Archives - Mar 2013 to Oct 2013:

Halloween makeup with Noemi Yuna - Sonia

Maquillaje de Halloween con Noemi YunaHalloween, or the Night of the Dead as some like to call it, the night of October 31, I had the pleasure of doing some scary makeup on my model pal Noemi Yuna.

The costume chosen was that of a police officer, so I thought that, for the night that was in it, to give Noemi that resident evil style zombie police look, yet sophisticated so not to lose the beauty of her face.

As seen in the photos, a pale skin tone was used, almost washed out, with independent wounds made with plaster casts and Glatzan (used a lot in movie makeup) which were added to the different parts of the face. A large cut was added to the forehead, another on the right side of the face, two small cuts on the left side of the face just below the eye and a burn on the neck finished the “bloody” stuff. I wanted to enhance the colour of the eyes with black smoke adding false eyelashes to give that sexy look to the overall package. To end, a touch of red was added below the lower eyelid to give more of a sense of the undead. The lips were marked up with blue-gray shade that looked pretty cool with Noemi’s pale face.

David did a quick couple of photos once the makeup was done. The lighting used was a handheld daylight temperature video light which was moved around to give those strong shadows. David also added the black eyes in Photoshop, no makeup was required for that! The black-eyes effect is a simple enough trick in Photoshop which anyone can do with any of the recent versions of Photoshop.

Here are a few pictures. For a larger selection, you can check out Noemi’s high resolution online gallery here, though you will need to get the password from her to access them.

Catwalk Tints and Tones - Molina Larios - Sep 2013 - Sonia

Molina Larios - Designer ExpositionRecently, we were at the Pool Lounge, located on the roof of Hotel Molina Larios, where five up-and-coming clothing-design talents based in Málaga were showing off their newest and coolest, Carol Vargas, XV Wear, Blanca Barcina, Bohemia y F. de Frank. The hotel terrace was transformed into a cool outdoor catwalk with panoramic views of Málaga. Makeup artists, stylists and models working together in perfect harmony ensuring their designs looked awesome.

I was privileged to make up the girls who represented the designer Carol Vargas that night. The makeup was based on highlighting the most of the individual look of each of the models. Three of the girls had their makeup completed with a large black smoked finish near the temple and a marked internal contour running from the eyes pointed towards the nose. Only one of the models was made up differently, first, by capping the eyebrows, where they were replaced with black "pebbles", then, the finishing touch was with a gold and black "mask" layout under the eyes and tapered towards the nose. The lips were based on a pinkish gloss to make the most of the eye highlight. Below are some pictures from the evening.

The designs were spectacular, original and different. In short, a night full of fun and glamour.

Body Painting in Fuengirola - July 2013 - David/Sonia

Blackberry Cafe Fuengirola Body PaintingRecently we were down in Fuengirola in Blackberry Cafe (Facebook: Blackberry Cafe Fuengirola) with make up artists and models at one of their regular body painting exhibitions. Organised by Yolanda Gamez Makeup Academy and facilitated by Andrea in Blackberry it turned out to be great fun for all involved, OK, maybe a little hectic for the make up artists!

I've uploaded all images to a high resolution gallery. The gallery is open to everyone so for those that were there, models, make up artists, promoters and spectators, you can download the images in their original high resolution uncompressed format in the gallery. There are a number of different sizes to choose from but if you are after the biggest size then select "O" and not X3 Large. This will allow you view the original. The gallery is here. Alternatively, if you want all the images then drop me a mail and I will send you a link to a zip file to download the lot of them!

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, Lastolite EZYBOX.

Maternity Photo Session - Yolanda and Sergio - June 2013 - David/Sonia

Last week we had the pleasure of the company of Yolanda and Sergio for an evening in Benalmadena. Yolanda, in the final stages of her pregnancy, wanted to capture the moment with some quality photos in a nice beach location. We were only delighted to help.

Yolanda, a veteran professional make up artist herself, put the task to Sonia to do her make up. I've got to admit, it can't be an easy task for someone to take on board, especially when the occassion is such a personal one, but Sonia lapped it up and gave Yolanda a beautiful look that accentuated her natural beauty. Yolanda wanted a natural tones, so browns were used for the structure of the eyes and clear beige was used to finish. The eyes were completed with false eye lashes. Lips were were given a natural color with a low gloss finish.

The photo session started just after 7:30 in the evening and although the sun was nowhere near as intense as it is midday on the Costa del Sol, it still cast strong shadows so we planned to use the lovely golden light to our advantage. I had planned to create some dramatic photos by shooting straight into the sun and supplementing with flash, then I planned to use the sun itself as the main light and ditch the flash. Using the sun as the main light is straight forward enough, I just needed to make sure both Yolanda and Sergio were positioned correctly to avoid any harsh shadows. Shooting against the sun however is a different story. This method though has a number of advantages. The first is that it created beautiful rim light around Yolanda and Sergio, creating a sort of dreamlike, halo effect that framed their faces beautifully. It also meant that their faces were in shadow which in turn meant the flash would provide a clean even light so no high-contrast shadows. The complications of this are that you need maximum flash power and the flash light itself needed to be balanced with the golden glow of this rim light so I needed to gel the flash with a tungsten gel. I also wanted really shallow depth of field but shooting against the sun would normally make this impossible under Sunny 16 Rule conditions so I opted for a 5-stop (ND32x) ND filter which gave me 5 extra stops of aperture meaning I could leave my aperture wide open on the 70-200 f/2.8 isolating Yolanda and Sergio from the cluttered background and also giving the photos that added 3D-Wow effect. The added advantage of the ND filter was that it ensured I could get the maximum power from my flash by using the wider aperture. You can check out some of the photos from the day below:

I have put the above images and a lot more in a high resolution online gallery though it is password protected so you will need to get the password from Yolanda or Sergio to access them. If you have the password then you can get to the gallery here.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1

Photo Session - Sahay & Giuseppe - June 2013 - David/Sonia

Skates and Graffiti were the “plat du jour” on Saturday passed. We were out with Sahay and Giuseppe in an abandoned building at the foot of the “Montes de Malaga”. The building itself is a mess but a couple of skaters built a half pipe and the place really has its own crazy little atmosphere. Sahay, born in Cuba but living in Malaga put it up to the skaters and evicted them from their own skate park, OK, only for a short while, but evicted them nonetheless! Currently working as a model and contemporary dance teacher in Malaga she brought plenty of fun to the shoot. She most certainly ain’t shy and can rattle off a string of different poses with ease. It was easy to see her background in dance filtering through her selection of poses, she’d give Inspector Gadget a run for his money in the flexibility competition. Giuseppe, of Italian-American descent, again living in Malaga was another joy to work with and one very easy guy to photograph. Photogenic, I think so!

Make up wise, Sonia chose brilliant grey for the structure of the eye. She then added brilliant gold to this base. She used false eye lashes to make the eye shape more sleek and defined. For the lips she used a coral colour. In terms of the photos, it was a bit of a mixed bag. The half-pipe was in the shade of the building so I had to light up Sahay and Giuseppe using an SB-910. I used the single flash in TTL mode, off-camera, in a Lastolite Softbox for most of the skater-themed shots. The non-skater images were lit by sunlight only so it was a case of positioning Sahay and Giuseppe correctly to avoid the nasty contrast of the evening sunlight on their faces. The final image in the selection of images below is a HDR or high dynamic range image. It is a composite of 5 images at 1 f-stop intervals merged into one.

Followers of the blog will know I am a lover of flash based photos mainly because, when done correctly, it is a lot easier to make your subjects pop, creating a much more dynamic three-dimensional photo, so certainly from the selection below, the flash ones would be my faves. That said, working with both Sahay and Giuseppe it is really difficult to take a bad photo. They both look amazing and both bring their own lovely relaxed style to the party. A relaxed subject means beautiful images and with Sahay and Giuseppe you get just that.

As a quick mention to readers, Giuseppe’s brother has recently set up his own clothing line, Langor Clothing. It is a fusion of ancient cultures such as Roman and Aztec and their designs are pretty unique. Go ahead and check out the Langor Clothing website. It is based in Malaga but available worldwide so get online and start shopping. You can also check out their Facebook page here so get liking it. You will spot one of the T-shirts in a couple of the photos above.

We enjoyed the shoot so much that we’ve arranged to do a bridal themed shoot with both Sahay and Giuseppe in the near future so watch this space. A big thanks to them both for enduring the skaters, the cold, a dirty abandoned building and of course, the lack of Big King XXLs :-). I have put the above images and more in a high resolution online gallery though you will need to get the password from Sahay or Giuseppe to access them. You can get to the gallery here.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, PocketWizard Flex TT5 and Mini TT1, Lastolite EZYBOX.

Marixu Photo Session - April 2013 - David/Sonia

We were in the studio photographing Marixu from Fuengirola. Marixu, a keen photographer and a make up artist to boot is one of those people that can put their hand to anything. A flair for playing the guitar, a fantastic artist and a lover of animals of all sizes she was great to have in the studio and great fun to work with.

Sonia was on make-up duty. Since Marixu has reasonably small eyes Sonia aimed to enhance them and make them look larger, longer and more sleek. This was done by lining above and below the eye with black, extending the lines beyond the boundary of the eye and then combining this with a dark blue shadow on the top of the eye lid. The remainder of the make up was left reasonably natural and left to suit Marixu's skin coloring. Lips were also left with a medium amount of colour to ensure they didn't take away from the eyes themselves.

Photo wise, it was facial portraits all the way with nice vibrant colors and some sparkly lights to give me some nice out of focus discs of light. I used the 85mm f/1.4 lens at an aperture of f/2 to give me that nice, subtle out of focus effect. The 85mm is certainly one of my favourite lenses at the moment. On the D800 it is blisteringly good and is one of the few lenses that will allow the effect captured in some of the photos below in a small studio environment. At f/1.4 you do need to get your focus point absolutely spot on as the depth of field is extremely shallow and sometimes just that little bit dangerous as you may end up with some soft images but at f/2 it is crisp every time and still allows portraits with sufficiently shallow depth of field to suit peoples artistic tastes. The only other lens I know that would do this is the 70-200 f/2.8. At focal lengths above 150mm this lens is almost unbeatable in terms of perspective compression and the bokeh in the out of focus areas is among the best I have seen at the longer focal lengths, even beating the infamous 85mm f/1.4 in my own opinion, though only just. The problem is, you would want a big studio to use the 70-200 at the longer end of its focal range so the 85mm is the perfect replacement. The 85mm focal length on a full frame camera is the industry standard portrait focal length owed to the perspective it gives. Facial dimensions just look right. Check out some of the photos from the session below.

I have put the above images and more in a high resolution online gallery though you will need to get the password from Marixu to access them. You can get to Marixu's HiRes gallery here.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910 x 3, 85mm 1.4G, 24-70mm f/2.8, PocketWizard Flex TT5s and Mini TT1, Lastolite EZYBOX, Honl Filters.

Málaga from the Gibralfaro - David

I've had it on the long finger for a while to get some nice panoramics of Málaga from the Gibralfaro near the Parador Hotel in Limonar. I got the opportunity there last Tuesday so I took a spin up to get a few decent images as the light was nice and soft and clouds scattered the sky. I've 6 images below, 3 colour and 3 in monochrome for those interested. All images are HDR and were created by combining 5 bracketed images at 1 f-stop intervals. I've created a gallery with the high resolution images. In full size the images look fairly spectacular as they were taken with the D800 so resolution is pretty awesome. Go check them out here. A lot of people say higher resolution cameras are a waste and in certain cases they would be right but in cases like this, where you want to capture maximum detail in your landscape photos then the higher the resolution of your camera the better. The photos below can be printed in sizes over 1 meter so if you would like any of the images then get in touch. I will be adding to the gallery with further HDR images of Malaga and the surrounding areas so check back regularly or else like our Facebook page to stay up to date.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, 24-70mm f/2.8, wireless shutter release and a big sturdy tripod!

MJ Photo Session - April 2013 - David/Sonia

We were in the studio recently photographing lovely Maria Jose from Sevilla. It was a reasonably quick shoot in terms of the time we had but we wanted to make sure MJ was leaving with some nice natural looking images.

Sonia looked after MJ's make up. In terms of eyes, Sonia used medium colors to bring out the expression and since MJ was in black she wanted to bring out the eyes yet keep them reasonably natural as MJ wasn't after anything over-dramatic. Red and black was used to line the eyes. Then black and gold was used for the eye shadow. Burgundy was used on the lips.

In terms of the photos themselves, MJ was after a mix of nice vibrant colours for certain shots and some smoother colours for others so I ended up using a few different filters on the flash illuminating the background. This was purely for providing a different background tone. I also used a lighter toned steel blue filter on the rear kicker flash for some of the images. This secondary flash was placed in the kicker position, facing directly towards the main light. You can also mix it up by placing the secondary light directly behind the subject for some nice rim lighting or else on the same side as the main light and this can be used for some nice hair lighting. In this case though the intention was to reduce the contrast on the darker side of the face and add another light gradient. The main flash was left unfiltered and stuck in a Lastolite softbox. Not being a fan of the photoshop or airbrushed look, MJ was after clean, natural looking images with low contrast light so the images you see below are more or less straight out of the camera.

For a more complete selection of the images from the shoot, head over to MJ's April 2013 gallery. I have also put the high resolution images in MJ's online gallery though you will need to get the password from MJ to access them. You can get to MJ's HiRes gallery here.

Equipment Used: Nikon D800, SB-910 x 3, 85mm 1.4G, 24-70mm f/2.8, PocketWizard Flex TT5s and Mini TT1, Lastolite EZYBOX, Honl Filters.

Cropped Vs Full Frame - What's best?

Given the relevance of this topic these days I thought it a subject worthy of thorough discussion. Is full frame still the holy grail of DSLR’s or have the lines blurred somewhat? Unfortunately I’ve no pretty pictures to add except a few boring ones at the end so it is mostly text, but if you want to know everything you need to know about what is the right sensor size for you and your style of photography then read on. I promise not to bore you!

For most people, when purchasing their first DSLR they will more than likely go for an entry level or enthusiast level model. First time DSLR owners are normally oblivious to the fact that cameras have different sensor sizes. It is only when they delve further into the subject of photography that they realise that this is the case and sometimes that may be too late as the camera is already bought. To explain where the terms full frame and cropped frame come from we need to step back in time and delve into the photography history books a bit. Back at the turn of the 20th Century a company called Leica, or more accurately named Ernst Leitz GmbH at the time, brought what is now regarded as the gold standard for film cameras, the 35mm film, to the general public. This film size was an adapted version of a film size that existed at the time but never really worked. So this new 35mm size (or more accurately 24mm x 36mm) instantly caught on and the rest you might say is history. Since the creation of the 35mm film format a number of . . . . . read more . . . .

Comet PanSTARRS C/2011 L4 Photos & Video - Mar 2013 - Dave

Comet PanSTARRSAs a lover of all things astronomical, I was taken in by the coverage of our first major comet of the year, comet panSTARRS, which was passing through our solar system and was going to give us a bit of a show during February and March of 2013. The southern hemisphere got to see the show first but then it was our turn in the northern hemisphere from early March. This being the case, living on the Costa del Sol certainly had its advantages because the further north you go in terms of latitude the closer the comet will be to the horizon, the less defined it will be and consequentially the less time you will have to see it.

I had been planning to get out March 12th to see the comet but bad weather had spoiled those plans. Nasty rains and cloudy skies meant zero visibility. It did get somewhat better on Wednesday the 13th March so I took a spin up to El Torcal de Antequera, an observatory about 50km from Málaga. Located in a natural park and at around 1150m above sea level it is one of the top spots in Málaga for spotting cosmic objects. It isn't a dark sky zone due to the huge amounts of light pollution from the populated Costa but it is a good compromise and sure if they go ahead and build an observatory up there it must be a decent location no?! As it turned out, I arrived far too late. The wind was howling and there was no shelter from it whatsoever. I rattled off a couple of shots to see if I could spot anything but nothing. Before I left I ended up speaking with one of the guys that works in the observatory. He was using his fisheye to see could he spot anything. He did show me this sort of haze on his LCD which he thought . . . . . read more . . . .