Contemporary Beauty Portraits are special sessions where women can receive the star treatment with hair, makeup, fashion, styling and a full directed photoshoot. Every woman can look like a celebrity if she receives the star treatment!
Contemporary beauty photography has filled the void that “glamour” photography left when it went out of fashion. The term “glamour photography” brings back embarrassing memories of harsh lighting, feather boas, big hairstyles and blue eyeshadow, and it was big in the 1980s and 90s. There are now several genres of photography which are aimed specifically at women, which include boudoir photography, with tasteful images of semi-clad women with or without an erotic overtone. Then there is burlesque photography which photographs women in sexy poses with retro styling wearing corsets and makeup in the style of mid-20th century film stars.
Contemporary beauty portrait photography however is appealing to women who are bombarded daily with magazine covers, runway models, red carpet appearances and glitzy award ceremonies where celebrities appear perfectly groomed and made up, in exquisite gowns. Ordinary women need to know that cover girls, supermodels and celebrities do not wake up every day looking perfect. Ordinary women don’t look like that when they are putting out their rubbish, dropping kids at day-care, or when they’ve had a busy day in the sheep yards. And neither do models…
For the cover of a a high-end fashion magazine, the cover photo is a highly crafted image. No matter how many pouting selfies a woman can take, they can never compare to a professional photo shoot. The model will have spent a lot of time in preparation for the shoot. She will have been eating well, getting plenty of sleep and drinking a lot of water in the days leading up to a big shoot. She will have spent time waxing/threading/bleaching/plucking facial and body hair. A hair stylist would have touched up the cut and colour of her hair. And that is before she wakes up on the day of the shoot. On the day she would have at least two people fussing over her for a couple of hours getting hair and makeup professionally done to suit the mood of the shoot. There would be a stylist in charge of the overall shoot, who would have chosen the location and any props for the set, and maybe another fashion specialist concentrating on the outfits that she will wear. On set there will be a photographer, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of cameras, lenses and lighting so that the images captured will reflect the quality of the magazine. The photographer would have at least one assistant, who would hold reflectors, adjust lights, change backdrops, and help set up and take down the gear. During the shoot the hair stylist would be fluffing up or smoothing down the hair and moving individual strands of hair to get everything just perfect. The makeup artist would be adding lip gloss, or brushing on powder to cut shine. The stylist would adjust the placement of props, arrange the fall of a garment, advise on poses and ensure that the photos convey the desired look. The photographer would be talking to the model, coaxing out the fine nuances of expression needed, changing the direction of her glance, the turn of her chin, the placement of hands and fingers. And then, out of maybe hundreds of shots, one would be selected for the cover of the magazine.
But it doesn’t end there! A new team starts work on the photos… There would be a digital editor who would work in photoshop to not only enhance what the photographer has captured, but also to subtly change what is there to exaggerate the look. The skin would be smoothed, removing any blemishes – acne, blackheads, stray hairs, fine wrinkle lines, scars, or smudged makeup. Then there could be other changes – the shape of lips enhanced, eyes enlarged, neck thinned and elongated, waste tucked in, limbs extended, eyebrows tweaked to adjust the arch. The finished image is pretty far removed from what was actually captured by the camera.