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As I confessed last time,  my new self portrait is not one pure, single-image self portrait… it’s four. My scarf and legs are from test shot one, my arm is from test shot three, my face came from test shot four,  and a few extra folds and details of my scarf were taken from test shot two in order to smooth out the final image. There were only four test shots though, and I used them all to merge into one final image. It’s just a shame that I didn’t use any of the actual bootless shots instead, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes our test shots surprise us.

Actually, test shots have never surprised me before, because that’s all they are; they’re the shots taken to make sure everything is in focus, I’m in the correct place, the lighting and settings are all good to go, etc, etc, etc. I keep complaining about how cold it was to stand with almost bare feet in the four-inch snow, but really, I ought to stop – it definitely made life easier, knowing exactly where to stand. Much more effective than the faint chalk mark left when location managers simply won’t allow a cross of tape.

I’m not really one for excessive use of Photoshop. I prefer to go au naturel as much as possible, attempting to perfect the lighting, colours and overall look of the image in camera, so that that final Photoshop Curve/Level tweak is there purely to manipulate my colours a touch. I like my shadows with a hint of blue.

Therefore, cutting and merging so many images in this way was quite a rare thing for me, but I am definitely pleased with the final result, after about three hours of carefully pasting image upon image, blending limbs with limbs and hiding third arms with feathered brushes. Finally, a quick curve layer gave my colours a slight ‘pop’, and voila. I hope you like the final result, which can be seen here, as much as I do.

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Snowy Self Portrait: BTS & Editing

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I spend twenty minutes in the ankle-deep snow, my feet covered with just a pair of tights, dressed in a summer skirt, tank top, and a very thin cardigan, hoping I don’t lose any of my precious toes to frost bite for the sake of a self portrait… I make the short, numb walk home, my tights sodden and unpleasant in the rubber boots, and after preparing a much-needed bowl of hot water to help thaw out my feet, I look through the images that I have just minutes earlier created. And what do I decide? That my favourite snap is this one – one of my test shots taken while I was still wearing boots and a cardigan… it’s typical, isn’t it?

Actually, that sentence is not entirely accurate; what i ought to say is that the cluster of images that were merged to create this final piece all happened to be test shots. I’ve posted a BTS editing post here. None of the ‘real deal’, boot-less images worked for me, and so instead, here we have it. I did for a while begin to slowly edit-out the wellington boots, cutting in legs from yet another image, thinking that if I had just risked the lost of several tootsies for the sake of a self portrait, at least you were going to see it. I gave in soon enough, however, and honestly, I’m happy with the final result.

This is a spot where I have shot many times now, being just a thirty-second walk from my apartment. It’s a quiet, peaceful old Victorian cemetery that no longer creeps me out – honestly – and inspires me. I’d never go there without a model, creative team, or in this case, a tripod, however. I’m not someone who can wander cemeteries simple for the solitude of it, nor would you ever find me perched atop a tomb with my ideas moleskine in hand, but when I’ve gathered a creative team and selected a model (even if that model is myself), I find a great source of inspirational energy, and everything always just comes together.

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Snowy Self Portrait

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