Guillaume Kayacan: Louise

The Image

Guillaume Kayacan

Photographer’s home, Brussels, Belgium

Time / Date:
12:02 / February 14th, 2013

The Technical

Camera Body: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Lens: Canon 50mm F/1.8 II

Camera Settings:
Shutter Speed: 1/80
Aperture: f/2.0
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 50mm

The Story


Most of the time I’m shooting talents, artists – mostly musicians and more commercial images. It always involve people in front of my camera. The connection with the subject is as important as all the tech side. That’s why I find it interesting to keep on shooting different people between jobs. It’s always something new, something different. Even if you shoot ten different people in the same spirit, some details will always change. The alchemy will be different, the feelings too. It’s never the same. Also, it allows me to try different kinds of ideas, lights, moods.

In between commercial shoots, when I’m not shooting personal work, I do tons of model tests for various model agencies in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Turkey. It allows me to meet tons of new and different people. I learn a lot that way as well as like I said above, it is always different. You don’t talk the same way to a 14 years old new face who just got scouted as you would speak to a 22 years old model with tons of experience, or even to an artist who has only limited time to work with you. It’s a whole different process.

The Scene: 

Louise is most probably one of the most beautiful girls I had to shoot so far. The first time we shot it was nearly 18 months ago. She was 16 back then. We pulled out some of my best images back then. I still use them in my print portfolio and her model agency still use them pretty much everywhere too. We met again at several occasions and we always wanted to shoot a new set of images.

And here we are. Shooting again.


For the model tests I do at home I usually keep it real simple. A couple of prime lenses and a single camera. In this case a prime 50mm and a good old Canon Eos 5D Mark II.

Making the Shot:

Once we had all of the “safe” shots, I wanted to try more things so we moved downstairs near the hallway. There was much less light coming in. In fact, the only light coming was from a small window above the tall door behind me. It fell nicely on her. There isn’t really much to explain here—everything came together really naturally.

Simple, beautiful light, really muted down background… And, last but not least, Louise. She just make the picture. She has such a strong presence in front of the camera, and I think it is really obvious on this image. We shot a few frames in this very simple way and after a couple of minutes we felt like we had it.

I know that I could have choose a really sophisticated picture with a really complicated light or whatsoever but this image was the one image that I wanted to share.

Editing & Processing:

While retouching portraits, my main focus is the general ambiance. It didn’t change here. The colors and the contrast are really important. Use a certain color palette with a certain contrast and it works really well. Use that very same palette with a very small change in the contrast and it will break the mood. Use the same contrast with a very similar color palette and it will break it too. It is all about balance.

I analyzed each part of the picture to see which color is present and at which intensity. Same goes for the general texture and contrast. I evened the whole thing. Reduced the color palette, adjusted locally certain parts of the images in an independent way. Let’s say you work the contrast/light on the face, then on the arm, then you check the skin color, you even it if needed… Same goes for the different elements in the background. I used Capture One first, which is just amazing for its color rendering on portraits. I usually do the most basic things there. Slight changes in the color balance, color channels, contrast, exposition etc. Then I worked locally on Photoshop with a few curves, each of them taking effect on specific areas. Proper masks are the key.

Looking Back: 

Well I printed this image for an exhibition in Brussels last month. And I definitely want to shoot with her again. And I think we did something that we could be proud of: producing an image that I think we’ll be happy to look at in a few years. Or at least I hope so.


Sometimes it is really nice to keep things as simple as possible. And the connection between the person you photograph and you is really, really important. You have to care. I could type down for hours here, but I remember really well the first time I read Annie Leibovitz’s At Work. I was blown away. Every photographer should read that book. It is amazing.


I’m not gonna name big / famous / timeless photographers. I think it is more interesting to name some folks from my age instead. See, the following list, without specific order ,include people whom I truly appreciate their eye/vision/images… Some of them are from the U.S. , the other ones are living in Belgium or Turkey. Collin Hughes, Paulo Dourado, Adam Elmakias, Bettina Genten, Mous Lamrabat, Ertug Azak and Bagrad Badalian.


About the Photographer

I’m a 24 years old photographer based out of Brussels, Belgium. I shoot mostly talents/artists. My portfolio is offline for now but I think I’ll publish it at some point later this year. On the side I’ve got a black and white diary for about two years now. It is called 3BIGMAMAS and it features… Well a little bit of everything.

Twitter: @gkayacan
Instagram: @gkayacan

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Comments (1)

  1. Our First Photographers | The Image Story

    […] Guillaume Kayacan is a Brussels-based fashion photographer who splits his time between Belgium and Turkey, and is represented by the French photography agency Kaptive. Guillaume contributed a beautiful portrait from a test shoot in his home and gave an intimate look into how he works with models and lighting. View Guillaume Kayacan’s image story. […]