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Portrait photography

Portrait Photography with limited resources


Right before we sold our house, I bought a softbox, a reflector and a backdrop. I put them up in our basement but I was never able to start experimenting with them because just as I put it all up, we sold our horse farm. It sold a bit quicker than expected and we had to move into the house next door, that we had to renovate in record time. This house is about a third of our farmhouse, so most of our stuff is now in storage. Given that I have absolutely no room to set up a studio, my studio gear is in storage too.


The photography course doesn't wait


However, for my photography course I had to take a portrait of a man and a woman in artificial lighting.

So I had to get creative with that. Not only because Covid is still roaring so I didn't want any models in the house. Enter husband and daughter. I think they are sick of me asking them to pose. "Schoulders back, chin down and out, don't stare, ...", I'm sure their looks will kill me if I say that one more time.

But a challenge also, because my backdrop is in storage. So I bought a roll of black paper on Amazon and I put it on our Ikea shelf. And ta-da, there's your backdrop.

diy photography backdrop

That still didn't take care of the lighting gear issue. But I did just buy a new-to-me speedlight. So I figured I'd go for the dramatic, harsh lighting style portrait. That's my favorite style anyway.

I realize that the overall trend is to have light and airy images. Images that exude a clean and happy vibe. But that just doesn't sit right with me. My photography is raw, it shows what is, not what trendsetters dictate. I capture reality, not a fairytale.


First part of the assignment: portrait of a female in artificial light


So here's my daughter's portrait.

She can be very moody, as is to be expected from a teenager. And as is also clear in this photo. She is a beautiful girl, maybe not according to common standards, but she is striking in her own way. And a plus for me: her hair always looks radiant in these low key portraits!

Portrait photography low key black background portrait of a girl

Second part of the assignment: portrait of a male in artificial light


The second photo is my husband.

We have moved around a lot over the years. Different houses in Belgium, different houses in the States, and now on to Switzerland. But one little, cheap Ikea frame is going with me everywhere. It hangs in every laundry room and never fails to make me smile.

Before we had our daughter, we traveled Europe by motorcycle. One of these trips was to Croatia. We were visiting a little town one day, and apparently there was an advertising campaign going on, for the life of me, I don't remember for what, but sales people were asking to take our picture with a cell phone and then they would send us that as a postcard. We were young and naïve so we willingly gave our address 🙄. But what do you know, when we came home, there actually was a postcard with the photo of the both of us. We were sweaty in our leather gear, and with helmet hair. But by golly, did we look young and happy!

Why am I telling you this, you ask? Well, just to say, that although we are still happy, we are not that young anymore. More wrinkles and such. But! That creates very interesting portraits, as you can see below 😬

Portrait photography low key black background portrait of a man

Looking forward to my very own studio


This will be my office in our new home in Siebnen, Switzerland. And I will have a second room that I can set up as a photography studio. I am so spoiled! And absolutely excited to start! No more makeshift backgrounds, no more stashing a paper roll in a corner of the room. But an actual studio! 🙋‍♀️


Third part of the assignment: portrait of a male in natural light


So, the second part of my assignment was a portrait of a man and a woman in natural light. Again, I asked my family to pose for me.

I just love this handsome dude 😍.

Portrait photography natural light portrait of a man

Third part of the assignment: portrait of a female in natural light


And this sulky teenager look really works, right!? 🤣

Portrait photography natural light portrait of a girl