a photoshopped creative London studio photography photoshoot

Creative portrait session: Twin Peaks

Why a creative portrait session?

Creative sessions allow you to step outside the everyday in a fun and safe space. To express a creative idea you’ve always wanted, or to work with me to create something unique for you.

How do you want to be photographed?

When I asked this question, Faye was immediately drawn to a creative session, rather than a contemporary or business portrait (though we can always combine different styles into one session). Faye is a huge fan of the tv show Twin Peaks written and directed by David Lynch and I was excited about the visual themes of the series and incorporating these in styling and postproduction.

Before and after video from double exposure post processing (12 seconds).

The final creative portrait collection

Set 1: Double exposure

A double exposure image is a combination of two images into one where one image is overlaid onto another at less than full opacity.
I learnt a great method from the amazing photographer Kate Whyte’s You Tube channel How to make a double exposure style composite in photoshop

I chose a number of my own nature images from Finland to resemble the forests and rivers of Snoqualmie Valley (Seattle) where Twin Peaks was filmed. For Faye’s final image I was looking for interesting shapes and textures with bright and dark parts. These would make a bigger impact when turned into black and white. What makes a black and white image appealing is having the full transition from black, to grey to white.

My landscape photography from Finland used in the double exposure images.

Set 2: The agent look

Faye’s style is a homage to two characters from the show, Audrey with her red lipstick and Agent Cooper in the suit. It played off the idea ‘what if Audrey had become an agent later in life?’
This set up used the portrait lighting style, clam lighting. My camera settings were 1/200, F/5.6 and ISO 200 with a 55mm lens.

Set 3: The projector

This was a a darker style to invoke Laura Palmer’s tragic ending at the beginning of the tv show. Faye had a wet hair look and I projected an image of bare, lifeless trees onto Faye’s skin.
This set up used a digital projector, with another nature image I’d taken in London. As the only light source was the projector I needed to allow more light into my camera. My camera settings were 1/100, F/4.0 and ISO 1600 with a 55mm lens.


A behind the scenes image in black and white of a man vaping at a portrait session in north London

Creative portrait session: Vaping

Creative Portrait Session: #1 Vaping

Why a creative portrait session?

The goal for all my photoshoots is to take the best picture you’ve ever seen of yourself. They are about creating something special for you to remember for a lifetime. With a creative portrait session, you are choosing a completely bespoke experience, tailored to your ideas.

How do you want to be photographed?

This is the first question I ask clients for a creative shoot. For Sergio, who directs short films, he wanted something film noir, something of an old movie style. When he casually showed me film stills with people smoking – I knew we had our theme.

I’ve never actually been a fan of cigarettes. I grew up in a heavy smoking environment and didn’t relish the thought of promoting or being in a room filled with smoke.  We settled on vaping as it would produce more ‘smoke’, making it easier to capture in camera, and wouldn’t produce so many chemicals as cigarette smoke. In fact it smelled like blueberries.

This session was always going to be black and white. However, to offer some variety I kept a few images in colour, choosing a retro blue tone to evoke my childhood memories of a smoky filled room. I think a few of these turned out to be my favourite.

Below is a 30 seconds behind the scenes video of the shoot!

Behind the scenes

Smoke constantly moves and to make sure I caught the trails and patterns I focused on lighting and shutter speed.

Studio lighting

I used two studio lights to create the effect. One light with a 4ft octabox was placed overhead to light Sergio and create dark shadows under his nose and chin.

I used a strip light on my left placing it slighting in front of Sergio. This would light up the smoke he produced, but not spill onto the backdrop.

Camera settings

My shutter speed was at 1/200 sec at f/9 with an ISO at 200.

Importantly, to capture the unique smoke patterns, I set my focus mode to continuous shooting (AF-C) on low, which on my camera took 5 consecutive images each time I pressed the shutter.

A behind the scenes image in black and white of a man vaping at a portrait session in north London

The final creative & bespoke portrait collection