The Story Of The Making Of “SHE” – Toronto Photographer Don Quincy’s – Blog

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Model: Candi Davis, MUA / Prothetic: Pandora Makeup Artistry, Photographer – Set Design – Stylist – Concept: Don Quincy -DQC Photo – Toronto Photographer

“SHE” – Don Quincy – DQC Photo / Toronto Creative Photographer

The Vision

I love creative photography! This is “SHE” a multi 1st place award winning creative fine art piece I created. The concept of the heartbroken girl came in one of the usual flashes of an image in my head of an idea. The crazy thing is, once you see the image in your head, as an artist /photographer, it burns until you can get the vision materialized into reality. I love to do creative photography as it can bring so many interesting challenges to a photographer.

Bringing The Image To Life

I started to look for the elements I wanted to portray in the scene and the players who could help bring the image to life.
I started to make some inquiries as to who would be willing to do this shot and who had the shared vision. I contacted Kat Forhan of Pandora Makeup Artistry who I had had the pleasure of working with before this shoot. She loved the concept and was able to make an awesome prosthetic heart for the scene as well. This was a key element of the image as the as it helps to really portray the heartbreak.
For the role of “SHE” model Candi Davis was perfect. Candi and I had worked together before this and have many times since as well. She is always amazing to work with and her expressions are amazing for any of the photoshoots we have done.
For the wardrobe, I found this amazing piece at Reflections Vintage Clothing here in Toronto.

Location, Location, Location!

The location was an empty apartment building that had lots of “leftovers” from former tenants that we were given permission to use however we chose. One of the key elements for the location was the use of water and a way to drain it when done. Although you may not see it clearly, Candi is sitting in a chair with about 6-8inches of water surrounding her. We were able to clear out a spot near the drain and we were set for the staging and building of the set.

Building The “Room”

In preparation for the shoot, I went to the local Home Depot and picked up the lumber needed to build the encasement for the water. Originally I had wanted about 3feet of water but that would have meant to use clear side panels as I wanted to be able to see the floor to maintain the look of her being in a room. Since this was not possible, for my budget, I went with 10″ high boards. I went to the location and with the help of the maintenance person, put them together in a square. We lined it with thick clear plastic that I had purchased as well. We then added the water. Upon getting into the water to place the chair, we noticed we had a new problem, it was extremely slippery. Luckily there were some old pieces of paneling and board around, we placed those on the bottom and the problem was solved.
Next was the placement of the furnishings. This was another key to the puzzle and the whole mood of the image. I dragged the different pieces over and started to place them into the setting. It had to look distressed, almost confused or dreamlike and dark but still maintain the look of a somewhat realistic room to make the shot “believable”. After a few variations, I was happy with setting of the scene you see in the final image.

The Image IS Alive

The next day we met at the building, everyone was prepared for a long day if needed. Kat showed up with her makeup bag and the amazing heart she created out of plaster and Candi was set to be the heartbroken girl. Because we had filled the water the night before as we did not know how long it would take to complete the day of the shoot, it was rather cold. Candi sat in the chair and pool of water for hours from the time we started until we completed the shoot., a feat that I still am amazed at Candi’s ability to stay in the cold water for so long and be so amazing the whole time!


For the lighting of the set and Candi, I used two Profoto D1‘s. One had the Chimera 5′-7′ Octabox and the other had a Chimera Lrg. softbox. I wanted to retain the dark moody look of the shot and did not want it over lit but yet wanted enough lighting to show the whole image and have Candi pop from the background. The combination if the colors worked great to retain the story and mood of the shoot.

One long day for everyone involved! Huge Shout Out and Thank you to Candi, Kat and Kenny for being a part of this fun creative shoot.

Creating the “Look”

For the retouching of this image I originally brought the image into Capture One. I like to tweak certain things in this initial stage and have found this software works great for the this. After I get a base of the edit done I then went into Lightroom for this image. Normally I use photoshop now but at the time I did not understand anything in PS so LR it was. I played around for several hours tweaking this and that until I was finally satisfied with the image you see as the finished product.

“An image in my head stays there without an amazing team to bring it into reality” – Don Quincy – Toronto Photographer

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