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Tips & Tricks

Shooting Vintage, Styled Portraits on a Shoe String Budget

By Hanssie on May 16th 2015

slanted-lens-vintage-styled-portraits-1As you probably know or have read here in an article somewhere, personal projects as a photographer are an important part of your creative process, especially as a professional. Having a creative outlet that is not related to the building of your business and still within the realm of photography allows us to explore the ideas we create in our heads without the pressure of client expectations.

The only issue is, as dreamers, we tend to dream much bigger than the reality of our pocketbooks. Sure, I’d LOVE to have in my portfolio a photograph of a couple in an ice cave in the middle of Antartica, but the thousands of dollars of travel fees and hatred for being cold, prevent me from making that vision a reality. If you have an idea for a personal project, or have one you are currently tinkering with, the following video gives some good tips to help you photograph a stylized portrait session when you’re on a budget.



Our friend, Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens gives tips using an example from his own personal project, a portrait series called, “Time Period.” Using his love of history, Jay P.’s art series is a series of vintage styled portraits from different time periods in history. His goal is to, “create portraits that look like they were taken by me as if [he] were there in that time.”

His tips are semi-specific to this project, which is vintage-focused in the WWII time period, but can be adapted to fit your own shooting needs. He also goes into some detail showing his lighting setup and post process to complete the look and feel of his images. Watch below or read his post on The Slanted Lens site to see the rest of the images.

What types of personal projects are you working on? Share in the comments below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tosh Cuellar

    cool story, I’ve always felt that a key to preventing burnout or mental blocks is to shoot things that are personal/special/important to yourself, and remember why you shoot in the first place.

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  2. Thomas Horton

    It would be so cool to be able to do this type of photography.

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  3. Jon Penton

    Currently in the process of planning a stylized ballerina shoot, excited about using the Shutter drag technique to depict motion. This will be a first, so I’m expecting to learn as much (if not more) from the experience as I do from this great content you guys always share (and many times organically produce) so effectively.

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    • Thomas Horton

      I think you are going to have a lot of fun with dragging the shutter. Good luck with your project

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  4. Michael LaNasa

    Aside from great planning and technical descriptions, I think my favorite part of the video was his explanation of how he plans vintage shoots (framing a moment as if he were there) but then specifically the reasoning behind the specific plane and character setup for this final shoot. I’d be some photographers would not take the time to consider the plane, how it influenced the character portrayed (new pilot, learning during a time when many died during training) and why the two made sense to pair up. That planning and conceptual detail is what makes the shot much more impressive, if you ask me.

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    • Hanssie

      Agreed. It really helps tell the story through the images. That’s what makes a strong storytelling image vs just a vintage picture.

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  5. Brandon Dewey

    Awesome! Another great video.

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