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Category Archives: Behind-the-scenes

Undressing…

I started taking my own product photos for my etsy shop a few months ago. I feel silly when I think about how much of my work week is spent dressing and undressing fake humans, but someone’s gotta do it!  Even if I get real good at it, adding “Professional Undresser” onto my resume seems kind of like a bad idea.

undressing . . . .

Blue-Violet Pleated Satin Pants available at www.audiohelkuik.etsy.com

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Cute Face.

I ended up in one of the photos while taking product shots of the blue garments from my monoprismatic collection.  My latest go-to pose for photos is called “Cute Face Pose.”

Cute Face Pose.

 

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Painting Studio Planking

With my new in-house photo setup next to my painting studio, there’s been an invasion of dressforms amongst my canvases.

Inverse planking in my painting studio.

 

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New In-House Photo Setup

Disclaimer: I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER.  I’ll be the first to admit this.

I’ll also admit that I typically spend way too much time working on a garment.  By the time it is done, I am so excited it’s finished! So much detail work!  I want to show everyone!  Normally, this is when I’d call up my people and try to coordinate the busy schedules of photographers, models, hair stylists, and makeup artists with my own crazy schedule.  It’s not impossible, but I find the process of coordinating everything kind of stressful and sometimes it dampens my excitement.  When schedules don’t line up great, I’m stuck with a pile of cool clothes and no way to show my online customers what they could be buying.  I kept thinking, “I wish I could skip all that and just have the photo.”

I finally got tired of wishing this thought over and over and decided to try something new.  Maybe if I could just take the photo myself?  I’m DIY all the way anyways, so I’m surprised I waited this long.  I figured out a place in my home studio where I could put a little photo spot.  My parents recently gifted me with a new digital camera.  I gathered a bunch of lights.  Time to start practicing!  (aka: taking a gazillion shots of the same thing while clicking one button at a time on my new camera.)

My new photo setup in The Coalmine.

While it’s not exactly an ideal photography setup, it’s what I’m working with for now.  This little space has been lovingly nicknamed The Coalmine.  I like that it looks grungy and rough, but when I started I kind of forgot that it really was ACTUALLY grungy and rough. I had to spend a whole week cleaning this little nook out.  It was previously being used for storage, so I emptied it out and then swept about sixteen million dustpans of dirt out.  It was a lot of work.  (Whine, whine.)  Also, it’s COLD in there during the winter.  I have to wear some winter gear when I take photos.  I’m a total wimp about being cold.   (Whine, whine.)

Manny the Mannequin: Ready for his closeup.

Prepping a pair of coveralls.

I know that my new photo space isn’t perfect, and neither are the photos that are taken there.  For one, I’m definitely still working on learning about my new camera and getting a better light arrangement.  I prefer to show my clothes on live humans as opposed to dressforms or hangers, since it gives the clothes more energy.  Even with the inanimate models and the rookie photography skills, I’m pretty pleased with the setup and the ease of the process.  Anything that helps me get garments from my sewing machine to my customers in a more efficient way is awesome.  Have I mentioned how much I’m really focused on becoming more efficient?  I also like that the photos I take are MINE.  I can do whatever I want with them.  I can edit them.  I can put watermarks in.  I can take the watermarks out.  I can use them for print, for online and for profit.  They aren’t perfect, but they are all mine.

One cool thing about working in a space that is nicknamed The Coalmine: You can say “Yeah, I’ve been working down in the coalmine all day.”

 

 

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Behind-the-scenes: Wolfgang Kaufman sugar.skin.circus shoot

My sugar.skin.circus collection just begs to be part of themed photoshoots.  A really great photographer named  Wolfgang Kaufman was coming through town and wanted to do a photoshoot while he was here in the Omaha area.  The creative director for this shoot, Cherisse McCoy, contacted me to see if I was interested (yes, duh) and for details about my latest collection.  When I described my sugar.skin.circus line, she got really excited to create a very dramatically themed photoshoot, including a custom built set, props, and she even brought in a fire performer and aerial artist.  If anyone knows how much I LOOOOOOVE circus themed stuff, you’d know how much I was nerding out at this point.

Watching all my models get styled at the salon was really exciting.  I let my makeup artist, Amy Burns, go to town.  She painted on mustaches, sprayed on some lacework, airbrushed stylized pink cheeks, and applied glitter lashes.  She’s great at taking an idea and bumping it up about 16 extra levels of awesome.

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Makayla Torrez

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Makayla Torrez

Makeup Artist: Amy Burns
Model: Nicole Keimig

Once all my models were styled, I finally got a chance to see all the props that were made for this shoot.  It was like a circus dream come true. It took all of my concentration to keep from running and playing with EVERYTHING.

Custom made set and props.

SECRET: The “strongest man in the world” barbell is actually made of balloons.  I was tricked every stinkin’ time I saw anyone pick it up.  I am always worried about overworking my models, so I kept telling them that they could set it down between shots to rest their muscles.   Balloons.  They are a clever illusion, especially for a gullible kid like me.

Model requirements: good-looking, hard-working, easy to get along with, and oh yeah……you must be able to lift one ton without breaking a sweat.

Wolfgang Kaufman was great to work with.  He was so committed to getting the best possible shot:  he climbed on ladders, crawled around on the floor, hopped up on all the different furniture, then hopped down, then did it all again.  Wolfgang is awesome.

Model: Aaron Steward
Photographer at work: Wolfgang Kaufman
(See what I mean about how convincing the balloons are?!?)

Model: Nicole Keimig
Photographer at work: Wolfgang Kaufman

This photoshoot was a dream come true.  Cherisse McCoy, the creative director, imagined a fantastic circus world for my collection to play in for the day.

Hair/makeup: Sirens at the Loft

Creative director: Cherrise McCoy

Wolfgang Kaufman: http://www.wolfman-photo.com/

sugar.skin.circus collection available in my store: http://www.audiohelkuik.etsy.com

 

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