Almost a total disastrous shoot…

I wanted to do some beauty shots to add to my portfolio so I called upon 2 of my favorite people. Model: Caitie and MUA: Ara. They’ve worked together a few times already so it should have been easy breezy. Their part of it was. Ara even helped with puffing Caitie’s hair. So while they were doing hair and make-up, I moved the strobes into position on the backdrop and plugged in the beauty dish. Basic, simple lighting. The beauty dish acted like a disco light flashing spastically and the strobes weren’t firing right. “F” me. Jene chimed in that I should have tested them last night. And he is right. But when I got there last night, he had just gotten up from a nap and was in a lot of pain (back issues). So I really didn’t want to bother him. We had limited time so while Jene tried to figure out what was going on with the remote triggers and beauty dish, I set the strobes to modeling  and used my off camera flash.

First image was blown out, a few camera adjustments and the second one was dark. I thought the flash didn’t work, so Ara checked as I clicked the shutter and yes the flash had recycled and worked. That kept happening throughout the shoot. I even stopped making adjustments to my shutter speed to see if that was the issue. But it didn’t matter, some came out over exposed, some underexposed and some just right.

I know in the past I sometimes get overly zealous and click the shutter before the flash had time to recycle. The batteries were strong, I checked. Anyway, I had a beautiful and patient model, a very talented MUA, thai curry veggies over rice for lunch and a few laughs.

 

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Next time I’ll be more prepared and check everything. Jene got everything working right by the  we finished.  Boy am I glad that wasn’t the first time we worked together, I would have been even more embarrassed.

 

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Vintage Hollywood Glam

Marielle has the soft, classic beauty of a starlet.  I decided to play around a little in photoshop to enhance the look that would recreate that sultry era of the silver screen.

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Photographer:  ©Mary Durante-Youtt,   Designer/Stylist: Helena Rose,
Make-up:  Arasy,   Hair:  Payton Holbrook,  Model:  Marielle Kehoe

 

I’m pleased with the way they turned out.

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Hats make a statement…

I remember going to millinery shops with my mother when I was a child.  I loved seeing the transformation as she placed different styles upon her head.  A hat sets a mood – flirty wide brims, feathers, flowers, ribbons and bows.  The right hat gives a woman (and a man) an extra dash of panache.

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© Bing.com images

As the models donned the hats, they seemed to lose themselves into a new roll.  Becoming what the hat portrayed.  Thanks to the creative geniuses, that took paper, netting, twigs etc to a new level.  I can’t wait to continue this project, even though Helen is back in Australia now.  I have the hats but it won’t be as much fun without her.

I played around a little more in photoshop with Anisa’s images.  Changed the bright painted white lips to silver.  It’s better.

 Photographer:   ©Mary Durante-Youtt,  Designer/Stylist: Helena Rose, Make-up:  Arasy   
Hair:  Payton Holbrook, Model:   Anisajl     
Marielle and Caitie wore swirled and twisted black netting, created by Helen, and I turned on the fog machine for a smokey effect.

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Photographer:   ©Mary Durante-Youtt,  Designer/Stylist: Helena Rose, Make-up:  Arasy   
Hair:  Payton Holbrook, Models:  Marielle Kehoe, Caitie McMillan
Finally, we got around to my other designer who waited patiently between wardrobe and model changes.  Fatima worked wonders with brown, sliced paper that she hand painted, folded, twisted and molded into shapes.  The result was regal.  The gold paint added the finishing touch.

 

Photographer:   ©Mary Durante-Youtt,  Designer/Stylist: Fatima Camara “Goldntima”,  
(earrings) Helena Rose, Make-up:  Arasy,  Model:  Janelle Clayton

Marielle wanted to vamp it up a little and changed gowns for a vintage Hollywood glam look.  Ara changed up her make-up, Payton gave her soft curls and Helen brought out her little fox.

Photographer:   ©Mary Durante-Youtt,  Designer/Stylist: Helena Rose, Make-up:  Arasy   
Hair:  Payton Holbrook, Model:  Marielle Kehoe
I absolutely loved working with this talented, creative team and could not have done this without them.  Click on their names and it will take you to their websites.
  

Models:                    Anisajl 
                                    Caitie McMillan
                                    Janelle Clayton
                                    Marielle Kehoe
Designer/Stylist: Helena Rose
Designer:               Fatima Camara “Goldntima”
Hair:                        Payton Holbrook
Make-up:              Arasy

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Hats off to the team

Sunday’s shoot was a crazy, fun time.

I had purchased a traditional bowler hat at Goodwill for @ $6.50, some gold leafy twigs at Michael’s and a roll of black black netting on sale 70% off,  a  small twig wreath and bird nest type of material and a can of gold spray paint.  Helen created the natural looking nest and dyed the eggs in tea.  She repurposed the felt bowler, reshaped it and embellished it with the leaves.  The gold leaves were very fragile, she crushed and glued them to the cap that she fashioned.  Sprayed the hat lightly with gold paint and viola!

She cut long lengths of netting, twisted and stitched it into place creating 2 different designs.  Twigs were added to one of them.

I also had yards of gauze which Helen fashioned into another hat. (we didn’t get to shoot).

Payton was the first to arrive, we chatted for a few moments before the door bell starting ringing.  Soon models were trying on various outfits and the looks were chosen.

A quiet Anisa was the first to arrive.   A white theme was chosen and she donned the bird nest hat.  But this was an epic “fail”.  Ara didn’t have white lipstick and so we all agreed to try the white body paint on her lips.   It didn’t work and for some reason and my lighting was off.  The beauty dish was sporadically flashing, triggering the other lights although I didn’t even press the shutter. Weird, but I found out the next day that it may have been caused by the triggers dangling.  (Jene sits them up on the lights).  I’m a far cry from a retoucher and I don’t know how to alter a matte finish  to give it a little gloss, but Anisa and I will schedule a re-shoot.  Sometimes things don’t work out as you planned.  I am totally bummed.  I’ll be doing plenty of internet research looking for retouching tips to see if I can improve my level of retouching.  The concept was to give her an icy, wintery look.  She is gorgeous and I don’t feel like I did her justice.

 

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© Mary Durante Youtt (Photography), Helen Maalouf  (Helena Rose Designer/Stylist),
Payton Holbrook (Hair Stylist), Arasy Ara (Make-up), Anisa Laone (Model)

 

Caitie, rocked two Helena Rose creations.

 

© Mary Durante Youtt (Photography), Helen Maalouf  (Helena Rose Designer/Stylist),
Payton Holbrook (Hair Stylist), Arasy Ara (Make-up), Caitie MacMillan (Model)

More to come…

 

 

 

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In the midst of chaos…

comes creativity.

Designer/stylist Helen set up a Face Book group so that she, Ara (MUA) and I can have 3-way text conversations.  I started the project with sending them style boards of where this shoot would be headed.  The designers were given free reign to create the hats/ headwear and the MUAs will create color palettes and make-up application techniques based off of them and my concept.  I initially set the tone, they took off running with it.  Helen shared photos of 4 of her finished creations with Ara and an internet dialog began.

Scouring the internet for swipe photos to give a visual of what collectively will be created.  Ideas and images whizzing across our screens.  A whirling blizzard.  Comments popped up as quickly as they were typed, volleyed back and forth in rapid fire succession.  We were brain-storming.  What do you think of this…. or that, how about….   My thumbs were not fast enough to get my 2 cents in before they were off on another flurry of images and ideas.  I laughed to myself.  If this were a 3 way phone conversation, I could have easily interjected.  I wanted to add some of the images I came across that mimicked my vision, but didn’t know how to attach them from my phone.  That’s when I learned that they were on their computers.  Duh…. I hadn’t realize I could use FB’s messenger via my computer.  I am so 20th century!  I switched to my MAC and could at least type faster using all 10 digits with fewer type-os.  But I still couldn’t keep up with the velocity and dexterity of these 20 somethings.  They were leaving me in the dust.  I was totally amused by their lightning speed.  And thrilled that Helen, Ara and I are tuned into each other.  For 3 strangers, we are of 1 mind.

And I friggin’ love it.  It’s a feeding frenzy, but in a good way.

 

A little sneak peek of 3 of Helen’s completed hats, I had purchase these materials before
I learned that we would be working together.
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A number of her designs will to be created directly on the model

To be continue…

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The models…

You never know until everyone shows up.

Back Story:   Last year I began working with MUAs. (make up artists)  I scheduled a MUA and 2 models.  Neither model showed.  1 texted me an hour prior to the shoot, she bailed with family issues. the other was a complete no-show.  She didn’t answer my texts or emails until a few days later and said nothing happened.  She didn’t have the address.  It was in the Call Sheet (all the info for the shoot) that I sent her twice and she acknowledged receiving the document. I’m guessing she didn’t bother reading it.  Duh….  The MUA had a hour commute, we sat and waited for an hour and then she went home.  Mind you these are TF collaborations so she wasn’t being paid for her time or effort.  She understood that things happen and didn’t hold me to blame, but I wouldn’t make that mistake again.  
My last mega fashion shoot, I had 10 models show up for the wardrobe fitting the week prior, 3 MUAs and 2 Hair Stylists were booked.  It was a scheduling nightmare.  I had sent photos of the models in the dress they would be wearing so that the MUAs could create a look that would fit their features.  I had 4 models scheduled at 11:00, 3 more an hour later and then 3 after that so the work would flow .  Only 4 models showed up for the shoot.  6 no-shows.   Some arrived later then their appointed times and I had hair and make up people standing around waiting.  We made it work and I shot a second look on two of the models.

For this Sunday’s shoot.  I wound up scheduling 5 models for this shoot, which is a tad overly ambitious for 1 MUA in a day… originally I thought of only one look per model thinking I would get only 3 designs in a weeks time from each designer of with 1  look each, After showing them the material, their excitement grew and so did the number of their creations.  5 days before the shoot, I contacted another MUA who had been interested in working together.  Waiting anxiously for him to  confirm today.

Since I am working with 2 designers and 2 MUAs I wanted to make sure I have models to shoot.  The make-up takes the longest time.  I will allot @ 50 minutes for Ara to work her magic on the first look.  Originally, my idea was to shoot 2 different hats/headpieces and dresses with the same make-up.   We’ll see how it goes and who shows up.

Top:  Janelle, (photographer unknown) ,  Anna  © Victor Travina,
Middle:  Caitie © Mary Durante Youtt, Anisa (photographer unknown)
Bottom:  Marielle (photographer unkown)

As my husband reminds me, things always work out…

An advanced shout out to the addition to our team:

MUAs: Ara  and Payton (keeping my fingers crossed)

Designer/Stylist Helen  (who has been traveling the world for 14 months (1 month, 1 country)  and Designer Fatima

If you click on their names it will take you to their links.

4 days ’til shoot day… and counting.

Mary Durante Youtt

 

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A mega production in the wings…

The photoshoot is scheduled and a talented team assembled, my excitement grows.  Along with my excitement comes this anticipation.   I often wonder if it is self doubt –  and if that’s indeed what it is, where does it stem from?  Pre-shoot jitters?  Or is this just part of me pushing the envelope, moving out of my comfort zone that creates these feelings?  I consider myself to be somewhat talented with a good eye for composition and a creative flair.  My fine art photography has sold when I was exhibiting, I’ve won international photographic competitions, I get a lot of accolades from peers, I understand my strengths  and I work to overcome my weaknesses by learning from mistakes.

Once the noseam paper is in place, the lighting tested, adjustments made and I pick up the camera and focus on my model, those nagging thoughts fall to the wayside.  I think I equate it to waiting for the curtain to rise, but we’ve had no auditions, no rehearsal.  Just a group of strangers with a common goal, coming together to create.

The first thing I do even before reaching out to the players is develop mood/style boards of swipe images.  This project is haute couture Vogue style hats and head pieces.

I met with my 2 designers and gave each some materials that I had or purchased and gave them free reign to create.  Their designs will drive the direction of the shoot including the type of faces the MUA will create.

It is my job to orchestrate the shoot.  I set the tone, I give direction to models, most I will meet the day of the shoot…  I reviewed their portfolios, their level of experience varies but it’s their willingness to be a part of my creative process that seems to make things gel.  I am trying to establish a rapport, to build an ensemble, a team.

Working with me is a collaboration, a labor of love, with no money exchanging hands in hopes of building portfolios and having the work you’ve done appreciated so much that the next photographer / client will pay for your services.

Ara, is  Metro NY/NJ based MUA having trained at Media Makeup Academy, New York.  She worked with a photographer friend of my husband and came highly recommended when I was looking for a make-up artist.  She’s worked with me a number of times and I have come to rely on her to understand the look I’m trying to achieve and she delivers – flawlessly.

Helen, is a world traveling designer/stylist who saw my casting call and reached out to me. Not only is she creating hats/ head pieces, she is also playing the role of stylist on set.  I wish she would put her roots down in New York, but then she would probably be so busy with paid work, that I’ve never get to work with her again.  She has given me a sneak peek at some of her creations and fueled my enthusiasm to new heights.

Fatima, is a metro NY/NJ designer.  Her portfolio is more ethnically based, with vivid colors that caught my attention.  but this is a chance for her to create freely.  Some of her head wrap designs will be created directly on the model, and will give me a glimpse of a couple creations on Friday.

If only artists were given grants, sponsors or stipends to live on so that they may wile away their hours creating.  They could work at fulfilling their dreams.

A lot of time goes into a photoshoot,  so much more then the nano second it takes to turn a magazine page.

Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
Sing with me, just for today
Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
Dream on
Dream on
Dream on
Dream until your dreams come true… (Aerosmith)

 

Mary Durante Youtt

 

 

 

 

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