the learning experience. It usually takes a few tries to get it right.

Model levitation in the forest, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

Levitation effect achieved in Photoshop. I also added a texture to the photograph in post-production.

If you follow this blog, you know I’m a big fan of multiple exposures done in camera. Thus far, I used this technique on natural subjects, like flowers and trees. I want to see what could be done with a model. By combining two exposures, one with the model and one without, one can give the person a ghostly appearance. Similarly to the ‘levitation’ experiment, I need to work on this technique a bit more before I get a photograph worthy of putting in my portfolio. Live and learn.

Model in forest, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, ghostly appearance

Ghostly effect achieved in camera with multiple exposures (two in this case)

 

Edinburgh Fringe Salon Photo Shoot: Candy Girl

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.

Beauty model with Candy Girl themed hair, makeup, having a great time doing her hair.

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.

Beauty model with candy girl themed hair, makeup and nail with lipstick and makeup brushes,.

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.

Beauty model with candy girl themed hair, makeup and nails showing off her dazzling smile and nails.

Showing off her Candy Girl nails.

 

Edinburgh Fringe Salon Photo Shoot: Leopard Lips

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.

Beauty shot with leopard lips

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.

Beauty shot with tilted head and leopard lips

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.

 

Why I Learned To Love Good Makeup Artists

Rebecca from Superior Model Management beauty portrait

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).

Rebecca from Superior Model Management beauty portrait with heavier makeup

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.

 

 

Portrait Photography and the Importance of Makeup

According to a New York Times report, a new study reveals that women who wear makeup (without overdoing it) are perceived as more likeable, competent and trustworthy. Not surprisingly, the study also reveals that makeup increases a woman’s attractiveness.

In a previous blog post, “Business portrait, the why”, I gave a number of arguments in favour of having a portrait of yourself on your website, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page. You wouldn’t buy something from someone wearing a mask, and if there isn’t a picture of you for potential online customers to look at, you are effectively wearing one. A photograph subtly tells your audience you have nothing to hide and makes you more trustworthy.

Beauty shot of model with professional makeup Edinburgh

Professional makeup by Maria Carmela Chierchia and beauty lighting

All of these observations indicate that it is definitely a good idea for business women to have a professional photograph with good makeup on their website, LinkedIn profile or Facebook page.

The pictures in this post feature  Stephanie Buckley, who was a joy to work with. The makeup artist was Maria Carmela Chierchia, who has been in the beauty industry for nearly ten years.

Beauty shot of model with professional makeup Edinburgh

Lighter makeup by Maria Carmela Chierchia for a different look