From Portraits to Art

Headshot of Carolyn simply using her living room wall as a backdrop.

I recently had the pleasure of photographing Carolyn who goes by the name "Scouse Pammie" because of her similarity to one well known star of the Slow Mo feast for the eyes that was Baywatch. It wasn't this though that I saw in her but instead, with that great hair and striking look I could tell there was a fantastic photograph waiting to be taken.

Lighting the background really lifts the quality of a portrait.

I like to challenge myself to making images in unexpected environments which is all good practice for impromtu portrait sessions at the bride's home while getting ready for the big day. The other thing I like to do is use simple speedlights and that's how this portrait session was done. We had a little time to light the background which was simply the living room wall and this really lifted the quality of the resulting image.

Finally I threw up a black backdrop and with two speedlights started to create a much more atmospheric shot which became more like a piece of art than a portrait. While I love working in the controlled environment of the studio there's something very rewarding when you can create artistic pieces where ever you happen to find yourself. The resulting image was a perfect candidate for a black and white shot with lots of contrast bringing out the shape of her pose and the texture of her hair. With a less obvious expression for a portrait, more of a story is created to entice the viewer to question her thoughts which I think creates a strong image.

A black backdrop and two speedlights can create some very dramatic art in a very small space.