Spring Brake

Once again I have to say I’ve been way too busy to type up blog posts, so there it is. And here’s a new one, since although I can barely believe it, Spring Break is here and I have a week off. It feels like we’ve just barely gotten past January, but it’s mid-March already and the school year is zooming by quickly. It’s been a tough year in many ways, some of which I’ve written about on my private blog, and some I’ve yet to share because I’m still processing it all. But for those of you who follow me there, that big old blog post of crazy will be going up soon.

For everyone else, there are more wig videos to come (have two more arriving tomorrow) and a few new photos to share. I finally got a chance to dress up and shoot the last Saturday, so I’ve worked on a few since then and will continue to work on more. I haven’t taken real photos since December, so it’s been awhile. I also worked over some old shots back in February when I didn’t have anything new to edit:

old_collage

I’m still playing around with the Portrait Pro software I bought recently, and it’s a real blast. I over-do it a lot, but I’m learning how to apply the effects with a softer hand – although on occasion I still do too much and the photo comes out looking way more edited than I’d like. In those cases I usually just add some texture or surface effects to disguise the over-smoothed skin (which is my biggest downfall).

lighting1a

For my last set, I also played around with lighting a lot, which was great fun, but it means my usual editing techniques don’t work as well, and sometimes the end result isn’t quite what I want. In the photo above, I’d used a softbox to hit my face with more light, which eliminates a lot of soft shadows and small detail from the face. The result is a more ‘high-fashion’ look (in my opinion) which a lot of hard shadows and angular edges, so a face can end up looking a little ‘flat.’ It’s not a bad effect, but it requires different editing, and although I really love that photo it doesn’t look much like a real person. So, I added a texture to it to give it an even more animated feel. Sometimes you gotta go where the photo leads you, after all.

lighting3

This one worked out better; I wasn’t using the softbox when taking the picture, so you can see how much softer and more dimensional the face looks from the start. Also, in case you’re interested, that dress was actually a mauve color that I edited to look gray; I didn’t really realize it when I chose the dress to go with that wig (I really chose it because I ran out of my usual photography makeup and was trying to find something that would cover me all the way up to my neck; in photos I use makeup on my neck and decollete that’s a different color from what I use on my face to get a good match, but I ran out on the last shoot and forgot to buy more) but when looking over the shots I noticed that the white curls on the wig mimicked, at least to me, the flowery swirls in the lace on the dress, so I wanted to emphasize that more by making the dress the same color as the dark black hair on the wig. Black was a bit too dark, though, because I also wanted some of the shine from the material to show, so I went with a dark grey. The result was a much more unified and interesting photo.

lighting5

In this shot I was once again using different lighting, but I think I did better at editing the skin even though it’s probably a bit TOO alabaster-looking to be considered real. However, I think that works with the dress and the hair anyway so I’m fine with it. And although the dress color in this shot was also edited, I went with more of a dark blue this time than gray. I’ve also been continuing to mess with the face sculpting controls in Portrait Pro to alter my look; in some shots I still look like me albeit a much better, less-wrinkled version; in others I let Portrait Pro edit me until I was practically unrecognizable. I usually use the program’s pre-sets first and then, if I don’t like what I get, I go back and change things on my own – in this next photo, PP gave me a serious Angelina Jolie/Julia Roberts edit, and who was I to argue with that?

lighting4a

This is another one I shot using the softbox, so again you see how much depth is removed from the face when using it. Also, I thought this shot was going to be impossible to get right, because in the original my face was about 15 different shades (from not having my photography makeup again and improvising with my day to day stuff, which isn’t nearly as heavy in coverage) AND on top of that there was a big shadow on my nose from the hair blowing around that made it look gray. And yet I actually managed to salvage it, albeit with a TON of editing. The wig in this shot, by the way, is the Bennett I reviewed last week. This next one is another one of the wigs I recently reviewed – the Aria by Rene of Paris. It’s a gorgeous color to photograph:

lighting2ab

And yep, this is one of those shots I felt I over-edited then added a bunch of texture to try and conceal. My skin looks practically plastic in it, but I love the way the hair is moving and that color – it really can’t be said enough – is unbelievably gorgeous both in photos and in person. And keep in mind that in all of these five new photos, I was wearing the same makeup, and used Portrait Pro to make all the color changes. I can’t say enough about that program, if you love working with portraits it’s the best thing I’ve ever come across for processing.

Coming up soon – more photos, and of course, a few more wig reviews. I still need to film the Soft and Subtle by Gabor (a major disappointment, so stay tuned), a new Kristen by Renau in one of the new Chocolate Collection colors, the Tessa by  Noriko in Butter Pecan-R, and another Robin by Noriko in Harvest Gold (I’ve always wanted to see what a longer wig would look like in that color, and we all know I love Robin). So stay tuned! And for those who follow the private blog, keep an eye out for a new post there, too.

18 thoughts on “Spring Brake

  1. I just bought this program to actually try using with my some of my dog’s faces. LOL BUT you really inspire me and I am just in AWE! I have no idea how you do all of this but each one is prettier than the next!!! Wow, I could make myself look young again!!!! That is inspiring…..LOL Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    • Thanks – it’s taken lots of practice over the years to get it right, and there’s always more to learn, but it’s fun for me so I don’t mind taking the time to do it. Of course this is what I do instead of exercising but one only has so much spare time during the day LOL.

  2. WOW. That’s my first response to most of your photos. Seriously, gorgeous. And you make each shot look almost like someone completely different. You are so talented!

    • Thanks! Working on videos too…I tried to be satisfied with the low quality (because the new camera allows me to shoot them quickly) but I just COULD NOT do it. So I’ve spent the past two days researching editing software and trying stuff out so I can upload vids of better quality. LOL. I have at least 4 reviews in the can that I have yet to process to my satisfaction. But I think I’m finally figuring it out so they may go up soon!

  3. Pingback: Photo Phun | mareymercy.

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