Shooting beauty work is a different set of challenges compared to say editorial or straight fashion portraits. With beauty, precision is key, perfection is the aim. Everything takes a lot longer, make-up prep, lighting set-up, time per shot, post production. For comparison a 2 hour portfolio development shoot can easily net four outfits and a whole bunch of different shots for a model. Whereas a two hour beauty session is one look and probably one final image.
It’s all about flawless skin and perfect make-up.
Here are a couple of fresh images from a shoot a couple of weeks ago. Here I was working with Thembi Mkandla makeup artist, using product from MAC and Armani. Our model for the day was Anna of Boss Model Management.
Cosmetic beauty, MAC & Armani. Lips & Skin. by Mark Ivkovic
Cosmetic beauty, MAC & Armani. Lips & Skin. by Mark Ivkovic
m. Miranda @ Nemesis
mua. Bekki Mitchell
sty. Zoey Hughes
M9, 50mm Summicron.
So I use the ilovemyleica hashtag alot (A LOT) so I’m guessing it goes without saying that I really do indeed love my Leica. Why? is often the question I get asked, I kinda of feel the photographs I create with it answer that question but perhaps that’s a little short sighted of me (and glib of me). So I’ve been thinking of a non fan boy / preachy way of explaining why it seems that the Leica M is the tool I’m happiest using.
Compared to many other cameras on the market the M9 loses when it comes to statistics and tech specs and all that dull fluff. To me that stuff is just noise and sales crap, I live with my cameras, day in day out. It’s how using the camera makes me feel, it’s how it allows me to connect with my subject, how it gets out of the way and just lets me create the photographs I want to create with it. I understand it and it’s ways and in return it rewards me with beautiful colour rendition and stunning clarity. It handles light so very beautifully, it inspires me to hunt out interesting light and interesting situations. It just gives me a connection and intimacy with my subject that all other cameras I’ve used can make a little more awkward. The M9 allows me to concentrate on signal (Zack Arias) the sheer simplicity of it, camera, 50mm lens, aperture, shutter dial, iso setting. No autofocus, no HDR, no auto, no super high iso, no zoom, no snake oil, no magic wand. It makes me work to create photographs and more importantly it makes me think. I helps me put something of myself into my work by simply letting me work.
So hopefully without sounding like a sales pitch that explains a little my feelings towards the M9. It’s no review, it’s simply a statement of my opinion of how I work with the Leica.
Perhaps another reason is how my assistant once put it “Perhaps it’s because it isn’t the accepted tool.” I kind of agree that despite using a 5D2, I really do get sick of the same looking images coming from the same cameras. Plus I’ve never been one to follow the crowd. The 5D2 is (at the moment) a vital tool in my bag, however it is gradually getting dusty.
Do I lust after the new M? To be honest not really, yesterday I shot at iso 1250 and the images are beautiful. Yes there’s noise but there is also feeling and emotion. The one and only thing about the new M I wish for is the shutter noise (sad I know)
Do I lust after a Monochrom? hmmmmmmmmm . . . . . . 🙂 I wouldn’t say no to one but for my work It couldn’t be a one or the other, I’d still use the M9 that has so captured my admiration.
It seems the blog is suffering from a lack of updates at the moment, mainly due to time pressure. Stacks of new work has been shot over the last month or so with much more in the coming months so I’ll pop things up when and where I can.
Here’re are a couple from yesterday, a hair shoot with Rick Roberts to produce his final collection for the National Hairdressing Awards. We shot earlier this year and it’s from those that he made it to the final, these are the ones that he will win or lose on. No pressure then . . . . . . .
Plus the moment in between the moments, one that won’t make the cut but I love it all the same.
Plus a hint at what we came up with for new girl Natalie. I love it when you see the shot and then realise where the inspiration came from for it. Avedon has been a huge factor in a lot of my work (especially my B&W) so it’s nice to create an image which I feel pays total homage to the man and his work.
The image from my mind that sparked the idea for this shot. It’s amazing how our minds just hold these images until the right situation calls for them. I saw what Natalie was wearing and the big ol’ white space and figured why not give it a go.
Meg Lindow MUA & Hair
VAMP Nail Art
LauRen @ Maverick
Just in case you thought I may have run off, here we are back with just a subtle colour one.
This kind of image really speaks volumes about why it’s important for working fashion, beauty and commercial photographers to shoot tests. These are unpaid shoots where all those involved give up time in the hope of creating something new and different for portfolio use.
Take this image for example, the idea and concept I’d brought was a kind of black glitter beauty look. I’d spoken to Meg the MUA and we’d nailed down our inspiration images and ideas of how we planned to create it. From the start I had B&W images in my head yet the freedom of my own creative brief means that after a little post production I create this (alongside the pre-envisaged shots).
Bowens 500 via “Big Betty” beauty dish and grid. Approx 1 foot from subject camera left.
28 inch beauty dish via Bowens 500 very slightly off centre front and above. White reflector below.
A couple from a full day in the studio shooting four beauty looks Thembi and myself wanted to try.
It’s always fun to see how one girl can look so different from the moment she walks through that door in the morning to the shots we get.
This one I posted a teaser of a week back, so if you want to see how much reworking I do have a scroll back through the posts and compare . . . . .
I really really adore this photograph, I usually find myself with a feeling of almost disappointment when I show my final images, probably mainly due to my own very high expectations of myself. Sure I like what I create but I don’t LOVE it. From this shoot I think I’m closer to love.
So I posted a first draft of this concept on my facebook page last night, after a night of sleep to think it over I came to the decision to rework it a little.
Think I prefer this version, has more the feel I wanted to portray.
Sarah B | Nemesis
Lisa Ray | MUA & Hair
Mark Ivkovic | Photography