Masked Jazz Singer

A while ago I started listening to some nice Jazz compositions with beautiful female vocals on Pandora Radio. Inspired by the music I decided to do a photo shoot creating visual accompaniment for the melody. This was not an easy task since I wanted to match what I have visualized in my mind with the final photo.

To achieve the full effect, I had to purchase some additional accessories. Most importantly I needed to have a retro looking microphone. I have found one from Shure for $100 on Ebay. While it was actually a brand new microphone, it had a retro style to it, which is exactly what I needed. Plus, I didn’t mind buying it, since this kind of a prop will be useful for all kinds of future shoots.

Additionally, I wanted to create a mystery, since when you are listening to a recording and visualizing the singer you might not “see” all the features but rather feel the atmosphere. To add this mystery, I went for the most rational option and used a Venetian mask, which I already had in my collection of props. When I was looking for the mask I stumbled upon this feathery head thingy, which I have had for a long time but have never used before. It was a slightly different color but it was working perfectly in the composition, so I just tweaked the color a bit in Photoshop to match it with the mask.

The only other accessory I was missing was a long black glove. Luckily, I have tons of different kinds of gloves in my prop collection, so I was able to choose the most fitting one to complete the authentic look. Moreover, my wife (who was kind enough to pose for this shot), had black and burgundy jewelry, which matched perfectly with the color scheme.

Finally, to complete the scene I needed a backdrop. I could have gone for a simple back, but I thought it would look better if I had a dark burgundy background to create “a stage curtain” look in the background. The closest thing to a stage curtain I had was a red silky material. So to have it look burgundy, I had to make sure that very little light falls on the background by angling the main light away from it.

Once the scene was setup, all I had to do was to frame the shots at the most appealing angle and the rest is history. As far as post editing, all I did was add contrast, remove some hair and color match the feathery headwear.

Technical side

The entire session was shot with original Canon 5D. I used Canon 100mm Macro (non-L) lens. Shutter speed was 1/160 second. F-stop was at f/9 and ISO was set to 100.

Studio lighting was setup in my classical studio fashion. The main light was on the left side with a medium soft box. The second light was in the back creating an outline with a tube attachment, so not to disperse the light to the background. Both of the lights are Calumet Travelites at equal power.

This entry was posted by Alex Gumerov.

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