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12 Dresses – by Sarah Boutilier

My sewing teacher and Friend Marianne, wanted to have a ball with the new English Country Dancing group she joined a year ago. Her excuse to have the ball was to cel-ebrate 55 years in Canada. To get people involved she decided to make 12 dresses and 8 vests for some of the hard core members of the group. I made my own dress.

When she first told me of the idea I volunteered to do portraits of people all lovely and dressed up. Here was my chance to try to recreate painted portraits with a modern tool, and yet still make them have all the charm a regency portrait painting would.

I had asked a good Friend to assist me on the day. What a huge help he was. Suggesting to people how they should sit, asking them to take off watches and glasses that looked too modern. He had set up the lighting and even moved the table from one side of the set to the oth-er.

For my purpose, I had borrowed from Rob a mottled brown back drop that completely fit the bill along with a backdrop stand, and a 20 prime lens. How I LOVE the 20. I almost bought one at Christmas, but I had to pay up front and they had to order it from the Canon warehouse, maybe next Christmas bo-nus. For now I’m lucky to be able to borrow Robs.

Along with the back drop I brought some props. Books, teacups and saucers, a makeshift table cloth and another to contrast over that. This would give people a choice of things to hold onto so they may feel more comfortable. Some didn’t because I think it may have looked too contrived. But those touch-es come out very well in the photos.

Originally was going to borrow Rob’s 400 Alien Bees, but when I thought of even more things to carry to the venue, I decided to go with two speed lights with soft boxes over them instead. They worked quite well until the batteries started to run low. I tried to push the speed lights until they were nearly dead, which was a bad idea because when I went to edit them, I realized I had lost detail I wasn’t able to bring back.