Behind the Scenes: Arnold Schwarzenegger Portrait

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 25, 2016

Category: Photography

Ok so following on from yesterday’s post where I shared my portrait of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ok the Hot Toy Model, today I thought I’d give you a look Behind the Scenes…

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Hot Toys) Portrait by Glyn Dewis

This picture is one that I specifically created for inclusion in my new book where I will  be taking the reader through the complete process from concept , lighting, photography and then retouching using my Contrast Build Up technique for giving the portrait added depth and dimension.

As for the photography I took the picture in my office on my desk using minimal kit; namely one of my Phottix Mitros+ Flashes, the Rogue Flashbender 2 XL Pro modifier…

Arnold Schwarzenegger portrait using Phottix and Rogue

I did consider placing a piece of black card behind Arnie but as my wife was out and the card was in the back of the car I just resorted to using my Invisible Black Background technique which worked a treat with the following settings:

  • Canon 5D MKIII Camera: 1/160sec, f/8.0, ISO 100 – CLICK HERE
  • Phottix Mitros+ Flash: 1/2 Power – CLICK HERE
  • Rogue Flashbender 2 XL Pro – CLICK HERE
  • Tethered into the Canon EOS Software using TetherTools Cable and Cable Release to avoid any movement due to using a Macro Lens (Canon 100mm f/2.8 – LINK)
  • 3 Legged Thing ‘Winston’ Tripod – CLICK HERE

Arnold Schwarzenegger portrait using Phottix and Rogue

Just one thing to mention about the flash modifier is that I used it with the grid fitted which comes as part of the Flashbender 2 XL Pro, so that the light was very directional and controllable. Using flash in my office without it would have meant lighting bouncing off the desk, off the one wall that doesn’t have the acoustic boards fitted and the blinds.

Oh and also I held up my diary to cover the lower part of the Flashbender so that the light naturally darkened the further down Arnold’s top as opposed to faking this later using a Gradient in Lightroom or Photoshop…

Arnold Schwarzenegger portrait using Phottix and Rogue

In fact “I can’t seem to get a black background” is one of the most common phrases I get about the I.B.B. when trying to do it indoors but the bottom line is, if you’re close to a wall (especially a light coloured wall) you’re going to need a modifier that allows you to control the light and prevent it bouncing all over the place, so an umbrella definitely is NOT the best option.

As for the position of the light you can see from the photograph below that  I positioned it to the front of Arnold but also angled forward so that I got the perfect cross lighting pattern with light on one side of the face and touch of light on the cheek furthest from camera…

Arnold Schwarzenegger portrait using Phottix and Rogue

I’d also taken delivery of a new lens, my first macro lens, for this shoot having had a failed attempt when trying it out with my other lenses…obvious being a model that I needed one from the start but hey I thought I’d chance it 🙂

When it comes to the retouching, I did my Depth Building technique where I add increasing layers of contrast, light and sharpness as I work my way in from the outside of the head in towards the eyes and nose so I’ll be covering all of this in the Arnold chapter of my new book, Photograph Like a Thief which is due out v.early 2017.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Hot Toys) Portrait by Glyn Dewis

Right I think that’s everything but if there’s anything else you wanted to know please feel free to make use of the comments section below and I’ll be sure to respond so everyone benefits.

Have a great one and I’ll catch you back here next time.


CLICK HERE to see the LARGE incredibly detailed version of my Arnold Schwarzenegger Portrait

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  1. Mirza Buljusmic

    Haha, sure fooled me. Thought you photographed the real Arnie. Excellent work! Where do you get such realictic Dolls?

    • Drew Kimmel

      they arent dolls, they are ACTION FIGURES!

    • Glyn Dewis

      This one is made by Hot Toys

  2. Jan Staes

    Sell the fake in a big way! 😀
    Awesome Glyn!

  3. Bob Harris

    Okay. Now you have me excited. I have to try shooting the same model! Hmm. Photograph Like a Thief – good name and a sale!

  4. Charles Farrah

    i thought that was really him too!


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