My search for people to volunteer for free portrait sessions continues apace and after Pascal volunteered with his girlfriend Nadia a while ago, two more friends from work have volunteered. The first of them is Katrin, who loves the mountains and so travelled over to Interlaken to spend a couple of hours in front of my lenses.
I’d scoped out a few places with Jo a few weeks earlier and decided that in order to get shots for Katrin in a mountain setting, we’d visit the forest near the eastern shore of Lake Thun, at Neuhaus. Meeting Katrin off the train, we headed for a covered pergola on the ship jetty next to Interlaken West station, to get a dark environment in which to take the portraits showing just Katrin’s face. By considerably underexposing the ambient light and using a diffused flash, I could precisely control the amount of light in the portrait to create the effect I was looking for.
Once we had the first shots of the day in the bag, we headed up to the Lombach river to get photos in more natural surroundings. The next set of photos were a little way upstream from the lake, on a rocky section of the river where we could have plenty of space and little interruption.
The first shots at the river were of Katrin in a casual outfit of orange top and jeans, illuminated by a diffused flash just out of frame to the left of the picture and by a second flash acting as rimlight, to the right and behind Katrin. I strove to keep the sky out of these shots, as I wanted to use the dark forest as a backdrop, thereby making the bright clothing more vivid. The use of additional artificial lighting helped to boost the colour and contrast.
I must give Katrin and Jo extra thanks for the next shots, as they stood patiently in the river for half an hour while I set up and took my photos. Katrin’s red dress and necklace worked extremely well amongst the rocky river bed; the outfit once more given a big colour boost through the use of additional flash light to boost the weak sunshine. Finally, we packed up and headed for the park next to the lake, at which I was hoping for (and got) shots amongst the trees, with a sunset over the lake as a backdrop. On the way there, we balanced on a vine-covered wall to grab a few final close-up shots of the red dress outfit, with matching red berries in the background.
Once at the park, Katrin changed back into a more casual outfit, including a blue top which I’d decided would’ve been too cool (in colour terms) amongst the grey-ish rocks. By working quite quickly with a single stand-mounted flash, I managed to get quite a lot of shots looking into the sunset. So that the sunset didn’t lose any of its impact, I underexposed the ambient light by two stops and illuminated Katrin with the single flash fired through a four-foot white umbrella.
Thank you so much to Katrin, I hope you like the shots!
Have your photo taken for free
Sounds good? If you like my style of photography, you’re in Switzerland and you would like to work with me on a portrait shoot, then send me an email at and we’ll arrange a shoot. Please note that the offer for free portraiture does not apply to certain situations: for example, weddings, corporate or company photographs, or photos for commercial use.