mr. + mrs. photography -- break it down

January 8, 2014

Godwin Photography

craig and i thought it might be fun to share some of the funny/odd things that go into making these glamorous photos. often times it takes us being creative despite many limitations such as lack of a huge studio (our studio is in a spare bedroom), tons of wardrobe options and a huge budget. in fact we try to make things as amazing as we can without spending a single dollar! we're gonna periodically share shoot break downs with you guys getting down to the nitty gritty of what we did to get the shot!

our first example is this photo we took only a few days ago. it's from a jewelry shoot for our lovely, talented friend and model Emma Hunt of Emma Jane Designs. her designs are delicate and amazingly wearable i wear this one nearly everyday, it's so comfortable that i forget to take it off at bedtime.
so the goal for the shoot was to go all out and make it have an editorial feel which we love while still not overwhelming the delicate jewelry. emma happily gave us free reign to do whatever we wanted! we decided to go for a modern meets classical feel. so here's the break down:

her makeup:
i used loreal foundation in this, e.l.f. blush in a bright pink, e.l.f. eyeshadow (that jumbo set that's like 15 bucks) in reddish coppers, loreal eyeshadow pot in "Iced Latte" as highlighter on her cheekbones, nose, inner eye, brow bone, and collar bone. for the lips i used kardashian beauty in this. for bronzer and contouring i used loreal powder in this.
for shoots i use an ungodly amount of makeup because things always look less intense in front of the camera! but note that i don't use anything expensive, it's all drugstore makeup for the most part.

her hair:
i curled her hair using a flat iron all over. then i teased it all over so that she looked like she'd been electrocuted....seriously i know she was thinking "is she crazy?". i did this because not only did we want a ton of texture, we also wanted it to be larger than life. otherwise this photo wouldn't have the lovely drama and texture play that it could look pretty but boring. craig and i like to always have a few elements that are unexpected, not for shock factor necessarily but to cause the viewer to want to stare. emma's hair is super silky so i had to tease a lot and used "stay and play" hairspray from Big Sexy Hair. then using bobby pins i randomly pinned her hair into a super loose big up do.

her nails:
when emma arrived the first thing i did (besides make her some coffee) was give her nails a quick paint. i did two coats of this and then a clear coat...well i actually forgot to paint a clear coat on so nvm.

so i have this halloween dress that is all ripped up, but i remembered it had a tulle layer on the skirt so what did we do? we just turned that dress upside down and draped the skirt over her shoulders...under that dress she's wearing skinny jeans and a long sleeve tee that she pulled her arms out of tub top style, it was pretty funny.

the backdrop is hung on these. as a back drop craig and i wanted something simple that looked slightly textured but was heavy weighted enough to be mostly wrinkle free (have you ever tried to edit out wrinkles in photoshop?? yeah, no fun.) so being the budget minded people we are we chose to use something we already had, one of those canvas drop clothes from the hardware store like this used for painting, it was around $30. since we placed emma a few feet away from the drop cloth it appears much darker (which we wanted) than you would think and has a nice cement look to it.
for lighting we only used one light with a soft box, we have this kit. it's cheap for what it is and will get the job done.

we used a canon 5d mark II found here, fitted with a 85mm 1.8 found here. we LOVE this lens! we had our camera roughly set to ISO 320, 1/160, f11. these settings were important to getting every thing in focus and crisp especially with such delicate jewelry.

we use macbook pros to edit on and do color correction using Adobe Lightroom 4, and Adobe Photoshop CS6. we also use a wacom intuos 5 found here.

A few side notes:

this photo is one of the first shots we took, and we quickly realized that the top was too simple for what we wanted, the hair wasn't big enough. once we changed to the black tulle the dark lips with her dark hair felt heavy and costumey so we switched to the pink color that's in all the other shots. you have to find a balance between soft and bold, the more contrasts/conflicts you can create the more interesting the photo will be. although we still love this photo, when compared to the one above you can see the drama was heightened by a few changes. following your gut is always a good plan.

in this shot we simply changed wardrobe, eye makeup and rearranged emma's hair into a faux hawk inspired undo. the dress is something else i pulled from my closet, its a dress i bought back in 2011 from a consignment store for $15. i used e.l.f eyeshadow again but this time in blues and purples.

this gem is my favorite example because the top she is wearing is actually a dress i got from H&M last year for $10 turned upside down. what you can't see is that beneath this "collar" is a wad of an up turned dress. craig took this photo and i am standing behind emma just out of frame holding the back of her "collar" so it stands out nicely.

there you have it! behind the scenes it may seem like a hot mess but we know how to make it all work....or mess around till it does.

(photos by godwin photography)

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