Portrait of Sharon and Poet in the Style of Willliam Coupon
Sunday, January 17, 2016
By Diana Lundin
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los angeles pet photographySo one of my clients is Sharon, who has a bevy of little dogs that collectively weigh all of 66 pounds. She also has two parrots, Pesto and Poet. And for those playing at home, you know I'm taking an eight-week portrait class and after 11 weeks (holidays in there), we are coming close to the end. In fact, we are at the end and the last photographer we are drawing our inspiration from is William Coupon. He has photographed presidents, celebrities and tribal people. He has a distinctive contrasty but warm style. Google him and look at the images and you will very soon recognize a signature William Coupon look. It's very painterly.

Knowing Sharon and her style... very warm, very earthy, very organic... I thought she'd make the perfect subject and lucky me, she readily agreed to sit for me for my final photography session in this portrait series. Sharon is very striking with her long, flowing mane of blond hair. I asked her to wear what she previously wore in our last session in December.

Coupon shoots with a hand-painted backdrop, almost Old Masters, and lacking that, I was pretty sure I could use my seamless paper in mocha and add a texture later in Photoshop to emulate that backdrop. To ensure I had warm light, I brought a cheap tungsten light, a constant light in a small softbox. I bought the light mostly for video but I have found it extremely helpful in this portrait series... it's the second time I've used it to shoot portraits. Not sure what he used but the one behind-the-scenes photo of him with President Clinton, it looked like a warm constant light as well but who knows.

I noticed Coupon also uses the subject's hands a lot in his works and often they are holding something. Once we really warmed up, I had Sharon bring one of her birds, Poet, and I love the resulting image. Then she brought her favorite dog, Rudy, for his closeup. So the great thing is I got to photograph Sharon, whom I always enjoy seeing, fulfilled my last portrait for my class, and got to photograph pets as well. Yay me!

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