The stars in the sky have been a source of inspiration for artists ever since we humans first started to express ourselves creatively. If you want a modern day example from the world of photography, look no further. Andrea Zvadova’s sparkling portraits will put stars in your eyes.
“When you’re away from the city and you see the stars in the sky, you feel so close to them,” says Andrea. “The world becomes quiet for a while. The same goes for the northern lights, slowly glowing in the air, floating, and radiating vivid colors. It was this startling sensation of looking up at the night sky that I tried to capture in these images.”
Andrea could have achieved this result in a number of ways. But rather than relying on postproduction, she decided to get as much as possible in camera.
“It was mostly done with makeup and lighting,” says Andrea. “I have makeup artist Lukáš Kimlika to thank for much of it. Lukáš covered the model’s face in glitter and colors. You know, I’d never seen so much glitter in my life before! The five-year-old me would’ve been the happiest girl in the world that day! It still was a lot of fun, but also very messy. For every shot we had to remove all the make-up and start all over again. That’s why we had two models, Karolina from Elite and Tasha from Exit. They both ended up with black glittery faces and had to go home looking like Star Wars characters. The studio was, of course, also covered in glitter. There was a lot of cleaning up to do that day…”
Lighting-wise, Andrea had two light sources. Her main light was a D1 monolight with a Zoom Reflector. The fill light was an Umbrellas Shallow White S. The D1 monolights were set to a short flash duration to capture the sharp details, while the camera was set at a quite slow shutter speed to give the images a dizzy feel.
“The Zoom Reflector was chosen to create a hard light that would make the glitter sparkle,” says Andrea. “The small white umbrella was used as a softer, more even fill light to balance the darker areas. The most difficult thing in terms of lighting was to figure out which setup would be the best to realize the ideas I had in my head. But I did a lot of test shots and self-portraits before the shoot. Once it was time, I was ready.”
Today, Andrea is confident in saying that she succeeded in capturing the ethereal feeling of looking up to the night sky. The fact that her images, even though they started off as a personal project, ended up on the cover of Czech magazine Dolce Vita is also a testament to that.
“The next step will be to go further with the same idea and transform it into something more complex,” she says.
Keep checking in on her website to see where that leads her.