CONCEPT – Emotional Portraits

Develop Expressions. Direct the model to give you a variety of facial expressions – sad, happy, mischievous, sexy, intense, moody, etc.

SHOT SET 1. Emotive expression exploration. Refer to the list of emotive concepts and choose a few to explore (consider beginning with ones that work for romance and erotica). For each one, explore composition and head positions. Keep your attention on the frame; stay ready to shoot as you explain the emotion you want, so you can capture everything.

LOCATIONS. Parking garage (colored walls, stairwell, rooftop), inside apartment building)


Imagine you’re the director of a film, and you need a very specific expression for the scene you’re about to shoot. Start as specific as possible, and imagine the circumstances that cause the emotion you’re looking for.

Think about the genres of books you’re targeting, and imagine the emotional tropes of those characters and stories, and make a list from that.

Listen to music and determine what kind of scene is happening while this music is playing as the soundtrack.

Try a range of expressions with the model’s eyes closed.

Try concealing the model’s face (head down, turned to the side, hood over, hair over, etc.) and using only body language to express something.

  • Melancholy
  • Amazement, wonderment
  • ‘AHA!’ Moment
  • Laughing
  • Joyous
  • Post-climactic contentment
  • Sensual
  • Orgasmic
  • Aroused
  • Seductive
  • Flirtatious
  • Ravenous
  • Smoldering Fury
  • War Face
  • Knowing Smirk
  • Sneer
  • Determined
  • Distraught
  • Frightened
  • On Guard
  • Mad Genius
  • Maniac
  • Exhilarated
  • Supernatural
  • Magical
  • Casting a Spell


Now, taking the above emotive concepts, try blending them into the spell casting concept. Consider a character in a story who has magic, uses magic. Perhaps they have full control over the magic, perhaps they struggle with it. Perhaps they are not completely human. Start from the foundation of emotion and imagine the emotional experiences of one who is magical in some way.