Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sheer Elegance

I love it when you can plan something and it works out better than you could have imagined.  That is the case with this specific shot.  I was pondering the pose and lighting and later the post production lead me down some interesting turns.

Posing The Model
I wanted a sexy, elegant and yet demure pose with a topless model wearing only fish-net stockings.  This was initially for a contest on, and I needed a subject.

So, putting a pose together that is provocative yet still keeping the naughty-bits hidden was a challenge.  We worked through several variations, and I will post some of those to the bottom of this article for those interested.

Some people have commented on the model and her form.  I think she has a perfect body, and her back is strong, yet the pose causes a bit of rounding.  I actually think this makes her human and if I were to have her sit up more, or fix it in post, the entire image loses so much.  Therefore, I decided on this final image and am pleased with the result.

Lighting the Scene
There are two lights in this scene, the key (gridded softbox over the head of the model) and a background light.  I have the key gridded so it does not splash against the wall that is only 3' away.  In this case the key is an Alien Bee Einstein exposed at ƒ5.6.  The background is a Nikon SB-900 set to round ƒ4 or so.  I did not have the room on the ground for another AlienBee, so the SB will work in this confined space just fine.

I will always light in layers like this when possible, as having the background and model at the same level of exposure really makes for a flat image.  Because I control the exposure of each, I can do anything I desire with the scene.

Post Production In Photoshop
First, this model has some complexion issues that she is working though, so we need to eliminate those for the time being.  Using the spot healing brush as well as the clone stamp, we are able to fix what flaws she might have pretty quickly.  Note that I don't have to do any liquification on her body at all.  Ah, the joys of youth.

Once I have any marks resolved I find I am not happy with the background.  I had put a blue gel on it, but after looking at it, I find the contrast a bit to much.  So, I create an adjustment layer and lighten the background (masking the model), and then add a hue-saturation adjustment layer clipped to that one and remove some of the blue.

There was one major issue in that one of the strings in her stockings was broken (you can see if just above the heal of her left foot on her butt).  I used the clone stamp to resolve this so the eye didn't tend to wander around looking for a break in the pattern.  Breaking patterns is a great way to control the eye of the viewer, and in this case that would have been a bad thing.

I tend to flip the image over and over as I work so my eyes are fresh.  As I work on this shot I decide the background is really quite boring.  I search for a pattern that might be interesting, and see one right on her legs that would work!  I create a pattern from a swatch on her thigh and then invert it and create a new layer using that as the background.  Of course I have to mask out the model, but since I already have that from the exposure and saturation adjustments, this is a quick trip.

To finalize the image I add another texture set at a low opacity to bring out some of the darker part of the shot and add a richness to the image.  As always, I am addicted to the Fly Paper Texture series for these types of finishing items as I feel strongly they add so much to an image.

Total time to complete the image is around 20 minutes.

Bonus Image

The image to the left here is another from the same shoot.  Again the same process was used in almost the same order.  I did have a bit of work to do in the "nether regions" to keep the image from being adult in nature, but a quick bit of additional shadows from an overlay layer fixed that up right away.  A texture was added as a finishing touch as in the image above.

Total time for the image on the left was closer to 10 minutes as I didn't have a lot of work to do on her back.


  1. Beautiful pictures. Love the poses. Sexy and yet super natural and casual.

  2. Love the lighting and the texture. Maybe one day the flypaper people will run sales on their stuff so i can finally pick up a pack... i like how they look on your stuff.

  3. I don't think they will be on sale. You get what you pay for. There are a lot of great textures on the web for free, but over the years I have just realized that the time to find ones of high quality and resolution is just to long. Since my time is valuable I can just purchase them and save myself the pain. Also, I like the variety as they have textures I would have never been attracted to, but have found them refreshing.

  4. Thanks again for more great posts Scott.

    You mention that you're using the AB Einsteins. How do you find working with them?
    I've just placed an order for 3 myself.

  5. I love them! Awesome price and love everything about them.


Waiting For Morpheus

final image This image was shot on location in Edgerton, Wisconsin, which I mentioned before is very close to the edge of the Earth (pu...