Monthly Archives: July 2013

Creating a Classic Romantic Ballerina Tutu!

I’m always looking for new ways to add to the wardrobe I have available for clients to use during our portrait sessions and I’ve been pondering adding a series of tulle skirts to my selection to provide some more fun, romantic options for softer looks.  I finally decided a couple of weeks ago that I was going to create a beautiful 6-layer Degas style classical ballerina tutu for my first attempt.  I found a fantastic Tutu tutorial on Youtube by Anjou Clothing (who happens to be from Maine- it’s awesome to see such beautiful work from a fellow New Englander) and I chose to make an attempt at creating something similar with some of the tulle I purchased online in February.

The first step in the process is to pleat all 6 layers (of 128″ long) of the tulle, so that it is a neater gather at the top of the skirt.  I spent a few hours a week or so ago hand pleating the tulle as she instructs in the first video (its a 2-parter), but hadn’t had the time to sit down and actually sew the 6 layers together.  Finally I had some time on Monday to make the attempt to put the whole thing together. I cut out a piece of fabric for the waist band (I used a random piece of blanket edging I had lying around from a box of gifted craft items), and started the process by beginning to sew the first layer of tulle… about 3/4 of the way through my bobbin thread snapped and I lost all my pleats… I was horrified and realized that I had too much tension on my thread… so after making some adjustments, I set aside layer one so I could revisit the pleating and started on layer two.

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Layer two was going fine until I finished, I gave myself a few feet at the end of the stitch so I could adjust the gathers, but it wasn’t enough room, as the tulle had bunched up significantly more than I’d anticipated… I lost about 6 pleats, so after re-pleating and restarting the stitch, I managed to save the layer before I lost any more.  I was better prepared for layers three, four and five, and although I had some glitches, I was able to work them out with minimal hassle.  At this point I realized that in my haste last week, I neglected to pleat layer six… So, needless to say, I decided that creating a four layer tutu would not be a bad first attempt, and setting aside layers one and six, sat down to start attaching the tulle to the waist band.

Pinning the bunched up tulle was a bit tricker than I had anticipated, and adjusting the gathered pleats to be even, sit relatively flat and also be the correct length for the waist band was a bit more time-consuming than I had expected.  The first layer was easiest to add, since I didn’t have to worry about the other layers getting in the way, but beyond the pinning process, the sewing went much smoother this time around (I only had one tiny glitch where the tulle from an under layer was sewn into the waistband along with the layer I was currently sewing).

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The final part of the process was adding the black satin ribbon waistband, which in retrospect, I should have pressed in half first before sewing it on, but was too distracted to get out the iron at the time.  The waistband ended up being a bit ripple-y, due to the softness of the layers of tulle and the fact that I didn’t iron the ribbon, but it is easily covered by wrapping the excess ribbon around the waist, so I’m not too worried about it.

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After about a total of 5 hours of work, I ended up with a lovely romantic black tulle tutu, that will be about mid-calf on anyone over 5’7″ and floor length on anyone shorter… it is a beautiful addition to my wardrobe and I can’t wait to get someone into it!

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I hope to get a dress form soon, so I can take a better (not iPhone shot) picture to post in a gallery of wardrobe options… stay tuned for my next wardrobe additions which will include similar ones in pink and white, as well as versions for little girls (so we can do some ballerina and princess sessions in the next few months)!

Posted in Fashion, Photography, Portrait, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Gold Leaf Makeup with Isabella and Lyndsay

Last Tuesday I had a chance to work with model Isabella Capri and makeup artist Lyndsay Simon once again.  While we started the day not really knowing what direction we were headed in, after a bit of brainstorming, we decided to start with a basic concept of doing something “Metallic.”  Now, I have a habit of collecting random things (some might say “hoard,” but I believe that eventually I will find uses for all of my treasures) and so I gathered up all the random metallic items that might be included in a makeup and hair look with that theme… included in the assortment was gold ribbons in a number of styles, vials of gold microbeads in different metallic finishes, glycerin with gold and bronze pigment to create liquid metal, and gold leaf that I’ve had laying around for the last year or so.

Lyndsay ended up deciding that gold leaf was the most interesting option we had, and mixing this with a few different metallic pigments, including a beautiful rose/gold metallic powder, she began creating what would be an absolutely amazing look!  She even got crafty and decorated a pair of lashes with the gold leaf to complete the look!  For wardrobe, I had a gold pleated dress I had picked up from H&M last year which has been laying around waiting for the perfect look to be paired with and we decided that it would be the perfect compliment to the makeup Lyndsay was doing.

I was so excited about the session that I couldn’t wait to get started editing, and had my first image completed the by the following day!

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After a busy week, I finally had time to complete the rest of the editing from the session and I am excited to share the results today!

Isabella has such a beautiful profile… I’m obsessed!!  This really showcased the beautiful gold leaf work that Lyndsay did, as well.

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Gold leaf has such an amazing texture… it is one of my favorite things about it! Because of this, I love to add it to my encaustics and my headpieces/accessories whenever I get a chance!

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I am in love with this image, partly because it took us so many takes to get it right!!  I generally have a hard time with asymmetry (thanks to the left brained voice in my creative process), but I really enjoyed the challenge of finding the balance in the look and this captures it so well.

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Finally, one for the wardrobe… Isabella kept reminding me of an Egyptian queen or priestess with her lounge-y poses and this dress… I felt that this captured the elegance and feeling of power perfectly!

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Thanks for taking the time to check out my work!  Hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

Posted in Beauty, Fashion, Fine Art, Headshots, Photography, Portrait Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Preparing for your Portrait Session

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Here are just a few simple things that will help you get ready for your Glamour or Fashion-Styled Portrait Session with Art and Discord Studios: 

Skin: Proper skin preparation is incredibly important for an image!  If you would like to get a facial prior to your session, try to schedule it a week beforehand, in case you have residual redness.  Also, make sure the few weeks before your session, you wear sunscreen if you are going out into the sun!  Sunburned skin looks dry and leathery, and is generally not how you want to remember yourself!  If you have tan lines, you might want to use a self-tanner to even out the tones… it doesn’t need to be perfect, but the less drastic the difference, the better it will look.

Drink plenty of water the 24 hours before your session, and stay away from excessive alcohol consumption as it tends to dry out the skin and emphasize lines and dark circles.  Make sure you get enough sleep the night before and prior to bed use a gentle exfoliant to give your skin a fresh glow.

That day, come with clean, well-moisturized skin.  Lastly, make sure the clothing you wear to the session is loose fitting and does not have tight elastic so it will not leave marks on your skin.  Be aware of undergarments, socks, pant and skirt waistbands as all these items can leave indents if they are too tight fitting.

Hair: Wear your hair as you would normally wear it.  Be aware that if you are planning any drastic changes to your hair style, you should give yourself a few weeks before your session to get used to it.  If you need a trim or your roots touched up, do it about one week before your session.  Come to your session with clean, dry hair and we’ll take care of the rest.

Nails: Feel free to get a mani/pedi before your session, but make sure you don’t come to your session with chipped polish… if you’re not a mani/pedi kind of gal, then clean, shaped, unpolished nails will do just fine.

Glasses: If you wear glasses regularly, you may prefer to wear them during your portrait session as well.  Be aware that they can create some difficulties due to the reflective nature of glass.  They tend to cause distortion when looking at the eyes, or reflections which cover the eye.  If you choose to wear glasses for your session, it might be a good idea to see if you can borrow empty frames from your optician that are the same as your  own glasses– so you’ll feel and look like you, but we won’t have all of the issues that come with putting glass in front of your beautiful eyes.

Wardrobe:  Bring lots of clothing options. I generally recommend at least 5 outfits.  They can be any assortment of casual, formal etc. Dress in colors you feel you look best in and that represent your style. White clothing is excellent for soft portraits, and darker colors are fantastic for adding drama.  Bringing layers is always a good so you  have more options, since we can remove layers and create even more outfit combinations.   Avoid striped tops as they tend to not photograph well,  and realistically its not a bad idea to avoid strong patterns in general, since they have a tendency to overpower the eye and are not as flattering in most images.  Make sure your wardrobe fits well and is comfortable.  Coordinate your outfits from head to toe, hats, belts, scarves, jewelry.

Shoes: Bring a few different styles of shoes, and make sure you have a couple that are basic and will never go out of style.  Bringing at least a nice dark heel and a white heel will cover all the bases, but feel free to bring some fun options as well.  Of course, we can always work with bare feet!

Props: I encourage you to bring any props that inspire you.  Bring items that represent who you are and the things you are passionate about.  Bring anything that helps you to tell your story.  A few examples would be: your favorite flowers, jewelry which was handed down from your grandmother, musical instruments, tools of your occupation.. the sky is the limit!  I will have a small assortment of props for us to use, but ones that have special meaning to you will often read better in the final images.

Music:  The right soundtrack can make a huge difference in your mood and your ability to let go and have fun.  Please feel free to bring your digital player or cds so we have can set the perfect atmosphere for your session!

 

When you feel prepared for your Portrait Session, you will find yourself so much more relaxed and excited for the day!   The entire experience is all about you feeling beautiful and pampered, so if you aren’t worried about whether or not you remembered everything, you’ll be much more able to focus on enjoying the day!  If you have any questions or concerns about what to bring, you can certainly feel free to contact me anytime for advice– even sending me photos of outfits you’re thinking of bringing!  I love to see what direction clients are heading with their session wardrobe so I can brainstorm a few unique options for sets and concepts that we can throw in the mix!

Posted in Beauty, Fashion, Fine Art, Photography, Portrait, Wardrobe Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Warwick City Park with Andrea C.

Two weeks ago, I finally had my first beach shoot of the season with Andrea C., from Model Club, Inc. and Celsa of Variant Shades Makeup.  It was a blazing 90+ degree day, with no clouds to be seen.  Luckily for us Warwick City Park’s beach had a ton of shade, so we were mostly able to avoid the sun.  We were able to use  a couple of beautiful swimsuits from local swimwear company Sea Love Swimwear (the black and the turquoise suits) and I was able to find some fantastic net tops and bottoms for coverups.  Overall, the heat and sun were worth braving for the images we created that day!

BTS Warwick City Park Swim Shoot

Thanks to Celsa for snapping this BTS shot. That’s my awesome husband, Jae on lights.

 

Here are some of the final images!

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Thanks to everyone who made the day possible and braved the elements to get these amazing shots!!

Posted in Beauty, Fashion, Nature, Photography, Portrait Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The MFA Boston and Inspiration

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with my husband, Jae.  We’ve been meaning to hit the museum to see Michelangelo’s drawings, but kept forgetting to work it into our schedule.  Luckily last week we realized that we had absolutely no plans for this weekend, other than to get caught up on some house work and business planning.  So we checked the MFA website to see what exhibits were going on and realized that Sunday was going to be the last day of the Michelangelo exhibit, so we knew we were going to be there to check it out when the doors opened at 10am!

The exhibit was in a tiny gallery, and with only two dozen or so drawings… it was fascinating to contemplate the rarity of paper in that time period, as many of the sheets displayed served many purposes, with sketches from a number of projects on one scrap, sketches over other sketches of his students work, and a “large” drawing only being around 11×14… which is about the size I vaguely remember working on for my art classes in high school, but in his time it was a piece of paper that had to be joined from multiple other pieces.  The color of the red chalk was intriguing, as we are so used to sketches being done with graphite, and the age of the paper…  the fact that it lasted so many hundreds of years and was still legible was mildly mind blowing, especially because these were essentially scraps of paper containing many ideas that never came to fruition or were simple studies for other works of art.

When we were done viewing the Michelangelo exhibit we decided we’d check out the Samurai exhibition downstairs… and I did not expect to be as blown away and inspired by it as I was.  I have been mildly fascinated with ancient Japanese culture since college, but my interest has always related to their tattooing tradition.  I’ve never really taken the time to appreciate the other arts found in Japanese culture.   I was so inspired by the intricacy of the details on the helmets, the beautiful patterns found in the armour, and the overall aesthetic of a fully dressed samurai warrior.  I found myself taking photograph after photograph of the details, the whole piece, the shadows displaying the intricate patterns in the arrows or the chain-mail.  It gave me so many ideas for props and set design, for lighting techniques and stories I can tell in my conceptual work.  It was an unexpectedly fantastic experience and I can’t wait to start using my inspiration to create more beautiful pieces, both in my photography and in my accessory designs.

 

I definitely recommend that anyone who gets a chance to visit the MFA this summer should definitely check it out.  Here are just a few of the images I captured while I was there!

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Posted in Fine Art, Inspiration, Photography Tagged , , , , , , , |