Keelie Formal Movie Poster http://matt-hickey.com

Keelie’s Superhero Formal

It was our pleasure to be a part of this beautiful girls formal day. Keelie’s mum arranged for us to photograph her sons formal two years ago. Megan got in contact with me around about a year ago to start planning her baby girls formal day. Keelie is bit of a superhero fan and her favourite character is Captain America. We managed to track down a Captain America shield from a local gaming supply store, Brutal Deluxe for a life size version. It was exactly what I was hoping for to complement a movie poster idea I had. Keelie added the Superman earrings as a very cool subtle touch.

I did a bit of scouting around for locations but I knew time would always be a factor in what we could and couldn’t do. I found around five possible locations. All suited a fine day but I also selected a couple of sites that could be used if the day turned bad.

Dress Fitting

We started with some nice family photos to get everyone warmed up and relaxed. I can tell Keelie doesn’t like getting her photo taken, but with a bit of time and fun, she became very relaxed and started striking some amazing poses and killer looks.

With the family portraits done, I took Keelie and her partner, Aaron aside and stepped it up a notch. We went to a location under a new bridge. The brick work looked like it’s cartoonish, which suited my idea for a movie poster. The dark colour also worked perfectly for making Keelie and Aaron stand out.

Keelie Formal

I needed to run light and portable on my lighting setup so I ran with only one Enstein 640ws strobe. I had Haden (Keelie’s brother) helping out on lighting when he wasn’t in the photos. I used the natural light as a rim light, separating the subjects from the background, and the Enstein through a large octobox on a boom extension as my main light. To keep colours balanced, I added a 1/4 CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) to the main light, giving a slightly warmer light from the main.

Keelie Formal Dress Fitting

The rest was up to Keelie and Aaron. I got them to pick a dominant leg to stand on and setup the base of the pose. I then placed them so they look together, and most importantly, comfortable looking. Ironically, looking comfortable in the image does not translate to looking comfortable when the image is captured. That’s where you can have some fun… playing Twister should be my clients warmup session.

Keelie Formal http://matt-hickey.com

Keelie Formal http://matt-hickey.com

The captured image was perfect to work with. Plenty of dynamic range meant that I could bring it into Photoshop and really push it how I had imagined the final result. I did the usual corrections to levels, sharpening, dodge and burn and removing distractions. Superhero posters will typically have a de-saturated look so I pulled some of the colour out of the channels I felt were giving to much. I added a few layers of dust/grit to give some more atmosphere which really boosted the image. A slight vignette also helped to centre your eyes on the subject.

Keelie Formal http://matt-hickey.com

Keelie Formal http://matt-hickey.com

Summing up the day. It was fantastic working with Keelie and her family. Megan (mum) did an amazing job planning and testing ideas with me and removed any questions on the day. Preparation is key to producing an amazing artwork for your client. People get stressed because they hope they will get a good shot but when you know exactly what you want and how to get it, it removes a lot of the worrying. Things will always go wrong but when you know your equipment and limits, then you should be able to achieve what you need. Also, it’s amazing what you can do if you just ask. The location was an issue to get access to and is also off limits to the public but a few words with some workers allowed us to get the shots we wanted. The shield was also another item that wouldn’t have happened unless we asked around. The $4,000 shield was key to producing the look we wanted… and also why we were very very careful not to damage it in any way.

Keelie Formal Movie Poster http://matt-hickey.com

Keelie Formal Movie Poster http://matt-hickey.com

Mum had a tear in her eye when she saw the final images of her baby girl. That’s why I love photography.