17 Nov 2014

My first beauty shoot

A few weeks ago a friend of mine called me late in the evening and asked me if I had free time the following morning. I happened to have a day off so I answered 'yes', and then she explained why she was asking. It turned out she needed some photographies taken because she was setting up a Facebook page to sell clothes, and she thought I might be able to help her. 'Sure!', I promptly replied: I had never took part in a beauty shoot before and, even though this was going to be a very basic one (we had no lighting equipment at all), I was excited nonetheless, as it was a great opportunity for me to try a genre I had never been in contact with. So, the following morning I grabbed my 2 cameras with 1 prime lens each, and that's all I carried with me.

Faii in black I, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii in black II, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii in black III, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
It was all among friends (the two models were her friends and the location was the recently opened café of an acquaintance), so the atmosphere was very relaxed and comfortable for all of us, since it felt we were just spending a morning together, chitchatting and drinking very good coffee while trying on lots of clothes and taking pictures. The two models had no experience whatsoever, either, so we were all complete beginners, which released us all from pressure and let us just go with the flow and do our best without stress.

Prae in black, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae in pink, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae in white, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
All shots were taken with the natural light that entered trough the big picture windows, as we didn't have light nor even reflectors, so it was all a question of finding the optimal location and positioning of the girls in order to get the best light possible on them. Luckily, it was a sunny day so we had plenty of light to play with, but still it was a bit dark inside the bar, which made us stay most of the time by the window, therefore having less variation in the settings and backgrounds.

Faii in white, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii with pink shorts, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii in monochrome, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii's back, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
I had the Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens mounted on my GH3 and the Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7 mounted on the GM1 and, even though I used both of them roughly the same amount, I didn't really like the outcome of the PanaLeica pictures, and that's why I haven't chosen almost any of them for this post. Nothing wrong with the lens itself, but the focal length was too wide for such a narrow café and, although I took many pictures of the two girls full body, the angles and perspective didn't appeal to me. Nevertheless, my friend liked those pictures too and even used some for her advertising purposes, but I was not satisfied with any of them, so I will not show them here.

Prae in blue I, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae in blue II, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae and the horse I, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae and the horse II, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
The majority of the pictures were half-body shots, since the main focus were the clothes, as that was the intended purpose of the shoot, to begin with, so I didn't take many closeup portraits, and that is one of the things I regret from that day. It would have been a nice chance to get a bit closer and experiment with some portraits, but we were a bit short on time, the girls had to try on lots of different clothes, and we needed to keep fast, so there was not much time for thinking, just shooting! Afterward, back at home in the computer, I decided not to do much post-processing, so the files are very close to the original; I just brought back the shadows in the dark clothes to reveal the details and textures of the fabric, and enhanced lightly the eyes and faces, trying to lessen any interfering elements.

Prae and Faii I, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Prae and Faii II, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
Faii and Prae, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm
However, and despite the fast pace we followed the whole morning, I still found the time to grab a few captures for my own personal interest and, in the end, they turned out being my favorites of the whole session. Lesson learnt: focus on what you are supposed to do, but don't sacrifice your own style and find a tiny bit of time to shoot how and what you like!

Yuxtaposition, GM1 + Panasonic Leica 15mm
Faii through the window, GH3 + Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm