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Blue Beetle 1Cargo by Phlearn Blue Beetle 1Cargo by Phlearn
For a full behind the scenes video, visit [link]
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Lighting

We wanted to keep the lighting fairly simple in these images in order to show off the detail of the beetles, but not become a distraction. It is also important that while the key light is almost directly straight on, that shadow and highlight definition are maintained. If you use a light source that is too large at such a close distance you will wind up with images that don’t have a clear boundary between highlight and shadow.

For the key we used an 11-inch Long Throw reflector, usually reserved for point lights. Because it was so close to our subject, and only a small area needed to be lit, the falloff was not an issue here. This harsh light provides nice highlight detail while also producing shadows.

For the background we used 2 strip lights pointed towards a white seamless. The lights hit the seamless, exposing it properly and because the surface is white, it allowed a lot of light to be reflected. Some of this reflected light came back and hit the back side of the model, giving a faint rim light.

Images are exposed at f/18 ISO 200 1/160 sec. 105mm on a 24-105mm 4.0L IS.

Concept

This shoot was inspired by Rankin‘s amazing series of lips holding things like flowers. We also drew inspiration from the Silence of the Lambs movie poster. I have always thought scarab beetles were beautiful and this was the perfect opportunity to feature them in a photo.

For the concept to come to life we needed an amazing makeup artist who could match the beauty of the insects. For the green scarab we decided to go with complimentary colors, yellow-green and red-violet. This colors play well off each other and allow each to stand out. For the blue beetle we took hints from its natural markings and decided to mimic those in the makeup. Using a dark blue as a base, a light stripe was painted down the middle of the lips. When the beetle was in place the effect took shape, making it look as though the stripe goes from the lips to the beetle.
I am a huge car fan, and I have seen a similar effect done on the Dodge Viper. The way the stripe continues through the steering wheel is pure genius.

Working with Models

Putting giant bugs on a model’s face is a lot to ask. For this shoot we had to find someone who had large lips, great teeth and skin, and was also ok with insects. Be sure all of that is laid out before the day of the shoot so there aren’t any surprises.

There are a couple of things you can do to help your subjects get more comfortable when doing something out of the ordinary. First be sure to show them references of other similar images so they know what they are going to get. If they can imagine the end shot, they are much more likely to have a good time. We also shoot tethered to a laptop so the model can see the images as they are shot. That way they will gain confidence as the shoot goes on and know how to pose for the camera.

We also used a mirror for this shoot so the model could see what she was doing with the beetles. We had her hold them because she has a better sense of pressure than someone else does on her own face. Using a mirror she could place the beetle correctly then pivot slightly for the shot.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-03-18
Blue Beetle 1Cargo by *Phlearn ( Suggested by Minato-Kushina and Featured by astridle )
:iconzunna123456789:
Zunna123456789 Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013
You are like the master of shots!
Reply
:icongingado:
gingado Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013

Your work is featured in my “Pictures at an exhibition 2013 – Part III”. I hope you like it....

gingado.deviantart.com/journal…

Reply
:iconbrennsartattic:
BrennsArtAttic Featured By Owner May 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Featured this here [link] :wave:
Reply
:iconcanadianry:
CanadianRy Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2013
I have featured this photo in my latest journal. Please check it out [link]
Reply
:iconcelestialenvy:
celestialenvy Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2013
Wow! This is awesome!
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:iconlightbringer2025:
Lightbringer2025 Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Great shot!
Reply
:iconaroh-wendelin:
Aroh-Wendelin Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
now that's something
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:iconkazmierczuk:
kazmierczuk Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
Enjoy Your meal! ;D ;D
Reply
:iconsandrasunflower12:
sandrasunflower12 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013  Hobbyist
awesome!
Reply
:iconmnjooschji:
Mnjooschji Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Digital Artist
So... what did it taste like? :meow:
Reply
:icontornadowraith88:
TornadoWraith88 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Like
Reply
:iconvoidspite:
Voidspite Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Brilliant
Reply
:iconthemilwaukeeprotocol:
TheMilwaukeeProtocol Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The absence of texture on her skin is more fascinating to me than the bug. :omfg:
Reply
:icongekkoukitsune:
GekkouKitsune Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's just a mad wicked shot, fantastic stuff
Reply
:icongrammarshinehyena:
GrammarshineHyena Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I am super loving that beetle! It's so pretty! O3O

Was it alive when on the model's mouth, though? Having a live beetle clinging to one's face seems a rather unpleasant experience; plus, I imagine the beetle wouldn't like it much, either. (Please tell me you didn't harm such a beautiful creature when taking the photo. O__O)

Overall, I really enjoy this photo. The concept is interesting and original, and the colours are brilliant! It kind of makes me want to start experimenting with some insect-themed makeup. xD
Reply
:iconkoralene:
Koralene Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
that is gorgeous!
Reply
:iconchillysundance:
ChillySunDance Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love beetles, so naturally I'm not afraid of them. But when you consider how annoying it is to get a larger beetle off your fingers (they dig in with their little claws and are surprisingly strong!) I have to cringe a bit at the prospect of peeling one off my lips.

I actually really love the model's makeup in this picture though. Striking, almost like racing stripes.
Reply
:iconmoonthegreat:
MoonTheGreat Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
They were dead beetles. If they were alive, there would be no problem with peeling them off my lips, because they would never have been there in the first place!!! x3
Reply
:icongermany2961:
Germany2961 Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2013
So the beetles were killed in advance? I too love the make up more than the beetle.
Reply
:iconmoonthegreat:
MoonTheGreat Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I don't think they were killed in advance. They were probably pets or something. You know, people keep bugs as pets, or maybe came from a person who owns bugs and animals and shows them to people as a living (as a bug man. My mom is a preschool director and they have this dude who brings bugs and animals to show the kids) and once those bugs eventually die, they can preserve them and do this kind of stuff. I don't think they would kill the bugs just for makeup.
Reply
:icongermany2961:
Germany2961 Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013
Thanks for the info.
Reply
:iconmayarocks101:
Mayarocks101 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
ewwwwww
Reply
:iconaunn-niji:
Aunn-Niji Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Bugs freak me out, but for some odd reason I like this Bug. :)
Your photo changed me haha.
Great shot.
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:iconiris-may-ayame:
Iris-May-Ayame Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Artist
Eww... But really cool.
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:iconcanadian-rainwater:
Canadian-Rainwater Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional Filmographer
WOW. Just WOW. Great concept and amazing execution ... and kudos to the model for going through with something like this! I love scarab beetles and have picked them up and handled them on occasion, but I don't think I'd ever have the courage to put one on my lips or in my mouth. I love what you've done with the blue lipstick and the white stripe, too. Very nice work!
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:iconmr-nym:
Mr-NYM Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Dinner!
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:iconlhindylourhage:
LhindyLouRhage Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
WOW! That is creepy cool and beautiful at the same time! That was a real live bug???? Ewww, but I love it!!!!
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:iconlobsterrapist:
LobsterRapist Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
EWww
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:iconcatpop:
Catpop Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
Why would you put that in your mouth?! D':
Seriously though. It looks beautiful and so delicate, love that metallic blue :>
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:iconleafyheart:
LeafyHeart Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wooow congrats!!! this is awesome!
Reply
:icondreamer-of-magic:
Dreamer-of-Magic Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013   General Artist
:wow:
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:iconhammedfox:
HammedFox Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow!
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:iconjeenalight:
JeenaLight Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Great Image! Also, Kudos to the model for her willingness to work with a beatle on her face!
Reply
:iconpyrosthenes:
pyrosthenes Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Now I'm hungry!
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:iconunconventionalsenshi:
Omg, I was relieved to learn these were dead and preserved somehow.... otherwise that would be really gross as they could just crawl into the mouth, yuck!!>,<
Anyway, beautiful shot and idea!!! congrats on the DD
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:iconiinkr:
Iinkr Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student General Artist
Wow. Nuff said :D
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:iconcrack-alfred:
Crack-Alfred Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Professional General Artist
EAT IT. EAT IT. EAT IT. EAT IT.
Reply
:iconcarolyn7727:
Carolyn7727 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Writer
Please tell me that the beetle was DEAD
Reply
:iconlunaistoxic:
LuNaIsToXiC Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
b-bug...in...her...mouth....i..would...flip....put DX
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:iconlunaistoxic:
LuNaIsToXiC Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
i mean out not put o-o
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:iconthebirb:
TheBirb Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Artist
poor super beetle XD
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:iconent77:
ENT77 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
I would die. That's terrifying.
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:iconsrcpcsoha:
srcpcsoha Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Congrats on the DD!
Reply
:icontruedragon13:
TrueDragon13 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Writer
This is so beyond words. I love everything. That beetle is gorgeous--I love bugs! The model fits perfectly with this concept, and the lighting and composition is to die for. Fabulous job.
Reply
:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you so much for the detailed description! As much as I appreciate the image for itself, I very much enjoy reading the 'behind the scenes' info about it. I love knowing the artist's intent while looking at an image :)

Also, that is one brave model. There is no way I'd let something like that anywhere near my face, much less in my mouth! Cheers to her :)
Reply
:iconborosdusan:
BorosDusan Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wery good idea and photo is perfect.. i like that... colors on lips is awesome ! perfect
Reply
:iconcursivedragon:
Cursivedragon Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
That is awesomely wicked.
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:iconallyalltheway:
allyalltheway Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
woow... :love:
Reply
:iconiamoret:
iAmoret Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
:iconikillitplz:

Congrats on the DD! :clap:
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Details

Submitted on
March 14, 2013
Image Size
253 KB
Resolution
1000×646
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Stats

Views
13,478
Favourites
1,330 (who?)
Comments
117

Camera Data

Make
Canon
Model
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Shutter Speed
1/160 second
Aperture
F/18.0
Focal Length
105 mm
ISO Speed
200
Date Taken
Jan 2, 2013, 1:30:53 PM
Software
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.3 (Macintosh)
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