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Shooting a Photo of Politicians’ Empty Campaign Promises

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Politricks‘: “the word “politics” altered to convey the empty-campaign promises often experienced after politicians get elected.” About a year ago I had this thought of making a picture from this word.

I needed a suitable location and model who looked like a politician (and who had no problem coming and acting like one). Finding the right location was quite challenging because many of the potential locations were actively used by political organizations, and obviously the content of the image isn’t flattering. So I had to find a sufficiently neutral place for the photoshoot.

After I found a model to pose as the politician and a suitable location, I started sketching the photo in Photoshop and building the props needed for the photo.

A long nose was a tricky prop. At first I thought I could use some kind of latex nose from a costume store, but then I figured out that Styrofoam could do the trick — it’s easy to shape and after coating it with a water-based paint, I sprayed a little bit of lacquer onto it to make it bubble to create the illusion of skin pores.

The lectern was simple — it was made from a glulam tabletop that I had, and because I knew from which angle I was going to shoot the photo, I only needed to make it whole from one side.

The only other props that I needed were some blank paper and posters that I could finish in Photoshop by adding the “campaign” photo to them.

Because of the time we had in the location, both models were photographed separately. That way I didn’t need so many lights and could work quickly and efficiently. The lights I used in this photoshoot were two Godox AD360s, a Godox V1, and a Nikon SB-24.

The politician was photographed with the three lights with rectangular softboxes, one with a honeycomb straight from the top, one from the right, and one light on the left side of the model.

I wanted the cleaner to be a bit in the shadows so I used two softboxes (right behind and in front of her).

After the models were photographed, I took a couple of shots from the scene with one flashlight in different places around the scene.

The last task in the location was to take the “campaign” portrait of the politician, and then it was a wrap. The whole photoshoot was done in 2 hours.

In post-processing, I made the politician’s nose longer, removed lines from the floor, combined the shots into one, and added little details like sawdust on the politician’s jacket, campaign posters to the walls, and papers on the floor.

Here’s a short behind-the-scenes video:

Here’s the finished photo:


About the author: Juhamatti Vahdersalo is a commercial photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Vahdersalo’s work on his website.

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