Natural no-makeup portraits

February 4, 2017 by GordonM in people portrait project 1 comment
Natural no-makeup portraits

I’ve just started a new photo project which is taking photos of female models and other women with no makeup.  It’s probably a bit of a shock for most women to be in front of the camera without makeup but I was hopeful of some willing volunteers.  My thought was to remove that outer layer of a mask that perhaps makes a woman ready for the world, but probably also changes who their individual persona is in some form.  So my hope was that to go natural and bare would reveal something more about the real woman behind the mask.

My first model was Paige and she agreed to do this as the first shoot of the day before we applied makeup for the other photo sets to follow.  I had a particular style in mind for this set and with a black blouse and a black wall as background, my hope was that the face would stand out in the photo.   As well as the natural light coming front on from a small window (top catchlight in the eyes), I also bounced some of the light across a white polystyrene board onto the face (seen as the second catchlight bottom right in the eyes).

Using a Fuji X-T2 with a 56mm f1.2 lens, I wanted a particular look so I initially set manual mode with a shutter speed to 1/200th second to minimise camera shake and movement, an aperture of f2 to minimise depth of field, and then setting auto-ISO to complete the exposure triangle. From the EXIF data I can see that the ISO varied between 320 ISO and 640 ISO, of course this was no problem for the X-T2.  Focusing also turned out to be snappy with no focus hunting which allowed me to work quickly from shot to shot.

A quick conversion to black and white in Adobe Lightroom and I’ve got a nice set of portraits that just shows how beautiful a woman can be just being totally natural.     Now all I need to do is get my next model in front of the camera for my next shoot.

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