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Welcome to my Behind the scenes collection. you will find here an accumulation of posts i have created showing how i create some of my photography work.

i will be adding more to this collection as new ones are made so follow along if you'd like and as always feel free to ask any questions you might have.

...enjoy

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tilting windmills - behind the scenes

Don Quioxte has always held a special place in my heart, i recently wrote a post explaining the fascination which you can read here:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarkRodriguez/posts/PDCStmerBtk

for this shot i wanted to show his passion and a bit of his madness all in one shot and so i set about to create it

props/lighting

for the top of the helmet i used a mixing bowl i got at a thrift store and for the brim i cut a piece of luan and fixed it together with aluminum tape. i then painted and treated it to look a bit rusted and beat up as in the story his armor once belonged to an older relative and in my mind it was most likely a beat beat up and weathered

for the key light i used one Paul C Buff Alien Bee in a 48" gridded octobox off to camera left and angled downward. even though the final composite was to be an environmental setting, i wanted an even portrait like quality to the light

behind me, to add ambient light, i used another alien bee with an orange gel aimed up at the ceiling, back drop and at a reflector panel. i used the gold side of the panel to cast a little extra warmth to the over all ambient light as the final shot was to look like it was outdoors in an open field of sorts

i shot many different looks and angles as i kind of had something in mind for the final shot, but wasn't quite sure how my background elements would work together

editing

the background was to be composed of a few shots i had collected on my travels with one in particular that i shot specifically with this image in mind

the background is made up of images from california (windmills and walking path) and the mountains are from a herding dog farm in ireland. after some finagling in photoshop with the various images i finally had created the image i truly always wanted to make

final thoughts

if you read the post i originally made for this image (see link at top) you will know the significance that this image means to me and why i felt it so important to create it. having had this vision in my head for so long and waiting until i could execute it properly was well worth the patience and certainly worth the time–not only spent waiting–but that i eventually put into creating the final product

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed
if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

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dust in the wind - speed edit

this image came about from the word dissolve in the most recent chrysta rae photography scavenger hunt.

the concept came to me and i set about to make it happen by ordering props when immediately i hit a speed bump...the hourglass i ordered arrived shattered and completely useless. after a quick call to amazon the situation was resolved and i had a new fully intact hourglass on my doorstep the following day, crisis averted.

setup/lighting

with needing to light several different elements evenly and wanting to not have to re-position lights, i set about to make that happen

for the key light i used a Paul C buff Alien Bee in a diffused beauty dish. i wanted it fairly close to me so to avoid light spill i flagged the front with gaffers tape

lighting the hourglass was a particular challenge because of the curved reflective surface it was pulling in reflections from everywhere and i wanted to only highlight the shape. i ended up shooting from a side angle with a snooted studio strobe.

for the sand–much like smoke–it needed to be somewhat lit from behind yet i didn't want that light to interfere with the rest of the setup, especially the hourglass (refer to previous paragraph.) the solution was to add another studio strobe in a diffused strip bank behind me and angled slightly downward to accent the falling sand and also to add a slight rim/hair light to separate me from the background

shooting

knowing it was going to be a composite everything had to stay as is lighting-wise and i had to work within those confines

i first shot myself head on to get my initial expression. i took enough to get what i needed then moved onto the sand portion. remaining in the same position as before, i had a bag filled with very fine playground sand and slowly poured it over my head allowing it to fall down my shoulders and onto the table. this would act as the basis for the sand portion of the shot

next i put my scull–well not my actual scull–onto a lighting stand and made sure it was at the exact height/position that my head was initially so when i composited everything it would more or less line up. i shot it with and without pouring sand on it as i want to have options when i put it all together

finally, i knew i wanted some sand flying in the breeze as my mortal soul withered away from my face so i attached a blow dryer onto a light stand and slowly poured the sand into the wind stream again being conscience of where my head was originally

once i felt i had all the elements i needed to create the composite it was off to photoshop, but not before first cleaning up the huge mess made by blowing sand in my garage, it literally got on everything and even got inside my lighting modifiers...it.was.everywhere

editing

the edit for this was pretty straightforward but did take a little trickery with the smudge tool to blend the skin, sand, and the scull together cohesively.

final thoughts

i was really happy with the final results of this image and it was spot on the vision i had in my head. going forward i do need to create some type of containment system if i attempt anything like this again as it was a total mess throughout my garage/studio

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and click on the little bell to allow notifications that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

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heads or tails: behind the scenes and speed edit

here is the–much asked for–behind the scenes post for my two-face image i posted last week

for this image i knew i wanted to go with recreating the version of Harvey Dent (aka two face) from the dark night movie series so i studied the look and knew that it was going to take a bit of photography, practical makeup effects and photoshop to make the whole thing work seamlessly

preparation

for the practical makeup i bought a resin manikin bust so that i could work up the burned pieces and tendons freely and could experiment as i went along. having never worked with liquid latex before, i studied some youtube videos (some good, some not so good) and then finally set about the process of creating the half burnt look

i applied latex to the entire area i was going to be working on as a stable base for what was to come. i made all the tendons and built up burned areas by painting the latex in several layers onto was paper and then peeled them off once dried and applied them to the head

to add texture and grit to the burned areas i glued coarse black pepper with more latex and then once dried i began applying the paint, building up the colors along the way

for the eye, i used instamorph which is a heat activated plastic that you heat up in hot water and then can mold until it cools and forms into a hard plastic once again. i printed a photo of my pupil and glued it on, i knew i was going to use parts of my actual eye in photoshop but wanted a decent placeholder for where it would rest in the eye socket and also to cast the proper shadows when lit

for the jacket, i first used a small torch that is used to to make creme brulee to make the deep holes and singe the edges, then used a paint stripper to distress the rest of the side of the jacket. finally i added some paint and actual burnt pieces from my grill into the mix to add to the realism and gave the whole thing a final burning with the stripper to get the bubbly burnt effect.

setup and shoot

for the lighting i had a beauty dish with a Paul C buff Alien bee above and angled down for the key light and two more alien bees behind me and angled in, one gelled blue and the other gelled red

i had one last light in front of me with a set of barn doors and aimed at the gray seamless background on the floor. this light kicked up a little light into my eyes and under my hands to keep them from getting lost to the darkness

i shot the image in pieces starting with the manikin head first, making sure to have the height and position at my same height.

next i shot myself in a variety of poses and facial expressions so that i had plenty to choose from. i also shot myself flipping the coin which was not easy to catch while trying to look at the camera so there was a bit of chasing the quarter around after each shot

finally i shot my eye and my teeth. i pried my eyelid open as much as i could to get as much of the white and full iris to use later for the composite. for the teeth, i knew i wanted to use my real teeth and since it isn't easy to pull back the mouth without getting fingers in the shot, i bought the game "speak out" which has these dental devices that pull back the jaw skin and expose the teeth.

i wanted to light the teeth since they were to be exposed so i put a speedlight right up to my cheek and to my surprise, it really hurts when it fires against your skin. it's like a hot smack on the cheek so needless to say, i moved it back away from my cheek after the first initial jolt

editing

once i had all that i need in the way of shots, it was off to photoshop and about 5hrs worth of editing to mesh all the pieces together. i must say that it went together much less painless than anticipated and i owe that to making sure everything was aligned in camera as best as i possibly could while shooting

for the background i created the campaign poster in illustrator then brought it into photoshop and blended it with a wall i shot at Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine.

final thoughts

i was extremely pleased with the final results of this experiment and for never having used liquid latex before i was very happy with how that turned out as well and will continue to pursue this process for future projects

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

.
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Death in my hands – speed edit

it is speed edit Friday here at Godriguezart and I have an oldie but a goodie and a tale of frustration and perseverance with the first time I ever worked with a model and a new camera

setup/lighting

As stated above, this was the first time for me working on a shot like this with a model and also out on location so it was a bit daunting to begin with. i tried to use my newly acquired canon 5D MIII for the shoot but ended up having extreme difficulties with it not wanting to communicate with my flashes, which ended up being later found out to be a much needed firmware update to my pocket wizards

when Angejolie Belle approached me to do the shoot, she sent me some looks she had collected and wanted something a bit dark, mysterious and woodsy, so i had the perfect location just up the road from my house in Medard park. the park is full of trees that look as though they are lifting themselves out of the dirt and about to start walking due to them growing on a hill and the sand eroding away.

since my pocket wizards were not firing i went with the available light and timed it when passing clouds were overhead to even out the midday sun as i neglected to bring any type of scrim with me to filter the light i will have to say a huge thanks to Angejolie for being so patient during my flash issues and working with me to shoot when the light was optimum throughout our session

editing

once we had something i could work with, it was off to photoshotopia land to edit away. as you can see in the video, i tried many different effects for the interaction with the skull itself and finally came up with the final spectral aura you see by using a combination of the smudge tool and layer blending

final thoughts

for all the headaches during the shoot i was extremely happy with the final results and have more still to come from this shoot. i learned a ton from the mishaps of that day and was fortunate to have been working with someone who was totally understanding through it all

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

...enjoy

.
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flash! aaaaaahhh

it is speed edit Friday and I have a villainous one for you

for a recent self portrait Sunday challenge at the art of self portraiture community we had a challenge of “heroes and villains” to which I chose villain

I have always loved the campy sci-fi of Flash Gordon and his arch enemy Ming the merciless so I set about to create an image with myself as him

setup

part of ming”s identity is his very distinctive head piece so after giving it some thought I used a piece of mat board to cutout the rather large circular shape and collar. I sprayed the edges with gold paint and attached some red velvet material to the inside area which somewhat resembled the look of his

the next step was getting rid of my hair as Ming is shaved bald. Being my first attempt at using a bald cap I stumbled through it and in fact ripped the very light rubberized cap and re-glued it together using liquid latex and used a clothespin to secure the dangling flap of rubber in the back

Lighting

for the key light I went with a +Paul C. Buff, Inc. alien bee in a gridded spotlight just to camera left. For a slight side light I used another gridded spot heavily gelled red. Finally rounding out with a third strobe again gelled red in a set of barn doors low to the ground behind me and positioned up towards the back of my head

after some test shots I decided it needed a bit of kick so I brought in the smoke machine and misted up the room and that made the back light really come alive.

once I had what I needed for shots it was off the photoshopland for editing

editing

there were a few things to consider when I went to edit and the main one was blending my actual head to the rubber bald cap, but breaking out my trusty stamp tool this was not too much trouble to blend the two

I added his signature high eyebrows and eyeliner also in Photoshop ​ and adjusted out the overall form of things as well

final thoughts

though I was very pleased with the results, I want to eventually redo this shot with emphasis on matching his costume more closely as well as doing a better job with attaching a bald cap to my head and some other little details that would make it even more like the original character. It was definitely a learning experience using the bald cap in general and opens up a whole new avenue of shot ideas I have going forward

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

.
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tell me a story

want to see behind the scenes, sneak peeks and unscripted–usually embarrassing–content of how i create my work? then follow along at my Godriguezart instagram account

you will see high quality, riveting content like the video below all from the safety and convenience of your smartphone, tablet or computer device...act now, operators are standing by

follow along here: https://www.instagram.com/godriguezart/

...enjoy

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bad case of stripes

it is speed edit Friday here at Godriguezart and I have a fun one for you today entitled "bad case of the stripes" which is an homage to the david shannon illustration from the book bad case of the stripes with my daughter belle as the model. it is working on pieces like this with her that i really love doing what i do for the sheer fact that she is so into getting it right and had no problem shooting over and over again until we got the facial expressions correct as well as much of her posturing

setup and shoot

the lighting was simple, a 48" octo with a studio strobe just slightly offset and nearly right above her as i wanted slightly flat, yet even light to match the book's illustration.

after several–many–shots to get her expression correct it was off to photoshoplandia to hand-paint in the stripes as well as adjust her features to give her more of a cartoonish, surreal look

post production

I went in and hand drew all the various colored lines across her face and body and initially had them all as “hue/saturation” adjustment layers but quickly found issue where the colors met that they would effect each other and made a smooth transition between the lines nearly impossible. So instead, I filled each layer with the color of choice and set the blending mode to “overlay” as this blended the color smoothly into the skin and all but ended any weirdness between the seams of the lines

I didn’t have a bow handy for the shot so I drew the bow in illustrator and then brought it into photoshop to give it depth and color. I love bringing hand drawn elements into my work as it further blurs the lines of reality and fantasy and expands the possibilities when creating

finally I did a little push and pull on the overall shape of her head and torso to further add to the cartoonish/illustrative nature of the piece and bring it again closer to the original illustration

final thoughts

I love when I can work with my family in my art pieces as it brings a very personal element to the subject at hand. My wife and daughters have appeared in many of my pieces and I hope that will continue long into the future

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVYwzQ3oOfo
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speed edit friday thursday

just realized today that while i was away friday i neglected to post a new speed edit friday video, but will rectify that situation today

this is an edit for my image "the changeling"

the inspiration for the shot comes from the movie poster for the 1980's movie The Changeling which was an incredibly spooky movie. the original poster was an illustration but i wanted to capture the original creepiness of the drawing in a photo

setup and shoot

first i had to find an old wheelchair and after putting out a search via the social networks i turned to craigslist and low and behold i found one. where i had to go and pick it up from what was a pretty run down trailer park and murdered after answering craigslist ad type headlines were racing through my head through the entire transaction. luckily i left with the wheelchair and my life so that is a good thing

next i needed a wood floor and a long room. my neighbor happened to be in the process of moving so his dining room provided the long wall i needed. since there was carpeting in the room and i wanted a wood floor, i bought a couple boxes of clickable faux wood flooring and was ready for the shoot on the day of the shoot i started to assemble the flooring when i realized i had made a big mistake on the estimation on how much flooring i needed and came up way short. since the flooring store was closed that day and i was so far into the setup already, i decided to shoot the flooring in pieces.

i shot the main parts of the shot with the wheelchair empty and then again with me in it to throw the shadowy figure on the wall. i then moved the wood floor several times and made enough shots that i could piece it together later to have a full floor i then brought everything into photoshop and painstakingly reassembled the floor via the various shots and finished out the other modifications till i had the final shot complete

this was an extremely difficult shot to accomplish mostly due mostly to the logistics of creating the floor and trying to get in and out of the wheelchair without changing it's position since it doesn't have any kind of braking mechanism on it

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed

if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmEVvEeH-2g&t=3s
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justice is lost – speed edit

it is speed edit Friday here at godriguezart and I have a new one queued up for you that I think you will like

I have worked a few times now with model Angejolie belle and we have a pretty good rapport going so when she approaches me with ideas for shots I am pretty much on board and so when she came to me with an idea for a cool lady justice shot I was like “yeah, I got a sword and scales already, let’s do it”

after some discussion we came to the conclusion the shots should be stoic and with a statuesque feel to it, so she brought in HMUA Priscilla Monnique Artistry to work her magic and turn her to stone…and that she did

Lighting/ setup

the lighting for the shot consisted of one +Paul C. Buff, Inc. Alien bee studio strobe in a gridded octobox for the key light and another one low to the ground and placed in a set of barn doors to control the spill.

I bought a new smoke machine last year when they have their big day after Halloween sale at the Spirit Halloween store. Sad thing is have had this wonderful device all this time and had yet to use it so I decided to finally pull it out and give it a go. This smoke machine is extra cool because you can put regular ice in it and it makes the regular fog juice act like dry ice…I love the way it creeps. After the first couple test shots I damn near peed my pants with excitement for what I was seeing on my LCD.

we did a couple of different poses and once I had what I needed to work with it was off to photoshopia for editing

editing

sometimes less is more and sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone, I shall explain.

as you can see in the video, when I first started working on the image I started bringing in background textures, gothic arches, and other artifacts into the piece. Nothing seemed to be working and everything seemed forced so I got rid of everything and scaled back to the original image with just a little extra added smoke for effect…and that was exactly what it needed.

adding extra elements for the sake of just to add them is never a good path to tread and sometimes the best practice is to just keep it simple and let the image speak for itself and that is exactly what I ended up doing

as always, if you have any questions about any part of my part of my work feel free to ask, I am always happy to further explain if needed
if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe to my youtube channel and that way you will be informed when new ones are released

…enjoy

.

photographer: me – www.godriguezart.com
model/wardobe: Angejolie belle – IG - @angejoliebellemodel
HUMA: Priscilla Monnique artistry – IG - @priscillamonniqueartistry

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