Oscar Day: Lessons from Nominees and Red Carpet Celebrities

February 04

17 min. to read

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Oscar nominations 2019: an exclusive guide to red carpet photography and the color palettes of this year’s best movies

Wait... How does Oscar style concern photography?

That’s likely your first question about this long read. Logically, cinematography and photography are different arts – so raising the topic of Oscar style on a photography blog may seem weird at first. But everything is interconnected in this world – and for years, the red carpet ceremony has attracted not only movie fans but also masters from various spheres connected with film production. Different people, from sound producers to red carpet makeup specialists, are involved in this show and reveal their excellence in their fields.

Of course, this year’s ceremony won’t be an exception. As usual, we can expect lots of red carpet images to help us choose whose Oscar style look is the prettiest (with the traditional conflict between experimental dresses and old Hollywood glamour). And of course, there will be debates on the best participant among Oscar nominations 2019.

In this special post, we reveal basic photography tips you can learn both from watching this year’s Oscar nominees and from observing the professionals’ work on the red carpet during the ceremony itself.

Get ready to learn the maximum from February 24! 

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How can you search for photography insights among Oscar nominations (2019)?

Just look at films more attentively! Movies commonly serve as a great source of inspiration for photographers – meaning both the stories of old Hollywood glamour and contemporary cinematic masterpieces. We’ll show you what specifically to pay attention to later in this section.

Since Hollywood blockbusters care so much about picture quality and technological enhancement, insights from the cinematic world can be really valuable for any photographer. In their turn, classic movies are also pretty insightful. As one of the most interesting features, they are straightforward in terms of color: a red color palette, for example, characterizes the appearance of the iconic scenes from American Beauty, while green, as the color associated with code, is the basic tone for The Matrix. In these already vintage Hollywood blockbusters, the idea of a “movie color” was presented clearly for the first time.

Now we can talk about specific color palettes that are carefully elaborated for each movie, including 2019 Oscar nominees.

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But how can you make colors work? Hue, saturation, and brightness are the basic elements of visual storytelling. By adjusting them, you can change the mood not only in film but in a photograph as well. In both cases, you’ll deal with color psychology - an area that analyzes the emotional appeal on an image, created with the help of various in-field instruments and post-production software programs.

As one of the top programs to experiment with colors, try Luminar 3. This best photo editing software contains all the tools needed to adjust the hue, saturation, and brightness in your photos – along with numerous other helpful features. Download it below!

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From old Hollywood glamour to 2019 Oscar movies: What colors are popular this year in motion pictures?

Moving from one-tone movies, let’s see what the leading trends are in terms of color palettes among Oscar nominations 2019. We’ve picked three Oscar nominees – Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, and Roma – to illustrate how you can watch movies as a photographer and learn from what you see.

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Bohemian Rhapsody: Photography tips for iconic portraits

Bohemian Rhapsody widely uses the colors of an iconic Freddie Mercury stage costumes. And even further - these tones rule the roost for the whole movie palette!

During the whole movie, the storytelling is shaped by colors: mostly, it’s all about a white sleeveless shirt and trainers (which must be a chaste adoption of the legendary skinny jumpsuit designed to blow people’s minds and underline Freddie’s sexuality) combined with silver-and-blue stage lights. Blue, white, silver – these tones, according to color psychology, reflect masculinity, sincerity, and high quality. Everything we associate with Queen, in short.

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Another well-known image of Freddie on stage includes a fur mantle (in red, white, and black) and a golden crown. Correspondingly, the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody adopted a red color palette – though gently replaced black with dark blue.

And, of course, that legendary yellow military jacket made the appearance of yellow inevitable in the movie as well.

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After applying this logic to everything you see in the movie, you can easily notice how it focuses on Freddie’s personality – even in terms of colors! No surprise that this film helped Rami Malek get a best actor nomination – he shines with all the visual tools used in Bohemian Rhapsody!

What photography tips can we learn from this movie? Try using the color technique applied in Bohemian Rhapsody in your portrait stories! Especially if your model is bright and outstanding like Freddie – or wants to be like him. In any case, an interplay of colors in clothing and the background works truly great in an image.

Vice: How to dress up and where to go to look like a US politician

This story of one of the most interesting Vice Presidents in US history adopts an approach to color similar to that of Bohemian Rhapsody. In Vice, the protagonist, Dick Cheney, also sets the tone of the movie’s color palette.

Oscar Day: Lessons from Nominees and Red Carpet Celebrities Image6In general, the mood of this political satire contributes to the classic image of a big man’s world. In the movie, we mostly see people in formal black suits, working in environments with steel teal color schemes (whether the Washington office or, paradoxically, the war zone in the Middle East), and wearing (or surrounded by) tiny details in gold, which reveal their status, wealth, and taste. These details include the warm brown palette of an official ceremony in the White House and the thin golden frame of Cheney’s glasses.

At the same time, red color schemes are almost absent from the visual imagery of this movie – it’s a comedy-drama about the US during the Iraq war, after all. And so, it’s cutting out red mutes of the violence.

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What photography tips can we learn from this movie? The colors used in Vice are the basic ones for a business photoshoot. So consider them at the post-processing stage! In particular, use cold colors – but add some warm (gold or red) details to sharpen the perception of power, wealth, and elegance. Even if a person of action is at home, the green and blue surroundings should be muted (The image of Dick Cheney above is a good point of reference). In the Luminar 3 photo enhancer, you can work with a teal color scheme (or change everything to vintage Hollywood, if needed) and create the needed mood at the post-processing stage.

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Roma: This year’s loud alternative to vintage Hollywood dramas

This black-and-white motion picture is eye candy for spectators, considering the tremendous number of artistic and interesting shots it contains. More than this, Roma’s creators played with shadows and light while working with black and white. Because of that, they managed to show a powerful story.

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Similar to the buildings in vintage Hollywood movies, Mexico City’s architecture, full of geometric shapes and numerous lines, contributes to the outstanding artistic effect of Roma. In fact, the architecture creates the unique background that underlines the national and cultural context of the story. Moreover, the frequent use of reflections – such as a plane in a puddle and a woman in a car window – reveals an outstanding level of creativity. Truly, some shots in Roma have the same wow effect as the masterpieces of film photography! Finally, the impressive panoramas of parades, big family gatherings, and nature settings help in showing the whole epoch - the highest aim to achieve. In terms of visuals, everything is so amazing in Roma!

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What photography tips can we take away from this movie? Basically, Roma can easily serve as a modern encyclopedia of black-and-white photography for your inspiration. If you want to depict a historical era, reveal some cultural specifics, or simply practice shooting minimalist color schemes, you must watch this knock-out in the list of Oscar nominations 2019.

Photography basics on the red carpet

Now that we’ve covered the leading color schemes for various moods and purposes (be that vintage Hollywood shoots, iconic portraits, or real-life photo sessions), let’s look to red carpet photography to reveal how to capture people like celebrities.

Learn how to work with a professional model

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Above all, red carpet photography is a stressful occupation – the ceremony is over in just a few hours, and its schedule is strict and full of fast-changing events. To facilitate the tough photographers’ task of capturing the high-quality portraits, the models do all the basic preparation themselves – including completing red carpet makeup and determining the exact poses they’ll take during the photoshoot.

In this context, the more your model is ready for shooting, the easier and faster the process will be for both of you. To learn more about poses for events like this, check out our guide to top female poses. Also, make sure to discuss the outfit for the photoshoot in advance.

While working, shoot as much as you can

Oscar Day: Lessons from Nominees and Red Carpet Celebrities Image11Observing the way red carpet photographers work can give you useful insights to apply in your own photoshoots. On the red carpet, good old Hollywood glamour is highly prized – and all these Oscar style images are inevitably presented to glossy magazines. Given this, photographers make sure they get the shots they need by making hundreds of pictures in a row. They capture various poses, actions, and compositions, mostly within the first ten seconds, to find those couple shots with the best Oscar style.

This working style can be a true lesson for all photographers. Experience on the red carpet teaches you to think quick, be creative, and catch the most important details. In short, it helps you to become a professional.

Use the advantages of red carpet makeup

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The whole appearance of Hollywood celebrities is carefully polished prior the ceremony. And in portraits, the effect of red carpet makeup is impressive – and can serve as inspiration for beautifying models in your own photoshoots.

When shooting portraits, pay attention not only to cosmetics but also to how to show models wearing them in the best light. Good photographers know how to turn exclusive closeness to celebrities into an advantage – instead of capturing low-quality close-ups of red carpet makeup. Try achieving the same level of quality while shooting portraits.

Learn how to work with red color schemes

Oscar Day: Lessons from Nominees and Red Carpet Celebrities Image13The prevailing red color palette at the Oscars is a severe challenge that should be addressed by the photographers. Having prior experience in shooting people on a red carpet is a must – as is checking the weather forecast, knowing the lighting at the event, and working with different colors and accessories worn by models.

Here, the main photography tip is to think of technical peculiarities in advance. This measure means doing everything possible to make sure that each photoshoot aspect is acknowledged and under the control. Magazines send a big team for Oscar style events to capture the best looks – these groups include numerous photographers, editors, and technicians. Even if you're alone, working as a master of red carpet photographer makes shooting other events so much easier!

All the same, don’t underestimate the power of photo editors.

Photo editing is an integral part of any professional photography, and knowing how to work with images on a computer is a must. So last but not least, download photo editing software.

For red carpet photography, Luminar 3 works perfectly. It has all the tools you need along with interesting extras to create the effects you want in your photos. Check it out!

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