Quick Silver

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally got a chance to put on the full face and take some portraits while I was on vacation last week. So here they are:

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That wig cost about $35 and is called Elveen, by Janet Collection. After a few hours of shooting, the synthetic fiber was starting to frizz and dry out noticeably; I have to comb through a wig every few shots when posing in them because they get thrown around and messed up so much, and brushing isn’t good for even a high-quality synthetic fiber, much less a cheaper one like this. On the plus side, though, the fiber here is heat-friendly so I could probably use a blow dryer or curling iron to smooth out some of the frizz. I wasn’t looking for longevity anyway; I was just so curious about this lovely color that I decided to try one. It is gorgeous; at least for photos. Although as a so-called “ethnic” wig, the lace front is way too dark for me. Moving on.

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Many people who’ve seen these photos have commented on the interesting makeup choice I made here; truth be told I didn’t intend to take all my photos in this wig and had several other costume changes planned, involving far more colorful stuff that would work better with all that orange and gold. However, I got the wig on and started snapping, and everything was just working in it so well that I decided to stick with it; I didn’t end up shooting much in the other wigs and costumes I’d picked out at all.

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This was one of the others I intended to use more – glad I didn’t

I was really surprised that even the makeup application process went smoothly; I found a stock photo online with makeup that inspired me and decided to copy, and even though i didn’t completely go in the direction of the photo, everything from contouring to shading and even applying false lashes went off without a hitch, turning out almost exactly as I planned and without any major screw-ups to correct.

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The photoshoot went the same way; well, at least until I took off the silver Elveen and tried some other hair choices – nothing else worked as well, and I was starting to get tired and bored by that time so my heart wasn’t in it. I tried a few leaping and levitation shots, but I’ve only processed one so far because by the time I got to that point in the shoot (I always save the jumping and movement stuff for last, since it tends to mess up the makeup) I was way too sloppy in my execution for anything to look stellar. Plus, it was really the silver stuff I was interested in processing, and I knew that by that time, so I probably shouldn’t have bothered. I did process one though:

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But back to the silver wig. After some straight up makeup and hair shots, I wanted to play around and create some holiday looks, so I dug out the Christmas stuff I bought last year at Pier One and decided to mess with it a bit:

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When I processed this one, I was annoyed with all that orange and gold glaring at me – although it did really work visually, I wanted to compliment the silver hair and sweater more than all that bright color was able to do. So, I actually used a black and white filter to change the makeup and layered it on over the original shot. Notice I even managed to pull off the stripey eyebrows – yeah I told ya, the makeup all worked out well for some reason this time.

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I was just goofing around here, obviously; I don’t think you can tell but I used Pixlr to add in a bunch of patterns to the ornament. If you look closely you can even see tiny birds flying around in there – those came compliments of a Pixlr filter. And yes, my nails were fabulous.

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One thing I noticed when working with these photos was how nicely neutral the silver was; I could really manipulate color in all sorts of ways and create different looks entirely. The only issue that created was skin tone; I struggled in most of these to keep my skin from going too gray, and in some shots I don’t think I pulled it off very well, but hey, I tried. Skin tone is always a bitch in photos anyway. Here I obviously added a lot of blue, and I even stole the sparkle from the center of the magnolia in my hair and placed it over my real eyes.All that glittery-goodness was added to the sweater in Photoshop, although in real life it does have a bit of shimmer.

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This one wasn’t working for me at all, mostly due to the skin tone issue, until I pulled it into Pixlr and attempted to cover it with some sort of overlay that might disguise the splotchy, odd-colored skin that was bothering me. I often do that with photos I can’t get quite right (I did the same with the one photo with the short blonde hair); I figure if Pixlr can’t save it for me, it probably isn’t worth saving. This overlay was from a very geometrically-shaped collection that I almost never use, but lo and behold this one gave me exactly what I was looking for. It added just the bit of interest I felt it needed, as well as covering up my skin a little and distracting the eye so perhaps no one will notice it’s weirdness.

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I also struggled with lips in this set; mine are quite thin and dry (I often widen/thicken them in post) so this is nothing new, but I made matters worse by choosing to use gold glitter lip liner as lipstick and then outline it with orange – you can see it in the first shot above where I didn’t edit that mess out. For most of my other shots, I changed it in some way, because it looked pretty sloppy. In the photo directly above I just did my best to change the lip color to orange all over, and then soften it. This photo is my favorite, by the way – it’s a composite of three different shots of the wig since there’s no way it has near this much hair. And the wreath wrapped around me is a Pier One prop I used last year, too.

As always, there’s more from this set I want to edit, and it looks like my red dress from China is set to arrive today, so there will, of course, be more coming soon. Although I may not get to the red dress photos until Christmas break. We’ll see!

20 thoughts on “Quick Silver

  1. As always, your detailed comments and pictures are such a pleasure. You have a beautiful sculpted face structure and your makeup is phenomenal. So many looks, each different, exquisite – as beautifully detailed as you do in each and every picture. Is there a trick to wearing gray/white hair without washing out one’s face? You obviously know how but could you explain to me, an ordinary unartistic person, what foundation, blush and lip color would pull it off. Your innate creativity is a beauty in itself. Thank you for making my day.

    • I’d say go with colors you would normally wear – I think makeup should compliment your skin tone and not necessarily the hair or the clothes. Either that or use a ton of Photoshop like I do! LOL

  2. Wow, these are fabulous. It’s funny because gray is a very difficult color to work with in home decorating, but as SILVER on you in these photos, it works wonderfully. I could never wear that color, but you definitely do more than just pull it off!

    • Back in the day when we all got our “colors” done, I was a ‘winter’ which meant gray was one of my colors. I’ve always been able to pull it off, so the silver is just another version of the gray. That said, I don’t ever wear grayish eyeshadows; I do not like the way they look on me. In fact I never could wear the makeup colors I was supposed to wear as a winter (reds, purples, vibrant jewel tones). I prefer earth tones on my skin which is supposedly the worst for me. Eh, whatever. I say wear what makes ya feel good! Even if it is just in pics.

      • I remember that. I was a spring, and it’s pretty clear that I look best in those colors. My mother is a summer, which I think is a little rare–very pale, looks great in icy pinks and light blues, etc. But then I also think autumns are kind of rare–true autumns. Years ago some idiot frosted my hair, and I was too shy to speak up. I left the salon and waited for hubby to pick me up. He sat there waiting, not knowing it was me. He said, “Oh, I thought you were some old hooker.” Yes, that IS what he said to me. I was about 24. No ashy tones for me!

        • LOL ashy tones are not good on me either. I think summer and winter were the cool tones, and spring and autumn were the warm tones, with winter being the more vivid cools while the summer was the pastel version, and then spring was the softer version of the very vibrant autumns.

          BUT – I remember getting my colors done and DROOLING over all the autumn makeup colors. I was strong-armed into buying all the ‘winter’ stuff the first time, but after that I insisted on buying the autumn makeup and it made my consultant CRAZY. I had to finally tell her, look, one way or another I am buying all these earth tones. Either you get my money or someone else does. I think she was actually scared the makeup police might arrest her for letting a winter order warm brown eyeshadow – LOL!

          • Good for you for knowing what you wanted, regardless of what you were “supposed” to use. It’s also possible that she was WRONG–maybe you were an autumn after all!!! But the point is that you know what you want and you are the one buying the makeup. SO funny about the makeup police.

  3. AMAZINGGGGGGGG…I would so love to observe you do all of this…the process must be just as much fun as the end result. I think that silver wig is awesome on you. This truly calls your artistic spirit! It shows! Love love your pics….my favorites are the ones with the turquoise decorations! They just pop and love the one with your chin on your hand. Would also love to see you in a fushia/purply? lipstick with it…that you see in the irridescent colors…FUN FUN

    • Thanks! I’m not sure the process itself is all that interesting; it’s more technical than anything else and in a lot of ways, it’s the least fun part. Putting on the makeup is fun, but wigs and costumes get hot and itchy quickly, plus the bright lights are also hot. And, I work in a very small space, so on either side of me right out of the frame is either a wall or a door…LOL. And bright lights RIGHT in my face, so my movement is actually limited too. And especially the movement shots are SO calculated – people think I’m leaping about gracefully when really I am putting myself into the pose before I jump and then barely lifting off the floor! Seeing the results as they happen is fun, so i do get excited when I look at the LCD screen and see good things happening. But processing them is the part I really enjoy. It’s like coloring when I was a kid – just adding color here and shadows there and moving my eyes and nose around, LOL.

    • Oh, and I probably should not share this, but when I am doing portraits I am only in costume from the waist up anyway, LOL! I usually am then wearing some really sloppy cutoff shorts and house shoes.

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