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Late for the Ball_SmallSome times the inspiration for a shoot seems to come from random events. A couple of months ago I saw a box of old patterns in a book sale and bought them. My wife had been talking about using them to cover other objects and I instantly thought that it would be quite cool to make a dress out of them. My daughter then dashed my plans by telling me that patterns generally only contains half of a side because you folded the fabric in half to produce the whole piece.

Knowing that it would be difficult to completely cover a model in a single pattern the concept emerged of a girl that had run so late for the ball that they were literally trying to sew the dress around her.

Posing with the Black & White lingerie set

Posing with the Black & White lingerie set

Rather than post a casting call I approached a model (Suzie) and makeup artist (Crystal) who had both expressed interest in working with me. I had coffee with Crystal to go over the details of the shoot because I knew that hair & makeup would be quite unusual from what she had normally done for photoshoots. I knew that I would be compositing the body but I wanted the face to be from a single image. This meant that I wanted one side to be completely made up while the other was bare.

I sent a photo of Suzie and the dress to Crystal and left it up to her to come up with appropriate makeup. I did want to be slightly theatrical with the look in that I wanted large style rollers in the hair.  Crystal informed me that such things are not really used anymore but what is used really didn’t work with the look anyway.

The studio I had booked for the day is in an old house so I knew that I wanted to use the room as is. I collected a number of props from home (some under strict instructions from my wife such as her dressmaking scissors were not to be used to cut the patterns) and staged it to look like a sewing room.

The final selected pose

The final selected pose

Suzie had brought a number of sets of lingerie so that we could see what they looked like under the patterns, which were attached to her with double sided tape.  We selected one red and a black/white combination to try out. We started with the red set.

I had decided that the way we were going to shoot it was to do the patterns first and then the dress. I was shooting tethered into lightroom which meant that we could see a larger sized image than on the back of the camera.

Suzie took up different poses and once we had them I went through and selected which one I liked the best. Suzie then got changed into the other lingerie set and we shot a few images based around the poses we liked the best from the first series.

Wearing the dress

Wearing the dress

After looking at both sets it was apparent that the red lingerie set produced a much stronger look.

Suzie then put on the dress and we concentrated on getting as close to the chosen pose as possible. Lightroom made this a lot easier as we were able to compare the two images side by side. With the help of Crystal checking the images it did not take long before we had what I thought was a reasonably good match.

Once I had the images loaded on the home computer it was a simple matter of bringing them both into a single file and masking out. I increased the saturation in the lipstick and painted Suzie’s finger nails.

It was quite a fun shoot where pretty much everything went to plan. Thanks to Crystal and Suzie for their assistance in bringing this together.