Today a guestblog by a great and creative photographer/retoucher Morgana Creely. People who have visited my blog for a longer time will already know her and as always she has some great tips. So here we go, take the blog Morgana.
Conceptual portraits without models by Morgana Creely
Sometimes I get an idea (or a lighting technique) that I really want to try out immediately. This usually happens late Friday night or mid Sunday afternoon. Not the most ideal times to find a live model who is ready to drop everything and run on over. So this is a good time to create a conceptual portrait without a model.
But wait, you say. Who is the model in the image above? I’m glad you asked. Let me introduce Bianca. Bianca is a small old fashioned shop display mannequin. With a metal pole for a head and only one arm, she may not strike you as the most obvious of photographic models. However with a little careful styling and lighting she can do wonders.
For the shot above, Bianca is facing away from the camera to hide her lack of face, wearing a very inexpensive wig I picked up in a party supply. I deliberately lit her only from one side, to hide the lack of a second arm.
Below are two portraits I shot for this blog entry. Because I wanted the subjects to be facing forward and in profile, Bianca wasn’t suitable. Fortunately I have a back-up plan. I call him: Bruce.
Bruce is basic older style shop display mannequin, consisting of a torso covered in cloth, on a stand. No head or limb. However I purchased an inexpensive hair styling mannequin head which I attached to the Bruce with gaffer tape.
On the left Bruce is wearing another party supply store wig, a cheap Masquerade mask, a black scarf to hide the gaffer tape, and a long cloak.
The figure on the right is also Bruce. By replacing the wig with another scarf, and changing the mask over for another inexpensive one that I had spray painted silver, I was able to achieve a completely different look. [Images combined in Photoshop with only a light colour cast added].
For my final image I changed the mask and hair on Bruce and moved in for a tight head shot. The catch lights in the eyes were strengthened a little in Photoshop as the ones painted on were quite pale, but otherwise the image is straight from camera. This is definitely my favourite of the two portraits. Simply, clean, and creepy.
Bruce and Bianca cost me approximately $60 each second hand. The wigs were $10 each, and the masks ranging from $2-$4. The clothing I already had. You don’t need to spend lot of money to create great images. And as far as I’m concerned both mannequins have certainly be worth the money.
Besides, what the alternative? Self-portraits perhaps? Ah but that’s a blog for another day…