Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Day at the Studio

Sometimes, when I work on a book cover design, I have to have a model who represents the main character, often a character who is a strong-willed woman of the prairie or a love-sick woman in the Wild West or an antique dealer in Atlanta who is wooed by a man in need of a slap upside the head. I come by these models by working with Jim the Photographer and by renting costumes from a costume shop that provides wardrobes for theater productions.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours at the studio working with one of these models, Michelle, who was nice enough to let me take some shots and post them here.

Here is Man On a Stick who helps out with lighting.

Here is Cowboy On a Stick cannoodling with Ashley, my partner in design. She likes 'em tall.

The model stands among lights and screens and umbrellas in front of a green screen so we can delete the background easily and blend the model's image with a setting suitable for the story line. In this case, the setting is snow and horses in the midst of a Texas winter.

We stand behind the photographer where we can see the model and the computer where each shot appears within seconds. That way we can quickly see if there is a hair out of place or if the skirt is bunched up. Ashley's sister Rachelle is a magnificent stylist who helps with hair and makeup, so she stays with us to keep an eye on those details.

After dozens and dozens and dozens of poses and shots and flashing lights that make you half blind, we get just the right image, something like this...

and we can call it a day well spent.


dive said...

Wow, what a great post, Robyn.
It's good to see what you get up to when we're not around.

Will this become a book cover? I'd love to see the finished result if it is.

And woohoo! Ashley's a babe! Does she do any of the modelling?
And does she like tall … er … Englishmen.
Hee hee … OW!

Talking of cute girls, do YOU do any of the modelling, Robyn?
Boy howdy, I'm in trouble now.

Scout said...

I'll post the cover when it's published, Dive. Ashley hasn't modeled yet because she hasn't matched a character, and I doubt she would want to anyway. Until we do a story about a middle-aged woman with a lazy eye, thinning hair, and a sagging chin, I won't appear on any covers either.

dive said...

Hee hee. Don't hide your light under a bushel, Robyn. Remember we've met so I know what you look like.
But thanks for not giving this man a slap upside the head.

Rich said...

This is really great stuff, Robyn. I would like to spend a day in there just futzing around with all the equipment etc.

I like the end result too!!

You have a lazy eye, robyn?

Rich said...

AND no cannoodling with Ashley for Dive!!! hee hee

you Dawg, Dive!!!

Shan said...

Wow Robyn! And just when I think I couldn't be more impressed...:D
Last year Jamey did a cover for a book that went with the movie Amazing Grace but he wasn't allowed to use the pictures that they sent him of the actual actor. So, he went over to his brother's house and dressed him up in all kinds of garb(plus a cheap green wig we had from a past Halloween- his bro is bald).

It was so amazing to me that he could make the pictures he took actually look like a guy thoughtfully kneeling on a prairie and such, I couldn't believe it.

I love seeing what you guys can do with your mad skillz! It sounds like you really get authentic with your costuming and lighting which I'm sure makes for wonderful shots. How much fun!

Your comments with Dive gave me a hearty chuckle. Self depreciating humor is a personal favorite of mine. I love your dry delivery Robyn.

Shannon and Paul said...

The snowy Texas winter?
We just did a shoot and I was allowed to assistant art direct... I'm pleased with the results. Tell Jim the photog I said "Hey!" He does such nice work.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

It is really cool to see what goes on behind the scenes (or camera).

lynn said...

Ooooooh INNNteresting! I love it. I knew I'd be interested in how you do all this. I just want to be the photographer though... sigh.... More! What happens next?