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The SUEDE Collection

The SUEDE Collection

As a studio photographer, I know how important backdrops are.

They’re your location. Part of your style.

They give your work flavor.

Your backdrops need to offer you versatility for whatever mood inspires you.

 My first line for Intuition (The Signature Collection) offered a classic variety of colors and subtle depths to give your portraits that editorial edge.  My newest line, The Suede Collection, builds on that fashion-forward style, offering rich and compelling textures to enhance your set.

While designing these, I thought of the location textures I love to work against. Concrete walls, chipping paint, unique clouds – anything that adds narrative and visual interest.

My Suede Collection brings those exterior textures into your studio with 5 gorgeous new drops that still replicate the high end, hand painted look you (and your clients) will love! 

  1. Manifested– Create a stunning work of art with this painterly drop. Layered in tones of lilac, beige, and gray, this piece was created to add unbelievable depth to your work. Additionally, this buttery piece works in neutral tones to give you numerous editing options. Change your white balance to manifest completely different, but equally stunning results. An absolute favorite in Jai’s studio. 
  2. Flushed– This soft, yet vibrant drop incorporates texture with warm, creamy tones. Perfect for maternity work and newborn work, or a unique and eye-catching portrait. This piece features a soft vignette in rose and blush paint splatters to add character to any editorial portrait. 
  3. Unlisted– Textured, distressed, provocative. Offering tones ranging from white to charcoal to dove gray, this creamy display of colors offers you a neutral palate to work from that’s anything but dull. Truly amp up your set and layer the drops to create both a floor and backdrop, even drape some additional drops for a distressed, art-studio like effect. This piece will be a go-to in your studio. 
  4. Iced– Light beams shifting and sliding beneath frozen rivers inspired this vibrant piece. Growing up in Germany, Jai has always loved winter and all things snow. This drop was inspired by her love of those gorgeous textures and shifts in light and shadow. The subtle mix of yellow and green here, accentuated by the white crystals, makes this a truly stunning piece to create with. 
  5. Vaulted– Inspired by the Italian sky after it rains, this drop brings a small glimpse of nature into your set. Jai knows that drops add storytelling to your portraits, and with this collection she wanted to add additional texture to your work. This piece is bold enough to hint at a painted cathedral sky or subtle enough to simply add a unique, rainbow-like color to your work. However you use it, your client will be transported.

 

Now let’s break down a few of my favorite looks from this shoot. First, the FLUSHED drop. This piece offers warm, creamy rose tones, a gentle vignette and layered paint splatters. It’s fresh, it’s soft. It’s perfect for portraits, maternity, newborns.   

When mood boarding this set, I knew I wanted to keep it monochromatic and impactful. I wanted the pink to carry through from the drop to the wardrobe and the makeup, giving the images a romantic, ultra-feminine vibe. To light this, I simply used the available natural light as a base layer + one rectangular softbox positioned 45 degrees from the model and lifted high to feather the light above her. This gently illuminated the backdrop while giving Anna a defined glow. The dress she’s wearing is actually the skirt to a gown I’ve had in my studio for years (I hated the top so I trashed it and have been using the skirt ever since). Lastly, a sheet of plastic over my lens to enhance the glow helped to bring this heavenly set to life. 

And, of course, we have to talk about MANIFESTED. One of my absolute favorites from this collection. This buttery piece is richly layered in tones of lilac, beige and gray to offer subtle but unique textures. It’s so statement (and I’m rather obsessed with it). 

Much of my work is has a darker/more dramatic edge, but for these I wanted soft and illuminated. In bringing this story to life, we shot it two different ways. For the color images, I exposed for a large window (camera right) to create a base layer. Then I added a large octabox through a scrim directly behind me (to help fill the shadows and give the scene an even appearance).  For the B&W shots I knew I wanted more contrast, so I moved the octabox to the side (about 90 degrees) and feathered it across the scene. This added additional directionality and drama to the shot while still preserving the softness.

I’m so excited to share this new collection with you and seriously can’t wait to see what you’ll create with them! Please tag me on Instagram (@jaimayhew), I’d love to share your art. 

Happy storytelling. xx

Jai 

About the Author

Jai is a portrait & fashion photographer based in Dallas, TX. Her studio focuses on empowering women through portraits, and her style is known for its editorial & sensual edge. Jai’s work has been published internationally, featured in galleries and commissioned by public figures. When she isn’t in the studio, you can find Jai with her beautiful family, in the gym, or working on her next photography tutorial.


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