Mysterious, dramatic, film noir, classic black and white portrait

Model in veil.  Old fashioned, Film Noir, Spotlight lighting.  4x5 film for maximum tones and sharpness.

Model in veil.  Old fashioned, Film Noir, Spotlight lighting.  4x5 film for maximum tones and sharpness.

Remember the days of classic movies?  Women in hats, veils and all the great dramatic lighting. 

Isn't it fun to play dress up.  Imagine yourself ready to go out to an old fashioned nightclub. Can you see a jazz band featuring a sultry singer in a gown and big hat singing about love, obsession and passion?

Most photos need shadows.  The shadows are not mistakes, but add to the emotions, suspense and drama. A photo needs shadows to show features, add dimension and more. Without shadows you would have a flat, grey image that is boring.

Also isn't it fun to play dress up.  Imagine yourself ready to go out to an old fashioned nightclub. Can you see a jazz band featuring a sultry singer in a gown and big hat singing about love, obsession and passion?

How can you be in your own movie?  Get dressed up, have the photographer use an old fashioned film camera and dramatic lighting.  Call Allan at 303-743-0616 to get the details. Now lets snap the picture.

Classic Vintage Hat Portrait photograph

Hat picture for classic portrait

Vintage inspired photo.  I love hats.

It's amazing what a great prop can do to enhance a photo.  Imagine this picture without the hat.  Not the same is it?  Sonya is a vintage model (and also tattoo - alternative model).  

It's so great to work with simple props. They add dimension, personality and fun to a photo. You can pickup a great antique hat, for a very affordable amount, at consignment stores, antique dealers, thrift and second hand stores, etc.

Allan is one of the best photographers to hire to create vintage photographs.  He has years of experience working with film cameras. Because of his background he understands the tones, color and feeling in a vintage picture. 

I've included a black and white version of the photo.  Which do you prefer?

Black and white hat picture.  Toned to give subtle color similar to classic Kodak selenium toning.

Black and white hat picture.  Toned to give subtle color similar to classic Kodak selenium toning.

Film Noir classic portrait

Amy S film noir classic film black and white portrait

Creating photos in the style of classic movies is a lot of fun, exciting and can give you unique, attention getting pictures.

Amy and I wanted to create a picture that looked like a portrait from a classic film.  Film Noir was a style of photography and film making that emphasized drama, strong lighting and shadows and a sense of mystery.  Films of this type were mostly created in the 1940s and 1950s with stars such as Humprey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.  Many were stylish crime dramas.

Yet even today, Film Noir has influenced newer films such as Chinatown, Sin City and others in the use of dramatic lighting and plots, as well as sultry stars.  And it's a great inspiration for skilled photographers to create dramatic portraits.

Part of the key to creating this picture was using a vintage 4x5 film camera.  This allowed us to capture lots of detail, without showing too many skin flaws.  It also meant we were able to show detail in even the darkest areas of the picture.  On many digital cameras, the dark areas would be lifeless and would have lost detail and character.

Also lighting is key.  Notice the highlighting of the hat, to separate it from the background. And of course, the right clothing, props and background are important too.


Old style film photography at Estes Park, Colorado

4x5 film, photo of Park Theatre in Estes Park, Colorado

4x5 film, photo of Park Theatre in Estes Park, Colorado

One of my photos from a short trip to visit Estes Park.  This is a vintage photo taken with my 50 year old Crown Graphic Film Camera.  It takes large format film and give incredible quality images.  There is a unique quality that is vintage, fine art and great for collectible pictures.

I  liked the old fashioned feeling that Estes Park has.  I visited the original Taffy Store, opened in 1935.  It still makes Taffy the way they made it when the store opened.  I also stopped in and shopped and browsed at several stores, restaurants and galleries.

Estes Park is a fun place to visit and has some great picture taking opportunities.

Fantasy portraits. How to look like a movie star in your pictures.

Black and white film glamour photograph. 

Black and white film glamour photograph. 

Remember going to the movies?  Why have movies been prime entertainment for millions of people and been so popular for over 100 years?  In the 1950s you went to see classic film stars like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra and dozens more.  Before that, millions went to movies to see Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo and others in silent films.

Perhaps you dreamed that you could be as glamorous and sexy as the actors on the screen or in the magazines.  You knew that they had the best life.  They were rich and wore the most elegant and beautiful clothes.  And you saw them in magazines going on great vacations to Paris, Rome and other exotic countries.  They often drove expensive automobiles, lived in large, beautifully decorated homes and seemed to enjoy being famous.

Sure, that was years ago. How about now? Many people still dream of being rich and famous. You may not like reality TV, but look how many millions watch the Kardashians.  Fans want to know what they are doing, wearing, see them on magazine covers and follow them on Instagram. And some are so in love with their celebrity status that they buy their cosmetics and the products they openly endorse!

Add magazines like People and TV shows on Entertainment TV who cover celebrities in detail. Not to mention the gossip news you see everyday.

Yes, I know it is a fantasy.  For some people, it's real, but for most people they lead more ordinary lives.

But what if you could have your own celebrity movie star portrait created? Even if you are not a celebrity. Yes, you can have your own fantasy portrait.  Perhaps you want to look like the stars of the 1950s or look as glamorous as Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe you want to look as great as Nicole Kidman or Beyonce does now.  For some of my clients, it's a sexy photo session like one of the Victoria Secret models.  Others want to be pictured as a sophisticated member of the British Royal Family.

Is it possible? To a large degree, you can make your fantasies into photographs. The model, Amy pictured above just needed a glamorous dress, a hat and some simple jewelry.  The rest was created, during the photo session and simple post production of the image.

Let me tell you how I can create a movie star portrait for you.  First we meet or talk on the phone so I can find out more about you and what you want your pictures to look like. What kind of pictures do you want? Are you trying to create a picture that has a 1950s glamour style or perhaps something very artsy from  the 1920s?  Maybe it's something more modern or a photo that you saw in a magazine or on a movie poster or in a book.  

Then we can discuss clothing, makeup, jewelry, etc. You do not need to match the exact same clothing.  We are going for a style or look.  Is it glamorous, sexy or vintage?  Maybe you just want to look great and have soft flattering lighting and great retouching.  For some photos a simple top or classic hat may be all that is needed.

Next I see what lighting style, background and camera and film will help to achieve the right effect for your photograph. Many photographers only offer one camera and their favorite lens. I have two 4x5 film cameras, as well as digital cameras with several lenses available and special filters. I use what will work best for you. Lighting is not preset, like volume portrait studios, but moved into position to be the most flattering for your facial structure.  And then we will work together to get the best angles, most flattering poses and the correct expression for the pictures.

Finally, after the pictures are taken, pictures are adjusted for the best effects.  Maybe your face needs to be lighter for some pictures, but darker and moodier for other images. You might want more realistic images or a softer fantasy image. You may be age 50, but maybe you would like to look 20 years younger? It's possible.  Maybe you feel you have too many lines or wrinkles? I can soften or remove them. 

You are my client and you only have to please yourself.  I want to create a photograph that you will be proud of and create memories that will last for years. I will do my best to help you, advise you and serve you. I value my clients and they value my creativity and craftsmanship as a photographer.

Finally, when you see the proofs, we will go over how to display the images.  Do you want one very large print for display at your home?  Or perhaps a large print surrounded by a cluster of smaller prints? Perhaps you want the images printed on metal? This helps images take on an almost magical luminescence.  Maybe you prefer printing on canvas, to give a more traditional painterly feeling.

I love watching old documentaries about the old movies stars. Almost all had pictures taken for publicity purposes. Yet many also had pictures created for themselves. Personal photos taken just to celebrate their live and create memories.

Taking photographs can be a creative, fun experience. Remember, your images are important and will be a keepsakes for you, your friends and your family, for many generations.

The best and simplest way to order your portrait photographs.

The steps to getting great pictures.

The steps to getting great pictures.

Simple and easy for you.  This is how do we work? 

1. We arrange an in-person or on-the-phone consultation to discuss your needs, artistic preferences, go over clothing choices, answer your questions, etc.

2. The photo session takes about 45 minutes to an hour.  Typically we photograph two different outfits.  We will help pose you, adjust the lighting to flatter your face and figure and then take carefully crafted photographs.  Unlike inexperienced photographers, we do not need hours of your time or to take hundreds or even thousands of pictures to create the perfect image for you.

3. After the photo session, we will set up a date for you to return to see paper proofs.  We strongly recommend you return to see the pictures in the studio.  At your viewing we will help advise you on proper sizes, printing options, etc.  If you cannot return for the viewing, we will make arrangements to mail your proofs to you (a different fee schedule applies for these services, please ask for information before your photo session.)

4. The viewing of your photographs.  You only need 30 or 40 minutes to see and compare the best images.  You are not guessing what the images look like.  The photo proofs are smaller images of the finished product with most of the retouching and enhancements completed. After your order, please allow about 1-2 weeks to allow additional enhancements, printing and deliver to you.  Some finishes take a little longer.

I have been asked about why I use paper proofs, instead of digital proofs. I have heard so many complaints about digital proofing from clients.  The pictures are too small, hard to compare to each other and often the final product (usually a print for display) does not look like the digital proof.

Then why do so many photographers show you the pictures on a computer screen or set up an online gallery?  It's simple. It saves the photographer money and time. Allan Castle spends hours enhancing the photos after your photo session.  He does not show you unfinished work. Then the photos are professionally printed (another cost for Allan)  And then, because you are looking at actual photos, you can clearly see what the photographs you order will look like and can easily pick the best images.  

Also you are not trying to remember what 50 or 100 or more images look like that you see on a computer monitor for a few seconds each.  I have heard stories of portrait clients, at other studios, spending two or even three hours or more viewing hundreds of pictures.  Then they give up and often buy a bunch of inferior images, because they can't decide on the best ones.

Because I use film, I am often asked how my clients may get digital copies of the images. I scan almost all the images.  So you can have fine film quality, but can also have images that may be viewed on your phone or in social media, etc..  With any order of a 16 x 20 print (or larger), you get digital images ready sized for use on Facebook, Instagram, use on your webpage or phone, etc. This is complimentary.  With smaller sizes, there is a reasonable fee for digital file.

If you are interested in a photo session, please call Allan to set up a consultation and discuss your photographs.