Photography Project: Story Portraits


I’m always looking for a different way to take a portrait.  I think with all of the cameras and picture-taking, people, especially teenage girls, have practiced poses that they do over, and over.  This week family members let me take a most unflattering portrait of them, the jailhouse mugshot, in an attempt to create something unique.My inspiration came from Digital Photo’s July issue.  As usual I started out with grand ideas, that I would superimpose an image that represents the individual and had specific ideas on what those visuals would be.  As I began to execute it was a lot harder than anticipated.

The process is to take a silhouette that isn’t completely black, superimpose a scene, layer a texture on top, modify the colors, and then sharpen.

Lessons I learned were:

  • Find images to superimpose that have a lot of pattern, but be careful about what goes over the “head space”.  This was what made me toss out a lot of my original ideas, it was either too busy, or not busy enough.
  • Have your model wear plain colored clothing
  • The texture should match the scene – for the artistic/creative image at the top of this post I found a texture that looked like paint smears.  For the urban image, I used a texture that looked like scratched metal.

Here are the final images

1307_MFA_Colorado_278-Edit 1307_MFA_Colorado_277-Edit 1307_MFA_Colorado_284-Edit


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