Tips From A Top Portrait Photographer

Portrait photographer Laura Diliberto reveals some tricks of the trade.

| Interviews
Tips From A Top Portrait Photographer: Laura Diliberto
'Distorted Perspective' by Laura Diliberto
Laura Diliberto creates atmospheric portrait images with a twist. Her images are thought provoking and a little different from the norm. Here, she talks to ePHOTOzine about her work, her life and what inspires her.

"I've always been interested in the arts and photography. It wasn't until last year though that I picked up a DSLR and started teaching myself Photoshop," Says Laura.

Laura recently invested in a new camera, and uses surprisingly minimal equipment to create her photos.

"I used a Canon T1i for a long time but recently upgraded to a 5D MkII with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. I typically use a tripod with a remote and of course Photoshop CS5."

Imagination is key for captivating portrait photography, and is a fundamental starting point for any good photo. The key, it seems, is to be open to anything and everything that could provide a different angle from the norm.

"My imagination is always racing, so I tend to become inspired by just about everything around me! I actually think that anyone can find loads of inspiration in their environment if they just open their minds to it. It could be anything from nature, to objects around your home, to a long dress that you find in a thrift store. I usually try to take that one piece of inspiration and turn it into a larger concept for a photo."
Tips From A Top Portrait Photographer: playing with fire
'Playing With Fire' by Laura Diliberto

"For example, I once made a picture called 'Playing With Fire' and the sole source of inspiration for that photo came from a candle that I had in my room. I asked myself: 'what's associated with candles?' and came up with 'movement, chaos, melting, wax and the colour yellow'. From there, the entire photo came together."

One of the key features of Laura's photography is the flying or floating effect of the models which is all down to post production work.

"It's quite easy once you know how to do masking in Photoshop," explains Laura. "The simplest way to explain it is to take a picture of a person sitting on something that raises them off the ground, like a stool/chair. next, move the person and the chair out of the photo and take a completely blank shot of that space, keeping your camera on a tripod will ensure that the two photos you take will be lined up.

Once you are in Photoshop, place that blank shot underneath your main photo and use a white mask and black fluffy brush on your main photo to reveal the blank space underneath. You may have to do some additional colour toning to make it look more realistic, but overall, that's how it's done!"

Tips From A Top Portrait Photographer:
'The Girl Who Could Fly' by Laura Diliberto

This effect works really well with Laura's portraits, and helps her to paint a fairytale scene: "I try to bring in some level of storytelling and wonder. I want the viewer to ask questions as to what is happening or what type of emotion is being conveyed."

Laura thinks the most important thing for budding photographers is to practice as much as you can.

"My advice would be to just get out there and do it! Experimenting and being willing to fail is what makes you find your style and what you do (and don't) like. I have failures all the time with my photography, but the photos that aren't failures never would have come to fruition if I wasn't willing to try."

For more information on Laura and her work, please visit her website.
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JackAllTog Avatar
JackAllTog Plus
14 6.4k 58 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2012 3:32PM
Super interview and super quick clean guide on how to do something similar - thanks.

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