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Behind the Mask

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Halloween shoot with model Bethany Cammack, makeup by Looks Allure

Halloween shoot with model Bethany Cammack, makeup by Looks Allure
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1 Comment |
adavies PRO+
adavies May 26, 2016
Very cool! Nicely done! If you haven't done so already, please consider joining my Illusions challenge:)
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Behind The Lens


The photos used to create this image were take and my studio in Widnes


Was an all day shoot with the model Beth to create something for halloween.


As with all my composite work, I shoot on a mid grey background with studio strobes to light the sides to help cut out the subject for compositing later.


The lights used are Elinchrom BRX500 with Elincrhom strip soft boxes to light the sides, a 70cm beauty dish from above and a lastolite kickerbox from below. Camera is a Canon 5D MkII with a Canon 85mm 1.8 lens.


The initial idea for the shoot came from my partner and MUA Tracy who wanted to work on a sugar skull makeup shoot. On researching images for makeup ideas we came across an illustration by William Webb that was created to celebrate the Mexican holiday of Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). In Williams illustrations the decorated mask being removed reveals a skull underneath. We decided that the mask would be the models real face and underneath would reveal the decorated sugar skull face.


The image was done in 2 stages. First a pretty night out style makeup and pin the models hair back (Bethany Cammack) and take an almost profile shot so that I could cut the face off to use as the mask. The second image was the fully made up face and the hand positioned as if to hold the mask. The process in photoshop was fairly simple. When I'm compositing I always make sure the background image is in place before creating any masks. I create a photoshop layer below the sugar skull image that had a moon and some clouds. Then using the quick selection tool on the sugar skull image I selected the outline of the image. Using the refine edge tool to smooth out the selection with a bit of feathering and selecting create a layer mask and the first part is practically done. I then loaded the mask image and using the circular marquee tool, I selected the area of the face I wanted and cut and pasted into the sugar skull image above the hand. With a bit of masking to the mask layer, I brought the finger through from the lower layer to look like it was holding the face. A little burning to add some shadows on the face mask and then some extra soft masking around the edges of the lower layer to blend in to the background a bit more, and we have the final image.

In my camera bag

My bag consists of a Canon 5d MkII, Canon 85mm 1.8 lens I use for portraits. Canon 24-105L F4 IS that I use for most other shots in the studio. My iPad and Camranger to allow me to see the images more clearly than on the back of the camera as well as allowing the model to see what's going on.


When creating any composite, always think about what background you are going to place it on and position the lighting to fit that environment. You do not need to shoot on green screen - in fact, it's one thing I would advise never to do as colour bleed can be painful to remove later. All is needed is a good contrast between the subject and the background so that you can easily select the subject with the masking tools.

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