Behind the Scenes

Hollywood Glamour Behind the Scenes

Here’s a quick “behind the scenes” blog on a practice session Leslie and I did with model Molly as we prepped for a glamour shoot with a bride next week.

Several weeks ago a bride posted a photograph of her hair style for her upcoming wedding. It's beautiful, and was reminiscent of a 1930s or 40s Hollywood style. I immediately suggested to the bride that we do a Hollywood glamour portrait session after her hair was styled on her wedding day, and she enthusiastically agreed. Now all I had to do was learn how to do Hollywood glamour portraits. This is our inspiration sheet we put together for our practice photo shoot.
Several weeks ago a bride posted a photograph of her hair style for her upcoming wedding. It’s beautiful, and is reminiscent of a 1930s or ’40s Hollywood look. I immediately suggested to the bride that we do a Hollywood glamour portrait session after her hair was styled on her wedding day, and she enthusiastically agreed. Now all I had to do was learn how to do Hollywood glamour portraits. This is the inspiration sheet we put together for our practice photo shoot—you’ll notice all the different lighting styles, all quite dramatic.
I read a lot online, ordered Pete Wright's book on How to Create Classic Hollywood Photography, purchased a new light modifier for my studio strobes, and arranged for Molly to patiently model for Leslie and me as we experimented with the lighting.
I read a lot online, watched tutorials, read Pete Wright’s book on How to Create Classic Hollywood Photography, purchased a new light modifier for my studio strobes, and arranged for Molly to patiently model for Leslie and me as we experimented with the lighting and posing.
And there was more to learn than the lighting. The post-production has a specific style as well. Often a soft blur was added to the image so that the person's skin would almost glow.
And there was more to learn than just the lighting and posing. The post-production has a specific style as well. Often a soft blur was added to the image so that the person’s skin would almost glow.
The portraits were usually shot close up, so often the person would frame their face with their hands.
The portraits were usually shot close up, so often the person would frame their face with their hands.
The finished portraits were almost always black and white (to match the black and white movies the actresses were starring in). In my final images, I removed all references to current fashion, including the blue fingernail polish and nose stud that look great on Molly, but wouldn't have been around in 1940.
The finished portraits were almost always black and white (to match the black and white movies in which the actresses were starring). In my final images, I removed all references to current fashion, including the blue fingernail polish and nose stud that look great on Molly, but wouldn’t have been around in 1940.
The glamour portraits used dramatic lighting on a dark background, almost always with the actress or actor's hair highlighted, as if they were in the spotlight.
The glamour portraits used highly-directional lighting on a dark background, almost always with the actress or actor’s hair highlighted, as if they were in the spotlight.
An homage to the Audrey Hepburn portrait on our inspiration sheet.
An homage to the Audrey Hepburn portrait on our inspiration sheet.

06

Our take on the Natalie Portman portrait on our inspiration sheet. Strong sidelighting and Molly's face framed by a delicate hand.
Our take on the Natalie Portman portrait on our inspiration sheet. Strong sidelighting and Molly’s face framed by a delicate hand.

04

I love the lines of Molly's hat.
I love the lines of Molly’s hat.
The bride has a white stole like Grace Kelly's on our inspiration sheet, so we practiced with a white blanket.
The bride has a white stole like Grace Kelly’s on our inspiration sheet, so we practiced with a white blanket.
Like Grace Kelly's portrait, I added a little blur to Molly's face so it would glow. Molly, thanks again for your help and good humor as Les and I figured things out! We're looking forward to our bridal portraits with Katherine next weekend!
Like Grace Kelly’s portrait, I added a little blur to Molly’s face so it would glow. Molly, thanks again for your help and good humor as Les and I figured things out! We’re looking forward to our bridal portraits with Katherine next weekend!