4 May 2012 - 3:54‘Evil Doll’

I hate evil dolls!  This was my FB post a while back after seeing a movie with killer dolls…  this led to a comment from someone I know that had Googled ‘evil dolls’ and was not able to sleep that night.  Such simple things get the creative juices flowing.   These images compliment my new ‘dark series’  that I continue to work on.

I was fortunate to have Leah Ehman create this great makeup look for me.  It’s likely you have seen her work if you’ve ever seen Tron, Suckerpunch or Stargate  Atlantis to name a few.  After a week of makeup sketches and prop shopping we finally got to work… although this concept has been rolling around my mind for much longer.

I really don’t know how I came up with this one…  after looking at a few hundred photoshoot images,  a couple just jumped out and said ‘cut my legs off’!  I originally had a blue vase as the base,  but what suits a rocket flame better than an actual rocket engine.  Would you believe that the rocket flame is actually a flipped image of an ignited shooter glass (you have no doubt downed one of these at a bar when u were 18)

It may not have been as obvious in the first image,  but her eyes are between 2 – 3 times their original size.  With makeup alone, many of the evil doll looks have a white line drawn under the eye with the lash dropped lower to create the look of a larger eye.  Since we have the power of Photoshop,  it was much easier to do this in post production.  The lips were also reduced in the 2nd image.  Look close and you see she’s holding the Necronomica (Book of the dead).  The verses in the background are the oldest know text that has ever come from this book (originals are under lock and key around the world).   It’s probably advisable to not read any of it aloud just to be on the safe side.  She is a form of a evil doll marionette succubus… wanting to take your life and resurrect you.

These were some of the early sketches to develop the makeup look… the hardest decision for me was to do a warm or cold look around the eyes.

Thanks again to Leah,  Leslie from Mount Pleasant Furniture rentals for the great props,  Tristan Risk for her corsetts and Teal as the model.

All images ©2012 Bryan Ward Photography Ltd.

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12 January 2012 - 17:32Why I hate spray tanning:

“ORANGE/CARROT SKIN”  Now i suppose if if was a vegetable,  having an even coating of  warm orange could be sexy, but we’re not vegetables!  Mammals (us)  are multi dimensional with different shades of color throughout our bodies.   I have warned my models for years to not spray tan before a photoshoot.   Digital cameras particularly  emphasize these tans … perhaps through anomalous color reflectance or by capturing every nuance that might have been lost on film… it just looks bad!.

Here is a retouching nightmare!  Lets pretend that the tones of orange can be corrected out… what do you do about the uneven skin?  Unbelievably I  didn’t even notice this during the photoshoot,  it was far more subtle in real life.   Notice how the sock lines removed the tan…anywhere you sweat lightens up and drier areas like the knees, heels and wrists get darker.

My rule of thumb is:  Never spray tan for a shoot!  Hit the tanning beds instead… the vitamin D will do you good,  clear the skin up, and provide a much more photographic body.   Stand up beds are preferable since they give a more even tan… just give yourself at least three day break before your shoot.  Be careful not burn yourself, the camera picks that up just as much as being orange.

The Germans invented tanning cream (dihydroxyacetone DHA) back in 1920.   DHA has been tested and used since the war, so the product has proven to be safe (unless you inhale it).    This is the common ingredient in almost every tanner, so regardless of the formulation,  the exact same undertone orange glow exists in every product… just the application methods and extra dyes  added vary.

Check out their youthful orange glow:

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30 November 2011 - 6:02Creative beauty shot – Teal

This creative was with Colleen Napier.   I let her loose on Teal to do any look she liked and this was the result.

I had some nice pieces of jewellery from Carola Bun from a previous shoot, so I thought i would put the choker to good use again.  Both images were shot against a white background with the add’l effects added in Photoshop.  I’ve been on a trend lately of desaturating my images and dialing the color temperatures down.  The top image has a bit more green in the undertone… I wanted this look to approach an ‘old photograph’ with fogged highlights, but with a modern look.  Traditionally aged images have bluer blacks and yellowed highlights… which is why i went green/yellow.

I tried a couple composite images with this next shot, but since i did not originally plan on changing the background, it was hard to  separate her hair from the similar toned background (would of normally shot this high key).  I saw a neat filter once on a website: Auto FX Mystical2 … although the program is a bit pricey ($200),  and you can certainly achieve the effect in Photoshop manually,  you will be getting to your results much faster.

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7 November 2011 - 23:41Orchid Creative

Brianna Errelat, my makeup artist wanted to do an image that was inspired by Kevyn Aucoin.   The amount of creatives I have done can liteally be counted on one hand… after all when everyone is paying you and with so much creative freedom there is no need… right?   Well I’m starting to think different about that… cutting the strings and doing just what I want purely without any clients needs in mind… that is always a factor in a hired shoot.

Meet Shazmin!  we’ve been FB friends for almost two years now and I figured it was finally time to meet in person for a creative.  I thought that she had the eyes and range of expression to create an enticing beauty shot.

We originally tried the orchids bunched around the neck like Acoin’s image but it just did not feel right.  Getting that vision from the mind to reality can sometimes be a nightmare.  We tried wire, clamps and floral tape but the flowers were just not cooperating.   If this had been a high key shoot with pale makeup concept, this style may have worked… I just thought they were too stark around her neck.

For the above  image,  I pulled out the Super 77 spray glue and literally attached petal to petal in a lei style.  This was delicate work and limited Shaz’s mobility but I was happy with the net result.

This image was combined with a shot I took in Maui years ago in the bamboo forest.  The lighting naturally fit the highlight on her shoulder and lens flare was added to emphasize  it further.    I’m looking forward to see what we can come up with next.

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25 June 2011 - 3:39Rock Bottom

I have not worked on many personal creatives lately.  On this day I had a last minute cancellation leaving my makeup artist and myself to some dark imaginings.  With Teal as a willing subject we were able to explore a concept that I have long wanted to do.  Brieanne Zellinsky  did a great job with bringing my ‘pale face’ bloody nosed concept to life.   An authentic top hat from nearly 100 years back made of the fine fur of Canada’s emblem… the beaver complimented my evil creation.  Faux fur would not have readily added equally to the horror.

At Bazaar Novelty in Vancouver I  discovered fake blood that coagulates .  It’s about 4 times more expensive than standard fake blood, but for a nosebleed is perfect.  Teal’s natural fair complexion was further paled using hue/saturation in photoshop and pulling the saturation down (95%) in all colors but red (reduced 45%)  The natural Catch lights in the eyes are created by a large disc reflector  reflecting light from my downward aimed 10′ octobank set high and behind me … I love how the lover catch lights make her stare more evil.

This shoot has peaked so much interest that i have decided to explore a ‘dark series’  stay tuned for more to follow!  It’s very subtle but did you notice the coke on her nose?   {no it’s not real}

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14 November 2009 - 19:40B4 & After

This is always fun. . . the transformation!

These before and afters were by Colleen,  my makeup artist.  Here are  some of her excerpts:

“It all starts with a hydrated canvas; be sure to cleans and moisturize your skin with a hydrating lotion or cream preferably one with a low halation factor this means avoid the pearlescent luminous products  these will lead to a much higher shine factor  or a greasy look. Instead think of a drink of water for your skin. Be sure to wait a couple of minutes before starting the makeup application.”

Justicebefore&afterSunny before&after

“In the first two images I applied, with a natural/synthetic nylon fiber foundation brush, a small amount of hydration cream mixed with a mineral loose powder foundation. This created a light wash foundation/hydrator which acts as the perfect base for a mineral powder makeup application. To minimize any colouration under the eyes and around the nose or to cover any minor blemished I applied a minimal amount of concealer. Once concealed all I needed to perfect the natural flawless face was to apply a combination of two pressed mineral powders; one that matched their skin tones perfectly and the other two shades darker to act as a contour colour. These two colours work together to enhance and define their beautiful bone structure.”before&after1smElyciabefore&after

“The concepts of cosmetic contouring have never been so easily attainable.  With the new advancements in mineral makeup which include colour match technology for an easy blend and practically invisible demarcation lines (the mask effect of a mismatched foundation or of a contour product that shows too dark or dirty in pictures). Trust me, Bryan can always tell if I’ve changed from my normal mineral makeup to save a buck or two on cheaper products. A good mineral foundation is worth every penny. It’s very versatile offering significant halation or glow simply by buffing the product; this process smoothes the look of fine lines and adds a reflective quality because the micronized mineral particles lay flat and bounce light off the contours of the face. A matt finish is easily achieved by using a stippling or tapping/rolling method pressing the minerals onto the surface of the skin. The two colour combo is a charm when enhancing or minimizing features. Use the darker of the two to add depth in the cheekbones or add a bronzed glow. The next step could be simply finish the look by adding mascara and a clear lip-gloss, or if adventure is what you seek now it’s time to set the hair.”

I can’t say enough about having a great make up artist.  Not only do they have to be great, but they also need to have a great personality.   Colleen sets the tone of the photoshoot as she is first contact with  my models.  As great as someone can do makeup,  if they set a negative tone,  have a diva attitude (Found in too many young new artists lately) or are just not very personable,  it always makes my job harder. A good artist will ‘prep’ your model for her shoot;  put her at ease,  develop a look that she is comfortable with (including talking her out of outdated or poor makeup concepts), and reinforce some of my shoot concepts we have discussed in advance.  Being that the models are usually my clients,  the bottom line is that they must be ‘happy’.

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19 June 2009 - 16:23Pinup Makeup

Here’s a video presentation of four makeup transitions as Colleen creates a ‘Pinup’ look.  The 3rd slide is subtle, but one of the interesting techniques i’d like to point out is the use of Talc under they eyes before she applies the mascara.  Specs of Mascara can be the most troublesome to remove and a thin dusting of Talc prevents this.   One caution with pinup is that makeup artists tend to use very Red lips.  I have Colleen lean towards a more magenta or orange shaded red. Careful with pure red as it is very hard to reproduce on press and tends to ‘Block up’ unless you are using specific pantone colors or Printing in Hexachrome.

The Pinup artists that inspired this look  are Art Frahm and J. Frederick Smith.  Both their styles are  a little ‘edgier’ while most of the other artistis of the time painted with softer lines.

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