Special Artist GoH Panel: Just Be Cos

Our Artist Guest of Honour, Nancie Green, has created a very special session for us this year called Just Be Cos. Not only will it be an excellent demonstration of her art process, anyone who would like the opportunity to be really involved in it can do so with a little prep-work first.

We are sorry but, unfortunately, Nancie has unexpectedly had to cancel her appearance at the event next weekend.

Just Be Cos

  • Date: Saturday, October 28, 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
  • Panellists: Nancie Green (Artist Guest of Honour)
  • Online Schedulehttp://sched.co/CcT5

Be truly involved in the creative process …”Just Be Cos” is a photo-manipulation workshop with a twist.  It is not only for people who want to see HOW photo-manipulation is done but for those who ALSO want to literally be “in” the finished product!

Nancie Green will bring a number of pre-made backgrounds, you bring your model photos (yourself, your child, a family member, a friend, a pet or anyone who you have the legal rights and permission to use). NOTE: no movie star or non-personal stock images allowed).

Together, you will pick out a background and she will “place” your model into it, blending the scene accordingly.

She will advise you what I think will work the best for your image (lighting, subject, perspective, etc.) but in the end, the final product will be a collaborative piece of art.

What follows are finer details on the panel as well as some instructions and aids for taking the “model” photos, in addition to some “the fine print”.

WHAT TO BRING AND HOW TO PREPARE  (the important stuff!)

  • Costumed images are best but I can do non-costumed as well (*see suggestions below)
  • Photos should be taken with as simple a background as possible
    • If possible, please take photos against a plain non-textured wall or solid coloured sheet (please stretch out wrinkles as much as possible)
  • The background should be a good contrast colour to the clothing/costume – no “white on white” or “blue on blue” etc.
    • NOTE: if the background is too busy or colours too similar I will not be able to work with it given the time limitations.
  • If at all possible do not use a flash. Take the photo with good lighting and with as few shadows as possible. The best method is to use a tripod or put your camera on a stable, steady surface, change your setting to shut off the flash and use the self-timer (if available). If you must use a flash try to put a white piece of tissue paper in front of it to mute the harsh light (tissue paper method does not work with smartphones).
  • Photos MUST be in digital format on a jump drive or sd card.
  • Digital file should be in .tif, .jpg or camera raw format
  • Images should be a minimum of 2240×1680 pixels (taken with a 5-megapixel camera or greater at high/large/max quality setting). The more pixels Nancie has to work with the better. There is a considerable loss in quality if she has to upscale/enlarge an image.
  • Fill as much of the image with the model as possible. Watch that you do not crop off hands or feet. Portraits are okay but not as usable for this workshop.
  • People can bring more than one photo (Nancie will only work on one but a choice is nice)


Costume/clothing suggestions … If you don’t have a costume

  • Try wrapping or draping fabric in an interesting way
    • create a long train (like a royal gown or kings robe)
    • try a sinister cowl or hood with a string around the neck and have the balance of the fabric rest hanging down,
    • spread the fabric out with your arms like it is wings (if you have a strong fan trying getting it to blow the fabric so it “fans” out)
  • Wrap your body in plastic wrap
  • Wear a long coat or skirt (long coats are great when shot from behind, leaning against a wall, crouching down, etc.). Skirts can be layered or worn as tops.
  • Try a hat in different positions (covering one eye, lopsided, upside down?) or do something similar with a scarf. Combine with any of the above.
  • Interesting makeup (blackout over the eyes, face painted half one colour/half another (either vertical or horizontal) if you like zombie makeup …go for it

Perspective/Shooting angles and posing suggestions

  • Shots can be taken from different perspectives and angles. Get a friend to help.
    Some Basics

    • A high camera angle (above their eye level) will emphasize the face more than the body. This is good for a heavier set person, to help them appear slimmer if that’s desired (HINT: most people will NOT get upset if you make them look slimmer unless you are going for a warlike, aggressive look)
    • A low camera angle (below their eye or even chin level) can make a person look taller, or seem as if they are more powerful. But, this is not very flattering for most people. You end up looking up their nostrils, and the body appears larger than the head and face, which is generally not desired by most people.
    • NOTE: I can do some perspective alterations but there are limits. Extremes may be unusable so bring a backup image
  • It is better if the model’s body isn’t facing the camera directly, turn the body away from the camera slightly. Whether to look directly into the camera (with the eyes looking at the lens) or not is a personal choice.
    Some Basics

    • two people looking at each other – it draws your viewer into ‘relationship’
    • a child holding out a plate with a chocolate cake but looking at the camera gives a feeling of invitation – the child becomes the focus
    • a child holding out a plate of chocolate cake and looking at the cake can give a sense of ‘desire’ – the cake become the focus
    • Looking outside the frame can leave the viewer wondering what they’re looking at?
    • If your subject is looking directly at the camera it’s hard not to look at them – they become the focal point. Sometimes when a subject looks directly at the camera it can create discomfort or tension for the viewer of the image – it can be a very strong and confronting pose. This is not necessarily bad – in fact it can really make the shot quite powerful – but it is something to be aware of.
  • Shoot from the side or from any unusual angles such as “worm’s eye view” (from below) or “bird’s eye view” (from above) (see “The Basics” above). If you do extremes then it is a good idea to bring a “regular” shot just in case I don’t have a background that works with the “extreme angle”
  • Take the photos from behind (the subject walking away from the camera)
  • Face away from the camera and look back at it
  • Crouch down or sit hugging the knees. Take one from the front, one from the side and one from the back.
  • Take multiple photos from all angles, front, back and both sides
  • Take a photo in a mirror (with the subject visible from both behind and in the mirror) but try to get the photographer/camera out of the image
  • If you have a large framed mirror or even an empty frame (oval and round ones work best) take a photo holding it in the middle of the body, mirror side out (don’t worry about what is reflected in the mirror, I’ll take care of that)
  • Take 2 photos, one with your hands in front of your face and another, identical photo but without your hands in the photo. If possible use a tripod or position the camera on a steady, stable surface and try not to move it between the 2 shots
  • Curl up like in a ball (laying on your side) and take one shot from overhead and one from the side
  • Pretend to be sleeping. Have some fabric, a skirt or cape draped over the edge of what you are laying on or spread the fabric out around you. Shoot this from a few different angles (the side and slightly above, below and directly above/standing)
  • Pretend you are riding a horse/dragon/sea serpent/giant snail
  • Pretend you are swimming
  • Place a chair under yourself and lie on your stomach, pretend you are flying
  • Or lie on your back on the chair and bend backwards (gives a floating effect) …pretend you are being drawn up by a cord in your middle. This gives the effect of levitating
  • Stand on one foot …do a yoga pose or karate pose.
  • If you own an instrument, take a shot playing it, holding it, swinging it like a mallet or sword, etc.
  • Take a photo with you and your pet. Try some different poses. Take a separate photo of your pet (who knows it could grow very, very large :D)
  • Catch yourself in the middle of a (small) jump (difficult to capture but fun if you can do it).
  • Reach for something.
    • reach up or down
    • stretch up on your toes with a hand reaching up a wall
    • pretend you are pulling yourself up a rope
    • pretend you are reaching out to pick something up or coax something to come to you
  • Hold something in your hand (you can pretend or use a prop).
    • Prop Suggestions: wands, walking sticks, bowls, crystal balls, musical instruments, swords, reading a book or carrying a pile of books (leather-bound books are great), puppets, dolls, marionettes …etc.
  • HAVE FUN 😀


      • The images produced are not to be used for resale or commercial use (the attendee does not “own” the image).
      • The participant will get a 5×7 to 8×10 digital copy (dependant on original model image resolution) to take home on their drive.
      • The participant can print copies for personal use but not for uses such as business cards, websites, greeting cards, etc. without Nancie’s permission (this is due to the fact that, with the limited time available, she may not be able to produce what she considers to be a high-quality, commercial-grade image).
      • If the participant would like a copy for commercial use Nancie should be able to fine-tune an image to a standard she would consider commercial-grade. There may be a small charge for her time and the rights to use it. The attendee would still NOT own the copyright. The model in the image would have to sign a model release (Nancie will bring the model release forms with her).
      • If Nancie produces something using a photo that she wants to continue working on for her own usage and put in her portfolio she will ask the owners/models permission and would not charge any fee. The model will get a finished high-resolution digital copy that they may print for personal use. They would still not hold the copyright but Nancie would give the model certain rights for display and usage, just not for resale.

(FINAL NOTE: if Nancie is in the middle of someone’s image when the panel ends she will do her best to complete it by the end of the con so they can take it home with them.)

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