Getting into Character with Themed Portraits in the Tetons

Using costumes and models can help bring things to life. On my photography excursion to Victor, Idaho and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming we had a lot of fun with themed portrait photography with models dressed as fishermen and cowboys as well as using a few smoke bombs and fog machine. Pair that all with lights and I was able to camper some pretty amazing themed portraits.


Coming out of the purple smoke

Nikon D3400, 75mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 100, Apollo Orb, Model: Allyson Blake

This was my first time using smoke bombs. To get the smoke to wrap around her, we had Caryn Esplin running around her with the bomb as the smoke came out. When I pulled it into photoshop I used the clone stamp tool to mask her out since she was still slightly visible in the haze in a few of the pictures. We used an Apollo Orb and triggers to light this scene.

Wandering through purple haze in the forest

Nikon D3400, 85mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 100, Apollo Orb, Model: Allyson Blake

By using the paint brush on vivid mode, I was able to pull out some of the color that was already there in her hair and in the fog. Doing that gave me more control over where I wanted to pull out the color.

Framed in green forest with purple fog

Nikon D3400, 100mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO 100, Apollo Orb, Model: Allyson Blake

One the smoke has time to defuse, it continues to hang in the air, creating a unique background that I contrasted in the image by pulling her forward and framing it in leaves.


Colored Gel Light Hair Flip

Nikon D3400, 125mm, f/6.3, 1/250, ISO 800, Speed Lights with Gels, Model: Kayley Sullivan

To get this image we filled the barn in Victor, Idaho with fog from a fog machine (or smoke for Vlad our Russian friend). Once there was enough fog, we used speed lights with gels to color the fog in the air. For this shot, I placed the speed light with the red gel directly behind her head to give it the hair light and the speed light with the blue gel to left. The mix of these colors created this fun violet color that I didn’t touch in photoshop. The only edits made on this image were with the spot healing brush tool to clean up the edge a bit and then resizing. Once I had the set up, I instructed Kaley to whip her hair back and forth as I shot. The result is this epic and colorful portrait.


River Fisherman's hands

Nikon D3400, 270mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 200, Model: Garrett Blanchard

One of my favorite parts of this picture is that the focus is on the hands of the fisherman and soft raindrops that are visible. He could be anyone you know, a brother, father, uncle, and it makes it more universal for a fine art shot.

Irina at Art Vision Studio and Cynthia Carter have also both taken some fantastic themed portrait photography that you should check out.

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