Thursday, April 15, 2010

365/101 Bring out your dead!

365/101 Bring out your dead!

"I knew a man who once said, "death smiles at us all; all a man can do is smile back."


On day 101, I shot for the third time in the new studio. It is becoming familiar again. Slowly, I'm learning how to best use everything that the place has to offer me. Including the automatically locking door. A curious statement if you will. You see, all along I knew it would lock on it's own and, therefore, require that I always carry the key. I was the KeyMaster, the door was the GateKeeper and Zuul ... Zuul was now locked somewhere inside the studio. With my key.

Good way to start a new relationship with a model and makeup artist, eh?

"Uh, yeah. So, nice to meet you. We'll begin shooting in a bit, as soon as one of my studio partners comes and unlocks the door! Ha ha ... so, how about that weather?"

In all seriousness, it wasn't that bad. They were very gracious about it and we only had to stand outside for about 15 minutes. We chatted a bit about the project and some of the other work they were doing. The model is a local burlesque dancer and her friend a costumer and MUA. Seemed like the perfect combination for the evening.

The idea behind the shoot was Día de los Muertos. Day of the dead. I'd been wanting to shoot something like this for awhile and when she brought the idea up, I jumped at the chance. I've always liked the idea of the painted skulls.

I had an idea of how I wanted to light this. The face would be the focal point of most of the photos. I wanted the light to be up high and moderately directional, falling off slightly as it got farther and farther from the makeup. Went with a 22" beauty dish for the main light, boomed up above her head. Had a sock over it, so it acted more like a softbox at that point, but still had that nice beauty dish light quality to it.

A second light was set on the far side of her, opposite the key; it had a gridded stripbox on it, helping to provide a nice bit of separation from the rest of the scene. Carving her out of it, almost. In later photos, we took a third light, gelled with a nice red, and splashed that up against the black muslin background, providing a bit more separation of her hair from the blackness. It was a good choice and helped to create one of the best photos of the entire set (shown below).

Dia de los Muertos II

I think, if I had to do this one over, the only thing I would change is the use of the black muslin background. I think a charcoal gray or black seamless would have worked much better here; the wrinkles in the muslin are somewhat distracting and divergent. Just a bit too much chaos. But then, I'm probably being picky. Yeah. Probably.

We had a few other ideas we wanted to try out, but didn't have much time to fully develop them because of how late we started. She's very into corsets and had brought one along, but we'd only gotten a dozen photos out of it before we realized what time it was (and it takes a fair amount of time to get a corset on and cinched up properly, let me tell you). We were going to shoot a few pinup-styled poses with a chromed stool. Next time, though. Definitely next time.

Dia de los Muertos III

The model is Haazard. She's on Model Mayhem. Definitely fun to work with and definitely plan to work with her again. The makeup was courtesy of her friend Morgan.

And finally, I leave you with one last photo from the set.

Dia de los Muertos I

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