Break out with Deep Umbrellas


Jérôme Courenq, a French photographer, offers us a series of unconventional portraits.

This project was photographed outdoor with a simple deep umbrella and an ELB 400 unit. The final results evokes powerful emotions.

Why Portraits?

The human, the light, the cinema and music are my pillars. I was drawn towards the portrait and the staging for these four reasons.

The portrait is one of the only ways to represent the human being as he truly is. Our faces tell the story of what we have experienced, in them, we find our strengths and our weaknesses.

Why such a incredible model?

The choice to take on such an unconventional model was made very naturally. The story of Abde is incredible and his overwhelming past convinced me. Through his experience and his illness, Abde has built an unusual persona. A fighter, proud and ambitious, he refuses pity and uses his difference as an asset in his artistic career.

“Each individual is the author of his own story, it is deeply etched into Abde’s skin.”

What are you looking for?

What I am looking for in a portrait are those moments when truth is captured. That is why I did not want to direct him during this session.

It would have been too easy to play on his atypical physique by asking him to pose or pull faces, but I wanted to see Abde Mazianne in front of me as naturally as possible.

What gear?

The idea of this shoot was to unite two worlds and to complete two totally different sessions in a short time and in the same place.

These umbrellas are fantastic tools for their ease of use, lightness and versatility.

“These umbrellas are fantastic tools for their ease of use, lightness and versatility.”

The results

The first series of portraits, on a black background, was taken with the deep umbrella with a white diffusor in the main light, above the model.

I tend, in general, to place my sources as close as possible to my subject, so as to obtain a beautiful soft light.

We added a translucent diffuser in order to obtain a softer light still. The deep models provide a powerful and more focused light with superior contrast. As a result, the light remains easily controllable and shapable.

The second series on a white background, was taken with the deep white umbrella behind the model as background. Here it creates a backlight. A second transparent white deep umbrella was positioned in front, very close to the model and at 45 degrees.

This setup produces soft, contrasting light.

For the outdoor session, the choice of the umbrella proved to be a real advantage, as I wanted a setup that would be simple, light and easy to use.

We used the same deep umbrella with a white interior, but we removed the transparent diffuser in order to achieve a stronger effect.

The umbrella being light, we were able to follow the model very easily.

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