Friday, February 19, 2010

Taylor's Twilight

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with Taylor for the first time. Based on the success of that first shooting, I wanted to come up with some other photo ideas that would showcase Taylor's look and talents. Taylor has very fair skin. So this started the gears turning. I remembered an interview with one of the actresses from the upcoming Twilight: Eclipse movie, where she remarked that because she was so fair skinned, she didn't need powder to lighten her skin for the role. That planted the idea for a "Taylor as a vampire" shoot. I also figured that as a teenager, Taylor would be psyched about doing a shoot with a Twilight theme.

If you're a reader of David Hobby's Strobist blog, the lighting for the Twilight posters (originally shot by Joey Lawrence) has been discussed before and even imitated. So there was plenty of reference material available online. I've also played around with changing the eye color to get either the red or yellow eyes the Twilight vampires have.

There were a couple of other objectives that I had for this second shoot. One was to play around with the lighting more, in order to get a dramatic effect. The other was to spend more time playing around in Photoshop Elements for more than the simple retouching I usually do. Besides the editing involved in "turning" Taylor, I also wasn't to experiment with a chromakey (also known as greenscreen) backdrop so that I could easily change the background.

Here's one of the first images from that session. I heavily retouched her skin, darkened the lips, and made the eyes red. I then cut her out from the chromakey background. I created a new background by taking a shot of bare tree limbs, darkening it, and tinting it red. I like how the resulting image has a strong red theme to it.

More to follow in a future post...

Monday, February 8, 2010


It's the Monday after the "Snowmageddon" storm. Pittsburgh is still under a state of emergency, we're digging out from 18-plus inches of snow, it isn't melting because the temperature is less than 25 degrees, and there is another 4 to 8 inches predicted through Wednesday. So, what do you do? Hunker down with your favorite photo editing software? Try to make some headway on your business todo list? Start reading the copy of Facebook for Dummies you previously checked out from the library? All good things to do when you're snowed in, to be sure. But if you're slightly crazy (as I can be sometimes, ask my wife), you contact a model and set up an outdoor shooting in the snow.

I met Taylor through One Model Place (also known as OMP). I knew she lived my neighborhood (same zip code), and we had talked about getting together for a photo session at some point. I originally contacted her on Friday about a shooting, knowing that the "Snowmageddon" storm was bearing down on us and figuring we would be unable to drive anywhere after the storm. Since she lived nearby, I figured we could walk to a shooting location. Everything came together on Monday: School was canceled, and the sun was out. One email and a phone call later, we were scheduled to get together at 3 pm (the warmest part of the day). It turns out she's literally 2 blocks away from me, which made getting together a simple matter.

Taylor was great to work with. She has a teenager's willingness to try just about anything, and nothing seemed to faze her (like snow falling on her from the tree branches). We had a blast and got some great photos in a little over an hour. Taylor's just starting out, and I'm looking forward to helping her make more additions to her portfolio in the future.