Movie Poster Photography: "Self/Less"

I just finished this new photography and Photoshop project of mine: a movie poster remake of the movie, “Self/Less” with Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kingsley. When I tell folks what type of professional photography that I enjoy most, I often mention that it’s the type of commercial photography that you would see on a movie poster, or a book cover. So, again, here is yet another movie poster recreation of mine.

This year, I want to crank out at least one creative photo project a month. I want to both try things that I’ve seen online—like this movie poster—and come up with new concepts on my own. I saw the movie poster for “Self/Less”, and thought it looked like a fun creative challenge.

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (with text).

My Approach

First I had to find something to remake the ‘head’ wrapped in plastic. I quickly realized that doing that as a self-portrait was not easy, and not the best idea. So, I bought a mannequin head, and used that (much easier). I then wanted the right trench coat, so I found a cheap one online that fit the look I was going for, but it took a bit of time to get it delivered. Then, I just sat up a mirror in front of the camera, and set it to take multiple shots. After about 50 or so shots, I finally got one that I liked.

Then, that ‘dispersion’ affect was one I’ve seen for a long time, and wanted to try sometime, and this was the perfect project for it. I cut up small pieces of black cinefoil, took pictures of them w/ my iPhone, and created eight different Photoshop brushes to use in the image. It worked out rather well—a fun technique.

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (without text).

“Self/Less” movie poster remake (without text).

More Photography Projects Like This

I really enjoy doing this creative photo composites, and photo manipulations. They really push me to problem solve to figure out how to best shoot it, and how best to approach the Photoshop work so that it looks as realistic as possible. I definitely plan on doing more photo projects like this for myself, and really hope to be able to work with more clients on projects like this.

Movie Poster Photography: "Cold Souls" Parody

I really hope you enjoy this new photography and Photoshop project of mine: a movie poster parody. When I explain to people what type of professional photography that I enjoy most, I often mention that it’s the type of commercial photography that you would see on a movie poster, or a book cover. So, I just had to recreate a movie poster.

I’ve been so busy with my day job, that I haven’t been putting much time in, or pushing myself creatively. So, this year, I really want to try and crank out at least one creative photo project a month. I want to both try things that I’ve seen online—like this movie poster—and come up with new concepts on my own. I saw the movie poster for “Cold Souls” with Paul Giamatti, and thought it looked like a fun creative challenge, so I took my own spin on it. Yes, I know that I spelled it “Cold Soles”, I just didn’t want to copy it exactly, out respect.

Movie poster photography. A “Cold Souls” movie poster parody.

My Approach

Can you say tripod and remote trigger? It’s so much easier to be just behind the camera, than to be both behind and in front of the camera. Focus is harder, lighting is harder, and it just takes a lot longer. Nonetheless I pulled it off: grabbing images of myself, and a few images of a bowl that I used in my composite as the inside of the heads to give it a more realistic look.

I shot the portraits with a blue-green background, but wound up doing full cut-outs of the headshots, so I’m not sure if it helped me that much to color light my backdrop, but I don’t think it hurt. And, it probably helped me blend it in better to my final background.

Movie poster photography. A “Cold Souls” movie poster parody (without text).

More Photography Projects Like This

I really enjoy doing this creative photo composites, and photo manipulations. They really push me to problem solve to figure out how to best shoot it, and how best to approach the Photoshop work so that it looks as realistic as possible. I definitely plan on doing more photo projects like this for myself, and really hope to be able to work with more clients on projects like this.

Professional Portrait Retouching: Frequency Separation

I admit it!  It's been way too long since I've done a blog post.  I could rattle off excuses, but what's the point?  Let's get on with the blog post:  Recently I put together a photo project with a local company, Pro Kneads, who was looking to create some images for their web site.  I'm surely going to post some of them to my portfolio, soon.  However, I wanted to make a quick blog post of some of the retouching work that I did.  Retouching faces can be quite challenging.  As a photographer, I want to preserve detail while eliminating blemishes, color patches, and any blotchiness.  So many photographers do it the easy way and remove all the skin texture, giving almost a smooth, plastic look.  In all honesty, that approach is fine for the right client, for certain budgets.  I prefer more realistic retouching techniques.  I'll often use a technique called frequency separation.  Name aside, it's a technique that allows me to retouch the color separately from the texture, which allows me to retain a natural looking appearance, and who doesn't want that?

Below is the before image, alongside the retouched, after image.  I think you'll agree that the transformation is not only amazing, but also very beautiful and flattering.  

Portrait, before retouching

Portrait, after retouching

   Furthermore, I do want to add that the client was looking for a dramatic, contrasty image that had blues in the shadows and blacks.  That's the reason for the color tone and treatment here.  Here's the final image as delivered to my client:  

Final portrait for client's web site

Final portrait for client's web site

Lastly, the client was looking for an image that conveyed the fact that their services were mobile--that they come to their client's home.  That's why we captured this image outdoors using studio lights to get that great light for the client.  

Project Shoot -- Headshot

My niece turned 3 the other day, and she needed some headshots.  So, we set up a mini studio in Grandma's hallway, and did our best to get this cute little model on her mark, and smiling.  I think next time I would try to go darker in the background:  maybe a grey seamless, but it sure helps when you have a cute model.  

Little Model Headshot Contact Sheet