Stripe Jumps

As I mentioned in my last post, my foul mood over losing out on plane spotting this weekend was partly alleviated by getting dressed up a bit and taking some photos in my little studio. Always good for getting me out of a funk.

I didn’t bother with too much studio makeup, just put on enough to make my features stand out in the photographs as I was in a hurry and also wanted to snap a few pics of a new wig for a blog review over on RLW. Here’s one quick wig snap, since I took them at the same time:

Mila1

Can you believe that thing was $230? What a mess! Not that I paid that much for it, but still. It’s pretty awful. However, my Photoshop skin-smoothing skills are getting pretty awesome – check out a little B & L:

Mila2_Snapseed
Before
Mila2a_Snapseed
After

Still me, just a little better. And it didn’t take me all day to do this, and I didn’t have to go view the video tutorials a thousand times to pull it off, so yay for that. And now on to the jumping, which also involved a little photo editing magic:

MilaJump3a_pxr

This one, I think, is the best I’ve edited so far – mostly because I got the technique down by the third photo and didn’t feel like going back and re-editing the first two. I was actually standing on a wicker ottoman here that I covered with a black blanket, but I also took a background shot of the black backdrop and then pasted this photo over that background as a layer, and then erased the stool. I think this photo is the most crisp and clear, and in spite of the fact that I pretty much hate that wig (it’s the new one from the portrait posted above) it moved well and looked good for the photos. Doesn’t make it worth $230, but still.

I edited this one using the same basic technique, but here I used the photo of me on the stool as the background, and made the photo of just the black backdrop the layer I pasted over it – I don’t think this worked quite as well:

MilaJump2_Snapseed

It’s not bad, and it could be that the movement of the first photo is what makes it more effective, as it really looks like I’m doing some sort of weird squat-jump in that one while here it’s more obvious I was standing on something that got edited out. But working this way, rather than trying to cut myself out of one photo and paste myself onto the backdrop shot, eliminated at least some of the issues I was having before with shadows, and I didn’t have to totally re-create them this time. Also, this black backdrop creates one hell of a vignetting problem when editing and I’m not sure why that is; I feel fairly certain no one else cares about the little color rings that form around the edges but me, but it bugs me to no end and always has. Not sure what to do about it, although for jumping pic #1 I did figure out to go into Pixlr and use one of their “smoke” borders to conceal it a bit.

Also, that dress, which I’ve had for a couple of years now, is amazing for jumping and movement photography! It’s been hanging in my costume closet all this time, and although I’ve used it twice already, it’s been a long time since I’ve put it on, and I hadn’t thought of using it again until recently – my parents have rented a beach house for this coming weekend, and I am going down there Saturday, so I’ve been thinking about bringing this dress to use for some shots on the beach (either myself wearing it or someone else). When I decided at the last minute to take some movement photos, I guess that’s why it sprung to mind, and I’m glad it did, because it reminded me how great this thing moves. And to think I bought it at some fairly cheap clothing store while wandering around aimlessly, waiting for my nail appointment to begin – I bet it was $40 max if it was a dime. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it has one of those awful skirt linings that only comes to mid-thigh, making the rest of the full-length skirt transparent (God how I LOATHE this whole maxi-skirt-lined-only-to-the-thigh trend and want it to DIE already) which is really distracting in photos. So, I had to put on full-length black tights to conceal the lining a little, otherwise my legs would have shown through the skirt. Last one for now:

MilaJump1_Snapseed

My issue with this one is that the lighting and focus were off, and the subject doesn’t look as well-lit and defined as the other two. But that dress! It created such an amazing shape, I just had to process it. I actually went ahead and created a Pixler version too, and I’m not sure which one I like better. Perhaps you could view them both and then let me know:

MilaJump1_Snapseed_pxr

 

I was trying to detract from the fact that my face isn’t in good focus and came out kind of flat; but I’ve lost the attention-getting color aspect of the material, so I don’t know if this one is better or not. I’m now leaning towards the color one. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

More to come from this set, did some for-real jumping and may process one or two more levitation ones. And no, I haven’t forgotten about the aviation history museum photos, although at this point when I finally do upload them they’ll be anti-climactic.

Happy Monday everyone!

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The purple series

Oh Lord have mercy, I have a ton of these I want to edit. I think I might actually do it this time, instead of saying that then getting bored after processing 4 or 5. I’ve already processed 14 of them – using a backdrop that required no editing and sticking to the basics when processing helped to move things along for me. Plus, when I’m all dolled up in costume I feel no one wants to see 30 pictures of me in the same outfit just moving my arms a different way; with the purple sheers, it’s more about the shapes the fabric make than anything I might be wearing, so I think that gives this set more longevity. If that makes sense.

And by the way, I woke up with sore shoulders from all the steaming I had to do the night before to get the wrinkles out of both the backdrop and the sheers. I did get my husband to move the backdrop all the way up to the ceiling, and after all the work I did on it I am just leaving it up for now. No way am I folding it back up right away and creating more wrinkles! So, when I turned my studio back into an office I left the backdrop up and kept the pictures that usually hang there off the wall. The more I get into this photography stuff, the less office-like my office looks, and the more it transforms into some crazy photographer’s messy, chaotic work space. Oh well.

For reference, here’s how wrinkled everything was right out of the boxes – I took some test shots Saturday night, and yes I was in a pair of swim shorts because it was so freaking hot that day – but you can see how much better everything turned out after steaming (although according to my husband I have damaged the sheetrock by steaming the backdrop right up against the wall; didn’t have the heart to tell him I’ve been doing that regularly for the past two years):

sheer
This entire set needs Botox.

I did do a few outfit changes, although they were slight, so perhaps I’ll try to upload over the next few days by collecting the different looks together – but in many of them, you can’t tell what I’m wearing anyway. For today’s installment, I didn’t have much of a ‘costume’ on with the sheers at all, just black tights and a black leotard, and a black wig cap to hold my hair in place. (Moment of vanity here – the leotard was a weird fit on me, as things like that always are due to my long torso/short legs body type. The way it was pulling on me made me look much thicker around the middle than I actually am; my waistline was pretty much disguised, and I readily admit that there are a few cool shots I passed over because I looked, well, chunky. And yes, I did try to edit my waist into the shots, but you could tell. Moving on.)

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I love how tall this one made me look, and the balance of the feet peeking out on one side, and then the opposite hand. Totally accidental on my part, of course.

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Love the shape this one created.

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This reminded me of an octopus, or a flower. The two do have things in common, you know.

For fun, I’ll go ahead and throw this B&W in here. The photo itself wasn’t all that thrilling, but I did like how I came out looking like some sort of sad, gothy sea-creature, so I thought a little monochrome might add to that mood. Throw in some overlays and textures via good old Pixlr, and there you go. Nice and spooky for Halloween.

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I did make a collage of all these with the idea of sharing them in one shot, by the way – but I do not like how small it makes each picture. I prefer to share these full size, or as full size as they ever are when I post them on the blog. For a true high-quality copy you can check out my Flickr page, but I only post one photo there per day.So much more to come from this set!