Art Streiber Portrait Challenge

Each month we set ourselves a personal creative challenge at our Singapore photo studio. The aim is to study the lighting styles and photography techniques of different Masters of Photography. The end goal is to recreate an image or to emulate their style. This challenge allows us to constantly broaden our technical knowledge as well as expanding our portrait repertoire. On this occasion we were tasked with recreating a specific portrait by Art Streiber.

“If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward.”

John Wooden

Who Is Art Streiber?

Art Streiber is an American photographer based in Los Angeles. He is known in particular for his portraits of entertainment and sports personalities. Over the years he has worked with major publications such as Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly and Esquire, to name but a few. Streiber also lectures and teaches on a regular basis. Furthermore, his Instagram profile is a wealth of BTS information.

The reference image for this portrait photography challenge is from a series taken for The New York Times Magazine. This Art Streiber portrait features Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale, the stars of Veep, a political satire comedy on HBO.

“I wanted her to smother him affectionately… putting them both in black turtlenecks melds them into one.”

Art Streiber
Art Streiber Portrait - reference
Photo © Art Streiber for The New York Times Magazine

Having selected the image to be replicated, the next step was to establish the technical details and find a willing pair of suitable volunteers. I had the perfect couple in mind based on the chemistry and humour in this image.

Let’s Get Technical

Behind the Scenes
Equipment Setup BTS

For those interested in the technical details, here is the gear list including the camera settings:

  • Canon 5D Mk3
  • 45mm (EF 24-105mm f/4L USM)
  • 1/200 sec at f/9, ISO 400
  • Key Light: Canon Speedlite 580EX II
  • Modifier: Godox P120L with S-type Bracket for Speedlite

I initially started with the black side of a homemade v-Flat for the background (as seen in the BTS image). This was lit in the middle behind the models by a snooted speedlight. After a few frames I figured that the best option would be to shoot on a white background with no light. I could then add the vignette in post (K.I.S.S.).

Lighting Diagram
Lighting Diagram

I set the speedlight at 1/2 power which allowed for a fast enough refresh rate so as not to impact the momentum of the shoot. Whilst fine-tuning the body positions and facial expressions, I also had a cable release in one hand and a large piece of card in the other. This allowed me to continue to capture frames and also attempt to recreate that windswept look from the original image.

I had the camera tethered to Capture One on the studio iMac with a colour calibrated display. This way we could all see the results of the photoshoot instantly. Needless to say, this also resulted in quite a few outtakes.

Straight out of Camera
Straight out of Camera

Time For Some Retouching

The selected image was taken into Photoshop for the final retouching. The initial work involved basic skin adjustments and colour grading as well as removing the background. As can be seen in the SOOC, I also took the liberty of “dressing” them in Photoshop to match the original.

Art Streiber Portrait - final
Art Streiber Portrait – Final Recreation

This was both a rewarding creative experience and a fun photoshoot for all involved. I hope you like the finished results. Feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions or if you would like further details of our Portrait or Headshot Photography.

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to Tom and Shyanne for being willing and patient volunteers for this Art Streiber portrait challenge. Until next time…

Art Streiber Portrait Probe – Winning Image

As an update to this post, I feel honoured to be able to announce that this submission was judged as the winning image for the Headshot Crew Art Streiber Portrait Probe for June.

Art Streiber Portrait Probe - Winning Image
Headshot Crew Art Streiber (June) Portrait Probe – Winning Image

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