Lana Del Rey’s music is alive with themes of nostalgia, old Hollywood glamour, and tragedy, to mention a few themes. Knowing this, the cinematography in her music videos build on these salient obsessions by using a retro film-noir aesthetic, reminiscent of the 50s and 60s. Notable among these are the videos for Summertime Sadness and Video Games. Here, we see the use of handheld shooting through webcam shots beautifully clipped together in a manner similar to vintage home videos. If you’ve ever wanted to create this effect for your own projects but don’t have any idea about where to begin, keep reading to learn some film-noir basics.
Tip one: Master the faux lash.
Self-evidently, Del Rey’s standout feature is her eyes. Her eye makeup is purposefully dramatic with the effects of her eyeliner and lashes. Her signature eye involves a ton of eyeliner on her upper eyelid paired with faux lashes on her upper lash line. With close inspection, you will also notice that she adds definition to her lower lash line by applying mascara on these individual lashes.
How to wear magnetic falsies.
With as much precision as you can master, apply a thick amount eyeliner to the root of your natural lashes. Work from your inner eye, outwards to the corner of your eye to ensure the magnets found at the end of the lash band are held securely. Depending on how much liner you applied, allow for a minute-long dry period before adding on the falsies. For added definition, curl your natural lashes after you line your eyes. Do not apply mascara directly on magnetic falsies as this may ruin them.
To ensure that the lash fits your eye shape with precision, bend the lash band to gently manipulate its shape.
When applying the lashes, hold a magnifying mirror at the chin level and ensure that midsection of the lash band is in alignment with your middle eye. Attach the falsie to the outer corner of your eye, ensuring you’re working towards, towards the inner corner. If you have thin natural lashes, curl your lashes and apply mascara to guarantee better lash application.
For product suggestions, consider Glamnetics Lust Lash mink lashes. Made from real mink (aka real hair), these lightweight magnetic lashes offer the right amount of thickness to add the volume needed to create a fluttery, dramatic look. They also have a vegan faux mink option. These lashes are round, meaning that the individual lashes are made to fit your eye with minimal adjustments on your part (especially if this is your first go at faux lashes). The added beauty of magnetic lashes is that you do not have to stress about the heavy clunky feel one gets from adhesive glue.
Tip two: Find the right lens.
Telephoto lenses come highly recommended by professionals due to their ability to create beautiful portraits and highlight blurred backgrounds. They also make subjects appear closer than they actually are. Do not confuse a telephoto lens with a zoom lens. The telephoto lens has a long reach, making it possible for you to capture distant subjects. While a telephoto lens can be a zoom lens, they are available in different focal lengths ranging from medium telephoto (70-200mm) and a super telephoto lens (300mm or longer). Attention is not paid to whether the lens can zoom in to a subject, but rather, the strength of the lens’s focal length.
Telephoto lens recommendations by brand.
- Sigma 150-600mm f. A focal length of 85mm is best preferred for portraits, and the Sigma 85 is a good option. This is because the lens is fast enough to blur out backgrounds.
- Canon 70-200mm. This is suitable when you need sharp images with a blurred background. If you are a budding wildlife photographer, this is a good first choice.
- Nikon 200-500mm. This telephoto lens is good for shooting a moving subject, say, for instance, a bird in flight. Although majorly used in wildlife photography, it is also used to shoot sports.
A quick guide to focal length and usage.
- 70-200mm, used in portrait photography, sports photography, and wildlife photography.
- 85mm, used in portrait photography.
- 100-400mm, used in sports photography and wildlife photography.
- 135mm, used portrait photography, wedding photography, wildlife photography, and sports photography.
- 600+mm used wildlife photography and sports photography.
Tip three: Master the hair.
In an interview with Grazia Magazine, Anna Cofone, Lana Del Rey’s hairstylist, shared her secrets behind Lana’s retro side-swept locks, beehives, barrel curls, side parts, and long layers.
To recreate Lana’s curls, she suggests:
- Using a texturizing spray to add definition and added height to the roots, paying special attention to the crown.
- Holding your hair up by wrapping sections in pipe curls and then using a heat diffuser to create defined waves.
- To top it all off, spritzing on some hairspray for added sheen, moisture, and frizz control.
We trust these tips will give you the confidence you need to embark on a vintage film project of your own.