Man, do I suck at post titles! Sorry.
I mentioned yesterday that I managed to catch some evening light and use my 85mm for a few of my outfit photos (I need to come up with a name for these types of shots. “Outfit photos” doesn’t do it for me…feel free to make suggestions). I am spending way too much time sitting on my butt in front of my computer editing all this stuff, but I am also having too much fun doing it to stop. That said, after I write this post I’m going to attempt to get out and make something of my day. Moving on.
These photos are more “me” than I usually show. In fact, the first OP (short for Outfit Photo until I come up with a better name) is something I put together one evening to wear to work the next day, and I got a ton of compliments on it. A co-worker even showed up the next day in similar attire and said she’d gone to the mall after work the day before to try and find an outfit like the one I wore here.
Sometimes I put a look together that makes me feel great, and this was one of those times. It has everything I love – jeans (somewhat disguised by being white; I’m a blue jeans gal for sure, so anytime I can wear them to work I do), Uggs (yes this is another new pair SO SHUT UP ABOUT IT because I already know I have a problem), flowy knit fabric (which I know I shouldn’t love as more structured pieces work better with my body type, but I love flowy things in real life as much as in photos, so I always keep an eye out for such items that I can get away with), and overall, comfort. In spite of all my costumes and wigs, I’m really a casual dresser at heart, so aside from the wig I’m sporting here, this could be me on any given day.
You’re way more likely to see me wearing this at a restaurant than yesterday’s space dress.
From a photography standpoint, the white pants caused a serious chromatic aberration problem, but I dealt with as quickly and as best I could without stressing over it too much. No one at ModCloth or Flickr is going to care if there’s some purple fringing around the edges of my pants so whatever (OK, so some people on Flickr might, but not people who follow my photostream). Still love the look of photos taken with this lens. Like the next one:
I die every time I see the bokeh the 85mm creates; I just want to eat it with a spoon. So smooth. I knew putting more distance between myself and that big plant (can’t remember the name of it at the moment) would blur the background more, but I can’t do that with the 85mm when taking a full shot because just to get my whole body in the frame, I have to place the tripod so far away it’s practically mashed up against the opposite fence. So I just scooted in and did some half-body shots for the hell of it. And by the way – that gray ruched tee-shirt I’m wearing under the blue cardigan is from Athleta, a store with fabulous but expensive clothes; the little details they add are phenomenal, like the overlong sleeves this top has with thumb holes to keep them pulled down. Love that look.
After taking some closer shots, I decided to play with using my Speedlite outside for portraits to enhance what available light I had left:
It was about 5:15 PM when I took this shot, so getting up close to the camera was too dark and created too many shadows without the Speedlite. I think I had it bounced off a nearby wall for this shot, and actually, I was staring at the flash to see what was wrong with it as it hadn’t gone off for the two shots before this one. Then it magically worked (Speedlites overheat easily, not to mention they CHEW through AA batteries), and I liked the expression my confusion created here. It’s a weird portrait, but I think it’s interesting. I take so many photos of myself that I’m always excited by any shot that captures an expression I’ve not seen before.
I kept the editing to a minimum in the shot above, although I did use Photoshop to remove some undereye wrinkles and sun damage where it showed (mostly on my forehead; I’ve pretty much stopped editing out the hyper-pigmentation on my neck at this point. It ain’t going anywhere, and it’s getting more noticeable with age, so it’s time to embrace it. It wasn’t bad here anyway). But I like the little lines and wrinkles that remained, and although the light is weird here I think it’s a pretty honest shot. This next one though, I may have overdone a little bit:
I think my skin is softer than I’d like it to be here, but I did it for a reason. I took all these shots with photography makeup on as usual – extra contouring, highlighting, and blush; loads of black liner, false lashes, lips lined outside them to make them look bigger, extremely dark, painted-on brows – but that was all put on over the normal makeup job I’d done that morning, and it was done in a rush, so my blending was not spectacular. Since I was planning on doing primarily full-body shots I didn’t worry too much about it, but one thing a good camera does is pick up every little color variation of the makeup a subject has on (I’m sure different lenses work to enhance or detract from this as well), and in this shot there were about 3 different foundation shades showing up on my face (some areas were overly orange and others too yellow), as well as spots where the powder wasn’t well-blended and looked chalky. I used a skin softener filter from Nik Software to help blend all that mess together. There are lots of ways to blend and soften skin when editing, and I’m sure there are ways to do it more effectively than I can; this little Nik filter is the best I’ve come across but I’ve hardly done any real investigation of the process. Anyway, whenever you soften skin you lose clarity, but it was a compromise I had to make for this one. The way I deal with that is to always soften skin first, then add clarity and detail to try and make up for it.
Moving on to another real-life outfit I shot outdoors – I have a third outfit to share but I haven’t edited those pics yet (remember, I shot over 500 yesterday). I got the inspiration for this look from ModCloth’s Style Gallery – another reason why I love it is all the ideas I get there for how to go into my own closet and put things together.
I’ve recently become obsessed with maxi skirts and dresses, even though this is another style that is not the best on me. Maxis really require long legs (mine are short) and stick-like bodies (mine is curvy) to look fantastic, but even a more normal female body (read; not a supermodel) can pull them off if you find the right ones. The way I find them is to be willing to try lots of them out and accept how often they won’t work without getting discouraged – not a problem for me as I love to shop and blame the clothes when I don’t look good in something, NOT my body. Never blame your body, ladies; always blame the clothes; your body is a shape be it overweight or under, so it’s not that certain things look “bad” on you because of your weight, it’s the cut of the clothing that’s the problem. You could lose 50 pounds and still not look good in certain cuts or fits. So blame the clothes, ALWAYS. Moving on.
I bought this maxi dress at ModCloth over the summer, based on the loads of reviews that said it was flattering on all body types. It’s true, because it works on me too, and maxis generally aren’t good on me. The material is flowy but not clingy, and the top is a bit billowy which always helps me balance my small upper bod with my heavy lower half. I saw a pic in the Style Gallery of a gal out in the snow, wearing one of these with a sweater and some winter boots, and it just worked so nicely that I immediately pulled out some boots, a belt, and a chunky cardigan and gave it a go. Everyone at work loved this outfit, and true to form, I loved it so much I immediately went back to MC and bought it in the two other colors it comes in. Sigh.
On a more personal note, I have to add that all the fun I’m having with clothes and getting dressed right now has to be connected to the improvements I feel coming with my work situation. For most of the time I’ve worked at that school, I’ve rolled out of bed with just enough time to throw on whatever’s clean and comfortable, and cared very little about how I looked. But ever since coming back from the break I’ve been really getting into wearing my clothes again, and it’s great fun. I think it’s definitely connected to improvements in my work life and I’m so happy about that, but my checkbook is feeling the improvements, too, and may be less enthused.