Julie, Luxury Portraits’ founder, has always been passionate about creating imagery that portrays her subjects in the most flattering style.
And over the years, she has developed a signature style based around her unique use of lighting.
Prior to founding Luxury Portraits, Julie’s work centred around portraits of families, children and babies.
Today Julie is a Brisbane based couples photographer.
When photographing outdoors, she used a lighting technique called ‘bare bulb’ – a type of lighting no longer used in today’s candid style of photography.
This unusual approach to lighting her subjects produced a bright, sparkly light which enveloped her subjects with a halo of golden colour – the effect was stunning and quite unique. When Julie created Luxury Portraits and focused on studio work, it was once again lighting that defined her style.
With indoor studio based photography, lighting is crucial as it’s just the photographer, a camera, lighting and the subjects themselves. The backgrounds are of secondary importance to the subjects.
To achieve the effect Julie wanted – romantic beautiful imagery full of depth, she turned back the clock to a time when the old master photographers used as many as 6 to 12 lights to light their subjects.
Julie uses multiple, state of the art ‘soft touch’ lighting heads to create a dramatic feel – reminiscent of photography from Hollywood’s golden era. Her photography has never been automated.
She shoots instinctively and manually and relies on her experience and knowledge of lighting to capture stunning images for her clients.
Julie has always realised that lighting is at the core of all beautiful photography. In this article, Julie talks about one of her greatest influencers, the photographer George Hurrell.
Renowned for his use of lighting to create drama and romance in his work, Hurrell is the photographer behind some of the most beautiful and evocative photographs from Hollywood’s glamour era – the 30s and 40s. Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s was ruled by the ‘silver screen sirens’ of the day and their handsome leading men.
Impossibly beautiful women such as Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo and Rita Hayworth featured in films churned out by the big movie studios. These stars epitomised glamour and their images were carefully crafted by the studio bosses.
Behind the glamorous black and white photos of the movie stars of that era was the photographer George Hurrell.
Hurrell was signed by MGM Studios after taking a series of photos of the actress Norma Shearer, who had commissioned Hurrell to revamp her image from wholesome to glamorous and sophisticated in an attempt to land the title role in the film ‘The Divorcee’.
Hurrell gave Shearer a complete makeover – cut and styled her hair, gave her beautiful make up and dressed her in expensive silks and silver lame. He also played down her ‘flaws’ – thick arms and legs, a high forehead and a slight cast in one eye.
Hurrell photographed Shearer in a series of seductive poses and the resulting images were breathtaking. Needless to say she scored the role of Jerry in The Divorcee (1930).
As one of MGM’s Head of Portrait Photography, Hurrell photographed every major star to come through MGM. His photography was all about creating an idealised image of his subjects through the use of hair, makeup, beautiful clothes, flattering poses and the clever use of lighting that accentuated his subject’s best features and played down their ‘flaws’.
“I love the way Hurrell created romance and drama in his photographs through his use of lighting. He used light and shadow to ‘sculpt’ his subjects instead of relying on heavy make-up.
In fact, Hurrell used to insist on minimal makeup, instead using his skills as a photographer and his unique use of lighting to highlight the natural beauty of his subjects” said Julie. “At Luxury Couple Portraits, I use lighting in a similar way to Hurrell in that I use various lights to sculpt and highlight, while I choose other lighting to downplay perceived flaws.
I’ve heard many people comment that my photos are all of models – in fact; they are normal, everyday people who simply photograph beautifully with the right lighting and positions.
My use of soft touch lighting flatters the skin, and by playing with light and shadows, you can really create the most beautiful images of people. I also position people is certain ways – to highlight a woman’s cheekbones or a man’s strong shoulders.
Everyone has beautiful features – I use lighting techniques to emphasise and draw out these qualities. My clients are always stunned at the results said Julie.” Hurrell captured the beauty and glamour of a bygone era with his stunning photography. Why not emulate Rita Hayworth and experience the luxury of a glamorous couple photo shoot in Brisbane? Everyone deserves glamor in their lives!