Ever wonder what goes in to creating a Fine Art Portrait? Ms. Claus Portrait | Sherry Penner Photography

My favourite thing to do in my business is fine art or creative art portraits. Creating a fine art portrait is a very different process than your regular portrait session. The process for me starts with an idea of what story I want to tell. I don’t always know the whole story or sometimes it takes a very different turn than what I had originally intended but it always starts with a story of some sort.

Then comes the gathering of the pieces of the puzzle as I like to call it. The costume, the digital images needed to create the scene, any props and a model. I like to use regular people not professional models, I want you to see yourself as the character, be able to relate to them and start to think of having your own portrait done.

Some fine art portraits are more elaborate than others but basically I tell my clients if you can visualize it we can achieve it and for the most part I am at a skill level now where that is true.

Creating a fine art portrait starts with some forethought. You need to have an idea of what direction you want to go in so you can be sure to light your subject accordingly. The lighting in the image is what will give it away as either a good composite or a bad composite, and knowing your tools in photoshop can help you to achieve a consistent lighting pattern with your other digital images even if they aren’t taken in the exact same lighting situation.

Once I have my idea and a subject to shoot the fun begins. Dressing up is usually what takes the most time, then we act out a couple of scenarios, I’ll try to cover multiple angles or different poses to be sure I get what I need once it come to the editing. I will spend  a lot more time making sure my lighting is just right and the pose is exaggerated enough to make the image cinematic and exciting to look at.

Then I bring all the pieces together in Photoshop and start layering, cutting, masking, tweaking, adding effects, filters, light, and colour tones to make it look like it all belongs together.

Today I will share with you the pieces of one portrait from my recent photo session with Ms. Claus.

I put out a model call to do a fun festive portrait session of Ms. Claus. I did a draw to pick from the many entrants and once my subject was chosen started putting together some ideas that would suit both the Ms. Claus theme and Amanda as my subject. I kept thinking, we don’t really know much about Ms. Claus and i didn’t want to just do something traditional so my thoughts started with what is she doing while Santa is out doing what Santa does. And my first thought was: she was home holding down the fort. What is the saying “Behind every successful man stands a strong woman?” Something like that.

So then I started visualizing what their life at home must be like and the obvious idea was that Ms. Claus would be home taking care of the animals. Obviously they wouldn’t just have their flying set of reindeer, that there must be other reindeer and so this idea started take form.

Putting together the costume is a very important step, it needs to be detailed enough to add to the story. So traditional pieces of the Claus costumes needed to be used, so everyone at first glance would make the connection. We did 3 different costumes for this shoot, and I will share with you 5 different fine art portraits that show us who Ms. Claus is. She is Simply Woman:) Here is her first portrait and the pieces that went together to pull it all off.

Thank you again Amanda for being such a willing and enthusiastic model.

Ms. Claus ~ Stary Night

Let me know if you like it, drop me a comment.

Stay tuned for more of Ms. Claus….

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  • Sharla

    Oh wow, wow, wow!! This should be featured in a Christmas card or Christmas calendar or something… Love it!ReplyCancel

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My studio is located in Blackfalds, Alberta.

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