From a young age, I found so much beauty in portraiture of females. I would constantly doodle pictures of female faces all over the margins of my text books. I loved creating fantastical creatures with bright eyes, and long flowing hair, and that passion and love of femininity eventually transferred into my passion for photography. From beautiful brides to stunning fashion models, I have to admit, women are my favorite subjects. Every woman has a different look and a list of attributes that make them interesting, unique and therefore beautiful. Translating that to Fashion photography is even more rewarding because the control freak in me can let loose. I can easily control my lighting, the colors and textures worn by the model, focus on just the one individual without the time constraints that other genres of shoots may limit. Needless to say, i am like a kid in a candy store, I love this stuff!
This particular shoot was no exception. I got to spend an amazingly epic day on the North Shore of Oahu, with a sinfully beautiful model doing what I love most. Seriously, how lucky am I!?! Anya is a local jewelry designer and is the owner and designer of Salty Turquoise. She creates beautiful Hawaii inspired jewelry, which I am obsessed with. Anya is a native to Belarus, but has made her home in Hawaii for the better part of a decade. I love her Eastern European features of large bright brown eyes, and long dark hair along with the angular lines of her body.
I started off earlier in the afternoon than I normally do for a shoot, on a field in North Shore. I used the Wai’anae mountain range to shield out some of the bright sky light and back light her for a sharp dimensional look. We then made our way down to one of my favorite beaches out of Haleiwa. There we switched gears into bikini mode and Anya modeled a 60s inspired swimsuit. The look of the last golden light of the sunset reflected on the fine beach sand is unrivaled. When I am not switching gears to actually capture the sunset, I find this time of day can create some really soft and subtle images where you can just make out the hues of the ocean and sunset reflected in the water and sand. Finishing up by the ocean seemed fitting for Anya, as her business motto for SALTYturquoise is “the cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.
I offer “artwork” to a select number of images in most of my packages as well as additional artwork as an a la carte option. When I tell clients they get, lets say 3, images of artwork included in their package, this can often cause confusion. Often people think that they are only getting 3 final images, which is certainly not the case. Most of my packages allow access and rights to reproduce all of the final images of the shoot.
To help people understand the process a little better I have outlined the stages I go through here:
1) Shoot. I try to get my subjects to look their best straight out of camera through use of lighting and framing.
2) Cull the images. This means I will be taking out pictures where people are blinking, the flash didn’t go off, or a giant bug stole my cameras focus… whatever it is that makes the photo not good.
3) Edit. All of my “before” images on this blog are edited. That means they are adjusted for color balance, exposure, saturation, sharpness, etc… All of my clients collection consists of edited photos. From there, they pick their favorites to get a little extra love.
4) “Artwork” or retouching. This typically means I will be brightening the eyes, smoothing the skin, removing stray hairs, transplanting kids faces and doing all sorts of things with Photoshop that my editing program cant do. This is labor intensive work and not practical to do to every image of the shoot, especially when there are several in a row that are very similar. Often clients have a handful of images that they really love, and I take that handful and make them extra amazing.
The following 4 images are from a shoot I did for a belly dancer at sunrise on Lanikai Beach. While the original images look great, I used a little bit of artwork to pump it up a bit more. I was able to enhance the saturation a bit more. I removed some darkness under her eyes, brightened up her eyes, smoothed the shadows of her skin along with the texture of it. I removed some items that were on the sand, as well as enhanced the shape her body was taking to make it have a little bit more of an s shape, therefore giving the image a little bit more interest. You can tell that the original image looks a little bit more dull than the second image. That is the extra little “pop” that you can get through Photoshop.
This next model was shot at Makapu’u beach towards sunset. It was a last minute shoot and we got there when the sun had already set over the mountains which means there was less ambient light. I still wanted to get a soft look to her pictures so I didn’t use flash. You can see that she has some under eye darkness, and the highlights in her eyes are somewhat dim. I used photoshop to brighten up under and in her eyes bringing out the gorgeous green hues that were subdued in the original shot. This model was going for more of a sports illustrated type of look so I removed her smile lines, smoothed any wrinkles, and pumped up her hair to look like a lions mane.
The next few shots I wanted to keep a more natural look. This particular shot was taken around sunset in KoOlina, Oahu. I was using a gold reflector to give the image a warm yummy glow and lighten up everyone’s faces. The problem I have with the picture is that some of the shadows of there face got a little too gold. Using artwork, I was able to go in and lighten up as well as slightly desaturate the shadows under their cheeks and eyes. I also brightened their eyes and teeth. They already had great complexions and really didn’t need too much done, but just the simple act of lighting those shadows on their faces made a big difference.
I hope this answers most of your questions as to what artwork is. Mahalo!
Going through some of my older portrait sessions and I just wanted to share these couple portraits from my shoot with Kalea. I am a sucker for coordination + contrast. I love how the photo coordinates her golden dress with the golden Hawaii grasses, but her dark hair provides a stark contrast while still keeping with the warm and golden color scheme.
Additionally, I have to give credit to the model where credit is due. That grass may look soft, but it was a burr-fest. I love when clients will allow themselves to be put in awkward and uncomfortable places for the sake of a picture. Look, no pain no gain! Whether it be hiking to a scenic lookout, allowing waves to crash on you, putting your knees on sharp coral, some of my favorite shots have been some of the most challenging for clients. And a big Mahalo to all of you who accept that challenge.