Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Veasley’

INTERVIEW: Lighting Like a Comic Book for SlickforceGirl

This is an excerpt from a recent interview I did with Rebecca Britt for Fstoppers. Read the full interview here.


Fstoppers/Rebecca Britt: I’m always fascinated when a photographer uses their talents for a greater cause than themselves. SlickforceGirl is a commercial and creative pinup brand that helps raise awareness for women’s causes and breast cancer. I recently had the opportunity to review creator Nick Saglimbeni’s Mastering Lighting series, and I wanted to sit with Nick to discuss his SlickforceGirl campaign and how he uses the techniques taught in Mastering Lighting within the campaign.

FS: I’ve been a fan of your SlickforceGirl brand for a couple of years now. Can you explain to our readers what started the idea of a SlickforceGirl?

Nick Saglimbeni: I originally created SlickforceGirl because I found myself at a crossroads in my art. My career first gained traction in the urban glamour market, an arena which boasts huge fan followings but very little recognition outside of that world. The models are gorgeous and every bit as talented as — and in some cases, more hard-working than — their “mainstream” counterparts, but because they are curvy, or ethnic, or short, they are historically limited to roles such as “music video girls”.

I’ve always seen color, curves and shape as assets rather than hindrances, and I think I instinctively knew how to photograph these women in a way that was different from what had been done before in that world. I wanted to create a diverse universe full of strong female characters for a new generation that isn’t used to every character just being tall, skinny and white.


FS: The scale of your Astronaut Vanessa character looks massive, it looks more like a movie. How did you choose your location and why?

NS: Visually speaking, Vanessa’s story was the most logistically difficult to shoot, but it’s also the most excited I’ve ever been on set. It felt like we were making a feature film, and we all turned into producers trying to find ways to get feature-film production value into a photo shoot budget. I’ll never understand this new era of just compositing everything onto a stock photo background. Being on location is at least half of the fun, and it changes the energy of the shoot dramatically.

We found a huge spaceship set that was built on a sound stage for a sci-fi movie, and they hadn’t broken it down yet. It was architecturally perfect, but aesthetically very gray and drab. I wanted a very stylized color palette for our pop version of deep space, similar to the bioluminescent scenes in James Cameron’s Avatar.

One of the ways we achieved this was through costume and glam. We originally planned on putting model Vanessa Veasley in an actual NASA Mercury suit, but quickly discovered they were so bulky that it was impossible to shoot anything even remotely sexy. So we had her space suit custom-made, and used fabrics with a reflective sheen to capture the “monitor glow” around the spaceship.


FS: How did you approach the lighting for this concept?

NS: For the cockpit scene, we had two lighting motivators — the interior glow from the monitors and bridge controls, and the exterior glow from the stars. There’s really no manual on lighting for outer space, so I looked at old American Cinematographer articles on Armageddon and Terminator 2 for inspiration.

I didn’t want to deal with the spill from green-screen, so we built two 12×12 white griffolyns outside the cockpit window and fired 4 heads on two 2400w/s packs into them. Compositing is much easier in stills than in motion-picture, so you can use whatever color you want to end up with. We then created “nebula hits” by pointing a couple of strips and softboxes with pink and purple gels directly at Vanessa. The trick with making outer space ambience look believable is to let some of the scene fall completely to black, so we were very careful not to overlight the cramped space. For the interior cockpit glow, we placed small double-silked strip lights with steel blue party gels around the ship and behind camera.

This scene was shot at ISO 100 on a 50mm lens (medium format). Even though we were wide, the biggest challenge is carrying the depth of field at that speed because theoretically both Vanessa and “the stars” needed to be in focus. Ultimately, we were able to get the light barely to an F4/5.6 split, and then I set the lens to F8 and let it underexpose a stop-and-a-half, except for a few highlights on her suit. It would have taken too much power to get our ambience higher, and if there were really stars outside that window, the light that reached the ship would be perfectly believable a few stops under key. Also, blues and purples saturate better at a darker luminance than warm colors so it ended up working in our favor.

(Read the complete interview on Fstoppers here.)

— My thanks to Rebecca and the Fstoppers team for a great interview!


Zero-Gravity: Making Vanessa Fly for SlickforceGirl

Alright guys, this might be my favorite SlickforceGirl video yet. You’ve seen the beautiful Vanessa Veasley in harness training, and she’s walked you through her spaceship set. Now, go backstage with SlickforceGirl Stunt Coordinator Alex Wen as we put it all together and make Vanessa fly. So proud of Vanessa for being a consummate professional and a tough-as-nails trooper on this intense shoot—I can’t even imagine how uncomfortable it is hanging from a string, but she makes it look easy.

This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had on set. My thanks to Alex Wen, the entire SlickforceStudio team, glam squad Gaby Ramos Torell, Al Ingram and Diana Chan, and everyone who made this shoot possible. Up, up and away!

SlickforceGirl Day One: On Set with Vanessa

Here’s the first in-depth look at the making of the very first SlickforceGirl shoot. I’m not going to say too much here because the video speaks for itself.

The scale of this shoot was larger than even I had anticipated, but it was also ultimately the most exciting single production day of my career. What a blast to be able to see so much of what’s inside your head manifest before your eyes into a reality.

My thanks to the amazing team of artists and assistants who helped us pull off this stellar shoot. Stay tuned to the SlickforceGirl website for the latest updates. Lots more to come from our space-traveling hero. Enjoy!

Learning to Fly for SlickforceGirl

Here’s a cool behind-the-scenes video of my friend, stunt coordinator Alex Wen, rigging Vanessa Veasley up on a wire harness and training her to mimic zero-gravity movement for our SlickforceGirl shoot.

Special thanks to our friends at KCW Studios for providing the rig and making our star fly!

SlickforceGirl Limited Edition Signed Fine Art Poster

Hey guys, this week in the Saglimbeni Store, I’ve released the first SlickforceGirl one-sheet fine art poster. Each 27″x41″ print is hand-signed and numbered by me and model Vanessa Veasley, and is printed on premium lustre art stock using Epson UltraChrome K3 archival inks. We’ve used an 8-color process and the colors are incredible.

Only 50 fine art prints have been made, and prices will rise as inventory decreases. As with most SlickforceGirl art, a portion of the proceeds will go to fight breast cancer through Breast Cancer Charities of America’s iGoPink campaign.

Order your Limited Edition SlickforceGirl poster here, and thank you, as always, for your support!

The SlickforceGirl Saga Begins…

A few years back, after nearly a decade of photographing some of the most beautiful women in the world, I was looking for something more. Beauty for beauty’s sake was no longer enough, and I wanted to find a way to expand on the creative style we had developed at Slickforce over the years. Then, one day, it hit me.

SlickforceGirl came from the idea that women could use their beauty to help other women. I’ve worked with such a talented and diverse group of women throughout my career—both in front of my camera and behind—and some of their stories would blow your mind. In my head, I’d already developed an arsenal of vibrant characters that I’d been wanting to flesh out for a while. So I sketched up some designs and began pre-production.

More than two years later, I’m thrilled to share SlickforceGirl with you. We’ve combined our signature brand of glossy, hyper-color photography with comic-book flair to introduce this new breed of heroes. The images will tell their own stories, and you’ll learn more about the characters as we go on. Throughout the next year, I’ll be releasing limited edition SlickforceGirl artwork and special collector’s items featuring our leading ladies. Each character is unique in her look, talents, and personality, but they all share one thing in common: the ability to draw courage from within to help those in trouble.

To further our aim in helping women, a portion of the profits from sales of SlickforceGirl items will be donated to selected women’s charities. This year, we’re working with the Breast Cancer Charities of America (BCCA) through their iGoPink campaign. BCCA educates the public about non-traditional breast cancer prevention and treatment options, and we are proud to help them in their quest. Look for the pink ribbon logo on items in the Saglimbeni Store.

It took many hands to bring SlickforceGirl to life. The list of people I would like to thank grows daily, and I’ll mention many of them as we release new artwork in the coming months. I cannot say enough wonderful things about my team at SlickforceStudio. They’ve persevered through months of prep, long shoot days and endless post-production—and they do it all with an infallible spirit and a positive attitude. It’s a privilege to work with such a amazing talent. I also want to thank the models and actresses I’ve photographed, not just for SlickforceGirl, but throughout my career. Their enthusiasm, trust and willingness to go above and beyond not only makes them a pleasure to work with, but it also makes them inspirational muses for a new generation.

This is only the beginning. Our heroes have many adventures ahead of them, and I look forward to sharing their stories with you. Be sure to visit for all the latest updates. Enjoy!

Photography: Nick Saglimbeni
Model: Vanessa Veasley
Hair: Al Ingram
Make-up: Therese Willis & Gaby Ramos Torell
Styling: Diana Chan
Post-production: SlickforceStudio

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