Ex­plore your dark side

Don’t be afraid of the dark, revel in it! Claire Gillo un­folds the drama and shoots a spooky gothic por­trait us­ing care­fully-ar­ranged flash

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Set up flash­guns to shoot a spooky por­trait, then add mist in post-pro­cess­ing

Pho­tog­ra­phy can be dra­matic, and in this tu­to­rial we’re go­ing to show you just how dra­matic! For our shoot we placed a cos­tume-clad model in some at­mo­spheric ru­ins. Our cos­tume was based around the clas­sic ‘plague doc­tor’ out­fit, and we used a Vene­tian mask to give our model a suit­ably long nose.

As there are a few lo­gis­tics to con­sider on a shoot like this it’s best to do a recce of the lo­ca­tion be­fore­hand. Look for lead­ing lines such as stairs or arch­ways to frame your sub­ject. Take along a friend when you look over the lo­ca­tion and they can pose, en­abling you to as­sess var­i­ous com­po­si­tions. That way you’ll know the best spot,

On a shoot like this it’s best to do a recce of the lo­ca­tion be­fore­hand… That way you’ll know the best spot, sav­ing a lot of time and ef­fort on the day of the shoot

sav­ing a lot of time and ef­fort on the day of the shoot.

To get re­sults like ours you will need to do a lit­tle post-pro­duc­tion edit­ing work on the fi­nal im­age. It’s best to shoot in RAW so you have more flex­i­bil­ity at the edit­ing stage. We used Pho­to­shop El­e­ments to make our fi­nal ad­just­ments, but there are many cam­era edit­ing pro­grams that will do a sim­i­lar job. The im­por­tant thing is to de­sat­u­rate the scene so you’ve almost re­moved the colour, as this gives the shot at­mos­phere.

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