When the topic “hot and cold” was announced at Photosport, I had the idea of an image  with ice cream and “hot” lips. I had to master some challenges before I had the final image in my hand.

Finding Ice Cream

The selection of water ice is not so good in the wintertime . I went to all grocery stores in Stuttgart West and others in the city. Very, very small was the offer! At the gas stations, the freezers are also not proper filled in winter. I had an exact idea about the ice cream on my mind: A bright colorful water ice cream. Something that provides a good color contrast to the lipstick. I thought about this cheap water ice cream, called “Mr. Freeze”, in these transparent plastic bags which we as kids have sucked on until the color was gone and there was just plain ice left. Unfortunately I couldn’t  get it. We ended up with “Dolomiti” and “Capri”.

The Model, the Lipstick, the Posing

It wasn’t that hard to find a model. Karo immediately said “Yes” when I asked her. I knew about her taste for colorful lipstick, she just had to invest in new lip gloss and we had to find a date for the shooting. This was not easy and short before running out  of time (for uploading to Photosport), we got together.

Working with Karo was a joy! She likes to do stupid things like I do and followed my instructions very well. Sucking on the ice cream while posing in front of a camera was not an easy job, because ice cream is cold. She was not able to be steady for a while and  change her pose only slightly, what I would’ve preferred. Eventually, her lips and tongue were freezing cold and she had to do something. And the ice cream melted away, so she had to fight against the dripping. Since I don’t have much experience with portrait shooting, I need my time and like to develop the scenes/images step-by-step, together with the model, with only small changes at the time. But when a model, due to ice cold reasons, is constantly changing the pose, things are different. Karo got cold, I was sweating. AND I wanted to have the perfect light reflections on the lips, thus the position to the light was also important.

But we had fun at “work” , despite all these challenges!

Camera, Lens, and Light

William, a friend, photo enthusiast, and Fuji-X shooter, lend me its new 56 mm f/1.2 lens (thanks again, William!). This is a great lens, and my plan was: shoot photos wide open with a shallow DOF. No way! My Studio lights are much too strong (400 WS) and I cannot dial them down enough. Crap! I put an ND filter on the lens to reduce the incoming light and to be able to open the aperture. But then the auto focus struggled to nail the focus. Finally I switched to my 18-55 mm lens. And actually, the plan with the shallow DOF wasn’t that good anyway, because I wanted to shoot only part of her face, together with the ice cream plus the background was plain white.

Well, maybe I can borrow the lens again, for portrait shots without strong (studio) lights. I used my Fuji X-T1 and fired the flashes with my Yongnuo radio triggers.

I wanted to achieve a very bright look to the images with a plain white background. With my killer series images, for which I had (thanks to Sven) gaffer-taped a white plastic shower curtain in the door frame, lit from from behind with a strobe (made it into a giant softbox), I like very much, how the light wrappes around the model and how the background is pure white and bright. Since I now have an Octobox, dia. of 1.5 m, this became the background (-light) and the shower curtain could stay in the shower.

The key was a beauty dish and I used no other lights or reflectors. I know there are hot spots on nose and forehead but I was aiming at her mouth anyway. Left: only background light, right top: Background and main light, right bottom: crop.

In the above images on Karo hadn’t put on the lip gloss yet. In PP I de-saturated and brightened the skin tones a bit. Then we started with the ice cream:

Initially the last two above were my favorites for Photosport but I decided to use this one:

Some more:

When the ice had melted…

…I used my new toy for a couple more images:

Thank you Karo for your patience and for eating tons of ice cream!
BTW we won the challenge on Photosport with our image ;)