I woke up this morning determined to take pics with my new black backdrop, but the truth is I felt inspired by nothing. I’m tired of my costumes, tired of doing my makeup, and tired of posing for portraits and jump shots and whatever else I might pose for. In short, I am tired of myself. Along with learning Photoshop for reals, it is most likely time for me to start working with other models, so I can actualize some of the photographic visions I have in my head that involve locations other than my little studio. I want to be solely behind the camera, and process shots of people other than myself for awhile (by the way, I had some sort of allergy explosion tonight and I am hopped up on Benadryl, so this won’t be the most well-written post I’ve ever created. Sorry).
I have no idea yet how to go about all of this, so this morning I dragged myself to the grocery store to get the week’s shopping done, fully intending to come back home, suit up, and show up for photos even if I was frustrated and bored by the whole prospect. I don’t mind telling you, I was pretty grouchy about all this. I’ve been through it with other art forms as well, but the truth is that trying to create when one is out of inspiration is the pits. But I was determined to keep on shooting.
Then, on the way to grocery store, my best friend called and asked if I wanted to go shopping, and I jumped at the opportunity. She’s my best shopping partner, and I knew going out with her for a day would be way more enjoyable than shooting yet more photos of myself (oh how times have changed, a year ago I would have blown off leaving the house to get more pictures). So, I turned the car around, told my husband I’d get the groceries later, and got dressed to meet her up at the Galleria. Turned out to be the right choice.
We shopped, we ate a fabulous lunch, I picked up some makeup and a few bits and pieces here and there – then on the way out of Nordstrom I spied this, and just had to try it on:
It was a size medium and a bit too big, and it was wicked hot, but it was on sale for $43 and my friend talked me into buying it when I initially decided to put it back. I’m really glad she did, because it is kinda fabulous in a hideous sort of way (and no, there were no birds or other animals harmed during the making of this jacket – it’s fake). The jacket inspired me to take some photos when I got home, but it was about 3:30 before I got the chance to get started, so I quickly slapped on a ton of this white glitter pigment I bought at MAC years ago and barely ever wear, and slopped on a ton of sparkly eye shadow to complete the “look.”
The end result of the makeup was weird, and the shoot was fairly frustrating. As I said, that jacket is ridiculously warm, and it was about 70 degrees today where I live, plus my husband in his middle-agedness has decided the house needs to be perpetually 80 degrees. And from what I could tell through my LCD screen, the shots weren’t coming out so hot anyway, but I played around with lighting to get a decent effect out of all that glitter. When processing, I realized a lot of them were pretty cool, but I tried to stick to just a few to process.
I ended up using a silver reflector and a remote Speedlite off to the side to get a more glittery effect, and the result of that is a lot of shadows I am not used to for portraits, but I forced myself to live with it so I could get some good contrast in the shots.
Usually that much shadow around the eyes would make me crazy, but I decided to go with it when processing. This hasn’t deterred me from my new plan of enlisting friends as models and venturing out of doors for shoots, but at least I got some use out of my new jacket, and some new photos for the week. Plus I got to test out the new black muslin, which was OK, but I found it shows wrinkles more than the white one I used for so long and finally took down (I edited them out the shots by darkening the background). At least I don’t have the white balance issues with this one, where the backdrop turns out a different tint in every shot. Black is pretty much going to be black every time, so that’s reliable. And I do think it gives shots a much more dramatic feel.
I think my next backdrop should be gray, though, to get a happy medium. Black does some pretty harsh things to my lights, although adding silver reflectors, which I don’t normally use, probably messed with me some too.
I wanted to try some black and whites with the makeup, since I thought all that glitter would make a B&W look really intense and grainy. It did, but in general taking out the color made the photo boring anyway. I think that’s because the black background and my reddish-brown wig together so exactly mimicked the colors in the jacket that it appealed to me. But here’s one I decided to go ahead and transform into black and white:
Overall, not bad for shots I didn’t really want to take or enjoy taking. I think this last one is my favorite of the bunch: