Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vintage Val at Curwood Castle

In my last post, I showed you how to get
beautiful skin tones in-camera.   
This Vintage Val shoot at Curwood Castle in Owosso, Michigan
is a great way to show you  the techniques in action.

Spring is stupendous at Curwood Castle as it is surrounded
by gorgeous magnolia trees that bloom in early May.
We shot on a bright sunshiny day between 10 and 11:30 am which can be
extremely tricky with face shadows.
She was backlit in both of these shots.
You can see the sun on her hair, but not her face.
Here, she is under a magnolia tree which could create the
horrible mottled shadows on the face,
but I had the sun at her back to eliminate the shadows.
I saw the shadows and had to turn her several times
until I could see that the shadows were gone.
The hat really helped to block it!
Here Val is getting situated on the ground. 
Note all the mottled sun shadows on her
because she is under a tree.
In this next shot, you can see hot spots on her
dress which looks pretty, but none on her face.
Her hat helped to block the sun on her face
 I used a reflector to bounce light back in for most of these photos.
Once again, the hat saved this next photo.
I was looking closely at her face in every
single shot to make sure there were no harsh
shadows or hot spots.
Val is wonderfully game to try all my ideas.
She even climbed a magnolia tree in a VERY tight dress!
But it was worth it for this pretty shot.
Notice the back light and sun on her hair.
I had her turn her face away from the side light until
I saw the shadows on her face were gone.

The hardest shots to get were at the angle with
the castle in the background.
Hooray for the umbrella!
I didn't have an assistant to help me this day,
so I had to hold the reflector myself while shooting!
For this next photo, I put my camera on a tripod, framed the shot
and locked focus.  Then I threw the sheer fabric into
the wind and shot with my remote shutter. See me aiming the remote
at the camera with my right hand, while tossing the fabric with my left.
If only I looked as elegant as Val!  Hee hee!!
 Fortunately, with the magic of Photoshop...
the goofy gal is not in the finished portrait!
Who needs an assistant?
I LOVE magnolias!
Another backlit in-a-tree shot with the castle in the background.
It was 81 degrees and I was sweating trying to handle
all the lighting and shooting.
But, it takes this effort of looking at each photo very carefully
for face shadows....and lighting a backlit subject to create
the beautiful skin tones!
I love that Curwood Castle is yellow!
Very hard to shoot in the bright sunlight.
For these lying-on-the-ground-with-the-magnolia-petals shots,
it was impossible to avoid the sun on her face,
so I held up a large diffuser to soften the harsh rays.
If you have a four-sided reflector,  unzip it and
you will find a wonderful diffuser inside!
We always take a sunglasses photo with Vintage Val
because Val has lots of zany sunglasses.
I found the amazing vintage dress at Goodwill for $5.
Those vintage woman were VERY SKINNY!
Val is tiny, but we had to pin the dress together in the back
After all the tree climbing and sitting on the ground,
the dress ripped down the lower half!
Val is such a good sport!
Although these photos look relaxed and effortless
It takes a ton of work and concentration to pull it all together.
and fix any problems with lighting or shadows
BEFORE you click the shutter.

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