Portrait Photography : Beard & Tattoo

I was very fortunate that my friend Dawid, who not only has an awesome beard, but also a great work of art as a tattoo on his back, agreed to sit for some portraits for my portfolio. (Btw, I’m not sure if I could ever grow such a beard, even if it would literally take me years, haha).

My plan for this session was to shoot just in my 5m x 5m living room, which also serves as my headshot studio with a grey seamless background. Furthermore I limited myself to using just one light and modifier and decided to go with my beauty dish. The goal was to get a range of different images within these limitations and a rather short time frame.

My first thought was to incorporate the windows in the composition and use the available light coming in from the outside to my advantage. The only artificial light source is the beauty dish with a grid high on camera left to create this dramatic portrait.

As mentioned before I have a grey seamless setup in my studio, but for the next six images instead of the paper background I used a simple old IKEA duvet cover :-) It actually looks like a wallpaper!

For the next few photos I made an exception and used a second light, but not on my subject, just behind the background to make it brighter and change the colour with some gels.

Dawid’s tattoo was the subject of the last few images. As you can see the tattoo is really a great piece of art, made by Mike from Tattoo-Bar-M13 in Brighton.

I wanted more of a fine art feel for these portraits and chose to shoot on the grey paper background and again just using the beauty dish with the grid. Colour grading was done in post in Capture One.

It is great to work within limitations and practicing with just one light, finding out how much you can actually do with it. Not having to worry about the gear also frees your mind to become more creative!