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Golden Age era of Hollywood started in late 1920’s and continued to late 50’s. During this magical time, many new stars were born. Some of them become legends and iconic characters of American cinema not to mention such names as: Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

During Golden Age’ Hollywood Portraiture workshop I learned how to use in effective way continues lights and pastiche of the 1940’s style portrait. I chose as an inspiration image of Clark Gable. I remember his wonderful role of Rhett Butler in Gone with The Wind and I think he was one of the most famous actors of that time.

To begin with I researched many black and white photos of Clark Gable until I found the one I wanted to recreate.


Firstly, I took a test shoot to see how to compose the whole image as I wanted to figure out how to pose and angle the body for this portrait.


After I was satisfied with the trial photo my model and I we moved to the studio to set up the background, the lights and the props which in this case was a chair.  While I was analising the original image of Clark Gable I was aware of where the shadows fall on his face and the jacket. If even at the beginning everything seemed easy during the light seating and another trial shot I realised after short time that the lighting diagram I prepared for this image is not working.

I had no idea how difficult is to work with the old-style reflectors which heat up to very high temperature and how powerful they are. The first set of photos was overexposed so with an assistant help we moved the reflectors around to see if it make any differences. The most important thing I forgot about during the session it was to use the barn doors for the reflectors. When eventually we attached them to the lighting equipment the images started look much better. Barn doors surround the light with four flaps and control the amount of light. We can usually find them under “grip category of equipment’s.


This is the result of the session before post-production process and converting the image to black and white.


For the editing, I used Photoshop software and Nik Collection plug.

The final image and the original photo. I believe that the little mustache gives the model a bit of character and retro look   🙂


Summarizing the workshop, it wasn’t that easy task as I thought. It showed me that my technical knowledge need still be progressed and that not always what I planned it going to work smoothly. In photography industry, we often must create high quality images under time pressure so it’s better to have this in our mind before we start the shot. I still think my strong skills are in post-production. This is the part of photography which I enjoy the most.