The Digital Background

My preference when shooting is to use a background or location that provides the look that the client is looking for. However, sometimes it’s just not possible to shoot with the background you want, and that’s where Photoshop comes in to save the day!

Last month I was lucky enough to spend a few days with some of the current students at Blush School of Makeup in San Francisco. The school had hired me to come in and take some beauty shots showcasing the students work. The set up was pretty basic which was fine since most of the students and their models did not have a clear vision of what they were looking for other than they were excited to have pictures for their portfolio, and the limited time I had with each student would not allow for multiple background changes.  But there  was one makeup artist, Elizabeth Rogers, who knew exactly what kind of shot she wanted and told me all about it. I love it when that happens! Seriously.

We took a few minutes together before the shoot and she explained that she was looking for her model to be on a yellow, “glowy” backdrop. Keeping this in mind we brought out her model and got down to business.

model on white background
The “before” shot: a basic white background.
model on photoshopped glowing yellow background
The “after” shot. Yellow glowing goodness!

I think Elizabeth did a really great job on the makeup – her model photographed beautifully! And I am really glad that she came to the shoot with a clear concept of what she was looking for in the end result. With a little time spent in Photoshop I was able to digitally create the background she’d envisioned, even though we had been limited to a white backdrop during the session.

While we are on the subject of makeup artists and digital backgrounds, I wanted to share another set of before and afters from a shoot a few years ago. I hosted a day in studio with a bunch of different models and makeup artists to work on beauty shots, and extreme make up shots. One of the makeup artists, Arianna Paine, thought it would be fun to do a “sexy construction worker” look and had brought a yellow hard hat with her. Model Miyouko was game, but I didn’t have a realistic city scene on had to shoot on. No problem! We snapped a few pics and turned this:

woman with a hardhat

Into this:

cityscape and woman with a hardhat

Arianna got the end result she was hoping for, and we all had a lot of fun!

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