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Un Aperçu du Rouge

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Typically, I don't focus my work around being anything conceptual or complicated, but I have felt inspired lately to create images based on specific themes. In this case, I wanted to create a series centered around something simple: my second favorite color. This color just so happens to be red, second to only the wonderful color green. For this series, I'm working on creating images that have a simple but high-fashion, editorial feel. I want these images to be crisp and vibrant. But considering I don't have a photo studio and I'm in no way a makeup artist, it was a bit of an adventure and a challenge.

Now, people always seem to think to create this style of image, you have to have a costly studio, a professional model, a makeup artist, and tons of expensive props. Well, that just isn't true. Here's a quick look into my "studio."

Exciting and fancy, I know. Poster-board, chip-clips, lots and lots of duct tape all set up in my kitchen, my living room, or my spare bedroom in the middle of the night. Yes, it's a traveling studio. It's not the prettiest setup, but it gets the job done! And if I did not have access to lights, it could easily use a window instead.

The matte red poster board serves as my backdrop. The two matte blackboards on each side are meant to absorb any excess light. Without them, the white walls in my apartment would cause unwanted shadows and highlights on my subject's face. These, as previously stated, are held up using duct tape and chip clips, which are attached to light stands.

Required Materials:

  • Red Lipstick ($7)

  • Red Face Paint ($5)

  • Red Flowers ($15)

  • Poster Board - 1 red, 2 black ($1 each)

  • Optional: Tape, Clips, Reflector, Light Stands

  • Model

Cost: Roughly $30

Time: 1hr Prep, 2.5 hrs shooting: 3.5 hours

For my light, I use a single strobe and a softbox to create soft shadows. For props, we grabbed some fake flowers from the craft store. My favorite tip for props is to leave the price tags on! There's no point in keeping something you'll never use again! Just have your model cover up the price tag! As for equipment, I used my Canon 5D Mark IV and my 70-200 mm, 2.8f lens. I love the way this lens compresses the background, not to mention the clarity it provides. I also don't like being uncomfortably in my subject's face, so this lens allowed me to keep my distance. To make sure every detail of my subject is in focus, I try to keep my aperture in a mid-range - too shallow, and the details fall away. In this case, I kept my aperture at 11.

As far as time commitment goes, it took roughly 2.5 hours to complete the photoshoot, between set up, take down, and changes in hair and makeup. Gathering props and materials was pretty simple and straightforward - everything was either from my local craft store or the dollar store. And I'm sure you already know, editing time completely varies based on the creator, as everyone has different styles and preferences.

The last, but not least essential details I'd like to mention is the makeup and my model. Now, if you know my model, she's not a professional model. She's an amazing, kick-ass welder with a beautiful baby on the way. Yeah, she's 8 months pregnant, but because of the close-up framing, you can't even tell. And she's no makeup artist, either, but you would never know! She can tell you, having modeling experience is not a requirement to create images you are proud of. Just let go and have fun! Don't be afraid to get crazy and randomly smudge $1 face paint across your face (yes, we did that)! Play around and get wild! There is no right or wrong! If you don't like the look, change it!

You'll never regret having images you don't use as long as you had fun trying it.

Overall, I had a ton of fun and really enjoyed bringing this shoot together. One thing I wish I would have done is to take more pictures of behind the scenes, as well as have more variety within my concept. This is definitely a concept I hope to expand more upon in the future, but it wasn't too shabby for a quick, easy, and cheap concept.

Now, I've never done a behind-the-scenes, and honestly, I feel super awkward sharing this post! If this has been interesting to you, if you have any questions, if you like this kind of post and want to see more, or even if you think this was a total waste of your time, please let me know in the comments or in a message! I would love to know what you want to see more of! Thanks for stopping by my TedTalk!


  • Time: 5/5 - really quick and easy! Just have together everything!

  • Price: 5/5 - the materials are super cheap and everything is pretty optional.

  • Concept: 3.5/5 - ended up being too basic and I would prefer to do something more conceptual in the future.

  • Easy: 5/5 - extremely simple, especially for beginners.

  • Execution: 4/5 - I really enjoyed this shoot and the final results, but would like some more variety of images in the future.

Overall: 4.5/5

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