Shooting Portraits At Home

by | Feb 20, 2019

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“None of us is born with the right face. It’s a tough job being a portrait photographer.” Imogen Cunningham

Before I had an in-home studio, I used my former home as a studio and because it had a large North-facing bay window one of my favorite places to shoot was the kitchen

If the upside of shooting portraits in your house is that it’s convenient, the downside is that sooner or later your photographs are going to start looking similar. Moving or redecorating can be expensive alternatives so the best way to make your photographs look different is to make them different in the digital darkroom. Here’s one way that I did it.


How I made this shot: Dusty was photographed in color in my former kitchen using mostly available light with fill from a Canon 580EX II speedlite. Camera was a Canon EOS 50D with the wonderful but now discontinued EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, although these days they can be found used at affordable prices. Exposure was 1/60 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 400 but according to the histogram (above right) it was overexposed,  while clearly it was slightly underexposed. So much for histogram accuracy…

I corrected the slight underexposure using techniques previously explained, starting by creating a duplicate layer…

Then I did some light retouching on the corrected color file using Photoshop’s Healing and Clone brushes, followed by applying Imagenomic’s Portraiture plug in. I applied it to a separate layer, changing it’s opacity to 33% to reduce the effect’s strength and avoid an over retouched look.

The image files was further tweaked using the Vivenza plug-in, especially its Contrast and Structure sliders. Next I converted it to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro, topped off by applying the Glamour Glow filter that’s part of Color Efex Pro. Finally I cropped it slightly with Photoshop’s Crop tool using the 5×7 format to tighten the image a bit.

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The original title of my book Posing for Portrait and Glamour Photography was The ABC’s of Portrait Posing. On this blog there are many posts about posing. Use the Search box in the upper right-hand corner and type “posing” to find appropriate results. If you want something more lasting, take a look at my book that’s available new from Amazon for $17.96 or $13.53 used as I write this. Kindle version is $20.99 for those who prefer a digital format.