My wife recently wanted to do a project for her grandmother as a Christmas project. It involved recreating an image of her great grandmother, Georgia, on her wedding day. My wife, Melissa, already owned the wedding dress but she had to do some work to actually look like Georgia. The wedding was in 1930, so this is now 82 years later.
My wife has very long straight hair and Georgia had rather short hair with a wave to it. Georgia also wore a pearl necklace, which we did not have. Melissa did up her hair as best she could and we made a necklace out of a string of Kix cereal pieces. In real life, the necklace certainly didn’t look like pearls with their uneven shape and the color was way off, but I knew I was going to convert to black and white and I could fix some of the roundness later. It should work great at least as a place holder.
So, keeping an eye to the shadows in the original photo I set Melissa in the same kind of lighting. At first I wasn’t getting the shine on the waves of the hair quite the same, so I set up another light for highlights. I positioned Melissa as close to the same position and she tried to do the same sort of non-smile as Georgia.
After the photo was taken, I converted it to Black and white with a black and white adjustment layer in Photoshop. I like this form of conversion because, instead of converting to grayscale, I can manually adjust the dark/brightness of the different colors on their own. After that I did some minor dodging and burning, adjusted the contrast with a curves adjustment layer, and finally put a layer with noise over the top to give it an older look.
I asked Melissa if she wanted me to Photoshop her appearance to look more like Georgia, particularly her neck is longer, but we decided to just leave it be. I think it has more meaning that she is herself and comes from Georgia, rather than just making her look like Georgia.
Overall, I think the recreation was a good success. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.