And now for something a bit different… a behind-the-scenes look at a recent commercial shoot.
Many of my commercial images are bright and cheerful but there’s also a market for edgier, darker imagery. In fact, iStockphoto has an entire collection named Vetta that is dedicated to images with higher production value and a more artsy feel. And, one of my favorite things about running my own photography business is the challenge of producing a broad range of images.
When hair stylist Jamie Flemming approached me after our last shoot and suggested a Future Retro mash-up, it sounded like a great opportunity to switch gears (ahem.) I’ve always been a fan of Sci-Fi books and movies, with such favorites as “Blade Runner”, “The Matrix”, and more recently “In Time” shaping my imagination of the future. (I expect the future will turn out much more Disney than dystopian, but dystopian won the day for the shoot.)
The next important piece of the puzzle was lining up my talented friend, Vicki, face painter by day, awesome mom and super FX artist by… night? Hmmm, that doesn’t sound right but this is a blog post not a novel, onward.
We started bouncing ideas around for this shoot several months ago. As the shoot date approached we refined our concept until it all came into view. My chicken scratch and Chelsea’s refinements:
A quick stop by another talented Frederick local’s place of business and we had one of our models fitted for a custom dress designed for the shoot. If you’re the Bohemian type and need coffee or an amazing seamstress, you owe it yourself to go to Joanie’s Carroll Street Cafe.
With the story board and wardrobe sketched out, it was time to build the set. Which leads to another favorite thing about photography — problem solving and getting hands on to build sets, jigs, and whatever else is needed to compliment a project. After a trip to Home Depot, the local bike shop, and fence supply company, and with the help of my awesome intern Chelsea, we were back at the studio with a couple sheets of plywood, several cans of spray paint, and other essentials.
First up — Gears. In order to “embed” real gears into our futuristic models, they first needed to be cut and smoothed. A great behind the scenes photo-op.
No BTS photos of finishing wood panels. Suffice it to say, my hole saw had it’s work cut out for it (huzzah!) drilling 120 4″ holes through sheets of plywood. Also, I felt a bit like Mr. Miyagi’s Daniel-San after hand sanding every hole and edge to a finished surface. Next time I will listen to the staff at Home Depot when they recommend MDF.
With the power tools portion of set design out of the way, it was on to make-up:
And a look at Vicki’s “work space” which happened to overlap with my shooting area since the MUA rightfully claimed the large mirror and counter space in the changing room. At nearly 900 square feet, my studio is very comfortable for most shoots but add 5 models, 3 stylists/MUAs, a photographer, an intern, and “support staff” (aka my wife and daughter :) and it gets “cozy”.
And some finished results!
Throughout the shoot, we worked several special effects ideas. We used a circuit board and gears “embedded” in skin, shaded painted circuit board traces, and FX body piercings. I love it when models add their own ideas to the collaboration, and thanks to Britnee for suggesting this take on being “chained to the desk” using her faux body piercings. First, a BTS of me showing where and how to safely hold the heavy chain away from the model, then the finished result.
And a final close-up showcasing Vicki’s amazing FX make-up in action…
Many thanks to Vicki, Jamie, Anna, Felicity, Britnee, Dani, Jillian, and Devin for making it a great shoot!
And a special thank you Chelsea for these behind the scenes images! All images, except those watermarked and in Joanie’s Cafe are Copyright (c) 2012 Chelsea Park-Brouse.