Winter Beauty Shoot

Hello loves! Let's talk about winter makeup!

Today I'm detailing my beauty shoot with hair & makeup artist Jessica Monzalvo and model Grace Fernyhough, both with Factor Chosen Chicago.  Jessica and I have worked together once before this shoot and exchanged many many e-mails over the last few months discussing details of our future beauty shoots.  For this shoot, we did three editorial style makeup looks designed by Jessica the day of our shoot and then just started to get creative in front of the camera!

I've been trying to challenge myself more with my lighting in studio, and sometimes it doesn't always go as smooth as planned.  The first shoot Jessica and I did, I tried more contrasty lighting; black background, and beauty dish with a grid set up high and angled down to the model.  I ended up adding a single head set up on the opposite side of the model to even out the light a little bit. However, it wasn't enough in the end.  Once I got to editing the images I realized what a struggle they would be to edit.  The model was having some troubles with her skin that week, mixed with my contrasty side lighting, made skin retouch extremely difficult. Even though I got some nice images out of it, the experience and mistake was invaluable. 

For my second shoot with Jessica (the shoot shown in this post) I tried some lighting that was a little more clean, clamshell lighting. This is a set up you learn on day one of a photography lighting course, but to be honest, I'd never actually used it until this shoot. If you're not familiar with clamshell lighting, go read about it here. This set up has made my retouching much easier, and the models skin this time around was great! I like to start by practicing what the light looks like on this weird mannequin head while the model is in hair and makeup. Naturally, I have to adjust everything anyway once I get a person in front of the camera, but it helps my anxiety to try to be as prepared as possible. =)

SO, for the first look, we gave our model Grace a lovely fake bob! Jessica is so attentive on set and constantly there fixing little pieces of hair out of place. This is something every artist has to learn the hard way, do it right the first time! Don't always rely on fixing things in post, sometimes its just easier to stop, and make everything in the frame perfect.  And secretly, this look is my favorite one.  Another thing I learn from this look, is sometimes less is better.  I always try to make extravagant images, but I often find my favorite shots are the most simple images.

Our next look took a little more time to get just right.  We added a nude color lip and a more pink lid.  I wanted to add some props into the shoot so I bought some different colored tulle from Michael's to tie in the hair or around her neck. It took a couple of tries to find the right background color, lighting, hair, and ribbon placement to make these images come together.  This is always the best part of my job, when I get to creative problem solve on the spot.  Jessica, Grace, and I bounced around some ideas before slicking the hair back and adding some gloss on the lips which made all the difference! 

Lastly, the most fun look of the day! I'm intrigued by the new trends in editorial makeup that are really channeling painterly styles, and showing the 'art' in makeup.  I wanted to try something a little more 'out there' and artistic.  I told Jessica to go for it, do whatever she wanted and have some fun experimenting, and then the three of us created some magic.  After the shoot, Jessica posted a live video oh facebook about the shoot and how great she felt about stepping out of her comfort zone and trying something new here.  She explained how we all pushed each other to try something new.  Which is why I love test shoots! It's a great chance to TEST out new ideas.  SO go get out there and create some work on your own.  It's not always about the pay check. ;)

-SK