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  • Writer's pictureGareth Partington

Creating Red Riding Hood

Could I create a dramatic fantasy styled, red riding hood portrait in a small room? This was the challenge I set for myself and this post is a little look into the process of how this was done.

It had been while since I created a photo and I had an itch to scratch.

I wanted to see if I could use some of the skills I had learnt from Antti Karppinen as I had just undertaken a digital online course with him. I learnt so much in terms of lighting and retouching I was desperate to give it ago.

The photo was to be created in the house, so there was not a lot of room and I did not have lots of props to hand. My fiancé Emma had a nice red scarf and this became the inspiration for the photo.

The inspiration

With the idea of red riding hood buzzing round my head I took to Pinterest so see what kind of images I could find to inspire me.

I loved the intense look these photos and paintings had. With the dramatic lighting and somber tone I knew this was the direction I wanted to head.

The lighting set up

The set up required the lounge to be dismantled in order to have enough room. The sofas were pushed aside, the tables were cleared out and the backdrop was set up.

My professional studio lights were set up and the modifiers chosen. It was a little difficult to place the lights where I wanted them to be as I needed a big soft box to the side and a light to use as a separation in order to lift Emma off the background, but it's amazing what you can achieve in such a small space.

The final photo

This was the final photo we created and it may look simple but there was a fair amount of colour grading and retouching that needed doing.

The background was a photo of Cannock Chase I had taken a few months back on a misty cold morning and the eerie photo fitted in well with the style of portrait I was creating.

The head scarf only covered Emma's head and neck and in order to create the full cape, I had to photograph the scarf separately then paint it into place to cover her arm.

The details

I feel overall the photo was a success and I was amazed at how detailed the image was. There is a haunted look to Emma and at the time of creating the photo I had been playing a lot of "The Witcher 3" so I think this had inspired me too. It was so hard trying to choose the right kind of atmosphere to give the image in terms of colour but I feel the green off sets the red of the cape and really draws your attention into the eyes.

It goes to show, that you don't need to be in a pure dedicated photography studio in order to create professional images. Working in your own home has many benefits, including a nice relaxed atmosphere to work in, a constant supply of tea and many snacks as you problem solve.

What has been your most successful image created in your own home? have you a dedicated space to work in or have you had a photographer come to the house to photograph you? I'd love to hear your feedback and experiences.

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