Looking like they’ve jumped right out of a fairytale, Maegan McDowell’s recent beauty shoot creations are striking, captivating, and incredibly unique. Utilising flowers, insects , and metallic and bright tones, she brings to life a delightfully eclectic series of images. “I had been looking at ways to incorporate more colour and interest into your standard beauty shoot, and the idea of using insects has been on my list of things to shoot for awhile,” Maegan explains of the unusual concept.
The old saying of there being only two degrees of separation in New Zealand rang true when it came to hunting down a local insect collector. “I knew [insects] could come in some awesome metallic colours, so the tricky part was to try and find a source in New Zealand who sold them. After a Facebook post a friend of a friend posted to say they collected them! That’s where social media is just fantastic.”
Maegan worked with make-up artist Aleisha McNabb for this personal shoot series. Maegan says she likes to give her team a lot of creative freedom when working on personal projects, and this shoot wasn’t any different. Aleisha was excited to be playing with insects, and she always likes using bold colours. The flower choices were selected from Maegan’s own collection. “Flowers are second nature for me now, I have so many dried flowers lying around that I grab a colour and allow my make-up artist to match the tones.”
Every detail was taken into account for this shoot, right down to the model’s face shape, and which style they’d best showcase. “I chose my models specifically to either showcase insects (strong, bold look) or florals (soft, young look). That’s the beauty about doing your own personal shoots, you can be outrageously creative or not. I chose to push the boundaries of my make-up artist with these shots to create stunning content. It also gave me the chance to head in a new direction, somewhere I’ve been wanting to go without having to wait for someone to pay me to do it! Sometimes you’ve just got to take the initiative,” Maegan explains.
Maegan used the Sony α7R III and put the camera’s 42MP resolution and colour range capabilities to the test. While trialling the camera on this project she found that the smaller body size fit nicely into her hand, and the Eye AF feature saved her a lot of time during shooting. Maegan says that one of the challenges she usually faces when doing beauty shoots is that the images often aren’t as sharp and crisp as she wants them to be, particularly when she’s not using a tripod. “This can be very irritating, but Sony’s 5-axis stabilisation system has fixed this problem.”