We’ve all heard the saying “less is more” and i do believe
that to be true—most of the time. i’ve built my career on
simple yet striking images but sometimes, as i’ve found
along the way, more is more. i very rarely photograph with the
forethought of Photoshop, but sometimes there are simply some
things you cannot achieve in-camera.
eight years ago, i photographed an engagement session of
wedding photographer ryan Schembri and his wife, Jessica. The
whole shoot was inspired by different movies. one of the scenes i
wanted to emulate was one from Malèna, starring monica bellucci.
(if you haven’t yet seen this movie, i strongly encourage you to watch
it not only for the cinematography but also because it will make you
laugh and cry.) There is a poignant moment in the film where the
main character, malèna, visits a piazza, sits down at a café and takes
out a cigarette knowing that all the men surrounding her would be
quick to offer a light. This is a turning point in the movie and the
scene is truly iconic, which is why i’ve always wanted to immortalize
it in one of my creations.
Which brings me back to ryan and Jess. for their engagement
session, i placed my camera on a tripod and took a portrait of
Jessica that i used as my foundation image (above). i earmarked
exactly where the cigarette would be so
that in each of the following images, the
lighters would be in the correct position.
i previsualized the entire shot in my head
while posing ryan in many different
positions. afterwards, each image
was deep-etched, combined and then
blended in for the final result. This image
then became the inspiration for several
other composites in this style.
if you want to try something like this for
yourself, i encourage you to come up with
a concept and then pitch it to your clients.
it can be a creative collaboration that truly
reflects their hobbies and personalities,
or you may simply want to surprise them
with your own interpretation. it’s harder
to do something like this at a wedding
because it does take some time to
execute; it’s much easier to achieve with
your portrait clients in a studio.
The portrait below, created in my
studio in melbourne, australia, can be
a great addition to your client product
offerings. every client has purchased one
of these composites once they’ve seen them. after all, we sell what
we show. i love that it takes a few seconds for my clients to realize
that it’s the same subject over and over in the frame. and while this
should not replace other products you already offer, it is different
and dynamic enough to sell it in addition to your other offerings. i
pitch it as wall art and as a talking piece that inspires a conversation
when guests come over.
When More is More
WHaT WoUld JerrY do?
Client composites can help you exceed expectations and feed your creativity.
b Y Jerr Y gHioNiS