Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blond Flying Dreadlocks

Here is something you don't see every day, blond dreadlocks.  Well, maybe *I* don't see them everyday, so I thought she was a fun model to shoot.

The concept was to create motion, emotion, and expression.  The problem is making them look like the belong in the photo.  The sexy look on her face and emotion in the image is out-of-place if she is just standing there, so we need to add a bit of "something" to make the image believable.  We discussed a similar problem in a previous photoshop concept I shot, and I needed to come up with something nice for this one as well.

Let's start with the lighting.  Today we are using a DIY (do it yourself) beauty dish.  This one is made from a large wooden salad bowl that has been painted white.  A cheap auto-mirror was mounded on the front side by some long threaded screws and will reflect the light back into the bowl and out around the edges.  There plans on the internet for these all over the place.  I eventually bought a beauty dish from Paul C. Buff since I would rather spend the money than the time.  The difference with the one I used on this occasion was that it was powered by my Nikon SB-800 speedlight, not my AlienBees.  This is a single light shot with reflectors on either side and a gray wall behind the model.

Post production was an adventure.  I wanted to give this a lot of emotion, movement, and all that without distracting from the model in such a way as to obscure her beauty.  My final direction was a "light-painting" type of effect.  Creating something like this is pretty simple if you have a Wacom tablet. For those of you with only a mouse, you are going to have a much harder time.  I heavily suggest you bag one of these (even the cheap ones are awesome), so you can open your creativity in new ways.

In the end there are 3 layers here (not counting the original hidden smart object I imported).  Basically the model is sandwiched between two layers with the same bunch of abstract lines on it.  The bottom layer has some of the lines that intersect the model removed, as does the top layer (albeit a different mask asI do want some to pass in front of her).  I also changed the blending modes of the light as well as the final layer to get the best result.  In the end, I wanted lines to cross and surround the model, and I even liked the "rule breaking" centered composition I often abhor.

Let me know if you like the image.  Total time to complete ~30 minutes.