Portrait Testing with Julia

A few weeks ago I was in a bit of a rut and decided to do a small project to keep my skills intact. As a photographer, it’s vital that you keep working and practicing, even if it’s not a paid job. I hadn’t done studio portraits in a while, so I put together a mood board with the type of lighting I was looking for and started the planning process. I reached out to my friend Julia to see if she was interested in being a model for me, and thankfully she said yes! She had experience working as a model before, so I was grateful for her help. 

We found some excellent studio locations for rent, but sadly they were all booked out; that’s when I decided to improvise. I went to the nearest Yodobashi Camera and bought some sheets of grey paper, then took them back to the hotel I was staying at and stuck one to the wall. My general rule of thumb is that I’ll always try to work with a neutral grey backdrop; it’s easy to make it white, black or to colour it with a gelled light. 

As this was just a test shoot for me to get my groove back, so to speak, we kept things very simple. We started with a bare face, then added a bit of colour to the lips and then eyeliner to complete the look. Julia’s eyes are piercing blue; I wanted to highlight them, so I used a clamshell light setup with a reflector. This ensured sure the catchlights were right where I wanted them. Though minimal makeup was used, the images were shot and edited with the spirit of a beauty shoot with a very light touch. Julia did a wonderful job with me working as a one-man-band and on a limited timeframe.

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