I treat most of my test shoots just like commissioned work. My test shoots give me a chance to collaborate with my artistic team and we can express ourselves “freely”, creatively speaking.
The other day I was asked to do a campaign by a client. It required me to be shooting at night, using available lights. They wanted to have several different locations to shoot at, all in one night. So this would require minimal gear on my part. And gear that is easy to move around quickly and efficiently.
I decided to experiment on shooting with small strobes and using a slower shutter speed and higher ISO combo. I realized that I need to test all this out before I shot the campaign so I set up a test shoot.
I gathered my team of make up and hair stylist, fashion stylist, a model, and my assistant. We went and shot around lower Manhattan, testing the strobes, shutter speed and ISO combo.
When we were planning this test shoot I told my team that I wanted to test out this technique, to see if it would work for a client’s campaign. I told them one look is all I need, but I’m open to do more if they want more looks for their books. My make up artist decided to do 3 looks, while the fashion stylist brought in 4-6 looks, which we ended up shooting 4 of them.
The test shoot went well, the technique worked and this gave me the confidence that I could shoot a campaign for my client and my team got their looks for their portfolios. Everyone is happy.
When I was finalizing the images, they came out so much better than expected. So my team and I agreed that this story deserves to be published. But now there is one issue; we only shot 4 fashion looks and 3 make up changes in those 4 looks. As a beauty story, we would need at least 4-6 to do a submission, and for a fashion story, at least 6-10 looks. How are we going to overcome this challenge?
My team and I chatted about doing a second part to the test shoot. But our schedules wouldn’t permit this option unless we wanted to wait another 3-4 months. So we decided to work on the looks digitally ( in post ) together.
During the shoot, I was shooting both full length and tighter crops on 2 of the looks. From those looks, we picked 2 images each, to create the additional 2 looks. One was a beauty crop and the other was full length crop. We knew we have to alter them enough so they don’t look too similar. The make up artist was working with me in changing the eye make up slightly by changing the color and adding eye liner, digitally.
Some of the challenges in doing this is to make it look real and that it wasn’t done in post. I started by playing with the hue and saturation adjustment layer. This changed the color enough but the outer rim of the make up looked strange, like it has a slight glow. This doesn’t look real. Definitely looked photoshopped.
So I tried something else. I added an extra colored layer and changed the blend mode to overlay. With some layer masking, the make up outer rim blended beautifully and looked natural. This alone was not enough to make this an extra look. It wasn’t different enough. So my MUA and I added the eye liner. Now the first extra make up look is done. Now we have 4 make up looks. Remember I mentioned we had only 4 wardrobe looks? We need to change the wardrobe on this look.
I talked to my wardrobe stylist about this. We both agreed that we didn’t want to alter the wardrobe so much where it’s a completely new design. We looked up the brand of the wardrobe and we checked what color options they have available.
Then we chose the ones we felt would make the look interesting and different enough from the others and we applied the color change and voila!! We managed to created our first extra look. Yay! Good job team!
For the second extra look, it was much easier to do. All we had to do was to find 2 images from the same look, one full length shot and one beauty. The beauty should be cropped tight enough and angled differently enough so the focus is on the face and not the wardrobe, while the full length shot focuses more on the wardrobe and movement rather than the make up.
I played with the background slight on the beauty crop with hue saturation and some colored layers. In addition, our stylist did a sunglasses option on this look during the shoot, which makes the beauty crop different enough in comparison to the full length.
At the end of the day, we do what we can to make sure everything works out perfectly for everyone. Collaborating with your team can help you to create magic! Like they always say; “when there is a will, there is a way.”