Sophisticated, Stylish, and Refined Beauty Portrait

by | Apr 6, 2023 | Portraits | 0 comments

The portrait session with Jessie had that wow factor. Jessie is a nursing student who also models with the Helen Wells Agency. Jessie has a clear complexion, her hair has natural curls, and her blue eyes are engaging. I wanted the portrait to emphasize Jessie’s natural beauty while keeping current fashion trends in mind.

Careful preparation went into planning for the session with Jessie. Good planning is critical to the creative process. I created a mood board to share with the rest of the team. A mood board is a collection of visual inspiration throughout the planning and execution of the photography session. Selecting outfits, jewelry, flowers, and hats was done in advance. This preparation, a good team, and passion work together to create stunning images. The portrait of Jessie was a collaboration between Jessie (Model), Kim Conolly (Makeup & Hair Stylist), Donna Barr (Interior Design), and myself (Photographer).

Even without hair styling and makeup, Jessie looks terrific. However, Kim’s skill with hair and makeup helped accentuate Jessie’s natural beauty. Kim Conolly. I understand lights, cameras, and posing, but no one knows makeup like a professional makeup artist. An MUA/hairdresser will do their best to ensure refined beauty and reduce the need for post-processing. I left it to Kim to pick the colors and sheens that would photograph the best. Deciding on the proper foundation, eyeliner, or lipstick can make your portrait memorable.

And Donna Barr was there to coordinate the attire and accessories. Donna has experience in theater, costuming, and set design. Donna graduated from Purdue University with an Interior design degree. Donna J Barr Interior Design. Selecting the best clothing styles, colors, and jewelry is essential in creating a sophisticated, stylish, and refined portrayal. So, Donna worked to be sure everything coordinated to create that desired look. Poorly-selected clothing takes away from an otherwise great image. Selecting the best attire and accessories should:

  • Make the people the main subjects
  • Flatter the subjects and make them look their best
  • Keep clothing from being distracting so it’s a non-issue.
  • Match the desired style of the desired look.
  • Bold colors that work with the model’s skin and hair tones.

After Kim had completed Jessie’s hair and makeup, we started to capture images of Jessie. I focused on Jessie’s eyes because they are essential to a good portrait. As it has been said many times before, the eyes are the windows to the soul.

Your eyes have a significant impact on an image. For many of my images, I want to attain perfect eye contact with the eye in sharp focus. However, a portrait is sometimes better if the subject looks off to one side. Looking off-camera suggests the exposure is unscripted or a candid capture. It can also create some intrigue and interest as the viewer wonders what the subject is looking at, which causes them to engage further with the image.

Portrait photography is about human connections—about being able to capture someone’s story and share it through a static image that says much without using any words. The portrait is a frozen moment in time that generations to come will hold as a treasured memory. I talked with Jessie during the photography session to ask her thoughts and opinions. She was part of the process, which wasn’t just a plastic beauty photo. I wanted a beautiful portrait with a personality.

I kept the lighting on Jessie soft and gentile. Hard light creates extremes in brightness, from cavernous black shadows to white-hot highlights. It accentuates skin texture and casts sharp, unflattering shadows. Hard light might work well for a character portrait of a person with weathered skin, but soft, beautiful, and flattering is the look I was after with Jessie.

Kim stayed throughout the portrait session for touch-ups or to make adjustments when Jessie changed attire. During the portrait session, an MUA/hairdresser is needed to fix stray hairs, smudged lipstick, or any other flaws. She ensured that every perfect pose was matched with an even greater look.

(And a million ‘thank yous’ to Kim Connolly for the incredible hair and makeup and to Donna Barr for her coordination of styles, colors, and jewelry!)

IN Dancing Light Photography creates wedding images and fine art portraits that are bold, beautiful, vibrant, timeless, authentic, and unique. We use our creative talent and technical skill to produce photographs with the power to evoke emotion. IN Dancing Light Photography creates images and portraits that our clients will cherish forever.

Thank you for looking. To get in touch with me about a solo portrait, family, or newborn photo session of your own, or to inquire about wedding photography in the Indianapolis area, click the contact link above.

You may also be interesting in understanding the use of light.

If you found this post helpful and informative, please share it on your social media.

Headshot of Jessie

Jessie in red gown standing in a sun-draped roomJessie in a red gown standing

Monochrome headshot of Jessie with flowers and a hat


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In Dancing Light