How we got the Shot: Oana studio portrait

Welcome to ‘How we got the Shot’, a series going behind the scenes of our most recent and popular photographs. Let’s jump right in with the first photo of the series, taken during a shoot with Oana Serban, on 23 December 2018. It was Oana’s first ever professional studio photo shoot: but you couldn’t tell!


Photographer David Addison

Location The photo was taken in our studio, which has a medium grey wall we use a background (until we get an actually backdrop). Oana was stood around 6ft away from the wall.

Camera Nikon D610 Lens 50mm f/1.4G

Settings ISO 50 | f/7.1 | 1/125

Why that equipment and those settings The Nikon D610 with a 50mm f/1.4G is a great combination in our small studio for a single person shoot. I chose the 50mm f/1.4G because it’s tremenously sharp, has super fast and accurate AF , and is also really small and light. People look great through the 50mm focal length; even if it does distort slightly. I chose the Nikon D610 for its high resolution, high quality 24MP full frame sensor.

The camera was of course in Manual mode. For maximum quality, I chose the lowest ISO the camera could achieve, ISO 50. I chose 1/125 as the shutter speed in order to block out all ambient light in the studio, be comfortably under the camera’s flash sync speed and avoid motion blur. Finally, I chose an aperture of f/7.1 in order to get her whole head in focus, and minimise vignetting.

Style Her clothes we chosen by her. We simply told her to wear something comfortable yet stylish. Her hair was done by our hair stylist Alexandra Vintilica. Alexandra did a great job as usual, creating a simple yet elegant style that stayed out of Oana’s face. Roxana then finished off her look and really complimented her style with a green feather and bow accessory.

Pose I asked her to face me straight on and bring her hands to her face with her palms either side of her chin. I then asked her to spread her fingers and very slightly and delicately touch her face. Finally, I asked her to narrow her eyes slightly (or ‘squinch’) and give me a slight smile. Our enthusiastic demeanour and energy helped Oana relax so her smile was more natural and real.

Lighting I lit the shot with a single Interfit EXD400 flash unit modified by a 120cm x 30cm strip softbox placed above Oana and angled 45 degrees down towards her. It was close to her as the power was low, and slightly to her left (camera right). The softbox creates a really soft, even light, and placing it above her creates slight shadows which are flattering to the face. Roxana then provided a bit of fill using a 5 in 1 reflector placed camera left.Editing Because we took time and care in the studio, very minimal editing was required: I used frequency seperation in Adobe Photoshop to retouch her skin, and also used the brush tool in Adobe Lightroom to brighten her teeth slightly.

We at Prime and Oana loved how her photos turned out. She was very pleased and said this about us in her recommendation:

“David and Roxana are truly a team, completing each other so that their photo sessions become an unforgettable experience. I recommend them with all my heart, because besides the pictures made with great professionalism, I discovered two wonderful people who do things with passion and love. David and Roxana take care of you and take care to capture the perfect frames, which are more than just pictures.”

Like what you see? You can book your own portrait session with us or make an inquiry here.

You can see more of our portraits here, and follow us on Instagram here to never miss an update.

Take care and thanks for reading!