Some people might already know this about me, but if you don’t, maybe you should sit down.  Are you ready?  Here it comes… I like to craft.  When I’m not squishing a camera into my face taking pictures of wonderful people, I’m making things with fabric, thread, glue, wood, whatever.  And all that crafting has actually led to a little side project of mine: Snarky Sleeves.  I started making reusable coffee cup sleeves with snarky phrases on them and people liked them and started buying them.

A while back I found a kind of support group for busy, overachieving people like me who make stuff and sell it as a “hobby:” the Chicago Craft Mafia.  We’re a group of like-minded small business owners with businesses that revolve around craft, art, and handmade goods.  We put together resources for other small craft business owners, networking events, and the DIY Trunk Show, which had about 8,000 shoppers and 150 vendors last year.  We’re busy people!

Busy people who decided we wanted matching headshots and an awesome group photo.  My specialty.  I designed these headshots to feature all the members in our group colors of red, white, and black and paired our red, white, and black clothing with a black backdrop and some heavy backlighting to separate us from the backdrop… and of course, flattering soft lighting because we want to look our best.  We each held our “crafty weapon of choice” and donned a slightly conniving facial expression.  We are the Mafia, after all.

Then came the real challenge… One of the members caught a nasty flu bug and suddenly couldn’t make it to the headshot day.  Not a problem for the individual headshots because I can easily re-create the studio set-up and take a photo of her later to match the rest.  But it was a BIG problem for getting a group photo of all of us.  Here’s what I did… follow me on this…

I took a photo outdoors just before sunset with 2 strobe lights and the camera on a tripod, setting it on a timer and jumping into the photo at the last second.  I left a little room between some people to add our missing member later.  She came back at a later date and we took the photo at the same time of day with the lights and the tripod in about the same place (as best as I could remember) and the lens at the same focal length and shutter/aperture settings.  Then I did my best to cut her out of the photo and stitch her image into the group photo, then simulate some shadows as if she had been there all along.

It was a lot of work, but looks pretty awesome!

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