Ian Trayner, Clarissa Holder, athletic photo shoot

Model portfolio photo shoot

Clarissa Holder is an agency-signed model, and she wanted to expand her portfolio. So I set up a model portfolio photo shoot for her.

What makes a good model portfolio?

A model portfolio should show variety, while remaining within the type of work the model wishes to do. The images should be of the highest standard possible. Our perception of how good a model is will be influenced by the quality of the images in her portfolio. And the quality of these images will depend on the skills of the photographer, and the creative team.

The creative team for this photo shoot

In my opinion, the quality of a creative team is crucially important if you want to create great images.  For this shoot, in addition to the photographer and the model, Donna Harris was the make up artist, and Evelyn Tolu (aka MissGoodliving) was the stylist.

Our remit

Our aim was to show the the beauty of the model’s face and body in a tasteful and artistic way. Although Clarissa has a very athletic body, we decided not to go all out to show that. This is because our aim was to create images that are useful for Clarissa’s portfolio, so we decided to take less specialized images. Of course it is impossible not to notice Clarissa’s athleticism, but it comes across more subtly – almost as a side product of the images.

In the time we had available, we set ourselves the following remit;

  1. To use a pale background to create simple images that show off Clarissa’s figure (ie “high key” photography)
  2. To use a dark background and coloured lights for something more unusual (ie “low key” photography)
  3. To take some classic beauty portraits
  4. To edit all the photos for colour and monochrome (black and white). This adds to variety and gives “more bang for your buck”. Of course the effects of the coloured lights are not visible in the monochrome images shown here (I may post them at a later date).

Donna gave Clarissa one “look” for the first two parts of the shoot, and she gave her a new make up look for the beauty shots.

Some images from the photo shoot

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Photography methods

Notice how my lighting has been designed to show the beauty of Clarissa’s face throughout.

An observant person may have noticed, looking at the image of Clarissa holding the hockey stick across her shoulders, that while she is brightest on the left side of the image, the background is brightest on the right side of the image. The effect of this is that she is brighter than the background on the left, and darker than the background on the right. Most people would not consciously notice this, although the effect adds something to the image at a subconscious level.

Would you like your own model portfolio photo shoot?

I enjoy bringing my creative fashion photography skills to the general public. Would you like your own model portfolio photo shoot? You do not have to be a model – everyone has the right to enjoy some creative photography. Imagine showing them to your granchildren one day; “Wow gran, you were really hot!”?

Or… maybe you know someone who would love to receive a creative “model portfolio photo shoot” as a gift? It is not just the experience, they will have the images “in perpetuity”. Photo shoots make excellent and unusual gifts.

“Beauty lighting”

For the penultimate image I wanted (1) beautiful lighting on Clarissa’s face, (2) a blurred but textured background, (3) a relatively shallow depth of field so that only her face is sharply in focus, and (4) a very soft light coming from behind and to the side. The purpose of this last light was to softly and subtely show the very beautiful lines of Clarissa’s cheek, jaw, neck, clavicle and shoulder.

For the final image, I wanted (1) beautiful lighting on Clarissa’s face, (2) a shallow depth of field to focus the viewer’s attention on Clarissa’s facial features, especially her eyes, and (3) I wanted to create a continuous dark curve down one side of Clarissa’s face and body, on the far side from the main light. For you to see this clearly I will have to show you the whole image (from which the image above has been cropped). To create this dark line all I had to do was prevent light from hitting her on this side. Just off camera to the right there is a black surface which blocks light coming from the right, and minimises the amount of light, coming from other directions, that is reflected back on to the model.

Please send me an e-mail if you would like to see coloured versions of these photos. You can find my e-mail address on the main part of my website.

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The creative team for this model portfolio photo shoot

Model: Clarissa Holder, signed to ModelsPlus model agency
Make up: Donna Harris
Stylist: Evelyn Tolu (aka MissGoodlving)

The ladies will probably kill me for choosing this image to publish! But I think it shows what fun we had.

Donna Harris, Clarissa Holder, Evelyn Tolu, model portfolio photoshoot