Creating Dramatic Self Portraits (feat. Fiona Lark)

Have you ever wanted to capture yourself in a way that showcases your creativity and inner emotions? Look no further! In this blog, we will explore the world of creating dramatic self-portraits with the incredibly talented photographer, Fiona Lark. Self-portraits have long been a way for artists to express themselves and share their unique perspectives with the world. With Fiona’s guidance, we will delve into the techniques and secrets behind capturing these breathtaking images. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or a beginner, this blog is your ultimate guide to creating captivating self-portraits that depict your true essence and leave a lasting impact. Step into the world of self-expression and let Fiona help you unleash your artistic potential!

Creating Dramatic Self Portraits (feat. Fiona Lark)


One of the great things about social media platforms like Instagram is that occasionally you get to meet photographers who are doing really interesting things and that’s how I met Fiona, who I’m going to feature in today’s video. I said at the beginning of the year that I really wanted to feature other photographers on this channel because if you only hear from me and how I work, you might be fooled into thinking there’s one right answer or one way you should work – and it’s my way. I don’t believe that at all. I think photographers often work very differently from each other, but still in the very different ways they work, all produce very compelling images. So that’s why I want to introduce you to Fiona today. She sent me a message because she’d watched a video on this channel, and we got to chatting a little bit, and I went to check out her work and was immediately struck by how much of a mood there was and what a distinct style there was to her work.

Fiona’s Approach

There’s actually a few things that stand out about Fiona to me. The first is that she takes self-portraits. I mean, we live in the Selfie generation, we’re having to step around people on the sidewalk all the time who are holding their phones up high and giving their phones duckface, and then applying heavy-handed Instagram filters to make it look all glossy and happy and pretty. And to me, all that kind of stuff feels a little bit plastic. But for me, Fiona stands as the antithesis of this. She isn’t trying to capture herself with porcelain perfection. She’s embracing imperfection and even adding it into images. She’s putting in mood and character and grunge and texture and lots of shadow and darkness. She’s trying to convey some personality and story in the work that she produces.

Another thing I love about Fiona and the way she works is that she’s not at all a technical photographer, and she’s living proof that you don’t have to nerd out over the tech to produce compelling images. She’s not carrying around multiple camera bodies and huge selections of lenses and filters and using complicated processes. She’s going around with one camera body, one lens, and she’s happy to shoot in auto. I mean, let’s be honest for a minute, the online photography space is often very one-note. It’s full of middle-aged men who are arguing with each other about the cameras they use or the lenses that they use or the fancy Photoshop techniques and shortcuts that they know. It’s super technical talk and often arguments that get very, very petty. But in the mix of that, there’s very rarely inspiring work to be seen. I mean, I often wonder if aliens find the remnants of our civilization often in the distant future somewhere, and they plug the internet back in, and they go trawling through and find photography forums, they may just assume that photography was just a pissing match between the males of our species that would collect and buy fancy boxes that would take images, and then they would argue with each other about who’s was the best, and then they’d go out and take photographs and bring those photographs back to these forums to prove their point that theirs is the best box. And they might completely miss that photography is meant to be an art form that produces beautiful images for their own sake. In my mind, there’s no correlation between how technical you are and how good a photographer you are. I think you can produce really compelling images even while keeping your workflow and process very, very simple, and untechnical, and Fiona proves that for me.

Fiona’s Humility

Another thing that’s really refreshing to me about Fiona is that she doesn’t have a big ego about her work, like so many of us do. I mean, you’ll hear in this film that she’s very reserved talking about her work and really self-effacing about the images she produces. I mean, she’s wrong, of course. I think she’s really good at what she does, but I think her humility will mean that she keeps growing fast. I think it’s the ego that gets us stuck because as soon as that ego talks to us and tells us we’re good, we’ve arrived, we stop growing as fast, we stop getting aggressive about training ourselves. That won’t happen to Fiona because that humility she has will mean she’s a better photographer day in and day out because she keeps pushing herself.


In our modern world of the ubiquitous plastic selfie and loud, male-dominated online photography forums where men compare the lengths of their lenses, it’s really refreshing to find somebody who’s producing evocative images in a very untechnical way, who is intuitive in the way she shoots and very self-effacing about the work that she produces.

I’m gonna shut up now, here’s Fiona Lark.

Fiona’s Journey as a Photographer

“When I was five years old, there was a girl walking in front of me, and the light was shining in her hair and her hair looked absolutely golden, and I kind of took a picture in my head, and I can still remember that picture now. So I think probably that was my earliest photo.”

“I live in the Lake District, and it’s just the most beautiful area, I think, in the world. I pass lakes and mountains, you know, most days, and every day I still really appreciate the beauty of the lakes.”

“I started posting on Flickr maybe nine or ten years ago, kind of, you know, I just posted photos of the lakes, and I kind of noticed people post in black and white, maybe self-portraits or whatever, and I think that kind of inspired me to have a go as well. I would be posting photos of mountains, but then kind of when I put me, maybe just a silhouette of me or whatever in the photo, it probably got more response than the ones where, you know, they were just the mountains. So probably that’s when it started.”

“I mean, when I go up the mountains, you know, where it can be sunny when you’re down low, but the higher up you get, you know, it can get, the weather can really change a lot. There can be kind of four seasons in one day. It doesn’t really matter what the weather’s like, you know, because when I come to editing, you can edit in a certain way just to create your own atmosphere kind of thing. But I love shooting in the rain and the mist. There’s just something about the mist.”

“I never kind of set out with, ‘Alright, I want to tell this story, or I want to tell that story.’ I just go up there, just take the photos, whatever the weather’s like or anything, and just see what happens. And it’s so exciting to come back down from the mountain and look through the photos. It kind of feels a bit like Christmas morning, you know, just looking through everything.”

“I don’t take my tripod or anything like that, just because in my bag, I’ve just got to take the essential things because I climb quite high on the mountain. I’ve got to just take the essentials with me. I tend to always look for fence posts or dry stone walls or rocks, flat rocks, just to put the camera on to take my self-portraits. So I don’t really actually need a tripod. I just like to use the natural world around me.”

“I got my 5d Mark 3 three years ago, and I think I got it because it was my partner who showed me sent me a YouTube video. They were testing, I think it was more the 7d they were testing, and I think they’d ran a truck…”

Creating Dramatic Self Portraits (feat. Fiona Lark) – FAQ

1. Who is Fiona Lark?

Fiona Lark is a renowned photographer specializing in dramatic self portraits. With her exceptional skills and unique vision, she has gained a significant following and has become an inspiration for many aspiring photographers.

2. What are dramatic self portraits?

Dramatic self portraits are powerful and emotive photographs taken by individuals themselves. These portraits often convey intense emotions, capture personal stories, or depict strong and evocative concepts.

3. How can I create my own dramatic self portraits?

To create your own dramatic self portraits, you can follow these steps:

  • 1. Set the mood: Determine the emotions or concepts you want to portray in your portrait.
  • 2. Choose the location: Select a suitable backdrop that complements your desired theme.
  • 3. Lighting is crucial: Experiment with different lighting techniques to enhance the drama in your self portraits.
  • 4. Set up your camera: Use a tripod or find a stable surface to position your camera to ensure sharp images.
  • 5. Pose and express: Get into character, experiment with various poses, and express the emotions you want to convey.
  • 6. Edit with intent: Post-process your images using photo editing software to further enhance the drama and mood.

4. What equipment do I need for dramatic self portraits?

The equipment you will need includes:

  • 1. Camera: Use a DSLR, mirrorless, or even a smartphone with good image quality.
  • 2. Tripod: A stable tripod will help you achieve sharp images without relying on someone else.
  • 3. Remote shutter release: This accessory allows you to trigger the camera without touching it.
  • 4. Lighting equipment: Experiment with natural light, artificial light sources, or external flashes to create unique effects.
  • 5. Props and costumes: Depending on your concept, you may need various props and costumes to enhance the drama in your self portraits.

5. How can I find inspiration for my dramatic self portraits?

There are numerous sources of inspiration for dramatic self portraits:

  • 1. Study other photographers: Look at the works of renowned self portrait photographers, including Fiona Lark, and analyze their techniques.
  • 2. Explore different themes: Experiment with various themes such as fantasy, surrealism, emotions, storytelling, or any concept that resonates with you.
  • 3. Seek inspiration from literature, movies, or music: Draw inspiration from different art forms to create your unique self portraits.
  • 4. Connect with fellow photographers: Engage with photography communities, forums, or social media platforms to share ideas and gain inspiration from others.

6. Are there any safety precautions I should consider when creating dramatic self portraits?

Safety should always be a priority when creating self portraits:

  • 1. Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to potential hazards in your chosen location.
  • 2. Handle props safely: If you use props or accessories, ensure they are safe and don’t pose a risk to yourself or others.
  • 3. Communicate with others: If you involve others in your portraits, make sure they understand the concept and any safety instructions.
  • 4. Don’t take unnecessary risks: Avoid dangerous or potentially harmful situations just to achieve a dramatic effect.

With these FAQs, you are now ready to embark on your journey of creating dramatic self portraits. Remember, the key is to experiment, express yourself, and let your imagination run wild!

I hope you find useful my article Creating Dramatic Self Portraits (feat. Fiona Lark), I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

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