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Headache by Johanne Brunet

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This is an experiment in preparation for the final assignment in my portrait class.

The theme is In the manner of…, and consists in creating an image inspired from, or reproducing a photo that we like from another photographer.

The goal of this exercise is to gain a better knowledge of lighting setups and post-processing, by practising until we get it right. When we finally succed, we should have learned a thing or two in the process…

I chose a photo by Tom Hoops published in the February 2009 issue of Digital SLR Photography . Unfortunately, that specific image cannot be found on his website.

The final shot will be made with a different and more exotic model (a gorgeous girl named Hillary), and not my son Jonathan who did a great job nonetheless, helping me quite a bit.

Focal length 62 mm
Aperture f/4,5
Shutter 1/60 sec.

Nikon D60
AF Zoom Nikkor 35-70mm f/3.3-4.5

Shot hand held in manual mode with manual focus, model sitting just a bit inside of a doorway, with a dark background. He was lit by the natural light from outside, no flash fired. I was standing outside to make the shot.

Processed in Lightroom 2.6 and Photoshop CS4.

Featured in Live, Love, Dream on March 20, 2010

Featured in Focus and Lighting on March 21, 2010

Featured in The Woman Photographer on March 22, 2010

Featured in the group Experimental on March 24, 2010

Featured in The Waist Up – Portraiture Photography on March 24, 2010

Featured in Model Beginnings on March 25, 2010

Featured in Nikon DSLR Users on April 29, 2011


black, face, boy, portrait, hands, experiment, headache, black and white, negative space

Freelance photographer specializing in pet photography as well as maternity and newborn portraiture.

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  • Kay Kempton Raade
    Kay Kempton Raadeabout 4 years ago

    Nice one!! Thanks for your help, Johathan, you are going to make mom a master!!

  • Thank you Kay! He was very patient, and let me try different things before he left for work!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Ursula Rodgers
    Ursula Rodgersabout 4 years ago

    Gorgeous lighting here Jo, and the eyes…so intense! :)

  • Thank you Ursula! Although my father-in-law’s eyes are baby blue, they are very intense and Jo takes after him, with the same upper lid!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)
    George Parapad...about 4 years ago

    Not sure how that pose will work on a girl portrait, but it works extremely well here! Jonathan looks intense and very mature at the same time.

  • Thank you George! Believe me, the pose works very well for a girl, with the hands placed just a bit differently and the angle not exactly the same. Everything will look more elegant, I promise. The bend will be more at the wrist level than the fingers, and we will see a little more of the forearms. I can’t wait to show you the final result! :-)))

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Roka
    Rokaabout 4 years ago

    This portrait says so much. Love it!

  • Thank you Roka!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Vikram Franklin
    Vikram Franklinabout 4 years ago

    WOW!! You’re the Master of portraits now!!
    AMAZING – I was trying to figure out the lighting … and am amazed that this is natural light! I can’t wait to see how this can turn out ‘better’ (hey – I’d hand this in as my final assignment and be thrilled to bits with it!!)

  • LOL! Thank you, my friend!

    The final image will be shot at f/1,8 with my 50mm. It will include a lot more forearms, and hopefully, less post-processing. Jo was wearing a black t-shirt, so I had to make his neck disappear. My model will wear a black turtleneck, helped with a black scarf if it doesn’t hide averything up to under the chin.

    As for the “vignetting” at the bottom, it had to be added in PP. I have brought my magazine in class, showing the Tom Hoops image to several instructors, but no one could tell me how this could be done without Photoshop. Then I read on that photographer’s blog that he teaches a class called Editing for Impact … and there was my answer! LOL!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • micheleirene
    micheleireneabout 4 years ago

    Johanne this is AMAZING!!!!! Great composition and processing and Jonathan’s expression is perfect and the placement of the hands works so well. This is a HUGE favourite for me….love, love, love it!

  • Thank you so much for your tremendously encouraging comment! It gives me a welcome confidence boost for making the final shot, and if it does not work, I may still feel comfortable presenting Headache instead, thanks to everyone’s great comments.

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaabout 4 years ago


  • Thank you so much, Scott!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Squealia
    Squealiaabout 4 years ago

    I rather like your son! yOU HAVE GOOD LOOKING KIDS!

  • Thank you Celia! Don’t say it too loud or their hats won’t fit anymore… LOL!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonabout 4 years ago

    GREAT B&W Portrait…..such intensity in his eyes…he did a great job for you!! Your camera work excels as always Johanne….you’re an inspiration. Can’t wait to see the next one. Good Luck with your assignment, I’m sure you’ll ace it! Cheers!

  • Thank you so much, Wendi! Your comments are always very good for my self-esteem! LOL!

    I can’t wait either to see how it will turn out. I have found a gorgeous girl who accepted to by my model for that shot, and we are waiting to see the weather forecast for this week. I need a lot of light!

    – Johanne Brunet

  • robpixaday
    robpixadayabout 4 years ago

    Congratulations! This image has been featured in the Experimental Group!

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