Six Steps to Fine Art Portraits

Fine Art Portraits

Six Steps to Fine Art Portraits with Rachel Owen

The most common question I’m asked is how I come up with my ideas for Fine Art Portraits. I have a notebook filled with possible next creations. My biggest regret is having more ideas than I can ever create in this lifetime. There are three places I can always find my next idea. If you want the ultimate guru of inspiration, spend a day with the classical painters in a museum or art gallery. This is some of the best education in masterful posing, lighting, color and composition. Seeking non-photographic inspiration ensures a truly unique style that will set you apart from other photographers.

Music is another great source for new ideas and stories. Try to find cinematic and classical music. I often find a quiet place where I can relax in a savasana posture and listen to music from other cultures. After a few minutes I begin to see pictures and stories in my mind with the music. If you’re having trouble, do a little research on what the composer was trying to portray in a particular piece and listen again. Can you see a story? Would any part of that story make a great photograph?

Exercise is my number one go-to source for new ideas and inspiration. There is something about having a completely worn out body and fully oxygenated brain that seems to bring out every needed solution. I like to spend 80 percent of my set-aside time listening to something inspirational, educational or motivational while focused on a good heart rate. Then I spend the last 20 percent of my time in silent walking, letting whatever ideas float into my mind. If a client has asked me to come up with a specific idea, 90 percent of the time this is how I’ll find it.

Create a Vision Board

Next, I create a detailed vision board. I find even if it’s not an idea I’m ready to complete just yet, creating a vision board solidifies the idea, allowing it to stick in my mind. All my vision boards have at least five things: a color scheme with the dominant and secondary colors, a hair and makeup vibe/guide, the ideal costume, background possibilities, the primary pose and possible secondary pose. A vision board may also include lighting ideas, props needed, a photo of the model from another shoot or additional inspiration photos/art. If I’m working with a team I find it helpful to add logistics like the date, location and other vendors involved in the shoot. Maybe the designer you want to work with has never heard of you, but he/she has seen your makeup artist killing it on social media. In this case, having your makeup artist listed on the vision board might just seal the deal. A great vision board is key to getting other vendors on board and excited about your project. You might think this isn’t an important step if you’re working by yourself, but if you find yourself straying from your idea, paralyzed in editing, being indecisive or struggling with completion, go back to your vision board!

Fine Art Portraits

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the November 2021 magazine.

Leave a Reply

Want more content like this?

Check out our recent posts

on camera direct flash tutorial thumbnail

On Camera Direct Flash Tutorial

Have you tried using on-camera flash for your studio portraits? As a professional photographer, I’ve always been taught to take the flash off camera to create more directional light. In this video of on camera direct flash tutorial for lighting, I will show you how to work quickly and easily using on-camera flash to create some very unique and interesting portraits.

Read More »

Beauty Retouching with Luminar Neo

Beauty retouching is fun and easy with Luminar Neo. This is one of several tools I personally use in my editing process. I love how easy this tool is for editing your images. Quick, easy, fun and creative are the words I would use to describe my editing. In this quick Luminar Neo Tutorial, I will show you my editing techniques for working some recent portrait images I created. One of the things to keep in mind while watching is a term I like to refer to as “season to taste”. We all have different editing styles and different taste. Work on and find the ones that work for you and your business.

Read More »