Curtain Calls

Last night, around 8:45 PM, I got to thinking about my next shoot and what it might be. I finally bought a black backdrop so that should be here on Wednesday, and I can get Doug to hang it sometime before the weekend so I can take some shots with a different mood than I can get with the white one that’s been on the wall for over a month. I’ve had the thought for some time that I might try taking the purple curtain sheers I used a few months ago and hanging them from my ceiling fan, just to add some interest to the photos, and for some reason I decided last night to hang one of them up there and see what happened.

If I’m going to do this in photos, I’m going to have to utilize more of the office space than the one blank wall I usually use, so I had to go searching around and see if I had any extra black sheets or blankets I could hang on another wall so I’d have more space to move. I did find a fleece sheet set I used previously in my costume closet, so that’s good – at some point I need to hang those on the second wall and see how they look too, but I didn’t have time to try that out last night. It’s a bit of a more elaborate set than I usually do, so I don’t want to wait until the day of the shoot to see if this is all going to work. We’ve got another three-day weekend coming up, so I should have time to play around this weekend, and can spend some time just playing around with the set and different shot angles before actual shoot day.

Anyway, I tied a sheer to the ceiling fan and let it spin around, then took some test pics in my pajamas with no makeup on just to see how it came out. These were total one-off shots, no set to speak of and just one curtain sheer spinning around, but you know me – I have to find at least a few I can process and try to turn into something.

curtain 2_Snapseed

I need a better way to attach the sheers to the fan, first of all; I just tied a loose knot which used up WAY too much of the length; ideally I’d like the sheers to almost reach the floor, but they only made it halfway to that point last night. So I need to get some clothespins or something to make that happen.

curtain 1_Snapseed

The sheer spun nicely though; and once I was brave enough to really get it spinning, it was quite fun to dance around in the midst of it. But it charged up my hair with static something awful.

curtain 3_Snapseed

Most of these shots didn’t mean much to me at all; as I said, I was in my pajamas and hadn’t prepped the room for the shots or anything, I  just wanted to see if this idea could possibly work. I think it can, although I’m not sure how much the purple sheers are going to show up against a black background – that wall with the sunflower photo hanging on it, by the way, is the second wall I plan to cover with the black fleece, if it works.

This last shot, however, I ended up likingonce I processed it, because I decided since there was so much background noise going on with the lamp and my umbrella diffusers showing that I’d  mess around with those details a bit to give it a surreal quality:

curtain 4_Snapseed

I tried at first to edit out the lamp entirely, but I just couldn’t pull it off without things getting sloppy; so I got the idea to edit out the stand and leave the lampshade floating in the corner. Then I figured I’d edit the stand out of the umbrella too, so it would have the same quality. I tried to do some funky things with that framed picture but with my head where it was, I couldn’t get anything to work, so I left it. Those surreal touches along with the light (I had a speedlite set up below me) and the positioning of both my arm and the purple curtain  gave this shot some nice movement; I think the weird angle of the lens (which was just me being quick and sloppy) adds to that. I added some zoom blur with a focal point on the curtain to create a little more movement as well. It’s not great, but at least it’s more interesting than the others.

Oh and of course, I had to Pixlr one – I edited the heck out of this photo and it was pretty sloppy, so I just textured it to hell and back to try and cover up for it. I had a photo, a bunch of stuff on a bookshelf, and the umbrella stand showing in the original, and managed to get it down to just the umbrella:

curtain 5

curtain 5_Snapseed_pxr

I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull this off or not, but at least based on these test shots I should be able to get some interesting stuff. I also have this OTC inhaler I bought back when I had bronchitis in August that I was realizing creates some seriously crazy smoke that I could blow out of my mouth for cool effects, and I keep meaning to use it in some portraits, so I may try that too. Lots to think about – I’ve started a Word document to keep track of my ideas better so I don’t forget everything on shoot day and end up just doing the same old things.

Looking forward to the weekend!


10 thoughts on “Curtain Calls

  1. I really like the fourth picture from the top, with the floating lampshade and umbrella – you could get so many great effects with objects seemingly floating up in the air around you. One of my favorite artists was an surrealist named Remedios Varo (not sure I got that spelling right) and she painted some amazing motion-filled scenes that were like dream sequences. Your photograph reminds me of that somehow. Fun.

  2. Are backdrops something you need a frame for and then switch out the backdrops or are they all-in-one when you buy one? For my purposes 😉 (hahahaha), I bought two of those cardboard science fair mounting boards–one white and one black. Because I only take photos of little things for my blogs and of my dolls.

      • So how to you hang the backdrops? I’ve probably even asked you this before, but my brain has been like mush lately. I found backdrops difficult because they show every wrinkle.

        • In a terrible manner – my husband gets on a ladder and tacks them to the wall! So, my one wall is literally riddled with holes. It’s horrible! but we’ve considered other ways of doing it and nothing really works. When I get tired of a certain backdrop, we take it down and hang another. Then it hangs there for months, looking really tacky against the one wall that is also my office. I have really had to sacrifice home decor to photography in many ways – I don’t have a studio so I just end of making do.

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