This is Becka, who did very well as a finalist in this year’s Miss Northern Ireland Contest.

A big part of this project was driven by the make-up.

Make-up artist, Catherine is currently working on a huge development within her premises in The Linen Green to create a massive 35ft long wall in the foremost retail shop front area for the sole purpose of promoting and showcasing her make-up business to the public. This display area is to be divided into sections, a section to represent each area of Catherine’s make-up business, and each section is to hold and showcase a larger than life stylishly framed photo, which is where I come in!

As a large part of Catherine’s business is bridal, the main purpose of this project was to create a photo suitable for printing and framing large for the make-up display wall for a bridal section.

From a photographic consideration there were two areas that made this a little different from the norm. Firstly I built a background from scratch. This was done while Catherine was applying Becka’s bridal make-up and I really had no idea if it would work! Thankfully though it did, and I must admit it’s very rewarding to create something which is successful from what was nothing but an idea.

My second decision here was to photograph this at an incredibly wide aperture for studio use of 1.4. This was a pure experiment and driven by a few factors. I wanted to create extreme softness (dreaminess) within the images to to be in keeping with the whole bridal look. Also I’ve always really liked the creamy smooth skin tones straight out of the camera (unedited) from my 85mm 1.4 lens. Another reason was that I wanted to render the background completely out of focus to ‘melt away’ the wires, with the further ability to make it cool blue or warm white with in-camera adjustment as the background was a continuous light source. The only real difficulty was getting the studio flash heads to correspond with a 1.4 aperture even on their lowest power setting.

Here’s a few of the images from what was a very enjoyable afternoon of experimentation in the studio, and also a few additional images of a change in theme from bridal to ‘summer white’ to finish with.


This was a three quarter length photographed at 1.4 and despite having to physically move further back for this one due to using a prime lens, it still rendered the background pleasantly out of focus.


Tighter in and each tiny light in the background was so out of focus that it created very nice bokeh.


An in-camera white balance change to make the background appear blue.


A 1.4 aperture gives no room for error. Eyes are the point of focus while the sharp fall off in focus means even Becka’s lips are going out of focus.


A change then from bridal to ‘summer white’ lit with hard light


More hard light and summer hats


And to finish a slightly cooler blue look.








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