Dramatic by definition, "sudden and striking" amongst other terminology pretty well tells you how an image should affect the viewer of the image.
It should make them react, stop and think, consider the image and what it means to them.
But how do we accomplish this?
Certainly the subject matter is an important component. As is the lighting, and to a point the colour or lack of it.
I also propose that expression and costume (if present) plays a part. Now let's take it a bit further and talk about the post-production part of the image making process.
When I am planning a portrait session, I tend to pre visualize the end result and assemble my shoot based on my end goal. Granted, it doesn't always end up that way, but I know that it is a smart idea for me to have something to strive for even if I end up veering left or right and arriving at a completely different point.
Post production includes all the work done after the original image exposure. When I have the image back in my computer, I undertake a series of tasks that will get me closer and closer to my end goal.
Some of these steps include the adjustment of tones and colour overall, as well as adjustments to smaller areas of the image.
This could be a quick process or could take an hour or longer. It all depends on how I feel about what I am looking at and what I am trying to achieve.
It also could involve the addition of layers of subject matter that takes the image to a different level. By this I mean that I may add a blend of textures, colours, shapes etc in order to move the image closer to the dramatic look I want.
The image above for example (provided by a photographer on Unsplash.com), started out as a fairly simple portrait against a white background. Upon considering the character of the person, with his water soaked body and stressful body position, I felt that it was indeed a portrait expressing stress or distress.
From this I felt that a colour change was inline with my goal. Adding a layer of green, that I had shot earlier as well as the blur made this a much more impactful image. If you can imagine the portrait as a simple shot, against a clean white wall, I'm sure you will agree that the image before you truly expresses the idea of stress.
Making dramatic portraits should be a process that starts well before the shoot begins and doesn't wrap up until well into post production.
Using layers of textures that you shoot yourself (keep a library of textures) will give you a breadth of options.
Shooting for the drama can add a whole new range to your portfolio of offerings and in your art work as well.
Photo-Artist working a personal vision.
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