Anna V. is a San Francisco entrepreneur, a jewelry designer who during 2015 participated in #30daysofpassion - designing & launching a jewelry line in 30 days. Anna V's collection was called LUNA, inspired by the crescent moon, with a black, white aesthetic accented with gold. As soon as I saw Anna V.'s jewellery, it evoked the image of a swing in my mind. I couldn't help but ask Anna if she would be up for a conceptual portrait, swinging on a piece of her own jewelry with 'meteor' pieces tumbling through the sky created from other items in her LUNA line. For a closer look at her jewelry, head over to Anna V.'s site: Paper Anniversary
CONCEPT This is the sketch I made in pre-production. I presented his to Anna V. to give her an idea of what I was looking for. Initially I had intended to include a tree and I did go out and photograph some test trees, but eventually decided to keep it more sky-focused with just a Cityscape in the background.
SERENDIPITY We talked about wardrobe. A lot of Anna Vs clothes are black or white or colourful prints. I felt something gold would work best. I asked her sizing and then I went to the local antique market. After about 4 hours of visiting every market stand, I spotted this creased, stained, musty-smelling dress that I knew would be perfect. It's a vintage 60s dress. The geometric lines reflected the clean shapes of her lunar pieces, the colour was ideal and the dress style had a space-age vibe that would be at home with the universe behind her. I also guessed (hoped) it might fit her too. My intuition was spot on and the dress could not have been more perfect for the shot I had in mind.
BEHIND THE SCENES As a point of reference both for me and for Anna I made a moon shape with cardboard and hoisted it up with strings on my background stand. This not only allowed me to visualize the shot, it also allowed for Anna to realistically hold onto the 'chains' which would help with the later composite. I was also able to bounce light into the cardboard so it would light her legs as if from behind, giving the impression the jewelry moon was itself a source of light. I placed a stool just behind the template for Anna to sit on. I used four speedlites. One in a Westcott Rapid box with diffuser as the key light above her. Two on the floor lighting the moon. And directly behind her head to create rim light on the hair. On the right is the #sooc version of the shot I selected for use in the final composite.
CITY LIGHTS In my image archives I remembered I had some images of San Francisco at night that I took whilst on a night tour of Alcatraz several years ago. It was the perfect vista for my skyline.
PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHY The luna necklace was shot on black velvet in natural light. This made the jewellery element easy to separate form the background for the purposes of compositing in Photoshop. This image became Anna V.'s swing.
SPARKLING The final image shows some product photography Anna V. commissioned me to do for her website. Perhaps you recognise the meteors?
Have you ever been hit by an instant moment of inspiration after seeing a product for the first time? What is it that spurs you to create a conceptual portrait? Share your stories here.
Thank you Lauri and Lou!
Lauri Novakon September 26, 2016
This is fantastic Sam!!
Ha ha Heidi Anne, if you look carefully you will see that in all I used both spellings in this article, in the hope the article would show up in the google searches of both Americans and Brits :D
Heidi Anne Morrison September 13, 2016
WOW ♥ what a great idea and beautiful pulled off too. Well done! I noted you went for the american spelling of Jewellery ;) and I love your © mark, very clever!
loumccorkleon September 6, 2016
This is fabulous Sam!