Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Building a scene

Hi Folks! How are you?  I've been waiting to tell you some exciting news. I got to do an online catalog shoot for Art and Soul Boutique. It's Eve's first real exposure as a model, not that she cares much, and my first big job as a photographer. Not that I got paid. LOL It's a clothing for photos exchange, but I am incredibly honored that they asked me!! The dress that Eve got to model goes on sale with the others from its line Friday at noon EST. So be sure to check it out! They've already posted this picture to their Facebook page, so I'm hoping it's okay for me to also share it.  

 I wish I could post the rest, this one isn't my favorite.  We'll all have to wait til' Friday I guess. This was so much fun to plan and execute, and the process has opened up for me a whole new world for planning photo shoots.

I'm going to take you into the process of building the scene. I may have to make it two parts, because I'd like to offer a tutorial for you on how to do the floor you see in the picture.
  Upon receiving the dress, I also got a list of instructions about what they wanted from the photos. Mostly, they were easy, except the third one on the list.
3. We would like a Spring/Easter theme to go with this dress. 
Great, except that there was a foot of snow outside and no better forecast in the foreseeable future.
So... How do I make it Springtime in February? A set. Spring is all tulips and pastels, so that much was already there. Next came the scene. I had it in my head that I wanted it to look like she was enjoying a sunny spring day getting ready to go plant a garden or something. From somewhere in the depths of my psyche came a memory of someones back porch. With shutters and old flowerpots and even older wooden furniture, and peeling paint and the smell of apples. A place of mud and dirt and sunlight. I wanted to recreate that.

  Step 1. TO THE ANTIQUE STORE!!!
What better way to inspire yourself than to spend half a day with your favorite mother browsing an antique mall? There is just so much... stuff and all kinds of random.  I was thinking of finding old screens or old barn wood or doors or something, but then I saw the shutters and a little *ding* went off in my head. I kept looking, but kept coming back to those shutters. They were all gray and dirty, but that's nothing a coat of fresh paint wouldn't fix.
 Step 2. TO THE HARDWARE STORE!!!
Paint. The dress was green and had to be the center of attention, so I knew I didn't want bold colors in the background. I had about 5 shades of pastel color cards in my hands before my mother gently reminded me that less is more. SO I narrowed it down to two. The pale yellow and pale green.  Very fresh, and who doesn't love mint these days?

Step 3. TO THE PROP CLOSET!!!
Gather up anything and everything I've ever used that might work.  In this case, the galvanized buckets and recycled barn wood bench. All bought at a garage sale last summer. As a matter of fact, I think she gave me the buckets free to carry the other crap I bought.  The bench was a really dark dark shade of teal, which I loved, but I can always paint it that way again.

Step 4. PAINT EVERYTHING!!!
The shutters were easy, two of each color. The gray that they were originally showed through, which turned out nice, because it gave them a worn look that I liked.  The bench was a little more difficult. I thought that the teal would show through, but the green paint covered a little too well, so I had to wait for it to dry and then rough it up with sand paper. That gave it that same worn look as the shutters and added a little texture to the scene.

The Floor.
The floor is fake. I built it for another shoot I had in mind but hadn't got to the part where I stained it. Up until this point, I wasn't sure where I was going to use the other props, but everything I thought of seemed lame or didn't fit my mental image of the shoot. Until I looked over at this giant hunk of wood I'd nailed together and though, hmmm... it could work. So I covered it in a layer of the pale yellow paint, and as it turns out it completed the scene.
(The saga of building that floor and the tutorial on how to build it are in part two, stay tuned! It's kinda hilarious)

Step 5. ADD FLOWERS AND MODEL
Here's a tip: fake flowers look fake. Those are real flowers in the pic, and in February in Indiana, they don't come all that cheap. In fact, the flowers were the most expensive part of the whole shoot. Unless you count the care and feeding of the model. Then they were the second most expensive part. : )

The garden boots were a last minute add on, thought of by Eve. I was about to lose my temper at the model that kept running off until she came in with last years rain boots and said "These will be perfect for the set!!" and she was right, they were!

The scene was so convincing that when Hubby got home and saw the pictures, he asked where we went to take them. I said, "Right about where you're standing now". He was shocked. Our living room is dark and dingy, and the pictures look all bright and clean. It's hard to believe that was the same place. It was so much like the porch from my memory, I almost want to leave the set there forever and just hang out on it. LOL

*A caveat- the shutters had to be tied to a background stand to keep them from falling over, AND had to be raised in order to be taller than Eve. This set would have been perfect if she had been just a teeny bit shorter. So if you try this idea yourself, keep that in mind.


I'm sure I did everything the hard way, but I had a lot of fun with this project. I'm beginning to understand why professional photographers love to "Style" their shoots. It's like putting together a beautiful puzzle.

Check out part two- where I show you how to build the fake floor (the dummy way)
Peace and Love,
Tara

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