The April 2018 Darkroom Chronicles is published.
The daffodil fields are the first sign of spring here in the Skagit. As of a couple days ago, they were in full bloom. The tulips will be blooming by mid-April. In this issue we introduce our new and edgy series Efflorescence. Shot on location in the daffodil fields with local artist April Grossruck. Assunta continues her series – The Not So Secret Makeup Secrets with Lips. Russell gives some editorial advice on visiting the tulips. Ciao for now!
Assunta Napoleone Makeup
EYELINER – The Eyes Have It.
How many of you wanted to create perfectly lined eyes? That task gets harder as we get older, but it can be made easy…read on..
Knowing how to apply the eyeliner is one of the basics of makeup, so if you love makeup, you eventually learn how to do it. I am no exception! When I feel lazy and don’t feel like doing myself up too much, I like going all out on my eyeliner. We’ve broken this potentially scary tasks into steps so that it’s easy to understand.
- Eyeliner (with an eyeliner brush if required)
Before we talk about how to apply the eyeliner, we must go through the basics of the types of eyeliners out there that you can use.
Types Of Eyeliners
Although this may seem intimidating at first, this is probably going to become your best friend if you love those cat eyes. I, for one, swear by it. They usually come in pots, so you’ll need to use a brush for it.
A liquid eyeliner is best for precise application. These liners come in two types of packaging, a tiny vial-like bottle with an extremely fine and precise dipping brush, and a marker type pen with a felt tip. If you’re a beginner, then I suggest you go for the latter one. I for one do not care for this type and suggest it only if you have no lines around the eyes.
This type of eyeliner is usually the first one we all started out with. It’s best used to line the water line and also to create a smokey look.
How to create an even line;
Start with an angle brush, pretty much like a brow brush. Pick up some pigment from your eyeliner putty, gel, pencil, or eye shadow, start from the corner of the eye right above the top lashes, tap, tap, tap, all the way to the part next to the nose, adding more pigment as needed, then, again, from the outer corner to the inside corner of the eye, follow that tapping line with a long line of pigment, blending the tapping line together…Voila’…THE perfect line! Now if you are free of wrinkles around the eyes then anything will do, any technique will work, if you are not as fortunate like I am…well…where there is a will…the above step will work wonders.
This is a step that is quite overlooked, but is, in fact, the most important step. After cleansing your face, apply a moisturizer for the face and an eye cream around the eyes. The eye cream helps with premature wrinkles and evens out any redness or discoloration near the area.
To achieve an even and clean base, apply a small amount of eye primer on the eyelid, under your eyes, and around the general eye region where any kind of eye makeup would go. The primer’s main job is to make the skin smoother so that it becomes easier to apply makeup. This will give you a flawless finish and also keep the makeup in place for a long time. Apply a concealer on top of the eyelid and the under eyes. Blend it well, and make sure to set it with a setting powder.
Now comes the main part – the eyeliner. You can either use the brush that comes with it or buy one. Start with a line above your lashes. Make sure you use small lines and strokes. It’s always better to build it up. If you make it too thick, you might create a mess out of it, so keep the strokes small. Once you are satisfied with one eye, do the same with the other one. Try to keep it as symmetrical as possible.
Now you have your basic eyeliner done!
The Shot – Behind the Scenes
A look at what happens before the shoot.
We specialize in location shoot. Being stuck in a studio rarely fits into the style of our images. It’s a huge world out there and life is too short to create the very common and mundane high key, white backdrop photos. We scout out locations constantly and lucky for us – we have some really unique places in the Pacific Northwest. Creating compelling images is our goal and location shoots adds a sense of drama.
However, there is very little drama behind the scenes. It’s a fun and relaxing experience, no matter if it is a commercial, boudoir session, portrait or wedding. After a consultation and follow up – the gears start turning and concepts are established for the shoot. Gypsy themed boudoir shoot on a commune in the Cascades, Country Girl shoot on the farm or Fantasy Themed woodland wizard – all require props, wardrobe, sometimes set design and clearly thought out shoot plan. We take care of the details. Before we even press the shutter, there are permits, rentals and staff to organize. The day of the shoot we arrive on location and prepare for the session. It can take several hours prep time for an hour or two of shooting.
To start, we want you to look your best. Hair and Makeup are a transformative process. Sometimes simple looks can take more time than wild creative ones. Assunta does double duty if hair has not been hired. Makeup has its own consultation before the shoot. Ordering and using the correct products is based on skin type, wardrobe and concept. Wardrobe advice is given through the entire consultation and planning stage. On site, small alterations might be made to fit correctly. When we do a themed shoot, wardrobe is the showcase for a highly creative design.
Prepping the location can be quick and easy and sometimes a little pain and suffering. Removing distractions, litter or clutter before a photo is taken can make or break an image. You might be saying – take it out in Photoshop. That option does not apply in many instances. Branches may need to be trimmed, cars moved or curtains pulled back. Making the site safe for the client or model is a professional habit that means minimizing all risks. For instance -working with animals, fire and poor weather need to be a consideration before the shoot. While some of our shots might appear to be risky at first glance, they are well thought out. There are certain locations we will never use for safety – railroad tracks are not only redicoulsy amateurish and cliche, but lethal.
Props and equipment are then setup. Props are tested before the shoot and then again on site. Complicated lighting with many stands, strobes, modifiers, scrims and diffusers is held to a minimum. It’s also less gear to keep track of, and since its on the location – wind is our enemy! A six-foot softbox doubles as a sail. No army of assistants also means an intimate shoot. A natural light shoot is sometimes done to keep a soft feel to the images, but most often there is one main light. Occasionally, there are times when every strobe is used for unique and complicated lighting. Reducing the amount of gear means we can shift to another spot quickly and efficiently.
Once this is all done, we bring the client or model on site and start the real work – taking photos. In reality, it’s not taking – but making an image happen. The photograph is a creative process and pressing the shutter is a brief moment when it all comes together.
March 2018 Darkroom Chronicles
First, we wish everyone a Happy Holidays. The year went by quick, and we are already putting 2018 into action.
December is here and the winter storms have begun in the Pacific Northwest. Outdoor sessions are unpredictable at best with weather, but we have still be out shooting portraits and our series – The Elements. We are getting ready to announce a couple amazing projects. Assunta is launching her Make-Up website assuntanapoleone.com. Russell will be presenting and shooting photos at Look & Feel Your Best. The Guardian of the Magickal Forest is now published and on sale. Speaking of Holidays – we are offering gift cards. Perfect to use for prints, albums, sessions and weddings. We also continue our upcoming photography and narrative series – The Elements.
Last day for Holiday delivery :
Albums – December 14
Prints December 18
Happy Holidays and Ciao for now!
Yes, Love is in the air. And that means engagement photography on a crisp autumn afternoon. When you say “I have announcement to make…” at the holiday dinner – have the photos ready to share to the world.
Well, Instagram and Facebook! Engagement photos are a great way of promoting your wedding day to guests. Use the images for announcements, prints at the wedding or a custom guestbook.
Introducing our new series: Elements – Air
I am the Goddess of Air
I am the keeper of the sacred breath, goddess of communication and travel
I am the gentle breeze that kisses your face as you walk
I am the powerful tempest that blows down walls and clears away barriers
I am the whisper in the wind that calls to you, bringing you wisdom for ancient places
Feel my touch and be happy in my voice
Come to me when you seek understanding and reach to me when the world is disappointing
I am the voice of all living things and my touch moves us all
Our new series of photos that will head to publication later this year is officially titled – The Elements. It’s a continuation of the Guardian of the Magickal Forest.
The third of the series was shot on film and digital.
Model: Orleana Rooker
Styling and Concept: Assunta Napoleone
Story: Assunta Napoleone
Photography: Assunta + Russell Photographers
Make-Up and Hair: Assunta Napoleone
Wardrobe: Assunta Napoleone
Location: Walker Valley, WA
This is a brief look at what actually happens before, during and after a shoot. Since each shoot is different as the people we photograph, there are a few things to work through. A Secret Door – Boudoir session usually requires a different approach and location than a formal portrait, a more casual Semi-formal or a custom themed shoot.
We do ask a lot of questions and there is an interview process. The more we understand who you are as a person and what you expect makes for a great session. Props, sets and locations are discussed. Wardrobe selection and a make-up consultation are vital. Make-up and hair is tricky and even though Assunta uses natural products – she has a portion of the interview devoted to cosmetics. Wardrobe choices need to be flattering and clients are rarely models, we help you with your selections. We want you to look your best. What are you going to use the photos for? We present ideas that will showcase the images and how we go about the shoot. For instance, if someone wants a Little Black Book for a boudoir session we’ll work on several series of images that flow together. This is also where storytelling comes in – we’ll tell your story through images. We bring a lot of commercial and editorial photography experience to a shoot and there is an emphasis on art direction.
Day of Shoot
Nervous? Everyone is nervous being in front of the camera to certain degrees. By the end of the session, everybody comments that it was easy and fun. We even provide wine or champagne to ease the nerves. On the day of the shoot we set up early if possible. Sometimes that is not the case and we need to carpool to our shoot location. Basically, we can set-up, do make-up and wardrobe simultaneously.
Russell sets up the lighting. We shoot a combination of natural light and studio strobes. Assunta does all the make-up, wardrobe and fixes hair. During the session we pose, offer directions and have a client do non-posed actions. It’s a relaxed approach and again –we keep it entertaining and fun.
After the Shoot
Digital files are edited and processed. Film is taken in for developing at our local lab (note – 2018 we’ll be developing our own.) and after it is returned, it will be scanned and edited. Proofing galleries are set up for the final edits. We rarely proof Secret Door (boudoir )shots online. The next step is to proof the images. We do this in person. At that time the selects are chosen, prints, folios and albums are discussed. If we do this in a client’s home, we can also suggest print sizes for wall space. Once an album layout is completed, there is another consultation for the book and revisions are made as necessary. Print and albums are delivered and immortalized in your home.
Though this is a brief overview, there are tons of details that are omitted. But, you get the idea – it’s a process and the photographs are reflected by our approach. A client never gets this much attention or results from a mall studio.
Autumn Photography Tips
Fall is my favorite time of the year to photograph – pretty much anyone and everything.
It’s a dramatic season with color and transformation. Portraits are powerful, wildlife descend from the mountains landscapes take a different dimension as the first snow falls in the mountains and the tarmacs contrast with yellow and orange needles. Adventures to high places were always high on my list when I was climbing.
There a many tips online and it seems that there is no shortage of advice. So, I’ll keep it basic and simple.
Go Out Into the World.
Go outside and bring your camera. This tip can’t be emphasized enough. If you are in front of a computer and glued to a phone, you are missing out. Again, bring you camera.
Ignore the Weather
The weather might be crappy. Maybe it’s raining sideways, but not for long. Photos are often amazing in less than stellar weather. Rainbows, fresh snow, falling leaves – I think you might be understanding where I’m getting at.
Underexpose your shots a little. This will add some extra contrast and pop in the colors. How do I do that? Easiest way is to shoot in manual mode and experiment a little to find the correct exposure. If you are shooting on Auto or any other mode Decrease the EV exposure by -1.
A circular polarizing filter on the front of the lens will make a huge difference. Trust me. Buy one if you don’t already own one. It darkens the sky and makes the colors vivid. To use, rotate the filter until you see a difference in the sky. Just like magic.
Neutral Density Graduated Filter
This is one of the most important lenses for a landscape photographer. It is a gradient filter – dark on one half and clear on the other. Rotate the dark half towards the sky and clear to bottom. The sky is properly exposed and the landscape/subject at the bottom is full of definition. Again, magic.
Look for different perspectives and have a good time.
To summarize and put it all together in a nutshell if you are skimming – get outside and enjoy Fall. Memories are not just photos.