Using natural materials such as flowers, petals and leaves I've created a series called 'Living Textures’. I setup a single flash with a grey backdrop behind me. I tethered the camera to my computer so I could easily check the sharpness of the image on each shot. I used a black headband to keep hair off my face to make compositing easier later down the line. After doing a few poses I selected one that I felt would work best. This was a straight on pose which provided more skin to wrap over a texture.
I retouched the portrait shot, smoothing out skin tones, enhancing the shadow and highlight areas. Once that was done I moved over to creating a texture. I masked the material (leaf/petal/flower) and then created a repeating pattern. I did this by duplicating each layer, positioning it below the previous and repeating the steps. I speeded up the process by grouping layers together so I could bulk copy and paste them position. I was attempting to see if I could create scales or some similar look you get on reptiles, but made of leaves.
When I started to think of wildlife I thought I’d introduce other visual elements into the mix. Some animals which have camouflage have prominent parts such as the lips or eyes where colouration or patternation changes.
On my first edit I added a warm tone to the lips, working along the lines of colour theory and using a complimentary colour. As the edit progressed I dropped in a background image which I added a Gaussian blur so the eye isn’t distracted away from the main subject.
Using multiple layers I slowly built up ambient light coming in from behind the subject. It gives the image a hazy quality which I feel compliments the piece well.
The headpiece was created from another part of the same plant/bush. I duplicated multiple times to create something that can be viewed as either hair or a crown. To help make the elements gel with the head better I gently masked out the base of the headpiece. This is to give the illusion that they sprouted from the head. Shadow is also important here, so a levels adjustment was used to reduce brightness between the forehead and headpiece. This increases the overall believability that the headpiece is actually sitting on the head (contact shadow).
Once my first image (green leaves) was completed the one thing I believed I could improve upon was the texture. I felt that it was too regimental and needed a more organic flow/arrangement. In my other pieces, I would place a flower in the centre and work around them, changing directions, size or spacing. In the final versions of the other images I think they have much more impact.