A Rockin' Halloween Session

October 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

 We had a conversation months ago about a Halloween mini-session. This family of sisters was going to transform into the members of KISS for Halloween and they wanted to be photographed to remember their day in make-up and costumes.


As the weeks rolled on, I got regular updates on how the costume design and creation was coming along. Thrift stores were visited often for items that had that special look, or that could, with some creative thinking, be repurposed to fit the look they were going for.


When the day finally arrived, they were off to get their make-up done.  There were 4 make-up artists, one for each, and at times, a fifth one stepped in to help out. Each had a photo of the KISS member as a reference as the make-up was applied to make sure the look was just right.

Photos Courtesy of Frances Harper

While all of the make-up was being done, I was busy trying to decide how to dress up the set.  I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do, but ended up deciding to keep it simple to avoid taking away from the characters.


For the first set, I used regular household curtains and draped some creepy cloth (yup, that’s what it’s called) over the curtain to break up the wall of red that was in the background. I brought in some additional items to lay out on the floor to add some depth to the scene instead of just having a plain concrete floor. (That’s me getting blinded while testing the flash trigger)


For the second set, I used some polystyrene insulation sheets that are used for home insulation. One side is a silver foil and I thought that might photograph well and add some contrast to the images.


When the ladies arrived they made sure their costumes were camera ready and even snapped a few pictures of themselves using their camera phones.  I quickly finished up with my lights and one at a time, moved each person onto the homemade set.


Each character had a signature pose, so I made a number of photographs taking advantage of the scene with a wider composition, but also one that was a bit closer to show each character’s face and costume a bit closer.


When each of the individual photos were done, I then brought them all together for a group/band photo. They had the look down, and each added their own flavor of attitude to build on the character they had each created.


We then switched up the look of the group photo by moving to the polystyrene background. As I moved the lights and adjusted them for this new kind of background, the group planned their poses and just had fun together. This is what it looked like while I was getting everything set up.


For this group portrait I wanted to create a layered effect of each of the faces while showing some of the detail of the costume with silver chest plate and shoulder pads. The silver background ended up giving me some trouble because of the reflective quality, but with some careful editing, I was able to reduce the hot spots and balance out the light.

The session moved quickly, but produced great memories and great images of the iconic KISS characters as created by these 4 ladies. It made for a great experience, not just in front of the camera, but also behind it.  


If you’ve a fan of Halloween or just want to create your own photographic experience with friends or family, give us a call. We’ll create memorable images for you to have as a keepsake or to share with others.


Here is how the day turned out, by the numbers:

Costume design and creation: lots and lots of hours.

Hair and make-up preparation: 1 ½ hours.

Wardrobe: 1 hour.

Set design:  2 hours.

Lighting set-up: 1 hour.

Session: 40 minutes.

Photos Taken: 97.



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