Shooting Portraits At Home

“So many people dislike themselves so thoroughly that they never see any reproduction of themselves that suits. None of us is born with the right face. It’s a tough job being a portrait photographer.” Imogen Cunningham

Before I had my current in-home studio, I used my entire (former) home as a studio and one of my favorite places to shoot was the kitchen because it had a North-facing bay window.

If the upside of shooting portraits in your house is that it’s convenient, the downside is that sooner or later you’re photographs are going to start looking similar. Moving or redecorating can be the most expensive alternatives so the best way to make your photographs look different is to make them look different in the digital darkroom. Here’s one way to do it.

This model was photographed in color in my kitchen using mostly available light with fill from an 580EX II speedlight. Camera was an EOS 50D with (now discontinued) EF 28-105mm lens although available these days used. Exposure of 1/60 sec at f/4.5 and ISO 400. But according to the histogram it was overexposed. while clearly it was underexposed.

I tweaked it using techniques previously explained using a duplicate layer. Then I did some light retouching using Photoshop’s Healing and Clone brushes, followed by applying Imagenomic’s Portraiture plug in, which I applied to a separate layer changing it’s opacity to 33% to reduce the strength and avoid over retouched look. The image files was further tweaked using the Vivenza plug-in, especially  Contrast and Structure sliders. Next I converted it to monochrome using Silver Efex Pro, topped of by applying the Glamour Glow filter that’s part of Color Efex Pro plug-ins. Finally I cropped it slightly using Photoshop’s Crop tool using the 5×7 format to tighten the image a bit.

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 9.13.43 AMIf you’re interested in shooting portraits and how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere” which is available from with, as I write this, new non Prime copies selling for$17.50 (plus shipping,) cheaper than the Prime price.

Author: Joe Farace

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