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Using fractal prisms to create other worldly portraits

I recently did a post on playing with fractal prism filters for the first time, and I seriously could not wait to get my hands on my own set. They have been great fun out in the garden and with nature. I really want to try them with portraits. Recently, I did a Conceptual Portrait shoot titled “Winter Wonderland”. I must confess finding a little inspiration from fellow writer and photographer Jason Hahn’s Snow Scene.

Behind the scenes

Shot in the studio, I used a white backdrop and created ‘snow’ using rolled-up blankets covered with white sheets. Mosquito netting was hung in front of the backdrop. I used three lights set up. A 90cm octobox, an 45cm beauty dish on Bowens Strobes and a Nikon SB910 Speedlight on the floor for a halo effect. A smoke machine and dried twigs created added depth.

Using fractal prism filters

I got my filter set from Getfractals. By placing them directly in front of the lens and moving them around, I got fantastic results. I really like the Julia and the Penrose filters. They give such glorious results and somewhat have an ‘otherworldly’ feel to them. Granted, they aren’t the most visually appealing for a stand-alone portrait session, but if you are looking to add something looking different, these might just hit the mark.

With the halo effect of the Speedlight and the beauty dish, I was able to obtain the most ethereal lighting. Almost sci-fi in feel, enhanced by incredible costume, hair and makeup.

If you are looking to create something to really stretch and strengthen your creativity and imagination, I recommend stepping completely out of your comfort zone. Fractals might just be the way to go.


Credit must go to my wonderful model, Jess (aka Miss Fairy Floss). She endured several hours of hair and makeup to achieve this transformation. Even to the point of wearing opaque white eye contacts, she was totally blind for the whole shoot. Styling and costume by myself, with the most amazing hair and makeup by Emma Marietta. Without my team, I could never create these fantastic creations. If you would like to see some of our other Conceptual Portraits creations, please feel free to visit my gallery here.

Want to read more about these great filters? Check out Erin Holmstead’s complete review.

All images were shot with my Sony a7 II camera using either a 28-70mm or 50mm prime lens.

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Rafael Jones

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