Archive | May 2012


Here is an addition to the makeup shoot that I posted earlier this month. It’s a shot I left out and have been working on little by little for the past couple weeks. I finished it Thursday night just in time for our AP Art Show at Artists’ Path in Bantam. Stop by there this week to see a printed version.

I thought up the shot when Kayleigh was explaining what she was going to do with Casey’s first makeup. She described it as “fiery,” and having watched Benjamin Von Wong’s Steel Wool video earlier that day I thought the best way to represent fire would be a wall of sparks flying around her face. Video embedded below. I had and continue to see loads of awesome steel wool photographs that incorporate landscape, urban exploration, and sillohetted figures. Why not take the technique into portraiture.

I suppose the picture could have been created completely in camera. In other words, I could have spun a whisk full of fire a few inches away from Casey’s face, but it was mid-day when we show her so it would have to be inside with sparks flying around my basement full of open insulation, not to mention the nearly 100% chance of hitting her in the dome with hot metal. Bad news. What I did instead, was shoot Casey against black with light that would mimic the glow of the steel wool. In my most ghetto-rigged lighting yet, I wrapped Christmas tree lights around a plywood square, and attached white poster board to the back to increase efficiency. I used this as my only light and it worked to wrap the glow around the face and prove a circular catch light.

Here are the steel wool shots before I cleaned them up, set them to screen blending mode, and framed them around Casey’s face.

After putting the composite together it was just a few curves, channel mixers, and color balances to get the final image. I threw some textures in on overlay mode as well. Check out some more examples of steel wool photography on 500px here.