Sara Tramont ~ Star of Harlem

Mar 8, 2017 | Continuous Lighting, Fujifilm X, Location | 18 comments

I met up with top model Sara Tramont at my rented penthouse apartment in Harlem for two days of shooting Hollywood glamour workshops. On each day there were three top photographers joining us for some creative inspiration. I find that 1:3 sessions work really well with historic interiors. In some modern apartments the rooms are far bigger and can accommodate more of us, but with three plus me we all get to shoot easily and work together. Continuous lighting is a bonus because we can all shoot simultaneously capturing the moments created from different angles. This set is an amalgamation of both days shooting.

01. I love this soulful look, cascading hair, full lips, the sense of anticipation the sheen of the satin and the dappled light. It’s a signature look that I am really happy to call my own. Lighting was by a Lupo 1000 spotlight and an Alto Scattergel.

We first advertised the opportunity for these workshops in New York City on the Lovegrove Creative Facebook group and we put out a newsletter too. Blaise and Laura coordinated the responses and these two workshop days with Sara were created. The photographers got to choose the genres and Blaise set about finding our location.

02. Anonymous beauty shot into the light. My natural style is to embrace reality. Let creases be creases, blotches be blotches etc. I tend to spend an average of 60 seconds per image on the edit in Lightroom and I love the edgy reality that results. It’s timeless, no skin softening, pinch or liquify. My post processing system keeps colours natural, monochrome without tint and I don’t use any presets, just Pro neg S and Acros G film simulations in Lightroom.

03. While we were shooting the scene as a group I took the time to shoot from other angles. The great majority of my portrait work has no eye contact. When there is eye contact I like it to be strong and intimate.

04. The enchanted child in the painting has become a woman. Lupo 1000 with a Scattergel.

I shot with the Fujifilm X-T20 on day one then the Fujifilm X-T2 on day two. I must admit the lack of a dual axis tilt screen and a focus point joystick on the X-T20 means it doesn’t make a good second body for an X-T2 owner. The shooting process is very different between the cameras. The X-T1 and X-T10 was a far better pairing. However as a stand alone camera the X-T20 represents fabulous value for money.

05. Triangles, lighting design and negative space are the key elements in this picture. I love to let the light fall away at the top of the frame. The strip of light on the left is a reflection coming off the picture frame glass as seen in the shot above.

06. A sense of anticipation and the strong pose are the key elements of this shot . Sara’s head was down in the previous shot and that resigned look is a far cry from this chin up optimistic look. The distant gaze gives a feeling of forward thinking.

07. Eye contact has to have sincerity, purpose and strong sense of connection to work well. These shots are nearly there but the ones below are spot on.

Sara Tremont looking demure

08. Keeping the camera low puts Sara in a dominant position that is countered here by the tilt of her head and softness of expression to create an alluring look. Compare that to the shot below where Sara’s expression and pose is one of strength. These are the kind of portraits that reveal a depth of character and that excites me.

09.

10. By mid afternoon the sun had moved off the back of the building and it was time to show some evening lighting using the dual colour Lupo 1000 spotlight with a Scattergel. I love the fire escape ladder outside the window.

11. The room light gives me the motivation to light Sara with the Lupo spotlight from the same direction.

12.

13.

14. These mirror shots were lit with one Lupo 1000 and I used the mirror to reflect the light back to give a lovely two point lighting set up.

15.

16. The colour tones in this set of images are lovely. I shot mainly in monochrome but I thought I’d share a few colour frames from the X-T20.

Sara Tramont in a sheer top and high waist knickers

17.

18.

19. I used a pair of Lupos for these classic key and kick shots. The 650 was the perfect backlight.

20.

21. We went contemporary for this shot of Sara using the Lupo 1000 as a key light and shooting towards the distant windows.

The interior of the Harlem Shake diner New York

The famous Harlem Shake diner over the road was our venue for lunch. I like their no nonsense approach and the fact they have Stella.

22. I bought this stars and stripes top on Ebay for my USA road trip tour in June but I popped it into my case for this trip too.

23. I love working with patches of sunlight. It pushes the dynamic range of the camera to the limit.

24.

Sara Tramont looking elegantly beautiful

25.

If you would like to join me on a 1:1 shooting/ training session somewhere in the world drop Blaise or Laura a message here. My adventures and workshop events are published here and I strongly suggest you subscribe to our newsletter for advanced information on all my talks, workshops and training events ahead of publication.

Please feel free to comment on these pictures below.

18 Comments

  1. Petr Koval

    All images are amazing. Here is my favorite list: #3, #7, #8, #11, #15, #25.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Petr,

      Thank you for your kind words. Like you, I’m in love with negative space in a composition.

      Best regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  2. Bjorn Sorensen

    Hi Damien. So these beautiful images were taken with just one Lupo 1000 and the scatter gels? Do you use any reflectors?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Bjorn,

      Thank you for your kind words. I don’t use reflectors for interiors ;) I may have had a white shirt on, I can’t remember. I control the contrast/ shadow level by adjusting the curtains/ window blinds.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
      • Bjorn

        Hehe.. Yes, of course! You use daylight :-)

        Reply
        • Damien

          I use all sources of light in my work. It all depends upon what’s already there, what I have at my disposal and what time I have to light the scene. :)

          Kindest regards,

          Damien.

          Reply
  3. Mark Devereux

    Great stuff, Damien! It was a real pleasure to participate – so, thanks again! It was a great learning experience (fun too!). In particular, I appreciated watching you work with light to provide a solid exposure and feel for the image. It certainly makes it easy to make stylistic decisions (eg. colour/b&w, grading, etc…) that reflect one’s personal style. Fantastic!
    Cheers,
    Mark

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Mark,

      It’s a holistic approach right from the start knowing the look, mood and styling required to make the shot. Doing almost everything at the capture stage is the way I like to work. The dicipline of shooting transparency is a hard one to give up. I do hope we get to shoot together again soon.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  4. Marie Sauter

    As always, your images are a gorgeous expression of photographic art. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful workshop where I was a grateful participant.
    I look forward to joining you on the Wild, Wild West ’17 Adventure.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Marie,

      It was a pleasure to spend time with you again. It’s not long now until our big adventure.I’m super excited already :)

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  5. Tracy Edwards (@TEDLL12)

    Loved the Angel blog and the Star blog doesn’t disappoint. Always beautiful light!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you for your support and kindness Tracy.

      I think the Angel blog is my favourite that I’ve posted for some time. This Star set was more fun to shoot and Sara is truly a star putting up with us all. One day I’ll drum up the courage to post the uncut set from the Angel. They may be better presented in a coffee table book.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  6. John A DiGiorgio

    The workshop was informative and I left with a new approach and understanding!! I’m looking forward to the next one.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you John for joining me on the workshop and for the compliments.
      We will shoot together again soon for sure :)

      Enjoy that Lupo 1000.

      Kind regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  7. Nigel Burn

    Hi Damien,
    A stunning set of images, pure magic and loads of inspiration for anyone wanting to photograph models using your techniques.

    Regards,
    Nigel.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Nigel for your kind compliments.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  8. Iulian Arion

    Astonishing as usual.
    Thank you again to delight us with your pictures!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Iulian,

      I’ll keep posting if my work is appreciated like this :)

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply

Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.