Featured Photographer – Lela Smith

Tell us a bit about the image?

Kailyn Lance and I have been working together for several years, and in each session, we just have this fantastic transformative experience where we really get to dive into our art and just bring out the best in each other.

This Body piece is an original design and was handmade by myself. I utilized red and clear chandelier pieces to mimic the striped pattern of a classic candy cane look. For the hair, I purchased a wig and stylized and embellished it with foam candy and poinsettia baubles. My incredible hair and make-up artist, Olivia Lee, owner of GOREgeous Make-up by Liv, created a fantastic look combining editorial make-up with fun candy and anime-style elements that tied the entire piece together.

We held the session at Disheveled Decor, a beautiful backyard venue in Virginia Beach. The set was stylized by Brooke Grindle and featured evergreens, Christmas lights, faux snow, a fireplace, rugs, a couch, and candles on golden pillars.

What inspired you to take the shot?

This session was Candy Cane inspired, and we wanted to capture the fun and whimsical vibes of this seasonal treat in a new and unique way that we haven’t seen before.

What gear did you use for the shot?

We had perfect lighting the day of the photoshoot, so I set aside my flash and used natural light and my D750 coupled with a Tamron 2.8f 70-200 lens to capture the Christmas tree images. When we moved into the bubble tent, I switched to my Nikon 24-120mm f/4 and set up my light wand on top of the tent to light Kailyn with continuous lighting.

Tell us about the editing process?

We wanted to emulate the feeling of whimsy with these photos, and to accomplish this look, I added a lot of painterly style editing to the final images. I used portraiture, frequency separation, dodge and burn, clone stamping, overlays, color grading, and lightroom effects to refine the photos. Then I added a beautiful glow effect with my Oniric Photoshop plug-in.

How does this piece reflect you as an artist?

The resulting piece is incredibly reflective of my art as a whole. I am both a runway designer and a fantasy/boudoir photographer, and in this piece, I was able to combine all elements of my art. From the originally designed body piece, handcrafted by myself, to the gorgeous painterly look of the final images, this entire session was curated to be reflective of my current place in my artistic journey. I can not express how proud I am of myself and my amazing team of fellow artists.

Photographer: @lela.smith.photography

Model: @lancekailyn

Body Chain Set: @lela.smith.photography

HMUA: @goregeousmakeupbyliv 

Set Designer: @disheveled_decor_llc 

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