Turning Japanese

A while ago, I  purchased a Kimono style outfit at an op shop for just $8 and thought it would be fun to turn someone into a Geisha for a photoshoot.  Instead of choosing someone with black hair and brown eyes, I went for a blue eyed blonde to give myself the ultimate challenge.  No point not stretching yourself.

The lovely Kirsty modelled for me and I documented the process in a series of photographs by putting the camera on a tripod in the studio and just clicking everytime I finished a bit of make up.   Since then, I’ve learned that my camera does it’s own timelapse however that wouldn’t have given me the same freedom to step out of the shot everytime or indeed pick and choose the photos I would use.  So I  used the slow method of taking each shot individually and the change was remarkable.

I googled the make up of a geisha and thought I would breeze through it but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.  White pan make up is difficult to apply smoothly and so I wasn’t too sure that it was really going to look any good until after I put the wig on.  The wig is a dreadful synthetic piece which sheds hair everytime you look at it but in a photo it was perfect.  It cost me $13 in a costume shop. I added a few bits and pieces I had such as hair combs with dangly bits on to it for effect.

I took all the photos into Adobe Lightroom and batch processed them so they were all the same  (brown eyes added in Photoshop) and then put them all together in a slideshow.  Lightroom has a slideshow function though it isn’t what I used for this.  I have used Proshow Producer for years and prefer to use that.  I thought that was all I was going to do to the photos but then, when I’d started to finally do composite photos, I decided to take my favourite of the day’s shoot and add to it.

On a recent trip to China, I had snapped a photo of a beautiful water feature in front of a hotel in Xi’an.  I made this the background of the photo and put my lovely Geisha in front of it.  I was really happy with the result.

A costume for a photoshoot doesn’t have to be as detailed as one you would wear to a party or perhaps a cosplay event.  It just has to convey the look and with Photoshop and Lightroom, you can add to the effects to make it what you want.  In my next blog I will show you how to change the eye colour to whatever you want, including a rainbow if that’s what you choose.

Please click on the video to see the timelapse slideshow that I created.





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