This is the story about how we completely trashed a rented out studio all in the name of art.
But first a little back story…
So it all started when we noticed that a vendor we’ve worked with before started a new Instagram account featuring her skills at airbrush makeup! The work she had done really interested us so we reached out, hungry to collaborate and use this cool makeup to make some awesome portfolio.
Tiffany’s Pro Airbrush Makeup: https://www.instagram.com/tiffanysproairbrush/
Luckily she said yes and we began discussing possible shoots and themes that we could do! We discussed how Spring was around the corner and cherry blossom season was about to begin. This of course led to the first shoot, using airbrush makeup on the model’s face, a kimono robe, and a pink background to give a fresh spring vibe!
Then I got a little carried away and remembered a style of photography I’ve wanted to try for a really long time: powder photography.
And more specifically, powder ballet photography…
This was the work of a photographer named Alexander Yakovlev and I’ve been captivated by it ever since I saw it on Instagram a couple years ago. I remember reaching out to ask what kind of powder he used and he replied saying it was just flour! So ever since then I’ve been waiting for my chance to make a shoot like this happen…
And with the help of Tiffany, it finally did!
To make the shoot stand apart, we decided to use colour backlighting and chose a complimentary colour scheme to highlight Tiffany’s makeup. In the end we went with yellow makeup for our model’s faces, and purple backgrounds to give a nice colour contrast.
Now it was just a matter of finding the right studio to let us make this huge mess! And after hours of research I landed on a nearby studio called HelloSpace. This studio had clean, white walls all around, no carpets or furniture, as well as a makeup room and bathrooms attached. Perfect.
After getting all the models on board and settling on a date, we were ready to shoot!
After days of exhausting planning we finally made it to the studio and began setting up. It felt so freeing to be out of our little office space and into a huge studio space like this. Tall ceilings, tons of space, it was a dream come true (or money well spent I guess). We booked the place for a total of 6 hours which gave us 1 hour prep time, 4 hours of shooting time, and 1 hour cleanup. Not exactly an easy task when you are planning 3 different shoots with 3 different light setups for photo and video!
But we got cracking and when Mika’s makeup was finished, we started shooting the Cherry Blossom shoot.
Mika was a straight up PRO during this shoot, taking direction really well and giving me awesome shot after awesome shot!
Mika Deneige: https://www.instagram.com/mika.deneige/
As we began to work closer and closer (highlighting the airbrush makeup) we couldn’t help but marvel at the insane resolving power of our A7Riii and 90mm macro combination!
Here’s a super crop of the above image:
And with the closeup work finished, it was time to say bye to Mika and set up for the next shoot!
After that really awesome start to the day, we were eager to get cracking on the next setup which we were all really excited for!
The lighting had to be swapped from a soft, beauty look to a more focused, dramatic look where the background would be a lot darker and the powder would pop out of the scene. But the problem I was having was that the white walls bounced so much light around the room that it was hard to darken the background. But after playing with the setup I managed to get a look that I was comfortable with and it was good timing because Ana was ready to shoot!
Ana is a local ballet dancer who has worked with many ballet photographers and displays much of her work on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ana_oioli/
She was really excited about this shoot and willing to collaborate with us to obtain the best images possible, something we really appreciate when working with models!
We started with some closeup work, that way we could slowly introduce ourselves to the process of powder photography while obtaining some detail shots of the makeup. We knew later in the shoot her face would be covered in flour so it was definitely a good idea to get these shots first…
Then we began making a HUGE MESS!
This shoot was so much fun to shoot as Ana was AMAZING! Handling all the discomfort like a champ and being incredibly helpful with pose suggestions for whatever look we were going for.
Turns out throwing flour accurately is not the easiest thing to do and adding movement to the shots didn’t make it any easier! We were apologizing non stop for the amount of flour that ended up in Ana’s face but she never complained and laughed everything off. What a champ!
Then it was time to add our male model into the shoot!
We began working with Magnus during our very first shoot as Lex & Josh Photography and have continued to work closely with him ever since! We love his hard working collaborative nature and it’s hard to find anyone that brings more energy to a shoot then Magnus.
So when we asked him to tag along on this shoot, initially I planned on having him do some break dancing in the flour after Ana was finished. But after more thought we realized that maybe he could model with Ana and act as her ballet partner! That way we could once again make the shoot unique as well as get some couple portfolio.
And we are SO GLAD we made that decision as these couple shots turned out amazing! Hats off to Magnus and Ana for working so well together having just met that afternoon. Add to that fact that Magnus was a break dancer not a ballet dancer, leaning on instruction from Ana as to how best to play the part. They absolutely KILLED IT! And we can’t thank these two enough.
After the dance portion we got up close and intimate with them, utilizing the flour to add drama and emotion into the scene.
And with that we were finished with Ana and thanked her again for all her hard work!
Now it was time to get some portraits of Magnus, before continuing on to our last shoot!
This next shoot had no makeup change so it was just a matter of setting up the lights differently and for this shoot we decided to not add any colour. Instead I wanted to create a really intense backlight setup with the light in the frame. I used a large C-stand to put a speedlight close to the back wall, knowing I could photoshop out the arm in post!
Then it was time to shoot and let Magnus work his magic!
As we opened the garage door to the space, we realized just what a mess we created inside this studio. 20 lbs of flour covering the floor, all our gear, and in the air. This was going to be a tough clean up job…
Luckily I had borrowed my dad’s industrial vacuum in anticipation of this cleanup job so we began packing up all our gear and bringing it outside to be cleaned as much as possible before being loaded into the car. Once the space was empty we vacuumed up ALL the flour which must have taken a good 45 minutes to complete. Then getting the vacuum into the car was a hassle all on it’s own.
But somehow we made it back home in one trip and just when we thought the ordeal was over, we realized that the gear was still absolutely covered in flour and there was no way we could bring it into the house like this.
So with micro fiber towels and two cans of compressed air, I spent two hours cleaning all of our light stands, lenses, cameras, lights, bags, and tripods until every bit of camera gear was clean.
Then… it was time to sleep.
HUGE MASSIVE THANK YOU to all the great people that worked on this project with us!!!
Tiffany’s Pro Airbrush: https://www.instagram.com/tiffanysproairbrush/
The HelloSpace: https://www.instagram.com/thehellospace/
Mika Deneige: https://www.instagram.com/mika.deneige/
Ana Oioli: https://www.instagram.com/ana_oioli/
Magnus Futrell-Fruhling: https://www.instagram.com/magnus.magneto/
Check out our Full Galleries with these links:
And if you are at all curious as to what gear we use and where you can buy it, here are some links to the gear we own. Please feel free to use these if you are thinking of purchasing any gear as it really helps us out!
Sony A7Riii - http://geni.us/Gx3hC
Sony A7iii - http://geni.us/4I0ddDX
Samyang 35mm - http://geni.us/wy4iun7
Rokinon 100mm - http://geni.us/poU2
Sony 16-35mm - http://geni.us/e9YfBkS
Sony 55mm - http://geni.us/NBfQGl7
Sony 85mm - http://geni.us/KL1PhC
Zeiss Batis 25mm - http://geni.us/ezVO
SD card - http://geni.us/H6Dw7AL
Batteries - http://geni.us/AQdvnf3
Sony A6400 - https://geni.us/gwRTd
Sony A5100 - http://geni.us/i70a1
Sigma 56mm f1.4 - https://geni.us/hgHWxZ
Sony 16-50mm - http://geni.us/aml6wjF
Sony 10-18mm - http://geni.us/2b8l5
Sony 55-210mm - http://geni.us/Ldzd
Batteries - http://geni.us/EaQMaH8
SD card - http://geni.us/GAwy
Tascam DR-10 - https://geni.us/ghY8FH
Zoom H1 - http://geni.us/1snqd7
Rode VideoMicro - http://geni.us/CDnAmn
SD card - http://geni.us/F62RHF
DJI Mavic Pro - http://geni.us/u2vO2
Mavic ND Filters - http://geni.us/XU8vqnF
SD card - http://geni.us/F62RHF
Godox AD200 - http://geni.us/bDeh
Godox V860 ii - http://geni.us/NJoGcz
Magmod - http://geni.us/bP1TSh
Softbox - http://geni.us/jQz6Aj
Reflector - http://geni.us/AC4Tz2q
Came-TV Boltzen - http://geni.us/9iUqXQ
Boltzen Accessories - http://geni.us/8Bog
Aputure M9 - http://geni.us/Lh4Nxc7
Aputure F7 - https://geni.us/l5IquH
Ronin S - http://geni.us/dZZAjqy