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The Art of Creating Art 

Incorporating Elements of Fine Art into Portraiture Photography by Leon Johnson

I am a Fine Art portrait photographer. For me, that means drawing inspiration from centuries-old paintings in order to create modern day portrait photography that transports the viewer to a place far away and to times gone by. There are many elements photographers can study from a painting or an image such as expression, lighting, clothing, scene, mood, and props. Of these, lighting, pose, and expression are key for my work.

 I find that lighting and expression are critical in making the illusion believable; they help create mood. In a recent client project, I incorporated a lyre as a prop into some of my work. I lit the subject and scene with a single StellaPro CLx10 continuous LED light placed inside a 60-inch softbox. I added an additional sheet of polyester chiffon to further diffuse my light.

I prefer constant light because I find that shadows are just as important as highlights in creating fine art. Constant light allows me to see highlights and shadows on all elements of the project. I can find magical light faster and make needed adjustments to a subject’s pose or other essential elements in less time and with more accuracy because I am able to see what’s happening with my light in real time. Happy Shooting!

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