Only if necessary

I generally recommend doing things only if they need to be done. And one of those things is a make-up artist (a “MUA”). You can be pretty sure that TV producers, for example, would not use make up artists if they were not necessary. But they are. Witness:

Make up artists do not just fix blemishes. They also shape the face so it is suitable for the shoot. Here’s MUA Melissa Telisman doing her thing:

And here’s what that results in:

Glamour and perfection without “photoshopping”, which I am not a fan of. Vut make-up is not just for glamour; not at all. I recommend a MUA and a hair stylist for corporate shoots, too, especially—but not only—if women are involved. If TV shows do it, you can be sure it is necessary, and not a luxury.

Incidentally: do we need the entire person in every shot?


Decidedly no. You get a much more intimate feeling when you do an extreme close-up (an ECU, in movie terms). Try it; experiment in your next shoot and do some shots like the one above. You’ll love them.


Zombies ‘R’ Us

Last night I held a little zombie party. And that prompts me to tell you about the importance of two things in photography.

One is the make-up artist (the “MUA”), who is present at many shoots. Without one, you are limited. You cannot, for instance, change anyone into a zombie, like this:

Or this:

Here’s Melissa, last night’s MUA, working hard on making me ugly (not all that difficult, according to some):

But even for simple shoot, a make-up artist can be essential. Why does professional photography involve so much time (each make-up job took over an hour, in two parts: make-up, then blood and wounds) and money? Because doing a professional job takes real effort, knowledge, and time. Accept the extra expense and do it, next time you have a shoot that needs a professional look – whether that look is beauty or zombie. Same thing, for a good Make-Up Artist.

The second thing is post-processing. While I do what I can in the camera, some things cannot be done there. Like the “Walking Dead” look in these pictures. Here’s Melissa, the Make-Up Artist:

So to get this look I quickly created a Lightroom preset, which I call “zombify”. That makes image 1 below into image 2 below:

Lightroom “Zombify” Develop Preset, by Michael Willems:

  • Temperature 6150K (with my studio flashes)
  • Tint -44 (my version of “Walking Dead Green”)
  • Exposure +0.5
  • Contrast +12
  • Highlights +7
  • Shadows +11
  • Clarity +65
  • Vibrance -42
  • Sharpening 80
  • Noise Reduction 20
  • Post-crop vignetting -27 Highlight Priority

Do those settings (tune to taste), then save as a new preset and you are all set for Halloween. You’re welcome.

The Angel of Death is watching.

Enjoy your Halloween, later this week.


Come to me for a little Lightroom coaching, and I’ll set up your Lightroom structure professionally while we are at it, too.