Portrait Photography and Power Beauty Image Making

Golden eyes. Copyright 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey
Golden eyes. Copyright 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey
Blue eyes. Copyright 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey
Blue eyes. Copyright 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey
Cool Cat Copywight 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey
Cool Cat Copywight 2007 Ivor Tetteh-Lartey

Portrait Photography and Power Beauty Image Making

The Beauty portrait is a very popular field of photography and for the up and coming photographers the opportunities to build a portfolio are readily available in any major city, hair dressers and salons use this kind of imaging in folios for their clients to browse through and are regularly updating them with new images. Other areas for opportunities in beauty portraiture include editorials and advertising, these however are very competitive and considerably more difficult to get into.

As with all photographic disciplines, but more so in the area of commercial photography, attention to detail is paramount in achieving success. The ability to demonstrate creative flair, an understanding of current trends and contemporary styling are a must. We are constantly confronted by images persuading us to follow, endorse or buy. These images are continuously developing and changing and in order to stay in the loop there is no room for complacency. Equally important is the technical ability to produce "perfection" in advertising terms and post production skills prove useful in getting the final image. To fully establish oneself in this area of photography it is necessary to also demonstrate strong business acumen, this is an expensive business where time is money and experience pays.

Before setting up a portrait shot it is important to prepare some sketches and jot down some ideas for the session to discuss with your model and assistant, much like a film director, there is a plot and the image needs to portray the emotion. Being prepared in this way also saves time and ultimately keeps costs down, while also generating a forum for working together. It is essential that consideration is given to every aspect of the image being created, from the selecting of models to the props. Aim to develop a rapport with session models, involve them in the creative process as much as possible, offer clear direction, encouragement and feedback, working through a session together like this produces more relaxed images. Finding makeup artists with whom you can communicate ideas and share a vision is a case of trial and error, and it is therefore worth keeping in touch with and partnering the good ones, many photographers work in partnership with stylists for these reasons, naturally it is an added bonus if they also have experience in professional makeup, here again the cost of the production is thereby reduced.

In the photograph of the model with her eyes closed, I asked the makeup artist to use an earthy pallet for the makeup and create body in her hair. The hair light was directed through a honeycomb grid and a Bowens studio flash fitted with a soft box to the model’s right. The spotlighting was achieved by a powerful torch which has provided contrast and enriched the golden tones on the eye lids. In the next image the ethereal glow of the globe is mirrored by the spotlighting on the model’s face, her bright red lips and piercing blue eyes are aimed at capturing and holding the viewer’s attention. The lighting is similar to that of the former image and is a small flash triggered by the main key light hidden behind a lamp shade filled with bubble wrap; radio triggers can be used for greater reliability. Post production is used to emphasise the colour and brightness of the models eyes and the selective focus effect. In the third image the turquoise fabric is used as a strong contrast backdrop against the the model. In this image I preferred the use of a textured fabric over colour paper as it adds a dimension to the shot. A single soft key light is angled to produce definition between light and shadow to create form and depth.

As with all the arts beauty is in the eye of the beholder and thus subjective.

Comments 10 comments

spinner2k8 profile image

spinner2k8 7 years ago

Great blog ty

49lart profile image

49lart 7 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland Author

Thank you, spinner.

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

Love taking pictures! Thank you for the hub.

49lart profile image

49lart 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland Author

Thank you, tim-tim.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

This hub inspiring me to make beautiful picture, good tips for Photography. Thanks

49lart profile image

49lart 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland Author

Thank you for reading, prasetio.

vawonko profile image

vawonko 6 years ago from Texas

A true professional. Thanks for sharing.

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Great photography and appreciated advice. I love photography myself. You can see some of mine at


ed77burns profile image

ed77burns 6 years ago from USA

Good work on Photography.It inspired me a lot to get into it.

49lart profile image

49lart 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland Author

Thank you, everyone.

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