Denver Beauty & Boudoir Photographer- Marilyn Monroe Behind the Scenes
Almost 2 years ago I planned a Marilyn Monroe photo shoot with my makeup artist Maryssa Garben and our mutual friend Alyssa. Alyssa has a striking resemblance to Marilyn and we though it’d be fun to try and recreate some of her most iconic photos. I chose to do the Black Sitting by photographer Milton Greene and the Last Sitting by Bert Stern for their beauty and simplicity. I needed photos that I could easily and inexpensively recreate.
The Last Sitting was not difficult. I simply set up my twin mattress in front of my studio’s large windows and back lit the entire set. I also shot Alyssa from above while standing on a ladder and then really spent time editing those to make them like close to the originals.
The Black Sitting was a little more challenging. As you can see from the photos below, most of how I captured the feel of the originals was done in post processing.
I set up my black foam core board (available at Guiry’s Art Store) with the large windows to camera right. This gave me that nice shadow on the left side just like the original photos. I had a large cream colored chaise that I threw a black sheet over and then used various pillows and towels to boost Alyssa up in certain places to get the poses we wanted. We were lucky enough that we either owned or found on clearance every thing she wore and it all looked so close to what Marilyn actually wore.
Take a look at the before and afters below. Pretty hard to believe this was shot in my 15×15 studio that you all have been to! Once I had these open in Photoshop, I just look my time shading the areas I wanted black, then I applied a grainy black and white action to give it that film effect.
I will always love these photos. They took planning and really came out better than I had hoped. I get so many comments on them and I wanted to share the behind the scenes with you to show you that with proper lighting and a great model/ hair and makeup team, you can really accomplish what you envision without spending a ton of money!