One thing that everyone needs in their life is vintage Hollywood glam. You can create beautiful portraits of your loved ones, bringing a luxurious feel to your photographs while exuding timeless elegance.
Recreating Hollywood-style photographs requires a little research and a great set up, but the real magic is in the editing. Check out the Parrot Print guide to creating a photo canvas that brings the 40s back to life.
To get the style right, its best to look back at the professional photographers of the time such as George Hurrell whose classic portraits were used to create a buzz around the Hollywood stars of MGM and Warner Brothers. There wasn’t a better marketing tool! Another name to look into is Laszlo Willinger who is famous for being Marilyn Monroe’s photographer.
Film noir is an excellent way to go with the style of your shoot. High contrasting black and white images were the norm, so get ready to play about with the lighting.
When you have the 1940s waves and curls, the red lip and the cat eye look perfected - along with some gorgeous vintage clothing - your subject is ready to be photograhed. Tips for posing are to not look directly into the camera and to use the hands to frame the face, add emotion or simply to prop the head up.
Lighting is king for a vintage Hollywood photoshoot. For the ‘flawless’ look to your subject (as was so popular back then) hair and skin highlights were blown-out and the shallow depth of field helped to create out-of-focus backgrounds that were simply dreamy.
This style of photograph places great emphasis on what’s in the foreground of the image, not the background. However, it’s still important to use a backdrop that adds to the luxurious feel in any way that it can. Silky fabrics draped on a backdrop work very well, but you can even go very simple with a large white muslin backdrop.
Shooting in colour will allow you to play about with your black and white levels more when it comes to editing in Photoshop. Once you have your favourite image, it’s time to edit.
Firstly, you’ll need to click on the black and white adjustment layer icon in the adjustments panel so you can take your favourite image and convert it into monochrome. Next you need to click on the curves adjustment icon in the same panel to help to create the contrast that goes with the ‘film noir’ look.
To increase the amount of black tones in your image, drag in the black input arrow in the bottom left corner of the curve grid. Add a couple of curve points on the curves graph to create a subtle S shape, this will enhance the contrast throughout the rest of the tonal range.
To make it look like you’ve shot this in film, you’ll need to add some grain by clicking on the original background layer and into ‘filter’ then ‘camera raw’. Play with the sliders on the effects tab until you have the grain effect you’re looking for.
Feeling ready to set up your own vintage Hollywood photoshoot? We’ve also got some great tips on creating faux vintage photo prints to carry on the theme and even ideas for your own photo booth including backdrop and props.