Different Looks in a Single Session: A Photo Shoot Narrative

Marianna is a beauty professional and nature photographer; we met for a casual portrait session which went for a little over two hours. On our first collaboration, we were able to create images that range from a sophisticated look to a more casual style. In my case, I relied on light control, and for Marianna, that variety was possible through her wardrobe selection and hairstyling, which shows her beauty skills and natural elegance.

On this occasion, I used a portable strobe light, which I bounced from a mid-size silver umbrella that gave her skin tone and hair a beautiful glow effect and texture. My purpose behind using that light was to overpower the ambient, hard light from a bright sunny day and make images with good depth separation and contrast.

Though I love the refined effect I get with using a portable strobe light; I'm not a fan of how much it gets in the way between the subject and me. I reserve artificial light for early in a session and choose to complete it with ambient light; as it helps me engage and be more responsive to natural expressions.

For me, no portrait session can be complete without integrating black and white film. Having had mixed results with bulk loaded film in recent opportunities, I decided to try Ilford Delta 100; a low grain film suitable for daylight photography. Shooting black and white film during a photo session is helping me pre-visualising a scene.

Creating multiple looks from a single photo shoot is probably a reflection of my inexperience when working with people. Perhaps it shows my lack of direction and my impulse to absorb as much as possible in a relative short period of time. As I move into a new stage in my approach to photography, I aspire to build new work based on themes and concepts where I can justify aesthetic evolution.

Follow Marianna on Instagram: @themarvelousmari_