Saturday, 1 October 2016

Haidi, My Niece & Portrait Photography

It has been many years since I last did some portrait photography. The reason for that is not that I am not interested, but the fact that there is very few possibly willing and suitable models around me. Majority of people don't like being photographed, or if you do persuade them and manage to actually do a shoot with them, they just appear stiff and uncomfortable in photos no matter how much you tried to put them at ease. Well, not my niece Haidi! She sees modelling as fun and challenge, and is so natural and easy to work with. In not so distant past I photographed Haidi three times. Being a yoga teacher she wanted me to take photos of herself in some yoga poses. You can see my favourite pics from that shoot here. When I was in Zagreb back in May Haidi asked me to take photos at one of her yoga workshops. Then, soon afterwards, she visited me with her boyfriend Bruno here in Leeds, and we grabbed one afternoon for a little indoor photo session.


This is quite a heavy crop from a three quarter length portrait shot. I avoid severe crops and always try to compose my image in the viewfinder, but here I ended up with a shot I didn't like and wanted to salvage somehow. I noticed that I actually really liked Haidi's face, and the fact that even though she is looking down all her facial features including her lips are nicely visible. I was also pleased with the softness and creamy tone of her skin I managed to get in postprocessing. All in all, the shot that I nearly discarded and deleted became one of my favourite images in the end.

If you are taking photos of a person I feel you have to do at least a couple of straightforward head and shoulder shots. Haidi was on holiday while staying with me and decided not to wear any make up for the whole duration of her stay. I was really pleased as I wanted her as natural as possible. I did, ever so slightly, though, enhance the beautiful blue colour of her eyes in this image.

We bought the dress earlier that day without actually planning to buy any new clothes for the shoot. But the dress was perfect for the sort of pics we were going to create and was "screaming" at us to buy it. This is one of the first shots I took, and Haidi was already confident and relaxed in front of the camera.

This pose was Haidi's idea. She asked me if I had a toy she could hold and I immediately thought of my Winnie the Pooh teddy bear. He was just about the right size and of a suitable look.

A quick moment of respite, relaxation or simply daydreaming .........

I like the resigned, a bit sad facial expression here, and thought a dreamy processing would do it justice.

Another high key edit. Haidi didn't need a lot of instructions as to posing; she would stir up sentiments in her mind and spontaneously change her countenance. I see a lot of verve in this shot.

Perhaps this image looks a bit far fetched, but I had to satisfy my need for a bit of creative experimenting. I do like its painterly look and the beautiful sleeping face.

This image and the one below are the sort of images I first had in mind for the photo shoot. I love these romantic, story telling portraits. The expectant look on my model's face is perfect.....

...........and so is the one of curious admiration in this image.

It is such a shame that Haidi and I live so far apart. If we lived closer to each other I trust we would create some extraordinary portraits - her with her talent for modelling and natural beauty and me with my desire to learn, improve and produce some stunning portraiture.
As my images show, what I am interested in when it comes to portrait photography is celebrating natural beauty; conveying emotions and telling a story; creating striking mood and atmosphere, and perpetuating those fleeting moments.

I would like to mention a few photographers whose work I greatly admire, derive inspiration from, and from whom I hope to learn. By sheer accident they are all women photographers. However, the first portrait photographer whose work I fell in love with was a man - Robert Mapplethorpe.

Nikaa - I have been admiring Nikaa's work for a long time. I am particularly attracted to her soft, romantic and dreamy presentation, "faceless" models and her inclusion of flowers.

Rosie Hardy - an amazing and very versatile photographer. She always has a model ready at hand and never needs to look for one - she does selfportraits. Her ideas are original and flowing at an incredible pace. Her photoshop knowledge and skills are very admirable too.

Ewa Cwikla - I came across Ewa recently and was immediately taken by her interesting but natural models photographed both indoors and outdoors. There is a lovely vintage/past times feel to many of her images, and I love her tendency towards low key processing.

Carolyn Mendelsohn - a Yorkshire award winning photographer based not far from me, Carolyn won me over with her ordinary people portraits, beautifully shot and processed through tasteful use of actions in Photoshop. They are simple portraits yet very impactive, each telling a story.

Jessica Drossin - I have bought a lot of postprocessing material from the very creative and resourceful Jessica, and I intend to make further purchases from her wonderful store. As to her photography, I love the remote locations, beautiful light and marvellous postprocessing.


  1. Beautiful shots Vesna. I particularly like the window shots too. I hope you manage to take your model up onto the moors the next time she visits.
    Thank you for the links. I already follow Jessica Drossin and it's lovely to be introduced to some other great photographers.
    Jacquie x

    1. Hi Jacquie! Thank you. I took Haidi to Haworth and she loved it more the any other places we went to. It was the 60s weekend so we didn't go up onto the moors but next time we certainly will.
      Glad you liked getting to know the photographers I mentioned. x

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