Wednesday, August 31, 2016

From portrait to fashion with these simple steps

This blog post is about some slight changes you can make to take your images from a 'portrait' look to a more fashion and beauty look. I'm using shots from my recent shoot with Modern Muse model Lane Griffith. I thought this would be the best shoot to illustrate the point since makeup was done by the model herself and  there was no team of people behind these particular images. I'm going to go through four steps that I myself use to change up a shoot. Nothing technical has been changed in these images. They were all shot with one Neewer 300w strobe, a small 30 inch octagon umbrella softlight to the model's left and up about 6 1/2 feet. (If you watch the model's eyes, you'll notice the catch lights are all in the same position.) The only changes made will be the ones discussed. The background is just white seamless paper. Oh, and I used my 55-200 lens. (Because I'm always asked about what lenses I use.)


Let's say you've already done the shoot, and are not sure what to do with the images you have. A fast and easy fix is cropping the image. Cropping can remove distracting hair and clothes, and give you a different perspective of an image. In the example below, the first picture looks more like a school portrait. With cropping, your image is changed to a beauty portrait.


Duh, right? Making simple changes to your model's poses can change the mood of your photo. To take it a step further, sometimes changing your own position will make a world of difference. Take the pictures below. Same exact set-up, except I turned the light away from her a little.( by little, I literally only rotated the light towards her right about an inch.) This was done to feather the light across her face as opposed to having it shine directly on her face. Same hair and makeup, even same garment. For this picture, I changed my position from where I was shooting her slightly, and in my opinion it's whole different type of image. One on the left is the image after the posing and position change, and the image on the right is cropped for a tighter shot. Same picture, but two different ways you can edit it.


It's strange, at least to me, how different hair can make a person look. When I shoot a model for the first time, before the shoot is over, I almost always pull their hair back off their face. It's a dramatic difference in some photos, and you've done nothing save put a ponytail in her hair. For the pictures below, I wet Lane's hair and put three braids in it. (any one who knows me, knows I'm all about braids.) I also pulled her further from the background to darken it a little. This brought her a little closer to the light source, as you can tell by the catch lights in her eyes. So, by adding a little lip gloss and changing her hair, the image went from a portrait look, to an edgier kind of look. Her posing also has a fashion feel to it. 

Add a prop

Listen, I'm telling you guys to add a, A, prop. Just one, or maybe two. Don't go slapping stuff in your photoshoots and telling people Adrienne told you to do it. I'm saying, put your model in a cowboy hat and maybe have a saddle on set. I'm not saying have her in a cowboy hat, on a bale of hay with a saddled horse and lassos hanging every where. Don't do that, that sounds not only expensive, but I can't imagine it smells great either. What I'm saying is, adding a little something to your images can make a world of difference. I am a natural hoarder, (this is not a good thing and if you tell my husband I admitted to it, I will deny until I die), so I have all manner of stuff tucked away in corners at my house. When I am coming up with concepts I regularly pull from the things I have laying around. In the below images, I re-purposed a pair of goggles my son swears he can never find when it's time to go swimming and a pair of sunglasses I found wandering around Party City. I put Lane back closer to the background and shot the images as beauty images, closely cropped from the shoulders up. I also removed the modifier from the light so that I can get a harsher 'sunlight' type of light. The light is still off to her left and about six and a half feet up. She is about four or five feet away from the light and only about a foot away from the background, if that. My living room is hella small, so she could be a little closer to the background.  As you can see the addition of the goggles and sunglasses gave the images a fun and funky mood. 

I included the before and after for the above image down at the end so you can see how dark the background was. I lightened it up in camera raw. Having a second light behind the model would have made the background completely white, thus saving me a step, but for the purposes of this post, I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. As always feel free to send me any questions.

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