Although I would love it if you watched the video, it shows no where near as much work as was put into this shoot. Some of this is embarrassing but I love reading about people's mistakes and how they overcame them. So here are mine.
I bought the costume last November, thinking I would be able to shoot the next week, edit easy peasy and be done in a month. Right.
I booked the first model several times over the course of 3 months but she flaked every time. I'm actually quite happy, as Laura turned out to be PERFECT, easy going, and an overall better model. Laura was kind enough to shoot with me twice, as I was hesitant about the poses I picked out. We kept some, threw out others and added new ones for the second time around.
For the WWI shot, I first tried to make the Notre Dame ruins by hand or find realistic models used for game tables. Turns out no one buys them anymore and thus I had no luck finding one. I attempted to make it out of sticks and foam The results should make you happy that I am a photographer and not an engineer.
The best day of shooting was probably going to the Aviation museum to photograph WWI planes for stock. I'd never seen such old planes and I even got to sit in a 747!
Onto the train shot. Oh lawd. This picture took SO much more work than it looks. Originally, I thought I would be able to finish this in a week. Turns out it took three weeks, plus tears and a loss of 6 pounds due to stress. Everything in this picture was hand made. No stock images were used.
The structure of the train was built by my boyfriend. I made a first version of it but it looked so bad I asked him if he could do it (thank god he's an engineer). I can't build anything without it looking floppy, bent, or like it's going to collapse any second (usually does). I couldn't even give his justice with my fail painting skills.
The robots were just wooden anatomy dolls painted silver and manipulated a little in photoshop to make them look more "roboty".
The flying bits of metal were made out of egg shell painted with silver. I first tried it with broken mirror bits, but the pieces were too flat and ended up looking like glass. I like the results of the egg shell as they are curved similar to a robot's head, arm, etc.
I edited the train image 18 times over the course of 50 hours until I was happy with the results.
Thank you all for being so patient. I would never be able to endure an 8 month ordeal without all of your support. Even more importantly, thank you to my family and friends who continue to help me regardless of how stressed or neurotic I become. I love you all.
Salient-PhotographyFeatured By OwnerJul 15, 2012Hobbyist Photographer
That's a lot of effort into a series of photos but the end results are SOOOOOO worth it. You are way too talented to only be 20. I wish I hadn't waited so long in my life to figure out what I love to do. Then again, when I started out we hadn't even heard of a gigabyte. Also, I love that you started as not wanting to take mirror pics. That cracks me up. My nieces do that all the time and are always bored. Well, I guess you're a great example of what someone can do with that desire to not be bored or the same.
Thanks! A lot of people are surprised at my age... but considering how many hours I've put into practicing the last 5 years it would add up the amount of time some people spend by the time they're 40, lol. and yes, I was mostly inspired by boredom
Well you know what they say... better late than never! A least you found something that really makes you happy!
Wow, just wow. The work and amount of time you put into these photo shoots is incredible and really reflects in your photos.
Believe it or not, you are a huge inspiration for me and I know I speak for all us aspiring photographers when I say we look up to you, admire your skill, and kind of use you as a role-model of what we all hope to achieve and become eventually.
Do you have any advice, tips or anything to tell us aspiring photographers?
Thank you It almost feels surreal when people say they're inspired by me x.x I remember not too long ago when I was obsessing over other people's work and trying to become like them.
Hmm tips... honestly I think if you really want to improve you have to dedicate your life to your craft. Basically since I started, I practice and try to learn something new everyday. I always research photoshop or photography tips and make sure I master it until I move on to learning something else.
Thank you so much for sharing the ups and downs of this shoot! I too enjoying reading/hearing/seeing (whatever) the obstacles an artist encounters while creating a piece and how it's overcome. Keep up the great work!!
Wow, another incredible insight into another amazing project, you really had an incredible team there (Your model looks astonishingly like Babydoll (Emily Browning) and just brought the photos to life).
As usual, michelle, your work is breathtaking. I think iv said it before but I would love to see more details on how you do your compositing, it is some of the best I have ever seen. If you were to write an ebook or create a series of video tutorials I think I speak for many when I say we would eagerly pay for it.
Michelle - I really wish I could figure out how you do this.. Your skills are astounding.. I am a location Cosplay photographer and normally have to endure the absolute pain of trying to get locations/permits and permissions from cities and owners - which in short is just $$$$. I am seriously pulling my hair out the past month trying to figure out manipulations - it is something I am dieing to learn. The stuff I do know is all behind camera and that is usually when I end it - I know some ~intermediate~ photoshop. but that is where my skills stop.
thank you I've never had to go through on location pains but I can only imagine how difficult it is... PSDtuts.com used to have great tutorials that helped me (don't know about now) looks like everything is for "premium" users. There is also Advanced Photoshop magazine and random youtube tutorials.
I'll just give you a few tips if you don't know them already... To remove backgrounds, use the pen tool and refine your selection with "refine edge". Probably the most important aspect of blending is global lighting. You may have to dodge/burn a little on your model to make the lighting the same as the background. Also, use curves, color balance, selective color for global coloring.
This is why you're one of my favourite artists. You are incredibly creative, inventive, skilled, patient, just brilliant! I'm so impressed by the amount of energy and effort you put into each of your projects and I love watching your behind-the-scenes videos and reading about what went on during the making-of because it gives me a glimpse inside your imagination. It's very inspiring
you have some really cool graphic skills for taking on all of that over that course of time. and the photos are simply awesome! from one artist to another i definetly appreciate seeing the process and the outcome of this