Multi-cultural composite.

About this tutorial

This image brought a number of different cultural elements into one face! The model, Mireille, is originally from Rwanda, and the make-up on her is completely inspired by Maori tattoos, but instead of using dark inks to make it look like a tattoo, we used white make-up to make it look more like war paint. On top of that, we used my own iris’s in the shot and reddened her hair to give her a bit of Scottish into the mix! The original concept called for a much more over the top execution with completely different skin colour and some very interesting specular highlights in her eyes. I decided to back off on the make-up and use almost no make-up on her eyes and lips, just the “war paint.” I did shoot to create some alternative specular highlights in her eyes, and that is included in the tutorial, but in the end I decided not to use them as they just did not have the impact I wanted when the image was shown in low resolution for the web – it would have looked fine in a larger print, but not so much on a computer screen. I also used a post-production technique often used by Jill Greenberg to alter the tones and contrast on her skin. The thing that intrigued me about this shot is that Mireille looks fantastic when you look at the image up close, but when you look at the image from a distance, the make-up and contrast give it quite a sinister feel.   Topics covered in this tutorial:
  • Creating very clean butterfly lighting on your model
  • How to create highly unique and unusual catch lights in the eyes
  • Refining and cleaning skin tones without going overboard
  • Switching iris’s on your model
  • Exaggerating skin contrast to enhance the shape an contrast on your model
  • Masking techniques for models and hair
  • Creating backgrounds gradations in Photoshop
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