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Dreamy Great Gatsby Portraits and Tutorial

By Jules Ebe on June 1st 2013

Want to create your own Great Gatsby inspired photo shoot? It is all in the details. Start with plenty of props and a vintage inspired wardrobe. Old Hollywood glamour is part gorgeous ambiance, part attitude.

“As a fan of both the book and the original Francis Ford Coppola written film, I wanted to create my own personal Great Gatsby cast of characters through my photography.”
~ Alex Huff


Lighting Set-up and Specs

The key technical components of this shoot is continuous lighting and fast aperture prime lens mounted on a full frame body. Set your camera to its lowest ISO setting (like 100) to retain detail and avoid unwanted grain. You can always add that back in during post-processing if you decide.

Use the flowers or other props to create dimension in your image. The shallow depth of field will add to the bokeh effect of the foreground and background elements. Be sure to keep the focus sharp on the eyes, that is where the model will convey that mysterious Gatsby attitude.


For this shoot, the hazy, dreamy ambiance is created by attaching flowers to light stands and hanging Christmas lights behind a shower curtain.

Behind the shower curtain, 1 Litepanel Flood with CTO Gel is aimed over the model’s shoulder.

The key light is a Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED on a C-Stand above the subject and directed back down at an angle. A 90-degree grid is used to focus the light.

The fill light is a Litepanel Spot with an A1/2 CTO Gel placed below the subject, opposite the key light.

Voilá – you now have a creative light set-up for maximum impact and drama.


Use the adjustment brush to restore texture to any spots that may have lost detail and clean up the skin as you would normally.


Apply the color vintage effect of your choice and now your image is ready for its close-up.

Our Lightroom 4 Preset System or Vintage Photoshop Action Sets have some great vintage effects that work well for this look.

For the Gear Heads: Equipment List

Litepanels 1×1 Daylight Flood and Spot Light Kit

Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED Center Mount Kit with 90 Degree Grid
CTO Gel Filters

Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800E
Canon 50mm f/1.2 or Nikkor 50mm f/1.4

Shower Curtain
Christmas Lights
Costumes and Props

To read the original full tutorial by Alex, click here.

On a side note: Could you imagine this set-up as a stunning photo booth option at a themed wedding?

Until Next Time . . .

Stay Inspired ~ Jules

[via 500px]


is a Southern California based Conceptual Artist and Photographer. Her work has been featured in several print publications and selections can be seen in local gallery exhibitions. Connect with her on Facebook and Google+.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting

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