My good friend and make-up extraordinaire Matt Goodlett, Mattgoodlettmakeup.com, asked me to photograph him and his make-up team for a haunt industry party to celebrate the end of the haunt season. Matt manages the make-up team for The Devil’s Attic, a local award winning haunted house. Of course, a haunt party for a haunt make-up team is not only the perfect opportunity to but almost necessarily a time to flex. Matt did a wonderful write up on the demon themed make-up on his site so be sure to check that out. So how does one photograph demons?
My approach to photographing make-up/body paint concepts is to highlight the theme with lighting and/or environment while being sure to clearly present and focus on the make-up. After all, with these types of photos the make-up is of paramount importance. I want the lighting and environment to enhance the theme without drawing attention away from the make-up itself. With demon make-up I wanted to avoid the usual accompaniments such as utilizing red, heavy shadows, or editing in fire. One they’re cliched and two, in the case of heavy shadows and fire, I believe it draws attention from the make-up. What I wanted, was a bit of chaos (thank you Warhammer 40k).
Chaos in a portrait, at least in this case, to me means movement. The challenge is that motion blur or movement must balance with showcasing the make-up. I decided on using a one second exposure with the modeling light of a Profoto B2 gelled blue behind barn doors to give ambient light for the motion. I manually trigged a Profoto B1 in a beauty dish with a grid at the end of the exposure, and subject movement, to freeze and capture the subject clearly. Took a bit of trail and error to get the subjects movement right and to trigger the B1 at the right time but we got it in the end.
Also, sorry but not sorry about that title.