Portrait Play

Matt’s Got 99 Problems But School Ain’t One

My kids (and my two dogs, Bo and Quinn) spent the last four days with me, which was great.

However, it IS a constant struggle to figure out what to do with a 14, 11 and 10 year old, when the coronavirus variants are varianting all over the place. I really wanted to stay out of places like Sky Zone (a trampoline gym) or movie theaters (which was unfortunate, because I wouldn’t mind seeing that new Spiderman movie).

So, I took them ice skating a local indoor rink (not very crowded), and we did some hikes and played a few games of Scrabble. But, yes, they still had their iPad time. It is what it is.

On Saturday evening, though, I figured I’d play around with some portrait photography. I also wanted to see what I could do in the smallish space of my apartment.

So, I went into my gear closet – the one good thing about this three-bedroom apartment is I have a whole closet just devoted to my camera gear – my camera bag, lighting, tripods, backgrounds, batteries, et. Wait…let me just show you.

GoPro Fisheye

Anyway, while the boys fiddled on their iPads, and Liv was in her room, and the dogs snoozed and Will Smith was going underwater, I decided to mess around and do some portraits.

That’s the great things about having young-ish kids. They’ll still listen to you when you ask them to do something. The Fear of Dad is still there, slightly. (Honestly, they are happy to jump in when I ask, at least for 10 or 15 minutes.)

Neewer 47″ octo-umbrella, Impact Lighting Collapsible 5 x 7 background in front of the fire place, Canon 5DMarkIV, Wal-Mart stool.

I was thinking about going b&w with these portraits on the white background. To be honest, nothing really special or great, just messing around. I don’t even really like them enough to show you the digital contact sheet here (I said they were good for 10-15 minutes…usually…half that for this shoot.)

But as Matt was sitting there with this cap on, I thought of Jay-Z’s The Black Album cover, shot by Jonathan Mannion, and thought I’d try to riff on that a little. (Interesting backstory to that album cover here. And, unfortunately, it  appears Z and Mannion are locked in a legal battle about photo usage.)


My version with Matt certainly isn’t even really the same, but you get the idea of where my inspiration came from with it. Though I shot it in color, I converted it to B&W and inversed the colors (or maybe it was the other way around) and then used the sliders in Nik Silver to adjust the blacks and brightness.

Again, I wasn’t trying to replicate Jonathan’s image; it just served as some inspiration for me to process things a way differently than I would. And I kinda like the final outcome.

Of course, the photographer had to sit in while all the gear was set up.

The moral of the post is: Try something new with your portrait shoots, and/or your photography in general. And find inspiration where you can!


© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2022

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2 thoughts on “Portrait Play

  1. Hmm… Your creativity has me thinking about trying some lighting and trying some things that are way out of my knowledge and comfort zones.

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