Tag Archives: masks

Putting on your face

Putting on your face - the final image
Putting on your face – the final image

Each year the Heretaunga Rotary Club runs a major book sale and my wife is one of the volunteers that help sort the donated books as they come in. A number of weeks ago she brought home a collection of photographic magazines for me to look through. They were mainly out of date, however I do like looking for images that may provide inspiration for shots.

I came across an image is an old issue of Photo Review Australia in a section called “Emerging Talent” by Samantha Everton that I really liked.

Charade - Samantha Everton (www.samanthaeverton.com)
Charade – Samantha Everton (www.samanthaeverton.com)

The expression “Putting on your face” immediately sprang to mind and so when I was doing the Getting Ready image in the model series I asked Sian would she like to help me create something.

BTS-PuttingOnFace-1

I set up a small area of my studio to resemble a makeup area and has Sian sit an pretend to put makeup on. I had purchased three paper mache masks and attached them to a length of dowel that was sitting on a stand uses for needlework. The camera was mounted on a tripod so that all of the angles would stay consistent to make the compositing a little easier.

BTS-PuttingOnFace-2

We tried a number of angles and poses to see which one would work before finally settling on one.

I then moved the masks out of the way and Sian positioned herself roughly where each had been and did a different facial expression at the three positions. Shooting in this way meant that the lighting was consistent across the whole image.BTS-PuttingOnFace-3

Lighting for the image was two soft boxes. The main one was set camera left and up high. (You can just see the edge of it is the top lefthand corner). The second light was camera right and lower down to add some fill. This light had to be carefully placed to ensure that it did not appear in the mirror.

The composite in Photoshop was fairly simple although given that Sian’s face and the masks are different I did have to use the liquify tool a bit.

 

Keeping it hidden (slightly NSFW)

They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and it is true that if you can capture catchlights in the image, and the eyes are sharp then people will connect.

A number of years ago the family spent some time in Egypt and it was really the first time that I encountered women wearing the full burqha with only there eyes showing. It was amazing how good looking quite a lot of eyes appeared.

Then a couple of years later we had a secret Santa at the work Christmas party and I was given a blue plastic mask. I instantly knew what I was going to do with it, and it has been used in quite a number of shoots since.

Over the years I have collected quite a range of masks, and I really enjoy using them in shoots. In most cases the mask actually focuses attention on the eyes while at the same time adding a little element of mystery to the image.

Most masks have been very successful apart from one. It is a replica of a full faced venetian mask that I have used in two shoots. The shots are good but to me there is something that I am not quite getting. I suspect that the mask actually needs a very elaborate outfit to set it off.

This was the first shoot using a mask, and still one of my most favourite shots.
This was the first shoot using a mask, and still one of my most favourite shots.

Mask-2 Mask-7 Mask-4

Using the same model as the original blue mask, but this time with a small black one
Using the same model as the original blue mask, but this time with a small black one
 A simple mask with contrasting colours of the drape
A simple mask with contrasting colours of the drape
This full face white mask unnerves a lot of people due to its lack of features
This full face white mask unnerves a lot of people due to its lack of features
This is the first shoot using the full faced venetian mask
This is the first shoot using the full faced venetian mask
The most recent shot with the venetian mask
The most recent shot with the venetian mask