Photographing Cowgirls

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Here is a project that I did a few years back as a fundraising activity for a non profit agency. Like this project there are many others that fall under the novelty theme and can encompass almost every single subject known to man.

This particular one was based on taking photos of people in costumes from the old westerns and some from the American countryside. The theme was sexy cowgirls. Mind you, the topic nor the titles were my idea I was just asked to photograph them and since I worked free of charge for any non profit that would want me, I got the gig.

Photographing for a non profit makes sense from a networking standpoint as your work gets to be shared with many and you can easily begin to build a reputation.

However, it turned out quite a number of fun photographs and everyone got very creative with their costume designs and ideas and the organization was able to get a substantial amount of much needed funds to enhance their non profit work.

The majority of costumes were handmade not store bought, since a store bought creation is never as realistic looking as those that you would make yourself plus they hardly ever fit the person just right.

Once I started taking the photographs I became surprised by the amount of creativity that some of the attendees displayed in their costume making and could not help but notice how different people viewed how a cowgirl should look like.

The props were just as important since it did not take much to confuse what was supposed to be a cowgirl from what a country girl or hillbilly was supposed to look.

The back drops were nothing much than an old rustic looking fence post board and some hale bales. These along with the typical cowboy hats, fake revolvers and real boots plus some ropes made the images that much more realistic and added charm to the entire scene.

This is rather easy to accomplish since ropes, hale bales, hats and toy revolvers can be easily gotten and are not that expensive. However the set up has to be curiously arranged to "blend in" and appear as if the scene if taking place at a western ranch, minus the horses.

The lighting has to be placed so that the majority of the light falls on the main subject with overlapping highlights serving to illuminate the rest of the scene. One main photo lamp and a reflector is enough to get the job done.

A make up artist should be present to add some finishing touches and re-arrange the hair styles once the cowboy hat is in place. Some minor props such as single long grass stalk being "chewed" completes the scene.

The project is most often a novelty one but good images can be used for some specialized publications, greeting cards and posters or as part of a themed portrait shoot.

The costumes have to be looked at with a discerning eye so that they do not cross over into a more risque shoot and remain within the sexy theme.

This is a great idea for a theme party, a fundraising activity, a commercial shoot depending on the product, for calendar purposes and a few others.

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Off course if you have the resources to make it a formal photo shoot then you can decorate a set properly such as with "tumble weeds", hale bales and other western props

If you can also use a digital backdrop, bigger photo lamps, a large space or studio, a good makeup and hair stylist, ropes, "cactus" etc, then the images have a more customized commercial appeal.

The project can actually be a lucrative endeavor for you besides serving as a ready made set up for other projects such as a "western wedding" theme.

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 4 comments

alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Well Luis, all I can say is 'Yee-ha!'

I don't suppose you've got the copyright? If you had, you could offer these images to mobile phone/cellphone companies to be used as 'wallpaper'.

Might be lucrative...


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

alancaster149: I have missed your comments as of late. Very few comments make me laugh out loud like yours do. Thanks


SallyTX profile image

SallyTX 3 years ago from Only In Texas!

Well, now this is just right up my street! Great photo ideas! Voted up and awesome! ;D


LuisEGonzalez profile image

LuisEGonzalez 3 years ago from Miami, Florida Author

SallyTX; Thank you

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    LuisEGonzalez profile image

    Luis E Gonzalez (LuisEGonzalez)1,101 Followers
    774 Articles

    I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.


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