Portraits: Making use of Technology

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 11, 2018

Category: Photography

Last week I got to have a chat with Photographer and friend based in Los Angeles, Vincent Versace for our HE SHOOTS, HE DRAWS Podcast

With an incredible portfolio and impressive list of awards including the Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment, Vincent is also a Nikon Ambassador, and getting time to chat about all things Photography and Creativity was fascinating.

One thing in particular that blew me away was when I asked Vincent about a recent Marilyn Monroe-esque photo shoot project that he’d recently been working on. Now when we talked about this he went on to say that the portraits were all photographed using natural OR continuous lighting and making use of Face Tracking technology in camera. Needless to say I was intrigued and when Vincent explained it, to say I was buzzing with ideas is an understatement.

So, here’s the idea behind it all…

Using continuous light on your model, be it from LED or window light etc (I was using the daylight balanced modelling light built into the Elinchrom ELB 1200 and a Westcott Switch Medium Octa) set your camera into continuous focus and turn on Faced Tracking. Then (if you have it) activate the silent shutter mode and attach a remote trigger.

Glyn Dewis Sony

Portrait of 95 year old Ted Hancox; Submariner with the Royal Navy during World War 2

With this all set up, you then simply have to talk to your subject in such a way that you get them thinking and talking about a particular time / thing.

This past weekend I was photographing two World War 2 Veterans, so after having taken their portraits how I traditionally would using flash, I then set up as I’ve described and got them to talk about certain events they remember clearly. It was incredible to see how different it was photographing them this way and how once they were talking they weren’t spooked or interrupted when they were conscious of a photograph being taken when they heard the shutter or saw the flash go off; instead, as they talked I would choose a suitable moment to grab a frame and as this was done silently and without me moving as I had hold of the remote, it worked extremely well.

This kind of thing really excites me using technology like this. I’d only ever thought of using face tracking when recording video footage but using it for stills too has set my mind buzzing!

Huge thanks to Vincent for planting this seed in my head! Oh and keep a look out for Vincent’s interview on our HE SHOOTS, HE DRAWS podcast where he explains this process and a whole lot more.


ps> If you give this a go, please do let me know how you get on by commenting below or dropping me an email

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  1. Lenny Grant

    Going to try this with my new Sony. Thanks Glyn.

    • Glyn

      Let me know how you get on Lenny 😉

  2. Arie Storm

    Hi Glen, great picture. Can you tell me which background you used for this?


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