Beauty Portraits & Product Photos – Project Overview:
Create beauty portraits and product photos to show the new line of unscented ECOS cleaning products. Including their hand soap, dish soap and laundry detergent. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the effect that your cleaning products have on your health – and especially your skin health. For each product I created a portrait and an accompanying product photo.
This project came to me through the wonderful work of Heather Elder and Jim Baldwin. Together they founded the Create in Place directory. Create in Place helps connect creatives and clients during the Covid19 pandemic. Enabling the safe production of commercial photography projects. By artists and creators who can work with minimal crew from their own homes. I got to work with some of my favorite Oakland and San Francisco bay area models for this series. For covid safety I decided to keep the team limited to myself, the models and the makeup artist. I also spread the shoot out over several days to reduce having everyone in the studio at the same time. I love how these beauty portraits came out! And seeing them paired with the product photography is so satisfying!
I want to share some of the thought process that went into the visuals of these beauty portraits.
Art direction and production are a big part of my work as a photographer. Not all photographers prefer to work this way but for me combining the three roles is inspiring. This is why I thrive working on projects like this. Problem solving, and being able to think about the images from all angles. How do the product shots relate to and tie in with the beauty portraits? What are we trying to say? How does the hair styling, makeup and wardrobe play into the concept. By opting for a more natural makeup look I’m able to put the focus on the women in the image. Their unique beauty, their strength. This is a recurring theme in my work. I’m always looking for ways to remind the world that there is beauty in diversity.
For each model the makeup look is very natural. I wanted the brows to feel a little wild – as a nod to women’s fierceness. The skin is glowing because skin is a reflection of health and hormonal balance. Cleaning products can play a big role in the health of your skin. So, removing toxic cleaning products from your life can give your skin an extra shot at being healthy.
The hair styling for each beauty portrait needs to show personality without taking focus away from the face. So I opted for a “natural” look for each model. Letting the braids have a few stray strands, doing a simple top bun that anyone could do at home. And having a short happy afro that gives us the impression of being effortless and easy going… Note the words ‘impression of’, those perfect afro curls do take effort. And when the weather isn’t cooperating a wig might be your best bet.
Or lack thereof? If you follow my work you know by now that the birthday suit is one of my favorite outfits. Well, in reality tank tops and sweat pants were the outfit of choice for this shoot (hello covid uniform). Removing wardrobe from the image is as intentional as having clothing showing. By not showing any clothing I’m removing a distraction from the face and skin. Giving the viewer one less thing to think about. While I love pulling together a great outfit, there is a time and place for simplicity.
Use of light, texture and color is I created images that tie together. Despite being a mix of product photos and beauty portraits with different models. Each image has similar lighting – in the softness of the shadows. As well as the direction of the light and color temperature. Blue is one of the primary brand colors for Ecos. So I matched the blue in each image to the brand’s blue. By having the blue incorporated in different shades it feels natural and subtle. I also was able to carry over the textures from the model shots to the product photos. By incorporating the same props from the beauty portraits into the product photos.